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On the Robustness of ideas...


Many ideas will faint and disappear at the slightest breeze, but there are some which will withstand a hurricane. Richard Dawkins called them ‘memes’. Another nice interpretation is ‘thought viruses’ that implant themselves in people’s minds and spread with each retelling.

See also

fragility*, ideas*, illumination, potential, understanding


‘You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea.’

Benazir Bhutto

‘There is no adequate defence, except stupidity, against the impact of a new idea.’

P. W. Bridgman

‘If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon or make a better mouse-trap than his neighbour, though he builds his house in the woods the world will make a beaten path to his door.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.’

Victor Hugo

‘A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.’

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

‘You cannot put a rope around the neck of an idea: you can not put an idea up against a barracks-square wall and riddle it with bullets: you cannot confine it in the strongest prison cell that your slaves could ever build.’

Sean O’Casey

Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas?’

Josef Stalin

Ideas are the factors that lift civilization. They create revolutions. There is more dynamite in an idea than in many bombs.’

John H. Vincent

‘An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.’

Oscar Wilde



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