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    Because we do not understand the brain very well we are constantly tempted to use the latest technology as a model for trying to understand it. In my childhood we were always assured that the brain was a telephone switchboard. ('What else could it be?') I was amused to see that Sherrington, the great British neuroscientist, thought that the brain worked like a telegraph system. Freud often compared the brain to hydraulic and electro-magnetic systems. Leibniz compared it to a mill, and I am told some of the ancient Greeks thought the brain functions like a catapult. At present, obviously, the metaphor is the digital computer.

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  17  /  27  

If you're naturally kind you attract a lot of people you don't like.

If you're naturally kind you attract a lot of people you don't like.

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Unlike the pattern which seems to prevail in the rest of life, in the human species the weak not only read more

Unlike the pattern which seems to prevail in the rest of life, in the human species the weak not only survive but often triumph over the strong. The self-hatred inherent in the weak unlocks energies far more formidable then those mobilized by an ordinary struggle for existence.

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  9  /  13  

The well-adjusted make poor prophets.

The well-adjusted make poor prophets.

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The awareness of their individual blemishes and shortcomings inclines the frustrated to detect ill will and meanness in their fellow read more

The awareness of their individual blemishes and shortcomings inclines the frustrated to detect ill will and meanness in their fellow men. Self-contempt, however vague, sharpens our eyes for the imperfections of others. We usually strive to reveal in others the blemishes we hide in ourselves.

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It is a juvenile notion that a society needs a lofty purpose and a shining vision to achieve much. Both read more

It is a juvenile notion that a society needs a lofty purpose and a shining vision to achieve much. Both in the marketplace and on the battlefield men who set their hearts on toys have often displayed unequal initiative and drive. And one must be ignorant of the creative process to look for a close correspondence between motive and achievement in the world of thought and imagination.

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Unity and self-sacrifice, of themselves, even when fostered by the most noble means, produce a facility for hating. Even when read more

Unity and self-sacrifice, of themselves, even when fostered by the most noble means, produce a facility for hating. Even when men league themselves mightily together to promote tolerance and peace on earth, they are likely to be violently intolerant toward those not of a like mind.

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Every fairly intelligent person is aware that the price of respectability is a muffled soul bent on the trivial and read more

Every fairly intelligent person is aware that the price of respectability is a muffled soul bent on the trivial and the mediocre.

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When under the pretext of fraternity, the legal code imposes mutual sacrifices on the citizens, human nature is not thereby read more

When under the pretext of fraternity, the legal code imposes mutual sacrifices on the citizens, human nature is not thereby abrogated. Everyone will then direct his efforts toward contributing little to, and taking much from, the common fund of sacrifices. Now, is it the most unfortunate who gains from this struggle? Certainly not, but rather the most influential and calculating.

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...the evils of mankind are caused, not by the primary aggressiveness of individuals, but by their self-transcending identification with groups read more

...the evils of mankind are caused, not by the primary aggressiveness of individuals, but by their self-transcending identification with groups whose common denominator is low intelligence and high emotionality.

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