Nov 192010
 

The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means.

Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.

Actors are the opposite of people.

If an idea’s worth having once, it’s worth having twice.

Life is a gamble at terrible odds. If it were a bet, you would not take it.

If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music… and of aviation.

It is better to be quotable than to be honest.

The days of the digital watch are numbered.

The truth is always a compound of two half-truths, and you never reach it, because there is always something more to say.

Skill without imagination is craftsmanship and gives us many useful objects such as wickerwork picnic baskets. Imagination without skill gives us modern art.

It’s not the voting that’s democracy, it’s the counting.

We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered.

Every exit is an entry somewhere.

Revolution is a trivial shift in the emphasis of suffering.

Eternity’s a terrible thought. I mean, where’s it going to end?

Never believe in mirrors or newspapers.

I agree with everything you say, but I would attack to the death your right to say it. [parodying the saying of Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.]

 Comments Off on Tom Stoppard
Nov 192010
 

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether there are prophecies, they shall fail; whether there are languages, they shall cease; whether there is knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

 Comments Off on 1 Corinthians 13
Nov 192010
 

You will not prove that humans are happy who live steadily in the midst of the disasters of war. Whether the blood shed is that of their fellow citizens or of their enemies matters not, for in any case it is human blood. The dark shadow of fear and the lust for blood has fallen over them. If they know joy, then it is but the gleaming of fragile glass which they must fear will be shattered at any second. How then can it be wise or even rational to see grounds to be boastful in the building of empires?…

If it does not do justice, what is the government but a great criminal enterprise? For what are gangs of criminals but petty little governments? The pack is a group which follows the orders of its leader according to a social compact of sorts, sharing the spoils along the rules upon which they agree. Through a process of gradual accretion, the gang may acquire bodies and territory, establish itself in some place, and soon be possessed of all the attributes of statehood—then it may be known as a state, acquiring this title not by being any less avaricious but rather by having achieved impunity. Alexander the Great’s conversation with a pirate he had captured reflects this well. The king asked what possessed him to infest the sea as he did, and the pirate replied: “No differently from you when you pursue your crimes in the world. I act with a small ship, so I am called a pirate. You command a fleet and are called emperor.”

<em>City of God</em>

 Comments Off on Augustine of Hippo
Nov 192010
 

David Cole. Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism.

Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay. America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy.

“An attention to the judgment of other nations is important to every government for two reasons. The one is, that, independently of the merits of any particular plan or measure, it is desirable, on various accounts, that it should appear to other nations as the offspring of a wise and honorable policy; the second is, that in doubtful cases, particularly where the national councils may be warped by some strong passion or momentary interest, the presumed or known opinion of the impartial world may be the best guide that can be followed.” -63rd Federalist Paper

“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will [America’s] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Once embroiled in foreign wars of interest and intrigue “the fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force… She might become the dictatress of the world: she would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit.” -John Quincy Adams (July 4, 1821)

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repeal an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure… If today he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, “I see no probability of the British invading us”; but he will say to you, “Be silent: I see it, if you don’t.” -Abraham Lincoln

 Comments Off on Books : TLS & NYRB 2003.10.23
Nov 192010
 

The story of modern America begins With the discovery of the white man by The Indians.

Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity.

Whereas convictions depend on speed-ups, justice requires delay.

The nature of people demands that most of them be engaged in the most frivolous possible activities—like making money.

With telephone and TV it is not so much the message as the sender that is “sent.”

Money is the poor man’s credit card.

We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.

Spaceship earth is still operated by railway conductors, just as NASA is managed by men with Newtonian goals.

Invention is the mother of necessities.

You mean my whole fallacy’s wrong ?

Mud sometimes gives the illusion of depth.

The car has become the carapace, the protective and aggressive shell, of urban and suburban man.

Why is it so easy to acquire the solutions of past problems and so difficult to solve current ones?

The trouble with a cheap, specialized education is that you never stop paying for it.

People don’t actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath.

The road is our major architectural form.

Today each of us lives several hundred years in a decade.

Today the business of business is becoming the constant invention of new business.

The price of eternal vigilance is indifference.

News , far more than art, is artifact.

When you are on the phone or on the air, you have no body.

Tomorrow is our permanent address.

All advertising advertises advertising.

The answers are always inside the problem, not outside.

“Camp” is popular because it gives people a sense of reality to see a replay of their lives.

This information is top security. When you have read it, destroy yourself.

The specialist is one who never makes small mistakes while moving toward the grand fallacy.

One of the nicest things about being big is the luxury of thinking little.

Politics offers yesterday’s answers to today’s questions.

The missing link created far more interest than all the chains and explanations of being.

In big industry new ideas are invited to rear their heads so they can be clobbered at once. The idea department of a big firm is a sort of lab for isolating dangerous viruses.

When a thing is current, it creates currency.

Food for the mind is like food for the body: the inputs are never the same as the outputs.

Men on frontiers , whether of time or space, abandon their previous identities. Neighborhood gives identity. Frontiers snatch it away.

The future of the book is the blurb.

The ignorance of how to use new knowledge stockpiles exponentially.

A road is a flattened-out wheel , rolled up in the belly of an airplane.

At the speed of light , policies and political parties yield place to charismatic images.

I may be wrong , but I’m never in doubt.

 Comments Off on McLuhanisms