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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index L > Jack London Quotes

Jack London
(12 Jan 1876 - 22 Nov 1916)

American author and social activist whose novels and short stories follow themes on the overwhelming power of nature and the struggle for survival, such as Call of the Wild (1903) and Sea Wolf (1904). He died at age 40.

Science Quotes by Jack London (1 quote)

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
— Jack London
'Jack London Credo' quoted, without citing a source, in Irving Shepard (ed.), Jack London’s Tales of Adventure (1956), Introduction, vii. (Irving Shepard was London's literary executor.) This sentiment, expressed two months before his death, was quoted by journalist Ernest J. Hopkins in the San Francisco Bulletin (2 Dec 1916), Pt. 2, 1. No direct source in London's writings has been found, though he wrote “I would rather be ashes than dust&rdquo. as an inscription in an autograph book. Biographer Clarice Stasz cautions that although Hopkins had visited the ranch just weeks before London's death, the journalist's quote (as was not uncommon in his time) is not necessarily reliable, or may be his own invention. See this comment in 'Apocrypha' appended to Jack London, The Call Of The Wild (eBookEden.com).
Science quotes on:  |  Ash (21)  |  Atom (381)  |  Brilliant (57)  |  Burn (99)  |  Day (43)  |  Death (406)  |  Dry (65)  |  Dust (68)  |  Exist (458)  |  Existence (481)  |  Function (235)  |  Glow (15)  |  Life (1870)  |  Live (650)  |  Magnificent (46)  |  Man (2252)  |  Meteor (19)  |  Permanence (26)  |  Permanent (67)  |  Planet (402)  |  Prolong (29)  |  Proper (150)  |  Rot (9)  |  Sleep (81)  |  Spark (32)  |  Time (1911)  |  Trying (144)  |  Use (771)  |  Waste (109)


Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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