Nov 202010

[T]he ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas… sooner or later, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.

The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

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Nov 192010

O bliss of the collector, bliss of the man of leisure! Of no one has less been expected, and no one has had a greater sense of well-being than the man who has been able to carry on his disreputable existence in the mask of Spitzweg,’s ‘Bookworm.’ For inside him there are spirits, or at least little genii, which have seen to it that for a collector – and I mean a real collector, a collector as he ought to be – ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them. So I have erected one of his dwellings, with books as the building stones, before you, and now he is going to disappear inside, as is only fitting.

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Nov 192010

Never explain–your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway. -Elbert Hubbard

It’s so much easier to suggest solutions when you don’t know too much about the problem. -Malcolm Forbes

History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives. -Abba Eban

If the human mind was simple enough to understand, we’d be too simple to understand it. -Emerson Pugh

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed. -Alexander Pope

You are not superior just because you see the world in an odious light. -Vicomte de Chateaubriand

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite. -John Kenneth Galbraith

It is wonderful how quickly you get used to things, even the most astonishing. -Edith Nesbitt

Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy. -Mahatma Gandhi

You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand. -Leonardo da Vinci

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. -Robert Louis Stevenson

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life. -John Burroughs, naturalist and writer (1837-1921)

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it. -Mark Twain

An author is a fool who, not content with boring those he lives with, insists on boring future generations. -Charles de Montesquieu

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. -Elbert Hubbard

A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what’s going on. -William S. Burroughs

In real life, unlike in Shakespeare, the sweetness of the rose depends upon the name it bears. Things are not only what they are. They are, in very important respects, what they seem to be. -Hubert H. Humphrey

The strongest is never strong enough to be always the master, unless he transforms strength into right, and obedience into duty. -Jean Jacques Rousseau

It is better to have a permanent income than to be fascinating. -Oscar Wilde

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. -Aldous Huxley

You will find that the State is the kind of organization which, though it does big things badly, does small things badly, too. -John Kenneth Galbraith

Nobody believes the official spokesman… but everybody trusts an unidentified source. -Ron Nesen

Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional. -unknown

Remember when life’s path is steep to keep your mind even. -Horace

Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat. -Socrates

The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart. -Saint Jerome

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Nov 192010

Humor. 1. A ticklish proposition. 2. Something which, like history, repeats itself. 3. A hole that lets the sawdust out of the stuffed shirt. 4. Stuff that has stood the test of time. 5. A quality of which there exists a great deal in the world because so many people take themselves seriously. -Esar’s Comic Dictionary

What little I know of humor suggests that it is not something which a man possesses, but rather something which possesses him; it is constantly in operation, it has a dark as well as a light aspect, and its function is by no means that of keeping its possessor in fits of chuckles. -Robertson Davies

The social scientist and especially the student of political economy is compelled to make his peace with satire or humor. -H. A. Innis

Humour is the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor, for a subject which will not bear raillery is suspicious, and a jest which will not bear serious examination is false wit. -Aristotle

The love of truth lies at the root of much humor. -Robertson Davies

The world’s humor, in its best and greaetest sense, is perhaps the highest product of our civilization. -Stephen Leacock

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Nov 192010

Live with your century, but do not be its captive; render to your contemporaries what they need, not what they praise. Without sharing their guilt, share with noble resignation their punishment and bow with freedom under the yoke with which they can dispense no better than they can bear it. By the steadfast courage with which you disdain their good fortune, you will demonstrate to them that it is not your cowardice that submits to their sufferings. Consider them as they ought to be when you practice to influence them, but consider them as they are when you contemplate acting on their behalf. Seek their approval through their dignity, but reckon their good fortune to their unworthiness; in this manner your own nobility will summon up their own but their unworthiness will not obstruct your goal… Expel the arbitrary, the frivolous, the coarse from their amusements, and ultimately from their natures. Wherever you find them, surround them with noble, great and ingenious forms, encompass them with the symbols of all that is excellent, until at length reality is overcome by appearance and art by nature.

Über die ästhetische Erziehung des Menschen in einer Reihe von Briefen, 9. Brief (1791) in: Sämtliche Werke, vol. 5, pp. 595-96 (H. Göpfert ed. 1980)(S.H. transl.)

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