The air in a man's lungs 10,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000 atoms, so that sooner or later every one of us breathes an atom that has been breathed before by anyone you can think of who has ever lived - Michelangelo or George Washington or Moses.
All those formal systems, in mathematics and physics and the philosophy of science, which claim to give foundations for certain truth are surely mistaken. I am tempted to say that we do not look for truth, but for knowledge. But I dislike this form of words, for two reasons. First of all, we do look for truth, however we define it, it is what we find that is knowledge. And second, what we fail to find is not truth, but certainty; the nature of truth is exactly the knowledge that we do find.
There are two parts to the human dilemma. One is the belief that the end justifies the means. That push-button philosophy, that deliberate deafness to suffering, has become the monster in the war machine. The other is the betrayal of the human spirit: the assertion of dogma that closes the mind, and turns a nation, a civilization, into a regiment of ghosts--obedient ghosts or tortured ghosts.
This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave.
Who has not hoped To outrage an enemy's dignity? Who has not been swept By the wish to hurt? And who has not thought that the impersonal world Deserves no better than to be destroyed By one fabulous sign of his displeasure?