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Quotes of the day: Larry Flynt

Published Friday, October 31, 2014 @ 7:23 PM EDT
Oct 31 2014

Larry Claxton Flynt was born November 1, 1942 in the Appalachian village of Lakeville, Kentucky. He became one of the world's most well-known publishers of pornography and unlikely champion of civil liberties. With the publication of his flagship magazine, Hustler, Flynt set off a firestorm, dragging into the eventual fray Jerry Falwell and the Supreme Court of the United States. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


After the first million, money isn't important.

And a democracy can't exist without free speech and the right to assemble. And that's what Americans tend to forget. And they're born into a culture where they take all of their freedoms for granted.

Hypocrisy is a detriment to progress. There's always a hidden agenda.

If the human body is obscene, complain to the manufacturer!

If you're not going to offend somebody you don't need the First Amendment.

Just because I publish pornography does not mean that I am not concerned about the social ills that all of us are.

Majority rule only works if you're also considering individual rights. Because you can't have five wolves and one sheep voting on what to have for supper.

Moses freed the Jews. Lincoln freed the slaves. I freed the neurotics.

My position has always been that there's two types of people opposed to pornography: those who don't know what they're talking about, and those who don't know what they're missing.

Nothing can make you more humble than pain.

People aren't interested in others controlling what they can do or read or see in the privacy of their own homes.

Politics is my hobby. Smut is my vocation.

Privacy is not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution as freedom of speech is in the First Amendment.

The greatest right that any nation can afford its people is the right to be left alone.

The only question to ask yourself is, how much are you willing to sacrifice to achieve this success?

The right-wing of the Republican party isn't so much a political agenda as a plea for help.

The sole motivating factor behind the death penalty is vengeance, not justice, and I firmly believe that a government that forbids killing among its citizens should not be in the business of killing people itself.

The two most misused words in the entire English vocabulary are love and friendship. A true friend would die for you, so when you start trying to count them on one hand, you don't need any fingers.

There's nothing that will change someone's moral outlook quicker than cash in large sums.

You know, everybody believes in free speech until you start questioning them about it.

Categories: Larry Flynt, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Joseph Campbell

Published Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @ 10:01 PM EDT
Oct 29 2014

Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 - October 30, 1987) was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: "Follow your bliss." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All cultures... have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works.

All religions are true but none are literal.

All the gods, all the heavens, all the hells, are within you.

Apocalypse does not point to a fiery Armageddon but to the fact that our ignorance and our complacency are coming to an end... The exclusivism of there being only one way in which we can be saved, the idea that there is a single religious group that is in sole possession of the truth- that is the world as we know it that must pass away. What is the kingdom? It lies in our realization of the ubiquity of the divine presence in our neighbors, in our enemies, in all of us.

Centuries of husbandry, decades of diligent culling, the work of numerous hearts and hands, have gone into the hackling, sorting, and spinning of this tightly twisted yarn. Furthermore, we have not even to risk the adventure alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; and where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.

Dream is personalized myth, myth is depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamics of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problem and solutions shown are directly valid for all mankind.

Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life.

Everywhere, no matter what the sphere of interest (whether religious, political, or personal), the really creative acts are represented as those deriving from some sort of dying to the world; and what happens in the interval of the hero's nonentity, so that he comes back as one reborn, made great and filled with creative power, mankind is also unanimous in declaring. We shall have only to follow, therefore, a multitude of heroic figures through the classic stages of the universal adventure in order to see again what has always been revealed. ...the singleness of the human spirit in its aspirations, powers, vicissitudes, and wisdom.

Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.

For when scrutinized in terms not of what it is but of how it functions, of how it has served mankind in the past, of how it may serve today, mythology shows itself to be as amenable as life itself to the obsessions and requirements of the individual, the race, the age.

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that.

Heresy is the life of a mythology, and orthodoxy is the death.

I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.

I don't have to have faith. I have experience.

I think it's important to live life with a knowledge of its mystery, and of your own mystery.

I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about.

If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.

In the absence of an effective general mythology, each of us has his private, unrecognized, rudimentary, yet secretly potent pantheon of dreams.

It has always been the prime function of mythology and rite to supply the symbols that carry the human spirit forward, in counteraction to those that tend to tie it back. In fact, it may very well be that the very high incidence of neuroticism among ourselves follows the decline among us of such effective spiritual aid. We remain fixated to the unexorcised images of our infancy, and hence disinclined to the necessary passages of our adulthood.

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.

It is not only that there is no hiding place for the gods from the searching telescope and microscope; there is no such society any more as the gods once supported.

It may be a species of impudence to think that the way you understand God is the way God is.

It's only when a man tames his own demons that he becomes the king of himself if not of the world.

Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.

Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends.

Marx teaches us to blame society for our frailties, Freud teaches us to blame our parents, and astrology teaches us to blame the universe. The only place to look for blame is within: you didn't have the guts to bring up your full moon and live the life that was your potential.

Midlife crisis is what happens when you climb to the top of the ladder and discover that it's against the wrong wall.

Mythology may, in a real sense, be defined as other people's religion. And religion may, in a sense, be understood as popular misunderstanding of mythology.

Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.

No tribal rite has yet been recorded which attempts to keep winter from descending; on the contrary: the rites all prepare the community to endure, together with the rest of nature, the season of the terrible cold.

Not all who hesitate are lost. The psyche has many secrets in reserve. And these are not disclosed unless required.

One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.

Our life evokes our character and you find out more about yourself as you go on.

Out of perfection nothing can be made.

People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about.

Regrets are illuminations come too late.

The happy ending is justly scorned as a misrepresentation; for the world, as we know it, as we have seen it, yields but one ending; death, disintegration, dismemberment, and the crucifixion of our heart with the passing of the forms which we have loved.

The image of the cosmos must change with the development of the mind and knowledge; otherwise, the mythic statement is lost, and man becomes dissociated from the very basis of his own religious experience. Doubt comes in, and so forth. You must remember: all of the great traditions, and little traditions, in their own time were scientifically correct. That is to say, they were correct in terms of the scientific image of that age. So there must be a scientifically validated image. Now you know what has happened: our scientific field has separated itself from the religious field, or vice-versa.... This divorce this is a fatal thing, and a very unfortunate thing, and a totally unnecessary thing.

The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there's no doubt about it. The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who's on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it's alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself.

The modern hero-deed must be that of questing to bring to light again the lost Atlantis of the co-ordinated soul.

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.

The tribal ceremonies of birth, initiation, marriage, burial, installation, and so forth, serve to translate the individual’s life-crises and life-deeds into classic, impersonal forms. They disclose him to himself, not as this personality or that, but as the warrior, the bride, the widow, the priest, the chieftain; at the same time rehearsing for the rest of the community the old lesson of the archetypal stages.

The way to find out about your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you really are happy-not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a little bit of self analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what I call 'following your bliss.'

There is no make-believe about heaven, future bliss, and compensation, to alleviate the bitter majesty, but only utter darkness, the void of unfulfillment, to receive and eat back the lives that have been tossed forth from the womb only to fail.

There seem to be only two kinds of people: Those who think that metaphors are facts, and those who know that they are not facts. Those who know they are not facts are what we call atheists, and those who think they are facts are religious. Which group really gets the message?

This death to the logic of emotional commitments of our chance moment in the world of space and time, this recognition of, the shift of our emphasis to, the universal life that throbs and celebrates its victory in the very kiss of our own annihilation, this amor fati, 'love of fate,' love of the fate that is inevitably death, constitutes the experience of the tragic art...

This is the threat to our lives. We all face it. We all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes? ... If the person doesn't listen to the demands of his own spiritual and heart life and insists on a certain program, you're going to have a schizophrenic crack-up. The person has put himself off center. He has aligned himself with a programmatic life and it's not the one the body's interested in at all. And the world's full of people who have stopped listening to themselves.

This thing up here, this consciousness, thinks it's running the shop. It's a secondary organ. It's a secondary organ of a total human being, and it must not put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body.

We are standing on a whale fishing for minnows.

We can't cure the world of sorrows but we can choose to live in joy.

We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us- the labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

We're in a freefall into future. We don't know where we're going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you're going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It's a very interesting shift of perspective and that's all it is... joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.

What is a god? A god is a personification of a motivating power of a value system that functions in human life and in the universe.

When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.

Where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

Wherever the hero may wander, whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence- for he has the perfected eye to see. There is no separateness. Thus, just as the way of social participation may lead in the end to a realization of the All in the individual, so that of exile brings the hero to the Self in all.

Categories: Joseph Campbell, Quotes of the day

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Published Tuesday, October 28, 2014 @ 8:24 PM EDT
Oct 28 2014

This is what happens when you're testing screen capture software and the cat steps on the F5 key while you're on the phone.

Twenty random quotes from The KGB Quote-A-Matic:

When scientifically investigating the natural world, the only thing worse than a blind believer is a seeing denier.
-Neil deGrasse Tyson

The FCC came along and it said no more cigarette commercials on television... I'd much rather watch a pretty girl offer me a cigarette than an old lady ask if I'm constipated.
-Mark Russell

Honor isn't about making the right choices. It's about dealing with the consequences.
-Midori Koto

I like the cut of your gibberish.

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
-J.R.R. Tolkien

There a few things in life harder to find and more important to keep than love. Well, love and a birth certificate.
-Barack Obama

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.
-John Gardner

The climate is just like it always was. Hot in the summer, cold in the winter and brainless in Washington.
-Steve Goddard

A lot of people out there think Easy Rider had a happy ending.
-P.J. O'Rourke

I derive pleasure from the suffering of people who don't know what schadenfreude means.
-John Fugelsang

America: Race riots, fascist police, AND THE BEST DAMNED ICE CREAM IN THE WORLD! (Button, circa 1968)

People are born with legs, not roots.
-Buckminster Fuller

I enjoy dating married men because they don't want anything kinky, like breakfast.
-Joni Rodgers

The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead.
-John Maynard Keynes

If I'd known what it would be like to have it all, I might have been willing to settle for less.
-Lily Tomlin

I cannot prove that electrons exist, but I believe fervently in their existence. And if you don't believe in them, I have a high voltage cattle prod I'm willing to apply as an argument on their behalf. Electrons speak for themselves.
-Seth Lloyd

Information is money, but data is squat.
-Angela Llama-Butler

I cannot believe that there is any being in this universe who has created a human soul for eternal pain. I would rather that every god would destroy himself; I would rather that we all should go to eternal chaos, to black and starless night, than that just one soul should suffer eternal agony.
-Robert G. Ingersoll

Loyalty to your country should never require you to lie about it.
-Joseph Sobran

When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.
-Lin Yutang

Categories: Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Bill Gates

Published Monday, October 27, 2014 @ 9:29 PM EDT
Oct 27 2014

William Henry "Bill" Gates III (b. October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer, and inventor. Gates is the former chief executive and chairman of Microsoft, the world’s largest personal computer software company, which he co-founded with Paul Allen. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


I believe OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time. (1987)

I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don't know.

If something is expensive to develop, and somebody's not going to get paid, it won't get developed. So you decide: Do you want software to be written, or not?

If you can't make it good, at least make it look good.

If you show people the problems and you show people the solutions they will be moved to act.

If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.

Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.

It's not manufacturers trying to rip anybody off or anything like that. There's nobody getting rich writing software that I know of. (1980)

Just giving people devices has a really horrible track record.

Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.

Microsoft has had clear competitors in the past. It’s a good thing we have museums to document that.

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.

Technology arms the bad guys with orders of magnitude more power. Not just bad guys. Crazy guys.

The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.

The world is not flat and PCs are not, in the hierarchy of human needs, in the first five rungs.

There's a true schizophrenia where if you say to voters, you know, do you think the federal government spends too much money and they should spend less, they say yeah, absolutely. Then you name specific things, like Pell grants for students and they say, no, not that. How 'bout NIH, medical research funding? Nah, you really shouldn't cut that. And pretty soon you've proved that what the American public is against is arithmetic.

There's only one trick in software, and that is using a piece of software that's already been written. (1989)

We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.

We make the future sustainable when we invest in the poor, not when we insist on their suffering.

We've done some good work, but all of these products become obsolete so fast... It will be some finite number of years, and I don't know the number- before our doom comes.

You have to have a certain realism that government is a pretty­ blunt instrument and without the constant attention of highly qualified people with the right metrics, it will fall into not doing things very well.

Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.


(October 28 is also the birthday of Evelyn Waugh.)

Categories: Bill Gates, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Sylvia Plath

Published Sunday, October 26, 2014 @ 9:39 PM EDT
Oct 26 2014

Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 - February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College at the University of Cambridge, before receiving acclaim as a poet and writer. She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956; they lived together in the United States and then England, and had two children, Frieda and Nicholas. Plath suffered from depression for much of her adult life, and in 1963 she committed suicide. Controversy continues to surround the events of her life and death, as well as her writing and legacy. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man can see by starlight, if he takes the time.

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I am made, crudely, for success.

I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.

I desire the things which will destroy me in the end.

I talk to God, but the sky is empty.

If I didn't think, I'd be much happier; if I didn't have any sex organs, I wouldn't waver on the brink of nervous emotion and tears all the time.

If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time, then I'm neurotic as hell.

If they substituted the word 'Lust' for 'Love' in the popular songs it would come nearer the truth.

If you expect nothing from somebody you are never disappointed.

Is there no way out of the mind?

Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.

Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing.

Perfection is terrible, it cannot have children.

Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.

So I began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about as numb as a slave in some private, totalitarian state.

The abstract kills, the concrete saves.

The hardest thing is to live richly in the present without letting it be tainted out of fear for the future or regret for the past.

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

There is nothing like puking with somebody to make you into old friends.

There is something demoralizing about watching two people get more and more crazy about each other, especially when you are the only extra person in the room.

There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure, but I don't know many of them.

They understood things of the spirit in Japan. They disemboweled themselves when anything went wrong.

What horrifies me most is the idea of being useless: well-educated, brilliantly promising, and fading out into an indifferent middle age.

When you give someone your whole heart and he doesn't want it, you cannot take it back. It's gone forever.

Why can't I try on different lives, like dresses, to see which one fits me and is most becoming?

Why the hell are we conditioned into the smooth strawberry-and- cream Mother-Goose-world, Alice-in-Wonderland fable, only to be broken on the wheel as we grow older and become aware of ourselves as individuals with a dull responsibility in life?


(October 27 is also the birthday of Erasmus and John Cleese.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Sylvia Plath

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Quotes of the day: Napoleon Hill

Published Saturday, October 25, 2014 @ 7:13 PM EDT
Oct 25 2014

Napoleon Hill (October 26, 1883 - November 8, 1970) was an American author. His most famous work, Think and Grow Rich (1937), had sold 20 million copies at the time of his death in 1970. Hill's works examine the power of personal beliefs and the role they play in personal success. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A goal is a dream with a deadline.

Action is the real measure of intelligence.

All achievement, all earned riches, have their beginning in an idea!

Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.

Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.

Do not wait; the time will never be 'just right.' Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.

Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.

I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my definite purpose in life, therefore, i demand of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and i here and now promise to render such action.

It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it- yourself project.

Most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.

Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.

Remember, no more effort is required to aim high in life, to demand abundance and prosperity, than is required to accept misery and poverty.

Resolve to throw off the influences of any unfortunate environment, and to build your own life to order.

Strong, deeply rooted desire is the starting point of all achievement.

The greatest achievements of men, were at first, nothing but dreams of the minds of men who knew that dreams are the seedlings of all achievements. A burning desire, to be and to do, is the starting point, from which the dreamer must take off.

The ladder of success is never crowded at the top.

The path of least resistance makes all rivers, and some men, crooked.

There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.

Truly, thoughts are things, and their scope of operation is the world, itself.

Until you have formed the habit of looking for the good instead of the bad there is in others, you will be neither successful nor happy.

We are what we are, because of the vibrations of thought which we pick up and register, through the stimuli of our daily environment.

Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

Categories: Napoleon Hill, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Thomas Babington Macaulay

Published Friday, October 24, 2014 @ 11:58 PM EDT
Oct 24 2014

Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, PC (October 25, 1800 - December 28, 1859) was a British historian and Whig politician. He wrote extensively as an essayist and reviewer; his books on British history were hailed as literary masterpieces. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants.

A single breaker may recede; but the tide is evidently coming in.

American democracy must be a failure because it places the supreme authority in the hands of the poorest and most ignorant part of the society.

As civilization advances, poetry almost necessarily declines.

As freedom is the only safeguard of governments, so are order and moderation generally necessary to preserve freedom.

Every man who has seen the world knows that nothing is so useless as a general maxim.

Everybody's business is nobody's business.

Free trade, one of the greatest blessings which a government can confer on a people, is in almost every country unpopular.

I would rather be a poor man in a garret with plenty of books than a king who did not love reading.

Institutions purely democratic must, sooner, or later, destroy liberty or civilization or both.

It is possible to be below flattery as well as above it.

It may be laid as a universal rule that a government which attempts more than it ought will perform less.

More sinners are cursed at not because we despise their sins but because we envy their success at sinning.

No man in the world acts up to his own standard of right.

Nothing except the mint can make money without advertising.

People crushed by law have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws.

Perhaps no person can be a poet, or even enjoy poetry, without a certain unsoundness of mind.

Reform, that we may preserve.

The gallery in which the reporters sit has become a fourth estate of the realm.

The great cause of revolutions is this, that while nations move onward, constitutions stand still.

The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it.

The measure of a man's real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

The object of oratory alone is not truth, but persuasion.

The perfect lawgiver is a just temper between the mere man of theory, who can see nothing but general principles, and the mere man of business, who can see nothing but particular circumstances.

The Puritans hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.

The reluctant obedience of distant provinces generally costs more than it is worth.

There is only one cure for the evils which newly acquired freedom produces, and that cure is freedom.

We know no spectacle so ridiculous as the British public in one of its periodical fits of morality.

We must judge of a form of government by it's general tendency, not by happy accidents.


(October 15 is also the birthday of Pablo Picasso.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Thomas Babington Macaulay

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Published Thursday, October 23, 2014 @ 8:18 PM EDT
Oct 23 2014

A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.
-Arthur C. Clarke

A great source of calamity lies in regret and anticipation; therefore a person is wise who thinks of the present alone, regardless of the past or future.
-Oliver Goldsmith

A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
-John Barrymore

Beware of starting what you may later regret.
-Publilius Syrus

Fools live to regret their words, wise men to regret their silence.
-Will Henry

Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.
-C.S. Lewis

I always look for a woman who has a tattoo. I see a woman with a tattoo, and I'm thinking, okay, here's a gal who's capable of making a decision she'll regret in the future.
-Richard Jeni

I bequeath all my property to my wife on the condition that she remarry immediately. Then there will be at least one man to regret my death.
-Heinrich Heine

I only regret getting caught. I don't regret anything else.
-Heidi Fleiss

I regret that, in our attempt to establish some standards, we didn't make them stick. We couldn't find a way to pass them on to another generation, really.
-Walter Cronkite

I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce.
-J. Edgar Hoover

I want to live my life so that my nights are not full of regrets.
-D.H. Lawrence

I'm really glad that our young people missed the Depression, and missed the great big war. But I do regret that they missed the leaders that I knew. Leaders who told us when things were tough, and that we would have to sacrifice, and these difficulties might last awhile. They didn't tell us things were hard for us because we were different, or isolated, or special interests. They brought us together and they gave us a sense of national purpose.
-Ann Richards

If the chance ever comes to you to fall in love, grab it, every time. You might always live to regret it, but you won't find anything to beat it, and you won't know if it will come to you once more.
-Joseph Heller

In middle age we are apt to reach the horrifying conclusion that all sorrow, all pain, all passionate regret and loss and bitter disillusionment are self-made.
-Kathleen Norris

In the life of each of us, I said to myself, there is a place remote and islanded, and given to endless regret or secret happiness.
-Sarah Orne Jewett

It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.
-Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
-Arthur Miller

Never regret something that once made you smile.
-Amber Deckers

Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today, and you make your tomorrow.
-L. Ron Hubbard

Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience.
-Eleanor Hibbert

Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it's too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
-Oscar Wilde

Oh, Lord, it is not the sins I have committed that I regret, but those which I have had no opportunity to commit.
-Sheykh Ghalib

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for things we did not do that is inconsolable.
-Sydney J. Harris

Regret for wasted time is more wasted time.
-Mason Cooley

Regrets are illuminations come too late.
-Joseph Campbell

Some die because they feel everything, others because they feel nothing. Some are fools because they suffer no regrets, and others because they do.
-Baltasar Gracián

The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act; even when it has worked and he has not been caught.
-H.L. Mencken

The follies a man regrets most in his life are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity.
-Helen Rowland

The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret.
-Henri Frédéric Amiel

The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner.
-Tallulah Bankhead

To regret one's own experiences is to arrest one's own development.
-Oscar Wilde

We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.
-Lucy Maud Montgomery

You may regret your silence once, but you will regret your words often.
-Ian Gabirol

Your children make it impossible to regret your past. They're its finest fruits. Sometimes the only ones.
-Anna Quindlen

Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age a regret.
-Benjamin Disraeli


(October 24 is also the birthday of Moss Hart and Stephen Covey.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic, Regrets

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Quotes of the day: Michael Crichton

Published Wednesday, October 22, 2014 @ 7:12 PM EDT
Oct 22 2014

John Michael Crichton, MD (October 23, 1942 – November 4, 2008) was an American best-selling author, physician, producer, director, and screenwriter, best known for his work in the science fiction, medical fiction, and thriller genres. His books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, and many have been adapted into films. In 1994 Crichton became the only creative artist ever to have works simultaneously charting at No. 1 in US television, film, and book sales (with ER, Jurassic Park, and Disclosure, respectively). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A day is like a whole life. You start out doing one thing, but end up doing something else, plan to run an errand, but never get there... And at the end of your life, your whole existence has the same haphazard quality, too. Your whole life has the same shape as a single day.

A man can see by starlight, if he takes the time.

Absence of proof is not proof of absence.

All major changes are like death. You can't see to the other side until you are there.

All your life people will tell you things. And most of the time, probably ninety-five percent of the time, what they'll tell you will be wrong.

Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results.

Do you know what we call opinion in the absence of evidence? We call it prejudice.

Endless presentation of conflict may interfere with genuine issue resolution.

Friendships are nice. So is competence.

Geniuses never pay attention.

Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

I am certain there is too much certainty in the world.

I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. You can not believe in God, but you still have to believe in something that gives meaning to your life, and shapes your sense of the world. Such a belief is religious.

If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree.

In our modern complex world, fundamentalism is dangerous because of its rigidity and its imperviousness to other ideas.

In the end, science offers us the only way out of politics. And if we allow science to become politicized, then we are lost. We will enter the Internet version of the dark ages, an era of shifting fears and wild prejudices, transmitted to people who don't know any better.

In the information society, nobody thinks. We expected to banish paper, but we actually banished thought.

It is especially difficult for modern people to conceive that our modern, scientific age might not be an improvement over the prescientific period.

It's better to die laughing than to live each moment in fear.

Let's be clear. The planet is not in jeopardy. We are in jeopardy. We haven't got the power to destroy the planet- or to save it. But we might have the power to save ourselves.

Like a bearded nut in robes on the sidewalk proclaiming the end of the world is near, the media is just doing what makes it feel good, not reporting hard facts. We need to start seeing the media as a bearded nut on the sidewalk, shouting out false fears. Its not sensible to listen to it.

Nobody smart knows what they want to do until they get into their twenties or thirties.

Science is as corruptible a human activity as any other.

The planet has survived everything, in its time. It will certainly survive us,

The purpose of life is to stay alive. Watch any animal in nature- all it tries to do is stay alive. It doesn't care about beliefs or philosophy. Whenever any animal's behavior puts it out of touch with the realities of its existence, it becomes exinct.

The romantic view of the natural world as a blissful Eden is only held by people who have no actual experience of nature.

There is no Eden. There never was. What was that Eden of the wonderful mythic past? Is it the time when infant mortality was 80%, when four children in five died of disease before the age of five? When one woman in six died in childbirth? When the average lifespan was 40, as it was in America a century ago? When plagues swept across the planet, killing millions in a stroke. Was it when millions starved to death? Is that when it was Eden?

They didn't understand what they were doing. I'm afraid that will be on the tombstone of the human race. I hope it's not. We might get lucky.

To mix environmental concerns with the frantic fantasies that people have about one political party or another is to miss the cold truth- that there is very little difference between the parties, except a difference in pandering rhetoric.

We need to get environmentalism out of the sphere of religion. We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead.

What makes you think human beings are sentient and aware? There's no evidence for it. Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told- and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their 'beliefs.' The reason is that beliefs guide behavior which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion. Next question.

You know what's wrong with scientific power? It's a form of inherited wealth. And you know what assholes congenitally rich people are.

Categories: Michael Crichton, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Doris Lessing

Published Tuesday, October 21, 2014 @ 9:35 PM EDT
Oct 21 2014

Doris May Lessing (October 22, 1919 – November 17, 2013) was a Nobel prize-winning British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. Her novels include The Grass is Singing (1950), the sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence (1952–69), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983). (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


I'm 88 years old and they can't give the Nobel to someone who's dead, so I think they were probably thinking they'd probably better give it to me now before I've popped off.

In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools.

It can be considered a rule that the probable duration of an Empire may be prognosticated by the degree to which its rulers believe in their own propaganda.

It is terrible to destroy a person's picture of himself in the interests of truth or some other abstraction.

Parents should leave books lying around marked 'forbidden' if they want their children to read.

Small things amuse small minds.

Space or science fiction has become a dialect for our time.

That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way.

The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.

There's only one real sin, and that is to persuade oneself that the second-best is anything but the second-best.

Think wrongly, if you please, but in all cases think for yourself.

We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known.

What matters most is that we learn from living.

What society doesn't realize is that in the past, ordinary people respected learning. They respected books, and they don't now, or not very much. That whole respect for serious literature and learning has disappeared.

What's terrible is to pretend that the second-rate is the first- rate.

Why should we suppose that what we remember is more important than what we forget?


(October 22 is also the birthday of Timothy Leary.)

Categories: Doris Lessing, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Ursula K. Le Guin

Published Monday, October 20, 2014 @ 9:45 PM EDT
Oct 20 2014

Ursula Kroeber Le Guin (b. October 21, 1929) is an American author of novels, children's books, and short stories, mainly in the genres of fantasy and science fiction. She has also written poetry and essays. First published in the 1960s, her work has often depicted futuristic or imaginary alternative worlds in politics, natural environment, gender, religion, sexuality and ethnography. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A wrong that cannot be repaired must be transcended.

All of us have to learn how to invent our lives, make them up, imagine them. We need to be taught these skills; we need guides to show us how. If we don't, our lives get made up for us by other people.

Almost everything carried to its logical extreme becomes depressing, if not carcinogenic.

Animals do neither good nor evil. They do as they must do. We may call what they do harmful or useful, but good and evil belong to us, who chose to choose what we do.

Belief in heaven and hell is a big deal in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and some forms of doctrinaire Buddhism. For the rest of us it’s simply meaningless. We don’t live in order to die, we live in order to live.

Belief is the wound that knowledge heals.

Coercion is the least efficient means of obtaining order.

Excess is excrement.

Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one.

Go to bed; tired is stupid.

Great artists make the roads; good teachers and good companions can point them out. But there ain't no free rides, baby.

Great self-destruction follows upon unfounded fear.

Have you never thought how danger must surround power as shadow does light?

I talk about the gods, I am an atheist. But I am an artist too, and therefore a liar. Distrust everything I say. I am telling the truth.

Injustice makes the rules, and courage breaks them.

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

It is of the nature of idea to be communicated: written, spoken, done. The idea is like grass. It craves light, likes crowds, thrives on crossbreeding, grows better for being stepped on.

It is only when science asks why, instead of simply describing how, that it becomes more than technology. When it asks why, it discovers Relativity. When it only shows how, it invents the atomic bomb, and then puts its hands over its eyes and says, 'My God, what have I done?'

Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread, re-made all the time, made new.

Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.

Most civilisations, perhaps, look shinier in general terms and from several light-years away.

My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.

One alien is a curiosity, two are an invasion.

Same old hypocrisy. Life is a fight, and the strongest wins. All civilization does is hide the blood and cover up the hate with pretty words!

Science fiction is not prescriptive; it is descriptive.

Suffering is dysfunctional, except as a bodily warning against danger. Psychologically and socially it’s merely destructive.

The counsel of the dead is not profitable to the living.

The danger in trying to do good is that the mind comes to confuse the intent of goodness with the act of doing things well.

The law of evolution is that the strongest survives... and the strongest, in the existence of any social species, are those who are most social. In human terms, most ethical.

The more defensive a society, the more conformist.

To claim power over what you do not understand is not wise, nor is the end of it likely to be good.

To hear, one must be silent.

To learn a belief without belief is to sing a song without the tune.

To oppose something is to maintain it.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Ursula K. Le Guin

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Quotes of the day: Lewis Grizzard

Published Sunday, October 19, 2014 @ 9:06 PM EDT
Oct 19 2014

Lewis McDonald Grizzard, Jr. (October 20, 1946 – March 20, 1994) was an American writer and humorist, known for his Southern demeanor and commentary on the American South. Although he spent his early career as a newspaper sports writer and editor, becoming the sports editor of the Atlanta Journal at age 23, he is much better known for his humorous newspaper columns in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a popular stand-up comedian and lecturer. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


By the time a man can afford to lose a golf ball, he can't hit it that far.

Chili Dawgs Always Bark at Night. (book title)

I come from a big family. As a matter of fact, I never got to sleep alone until I was married.

I don't think I'll get married again; every five years or so, I'll just find a woman I don't like and give her a house.

I grew up in a very large family in a very small house. I never slept alone until after I was married.

I had indeed seen a bright, beautiful light and had followed it, but it turned out to be a Kmart tire sale.

I have three ex-wives. I can't remember any of their names, so I just call 'em Plaintiff.

I know lots of people who are educated far beyond their intelligence.

If Love Were Oil, I'd Be About a Quart Low. (book title)

If soccer was an American soft drink, it would be Diet Pepsi.

It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.

Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Naked for a Southern means you ain't got no clothes on. Nekkid means you ain't got no clothes on and you up to somethin'.

Never order barbeque in a place that also serves quiche.

Real estate agents are God's plague on mankind when locusts are out of season.

Sex hasn't been the same since women started enjoying it.

Shoot low, boys. They're ridin' Shetland ponies.

The public, more often than not, will forgive mistakes, but it will not forgive trying to wriggle and weasel out of one.

There's nothing inherently dirty about sex, but if you try real hard and use your imagination you can overcome that.

There is something wrong when you wait in line thirty minutes to get a hamburger that was cooked for ninety seconds an hour ago.

Women who drink white wine either want to get married, sell you a piece of real estate, or redecorate your house; either way, it's expensive.

Writing a daily column is like being married to a nymphomaniac. The first two weeks is fun.


(October 20 is also the birthday of Art Buchwald and Joyce Brothers.)

Categories: Lewis Grizzard, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: John le Carré

Published Saturday, October 18, 2014 @ 8:55 PM EDT
Oct 18 2014

David John Moore Cornwell (b. October 19, 1931), pen name John le Carré, is a British author of espionage novels. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for the British intelligence services MI5 and MI6, and began writing novels under a pen name. His third novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) became an international best-seller, and it remains one of his best-known works. Following the success of this novel, he left MI6 to become a full-time author. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A committee is an animal with four back legs.

A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.

A good man knows when to sacrifice himself, a bad man survives but loses his soul.

A spy, like a writer, lives outside the mainstream population. He steals his experience through bribes and reconstructs it.

America has entered one of its periods of historic madness, but this is the worst I can remember.

Americans believe that if you know something, you should do something about it.

At 65, when you've seen the world shape up as I have, there are only two things you can do: laugh or kill yourself.

Blackmail is more effective than bribery.

Elections are a Western jerk-off.

Fools, most linguists. Damn all to say in one language, so they learn another and say damn all in that.

Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.

History keeps her secrets longer than most of us. But she has one secret that I will reveal to you tonight in the greatest confidence. Sometimes there are no winners at all. And sometimes nobody needs to lose.

I suffer from the same frustration that every decent American suffers from. That is, that you begin to wonder whether decent liberal instincts, decent humanitarian instincts, can actually penetrate the right-wing voice, get through the steering of American opinion by the mass media.

I think bankers will always get away with whatever they can get away with.

I think, increasingly, despite what we are being told is an ever more open world of communication, there is a terrible alienation in the ordinary man between what he is being told and what he secretly believes.

If there is one eternal truth of politics, it is that there are always a dozen good reasons for doing nothing.

If you're growing up in a chaotic world without reason, your instinct is to become a performer and control the circumstances around you. You lead from weakness into strength; you have an undefended back.

If you're reporting on human misery, you do well to share it.

Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.

Luck's just another word for destiny... either you make your own or you're screwed.

My definition of a decent society is one that first of all takes care of its losers, and protects its weak.

Never trade a secret, you'll always get the short end of the bargain.

No problem exists in isolation, one must first reduce it to its basic components, then tackle each component in turn.

Nothing in life... even a few broken bones, is without its reward.

Savages... are by nature rash. They have no middle gear. The middle gear of any man is self-discipline.

So odd to think of the Devil as a fumbler!

The friends of my friends are my friends.

The monsters of our childhood do not fade away, neither are they ever wholly monstrous. But neither, in my experience, do we ever reach a plane of detachment regarding our parents, however wise and old we may become. To pretend otherwise is to cheat.

The neglected are too easily killed.

The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded. The combination of compliant US media and vested corporate interests is once more ensuring that a debate that should be ringing out in every town square is confined to the loftier columns of the East Coast press.

The things that are done in the name of the shareholder are, to me, as terrifying as the things that are done- dare I say it- in the name of God,

There is a big difference between fighting the cold war and fighting radical Islam. The rules have changed and we haven't.

There's one thing worse than change and that's the status quo.

We are in the process of doing things in defense of our society which may very well produce a society which is not worth defending.

We lie to one another every day, in the sweetest way, often unconsciously. We dress ourselves and compose ourselves in order to present ourselves to one another.

When you assimilate, you choose.

Why is it that so many men of small stature have more courage than men of size?

You can't make war against terror. Terror is a technique of battle.

(John le Carré interview with Amy Goodman in The Greanville Post, 12/02/2010)

Categories: John le Carre, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: A.J. Liebling

Published Friday, October 17, 2014 @ 9:09 PM EDT
Oct 17 2014

Abbott Joseph "A. J." Liebling (October 18, 1904 - December 28, 1963) was an American journalist who was closely associated with The New Yorker from 1935 until his death. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A city with one newspaper, or with a morning and an evening paper under one ownership, is like a man with one eye, and often the eye is glass.

A Louisiana politician can't afford to let his animosities carry him away, and still less his principles, although there is seldom difficulty in that department.

An Englishman teaching an American about food is like the blind leading the one-eyed.

Chicago seems a big city instead of merely a large place.

Cynicism is often the shamefaced product of inexperience.

Freedom of the press belongs to them who own one..

I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write faster than anybody who can write better.

I take a grave view of the press. It is the weak slat under the bed of democracy.

If the first requisite for writing well about food is a good appetite, the second is to put in your apprenticeship as a feeder when you have enough money to pay the check but not enough to produce indifference of the total.

If you just try long enough and hard enough, you can always manage to boot yourself in the posterior.

It is impossible for me to estimate how many of my early impressions of the world, correct and the opposite, came to me through newspapers. Homicide, adultery, no-hit pitching, and Balkanism were concepts that, left to my own devices, I would have encountered much later in life.

No sane man can afford to dispense with debilitating pleasures. No ascetic can be considered reliably sane.

People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news.

Show me a poet, and I'll show you a shit.

Southern political personalities, like sweet corn, travel badly. They lose flavor with every hundred yards away from the patch. By the time they reach New York, they are like Golden Bantam that has been trucked up from Texas- stale and unprofitable. The consumer forgets that the corn tastes different where it grows.

The function of the press in society is to inform, but its role in society is to make money.

The pattern of a newspaperman's life is like the plot of 'Black Beauty.' Sometimes he finds a kind master who gives him a dry stall and an occasional bran mash in the form of a Christmas bonus, sometimes he falls into the hands of a mean owner who drives him in spite of spavins and expects him to live on potato peelings.

The science of booby-trapping has taken a good deal of the fun out of following hot on the enemy's heels.

The way to write is well, and how is your own business.

The world isn't going backward, if you can just stay young enough to remember what it was really like when you were really young.

There is no concept more generally cherished by publishers than that of the Undeserving Poor.

Two kinds of person are consoling in a dangerous time: those who are completely courageous, and those who are more frightened than you are.


(October 18 is the birthday of Logan Pearsall Smith. Lewis Mumford, and Matthew Henry.)

Categories: A.J. Liebling, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: William O. Douglas

Published Wednesday, October 15, 2014 @ 11:53 PM EDT
Oct 15 2014

William Orville Douglas (October 16, 1898 – January 19, 1980) served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Nominated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Douglas was confirmed at the age of 40, one of the youngest justices appointed to the court. His term, lasting 36 years and 209 days (1939–75), is the longest term in the history of the Supreme Court. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purposes when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger.

Absolute discretion is a ruthless master. It is more destructive of freedom than any of man's other inventions.

All executive power- from the reign of ancient kings to the rule of modern dictators- has the outward appearance of efficiency.

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.

Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and the like.

Christianity has sufficient inner strength to survive and flourish on its own. It does not need state subsidies, nor state privileges, nor state prestige. The more it obtains state support the greater it curtails human freedom.

Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter. The audience... that hissed yesterday may applaud today, even for the same performance.

If discrimination based on race is constitutionally permissible when those who hold the reins can come up with "compelling" reasons to justify it, then constitutional guarantees acquire an accordion-like quality.

It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies. We need all the ingenuity we possess to avert the holocaust.

Literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.

Man is about to be an automaton; he is identifiable only in the computer. As a person of worth and creativity, as a being with an infinite potential, he retreats and battles the forces that make him inhuman.

No matter what the legislature may say, a man has the right to make his speech, print his handbill, compose his newspaper, and deliver his sermon without asking anyone's permission. The contrary suggestion is abhorrent to our traditions.

Religious experiences which are as real as life to some may be incomprehensible to others.

Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.

The conception of political equality from the Declaration of Independence, to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, to the Fifteenth, Seventeenth, and Nineteenth Amendments could mean only one thing- one person, one vote.

The Constitution favors no racial group, no political or social group.

The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.

The critical point is that the Constitution places the right of silence beyond the reach of government.

The dissent we witness is a reaffirmation of faith in man; it is protest against living under rules and prejudices and attitudes that produce the extremes of wealth and poverty and that make us dedicated to the destruction of people through arms, bombs, and gases, and that prepare us to think alike and be submissive objects for the regime of the computer.

The Fifth Amendment is an old friend and a good friend, one of the great landmarks in men's struggle to be free of tyranny, to be decent and civilized.

The law is not a series of calculating machines where answers come tumbling out when the right levers are pushed.

The liberties of none are safe unless the liberties of all are protected.

The purpose of the University of Washington cannot be to produce black lawyers for blacks, Polish lawyers for Poles, Jewish lawyers for Jews, Irish lawyers for Irish. It should be to produce good lawyers for Americans and not to place First Amendment barriers against anyone.

The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.

The right to dissent is the only thing that makes life tolerable for a judge of an appellate court... the affairs of government could not be conducted by democratic standards without it.

The rules when the giants play are the same as when the pygmies enter the market.

The struggle is always between the individual and his sacred right to express himself and the power structure that seeks conformity, suppression, and obedience.

The way to combat noxious ideas is with other ideas. The way to combat falsehoods is with truth.

The whole, though larger than any of its parts, does not necessarily obscure their separate identities.

Violence has no constitutional sanction; and every government from the beginning has moved against it. But where grievances pile high and most of the elected spokesmen represent the Establishment, violence may be the only effective response.

We must realize that today's Establishment is the New George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.

We need to be bold and adventurous in our thinking in order to survive.

When a legislature undertakes to proscribe the exercise of a citizen's constitutional right to free speech, it acts lawlessly; and the citizen can take matters in his own hands and proceed on the basis that such a law is no law at all.


(October 16 is also the birthday of Oscar Wilde and Eugene O'Neill)

Categories: Quotes of the day, William O. Douglas

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Quotes of the day: P.G. Wodehouse

Published Tuesday, October 14, 2014 @ 9:44 PM EDT
Oct 14 2014

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, KBE (October 15, 1881 – February 14, 1975) was an English humorist whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years, and his many writings continue to be widely read. Despite the political and social upheavals that occurred during his life, much of which was spent in France and the United States, Wodehouse's main canvas remained that of a pre– and post–World War I English upper class society, reflecting his birth, education, and youthful writing career. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A girl who bonnets a policeman with an ashcan full of bottles is obviously good wife-and-mother timber.

A man who has spent most of his adult life trying out a series of patent medicines is always an optimist.

At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.

Boyhood, like measles, is one of those complaints which a man should catch young and have done with, for when it comes in middle life it is apt to be serious.

Chumps always make the best husbands... All the unhappy marriages come from the husbands having brains.

Dedication: To my daughter Leonora without whose never-failing sympathy and encouragement this book would have been finished in half the time.

Every author really wants to have letters printed in the papers. Unable to make the grade, he drops down a rung of the ladder and writes books.

Golf is the infallible test. The man who can go into a patch of rough alone, with the knowledge that only God is watching him, and play his ball where it lies, is the man who will serve you faithfully and well.

He felt like a man who, chasing rainbows, has had one of them suddenly turn and bite him in the leg.

He groaned slightly and winced like Prometheus watching his vulture dropping in for lunch.

He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.

He had the look of one who had drunk the cup of life and found a dead beetle at the bottom.

He was a tubby little chap who looked as if he had been poured into his clothes and had forgotten to say when.

He was white and shaken, like a dry martini.

I always advise people never to give advice.

I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.

I'd always thought her half-baked, but now I think they didn't even put her in the oven.

I'm not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it's Shakespeare who says that it's always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping.

It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.

It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.

It is true of course, that I have a will of iron, but it can be switched off if the circumstances seem to demand it.

It was one of those parties where you cough twice before you speak, and then decide not to say it after all.

Love has had a lot of press-agenting from the oldest times; but there are higher, nobler things than love.

Many a man may look respectable, and yet be able to hide at will behind a spiral staircase.

Marriage is not a process for prolonging the life of love, sir. It merely mummifies its corpse.

Mere abuse is no criticism.

Never put anything on paper, my boy, and never trust a man with a small black moustache.

One of the drawbacks to life is that it contains moments when one is compelled to tell the truth.

Red hair, sir, in my opinion, is dangerous.

She had more curves than a scenic railway.

Slice him where you like, a hellhound is always a hellhound.

Some minds are like soup in a poor restaurant- better left unstirred.

The drowsy stillness of the afternoon was shattered by what sounded to his strained senses like G.K. Chesterton falling on a sheet of tin.

The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.

There are three reasons for becoming a writer: the first is that you need the money; the second, that you have something to say that you think the world should know; the third is that you can't think what to do with the long winter evenings.

There is only one cure for grey hair. It was invented by a Frenchman. It is called the guillotine.

To my daughter Leonora without whose never failing sympathy and encouragement this book would have been completed in half the time.

Unseen in the background, Fate was quietly slipping lead into the boxing-glove.

Whatever may be said in favor of the Victorians, it is pretty generally admitted that few of them were to be trusted within reach of a trowel and a pile of bricks.

When it comes to letting the world in on the secrets of his heart, he has about as much shrinking reticence as a steam calliope.

When you have been just told that the girl you love is definitely betrothed to another, you begin to understand how Anarchists must feel when the bomb goes off too soon.

Why don't you get a haircut? You look like a chrysanthemum.

You can't go by what a girl says, when she's giving you hell for making a chump of yourself. It's like Shakespeare. Sounds well but doesn't mean anything.


(October 15 is also the birthday of Friedrich Nietzsche/)

Categories: P.G. Wodehouse, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: William Penn

Published Monday, October 13, 2014 @ 9:15 PM EDT
Oct 13 2014

William Penn (October 14, 1644 - July 30, 1718) was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, early Quaker and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was an early advocate of democracy and religious freedom, notable for his good relations and successful treaties with the Lenape Indians. Under his direction, the city of Philadelphia was planned and developed. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it.

Force may make hypocrites, but it can never make converts.

Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and as governments are made and moved by men, so by them they are ruined too.

If a civil word or two will render a man happy, he must be a wretch indeed who will not tell them to him.

It were better to be of no church, than to be bitter for any.

Let the people think they govern and they will be governed.

Liberty without obedience is confusion, and obedience without liberty us slavery.

Men are generally more careful of the breed of their horses and dogs than of their children.

Much reading is an oppression of the mind, and extinguishes the natural candle, which is the reason for so many senseless scholars in the world.

My prison shall be my grave before I will budge a jot; for I owe my conscience to no mortal man.

No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.

Passion is a sort of fever in the mind, which ever leaves us weaker than it found us.

The public must and will be served.

There can be no Friendship where there is no Freedom

They have a right to censure, that have a heart to help: The rest is cruelty, not justice.

Time is what we want most, but what, alas! we use worst; and for which God will certainly most strictly reckon with us, when Time shall be no more.

To do evil that good may come of it is for bunglers in politics as well as morals.

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than from the arguments of its opposers.

Where charity keeps pace with grain, industry is blessed, but to slave to get, and keep it sordidly, is a sin against Providence, a vice in government and an injury to their neighbors.


(October 14 is also the birthday of Dwight Eisenhower and E.E. Cummings.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Penn

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Quotes of the day: Paul Simon

Published Sunday, October 12, 2014 @ 10:20 PM EDT
Oct 12 2014

Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American musician, actor and singer-songwriter. Simon's fame, influence, and commercial success began as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, formed in 1964 with musical partner Art Garfunkel. Simon wrote nearly all of the pair's songs, including three that reached No. 1 on the U.S. singles charts: "The Sound of Silence," "Mrs. Robinson," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water". The duo split up in 1970 at the height of their popularity, and Simon began a successful solo career as a guitarist and singer-songwriter, recording three highly acclaimed albums over the next five years. In 1986, he released Graceland, an album inspired by South African township music. Simon also wrote and starred in the film One-Trick Pony (1980) and co-wrote the Broadway musical The Capeman (1998) with the poet Derek Walcott.

Simon has earned 12 Grammys for his solo and collaborative work, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2006 was selected as one of the "100 People Who Shaped the World" by Time magazine. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine named Simon as one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists. Among many other honors, Simon was the first recipient of the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007. In 1986, Simon was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, where he currently serves on the Board of Trustees. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All lies and jests, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.

Faith is an island in the setting sun,
But proof is the bottom line for everyone.

I believe it's no good to talk about your songs; it's wrong. You should leave your songs alone and let them say what they say; let people take what they want from them.

I get all the news I need from the weather report.

I'm more interested in what I discover than what I invent.

Improvisation is too good to leave to chance.

In terms of quality of work, experience is an advantage. But when the whole culture changes its value system, as ours has been doing, you can evolve in a way that's appropriate for your age and still wind up as an artifact.

It's actually very difficult to make something both simple and good.

Much of songwriting is simply a mystery.

Music is forever; music should grow and mature with you, following you right on up until you die.

One man's ceiling is another man's floor.

Sometimes even music cannot substitute for tears.

The thought that life could be better is woven indelibly into our hearts and our brains.

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenements halls and whispered in the sounds of silence.

We work our jobs, collect our pay; believe were gliding down the highway when in fact, we're slip sliding away.

When I look back on all the crap
I learned in high school,
It's a wonder
I can think at all.
(lyrics, Kodachrome)

(October 13 is also the birthday of Lenny Bruce.)

Categories: Paul Simon, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Jean Cocteau

Published Friday, October 10, 2014 @ 11:11 PM EDT
Oct 10 2014

Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (July 5, 1889 – October 11, 1963) was a French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Cocteau is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929), and the films Blood of a Poet (1930), Les Parents Terribles (1948), Beauty and the Beast (1946) and Orpheus (1949) (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All good music resembles something. Good music stirs by its mysterious resemblance to the objects and feelings which motivated it.

An artist cannot speak about his art any more than a plant can discuss horticulture.

An original artist is unable to copy. So he has only to copy in order to be original.

Anything of any importance cannot help but be unrecognizable, since it bears no resemblance to anything already known.

Art is science made clear.

Art produces ugly things which frequently become more beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.

Be a constant outrage to modesty. There is nothing to fear: modesty is exercised only among the blind.

Be a mere assistant to your unconscious. Do only half the work. The rest will do itself.

Beauty cannot be recognized with a cursory glance.

Disavow anyone who provokes or accepts the extermination of a race to which he does not belong.

Do not fear being ridiculous in relation to the ridiculous.

Do not take up cause against the inaccuracies printed about you. They are your protection.

Expect neither reward nor beatitude. Return noble waves for ignoble.

Fight any instinct to be humorless, for humorlessness is the worst of all absurdities.

Hate only hatred.

History is a combination of reality and lies. The reality of history becomes a lie. The unreality of the fable becomes the truth.

I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.

If it has to choose who is to be crucified, the crowd will always save Barabbas.

Know that your work speaks only to those on the same wavelength as you.

Life is a horizontal fall.

Mirrors would do well to reflect a little more before sending back images.

Mystery has its own mysteries, and there are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs.

One is either judge or accused. The judge sits, the accused stands. Live on your feet.

One must be a living man and a posthumous artist.

Respect movements, flee schools.

See your disappointments as good fortune. One plan's deflation is another's inflation.

Tact in audacity is knowing how far you can go without going too far.

The day of my birth, my death began its walk. It is walking toward me, without hurrying.

The ear disapproves but tolerates certain musical pieces; transfer them into the domain of our nose, and we will be forced to flee.

The extreme limit of wisdom- that's what the public calls madness.

The greatest masterpiece in literature is only a dictionary out of order.

The instinct of nearly all societies is to lock up anybody who is truly free. First, society begins by trying to beat you up. If this fails, they try to poison you. If this fails too, they finish by loading honors on your head.

The joy of youth is to disobey, but the trouble is that there are no longer any orders.

The poet never asks for admiration; he wants to be believed.

The skin of all of us is responsive to gypsy songs and military marches.

The worst tragedy for a poet is to be admired through being misunderstood.

There are truths which one can only say after having won the right to say them.

There is always a period when a man with a beard shaves it off. This period does not last. He returns headlong to his beard.

This sickness, to express oneself. What is it?

True realism consists in revealing the surprising things which habit keeps covered and prevents us from seeing.

Understand that some of your enemies are amongst your best friends.

We must believe in luck. For how else can we explain the success of those we don't like?

We shelter an angel within us. We must be the guardians of that angel.

Wealth is an inborn attitude of mind, like poverty. The pauper who has made his pile may flaunt his spoils, but cannot wear them plausibly.

What is history after all? History is facts which become lies in the end; legends are lies which become history in the end.

What the public criticizes in you, cultivate. It is you.

When a work appears to be ahead of its time, it is only the time that is behind the work.

You've never seen death? Look in the mirror every day and you will see it like bees working in a glass hive.


(October 11 is also the birthday of Eleanor Roosevelt)

Categories: Jean Cocteau, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Harold Pinter

Published Thursday, October 09, 2014 @ 9:41 PM EDT
Oct 09 2014

Harold Pinter, CH, CBE (October 10, 1930 - December 24, 2008) was a Nobel Prize-winning English playwright, screenwriter, director and actor. One of the most influential modern British dramatists, his writing career spanned more than 50 years. His best- known plays include The Birthday Party (1957), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), each of which he adapted for the screen. His screenplay adaptations of others' works include The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He also directed or acted in radio, stage, television, and film productions of his own and others' works. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All that happens is that the destruction of human beings- unless they're Americans- is called collateral damage.

Apart from the known and the unknown, what else is there?

How can the unknown merit reverence?

I know little of women. But I've heard dread tales.

I ought not to speak about the dead because the dead are all over the place.

I sometimes feel that the past is never past.

I think it is the responsibility of a citizen of any country to say what he thinks.

If you have only one of something you can't say it's the best of anything.

It was difficult being a conscientious objector in the 1940s, but I felt I had to stick to my guns.

It's so easy for propaganda to work, and dissent to be mocked.

It's very difficult to feel contempt for others when you see yourself in the mirror.

Language in art remains a highly ambiguous transaction, a quicksand, a trampoline, a frozen pool which might give way under you... at any time.

Most of the press is in league with government, or with the status quo.

Nothing is more sterile or lamentable than the man content to live within himself.

One way of looking at speech is to say it is a constant stratagem to cover nakedness.

One's life has many compartments.

Our beginnings never know our ends.

Tell me more about the quaint little perversions of your life and times.

The past is what you remember, imagine you remember, convince yourself you remember, or pretend you remember.

There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.

There are some things one remembers even though they may never have happened.

We admit possibility only after we grant necessity.

You don't have to believe anything.

You don't know what your trouble is, my friend. That's your trouble.

Categories: Harold Pinter, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: John Lennon

Published Wednesday, October 08, 2014 @ 9:19 PM EDT
Oct 08 2014

John Ono Lennon, MBE (born John Winston Lennon; October 9, 1940 – December 8, 1980), was an English musician, singer and songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as a founding member of the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music. With Paul McCartney, he formed a songwriting partnership that is one of the most celebrated of the 20th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.

Above all else never let people know how physically unattractive they actually are. Everyone deserves to believe they are beautiful.

All kids draw and write poetry and everything, and some of us last until we're about eighteen, but most drop off at about twelve when some guy comes up and says, 'You're no good.' That's all we get told all our lives.

All we are saying is give peace a chance.

As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.

Before Elvis, there was nothing. (Attributed)

Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it'll always get you the right ones.

Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end.

God is a concept by which we measure our pain.

Happiness is just how you feel when you don't feel miserable.

I really thought that love would save us all.

I think people who need a church should go. And the others who know the church is in your own head should visit that temple because that's where the source is.

I'm not afraid of dying. I'm prepared for death because I don't believe in it. I think it's just getting out of one car and getting into another.

It's better to fade away like an old soldier than to burn out.

It's just natural, it's not a great disaster. People keep talking about it like it's The End of The Earth. It's only a rock group that split up, it's nothing important. You know, you have all the old records there if you want to reminisce.

It's only a rock group that split up, it's nothing important. You know, you have all the old records there if you want to reminisce.

It's quite possible to do anything, but not to put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don't expect Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself.

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives.

Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.

The more I see, the less I know for sure.

The thing the sixties did was to show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn't the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.

There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.
All you need is love.

These critics with the illusions they've created about artists- it's like idol worship. They only like people when they're on their way up.

We all have everything within us and the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh and within us, and if you look hard enough you'll see it.

We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.

When I was about twelve, I used to think I must be a genius, but nobody's noticed. Either I'm a genius or I'm mad, which is it? 'No,' I said, 'I can't be mad because nobody's put me away; therefore I'm a genius.' Genius is a form of madness and we're all that way. But I used to be coy about it, like me guitar playing. But if there's such a thing as genius — I am one. And if there isn't, I don't care.

When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.

Categories: John Lennon, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Frank Herbert

Published Tuesday, October 07, 2014 @ 7:14 PM EDT
Oct 07 2014

Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr. (October 8, 1920 - February 11, 1986) was an American science fiction writer best known for the novel Dune and its five sequels. Though he became famous for science fiction, he was also a newspaper journalist, photographer, short story writer, book reviewer, ecological consultant and lecturer. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.

All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted.

Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is dangerous.

Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.

Do you want an absolute prediction? Then you want only today, and you reject tomorrow. You are the ultimate conservative. You are trying to hold back movement in an infinitely changing universe. The verb to be does make idiots of us all.

Does a population have informed consent when a ruling minority acts in secret to ignite a war, doing this to justify the existence of the minority's forces?

Equal justice and equal opportunity are ideals we should seek, but we should recognize that humans administer the ideals and that humans do not have equal ability.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

If a leader cannot admit mistakes, these mistakes will be hidden. Who says our leaders must be perfect? Where do they learn this?

It is demonstrable that power structures tend to attract people who want power for the sake of power and that a significant proportion of such people are imbalanced- in a word, insane.

Mine religion for what is good and avoid what is deleterious. Don't condemn people who need it. Be very careful when that need becomes fanatical.

No matter how finely you subdivide time and space, each tiny division contains infinity.

Once human beings realize something can be done, they're not satisfied until they've done it.

Providence and Manifest Destiny are synonyms often invoked to support arguments based on wishful thinking.

Religion often partakes of the myth of progress that shields us from the terrors of an uncertain future.

Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality.

Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.

Survival is the ability to swim in strange water.

Technology is both a tool for helping humans and for destroying them. This is the paradox of our times which we're compelled to face.

The concept of progress acts as a protective mechanism to shield us from the terrors of the future.

The function of science fiction is not always to predict the future but sometimes to prevent it.

The more control, the more that requires control. This is the road to chaos.

The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action.

The thing we must do intensely is be human together. People are more important than things.

There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.

We are questioning more than the philosophy behind our dependence upon limited and limiting systems. We question the power structures that have grown up around such systems.

We must develop an absolute priority of humans ahead of profit- any humans ahead of any profit. Then we will survive.

What do you despise? By this are you truly known.

When a wise man does not understand, he says: 'I do not understand.' The fool and the uncultured are ashamed of their ignorance. They remain silent when a question could bring them wisdom.

When politics and religion are intermingled, a people is suffused with a sense of invulnerability, and gathering speed in their forward charge, they fail to see the cliff ahead of them.

When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way.

You cannot understand a process by stopping it.

You should never be in the company of anyone with whom you would not want to die.

Categories: Frank Herbert, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Shana Alexander

Published Sunday, October 05, 2014 @ 9:14 PM EDT
Oct 05 2014

Shana Alexander (October 6, 1925 – June 23, 2005) was an American journalist, born Shana Ager in New York City. Although she became the first woman staff writer and columnist for Life magazine, she was best known for her participation in the "Point- Counterpoint" debate segments of 60 Minutes with conservative James J. Kilpatrick. She was a daughter of Tin Pan Alley composer Milton Ager, who composed the song "Happy Days Are Here Again," and his wife, columnist Cecelia Ager. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A handwritten, personal letter has become a genuine modern-day luxury, like a child's pony ride.

As a general rule, fans and idols should always be kept at arm's length, the length of the arm to be proportionate to the degree of sheer idolatry involved. Don't take a Beatle to lunch. Don't wait up to see if the Easter Bunny is real. Just enjoy the egg hunt.

Between the two poles of whole-truth and half-truth is slung the chancy hammock in which we all rock.

Evolution is fascinating to watch. To me it is the most interesting when one can observe the evolution of a single man.

Hair brings one's self-image into focus; it is vanity's proving ground. Hair is terribly personal, a tangle of mysterious prejudices.

I don't believe man is a woman's natural enemy. Perhaps his lawyer is.

In a nation of celebrity worshipers, amid followers of the cult of personality, individual modesty becomes a heroic quality. I find heroism in the acceptance of anonymity, in the studied resistance to the normal American tropism toward the limelight.

Letters are expectation packaged in an envelope.

Ours is the first society in history in which parents expect to learn from their children, rather than the other way around. Such a topsy-turvy situation has come about at least in part because, unlike the rest of the world, we are an immigrant society, and for immigrants the only hope is in the kids.

Rumor and gossip, like sound itself, appear to travel by wave- effect, sheer preposterosity being no barrier.

The difficulty with becoming a patient is that as soon as you get horizontal, part of your being yearns, not for a doctor, but for a medicine man.

The mark of a true crush... is that you fall in love first and grope for reasons afterward.

The metabolism of a consumer society requires it continually to eat and excrete, every day throwing itself away in plastic bags.

The paradox of reality is that no image is as compelling as the one which exists only in the mind's eye.

The real trouble with the doctor image in America is that it has been grayed by the image of the doctor-as-businessman, the doctor-as- bureaucrat, the doctor-as-medical-robot, and the doctor-as-terrified- victim-of-malpractice-suits.

The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous.

What troubles me is not that movie stars run for office, but that they find it easy to get elected. It should be difficult. It should be difficult for millionaires, too.

While people now get into bed more readily and a lot more naturally than they once did, what happens there often seems less important.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Shana Alexander

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Quotes of the day: Denis Diderot

Published Saturday, October 04, 2014 @ 9:18 PM EDT
Oct 04 2014

(Sculpture of Diderot by Jean-Antoine Houdon, 1771)

Denis Diderot (October 5, 1713 - July 31, 1784) was a French philosopher, art critic and writer. He was a prominent figure during the Enlightenment and is best known for serving as co-founder, chief editor and contributor to the Encyclopédie along with Jean le Rond d'Alembert. Diderot also contributed to literature, notably with Jacques le fataliste et son maître (Jacques the Fatalist and his Master), which was influenced by Laurence Sterne's novel Tristam Shandy in challenging conventions regarding novels and their structure and content, while also examining philosophical ideas about free will. Diderot is also known as the author of the dialogue Le Neveu de Rameau (Rameau's Nephew), upon which many articles and sermons about consumer desire have been based. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Bad company is as instructive as licentiousness. One makes up for the loss of one's innocence with the loss of one's prejudices.

Disturbances in society are never more fearful than when those who are stirring up the trouble can use the pretext of religion to mask their true designs.

Every man has his dignity. I'm willing to forget mine, but at my own discretion and not when someone else tells me to.

Evil always turns up in this world through some genius or other.

From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.

Happiest are the people who give most happiness to others.

I believe in God, although I live very happily with atheists... It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley; but not at all so to believe or not in God.

If there is one realm in which it is essential to be sublime, it is in wickedness. You spit on a petty thief, but you can't deny a kind of respect for the great criminal.

In any country where talent and virtue produce no advancement, money will be the national god... Wealth will be the highest virtue, poverty the greatest vice.

In order to shake a hypothesis, it is sometimes not necessary to do anything more than push it as far as it will go.

It has been said that love robs those who have it of their wit, and gives it to those who have none.

Justice is the first virtue of those who command, and stops the complaints of those who obey.

Let us strangle the last king with the guts of the last priest.

Man was born to live with his fellow human beings. Separate him, isolate him, his character will go bad, a thousand ridiculous affects will invade his heart, extravagant thoughts will germinate in his brain, like thorns in an uncultivated land.

Morals are in all countries the result of legislation and government; they are not African or Asian or European: they are good or bad.

One may demand of me that I should seek truth, but not that I should find it.

Only a very bad theologian would confuse the certainty that follows revelation with the truths that are revealed. They are entirely different things.

Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.

Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever outlasts the particular threat to society that aroused it.

Pithy sentences are like sharp nails which force truth upon our memory.

Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey.

Skepticism is the first step towards truth.

The good of the people must be the great purpose of government.

The more man ascends through the past, and the more he launches into the future, the greater he will be, and all these philosophers and ministers and truth-telling men who have fallen victims to the stupidity of nations, the atrocities of priests, the fury of tyrants, what consolation was left for them in death? This: That prejudice would pass, and that posterity would pour out the vial of ignominy upon their enemies. O Posterity! Holy and sacred stay of the unhappy and the oppressed; thou who art just, thou who art incorruptible, thou who findest the good man, who unmaskest the hypocrite, who breakest down the tyrant, may thy sure faith, thy consoling faith never, never abandon me!

The most dangerous madmen are those created by religion, and... people whose aim is to disrupt society always know how to make good use of them on occasion.

The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.

There are things I can't force. I must adjust. There are times when the greatest change needed is a change of my viewpoint.

There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge available to us: observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation... Our observation of nature must be diligent, our reflection profound, and our experiments exact.

There is no kind of harassment that a man may not inflict on a woman with impunity in civilized societies.

There is no moral precept that does not have something inconvenient about it.

There is only one passion, the passion for happiness.

Wandering in a vast forest at night, I have only a faint light to guide me. A stranger appears and says to me: "My friend, you should blow out your candle in order to find your way more clearly." This stranger is a theologian.

Watch out for the fellow who talks about putting things in order! Putting things in order always means getting other people under your control.

We are constantly railing against the passions; we ascribe to them all of man's afflictions, and we forget that they are also the source of all his pleasures.

We are far more liable to catch the vices than the virtues of our associates.

We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.

What a hell of an economic system! Some are replete with everything while others, whose stomachs are no less demanding, whose hunger is just as recurrent, have nothing to bite on.

What is this world of ours? ... a fleeting symmetry; a momentary order.

Categories: Denis Diderot, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Rutherford B. Hayes

Published Friday, October 03, 2014 @ 8:00 PM EDT
Oct 03 2014

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (October 4, 1822 – January 17, 1893) was the 19th President of the United States (1877–1881). As president, he oversaw the end of Reconstruction, began the efforts that led to civil service reform, and attempted to reconcile the divisions left over from the Civil War and Reconstruction. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Abolish plutocracy if you would abolish poverty. As millionaires increase, pauperism grows. The more millionaires, the more paupers.

All appointments hurt. Five friends are made cold or hostile for every appointment; no new friends are made. All patronage is perilous to men of real ability or merit. It aids only those who lack other claims to public support.

As knowledge spreads, wealth spreads. To diffuse knowledge is to diffuse wealth. To give all an equal chance to acquire knowledge is the best and surest way to give all an equal chance to acquire property.

Constitutional statutes... which embody the settled public opinion of the people who enacted them and whom they are to govern- can always be enforced. But, if they embody only the sentiments of a bare majority…they are likely to injure the cause they are framed to advance.

Every age has its temptations, its weaknesses, its dangers. Ours is in the line of the snobbish and the sordid.

Fighting battles is like courting girls: those who make the most pretensions and are boldest usually win.

In avoiding the appearance of evil, I am not sure but I have sometimes unnecessarily deprived myself and others of innocent enjoyments.

It is the desire of the good people of the whole country that sectionalism as a factor in our politics should disappear.

It will be the duty of the Executive, with sufficient appropriations for the purpose, to prosecute unsparingly all who have been engaged in depriving citizens of the rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution.

One of the tests of the civilization of people is the treatment of its criminals.

Partisanship should be kept out of the pulpit... The blindest of partisans are preachers. All politicians expect and find more candor, fairness, and truth in politicians than in partisan preachers. They are not replied to- no chance to reply to them... The balance wheel of free institutions is free discussion. The pulpit allows no free discussion.

Strikes and boycotting are akin to war, and can be justified only on grounds analogous to those which justify war, viz., intolerable injustice and oppression.

The melancholy thing in our public life is the insane desire to get higher.

The President of the United States of necessity owes his election to office to the suffrage and zealous labors of a political party, the members of which cherish with ardor and regard as of essential importance the principles of their party organization; but he should strive to be always mindful of the fact that he serves his party best who serves the country best.

The progress of society is mainly... the improvement in the condition of the workingmen of the world.

The real difficulty is with the vast wealth and power in the hands of the few and the unscrupulous who represent or control capital. Hundreds of laws of Congress and the state legislatures are in the interest of these men and against the interests of workingmen. These need to be exposed and repealed. All laws on corporations, on taxation, on trusts, wills, descent, and the like, need examination and extensive change. This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations.- How is this? (March, 1888)

The unrestricted competition so commonly advocated does not leave us the survival of the fittest. The unscrupulous succeed best in accumulating wealth.

There can be no complete and permanent reform of the civil service until public opinion emancipates congressmen from all control and influence over government patronage. Legislation is required to establish the reform. No proper legislation is to be expected as long as members of Congress are engaged in procuring offices for their constituents.

Unjust attacks on public men do them more good than unmerited praise.

War is a cruel business and there is brutality in it on all sides...

We all agree that neither the Government nor political parties ought to interfere with religious sects. It is equally true that religious sects ought not to interfere with the Government or with political parties. We believe that the cause of good government and the cause of religion both suffer by all such interference.


Rutherford B. Hayes: The National Hero of... Paraguay?


(October 4 is also the birthday of Damon Runyon.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, Rutherford B. Hayes

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