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Quotes of the day: Daniel Keyes

Published Saturday, August 08, 2015 @ 10:50 PM EDT
Aug 08 2015

Daniel Keyes (August 9, 1927 – June 15, 2014) was an American author best known for his Hugo award-winning short story and Nebula award-winning novel Flowers for Algernon. Keyes was given the Author Emeritus honor by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2000. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A child may not know how to feed itself, or what to eat, yet it knows hunger.

Even in the world of make-believe there have to be rules. The parts have to be consistent and belong together.

He makes the same mistake as the others when they look at a feeble- minded person and laugh because they don't understand there are human feelings involved.

Here in your university, intelligence, education, knowledge, have all become great idols.

How many great problems have gone unsolved because men didn't know enough, or have enough faith in the creative process and in themselves, to let go for the whole mind to work at it?

How strange it is that people of honest feelings and sensibilty, who would not take advantage of a man born without arms or legs or eyes—how such people think nothing of abusing a man with low intelligence.

I am afraid. Not of life, or death, or nothingness, but of wasting it as if I had never been.

I don't know what's worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you've always wanted to be, and feel alone.

Intelligence alone doesn't mean a damned thing.

Intelligence and education that hasn't been tempered by human affection isn't worth a damn.

Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts. But all too often a search for knowledge drives out the search for love. This is something else I've discovered for myself very recently. I present it to you as a hypothesis: Intelligence without the ability to give and receive affection leads to mental and moral breakdown, to neurosis, and possibly even psychosis. And I say that the mind absorbed in and involved in itself as a self-centered end, to the exclusion of human relationships, can only lead to violence and pain.

No one really starts anything new... Everyone builds on other men's failures. There is nothing really original in science. What each man contributes to the sum of knowledge is what counts.

Now I understand that one of the important reasons for going to college and getting an education is to learn that the things you've believed in all your life aren't true, and that nothing is what it appears to be.

Punctuation, is? fun!

So many of the ideas on which our psychologists base their beliefs about human intelligence, memory, and learning are all wishful thinking.

Strange about learning; the farther I go the more I see that I never knew even existed.

Strange about learning; the farther I go the more I see that I never knew even existed. A short while ago I foolishly thought I could learn everything - all the knowledge in the world. Now I hope only to be able to know of its existence, and to understand one grain of it. Is there time?

Thank God for books and music and things I can think about.

That's the thing about human life- there is no control group, no way to ever know how any of us would have turned out if any variables had been changed.

The answer can't be found in books- or be solved by bringing it to other people. Not unless you want to remain a child all your life. You've got to find the answer inside you- feel the right thing to do.

The meaning of my total existence involves knowing the possibilities of my future as well as my past, where I'm going as well as where I've been.

The path I choose through the maze makes me what I am. I am not only a thing, but also a way of being- one of many ways- and knowing the paths I have followed and the ones left to take will help me understand what I am becoming.

There are a lot of people who will give money or materials, but very few who will give time and affection.

We learn what something is not- and that is as important as a positive discovery to the man who is going to pick up from there. At least he knows what not to do.

Who's to say that my light is better than your darkness? Who's to say death is better than your darkness? Who am I to say?

You can't have everything you want in one woman.


(August 9 is also the birthday of John Dryden and Marvin Minsky.)

Categories: Daniel Keyes, Quotes of the day


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