Quotes – September 16, 2007 to March 2, 2008

Sunday, March 2, 2008 – Knowledge 

 

It is very natural for young men to be vehement, acrimonious and severe. For as they seldom comprehend at once all the consequences of a position, or perceive the difficulties by which cooler and more experienced reasoners are restrained from confidence, they form their conclusions with great precipitance. Seeing nothing that can darken or embarrass the question, they expect to find their own opinion universally prevalent, and are inclined to impute uncertainty and hesitation to want of honesty, rather than of knowledge. ~ Samuel Johnson

 

The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

 

There was so much handwriting on the wall that even the wall fell down. ~ Christopher Morley

 

A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. ~ James Madison

 

If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. ~ Mark Twain

 

I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth. ~ Umberto Eco

 

Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about. ~ Oscar Wilde

 

Those who have knowledge, don’t predict. Those who predict, don’t have knowledge. ~ Lao Tzu

 

Many a crown of wisdom is but the golden chamberpot of success, worn with pompous dignity. ~ Joey Adams

 

Nothing worth knowing can be understood with the mind. ~ Woody Allen

 

Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, others just gargle. ~ Robert Newton Anthony

 

Nothing is more damaging to a state than that cunning men pass for wise. ~ Sir Francis Bacon

 

Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person. ~ Erastus Flavel Beadle

 

It’s a wise man who profits by his own experience, but it’s a good deal wiser one who lets the rattlesnake bite the other fellow. ~ Josh Billings

 

Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way. ~ Bokonon

 

Be wiser than other people if you can; but do not tell them so. ~ Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield

 

The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes. ~ Winston Churchill

 

We know too much, and are convinced of too little. Our literature is a substitute for religion, and so is our religion. ~ T. S. Eliot

 

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

 

Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it. ~ Samuel Johnson

 

The ancient sage who concocted the maxim, Know Thyself might have added, Don’t Tell Anyone! ~ H. F. Henrichs

 

Know thyself! A maxim as pernicious as it is ugly. Whoever observes himself arrests his own development. A caterpillar who wanted to know itself well would never become a butterfly. ~ Andre Gide

 

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook. ~ William James

 

Wisdom is considered a sign of weakness by the powerful because a wise man can lead without power but only a powerful man can lead without wisdom. ~ Mark B. Cohen

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. ~ Henry David Thoreau

 

One of the great things about being ignorant is that I often think my ideas are original. It’s a wonderful feeling. That’s why I try to avoid any knowledge that would spoil the sensation. Sometimes it isn’t easy. People keep hurling knowledge at me, and I can’t always duck. ~ Scott Adams

 

I’m not sure of much of anything these days. Maybe that’s why I talk so much. ~ Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

 

The only things one can admire at length are those one admires without knowing why. ~ Jean Rostand

 

Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. ~ Robertson Davies

 

 

Sunday, February 24, 2008 – On Being What You Seem To Be, or What You Say You Are

 

A hypocrite is a person who – but who isn’t? ~ Don Marquis

 

I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, and then I thought: What the hell good would that do? ~ Ronnie Shakes

 

Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else? ~ James Thurber

 

Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines. ~ John Benfield

 

HYPOCRITE, n. One who by professing virtues that he does not respect secures the advantage of seeming to be what he depises. ~ Ambrose Bierce

 

Hypocrisy is the homage which vice renders to virtue. [L’hypocrisie est un hommage que le vice rend a la vertu.] ~ Francois Duc de la Rochefoucauld, Maximes (218)

 

Asleep, nobody is a hypocrite. ~ William Hazlitt

 

He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars: General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite and flatterer. ~ William Blake

 

That which we call sin in others is experiment for us. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience,” Essays, 1844

 

All of us are experts at practicing virtue at a distance. ~ Theodore M. Hesburgh

 

If it were not for the intellectual snobs who pay, the arts would perish with their starving practitioners – let us thank heaven for hypocrisy. ~ Aldous Huxley

 

Because hypocrisy stinks in the nostrils one is likely to rate it as a more powerful agent for destruction than it is. ~ Rebecca West, The Strange Necessity, 1928

 

Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo. ~ H.G. Wells

 

Children lack morality, but they also lack fake morality. ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

 

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty. ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

If there existed no external means for dimming their consciences, one-half of the men would at once shoot themselves, because to live contrary to one’s reason is a most intolerable state, and all men of our time are in such a state. ~ Leo Tolstoy

 

A hypocrite is in himself both the archer and the mark, in all actions shooting at his own praise or profit. ~ Thomas Fuller, Holy and Profane States – The Hypocrite

 

Most people have seen worse things in private than they pretend to be shocked at in public. ~ Edgar Watson Howe

 

Hypocrisy is nothing, in fact, but a horrible hopefulness. ~ Victor Hugo

 

Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live. ~ Mark Twain

 

Few men speak humbly of humility, chastely of chastity, skeptically of skepticism. ~ Blaise Pascal

 

When the Devil quotes Scriptures, it’s not, really, to deceive, but simply that the masses are so ignorant of theology that somebody has to teach them the elementary texts before he can seduce them. ~ Paul Goodman

 

I apologize for lying to you. I promise I won’t deceive you except in matters of this sort. ~ Spiro T. Agnew

 

The silly when deceived exclaim loudly; the fool complains; the honest man walks away and is silent. [Le bruit est pour le fat, la plainte pour le sot; L’honnete homme trompe s’eloigne et ne dit mot.] ~ Francois de la Noue, La Coquette Corrigee (I, 3)

 

Be what you would seem to be – or, if you’d like it put more simply – never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise. ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

 

 

Sunday, February 17, 2008 – In all honesty…

 

Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy. ~ George Carlin

 

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful. ~ Edward R. Murrow

 

Honesty is the cruelest game of all, because not only can you hurt someone – and hurt them to the bone – you can feel self-righteous about it at the same time. ~ Dave Van Ronk

 

A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent. ~ William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence,” Poems from the Pickering Manuscript

 

People who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty. ~ Richard J. Needham

 

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true. ~ Robert Brault

 

The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression. It is possible to lie, and even murder with the truth. ~ Alfred Adler

 

I am a lie who always speaks the truth. ~ Jean Cocteau

 

The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy. ~ Robert E. Lee

 

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place. ~ Henry Louis Mencken, A Little Book in C Major, 1916

 

Respect for the truth is an acquired taste. ~ Mark Van Doren, Liberal Education, 1943

 

A lie will easily get you out of a scrape, and yet, strangely and beautifully, rapture possesses you when you have taken the scrape and left out the lie. ~ Charles Edward Montague, Disenchantment

 

There are only two ways of telling the complete truth – anonymously and posthumously. ~ Thomas Sowell

 

There is no well-defined boundary between honesty and dishonesty. The frontiers of one blend with the outside limits of the other, and he who attempts to tread this dangerous ground may be sometimes in one domain and sometimes in the other. ~ O. Henry, Rolling Stones, 1912

 

If falsehood, like truth, had but one face, we would be more on equal terms. For we would consider the contrary of what the liar said to be certain. But the opposite of truth has a hundred thousand faces and an infinite field. ~ Montaigne

 

Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain’t so. ~ Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935

 

Reality is bad enough. Why should I tell the truth? ~ Patrick Sky

 

Society can exist only on the basis that there is some amount of polished lying and that no one says exactly what he thinks. ~ Lin Yutang

 

There’s one way to find out if a man is honest – ask him. If he says, “Yes,” you know he is a crook. ~ Groucho Marx

 

It is always the best policy to tell the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar. ~ Jerome K. Jerome

 

Honesty is a good thing, but it is not profitable to its possessor unless it is kept under control. ~ Don Marquis

 

No such thing as a man willing to be honest – that would be like a blind man willing to see. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

The surest way to remain poor is to be honest. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

 

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. ~ Samuel Johnson

 

It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit. ~ Sir Noel Coward

 

Honesty is the rarest wealth anyone can possess, and yet all the honesty in the world ain’t lawful tender for a loaf of bread. ~ Josh Billings

 

 

Sunday February 10, 2008 – Regarding Self-Awareness

 

The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we have of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us. ~ Quentin Crisp

 

We sometimes feel that we have been really understood, but it was always long ago, by someone now dead. ~ Mignon McLaughlin, Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

 

We do not deal much in facts when we are contemplating ourselves. ~ Mark Twain

 

The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Every man has a mob self and an individual self, in varying proportions. ~ D.H. Lawrence, Pornography and Obscenity

 

When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion. ~ C.P. Snow

 

The really frightening thing about middle age is that you know you’ll grow out of it. ~ Doris Day

 

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. ~ Sir Winston Churchill

 

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

 

There are at least two kinds of cowards. One kind always lives with himself, afraid to face the world. The other kind lives with the world, afraid to face himself. ~ Roscoe Snowden

 

People wish to be settled: only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays, 1841

 

Sometimes at night I light a lamp so as not to see. ~ Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

 

Who has not sat, afraid, before his own heart’s curtain? ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies, “The Fourth Elegy,” translated from German by Albert Ernest Flemming

 

I loathe the expression “What makes him tick.” It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solution, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm. ~ James Thurber

 

I say me, knowing all the while it’s not me. ~ Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable, 1953

 

Only the shallow know themselves. ~ Oscar Wilde

 

Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful. ~ Ann Landers

 

“Know thyself?” If I knew myself I’d run away. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

I have just about all I can take of myself. ~ S. Behrman

 

Truth is, indeed, not often welcome for its own sake; it is generally unpleasing, because contrary to our wishes and opposite to our practice; and, as our attention naturally follows our interest, we hear unwillingly what we are afraid to know, and soon forget what we have no inclination to impress upon our memories. ~ Samuel Johnson, Rambler #96 (February 16, 1751)

 

No weakness of the human mind has more frequently incurred animadversion than the negligence with which men overlook their own faults, however flagrant, and the easiness with which they pardon them, however frequently repeated. ~ Samuel Johnson, Rambler #155 (September 10, 1751)

 

Dance like it hurts,/ Love like you need money,/ Work when people are watching. ~ Scott Adams

 

 

Sunday, February 3, 2006 – On Politics

 

We live in a world in which politics has replaced philosophy. ~ Martin L. Gross, A Call for Revolution, 1993

 

All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field. ~ Albert Einstein

 

I think it’s about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we’ve been voting for boobs long enough. ~ Clarie Sargent

 

The reason there are so few female politicians is that it is too much trouble to put makeup on two faces. ~ Maureen Murphy

 

Take our politicians: they’re a bunch of yo-yos. The presidency is now a cross between a popularity contest and a high school debate, with an encyclopedia of cliches the first prize. ~ Saul Bellow

 

In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant. ~ Charles de Gaulle

 

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~ William E. Gladstone

 

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

 

There are only two great currents in the history of mankind: the baseness which makes conservatives and the envy which makes revolutionaries. ~ Edmond de Goncourt and Jules de Goncourt

 

The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. They’re the kind of people who’d stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn’t bother to stop because they’d want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club. ~ Dave Barry

 

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel. ~ John Quinton

 

The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it. ~ P.J. O’Rourke

 

Every two years the American politics industry fills the airwaves with the most virulent, scurrilous, wall-to-wall character assassination of nearly every political practitioner in the country – and then declares itself puzzled that America has lost trust in its politicians. ~ Charles Krauthammer

 

Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other. ~ Oscar Ameringer

 

Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right? ~ Robert Orben

 

The best thing about this group of candidates is that only one of them can win. ~ Will Rogers

 

If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates. ~ Jay Leno

 

It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected. The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen. ~ George E. MacDonald

 

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. ~ Emma Goldman

 

A political leader is necessarily an imposter since he believes in solving life’s problems without asking its question. ~ André Malraux

 

Political campaigns are designedly made into emotional orgies which endeavor to distract attention from the real issues involved, and they actually paralyze what slight powers of cerebration man can normally muster. ~ James Harvey Robinson, The Human Comedy, 1937

 

The imbecility of men is always inviting the impudence of power. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

In politics stupidity is not a handicap. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

 

It is my settled opinion, after some years as a political correspondent, that no one is attracted to a political career in the first place unless he is socially or emotionally crippled. ~ F. F. Bosworth

 

This is an impressive crowd: the Have’s and Have-more’s. Some people call you the elites. I call you my base. ~ George W. Bush

 

He knows nothing and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career. ~ Sir Walter Besant

 

As in political so in literary action a man wins friends for himself mostly by the passion of his prejudices and the consistent narrowness of his outlook. ~ Joseph Conrad

 

Politics, as a practice, whatever its professions, has always been the systematic organization of hatreds. ~ Henry Brooks Adams

 

It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals. ~ Charles Kuralthammer

 

In politics I am growing indifferent – I would like it, if I could now return to my planting and books at home. ~ Francois Arouet

 

You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics. ~ Charles Bukowski

 

 

Sunday, January 27, 2009 – Playing by the Rules

 

One of the great attractions of patriotism it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what’s more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous. ~ Aldous Huxley

 

It is the nature of ambition to make men liars and cheats, to hide the truth in their breasts, and show, like jugglers, another thing in their mouths, to cut all friendships and enmities to the measure of their own interest, and to make a good countenance without the help of good will. ~ Sallustius Crispus

 

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust. ~ Samuel Johnson

 

I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me. ~ Woody Allen

 

I got my driver’s license photo taken out of focus on purpose. Now when I get pulled over the cop looks at it (moving it nearer and farther, trying to see it clearly)… and says, “Here, you can go.” ~ Stephen Wright

 

In order to preserve your self-respect, it is sometimes necessary to lie and cheat. ~ Robert Byrne, the billiards champion and author of The Standard Book of Pool and Billiards (1930)

 

The sure way to be cheated is to think one’s self more cunning than others. ~ François de la Rochefoucauld

 

Poker is a game of chance, but not the way I play it. ~ W.C. Fields

 

One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards. ~ Oscar Wilde

 

Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men. ~ Douglas Bader

 

The first rule is not to lose. The second rule is not to forget the first rule. ~ Warren Buffett

 

Rules are for people who don’t know how to get around them. ~ Tori Harrison

 

Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something. ~ Thomas Edison

 

The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

We started trying to set up a small anarchist community, but the people wouldn’t obey the rules. ~ Alan Bennett

 

It is one of my rules in life, never to notice what I don’t understand. ~ Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone

 

 

Sunday, January 13, 2008 – All This Voting Stuff

 

Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right. ~ Henry Louis Mencken

 

Republicans have been accused of abandoning the poor. It’s the other way around. They never vote for us. ~ Dan Quayle

 

It makes no difference who you vote for – the two parties are really one party representing four percent of the people. ~ Gore Vidal

 

Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one’s government is not necessarily to secure freedom. ~ Friedrich August Hayek

 

Suffrage, noun. Expression of opinion by means of a ballot. The right of suffrage (which is held to be both a privilege and a duty) means, as commonly interpreted, the right to vote for the man of another man’s choice, and is highly prized. ~ Ambrose Bierce

 

Anarchists know that a long period of education must precede any great fundamental change in society, hence they do not believe in vote begging, nor political campaigns, but rather in the development of self-thinking individuals. ~ Lucy Parsons

 

Vote for the man who promises least. He’ll be the least disappointing. ~ Bernard Baruch

 

Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

Half of the American people never read a newspaper. Half never voted for president. One hopes it is the same half.” ~ Gore Vidal

 

I court not the votes of the fickle mob. [Non ego ventosae plebis suffragia venor.] ~ Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Epistles (I, 19, 37)

 

If voting changed anything, they’d abolish it. ~ Andrew Lack

 

Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil. ~ Jerry Garcia

 

Perhaps America will one day go fascist democratically, by popular vote. ~ William L. Shirer

 

Does history record any case in which the majority was right? ~ Robert Heinlein

 

All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong. ~ Henry David Thoreau

 

It’s exciting; I don’t know whether I’m going to win or not. I think I am. I do know I’m ready for the job. And, if not, that’s just the way it goes. ~ George W. Bush

 

I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect to office women who are as incompetent as some of the men who are already there. ~ Maureen Reagan

 

Win or lose, we go shopping after the election. ~ Imelda Marcos

 

An election is coming. Universal peace is declared and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry. ~ T. S. Eliot

 

The most successful politician is he who says what everybody is thinking most often and in the loudest voice. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

 

While alone in the voting booth, please refrain from pulling anything other than the lever. ~ David Letterman

 

Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right? ~ Robert Orben

 

Isn’t it a little ironic? We pick politicians by how they look on TV and Miss America on where she stands on the issues. Isn’t that a little backwards? ~ Jay Leno

 

When the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people. ~ Edmund Burke

 

If elected I shall be thankful; if not, it will be all the same. ~ Abraham Lincoln

 

 

Sunday, January 6, 2008 – Assessing Mankind

 

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don’t. ~ Robert Benchley

 

There are two types of people – those who come into a room and say, “Well, here I am!” and those who come in and say, “Ah, there you are.” ~ Frederick L. Collins

 

There are two types of people in this world, good and bad. The good sleep better, but the bad seem to enjoy the waking hours much more. ~ Woody Allen

 

There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start and so on… ~ Robert Byrne

 

Whenever two men meet there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man was the other sees him, and each man as he really is. ~ William James

 

Most people are subjective toward themselves and objective toward all others, frightfully objective sometimes – but the task is precisely to be objective toward oneself and subjective toward all others. ~ Soren Kierkegaard

 

Half the world is composed of idiots, the other half of people clever enough to take indecent advantage of them. ~ Walter Kerr

 

I know that there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that! ~ Tom Lehrer

 

Ninety-nine per cent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion. ~ Thornton Wilder, The Matchmaker (1954)

 

Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think. ~ Thomas Edison

 

The United States has got some of the dumbest people in the world. I want you to know that we know that. ~ Ted Turner, addressing international journalists, 1996

 

While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats. ~ Mark Twain

 

In elementary school, in case of fire you have to line up quietly in a single file line from smallest to tallest. What is the logic? Do tall people burn slower? ~ Warren Hutcherson

 

Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm but the harm does not interest them. ~ T. S. Eliot

 

People who count their chickens before they are hatched, act very wisely, because chickens run about so absurdly that it is impossible to count them accurately. ~ Oscar Wilde

 

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them. ~ Dave Barry

 

Those people who tell me that I’m going to hell while while they are going to heaven somehow make me very glad that we’re going to separate destinations. ~ Martin Terman

 

Wouldn’t it be terrible if I quoted some reliable statistics which prove that more people are driven insane through religious hysteria than by drinking alcohol? ~ W. C. Fields

 

When I get real bored, I like to drive downtown and get a great parking spot, then sit in my car and count how many people ask me if I’m leaving. ~ Steven Wright

 

The dumber people think you are, the more surprised they’re going to be when you kill them. ~ William Clayton

 

The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone. ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960

 

He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. ~ Winston Churchill

 

The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we have of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us. ~ Quentin Crisp

 

I’ve met so many people, often the scum of the earth, and found them, you know, quite decent. I am an uncomfortable stranger to moral indignation. ~ W. Somerset Maugham

 

I don’t like to talk much with people who always agree with me. It is amusing to coquette with an echo for a little while, but one soon tires of it. ~ Thomas Carlyle

 

Freaks are the much needed escape from the humdrum. They are poetry. ~ Albert Perry

 

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirious of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn… ~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road

 

Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people. ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man. ~ Arthur Miller

 

The happiest people seem to be those who have no particular reason for being happy except that they are so. ~ William Inge

 

Bored people, unless they sleep a lot, are cruel. ~ Renata Adler

 

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can’t, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it. ~ Robert Frost

 

 

Sunday, December 30, 2007 – The New Years Quotes

 

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. ~ Bill Vaughan

 

New Year’s Day is every man’s birthday. ~ Charles Lamb

 

New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions. ~ Mark Twain

 

New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~ Mark Twain

 

The new year begins in a snow-storm of white vows. ~ George William Curtis

 

Now there are more overweight people in America than average-weight people. So overweight people are now average… which means, you have met your New Year’s resolution. ~ Jay Leno

 

Happiness is too many things these days for anyone to wish it on anyone lightly. So let’s just wish each other a bileless New Year and leave it at that ~ Judith Crist

 

New Year’s Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time. ~ James Agate

 

It wouldn’t be New Year’s if I didn’t have regrets. ~ William Thomas

 

The only way to spend New Year’s Eve is either quietly with friends or in a brothel. Otherwise when the evening ends and people pair off, someone is bound to be left in tears. ~ W.H. Auden

 

The proper behavior all through the holiday season is to be drunk. This drunkenness culminates on New Year’s Eve, when you get so drunk you kiss the person you’re married to. ~ P. J. O’Rourke

 

We did not change as we grew older; we just became more clearly ourselves. ~ Lynn Hall, Where Have All the Tigers Gone? (1989)

 

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. ~ Douglas Adams

 

Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes. ~ Oscar Wilde

 

Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want. ~ Dan Stanford

 

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. ~ C. S. Lewis

 

All human wisdom is summed up in two words – wait and hope. ~ Alexandre Dumas

 

I confess, I do not believe in time. ~ Vladimir Nabokov

 

Time is the reef upon which all our frail mystic ships are wrecked. ~ Noel Coward

 

So little time and so little to do. ~ Oscar Levant

 

The future, according to some scientists, will be exactly like the past, only far more expensive. ~ John Sladek

 

The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet. ~ William Gibson

 

A wise God shrouds the future in obscure darkness. [Prudens futuri temporis exitum Caliginosa nocte premit deus.] – Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus), Carmina (III, 29, 29)

 

I would sum up my fear about the future in one word: boring. And that’s my one fear: that everything has happened; nothing exciting or new or interesting is ever going to happen again… the future is just going to be a vast, conforming suburb of the soul. ~ J. G. Ballard

 

I don’t try to describe the future. I try to prevent it. ~ Ray Bradbury

 

Predicting the future is easy. It’s trying to figure out what’s going on now that’s hard. ~ Fritz R. S. Dressler

 

It is the business of the future to be dangerous. ~ Alfred North Whitehead

 

FUTURE, n. That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true, and our happiness is assured. ~ Ambrose Bierce

 

When you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there’s always madness. Madness is the emergency exit. ~ Alan Moore

 

We seem to have a compulsion these days to bury time capsules in order to give those people living in the next century or so some idea of what we are like. I have prepared one of my own. I have placed some rather large samples of dynamite, gunpowder, and nitroglycerin. My time capsule is set to go off in the year 3000. It will show them what we are really like. ~ Alfred Hitchcock

 

Nothing puzzles me more than time and space; and yet nothing troubles me less, as I never think about them. ~ Charles Lamb

 

The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time. ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

Do your damnedest in an ostentatious manner all the time. ~ George Patton

 

It takes a lot of time to be a genius; you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing. ~ Gertrude Stein

 

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. ~ Groucho Marx

 

 

Sunday, December 23, 2007 – No Illusions

 

Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, use that something to support their own existence. ~ Frank Zappa

 

One’s real life is often the life that one does not lead. ~ Oscar Wilde

 

There is still a difference between something and nothing, but it is purely geometrical and there is nothing behind the geometry. ~ Martin Gardner

 

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

 

On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does. ~ Will Rogers

 

One man that has a mind and knows it can always beat ten men who haven’t and don’t. ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life. ~ Simone Weil

 

The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not. ~ Eric Hoffer

 

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. ~ Albert Einstein

 

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back. ~ Carl Sagan

 

Man seeks to escape himself in myth, and does so by any means at his disposal. Drugs, alcohol, or lies. Unable to withdraw into himself, he disguises himself. Lies and inaccuracy give him a few moments of comfort. ~ Jean Cocteau

 

What a strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is goodness. ~ Leo Tolstoy

 

A woman should be an illusion ~ Ian Fleming

 

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so. ~ Douglas Noel Adams

 

The sages say that life is illusion, but does that change its poignancy? ~ Deng Ming-Dao

 

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge. ~ Daniel J. Boors

 

We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy. ~ Cyril Connolly

 

Illusion is the first of all pleasures. ~ Oscar Wilde

 

It is respectable to have illusions – and safe – and profitable, and dull. ~ Joseph Conrad

 

A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it. ~ Bertrand Russell

 

Some of my best friends are illusions. Been sustaining me for years. ~ Sheila Ballantyne

 

It isn’t safe to sit in judgment upon another person’s illusion when you are not on the inside. While you are thinking it is a dream, he may be knowing it is a planet. ~ Mark Twain

 

Lost Illusion is the undisclosed title of every novel. ~ Andre Maurois

 

I don’t think the human mind can comprehend the past and the future. They are both just illusions that can manipulate you into thinking there’s some kind of change. ~ Bob Dylan

 

An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted. ~ Arthur Miller

 

 

Sunday, December 16, 2007 – Corruption

 

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

 

It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power. ~ David Brin

 

Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad. ~ Henry Kissinger

 

But if you do not have the Tao yourself, what business have you spending your time in vain efforts to bring corrupt politicians into the right path? ~ Confucius

 

Don’t buy a single vote more than necessary. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay for a landslide. ~ Joseph P. Kennedy

 

As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? ~ William Marcy Tweed

 

Power does not corrupt men. Fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power. ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

A Nixon-Agnew administration will abolish the credibility gap and re-establish the truth, the whole truth, as its policy. ~ Spiro T. Agnew

 

An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought. ~ Simon Cameron

 

There are two politicians drowning and you are allowed to save only one. What do you do? Read a newspaper or eat your lunch? ~ Mort Sahl

 

The world looks as if it has been left in the custody of trolls. ~ Father Robert F. Capon

 

How many crimes are permitted simply because their authors could not endure being wrong? ~ Albert Camus

 

I’m as pure as the driven slush. ~ Tallulah Bankhead

 

A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves. ~ Bertrand de Jouvenel

 

The plea of necessity, that eternal argument of all conspirators. ~ William Henry Harrison

 

The more corrupt the state, the more laws. ~ Publius Cornelius Tacitus

 

Every actual state is corrupt. Good men must not obey laws too well. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Corruption is nature’s way of restoring our faith in democracy. ~ Peter Ustinov

 

You know your country is dying when you have to make a distinction between what is moral and ethical, and what is legal. ~ John De Armond

 

It has often been said that power corrupts. But it is perhaps equally important to realize that weakness, too, corrupts. Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many. Hatred, malice, rudeness, intolerance, and suspicion are the faults of weakness. The resentment of the weak does not spring from any injustice done to them but from their sense of inadequacy and impotence. We cannot win the weak by sharing our wealth with them. They feel our generosity as oppression. ~ Eric Hoffer

 

The only difference between the Democrats and the Republicans is that the Democrats allow the poor to be corrupt, too. ~ Oscar Levant

 

Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt. Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves. ~ Robert Anton Wilson

 

If absolute power corrupts absolutely, does absolute powerlessness make you pure? ~ Harry Shearer

 

I want either less corruption, or more chance to participate in it. ~ Ashleigh Brilliant

 

There are some acts of justice which corrupt those who perform them. ~ Joseph Joubert

 

Justice without force is impotent, force without justice is tyranny. Unable to make what is just strong, we have made what is strong just. ~ Blaise Pascal

 

Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life. ~ Saul Alinsky

 

Realism is a corruption of reality. ~ Wallace Stevens

 

The infinite is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. ~ Jorge Luis Borges, “The Avatars of the Tortoise”

 

 

Sunday, December 9, 2007 – In the Mood, or Not

 

“Music makes one feel so romantic – at least it always gets on one’s nerves – which is the same thing nowadays.” ~ Oscar Wilde

 

“The Art of Love: knowing how to combine the temperament of a vampire with the discretion of an anemone.” ~ E. M. Cioran

 

“Nothing helps a bad mood like spreading it around.” ~ Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes)

 

“On a bad day, I have mood swings – but on a good day, I have the whole mood playground.” ~ Charles Rosenblum

 

“They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?” ~ Princess Diana

 

“My view is that to get anywhere in life you have to be anti-social, otherwise you’ll end up being devoured. I’ve never been particularly social, anyway, but if I’ve ever been rude, fifty per cent of it has usually been provoked by other people’s attitudes. Though I do admit, like most Celts, I’m moody. It’s fine until people try to cheer you up with gems like, ’snap out of it’ or ‘Come on, now’.” ~ Sean Connery

 

“If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic.” ~ Hazel Henderson

 

“I don’t consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin.” ~ Leonard Cohen

 

“The problem with having a sense of humor is often that people you use it on aren’t in a very good mood.” ~ Lou Holtz

 

“Humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world. So if it is correct to say that humor was stamped out in Nazi Germany that does not mean that people were not in good spirits, or anything of that sort, but something much deeper and more important.” ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein

 

“I’m not a dictator. It’s just that I have a grumpy face.” ~ Augusto Pinochet

 

“When my cats aren’t happy, I’m not happy. Not because I care about their mood but because I know they’re just sitting there thinking up ways to get even.” ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

“Man’s joy or sorrow depends as much upon his disposition as upon his fate.” ~ François de la Rochefoucauld

 

“We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy.” ~ Cyril Connolly

 

“I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous resignation.” ~ William Somerset Maugham

 

 

Sunday, December 2, 1007 – “Just forget it, okay?”

 

“Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.” ~ Michel de Montaigne

 

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

 

“To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

 

“Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you walked in? I think that’s how dogs spend their lives” ~ Sue Murphy

 

“When suffering comes, we yearn for some sign from God, forgetting we have just had one.” ~ Mignon McLaughlin

 

“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.” ~ Paulo Coelho

 

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” ~ Milan Kundera

 

“I’ve a grand memory for forgetting.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

 

“Forget and forgive. This is not difficult when properly understood. It means forget inconvenient duties, then forgive yourself for forgetting. By rigid practice and stern determination, it comes easy.” ~ Mark Twain

 

“Love is so short, forgetting is so long.” ~ Pablo Neruda

 

“The extent of one’s power to forget is the final measure of one’s elasticity of spirit.” – Soren Kierkegaard

 

“All things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams.” ~ Elias Canetti, Die Provinz der Menschen

 

“A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.” ~ Edward de Bono

 

“Every man’s memory is his private literature.” ~ Aldous Huxley

 

“It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.” ~ P. D. James

 

“Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food.” ~ Austin O’Malley

 

“Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.” ~ Saul Bellow

 

“Memory itself is an internal rumor.” ~ George Santayana, The Life of Reason

 

“The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we’d all pile into the car = I forget what kind it was – and drive and drive. I’m not sure where we’d go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called ‘Dad.’ We’d eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.” ~ Jack Handey, Deep Thoughts

 

“There are three side effects of acid. Enchanced long term memory, decreased short term memory, and I forget the third.” ~ Timothy Leary

 

“The existence of forgetting has never been proved: We only know that some things don’t come to mind when we want them.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

 

“I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound – if I can remember any of the damn things.” ~ Dorothy Parker

 

“Life is all memory, except for the present moment that goes by so quick you hardly catch it going.” ~ Tennessee Williams

 

“All men know the use of the useful, but nobody knows the use of the useless. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so that I can have a word with him?” ~ Chuang Tzu

 

 

Sunday, November 25, 2007 – “Well, I doubt it.”

 

“Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people’s characters.” ~ Margaret Halsey

 

“If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” ~ Tallulah Bankhead

 

“There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or to doubt everything; both ways save us from thinking.” ~ Alfred Korzybski

 

“The writer who loses his self-doubt, who gives way as he grows old to a sudden euphoria, to prolixity, should stop writing immediately: the time has come for him to lay aside his pen.” ~ Sidonie Gabrielle

 

“When in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns.” ~ Raymond Chandler

 

“We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!” ~ Douglas Adams

 

“When in doubt, sing loud.” ~ Robert Merrill

 

“Isn’t it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity…” ~ Vaclav Havel

 

“When in doubt, mumble; when in trouble, delegate; when in charge, ponder.” ~ James H. Boren

 

“Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.” ~ Bertrand Russell, “The Philosophy of Logical Atomism”

 

“As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” ~ Donald Rumsfeld

 

“It is not bigotry to be certain we are right; but it is bigotry to be unable to imagine how we might possibly have gone wrong.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

 

“A sound American is simply one who has put out of his mind all doubts and questionings, and who accepts instantly, and as incontrovertible gospel, the whole body of official doctrine of his day, whatever it may be and no matter how often it may change. The instant he challenges it, no matter how timorously and academically, he ceases by that much to be a loyal and creditable citizen of the republic.” ~ Henry Louis Mencken

 

“There was a castle called Doubting Castle, the owner whereof was Giant Despair.” ~ John Bunyan

 

“Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them.” ~ Peter Ustinov

 

“I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.” ~ Wilson Mizner

 

“To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.” ~ Yann Martel

 

“The absurd is a shadow cast over everything we do and even if we try to live life as if it has meaning as if there are reasons for doing things the absurd will linger in the back of our minds as a nagging doubt that perhaps there is no point.” ~ Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

 

“Buddhism took what I thought were the truly worthwhile things about the hardcore punk movement to their logical conclusion. The hardcores questioned society’s values, but never really questioned their own. The hardcores knew the straight world was fucked, but didn’t seem to have any idea what to do about that. Buddhism was absolutely free of the kind of bullshit I’d found in every religion I’d looked into. The object of Buddhist worship is this world itself, the reality we are living in right now. No God, no angels, no Heaven or Hell, no Savior except yourself.” ~ Brad Warner

 

“Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt.” ~ Robertson Davies

 

“To watch a football game is to be in a prolonged neurotic doubt as to what you’re seeing. It’s more like an emergency happening at a distance than a game. I don’t wonder the spectators take to drink.” ~ Jacques Barzun

 

“In terms of the game theory, we might say the universe is so constituted as to maximize play. The best games are not those in which all goes smoothly and steadily toward a certain conclusion, but those in which the outcome is always in doubt. Similarly, the geometry of life is designed to keep us at the point of maximum tension between certainty and uncertainty, order and chaos. Every important call is a close one. We survive and evolve by the skin of our teeth. We really wouldn’t want it any other way.” ~ George Leonard

 

“The pragmatist knows that doubt is an art which hs to be acquired with difficulty.” ~ Charles Sanders Peirce

 

“Doubting charms me not less than knowledge.” [Italian, Non menno che saper, dubbiar m’aggrata.] ~ Dante (”Dante Alighieri”), Inferno (XI, 93)

 

 

Sunday, November 18, 2007 – You May be Right

 

“Those who agree with us may not be right, but we admire their astuteness.” ~ Cullen Hightower

 

“My opinions may have changed, but not the fact that I am right.” ~ Ashleigh Brilliant

 

“Laws control the lesser man. Right conduct controls the greater one.” ~ Mark Twain

 

“It infuriates me to be wrong when I know I’m right.” ~ Moliere

 

“Expert: a man who makes three correct guesses consecutively.” ~ Laurence J. Peter

 

“Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.” ~ Salvador Dalí

 

“In the real world, nothing happens at the right place at the right time. It is the job of journalists and historians to correct that.” ~ Mark Twain

 

“To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture.” ~ Oscar Wilde

 

“To give an accurate and exhaustive account of that period would need a far less brilliant pen than mine.” ~ Max Beerbohm

 

“In brief, she assumed that, being a man, I was vain to the point of imbecility, and this assumption was correct, as it always is.” ~ Henry Louis Mencken

 

“A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

 

“We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.” ~ Niels Bohr

 

“It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. In fact, some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it is that it is unquestionably correct.” ~ Michio Kaku

 

“Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtaxed.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

 

“A correct answer is like an affectionate kiss.” ~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

 

“Even if you do learn to speak correct English, whom are you going to speak it to?” ~ Clarence Darrow

 

“Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.” ~ Andre Gide

 

“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.” ~ Gloria Steinem

 

“Like all dreamers I confuse disenchantment with truth.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

 

“Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain’t so.” ~ Mark Twain

 

“I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.” ~ Umberto Eco

 

“Truth is a great flirt.” ~ Franz Liszt

 

 

Sunday, November 11, 2007 – “Why, that’s madness!”

 

“What’s madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance?” ~ Theodore Roethke, “In a Dark Time”

 

“Writing is a form of therapy. Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation.” ~ Graham Greene

 

“He may be mad, but there’s method in his madness. There nearly always is method in madness. It’s what drives men mad, being methodical.” ~ GK Chesterton

 

“To believe is to know you believe, and to know you believe is not to believe.” ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

 

“Sanity is a madness put to good use.” ~ George Santayana

 

“Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting.” ~ Bertrand Russell

 

“When you find yourself locked onto an unpleasant train of thought, heading for the places in your past where the screaming is unbearable, remember there’s always madness. Madness is the emergency exit.” ~ Alan Moore

 

“No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.” ~ Henry Adams

 

“Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy.” ~ Groucho Marx

 

“Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?” ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld

 

“When I was younger I could remember anything, whether it had happened or not.” ~ Mark Twain

 

“I’ve always found paranoia to be a perfectly defensible position.” ~ Pat Conroy

 

“It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.”~ Neil Gaiman

 

“What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?” ~ George Orwell

 

“No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather.” ~ Michael Pritchard

 

“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.” ~ Bertrand Russell

 

“We want a few mad people now. See where the sane ones have landed us!” ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

“Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.” ~ Charles Lamb

 

 

Sunday, November 4, 2007 – Scientific Truth

 

“Oh, I believe in science. I certainly do. In fact, what I believe in is, I believe in God. I don’t think there’s a conflict between the two. But if there’s going to be a conflict, science changes with every generation and with new discoveries and God doesn’t. So I’ll stick with God if the two are in conflict.” ~ Mike Huckabee, Republican presidential candidate and ordained Baptist minister, November 1, 2007

 

“Science can only determine what is, but not what shall be, and beyond its realm, value judgments remain indispensable. Religion, on the other hand, is concerned only with evaluating human thought and actions; it is not qualified to speak of real facts and the relationships between them.” ~ Albert Einstein

 

“Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.” ~ Bernard Berenson

 

“Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind.” ~ Marston Bates

 

“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” ~ Wernher Von Braun

 

“Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know.” ~ Bertrand Russell

 

“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fish, and you’re a consultant.” ~ Scott Adams

 

“That theory is worthless. It isn’t even wrong!” ~ Wolfgang Pauli

 

“Science cannot resolve moral conflicts, but it can help to more accurately frame the debates about those conflicts.” ~ Heinz Pagels, The Dreams of Reason, 1988

 

“The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals; let them make their experiments on journalists and politicians.” ~ Henrik Ibsen

 

“Great scientific discoveries have been made by men seeking to verify quite erroneous theories about the nature of things.” ~ Aldous Huxley, “Wordsworth in the Tropics”

 

“I think science has enjoyed an extraordinary success because it has such a limited and narrow realm in which to focus its efforts. Namely, the physical universe” ~ Ken Jenkins

 

“Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.” ~ Robert K. Merton, Social Theory, 1957

 

“The quantum is that embarrassing little piece of thread that always hangs from the sweater of space-time. Pull it and the whole thing unravels.” ~ Fred Alan Wolfe, Star Wave: Mind Consciousness of Quantum Physics, 1984

 

“In physics, you don’t have to go around making trouble for yourself – nature does it for you.” ~ Frank Wilczek

 

“The microwave oven is the consolation prize in our struggle to understand physics.” ~ Jason Love

 

“I have had my results for a long time: but I do not yet know how I am to arrive at them.” ~ Karl Friedrich Gauss

 

“In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they 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.” ~ Carl Sagan, 1987

 

“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” ~ Eden Phillpotts, A Shadow Passes

 

“Science is a differential equation. Religion is a boundary condition.” ~ Alan Turing

 

“Never express yourself more clearly than you think.” ~ Neils Bohr

 

“The cloning of humans is on most of the lists of things to worry about from Science, along with behaviour control, genetic engineering, transplanted heads, computer poetry and the unrestrained growth of plastic flowers.” ~ Lewis Thomas

 

“As an adolescent I aspired to lasting fame, I craved factual certainty, and I thirsted for a meaningful vision of human life – so I became a scientist. This is like becoming an archbishop so you can meet girls.” ~ M. Cartmill

 

 

Sunday, October 28, 2007 – Deeply Cynical

 

“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” ~ Sean O’Casey

 

“Only the shallow know themselves.” ~ Oscar Wilde

 

“The point of quotations is that one can use another’s words to be insulting.” ~ Amanda Cross

 

“There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.” ~ Bertrand Russell

 

“Nothing is impossible. Some things are just less likely than others.” ~ Jonathan Winters

 

“The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything.” ~ Walter Bagehot

 

“When everyone is somebody, then no one’s anybody.” ~ WS Gilbert

 

“Reality is something you rise above.” ~ Liza Minnelli

 

“Classical music is the kind we keep thinking will turn into a tune.” ~ Kin Hubbard

 

“What is the use of straining after an amiable view of things, when a cynical view is most likely to be the true one?” ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

“I’m yet another resource-consuming kid in an overpopulated planet, raised to an alarming extent by Hollywood and Madison Avenue, poised with my cynical and alienated peers to take over the world when you’re old and weak.” ~ Bill Watterson

 

“In a cruel and evil world, being cynical can allow you to get some entertainment out of it.” ~ Daniel Waters

 

“We are at heart so profoundly anarchistic that the only form of state we can imagine living in is Utopian; and so cynical that the only Utopia we can believe in is authoritarian.” ~ Lionel Trilling

 

“Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best.” ~ Frank Zappa

 

“Don’t be afraid of mistakes, there aren’t any.” ~ Miles Davis

 

“Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.” ~ Homer Simpson

 

 

Sunday, October 21, 2007 – Power, Power, Power

 

“You can have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power.” ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 

“Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.” ~ Blaise Pascal

 

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” ~ C. S. Lewis

 

“Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.” ~ Carl Jung

 

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. The bamboozle has captured us. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” ~ Carl Sagan

 

“It may well be that our means are fairly limited and our possibilities restricted when it comes to applying pressure on our government. But is this a reason to do nothing? Despair is nor an answer. Neither is resignation. Resignation only leads to indifference, which is not merely a sin but a punishment.” ~ Elie Wiesel

 

“Stripped of ethical rationalizations and philosophical pretensions, a crime is anything that a group in power chooses to prohibit.” ~ Freda Adler

 

“Power takes as ingratitude the writhing of its victims.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore

 

“You see what power is – holding someone else’s fear in your hand and showing it to them!” ~ Amy Tan

 

“It is said that power corrupts, but actually it’s more true that power attracts the corruptible. The sane are usually attracted by other things than power.” ~ David Brin

 

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ~ Lord Acton, Letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, 1887

 

“Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat.” ~ John Lehman (Secretary of the Navy, 1981-1987)

 

“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.” ~ Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Melish, January 13, 1813

 

“All I want is a warm bed and a kind word and unlimited power.” ~ Ashleigh Brilliant

 

“Nationalism is power hunger tempered by self-deception.” ~ George Orwell

 

“Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self interest backed by force.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

“Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.” ~ Stanislaw J. Lee

 

“Next to power without honor, the most dangerous thing in the world is power without humor.” ~ Eric Sevareid

 

“The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it.” ~ Sir Francis Bacon

 

Sunday, October 14, 2007 – What You Think You Know

 

For Ann Coulter:

 

“Prejudices are what fools use for reason.” ~ Voltaire

 

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.”” ~ E. B. White

 

“Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.” ~ Albert Einstein

 

“Prejudice squints when it looks, and lies when it talks.” ~ Duchess de Abrantes

 

“Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument.” ~ Samuel Johnson

 

“Reason transformed into prejudice is the worst form of prejudice, because reason is the only instrument for liberation from prejudice” ~ Allan Bloom

 

“The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” ~ Mark Twain

 

“Criticism is prejudice made plausible.” ~ H. L. Mencken

 

“It is a great shock at the age of five or six to find that in a world of Gary Coopers you are the Indian.” ~ James Baldwin

 

“The tendency of the casual mind is to pick out or stumble upon a sample which supports or defies its prejudices, and then to make it the representative of a whole class.” ~ Walter Lippmann

 

“A minority group has ‘arrived’ only when it has the right to produce some fools and scoundrels without the entire group paying for it.” ~ Carl T. Rowan

 

“Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people whom we personally dislike.” ~ Oscar Wilde

 

“O Lord, help me not to despise or oppose what I do not understand.” ~ William Penn

 

“Nobody outside of a baby carriage or a judge’s chamber believes in an unprejudiced point of view.” ~ Lillian Hellman

 

“Without the aid of prejudice and custom I should not be able to find my way across the room.” ~ William Hazlitt

 

“Prejudice is a raft onto which the shipwrecked mind clambers and paddles to safety.” ~ Ben Hecht

 

“You will never escape the will of the mob; about the best anyone has ever figured out how to do is herd them into voting booths.” ~ Barry Shein

 

“The American people, taken one with another, constitute the most timorous, sniveling, poltroonish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the middle ages.” ~ H. L. Mencken

 

“The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.” ~ Edgar Allan Poe

 

“When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person, don’t be surprised if they learn their lesson.” ~ Will Rogers

 

“It always seemed strange to me that the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and selfinterest are the traits of sucess. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.” ~ John Steinbeck

 

“There is always a certain meanness in the argument of conservatism, joined with a certain superiority in its fact.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“This sense of otherness is the single most pernicious force in American discourse. Its not-like-us ethos makes so much bigotry possible: racism, sexism, homophobia. It divides the country as surely as the Mason-Dixon line once did.” ~ Anna Quindlen

 

“Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.” ~ George Sand

 

“When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people.” ~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

 

 

Sunday, October 7, 2007 – Originality, If It Exists

 

“Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.” ~ Laurence J. Peter

 

“Originality is the art of concealing your sources.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

 

“The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude.” ~ Aldous Huxley

 

“Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous – to poetry. But it also gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.” ~ Thomas Mann

 

“Grand, gloomy, and peculiar, he sat upon the throne a sceptred hermit, wrapped in the solitude of his own originality.” ~ Charles Phillips (1789-1859), The Character of Napoleon

 

“You’ve gotta be original, because if you’re like someone else, what do they need you for?” ~ Bernadette Peters

 

“Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.” ~ Franz Kafka

 

“The world in general doesn’t know what to make of originality; it is startled out of its comfortable habits of thought, and its first reaction is one of anger.” ~ William Somerset Maugham

 

“Utter originality is, of course, out of the question.” ~ Ezra Pound

 

“Originality is merely an illusion.” ~ M.C. Escher

 

“I invent nothing. I rediscover.” ~ Auguste Rodin

 

“What moves those of genius, what inspires their work is not new ideas, but their obsession with the idea that what has already been said is still not enough.” ~ Eugene Delacroix

 

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” ~ Flaubert

 

“A man of great common sense and good taste is a man without originality or moral courage.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

 

“About the most originality that any writer can hope to achieve honestly is to steal with good judgment.” ~ Josh Billings

 

“Imitation, if noble and general, insures the best hope of originality.” ~ Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton

 

“An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.” ~ Stephen Fry

 

“Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.” ~ W.H. Auden

 

“Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.” ~ Samuel Johnson

 

“Many a man fails as an original thinker simply because his memory is too good.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

 

“The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.” ~ Salvador Dali

 

“Original thought is like original sin: both happened before you were born to people you could not have possibly met.” ~ Fran Lebowitz

 

“What a good thing Adam had – when he said a good thing, he knew nobody had said it before.” ~ Mark Twain

 

 

Sunday, September 30, 2007 – On Confusion

 

“The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.” ~ Bertrand Russell

 

“You always admire what you really don’t understand.” ~ Blaise Pascal

 

“Sixty minutes of thinking of any kind is bound to lead to confusion and unhappiness.” ~ James Thurber

 

“People wish to be settled: only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“I believe that the moment is near when by a procedure of active paranoiac thought, it will be possible to systematize confusion and contribute to the total discrediting of the world of reality.” ~ Salvador Dali

 

“I’m not confused, I’m just well mixed.” ~ Robert Frost

 

“Vietnam was the first war ever fought without any censorship. Without censorship, things can get terribly confused in the public mind.” ~ William Westmoreland

 

“It’s a good thing we have gravity or else when birds died they’d just stay right up there. Hunters would be all confused.” ~ Steven Wright

 

“Are we, finally, speaking of nature or culture when we speak of a rose (nature), that has been bred (culture) so that its blossoms (nature) make men imagine (culture) the sex of women (nature)? It may be this sort of confusion that we need more of.” ~ Michael Pollan, Second Nature (1991)

 

“I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” ~ Jack Kerouac

 

“May evil spirits be confused on the way to your door.” ~ George Carlin

 

“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks.” ~ Daniel Boone

 

“If confusion is the first step to knowledge, I must be a genius.” ~ Larry Leissner

 

“Sometimes, when I drive across the desert in the middle of the night, with no other cars around, I start imagining: What if there were no civilization out there? No cities, no factories, no people? And then I think: No people or factories? Then who made this car? And this highway? And I get so confused I have to stick my head out the window into the driving rain – unless there’s lightning, because I could get struck on the head by a bolt.” ~ Jack Handy

 

“If I look confused it’s because I’m thinking.” ~ Samuel Goldwyn

 

“No one is exempt from taking nonsense; the misfortune is to do it solemnly.” ~ Michael Eyquen de Montaigne, Essays

 

 

Sunday, September 23, 2007 – Average and Ordinary

 

“The average, healthy, well-adjusted adult gets up at seven-thirty in the morning feeling just plain terrible.” ~ Jean Kerr

 

“Religion consists of a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain.” ~ Mark Twain

 

“Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.” ~ Fran Lebowitz

 

“The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.” ~ Winston Churchill

 

“It is known that there are an infinte number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely products of a deranged imagination.” ~ Douglas Adams

 

“If I could explain it to the average person, I wouldn’t have been worth the Nobel Prize.” ~ Richard Feynman

 

“To be normal is the ideal aim of the unsuccessful.” ~ Carl Jung

 

“The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.” ~ Joe Ancis

 

“I abhor averages. I like the individual case. A man may have six meals one day and none the next, making an average of three meals per day, but that is not a good way to live.” ~ Louis D. Brandeis

 

“I’m a simple man. All I want is enough sleep for two normal men, enough whiskey for three, and enough women for four.”~ Joel Rosenberg

 

“Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.” ~ Albert Camus

 

“Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.” ~ Ellen DeGeneres

 

“The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.” ~ Bruce Cockburn

 

“Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.” ~ Henry Louis Mencken

 

“What we call normal may be the psycho-pathology of the average.” ~ Deepak Chopra

 

“Every normal person, in fact, is only normal on the average. His ego approximates to that of the psychotic in some part or other and to a greater or lesser extent.” ~ Sigmund Freud

 

“How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being?” ~ Oscar Wilde

 

 

Sunday, September 16, 2007 – Any Questions?

 

“If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?” ~ Scott Adams

 

“You know children are growing up when they start asking questions that have answers.” ~ John J. Plomp

 

“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate – that’s my philosophy.” ~ Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth, 1942

 

“Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are.” ~ Syrus (Publilius Syrus)

 

“A timid question will always receive a confident answer.” ~ Lord Darling

 

“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.” ~ Anthony Jay

 

“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions which have been hidden by the answers.” ~ James Baldwin

 

“He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.” ~ Voltaire

 

“Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.” ~ C.S. Lewis

 

“There were so many fewer questions when stars were still just the holes to heaven…” ~ Jack Johnson

 

“Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.” ~ John Tukey

 

“If you are not expecting pious lies, then do not ask impious questions.” ~ Isaac Perez

 

“The answer is never the answer. What’s really interesting is the mystery. If you seek the mystery instead of the answer, you’ll always be seeking. I’ve never seen anybody really find the answer — they think they have, so they stop thinking. But the job is to seek mystery, evoke mystery, plant a garden in which strange plants grow and mysteries bloom. The need for mystery is greater than the need for an answer.” ~ Ken Kesey

 

“Avoid the question ‘why me?.’ It saves a lot of grief.” ~ Wilhelmina Baird

 

“The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.” ~ Susan Sontag

 

“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?” ~ Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes

 

“It is very natural for young men to be vehement, acrimonious and severe. For as they seldom comprehend at once all the consequences of a position, or perceive the difficulties by which cooler and more experienced reasoners are restrained from confidence, they form their conclusions with great precipitance. Seeing nothing that can darken or embarrass the question, they expect to find their own opinion universally prevalent, and are inclined to impute uncertainty and hesitation to want of honesty, rather than of knowledge.” ~ Samuel Johnson

 

“We all agree that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough.” ~ Niels Bohr