Dee Hock Quotes

Most popular Dee Hock Quotes

Despite the desperate effort of parents to teach their children good behavior, children continue to behave pretty much like their parents.


The young man loves women; the mature man loves enterprise, the old man loves memories.

life age

Vice and virtue have one thing in common: the more people have of either, the less they think they have.

vice & virtue

Communication would be vastly improved if everyone who wrote and spoke were content to be understood without needing to be admired.


We judge others harshly by the standards we profess rather than those we practice. Yet we resent it bitterly when they return the favor.


Critics often make us out to be so bad we are compelled to wonder why they select such rotten subjects.


The ferocity with which a dog defends its bone tells us a great deal more about the nature of the dog than the quality of the bone.

human nature

A recognized and corrected error vanishes leaving two things of great value—experience of error, and how to rise above it.


Those born poor who become rich are eager to tell us what good fortune it was to be forced to struggle with adversity. One wonders why they take the utmost pains to deprive their children of the same opportunity.


Old people have so little left of life they should cease trying to make it bring what they desire and make the most of what it offers. Come to think of it, that's not bad policy for young people as well.

how to live life

Knowledge is never in doubt. Wisdom is never certain.

knowledge and wisdom

Every mountain is two mountains: the one that urges us to climb and the one that punishes us when we do.
The world of Homo sapiens is, indeed, a fantasyland, for we seek to control organizations, peoples, economies, and nature with minds that can't control their own thoughts and emotions for thirty seconds.

the human condition

Any idiot can impose and exercise control. It takes genius to ensure freedom and release creativity.


One should not read like a dog obeying its master, but like an eagle hunting its prey.


Ignorance is a great deal more eager to instruct wisdom than wisdom is to instruct ignorance.


It is a prudent man who never reveals how little he thinks of others or how much he thinks of himself.

holding your tongue

The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.
— Dee Hock
Delaying what we must do eventually does nothing but lengthen the time and distance we must carry the burden.


Habits are never in a hurry.


Language is the substitution of symbol for reality, thus the first, immense separation of humanity from the animate earth.


Certainty is not a property of the universe; it is a construct of the mind.


Under precise, scientifically controlled conditions, life does as it damned well pleases.


It is no more sensible to expect morality from science than it is to expect feathers from a rock. Morality is not what science does.


Tyranny shouts, "You must!" Leadership whispers, "Perhaps we should."


Logic is the kingdom of opposites in which nothing can be reconciled. Love has no such difficulty.


Dreams are destroyed by their realization and achievement by accomplishment, but hope lives on forever.

dreams hope

Western man conceives of time as a straight string stretching from a beginning to an end. Perhaps it is an integrated mass without beginning or end within which all things manifest themselves and move about without awareness of where in the mass they lie.


A fool is no less a fool when a wise man errs.


It is incomparably more difficult to gain acceptance of a new idea than it is to discover it.


All medical science notwithstanding, the race between microbes and man has barely begun. My money is on the microbes.


Fear, when it adds nothing to safety, is pain without utility.


Power demands; wisdom requests.
People who set out to rule are never free. They are forever chained to the mob whether it be rebellious or subservient.


When we fully attend to the management of self, excellent management of all else is unavoidable.

the self

As one approaches the end of life, that which truly matters emerges sharp and clear—family, love, generosity, peace, nature, comfort.

purpose of life

This much we can all know for certain: in the eyes of the universe, the most learned, powerful, wealthy, or famous cannot be distinguished from the least among us.
Trusting a politician to put the public interest before his own is like trusting a dog to deliver a pound of hamburger to your neighbor.


To speak is craft; to listen is art.


Trust is far less expensive and more reliable than compulsion.

persuasion trust

Without purpose will is blind. Without will purpose is impotent. Without ethical and moral content both are barren at best and dangerous at worst.


We are naught but temporary manifestations of the dispersed energy and intelligence of the universe. How does our behavior appear to the pure intelligence and energy from which we coalesced? Very poorly I suspect.
Knowledge by itself is a means without an end, a sentence without a subject. Knowledge alone can no more produce a just, equitable, peaceful society than a trumpet can compose a symphony or a violin play a musician.


Life offers everyone truth and comfort. Choose carefully. You rarely can have both.

truth life

Envy is admission of inferiority.


I would much rather plant a tree than cut one down, and draw current capital from the sun rather than exploit its accumulated reserves.


The richest societies are always dependent on exploitation of the poorest. The most powerful societies are always dependent on domination of the weakest. We call it civilization.


What makes us believe that every effect has a cause and every cause has an effect? Is it not more sensible to think that everything is a complex, harmonic interplay of infinite relationships?
In the gratification of every desire lies the creation of more demanding ones.


Dogma has this to recommend it: the believer is isolated from the constant struggle to obtain knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.


Life is messy; only death is neat.


Love, share, accept, care; what else matters?
Grief shared is halved, happiness shared is doubled.
Introspection is both the curse and blessing of life.


Knowledge is the rubble left when wisdom breaks down.

knowledge and wisdom

Lust for profit has no limit, no conscience, and no virtue.


The two most discontented beings are humans and cancer cells.


You can't reason with ideology any more than you can with deceit.


Vision without effort is impotent. Effort without vision is blind.

effort vision

Man is the only animal that will squander living to prolong existence.
Those who despise people are the most desperate to be favorably recognized by them.

human nature hate

His mind is like a wagon that believes it drives the harness that pushes the horse.
We are so obsessed with the nature of the economy that we ignore the economy of nature.


Nature will never take direction from us no matter how much havoc we create in the attempt.


Oh, how we love to judge ourselves by our good intentions and others by their bad performances.


Once fame is necessary to our happiness, power to make us miserable lies in the hands of everyone.


Words are raped, pillaged, and plundered of all meaning when power's bellow and money's rant are on.
There is no problem in the world that cannot be solved if we love broadly, deeply, and wisely enough.
The earth can easily satisfy the legitimate needs of all life, but not the devouring lusts of mankind.
The pleasures of youth are the pains of old age, just as the pleasures of old age are the pains of youth.

old age youth

Commerce has the cunning to pluck a handful of feathers from every goose for each kernel of corn it provides.


One may be old in experience who is young in time, just as another may be young in experience and old in time.

age experience

Every man, no matter how intelligent and learned, conceals within a dunce in a dungeon and a madman on a chain.

human nature

That the words economist and economize have common origins is an excellent example of the debasement of language.
A society that believes infinite increase in material consumption is possible in a finite world is a society of cretins.
There is a form of rabies rampant in science for which there is no known cure—hubris. It is spread when one infected mind bites another.
We invest in all the wrong things because they are compatible with the pursuit of profit, while essential values are discarded as useless.
What is nature but a resource to be exploited by the most fortunate among us as they see fit. Why nothing, of course, in the minds of most.


One of the principal functions of government during the past two centuries has been to make economic crimes against people and planet legal.


In the past three centuries, the massive, blundering immediacy of what, when, and how has trampled underfoot the essential importance of why.
Every decision, other than those essential to secure food, shelter, and clothing, should be made based upon its effect a hundred years hence.

long-term thinking

This is the age of violence—violence to planet, species, society, and individuals; violence to life itself and everything on which life depends.
Postmodern education seems a mad effort to divorce the humanities from the reality of living and relegate them to the realm of fanciful abstraction.


Power without responsibility, wealth without beneficence, fame without morality, and avarice without restraint: is that the message of postmodern society?
Despite the achievements of science and technology, present society cannot cure a fraction of the ills it creates or create a fraction of the marvels it destroys.
For those who do not believe in the religion of money and refuse to worship in the temples of commerce, the world is an increasingly ugly, unfriendly, dangerous place.
Science asks, "What can we know?" Practicality asks, "What can we do?" Morality asks, "How shall we behave?" Religion asks, "What will we believe?" Wisdom alone is silent.


At the heart of most immense, intractable, societal problems lie the hubris of science, the ubiquity of technology, the mythology of economics, and the corruption of commerce.

science capitalism technology

We seem bound forever between things too huge and too small to grasp, between things too obvious and too obscure to be noticed, between things too good and too evil to understand.

the human condition

The zeal with which we are led to believe that technology will eventually save us from ecological, social, and political disaster would be laughable were its consequences less grim.


Preoccupation with enemies, constant search for treason, continual appeals for patriotism, and ever-increasing military might are signs of an insecure, besieged, deteriorating nation.
Why is it so difficult to see that estrangement from nature and from the wholeness of self came about in direct relationship to the rise of mechanistic, Newtonian science and mathematics?


Formal education has abased itself and now concentrates on making the world safe for centralization of power, concentration of wealth, plunder of the planet, and dominance of science and technology.


It is not more answers we need, but better questions. It is not more action we need, but deeper reflection. It is not more knowledge we need, but profounder wisdom. It is not more technology we need, but greater aspirations.

asking questions

Our descendants will view our insatiable, destructive consumption, and pursuit of economic growth as moral corruption and mental derangement. They will justly curse us for their legacy of enormous reparation we will leave them.
Our leaders think terrorism is a problem to be solved with power, technology, and money rather than a paradox to be avoided with awareness, wisdom, and equity. The same is true of most other intransigent problems facing society.
Politicians are addicted to mendacity, indecision, and inaction because they know that such things are rarely noticed, readily forgiven, and quickly forgotten, while a mistake is usually detected, seldom forgiven, and rarely forgotten.


Belief in the so-called "virtual world" is akin to belief that perusing a wilderness map can replace a walk through a forest, that eating a menu can replace a meal, or that listening to news accounts of a town meeting can replace participation.
In our insatiable quest to know, what has happened to our capacity to care? In our lust to get, what has happened to our desire to give? In our eagerness to hate, what has happened to our capacity to love? The answers are too unpleasant to contemplate.
The great ideas of the past centuries continue to titillate our minds but they no longer touch our hearts. They have become intellectual toys rather than fundamental beliefs. We reason about them but do not live them. They are in the brain, not the bone.
In our monetized society, stockholder profit is the only thing that can proclaim with the full force of law, and judicial sanction, "Thou shalt have no other god before me," to which corporate executives, politicians, and academics chorus a fervent, "Amen!"


Everyone knows that children make more messes than they clean up. Everyone knows that present forms of societal organization, particularly government and business, make more messes than they clean up. Are we, organizationally, in a state of arrested childishness?
The things that matter most and are essential to a decent society—character, ethics, empathy, generosity, love, peace—cost nothing, while technology, war, and destructive consumption are not necessary and cost a great deal. Why do we prefer the expensive and unnecessary to the essential and free?