Rene Descartes: Those who have seen nothing

It is well to know something of the manners of various peoples, in order more sanely to judge our own, and that we do not think that everything against our modes is ridiculous, and against reason, as those who have seen nothing are accustomed to think. -Rene Descartes, philosopher and mathematician (1596-1650).

Bertrand Russell: Individual existence

An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being. -Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970).

Omar Khayyam: Hell, paradise and flowers

Omar Khayyam

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Oh, threats of hell and hopes of paradise! / One thing at least is certain — this life flies; / One thing is certain, and the rest is lies; / The flower that once has blown forever dies. –Omar Khayyam, poet, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer, and physician (1048-1131)