E. O. Wilson Quotes

Look closely at nature. Every species is a masterpiece, exquisitely adapted to the particular environment in which it has survived. Who are we to destroy or even diminish biodiversity?

You teach me, I forget. You show me, I remember. You involve me, I understand.

We exist in a bizarre combination of Stone Age emotions, medieval beliefs, and god-like technology.

If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.

We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom. The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time, think critically about it, and make important choices wisely.

The worst thing that will probably happen-in fact is already well underway-is not energy depletion, economic collapse, conventional war, or the expansion of totalitarian governments. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired in a few generations. The one process now going on that will take millions of years to correct is loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly our descendants are least likely to forgive us.

You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.

Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.

The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.

One difference between ants and humans is that while ants send their old women off to war, humans send their young men.

Competing is intense among humans, and within a group, selfish individuals always win. But in contests between groups, groups of altruists always beat groups of selfish individuals.

Destroying a tropical rainforest for profit is like burning all the paintings of the Louvre to cook dinner.

There can be no purpose more enspiriting than to begin the age of restoration, reweaving the wondrous diversity of life that still surrounds us.

People would rather believe than know.

The human race is not divided into two opposing camps of good and evil. It is made up of those who are capable of learning and those who are incapable of doing so.

Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species

Biological diversity is the key to the maintenance of the world as we know it… Eliminate one species, and another increases to take its place. Eliminate a great many species, and the local ecosystem starts to decay.

We are not afraid of predators, we’re transfixed by them, prone to weave stories and fables and chatter endlessly about them, because fascination creates preparedness, and preparedness, survival. In a deeply tribal way, we love our monsters.

Humanity is a biological species, living in a biological environment, because like all species, we are exquisitely adapted in everything: from our behavior, to our genetics, to our physiology, to that particular environment in which we live. The earth is our home. Unless we preserve the rest of life, as a sacred duty, we will be endangering ourselves by destroying the home in which we evolved, and on which we completely depend.

In the early stages of creation of both art and science, everything in the mind is a story.

Ants are the leading removers of dead creatures on the land. And the rest of life is substantially dependent upon them.

Humanity is part of nature, a species that evolved among other species. The more closely we identify ourselves with the rest of life, the more quickly we will be able to discover the sources of human sensibility and acquire the knowledge on which an enduring ethic, a sense of preferred direction, can be built.

The ideal scientist thinks like a poet and works like a bookkeeper

Go as far as you can, [young scientists]. The world needs you badly.

There is no better high than discovery.