Nov 192010

Charles Algernon Swinburne

In days now past there lived an adamant old man;
His brow was calm, his eye unflinching: Death trembled
At the sight of him, vanquished by his satyr-gaze;
And Pain, that gnaws and gnashes, grinding with steel teeth,
Squirmed beneath his foot like a whipped, whimpering dog.
Now and then from his swelling heart a word or two
Burst forth, corrosive, cynical, appalling;
The whole world bowed before this aged colossus,
Hate along with Love, Evil along with Goodness:
To see him laugh and dream was to know that nothing –
Not Desire, whose sparkling eye bedazzles,
Not Man who roars, not God who trumpets and thunders,
Not frightful Virtue, scourge of the embittered heart –
Could cause the slightest lifting of his ancient brow.
He saw the world as vast, vacant, and unchanging;
Gomorrah bathed him in the light of its red fires,
And all of vicious Capri blazed before his eyes;
He ponders; and seems to hold in the hollow of his hand
That great lost age, now faded into ghostly mist;
Sporus, blood-soaked, in bed with Elagabalus,
And pleasure hidden within the deepest horror,
And the hideous baths of that grim emperor
Who forced ravished little children and weeping girls
To nibble his naked flesh like frightened minnows
And picked the fairest boys to prick and suck their blood;
The succubus who prowls and laughs among the tombs;
Semiramis swooning, pleasured in the stable;
And Lust dining next to Murder at the table;
And savage Sappho, fire racing through her body;
And the abyss: and love, lawless and unbridled,
That thing a lewd faun hides beneath his garments;
And the queen, beast-besotted in her appetites,
Panting in ecstasies of monstrous, sweet delight,
Mother of the Minotaur and Phaedra’s sister;
And dread Venus of Aphaca, nature’s monster;
All the blazing fires with all the vile rottenness;
And Retz, inhaling ashes redolent of flesh
And smoke of roasting corpses, wafted in the breeze;
Cinyras debauched, lying on his daughter’s breast;
All that arouses, resonates, thrills, and explodes;
The earth inflamed, a monster at feverish sport;
The heavens, a whorehouse painted bawdy blue
In which a phallic God lets loose, spurting and gushing,
His metallic juices erupting in torrents;
Where the moon cruises, hunting for satisfaction;
Where the mighty sun penetrates with brazen rays
And, hot and naked, shamelessly, ceaselessly spills
The surging flood of his prodigious blood-red seed;
(For sunbeams defile; the dark side of heaven
Is the foul, putrid bowel of the universe);
With a deep and wild look, he paced; and all
Sodom Sprang to life, dreamed its dreams, burned, and shrieked within him.

He belonged to a golden age, to ancient gods;
His presence struck sparks of fascinated terror;
His massive jaw hinted at enormous appetites;
He had an air of glorious, satanic boldness;
When he kissed, he wanted blood; he was voracious;
His wolfish smile gleamed, a gaping, dazzling rictus;
His hot breath blew like a desert wind, furious;
He called to mind Priapus in the garden shade
Gnawing his nymph’s bronzed nape with his beautiful teeth
This was the Infinite’s vicious younger brother.

Furrowing his brow, he saw his past come alive,
The Marseilles saturnalia spiced with Spanish fly,
The lair in Arcueil, unguents, and the keen knife
He used for slicing open naked, living flesh.

A bitter, cold contempt swelled his turbulent breast.
The Empire had caught him in its filthy clutches;
Yet, though imprisoned, he smiled. He had his own gods.
He saw and understood it all; nothing surprised him.
A fierce hunger stirred in the soul’s depths of a man
Greater than Bonaparte, greater than anyone.

Now, one night a youth – he was only twenty-two
Saw that pale, proud face, the crown of silvery hair,
Those dark eyes and the cunning, imperious mouth;
The young man trembled. That night he was reading Justine;
As if in prayer, he looked upward, lifting his gaze
From the forbidden page to the smiling old man.
Awestruck and amazed, he asked, “Who is standing there?
What sort of man is he? I’d like to know his name.
His face, the movements of his hand, bring to mind
The splendid, sportive wantonness of ancient Rome;
All the great ones, immortalized in infamy,
Who played the husband to women and the wife to men;
All the bedazzlement within the deepest nights;
The gutted gladiator, naked in the ring,
His neck crushed beneath the heel of an emperor
Whose beardless lips brush a eunuch’s downy cheek;
All that nature abhors and that a jealous God,
Craven and envious, drowns in a sea of fire;
And all that rises again, hidden from His ire;
All that Socrates dreamed and Tiberius wrought;
The lewd, salacious teat on which the whole world sucks,
And the roadside signal silently acknowledged;
The tricks a roving satyr liked to teach the shepherd,
And all that deadly virtue castrates and crushes;
The sounds one hears at night; whinnying and roaring;
And all that flows out in streams and all that glitters;
The unconquerable man, his lordly spirit all aglow,
Who grabs God by the ear, calling him ‘old fellow’,
Contemplates eternity and snaps his fingers;
Who holds quivering virtue sobbing in his hands;
And the dark blood spurting hot; and hidden alcoves;
And shameless women, beautifully disgusting;
And the laughter of the man sharpening his teeth
On smooth, pearl-white shoulders and hot; heaving breasts.
All these thoughts come and go, revealed in his bright eyes,
And in the curling of his lascivious mouth.
Who are you, then, old man? Whence come you? What gave you
The mournful air of a silent, beckoning god?
What superhuman hand placed that arrogant smile
On your pale and haughty lips? What is the meaning
Of the flame burning in the black depths of your eyes
Like lightning flashing in the night, enlivening
The drab face of things with bursts of radiant gold?’

“My child”, the old man replied, “I am called de Sade.”

Translated by Elisabeth Gitter. Published in TLS 2003.10.10

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Nov 192010

There are seven sins in the world: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice and politics without principle.

The future depends on what we do in the present.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.

Affection cannot be manufactored or regulated by law. If one has no affection for a person or a system, one should be free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection, so long as he does not contemplate, promote, or incite to violence.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds.

As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it.

To run away from danger, instead of facing it, is to deny one’s faith in man and God, even one’s own self. It were better for one to drown oneself than live to declare such bankruptcy of faith.

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.

A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.
N.B.: The British disarmed the Indian Army: Gandhi never advocated the individual right to bear arms.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

The good man is the friend of all living things.

Where there is love there is life.

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.

My non-violence bids me dedicate myself to the service of the minorities.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.

Whenever you take a step forward, you are bound to disturb something. You disturb the air as you go forward, you disturb the dust, the ground. You trample upon things. When a whole society moves forward, this trampling is on a much bigger scale; and each thing that you disturb, each vested interest which you want to remove, stands as an obstacle.

Hate the sin, love the sinner.

I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence….I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour. But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier…But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature…. But I do not believe India to be helpless….I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature….Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.

I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.

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

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.

I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.

When asked what he thought of Western civilization: “I think it would be a good idea.”

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.

Live simply that others may simply live.

Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation.

It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.

If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further.

The only devils in this world are those running around in our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.

To conceal ignorance is to increase it. An honest confession of it, however, gives ground for the hope that it will diminish some day or the other.

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Nov 192010

From Plastic Words: The Tyranny of a Modular Language. Penn State Press, 1995. Translated by Jutta Mason and David Cayley.

Poerksen considers the following as examples of “plastic words”: basic need, care, center, communication, consumpion, contact, decision, development, education, energy, exchange, factor, function, future, growth, identity, information, living standard, management, model, modernization, partner, planning, problem, process, production, progress, project, raw material, relationship, resource, role, service, sexuality, solution, strategy, structure, substance, system, trend, value, welfare, work.

A. Origin and Usage

1. The speaker lacks the power of definition; the words do not acquire meaning or nuance from their contexts.

2. As “context-autonomous” words that do not depend on their connections, they superficially resemble the terms of science, but lack the precisely defined meanings of such terms, and their freedom from associations. The use of the same word inside and outside science leads to the assumption of kinship, and to the words becoming independent norms. In the vernacular, these nephews of science become stereotypes.

3. As a rule they originate in the vernacular, are adopted and reshaped by some brand of science, and then, like returning émigrés, rejoin the vernacular.

4. They have the character of metaphors inasmuch as they link the heterogeneous spheres of science and everyday life. They are distinct from metaphors in that they no longer evoke any image; they do not, like other comparisons, indicate their origin.

5. This makes their capacity to alter and illuminate their objects even more powerful. The less obvious their metaphorical character, the less it is noticed, and the more effectively it works. These words become commonsense, background concepts in our thinking.

B. Scope

6. The words surface in countless contexts. Their application is limited hardly at all by space or time.

7. They squeeze out and replace a wealth of synonyms. Synonyms after all are not words whose meaning is the same but whose meaning is similar, words with as many delicate differences and shadings as there are contexts. Before plastic words one knew which synonym belonged in which factual or social context. Now there is a “jack of all trades,” a word that serves the whole world.

8. They squeeze out and replace the verbum proprium, which precisely “fits” in a given context, with a nonspecific word.

9. They fill silences and replace indirect ways of speaking, exposing delicacy and tact to the action of stereotyped generalities.

C. Content

10. When we seek to grasp the meaning of the words, through their content rather than their sphere of influence, it comes down to a single characteristic. They manifest the logical law of the inverse proportionality of extension and intention: the broader the application, the smaller the content; the poorer the content, the larger the application. They are words that reduce a gigantic area to a common denominator. They put forward a universal claim, with a reduced and impoverished content.

11. In other words, the object spoken about, the referent, is not easy to grasp; the words are poor in substance, if not altogether without substance.

12. They seem to resemble the concepts of postclassical physics: purely imaginary, meaningless, self-referential, and functioning only as stackable poker chips. Is language being undermined in parallel with the use of these poker chips in the thought structures of mathematics and physics?

D. History as Nature

13. The words lack a historical dimension; they are embedded in no particular time or place. In that sense they are shallow; they are new and they don’t taste of anything.

14. They reinterpret history as nature and transform it into a laboratory.

15. They dispense with questions of good and evil and cause them to disappear.

E. Power of Connotation and Function

16. Connotation dominates, spreading out in expanding waves. In place of the power of denotation, they provide an experience of counterfeit enlightenment.

17. Their connotation is positive; they formulate a property or deliver the illusion of an insight.

18. In their usage the function of the discourse dominates, not its content. These words are more like an instrument of subjugation than like a tool of freedom.

F. General Function

19. By means of their limitless generality they give the impression of filling a gap and of satisfying a need that had not previously existed. In other words, they awaken a need. They reduce all domains to a common denominator and sound an imperative and futuristic note. The words seem to demand that these domains adjust themselves to the words and not vice versa. They draw attention to deficits.

20. Their asocial and ahistorical naturalness reinforces this demand.

21. Their powerful aura of associations demands action.

22. Their many-sided generality brings about consensus.

G. Social and Economic Usefulness

23. Their use distinguishes the speaker from the unremarkable world of the everyday and raises his social prestige; they serve him as rungs on the social ladder.

24. They carry the authority of science into the vernacular: they enforce silence. (In the GDR Marxist-Leninist science was already monumentalized by being the explicit foundation of the state structure. In the Federal Republic the scientific vocabulary pushed itself into a comparable position as an instrument for awakening economic needs.)

25. These words form a bridge to the world of experts. Their content is actually no more than a white spot, but they transmit the “aura” of another world, in which one can obtain information about them. They anchor, in the vernacular, the need for experts. They are pregnant with money. They command resources, and, in the hands of experts, become resources.

26. They can be freely combined, and they are eager to increase themselves through derivation and the creation of compounds. This modular capacity makes them an ideal instrument in the hands of experts interested in the speedy manufacture of models of reality.

H. Time and Place of Dissemination

27. Their scientifically authorized objectivity and universality make the older words of the vernacular appear ideological. A word like “communication” makes alternatives – conversation, discussion, gossip suddenly appear out of date.

28. The words appear as a new type. In recent history such newcomers have evidently been introduced in each epoch. The type in vogue in the 1930s is not the type in vogue in the 1990s.

29. This vocabulary, even if it appears at slightly different times in different places, is international.

I. Connection to Making Oneself Understood without Words

30. The words cannot be made clearer by tone of voice, pantomime, or gesture, and cannot be replaced by these.

Nov 192010

From the 12th century Catholic Textus Roffensis, compiled by Ernulf, Bishop of Rochester:

By the authority of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and of the undefiled Virgin Mary, mother and patroness of our Saviour; and of all the celestial virtues, angels, archangels, thrones, dominions, powers, cherubins and seraphins; and of all the holy patriarchs and prophets; and of all the apostles and evangelists; and of the holy innocents who in the sight of the holy Lamb are found worthy to sing the new song; of the holy martyrs and holy confessors; and of the holy virgins; and of all the saints together, with the holy and elect of God:

We excommunicate and anathematise him, and from the thresholds of the Holy Church of God Almighty we sequester him, that he may be tormented, disposed and delivered over with Dathan and Abiram, and with those who say unto the Lord God, ‘depart from us, we desire none of thy ways’. And as fire is quenched with water, so let the light of him be put out for evermore, unless it shall repent him and make satisfaction. Amen.

May the Father who created man, curse him. May the Son who suffered for us, curse him. May the Holy Ghost who was given to us in baptism, curse him. May the Holy Cross which Christ for our salvation triumphing over his enemies, ascended, curse him.

May the holy and eternal Virgin Mary, Mother of God, curse him. May St. Michael the advocate of holy souls, curse him. May all the angels and archangels, principalities and powers, and all the heavenly armies, curse him.

May St. John the forerunner and Baptist of Christ, St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Andrew, and all other of the apostles of Christ, together curse him. And may the rest of his disciples and the four evangelists, who by their preaching converted the whole world, and the holy and wonderful company of martyrs and confessors, who by their holy works are found pleasing to God Almighty, curse him.

May the holy choir of the holy virgins, who for the honor of Christ have despised the things of the world, curse him. May all the saints who from the beginning of the world to everlasting ages are found to be beloved of God, curse him. May the earth, and all the holy things remaining therein, curse him.

May he be cursed wherever he be, whether in the house or the stables, the garden or the field, or the highway, or in the path, or in the wood, or in the water, or in the church. May he be cursed in living, in dying, in eating and drinking, in hungering and thirsting, in fasting, in sleeping, in slumbering, in walking, in standing, in sitting, in lying, in working, in resting, in pissing, in shitting, and in bloodletting.

May he be cursed in all the faculties of his body. May he be cursed inwardly and outwardly. May he be cursed in the hair of his head. May he be cursed in his brains, in his vertex, in his temples, in his forehead, in his ears, in his eyebrows, in his cheeks, in his jaw-bones, in his nostrils, in his foreteeth and grinders, in his lips, in his throat, in his shoulders, in his wrists, in his arms, in his hands, in his fingers, in his mouth, in his breast, in his heart and purtenance, down to the very stomach, in his reins, in his groin, in his thighs, in his genitals, in his hips, in his knees, in his legs, in his feet, and in his toenails.

May he be cursed in all the joints and articulations of his members, from the top of his head to the soal of his foot: may there be no soundness in him.

May the Son of the living God, with all the glory of his Majesty curse him, and may heaven with all the powers which move therein, rise up against him and damn him unless he repent and make satisfaction. Amen. So be it, so be it. Amen.

And for those Latinheads among you:

Ex Auctoritate Dei omnipotentis, Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, et sanctorum canonum, sanctaeque et intemeratae Virginis Dei genetricis Mariae, Atque omnium coelestium virtutum, angelorum, archangelorum, thronorum, dominationum, potestatuum, cherubin ac seraphin, et sanctorum patriarcharum, prophetarum, et omnium apostolorum et evangelistarum, et sanctorum innocentum, qui in conspectu Agni soli digni inventi sunt canticum cantare novum, et sanctorum martyrum, et sanctorum confessorum, et sanctarum virginum, atque omnium simul sanctorum et electorum Dei:

Excommunicamus, et anathematizamus huncvel os furems, vel huncvel os malefactorems, et a liminibus sanctae Dei ecclesiae sequestramus ut aeternis suppliciis excruciandus veli, mancipeturn, cum Dathan et Abiram, et cum his qui dixerunt Domino Deo, ‘recede a nobis, scientiam viarum tuarum nolumus’. Et sicut aqua ignis extinguitur, sic extinguatur lucerna eius vel eorum in secula seculorum nisi resipuerit, et ad satisfactionem veneritur. Amen.

Maledicat illumos Deus Pater qui hominem creavit. Maledicat illumos Dei Filius qui pro homine passus est. Maledicat illumos Spiritus Sanctus qui in baptismo effusus est. Maledicat illumos sancta crux, quam Christus pro nostra salute hostem triumphans, ascendit. Maledicat illumos sancta Dei genetrix et perpetua Virgo Maria. Maledicat illumos sanctus Michael, animarum susceptor sacrarum. Maledicant illumos omnes angeli et archangeli, principatus et potestates, omnisque militia coelestis.

Maledicat illumos patriarcharum et prophetarum laudabilis numerus. Maledicat illumos sanctus Johannes praecursor et Baptista Christi, et sanctus Petrus, et sanctus Paulus, atque sanctus Andreas, omnesque Christi apostoli, simul et caeteri discipuli, quatuor quoque evangelistae, qui sua praedicatione mundum universum converterunt. Maledicat illumos cuneus martyrum et confessorum mirificus, qui Deo bonis operibus placitus inventus est. Maledicant illumos sacrarum virginum chori, quae mundi vana causa honoris Christi respuenda contempserunt. Maledicant illumos omnes sancti qui ab initio mundi usque in finem seculi Deo dilecti inveniuntur. Maledicant illumos coeli et terra, et omnia sancta in eis manentia.

Maledictus sitn ubicunque fueritn, sive in domo, sive in agro, sive in via, sive in semita, sive in silva, sive in aqua, sive in ecclesia.

Maledictus sit vivendo, moriendo, manducando, bibendo, esuriendo, sitiendo, jejunando, dormitando, dormiendo, vigilando, ambulando, stando, sedendo, jacendo, operando, quiescendo, mingendo, cacando, flebotomando.

Maledictusi sitn in totis viribus corporis. Maledictus sit intus et exterius. Maledictus sit in capillis; maledictus sit in cerebro. Maledictus sit in vertice, in temporibus, in fronte, in auriculis, in superciliis, in oculis, in genis, in maxillis, in naribus, in dentibus, mordacibus sive molaribus, in labiis, in gutture, in humeris, in harmis, in brachiis, in manibus, in digitis, in pectore, in corde, et in omnibus interioribus stomacho tenus, in renibus, in inguinibus, in femore, in genitalibus, in coxis, in genubus, in cruribus, in pedibus, et in unguibus.

Maledictus sit in totis compagibus membrorum, a vertice capitis, usque ad plantam pedis: non sit in eo sanitas.

Maledicat illum Christus Filius Dei vivi toto suae majestatis imperio et insurgat adversus illum coelum cum omnibus virtutibus quae in eo moventur ad damnandum eum, nisi penituerit et ad satisfactionem venerit. Amen. Fiat, fiat. Amen.

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Nov 192010

You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering. – Henri-Frédéric Amiel

Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. -Epictetus

What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books. -Thomas Carlyle

While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior. -Henry C. Link
You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering. – Henri-Frédéric Amiel

Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. -Epictetus

What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books. -Thomas Carlyle

While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior. -Henry C. Link

Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new. -Henry David Thoreau

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. -Mark Twain

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. -Albert Camus

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies. -Moshe Dayan

You are going to let the fear of poverty govern you life and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not live. -George Bernard Shaw

The happiest is the person who suffers the least pain; the most miserable who enjoys the least pleasure. -Jean Jacques Rousseau

They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse. -Emily Dickinson

Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what’s right. -Isaac Asimov

I do not feel I have wisdom enough yet to love what is ugly. -Stendhal

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation. -George Washington

Create dangerously. -Camus

Let not thy will roar, when thy power can but whisper. -Dr. Thomas Fuller

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. -Martin Luther King Jr.

Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with. -Mark Twain

One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have to to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick. -Rabbi Harold Kushner

A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner, so if one’s life is cold and bare he can blame none but himself. -Louis L’Amour

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. -Martin Luther King Jr.

First there is a time when we believe everything, then for a little while we believe with discrimination, then we believe nothing whatever, and then we believe everything again – and, moreover, give reasons why we believe. -Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. -W. Somerset Maugham

There are days when solitude, for someone my age, is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall. -Colette

We are most alive when we’re in love. -John Updike

A man’s obediance to his own genius is faith in its purest form. -Emerson

The self identity of Man is transcultural, and thus cannot have any single point of reference. Pluralism is not synonymous with tolerance of a variety of opinions. Pluralism amounts to the recognition of the unthinkable, the absurd, and up to a limit, intolerable. Reality in itself does not need to be transparent intelligible. – Raimundo Panikkar

Life isn’t long enough for love and art. -W. Somerset Maugham

It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis. -Margaret Bonnano

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good. -Alice May Brock

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. -Bertrand Russell

I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic and a progressive religious experience. -Shelley Winters

I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case I see a snake–which I also keep handy. -W. C. Fields

It seemed the world was divided into good and bad people. The good ones slept better… while the bad ones seemed to enjoy the waking hours much more. -Woody Allen

The charges of the hysterics are revealed for what they are: castles in the air built on misrepresentation, supported by unfounded fear, held aloft by hysteria. – John Ashcroft

No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately. -Michel de Montaigne

It is hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head. -Sally Kempton

To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act. -Anatole France

God give me strength to face a fact though it slay me. -Thomas H. Huxley

The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it. -John Ruskin

Beware lest in your anxiety to avoid war you obtain a master. -Demosthenes

Treat all disasters as if they were trivialities but never treat a triviality as if it were a disaster. -Quentin Crisp

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. -H. L. Mencken

When we lose one we love, our bitterest tears are called forth by the memory of hours when we loved not enough. -Maurice Maeterlinck

If you aspire to the highest place, it is no disgrace to stop at the second, or even the third, place. -Cicero

Don’t fall before you’re pushed. -English Proverb

Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was. -Margaret Mitchell

Let not thy will roar, when thy power can but whisper. -Dr. Thomas Fuller
There are days when solitude, for someone my age, is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall. -Colette

We are most alive when we’re in love. -John Updike
collected quotes from September 2003 collected_quotes_from_september_2004 32 0 pingsdone 0 1178 open b2evGMco.b2evALnk.b2WPAutP.b2evSmil
Edit Delete 130 1 2003-12-30 03:18:52 2004-12-10 03:19:45 published en-CA A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. -Mark Twain

Do not accustom yourself to use big words for little matters. -Samuel Johnson

I don’t mind what language an opera is sung in so long as it is a language I don’t understand. -Sir Edward Appleton

Hate no one; hate their vices, not themselves. -J. G. C. Brainard

Let us have a care not to disclose our hearts to those who shut up theirs against us. -Francis Beaumont

The great aim of education is not knowledge but action. -Herbert Spencer

Love the ones you can. Touch the ones you can reach. Let the others go. -Real Live Preacher

Don’t throw away the old bucket until you know whether the new one holds water. -Swedish Proverb

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well. -Mahatma Gandhi

Man is the only animal whose desires increase as they are fed; the only animal that is never satisfied. -Henry George

Passion makes the world go round. Love just makes it a safer place. -Ice T

Some think it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it’s letting go. -Sylvia Robinson

The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children. -King Edward VIII

He is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death. -Saki

The word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’, meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’, meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’. -Larry Hardiman

Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors. -Francois de La Rochefoucauld

The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase; if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it. -C. P. Snow

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. -Leo Tolstoy

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. -Voltaire

To be amused by what you read–that is the great spring of happy quotations. -C. E. Montague

[S]he refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring. -Zelda Fitzgerald

Genuine beginnings begin within us, even when they are brought to our attention by external opportunities. -William Bridges

Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep; for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as by the latter. -Paxton Hood

The future is an opaque mirror. Anyone who tries to look into it sees nothing but the dim outlines of an old and worried face. -Jim Bishop

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought. -Henri Bergson

Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent. -Carl Jung

Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all costs of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense. -Arnold Bennett

There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. -Annie Dillard

Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after. -Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I have a simple philosophy. Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. And scratch where it itches. -Alice Roosevelt Longworth

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius. -Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless. -Sinclair Lewis

The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity. -Harlan Ellison

The joy of a spirit is the measure of its power. -Ninon de Lenclos

What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books. -Thomas Carlyle

It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations. -Walter Bagehot

I am not young enough to know everything. -Oscar Wilde

I find nothing more depressing than optimism. -Paul Fussell

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length. -Robert Frost

There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge. -Bertrand Russell

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease. -Voltaire

If you cannot convince them, confuse them. -Harry S Truman

America is a mistake, a giant mistake. -Sigmund Freud

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear. -Mark Twain

Enthusiasm is the great hill-climber. -Elbert Hubbard

Power consists in one’s capacity to link his will with the purpose of others, to lead by reason and a gift of cooperation. -Woodrow Wilson

Be thou the first true merit to befriend, his praise is lost who stays till all commend. -Alexander Pope

All things must change to something new, to something strange. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. -Franklin P. Jones

Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness. -Robertson Davies

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. -Henry David Thoreau

The best mirror is an old friend. -George Herbert

Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is? -Frank Scully

I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance. -Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. -Mahatma Gandhi

That best portion of a good man’s life, / His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. -William Wordsworth

The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself. -James Thurber

It is the nature of all greatness not to be exact. -Edmund Burke

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. -Groucho Marx

I’m just a person trapped inside a woman’s body. -Elaine Boosler

Memory feeds imagination. -Amy Tan

The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity. -Francis Maitland Balfour

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler. -Henry David Thoreau

Only the hand that erases can write the true thing. -Meister Eckhart

It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them! -Friedrich Nietzsche

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. -Ellen Parr

Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies. -Thomas Jefferson

The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them. -Mark Twain

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. -Alfred Lord Tennyson

When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it.-Bernard Bailey

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. -Edgar Allan Poe

If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out. -Jane Austen

It is easier to exclude harmful passions than to rule them, and to deny them admittance than to control them after they have been admitted. -Seneca

We may lay in a stock of pleasures, as we would lay in a stock of wine; but if we defer tasting them too long, we shall find that both are soured by age. -Charles Caleb Colton

Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. -Mark Twain

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. -Vladimir Nabokov

Now we sit through Shakespeare in order to recognize the quotations. -Orson Welles

Good taste is the worst vice ever invented. -Edith Sitwell

I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it. -Garrison Keillor

Life is a long lesson in humility. -James M. Barrie

Imagination is the one weapon in the war against reality. -Jules de Gaultier

I am not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations, nor do I feel that the world must live up to mine. -Fritz Perls

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth. -Benjamin Disraeli

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -Niels Bohr

No problem is so formidable that you can’t walk away from it. -Charles M. Schulz

One can always be kind to people about whom one cares nothing. -Oscar Wilde

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar. -Helen Keller

It is not always the same thing to be a good man and a good citizen. -Aristotle

Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week. -Alice Walker

Fight for your opinions, but do not believe that they contain the whole truth, or the only truth. -Charles A. Dana

Own only what you can carry with you; know language, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag. -Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. -Gertrude Stein

Men have become the tools of their tools. -Henry David Thoreau

Reality is that which refuses to go away when I stop believing in it. -Phillip K. Dick

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity…and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself. -William Blake

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. -Henry David Thoreau

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. -Anaïs Nin

The secret of joy is the mastery of pain. -Anaïs Nin

A good composer does not imitate; he steals. -Igor Stravinksy

The better work men do is always done under stress and at great personal cost. -William Carlos Williams

As regards the celebrated struggle for life, it seems to me for the present to have been rather asserted than proved. It does occur, but as the exception; the general aspect of life is not hunger and distress, but rather wealth, luxury, even absurd prodigality — where there is a struggle it is a struggle for power. -Friedrich Nietzsche

People only see what they are prepared to see. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Love demands infinitely less than friendship. -George Jean Nathan

Only he is an artist who can make a riddle out of a solution. -Karl Kraus

We haven’t failed. We now know a thousand things that won’t work, so we are much closer to finding what will. -Thomas Edison

For all these new and evolutionary facts, meanings, purposes, new poetic messages, new forms and expressions, are inevitable. -Walt Whitman

No bird soars too high, if he soars with his own wings. -William Blake

A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm. -Hamlet

It is astonishing what you can do when you have a lot of energy, ambition and plenty of ignorance. -Alfred P. Sloan Jr.

The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion. -G.K. Chesterton

Is sloppiness in speech caused by ignorance or apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care. -William Safire

The capacity of human beings to bore one another seems to be vastly greater than that of any other animal. -H. L. Mencken

Maps encourage boldness. They’re like cryptic love letters. They make anything seem possible. -Mark Jenkins

There are some defeats more triumphant than victories. -Michel de Montaigne

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot. -D. H. Lawrence

But pain… seems to me an insufficient reason not to embrace life. Being dead is quite painless. Pain, like time, is going to come on regardless. Question is, what glorious moments can you win from life in addition to the pain?” -Lois McMaster Bujold

“We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.” -Will Rogers

“The trouble with America is that there are far too many wide-open spaces surrounded by teeth.” -Charles Luckman

“It only takes 20 years for a liberal to become a conservative without changing a single idea.” -Robert Anton Wilson

“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.” -Aung San Suu Kyi

“No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency.” -Theodore Roosevelt

“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” -Bob Dylan

“Obtain from yourself all that makes complaining useless. No longer implore from others what you yourself can obtain.” -Andre Gide

“Nothing is permanent in this wicked world – not even our troubles.” -Charlie Chaplin

“If at first you don’t succeed, failure may be your style.” -Quentin Crisp

“Love is not blind – it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.” -Rabbi Julius Gordon

“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.” -Jerry Seinfeld

“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” -Ursula K. LeGuin

“There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better: we find comfort somewhere.” -Jane Austen

“Appetite, with an opinion of attaining, is called hope; the same, without such opinion, despair.” -Thomas Hobbes

“The undertaking of a new action brings new strength.” -Evenius

“If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.” -Margaret Fuller

“Let tears flow of their own accord: their flowing is not inconsistent with inward peace and harmony.” -Seneca

“Perhaps better we not obscure the idea that happiness and misery, kindness and greed, and good works and bad deeds are within the capacities of us all, not merely a select few.” -Barbara Mikkelson

“Only sick music makes money today.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

“When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.” -Anatole France

“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” -Sir Winston Churchill

“One of the hardest things in life is having words in your heart that you can’t utter.” –James Earl Jones

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” -Upton Sinclair

“Failure is my best friend. If I succeeded, it would be like dying. Maybe worse.” -Alberto Giacometti

“The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.” -Bertrand Russell “I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.” -Jonathan Swift

“The obvious is always least understood.” -Klemens von Metternich

“Time makes more converts than reason.” -Tom Paine

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling into at night. I miss you like hell.” -Edna St. Vincent Millay

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“It is equally offensive to speed a guest who would like to stay and to detain one who is anxious to leave.” -Homer

“Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water bath is to the body.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity.” -Richard M. Nixon

“I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person.” -Socrates

“Seize the moment of excited curiosity on any subject to solve your doubts; for if you let it pass, the desire may never return, and you may remain in ignorance.” -William Wirt

“A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.” -Saki

“The only reason some people get lost in thought is because it’s unfamiliar territory.” -Paul Fix

“Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship.” -Harry S Truman

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. -Carl Jung

You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do. -Henry Ford

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. -Philip K. Dick

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. -Aesop

All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why. -James Thurber

I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it. -Thomas Jefferson

Friendship make prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it. -Cicero

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts. -John Locke

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. -Martin Luther King Jr.

Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path of joy. -Sarah Ban Breathnach

A full cup must be carried steadily. -English Proverb

The great secret of power is never to will to do more than you can accomplish. -Henrik Ibsen

Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty. -Simone Weil

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. -Niels Bohr

Addresses are given to us to conceal our whereabouts. -Saki

After two years in Washington, I often long for the realism and sincerity of Hollywood. -Fred Thompson

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled sea of thought. -John Kenneth Galbraith

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