Quotes of the day: Alistair Cooke

Published Sunday, March 29, 2015 @ 6:15 PM EDT
Mar 29 2015

Alfred Alistair Cooke KBE (November 20, 1908 - March 30, 2004) was a British/American journalist, television personality and broadcaster. Outside his journalistic output, which included Letter from America and Alistair Cooke's America, he was well known in the United States as the host of PBS Masterpiece Theatre from 1971 to 1992. After holding the job for 22 years, and having worked in television for 42 years, Cooke retired in 1992, although he continued to present Letter from America until shortly before his death. He was the father of author and folk singer John Byrne Cooke. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A first rate businessman is- saving some ghastly character flaw- always a success, but a successful man is not necessarily first rate.

A professional is someone who can do his best when he doesn't feel like it.

A wise old talks producer came to me and said, 'Cooke, a word in your ear. Could I give you a bit of advice?' I said, 'of course.' He said, 'don't get too popular... or they'll drop you.

All Presidents start out to run a crusade but after a couple of years they find they are running something less heroic and much more intractable: namely the presidency. The people are well cured by then of election fever, during which they think they are choosing Moses. In the third year, they look on the man as a sinner and a bumbler and begin to poke around for rumors of another Messiah.

As always, the British especially shudder at the latest American vulgarity, and then they embrace it with enthusiasm two years later.

Curiosity is free-wheeling intelligence.

Every sport pretends to a literature, but people don't believe it of any other sport but their own.

Golf is an open exhibition of overweening ambition, courage deflated by stupidity, skill soured by a whiff of arrogance.

In America the race is on between its decadence and its vitality, and it has plenty of both.

In the best of times, our days are numbered anyway. So it would be a crime against nature for any generation to take the world crisis so solemnly, that it put off enjoying those things for which we were designed in the first place: the opportunity to do good work, to enjoy friends, to fall in love, to hit a ball, and to bounce a baby.

It used to be said that you had to know what was happening in America because it gave us a glimpse of our future. Today, the rest of America, and after that Europe, had better heed what happens in California, for it already reveals the type of civilization that is in store for all of us.

Las Vegas is Everyman's cut-rate Babylon. Not far away there is, or was, a roadside lunch counter and over it a sign proclaiming in three words that a Roman emperor's orgy is now a democratic institution. 'Topless Pizza Lunch.'

Man has an incurable habit of not fulfilling the prophecies of his fellow men.

New York is the biggest collection of villages in the world.

People in America, when listening to radio, like to lean forward. People in Britain like to lean back.

People, when they first come to America, whether as travelers or settlers, become aware of a new and agreeable feeling: that the whole country is their oyster.

There is now no gap between the battlefield and the memoirs.

Washington's birthday is as close to a secular Christmas as any Christian country dare come this side of blasphemy.

When Americans are sorely troubled, they turn for official inspiration not to the Quran or Bible but to the colonial scriptures, to the sayings of the Founding Fathers, most of all to the speeches of (George) Washington.

Categories: Alistair Cooke; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Sam Walton

Published Saturday, March 28, 2015 @ 7:38 PM EDT
Mar 28 2015

Samuel Moore "Sam" Walton (March 29, 1918 – April 5, 1992) was an American businessman and entrepreneur best known for founding the retailers Walmart and Sam's Club. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All of us profit from being corrected- if we're corrected in a positive way.

All that hullabaloo about somebody's net worth is just stupid, and it's made my life a lot more complex and difficult.

Appreciate everything your associates do for the business.

Capital isn't scarce; vision is.

Celebrate your successes. Find some humor in your failures.

Commit to your business. Believe in it more than anybody else.

Control your expenses better than your competition. This is where you can always find the competitive advantage.

Do it. Try it. Fix it.

Each Wal-Mart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community.

Exceed your customer's expectations. If you do, they'll come back over and over. Give them what they want- and a little more.

Give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people.

High expectations are the key to everything.

I don't know what would have happened to Wal-Mart if we had laid low and never stirred up the competition. My guess is that we would have remained a strictly regional operator.

I got into retailing because I wanted a real job.

I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where they've been.

I learned early on that one of the secrets of campus leadership was the simplest thing of all: speak to people coming down the sidewalk before they speak to you. I would always look ahead and speak to the person coming toward me. If I knew them I would call them by name, but even if I didn't I would still speak to them.

I learned this early on in the variety business: You've got to give folks responsibility, you've got to trust them, and then you've got to check on them.

I pay low wages. I can take advantage of that. We're going to be successful, but the basis is a very low-wage, low-benefit model of employment.

I've never been one to dwell on reverses.

If you love your work, you'll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you- like a fever.

If you want a successful business, your people must feel that you are working for them- not that they are working for you.

If you want the people in the stores to take care of the customers, you have to make sure you're taking care of the people in the stores. That's the most important single ingredient of Wal-Mart's success.

Ignore the conventional wisdom. If everybody else is doing it one way, there's a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction.

In the beginning, I was so chintzy I really didn't pay my employees well.

Individuals don’t win, teams do.

Information is power, and the gain you get from empowering your associates more than offsets the risk of informing your competitor

It's just paper-all I own is a pickup truck and a little Wal-Mart stock.

Keep everybody guessing as to what your next trick is going to be.

Loosen up, and everybody around you will loosen up.

Many of our best opportunities were created out of necessity.

Many people just wait around for something to 'turn up.' They might start with their sleeves.

Money and ownership alone aren’t enough. Set high goals, encourage competition, and then keep score.

Most of us don't invent ideas. We take the best ideas from someone else.

Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well- timed, sincere words of praise. They're absolutely free and worth a fortune.

One person seeking glory doesn't accomplish very much.

Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.

Share your profits with all your associates, and treat them as partners. In turn, they will treat you as a partner, and together you will all perform beyond your wildest expectations.

Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore the conventional wisdom.

The folks on the front lines- the ones who actually talk to the customer- are the only ones who really know what’s going on out there.

The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say.

The more they know, the more they’ll understand. The more they understand, the more they’ll care. Once they care, there’s no stopping them.

The way management treats associates is exactly how the associates will treat the customers.

There is only one boss- the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.

To succeed in this world, you have to change all the time.

We let folks know we're interested in them and that they're vital to us. cause they are.

We're all working together; that's the secret.

What am I supposed to haul my dogs around in, a Rolls-Royce?

You can learn from everybody.

You can make a lot of mistakes and still recover if you run an efficient operation. Or you can be brilliant and still go out of business if you're too inefficient.

You can make a positive out of the most negative if you work at it hard enough.

Categories: Quotes of the day; Sam Walton

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Quotes of the day: Daniel Dennett

Published Friday, March 27, 2015 @ 5:01 PM EDT
Mar 27 2015

Daniel Clement Dennett III (b. March 28, 1942) is an American philosopher, writer, and cognitive scientist whose research centers on the philosophy of mind, philosophy of science and philosophy of biology, particularly as those fields relate to evolutionary biology and cognitive science. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A faith, like a species, must evolve or go extinct when the environment changes.

A philosopher is someone who says, 'We know it's possible in practice; we're trying to work out if it's possible in principle!'

An inert historical fact is any fact about a perfectly ordinary arrangement of matter in the world at some point in the past that is no longer discernible, a fact that has left no footprints at all in the world today.

Animals are not just herbivores or carnivores. They are, in the nice coinage of the psychologist George Miller, informavores.

Are zombies possible? They're not just possible, they're actual. We're all zombies. Nobody is conscious- not in the systematically mysterious way that supports such doctrines as epiphenomenalism.

Consider flipping a coin, for instance. Why do we do it? To take away the burden of having to find a reason for choosing A over B. We like to have reasons for what we do, but sometimes nothing sufficiently persuasive comes to mind, and we recognize that we have to decide soon, so we concoct a little gadget, an external thing that will make the decision for us. But if the decision is about something momentous, like whether to go to war, or marry, or confess, anything like flipping a coin would be just too, well, flippant.

Every human mind you've ever looked at... is a product not just of natural selection but of cultural redesign of enormous proportions.

Experience teaches... that there is no such thing as a thought experiment so clearly presented that no philosopher can misinterpret it.

Go ahead and believe in God, if you like, but don't imagine that you have been given any grounds for such a belief by science.

I think religion for many people is some sort of moral viagra.

In spite of ferocious differences of opinion about other moral issues, there seems to be something approaching consensus that it is cruel and malicious to interfere with the life-enhancing illusions of others- unless those illusions are themselves the cause of of even greater ills.

Minds are in limited supply, and each mind has a limited capacity for memes, and hence there is considerable competition among memes for entry in as many minds as possible. This competition is the major selective force in the memosphere, and, just as in the biosphere, the challenge has been met with great ingenuity. For instance, whatever virtues (from our perspective) the following memes have, they have in common the property of having phenotypic expressions that tend to make their own replication more likely by disabling or preempting the environmental forces that would tend to extinguish them: the meme for faith, which discourages the exercise of the sort of critical judgment that might decide that the idea of faith was, all things considered a dangerous idea; the meme for tolerance or free speech; the meme of including in a chain letter a warning about the terrible fates of those who have broken the chain in the past; the conspiracy theory meme, which has a built-in response to the objection that there is no good evidence of a conspiracy: 'Of course not- that's how powerful the conspiracy is!' Some of these memes are 'good' perhaps and others 'bad'; what they have in common is a phenotypic effect that systematically tends to disable the selective forces arrayed against them. Other things being equal, population memetics predicts that conspiracy theory memes will persist quite independently of their truth, and the meme for faith is apt to secure its own survival, and that of the religious memes that ride piggyback on it, in even the most rationalistic environments. Indeed, the meme for faith exhibits frequency-dependent fitness: it flourishes best when it is outnumbered by rationalistic memes; in an environment with few skeptics, the meme for faith tends to fade from disuse.

New discoveries may conceivably lead to dramatic, even 'revolutionary' shifts in the Darwinian theory, but the hope that it will be 'refuted' by some shattering breakthrough is about as reasonable as the hope that we will return to a geocentric vision and discard Copernicus.

Not a single one of the cells that compose you knows who you are, or cares.

Philosophers' Syndrome: mistaking a failure of the imagination for an insight into necessity.

Political correctness, in the extreme versions worthy of the name, is antithetical to almost all surprising advances in thought.

Scientists are just as vulnerable to wishful thinking, just as likely to be tempted by base motives, just as venal and gullible and forgetful as the rest of humankind.

Thanks to technology, what almost anybody can do has been multiplied a thousandfold, and our moral understanding about what we ought to do hasn't kept pace.

The Darwinian Revolution is both a scientific and a philosophical revolution, and neither revolution could have occurred without the other.

The distinction between responsible moral agents and beings with diminished or no responsibility is coherent, real, and important.

The earth has grown a nervous system, and it's us.

The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain any more so it eats it. It's rather like getting tenure.

The methods of science aren't foolproof, but they are indefinitely perfectible.

The mind is the effect, not the cause.

The only meaning of life worth caring about is one that can withstand our best efforts to examine it.

There is much to be gained from communication if it is craftily doled out- enough truth to keep one's credibility high but enough falsehood to keep one's options open. (This is the first point of wisdom in the game of poker: he who never bluffs never wins; he who always bluffs always loses.)

Unpredictability is in general a fine protective feature, which should never be squandered but always spent wisely.

We almost all want a world in which love, justice, freedom, and peace are all present, as much as possible, but if we had to give up one of these, it wouldn't- and shouldn't- be love.

We used to think that secrecy was perhaps the greatest enemy of democracy, and as long as there was no suppression or censorship, people could be trusted to make the informed decisions that would preserve our free society, but we have learned in recent years that the techniques of misinformation and misdirection have become so refined that, even in an open society, a cleverly directed flood of misinformation can overwhelm the truth, even though the truth is out there, uncensored, quietly available to anyone who can find it.

Wherever there is a conscious mind, there is a point of view.

Categories: Daniel Dennett; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Quentin Tarantino

Published Thursday, March 26, 2015 @ 7:40 PM EDT
Mar 26 2015

Quentin Tarantino (b. March 27, 1963) grew up loving movies more than school. In his early 20s, he got a job at the Video Archives, where he wrote the scripts for True Romance and Natural Born Killers. His directorial debut came with 1992's Reservoir Dogs, but he received wide critical and commercial acclaim with Pulp Fiction (1994), which earned more than $108 million at the box office- the first independent film to do so. He has received many industry awards, including two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards and the Palme d'Or, and has been nominated for an Emmy and a Grammy. He was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time in 2005m and filmmaker and historian Peter Bogdanovich has called him "the single most influential director of his generation." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Any time of the day is a good time for pie.
(dialogue, "Pulp Fiction")

CGI has fully ruined car crashes. Because how can you be impressed with them now? When you watch them in the '70s, it was real cars, real metal, real blasts. They're really doing it and risking their lives.

A dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way.
(dialogue, "Pulp Fiction")

Every movie is a genre movie.

Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast!
(dialogue, "Pulp Fiction")

I don't believe in elitism. I don't think the audience is this dumb person lower than me. I am the audience.

I don't make movies for America. I make movies for planet Earth. America is just another market.

I like it when somebody tells me a story, and I actually really feel that that's becoming like a lost art in American cinema.

I loved history because to me, history was like watching a movie.

I steal from every single movie ever made. If people don't like that, then tough tills, don't go and see it, all right? I steal from everything. Great artists steal, they don't do homages.

I was kind of excited about going to jail the first time and I learned some great dialogue.

I write movies about mavericks, about people who break rules, and I don't like movies about people who are pulverised for being mavericks.

If my answers frighten you... then you should cease asking scary questions.
(dialogue, "Pulp Fiction")

If you had to stop and think what some idiot might do after seeing the movie, you'd never do anything.

If you just love movies enough, you can make a good one.

L.A. is so big that if you don't actually live in Hollywood, you might as well be from a different planet.

Movies and music go hand in hand. When I'm writing a script, one of the first things I do is find the music I'm going to play for the opening sequence.

Movies are not about the weekend that they're released, and in the grand scheme of things, that's probably the most unimportant time of a film's life.

Something stopped me in school a little bit. Anything that I'm not interested in, I can't even feign interest.

Superman didn't become Superman. Superman was born Superman. When Superman wakes up in the morning, he's Superman. His alter ego is Clark Kent. His outfit with the big red 'S,' that's the blanket he was wrapped in as a baby when the Kents found him. Those are his clothes. What Kent wears- the glasses, the business suit- that's the costume. That's the costume Superman wears to blend in with us. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent. He's weak... he's unsure of himself... he's a coward. Clark Kent is Superman's critique on the whole human race.
(dialogue, "Kill Bill: Vol. 2")

Sure, Kill Bill's a violent movie. But it's a Tarantino movie. You don't go to see Metallica and ask the f*ckers to turn the music down.

The good ideas will survive.

To me, torture would be watching sports on television.

Violence is a form of cinematic entertainment.

When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, 'no, I went to films.'

Categories: Pulp Fiction; Quentin Tarantino; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Viktor Frankl

Published Wednesday, March 25, 2015 @ 9:18 PM EDT
Mar 25 2015

Viktor Emil Frankl, M.D., Ph.D. (March 26, 1905 - September 2, 1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of existential analysis, the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy". His best-selling book Man's Search for Meaning (published under a different title in 1959: From Death- Camp to Existentialism, and originally published in 1946 as Trotzdem Ja Zum Leben Sagen: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager, meaning Nevertheless, Say "Yes" to Life: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp) chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate, which led him to discover the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence, even the most brutal ones, and thus, a reason to continue living. Frankl became one of the key figures in existential therapy and a prominent source of inspiration for humanistic psychologists. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A human being is a deciding being.

A life of short duration... could be so rich in joy and love that it could contain more meaning than a life lasting eighty years.

A man who could not see the end of his 'provisional existence' was not able to aim at an ultimate goal in life.

An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.

As each situation in life represents a challenge to man and presents a problem for him to solve, the question of the meaning of life may actually be reversed. Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.

As the struggle for survival has subsided, the question has emerged: survival for what? Ever more people have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.

At any moment, man must decide, for better or for worse, what will be the monument of his existence.

At such a moment, it is not the physical pain which hurts the most (and this applies to adults as much as to punished children); it is the mental agony caused by the injustice, the unreasonableness of it all.

At the beginning of human history, man lost some of the basic animal instincts in which an animal's behavior is embedded and by which it is secured. Such security, like paradise, is closed to man forever; man has to make choices... No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he ought to do; sometimes he does not even know what he wishes to do. Instead, he either wishes to do what other people do (conformism) or he does what other people tell him to do (totalitarianism).

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lays our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.

Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it.

Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone's task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

Fear makes come true that which one is afraid of...

For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself.

For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.

For too long a time- for half a century, in fact- psychiatry tried to interpret the human mind merely as a mechanism, and consequently the therapy of mental disease merely in terms of technique. I believe this dream has been dreamt out. What now begins to loom on the horizon is not psychologized medicine but rather those of human psychiatry.

For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement.

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.

Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.

Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.

Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it.

Having been is also a kind of being, and perhaps the surest kind.

Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or to forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or not.

Human kindness can be found in all groups, even those which as a whole it would be easy to condemn.

Human potential at its best is to transform a tragedy into a personal triumph, to turn one's predicament into a human achievement.

I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved.

In some ways suffering ceases to be suffering at the moment it finds a meaning, such as the meaning of a sacrifice.

It is a peculiarity of man that he can only live by looking to the future.

It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.

It is this spiritual freedom- which cannot be taken away- that makes life meaningful and purposeful.

Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives.

Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.

Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.

Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved.

Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him.

Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment.

Man is capable of changing the world for the better if possible, and of changing himself for the better if necessary.

Man is not fully conditioned and determined but rather determines himself whether he gives in to conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is ultimately self-determining.

Man is originally characterized by his 'search for meaning' rather than his 'search for himself.' The more he forgets himself- giving himself to a cause or another person- the more human he is. And the more he is immersed and absorbed in something or someone other than himself the more he really becomes himself.

No man should judge unless he asks himself in absolute honesty whether in a similar situation he might not have done the same.

Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude.

Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake.

Sunday neurosis... that kind of depression which afflicts people who become aware of the lack of content in their lives when the rush of the busy week is over and the void within themselves becomes manifest.

The meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment.

The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

The more one forgets himself- by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love- the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself.

The point is not what we expect from life, but rather what life expects from us.

These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. 'Life' does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life's tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man's destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simple to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.

Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.

To suffer unecessarily is masochistic rather than heroic.

Ultimate meaning necessarily exceeds and surpasses the finite intellectual capacities of man... What is demanded of man is not, as some existential philosophers teach, to endure the meaninglessness of life, but rather to bear his incapacity to grasp its unconditional meaningfulness in rational terms. Logos is deeper than logic.

What is to give light must endure burning.

When we are no longer able to change a situation- we are challenged to change ourselves.


(March 26 is also the birthday of Leonard Nimoy and Joseph Campbell.)

Categories: Quotes of the day; Viktor Frankl

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Frozen in time

Published Wednesday, March 25, 2015 @ 2:39 AM EDT
Mar 25 2015

Skippy actually listens to a complete Ted Cruz speech.

Categories: Elections; Politics; Ted Cruz

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Quotes of the day: Flannery O'Connor

Published Tuesday, March 24, 2015 @ 7:37 PM EDT
Mar 24 2015

Mary Flannery O'Connor (March 25, 1925 - August 3, 1964) was an American writer and essayist. An important voice in American literature, she wrote two novels, 32 short stories, and many reviews and commentaries. She was a Southern writer who often wrote in a Southern Gothic style and relied heavily on regional settings and grotesque characters. Her writing also reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics. O'Connor's Complete Stories won the 1972 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction and was named the "Best of the National Book Awards" by internet visitors in 2009. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.

All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.

Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.

At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.

(Ayn Rand) makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky.

Conviction without experience makes for harshness.

Doctors always think anybody doing something they aren't is a quack; also they think all patients are idiots.

Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.

Faith is what someone knows to be true, whether they believe it or not.

Faith is what you have in the absence of knowledge.

I don't have to run from anything because I don't believe in anything.

I love a lot of people, understand none of them...

I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else's. But behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there's no truth.

If you don't hunt it down and kill it, it will hunt you down and kill you.

In the first place you can be so absolutely honest and so absolutely wrong at the same time that I think it is better to be a combination of cautious and polite.

It is better to be young in your failures than old in your successes.

It's easier to bleed than sweat...

Only if we are secure in our beliefs can we see the comical side of the universe.

People without hope not only don't write novels, but what is more to the point, they don't read them.

She looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity.

Sickness is more instructive than a long trip to Europe.

The basis of art is truth, both in matter and in mode.

The Southerner is usually tolerant of those weaknesses that proceed from innocence.

The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience.

There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.

To expect too much is to have a sentimental view of life and this is a softness that ends in bitterness.

Total nonretention has kept my education from being a burden to me.

Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.

We are now living in an age which doubts both fact and value. It is the life of this age that we wish to see and judge.

When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.

Whenever I’m asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one.

Where you come from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was there, and where you are is no good unless you can get away from it... In yourself right now is all the place you've got.

You have to quit confusing a madness with a mission.

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.

Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.


(March 25 is also the birthday of Gloria Steinem.)

Categories: Flannery O'Connor; Quotes of the day

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Modern problems

Published Tuesday, March 24, 2015 @ 5:26 AM EDT
Mar 24 2015

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Categories: Miscellany

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Quotes of the day: Wilhelm Reich

Published Monday, March 23, 2015 @ 8:02 PM EDT
Mar 23 2015

His ideas have something to offend everybody, and he ended up becoming the only heretic in American history whose books were literally burned by the government.
-Robert Anton Wilson


It was the greatest incidence of scientific persecution in American history. In July of 1947, Dr. Wilhelm Reich (March 24, 1897-November 3, 1957) a brilliant but troubled psychoanalyst who had once been Freud's most promising student, who had enraged the Nazis and the Stalinists as well as the psychoanalytic, medical and scientific communities, who had survived two World Wars and fled to New York- was dying in a prison cell in Lewisberg, Pennsylvania, accused by the government of being a medical fraud engaged in a "sex racket." (Click here for full Motherboard article)


A living creature develops a destructive impulse when it wants to destroy a source of danger... In short, the impulse to destroy serves a primary biological will to live...

Don't run. Have the courage to look at yourself!

Follow the voice of your heart, even if it leads you off the path of timid souls. Do not become hard and embittered, even if life tortures you at times. There is only one thing that counts: to live one's life well and happily...

If 'freedom' means, first of all, the responsibility of every individual for the rational determination of his own personal, professional and social existence, then there is no greater fear than that of the establishment of general freedom.

If the psychic energies of the average mass of people watching a football game or a musical comedy could be diverted into the rational channels of a freedom movement, they would be invincible.

It is sexual energy which governs the structure of human feeling and thinking.

Love, work and knowledge are the well-springs of our life. They should also govern it.

Man's right to know, to learn, to inquire, to make bona fide errors, to investigate human emotions must, by all means, be safe, if the word FREEDOM should ever be more than an empty political slogan.

Most intellectual people do not believe in God, but they fear him just the same.

Only the liberation of the natural capacity for love in human beings can master their sadistic destructiveness.

Only you yourself can be your liberator!

Rooting in work is crucial to any accomplishment. Rooting in mere enthusiasm will in the long run force illusory measures to keep the fires of empty enthusiasm going. And this makes politics and politicians.

Scientific theory is a contrived foothold in the chaos of living phenomena.

See yourself as you really are. Listen to what none of your leaders and representatives dares tell you: You are a 'little, common man.' Understand the double meaning of these words: 'little' and 'common.'

The character structure of modern man, who reproduces a six- thousand-year-old patriarchal authoritarian culture is typified by characterological armoring against his inner nature and against the social misery which surrounds him.

The cry for freedom is a sign of suppression. It will not cease to ring as long as man feels himself captive.

The fact that political ideologies are tangible realities is not a proof of their vitally necessary character. The bubonic plague was an extraordinarily powerful social reality, but no one would have regarded it as vitally necessary.

The kindly individual believes that all people are kindly and act accordingly. The plague individual believes that all people lie, swindle, steal and crave power. Clearly, then, the living is at a disadvantage and in danger.

The suppression of natural sexual gratification leads to various kinds of substitute gratifications. Natural aggression, for example, becomes brutal sadism which then is an essential mass-psychological factor in imperialistic wars.

Under the influence of politicians, masses of people tend to ascribe the responsibility for wars to those who wield power at any given time... This is passing the buck.

You are 'free' only in one sense: free from education in governing your life yourself, free from self-criticism.

Your life will be good and secure when aliveness will mean more to you than security; love more than money; your freedom more than party line or public opinion...

Categories: Quotes of the day; Wilhelm Reich

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Quotes of the day: Wernher von Braun

Published Sunday, March 22, 2015 @ 6:23 PM EDT
Mar 22 2015

Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun (March 23, 1912 – June 16, 1977) was a German and later American aerospace engineer and space architect, but made his greatest contributions as an aerospace program manager. He was one of the leading figures in the development of rocket technology in Germany and the United States and is considered one of the "Fathers of Rocket Science". He was also a member of the Nazi Party and the SS. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All one can really leave one's children is what's inside their heads. Education, in other words, and not earthly possessions, is the ultimate legacy, the only thing that cannot be taken away.

Don't tell me that man doesn't belong out there. Man belongs wherever he wants to go- and he'll do plenty well when he gets there.

I have learned to use the word 'impossible' with the greatest caution.

I'm convinced that before the year 2000 is over, the first child will have been born on the moon.

If our intention had been merely to bring back a handful of soil and rocks from the lunar gravel pit and then forget the whole thing, we would certainly be history's biggest fools.

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor.

Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death.

One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions.

Our two greatest problems are gravity and paper work. We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing.

Science does not have a moral dimension. It is like a knife. If you give it to a surgeon or a murderer, each will use it differently.

There is just one thing I can promise you about the outer space program: your tax dollars will go farther.

What we will have attained when Neil Armstrong steps down upon the moon is a completely new step in the evolution of man.


'I Aim for the Stars, But Sometimes I Hit London.'
-Mort Sahl (suggested title of Werhner von Braun's autobiography)



(March 23 is also the birthday of Erich Fromm.)

Categories: Quotes of the day; Wernher von Braun

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