Luther Burbank


American Plant Breeder, Horticulturist and Botanist

Author Quotes

We must learn that any person who will not accept what he knows to be truth for the very love of truth alone is very definitely undermining his mental integrity... you have not been a close observer of such men if you have not seen them shrivel, become commonplace, mean without influence, without friends, and without the enthusiasm of youth and growth, like a tree covered with fungus, the foliage deceased, the life gone out of the heart with dry rot and indelibly marked for destruction --- dead, but not yet handed over to the undertaker.

Listen patiently, quietly and reverently to the lessons, one by one, which Mother Nature has to teach, shedding light on that which was before a mystery, so that all who will, may see and know.

I see humanity now as one vast plant, needing for its highest fulfillment only love, the natural blessings of the great outdoors, and intelligent crossing and selection.

Although I went to college as a youth, I never considered it necessary to steep oneself in academic learning, in order to learn how to think. I welcome a fair and square, open and above-board fight on any subject, including this, but I despise a man who sneaks around under a cloak or cover of any society or clique to strike his blows.

Religion grows with the intelligence of man, but all religions of the past and probably all of the future will sooner or later become petrified forms instead of living helps to mankind. Until that time comes, however, if religion of any name or nature makes man more happy, comfortable, and able to live peaceably with his brothers, it is good.

The idea that a good God would send people to a burning hell is utterly damnable to me. I don't want to have anything to do with such a God. But while I cannot conceive of such a God, I do recognize the existence of a great universal power -- a power which we cannot even begin to comprehend and might as well not attempt to. It may be a conscious mind, or it may not. I don't know. As a scientist I should like to know, but as a man, I am not so vitally concerned.

Most people's religion is what they would like to believe, not what they do believe. And very few of them stop to examine its foundations.

Let us read the Bible without the ill-fitting colored spectacles of theology, just as we read other books, using our own judgment and reason, listening to the voice within, not to the noisy babel without. Most of us possess discriminating reasoning powers. Can we use them or must we be fed by others like babes?

Children are the greatest sufferers from outgrown theologies.

Science, unlike theology, never leads to insanity.

I have learned from Nature that dependence on unnatural beliefs weakens us in the struggle and shortens our breath for the race.

Less than fifteen per cent of the people do any original thinking on any subject... The greatest torture in the world for most people is to think.

The lure of happiness and the fear of pain... are the two forces which have through untold millenniums kept what we usually call life from destruction by the ever encroaching outside forces of destruction.

Heredity is nothing but stored environment.

If you violate Nature's laws you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman.

Nature's laws affirm instead of prohibit. If you violate her laws you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman.

All plants, animals, and men are already in eternity, traveling across the face of time. Whence we know not. Whither, who is able to say? Let us have one world at a time, and let us make the journey one of joy to our fellow passengers, and just as convenient and happy for them as we can, and trust the rest as we trust life.

Self-reliance and self-respect are about as valuable commodities as we can carry in our pack through life.

Life is growth - a challenge of environment. If we cannot meet our everyday surroundings with equanimity and pleasure and grow each day in some useful direction, then this splendid balance of cosmic forces which we call life is on the road toward misfortune, misery and destruction. Therefore, health is the most precious of all things.

It is well for people who think to change their minds occasionally in order to keep them clean. For those who do not think, it is best at least to rearrange their prejudices once in a while.

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American Plant Breeder, Horticulturist and Botanist