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Quotes of the day: Rebecca West

Published Saturday, December 20, 2014 @ 6:31 PM EST
Dec 20 2014

Dame Cicely Isabel Fairfield DBE (December 21, 1892 – March 15, 1983), known as Rebecca West, was a British author, journalist, literary critic and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was widely considered to be among the important public intellectuals of the 20th century. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A good cause has to be careful of the company it keeps.

After any disturbance (such as two world wars coinciding with a period of growing economic and monetary incomprehensibility) we find our old concepts inadequate and look for new ones. But it unfortunately happens that the troubled times which produce an appetite for new ideas are the least propitious for clear thinking.

All our Western thought is founded on this repulsive pretence that pain is the proper price of any good thing.

Before a war military science seems a real science, like astronomy; but after a war it seems more like astrology.

Did St. Francis preach to the birds? Whatever for? If he really liked birds he would have done better to preach to the cats.

Everyone realizes that one can believe little of what people say about each other. But it is not so widely realized that even less can one trust what people say about themselves.

God forbid that any book should be banned. The practice is as indefensible as infanticide.

I do not myself find it agreeable to be 90, and I cannot imagine why it should seem so to other people. It is not that you have any fears about your own death, it is that your upholstery is already dead around you.

I find to my astonishment that an unhappy marriage goes on being unhappy when it is over.

If it be ungentlemanly to kiss and tell, it is still further from gentlemanliness to pray and tell.

If there is a God, I don't think He would demand that anyone bow down or stand up to Him. I often have a suspicion that God is still trying to work things out and hasn't finished.

It is not possible that a just God should forgive people who are wicked because another person who was good endured agony by being nailed to a cross.

It is queer how it is always one's virtues and not one's vices that precipitate one into disaster.

It is sometimes very hard to tell the difference between history and the smell of skunk.

Journalism is the ability to meet the challenge of filling space.

Just how difficult it is to write a biography can be reckoned by anybody who sits down and considers just how many people know the truth about his or her love affairs.

Most works of art, like most wines, ought to be consumed in the district of their fabrication.

Motherhood is the strangest thing, it can be like being one's own Trojan horse.

I myself have never been able to find out what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.

So life ought to be a struggle of desire towards adventures whose nobility will fertilise the soul and lead to the conception of new, glorious things.

The bad is more easily perceived than the good. A fresh lobster does not give such pleasure to the consumer as a stale one will give him pain.

The general tendency to be censorious of the vices to which one has not been tempted.

The main difference between men and women is that men are lunatics and women are idiots.

The point is that nobody likes having salt rubbed into their wounds, even if it is the salt of the earth.

The trouble about man is twofold. He cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple.

The word 'idiot' comes from a Greek root meaning private person. Idiocy is the female defect: intent on their private lives, women follow their fate through a darkness deep as that cast by malformed cells in the brain. It is no worse than the male defect, which is lunacy: men are so obsessed by public affairs that they see the world as by moonlight, which shows the outlines of every object but not the details indicative of their nature.

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.

There are two kinds of imperialists- imperialists and bloody imperialists.

There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all.

There is one common condition for the lot of women in Western civilization and all other civilizations that we know about for certain, and that is, woman as a sex is disliked and persecuted, while as an individual she is liked, loved, and even, with reasonable luck, sometimes worshipped.

There is, of course, no reason for the existence of the male sex except that sometimes one needs help with moving the piano.

Unfortunately, all gatherings convened for the betterment of the human lot show a tendency to gas themselves, and not with laughing-gas either.

Whatever happens, never forget that people would rather be led to perdition by a man, than to victory by a woman.


(December 21 is also the birthday of Benjamin Disraeli.)

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Quotes of the day: Mignon McLaughlin

Published Friday, December 19, 2014 @ 6:13 PM EST
Dec 19 2014

Mignon McLaughlin (June 6, 1913 - December 20, 1983) was an American journalist and author, remembered primarily for her two volume Neurotic's Notebook. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A car is useless in New York, essential everywhere else. The same with good manners.

A husband only worries about a particular Other Man; a wife distrusts her whole species.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

Always live up to your standards- by lowering them, if necessary.

Anything you lose automatically doubles in value.

Cash is the one gift everyone despises and no one turns down.

Charity is a good way of reminding God that if we can do it, He can.

Children lack morality, but they also lack fake morality.

Confession is good for the conscience, but it usually bypasses the soul.

Desire is in men a hunger, in women only an appetite.

Despair is anger with no place to go.

Don't be yourself- be someone a little nicer.

Every day of our lives we are on the verge of making those changes that would make all the difference.

Every group feels strong once it has found a scapegoat.

Every now and then you run across radiantly attractive people and you're delighted to find they adore you, till you realize that they adore just about everybody- and that's what's made them radiantly attractive.

Every society honors its live conformists and its dead troublemakers.

Failure can get to be a rather comfortable old friend.

Family quarrels have a total bitterness unmatched by others. Yet it sometimes happens that they also have a kind of tang, a pleasantness beneath the unpleasantness, based on the tacit understanding that this is not for keeps; that any limb you climb out on will still be there later for you to climb back.

Few women care what a man looks like, and a good thing too.

Forget about calories- everything makes thin people thinner, and fat people fatter.

Good-looking girls break hearts, and good-hearted girls mend them.

Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent.

How can a man marry wisely in his twenties? The girl he's going to wind up wanting hasn't even been born.

How tired God must be of guilt and loneliness, for that is all we ever bring to Him.

I have seen messed-up people of forty who still seemed salvageable, and children of six or seven who almost surely were not.

I often pray, though I'm not really sure Anyone's listening; and I phrase it carefully, just in case He's literary.

If it came true, it wasn’t much of a dream.

If the second marriage really succeeds, the first one didn't really fail.

If you can tell anyone about it, it's not the worst thing you ever did.

If you have to do it every day, for God’s sake learn to do it well.

If you made a list of the reasons why any couple got married, and another list of the reasons for their divorce, you'd have a hell of a lot of overlapping.

If you must reread old love letters, better pick a room without mirrors.

In retrospect, our triumphs could as easily have happened to someone else; but our defeats are uniquely our own.

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.

It is important for our friends to believe that we are unreservedly frank with them, and important to friendship that we are not.

It's impossible to be loyal to your family, your friends, your country, and your principles, all at the same time.

It's innocence when it charms us, ignorance when it doesn't.

Life marks us all down, so it's just as well that we start out by overpricing ourselves.

Love looks forward, hate looks back, anxiety has eyes all over its head.

Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and difficult as that.

Many are saved from sin by being so inept at it.

Many things can make you miserable for weeks; few can bring you a whole day of happiness.

Men gossip less than women, but mean it.

Men prefer brief praise, pitched high; women are satisfied with praise in a lower key, just so it goes on and on.

Most of us become parents long before we have stopped being children.

Most of us would rather risk catastrophe than read the directions.

Most sermons sound to me like commercials- but I can't make out whether God is the Sponsor or the Product.

Mumps, measles, and puppy love are terrible after twenty.

My religious position: I think that God could do a lot better, and I'm willing to give Him the chance.

Neurosis is no worse than a bad cold; you ache all over, and it's made you a mess, but you won't die from it.

Neurotics dream of a good life, or a great suicide note.

Neurotics think of the past with resentment, and the future with dread; the present just doesn't exist.

No one has ever loved anyone the way everyone wants to be loved.

No one really listens to anyone else. Try it for a while, and you'll see why.

Revenge leads to an empty fullness, like eating dirt.

'Pull yourself together' is seldom said to anyone who can.

The best work is done with the heart breaking, or overflowing.

The chief reason for drinking is the desire to behave in a certain way, and to be able to blame it on alcohol.

The excesses of love soon pass, but its insufficiencies torment us forever.

The fear of being laughed at makes cowards of us all.

The head never rules the heart, but just becomes its partner in crime.

The ideal home: big enough for you to hear the children, but not very well.

The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.

The poor have the same basic pleasures as the rich, and the rich will always resent it.

The proud man can learn humility, but he will be proud of it.

The soul may sleep and the body still be happy, but only in youth.

The time to begin most things is ten years ago.

The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone.

There are now electrical appliances with the main unit so sealed in that it cannot be got at for repair. There have always been human beings like that.

There's no way to repay a mother's love, or lack of it.

Those who turn to God for comfort may find comfort but I do not think they will find God.

We are all such a waste of our potential, like three-way lamps using one-way bulbs.

We climb mountains because they are there, and worship God because He is not.

We have to call it 'freedom': who'd die for 'a lesser tyranny'?

We hear only half of what is said to us, understand only half of that, believe only half of that, and remember only half of that.

We sometimes feel that we have been really understood, but it was always long ago, by someone now dead.

We wake in the night, to stereophonic silence.

We waste a lot of time running after people we could have caught by just standing still.

We'd all like a reputation for generosity, and we'd all like to buy it cheap.

What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.

Whatever we worship, short of God, is sure to be our undoing.

When a stranger identifies you from a friend's description, it's just as well you didn't hear the description.

When suffering comes, we yearn for some sign from God, forgetting we have just had one.

When threatened, the first thing a democracy gives up is democracy.

With men, as with women, the main struggle is between vanity and comfort; but with men, comfort often wins.

Women are good listeners, but it’s a waste of time telling your troubles to a man unless there’s something specific you want him to do.

You never realize how tacky your furniture is till you try to give it to the Salvation Army and they won't take it.

You will turn over many a futile new leaf till you learn we must all write on scratched-out pages.

'Your money or your life.' We know what to do when a burglar makes this demand of us, but not when God does.

Youth is not enough. And love is not enough. And success is not enough. And, if we could achieve it, enough would not be enough.

Categories: Mignon McLaughlin, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Emily Bronté

Published Thursday, December 18, 2014 @ 6:49 PM EST
Dec 18 2014

Emily Jane Brontë (July 30, 1818 - December 19, 1848) was an English novelist and poet, best remembered for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, now considered a classic of English literature. Emily was the third eldest of the four surviving Brontë siblings, between the youngest Anne and her brother Branwell. She wrote under the pen name Ellis Bell. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A person who has not done one half his day's work by ten o clock, runs a chance of leaving the other half undone.

Honest people don't hide their deeds.

I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself.

I cannot express it: but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is, or should be, an existence of yours beyond you.

I have dreamed in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.

I'll walk where my own nature would be leading: It vexes me to choose another guide.

If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity, and let my efforts be known by their results.

It is for God to punish wicked people; we should learn to forgive.

It's no company at all, when people know nothing and say nothing.

Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.

The tyrant grinds down his slaves and they don't turn against him, they crush those beneath them.

Time brought resignation and a melancholy sweeter than common joy.

Treachery and violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those who resort to them worse than their enemies.

Categories: Emily Bronté, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Philip K. Dick

Published Monday, December 15, 2014 @ 6:39 PM EST
Dec 15 2014

Philip Kindred Dick (December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist and philosopher whose published work is almost entirely accepted as being in the science fiction genre. Dick explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, and altered states. In his later works Dick's thematic focus strongly reflected his personal interest in metaphysics and theology. He often drew upon his own life experiences in addressing the nature of drug abuse, paranoia, schizophrenia, and transcendental experiences in novels such as A Scanner Darkly and VALIS. He also wrote extensively on philosophy, theology, the nature of reality and science later in his life that was published posthumously as The Exegesis. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A lot can be said for the infinite mercies of God, but the smarts of a good pharmacist, when you get down to it, is worth more.

Any given man sees only a tiny portion of the total truth, and very often, in fact almost... perpetually, he deliberately deceives himself about that precious little fragment as well.

Anybody with a genuine system of prediction would be using it, not selling it.

Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups...So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

Certainly it constitutes bad news if the people who agree with you are buggier than batshit.

Crazy people do not apply the principle of scientific parsimony... they shoot for the baroque.

Don't try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night.

Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgment.

Everything in life is just for a while.

Fish cannot carry guns.

For each person there is a sentence- a series of words- which has the power to destroy him... another sentence exists, another series of words, which will heal the person. If you're lucky you will get the second; but you can be certain of getting the first: that is the way it works. On their own, without training, individuals know how to deal out the lethal sentence, but training is required to deal out the second.

Giving me a new idea is like handing a cretin a loaded gun, but I do thank you anyhow, bang, bang.

I have never yielded to reality. That's what science fiction is all about.

I want to write about people I love, and put them into a fictional world spun out of my own mind, not the world we actually have, because the world we actually have does not meet my standards.

I'm not much but I'm all I have.

I, for one, bet on science as helping us. I have yet to see how it fundamentally endangers us, even with the H-bomb lurking about. Science has given us more lives than it has taken; we must remember that.

It is amazing that when someone else spouts the nonsense you yourself believe you can readily perceive it as nonsense.

It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.

Mental illness is not funny.

My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression.

People just have no criterion left to evaluate the importance of things. I think the only thing that would really affect people would be the announcement that the world was going to be blown up by the hydrogen bomb. I think that would really affect people. I think they would react to that. But outside of that, I don't think they would react to anything. 'Peking has been wiped out by an earthquake, and the RTD- the bus strike is still on.' And some guy says, 'Damnit! I'll have to walk to work!'

Perhaps if you know you are insane then you are not insane.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

Science fiction writers, I am sorry to say, really do not know anything. We can't talk about science, because our knowledge of it is limited and unofficial, and usually our fiction is dreadful.

Skill is a function of chance. It's an intuitive best-use of chance situations.

That there is no perfect defense. There is no protection. Being alive means being exposed; it's the nature of life to be hazardous—it's the stuff of living.

That was my problem then and it's my problem now; I have a bad attitude. In a nutshell, I fear authority but at the same time I resent it- the authority and my own fear- so I rebel. And writing SF is a way to rebel.... SF is a rebellious art form and it needs writers and readers and bad attitudes- an attitude of 'Why?' or 'How come?' or 'Who says?'

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.

The church of my choice is the free, open world.

The electric things have their life too. Paltry as those lives are.

The hell with the newspapers. Nobody reads the letters to the editor column except the nuts. It's enough to get you down.

The problem with introspection is that it has no end.

The schizophrenic is a leap ahead that failed.

The trouble with being educated is that it takes a long time; it uses up the better part of your life and when you are finished what you know is that you would have benefited more by going into banking.

The true measure of a man is not his intelligence or how high he rises in this freak establishment. No, the true measure of a man is this: how quickly can he respond to the needs of others and how much of himself he can give.

The unconscious is selective, when it learns what to listen for.

There are no small matters. Just as there is no small life. The life of an insect, a spider; his life is as large as yours, and yours is as large as mine. Life is life.

There will come a time when it isn't 'They're spying on me through my phone' anymore. Eventually, it will be 'My phone is spying on me.'

This is a mournful discovery.
1) Those who agree with you are insane
2) Those who do not agree with you are in power.

This, to me, is the ultimately heroic trait of ordinary people; they say no to the tyrant and they calmly take the consequences of this resistance.

To live is to be hunted.

We'll know homo superior when he comes- by definition. He'll be the one we won't be able to euth.

When I believe, I am crazy. When I don't believe, I suffer psychotic depression.

When two people dream the same dream, it ceases to be an illusion.

Whom the gods notice they destroy. Be small... and you will escape the jealousy of the great.

You must beware of seeing malice behind accidental injury.


(December 16 is also the birthday of Jane Austen, George Santayana, Arthur C. Clarke, and Margaret Mead.)

Categories: Philip K. Dick, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Bill of Rights

Published Sunday, December 14, 2014 @ 10:52 PM EST
Dec 14 2014

(In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15 to be Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights)

The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. Proposed to assuage the fears of Anti-Federalists who had opposed Constitutional ratification, these amendments guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government's power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public. Originally the amendments applied only to the federal government, however, most were subsequently applied to the government of each state by way of the Fourteenth Amendment, through a process known as incorporation. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn't even get out of committee.
-F. Lee Bailey

Democracy means that people can say what they want to. All the people. It means that they can vote as they wish. All the people. It means that they can worship God in any way they feel right, and that includes Christians and Jews and voodoo doctors as well. It means that everybody should have a job, if he's willing to work, and an education, and the right to bring up his children without fear of the future. And it means that the old shall be provided for, without shame to themselves or to their families. It means do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It also means the prayers of the pilgrim fathers in the wilderness, and the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States, and the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation, and the dreams of an immigrant mother for her children. And that's what I believe in.
-Dalton Trumbo

I also wish that the Pledge of Allegiance were directed at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as it is when the President takes his oath of office, rather than to the flag and the nation.
-Carl Sagan

I have often thought that the Bill of Rights should have stopped after the first five words: 'Congress shall make no laws...'

I revere the Bill of Rights, but at the same time I believe that anyone who's using three or more of them at a time is hogging them too much.
-Sarah Vowell

It is my belief that there are 'absolutes' in our Bill of Rights, and that they were put there on purpose by men who knew what the words meant and meant their prohibitions to be 'absolutes.'
-Hugo Black

Once you put ifs and buts in the Bill of Rights, nobody's civil liberties will be secure.
-I.F. Stone

Painful as it may be to hear it, there's nothing special about the people of this country that sets them apart from the other people of the world. It is the Bill of Rights, and only the Bill of Rights, that keeps us from becoming the world's biggest banana republic. The moment we forget that, the American Dream is over.
-Alexander Hope

Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights.
-Thurgood Marshall

The Bill of Rights does not come from the people and is not subject to change by majorities. It comes from the nature of things. It declares the inalienable rights of man not only against all government but also against the people collectively.
-Walter Lippmann

The First Amendment is truly the heart of the Bill of Rights. The Framers balanced its freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition against the needs of a powerful central government, and decided that in those freedoms lies this nation's only true security. They were not afraid for men to be free. We should not be.
-Hugo Black

The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to create rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting.
-William J. Brennan, Jr.

The only guarantee of the Bill of Rights which continues to have any force and effect is the one prohibiting quartering troops on citizens in time of peace. (In 1951)
-H.L. Mencken

The right to be let alone is the underlying principle of the Constitution's Bill of Rights.
-Erwin N. Griswold

The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live, and fear breeds repression. Too often sinister threats to the bill of rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the patriotic cloak, of anti-communism.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

We have ceased to be a nation under law but instead a homeland where the withered Bill of Rights, like a dead trumpet vine, clings to our pseudo-Roman columns.
-Gore Vidal

We have the Bill of Rights. What we need is the Bill of Responsibilities.
-Bill Maher


(December 15 is also the birthday of J. Paul Getty.)

Categories: Bill of Rights, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic, U.S. Constitution

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Quotes of the day: Patty Duke

Published Saturday, December 13, 2014 @ 8:26 PM EST
Dec 13 2014

(photo from howieblog.com)

Anna Marie "Patty" Duke (born December 14, 1946) is an American actress of stage, film and television. She first became famous as a child star, winning an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at age 16 for her role in The Miracle Worker, which she had originated on Broadway, and she later starred in the eponymous sitcom, The Patty Duke Show. She progressed to more mature roles upon playing Neely O'Hara in the 1967 film Valley of the Dolls. She was later elected president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1985-1988, succeeding her Patty Duke Show co-star William Schallert. Duke was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1982; since then, she has devoted much of her time to advocating and educating the public on mental health issues. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Human beings have speculated about the relationship between inspiration and insanity for centuries.

I can't tell you what I had for breakfast, but I can sing every single word of rock and roll.

I have a picture of myself in my mind as I walk around every day, until I look in the mirror-and then I'm stunned.

I tell people to monitor their self-pity. Self-pity is very unattractive.

I'm not sure I want all my neuroses cleared up.

I've come to believe that whoever I am didn't start on December 14, 1946, and isn't going to end on whatever that mysterious date is in the future.

If I have any message for others, it is to go for help early and not to be a resistant patient.

It's toughest to forgive ourselves. So it's probably best to start with other people. It's almost like peeling an onion. Layer by layer, forgiving others, you really do get to the point where you can forgive yourself.

No matter what your laundry list of requirements in choosing a mate, there has to be an element of good luck and good fortune and good timing.

Reality is hard. It is no walk in the park, this thing called Life.

Sometimes it is the simplest, seemingly most inane, most practical stuff that matters the most to someone.

We have developed this unbelievable ability to deny. We have to. If we didn't, we'd go crazy.

We manics do outrageous things and it is part of our colorful nature.

When I'm 80 and sitting in a rocking chair listening to the Rolling Stones, there is absolutely no way I'm going to feel old or forget my younger days.


(December 14 is also the birthday of Margaret Chase Smith.)

Categories: Patty Duke, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Naguib Mahfouz

Published Wednesday, December 10, 2014 @ 7:15 PM EST
Dec 10 2014

Naguib Mahfouz (December 11, 1911 – August 30, 2006) was an Egyptian writer who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature. He is regarded as one of the first contemporary writers of Arabic literature, along with Tawfiq el-Hakim, to explore themes of existentialism. He published 34 novels, over 350 short stories, dozens of movie scripts, and five plays over a 70-year career. Many of his works have been made into Egyptian and foreign films. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


An allegory is not meant to be taken literally. There is a great lack of comprehension on the part of some readers.

At my age it is unseemly to be pessimistic.

Falseness in life is the secret that makes man's inner self a rare truth; it hides from him although it's obvious to all.

Freedom of expression must be considered sacred and thought can only be corrected by counter thought

God did not intend religion to be an exercise club.

Happy is he who can give himself up.

I believe society has a right to defend itself, just as the individual has the right to attack that with which he disagrees.

If we reject science, we reject the common man.

Insults are the business of the court.

It's a most distressing affliction to have a sentimental heart and a skeptical mind.

It's clearly more important to treat one's fellow man well than to be always praying and fasting and touching one's head to a prayer mat.

Madness is the acme of intelligence.

Nothing records the effects of a sad life so graphically as the human body.

The criminal is trying to solve his immediate problems.

The real malady is fear of life, not of death.

There are no heroes in most of my stories. I look at our society with a critical eye and find nothing extraordinary in the people I see.

Today's interpretations of religion are often backward and contradict the needs of civilization.

We usually exchange bare civilities at breakfast and then settle back to loathe each other cordially in silence.

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.

You know what I'm afraid of? That God is sick of us.


(December 11 is also the birthday of Fiorello LaGuardia.)

Categories: Naguib Mahfouz, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Kirk Douglas

Published Monday, December 08, 2014 @ 7:18 PM EST
Dec 08 2014

Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch, December 9, 1916) is an American film and stage actor, film producer and author. His popular films include Out of the Past (1947), Champion (1949), Ace in the Hole (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful(1952), 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Lust for Life (1956), Paths of Glory (1957), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), The Vikings (1958), Spartacus (1960), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), Seven Days in May (1964), The Heroes of Telemark (1965), Saturn 3 (1980) and Tough Guys (1986). He is one of the last remaining stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Age is in the mind.

All I can say about the old days is that they have passed.

Fame is as much about luck as it is about talent, perhaps more.

Fear is a terrible thing. It makes you do awful things.

Give your children lots of rope. Allow them to make their own mistakes. Don't give them too much advice. Each child is different; you have to respect that. It's a crapshoot: You roll the dice, and you see what happens.

I have to continue growing and functioning. That's the only antidote for old age.

If I thought a man had never committed a sin in his life, I don't think I'd want to talk with him. A man with flaws is more interesting.

If you want to know about a man you can find out an awful lot by looking at who he married.

In order to achieve anything you must be brave enough to fail.

Life is like a B-picture script.

Love has more depth as you get older.

No matter how bad things are, they can always be worse.

Religion has killed millions of people. Something must be wrong.

Sometimes, the thing that ties you down sets you free.

The biggest lie is the lie we tell ourselves in the distorted visions we have of ourselves, blocking out some sections, enhancing others. What remains are not the cold facts of life, but how we perceive them. That's really who we are.

The learning process continues until the day you die.

Virtue is not photogenic. What is it to be a nice guy? To be nothing, that's what. A big fat zero with a smile for everybody.

When you reach 95, after you get over your surprise, you start looking back.

Why can't a woman be more like a dog, huh? So sweet, loving, attentive.

You know, you have to have some inner philosophy to deal with adversity.


(Also born on December 10: John Milton and Dalton Trumbo)

Categories: Kirk Douglas, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Flip Wilson

Published Sunday, December 07, 2014 @ 11:24 PM EST
Dec 07 2014

Flip Wilson (December 8, 1933 – November 25, 1998) was an American comedian and actor. In the early 1970s, Wilson hosted his own weekly variety series, The Flip Wilson Show. The series earned Wilson a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Don't order one for the road, because the road is already laid out.

Funny is an attitude.

Funny is not a color. Being black is only good from the time you get from the curtain to the microphone.

It's later than it's ever been.

The cost of livin's going up, and the chance of livin's goin' down.

The devil made me do it.

What you see is what you get.

When you're hot, you're hot, when you're not, you're not.

You can't expect to hit the jackpot if you don't put a few nickels in the machine.


(Also born on December 8: Golda Meir, Sammy Davis, Jr., and James Thurber )

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Quotes of the day: Alexandre Dumas

Published Friday, December 05, 2014 @ 11:16 PM EST
Dec 05 2014

Alexandre Dumas (born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, July 24, 1802 - December 5, 1870) remains one of the most widely read French writers. Translated into nearly 100 languages, his work includes The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. His novels have been adapted into nearly 200 films. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All generalizations are dangerous, even this one.

Business? It's quite simple; it's other people's money.

For all evils there are two remedies- time and silence.

How is it that little children are so intelligent and men so stupid? It must be education that does it.

I prefer rogues to imbeciles, because they sometimes take a rest.

If God were suddenly condemned to live the life which he has inflicted upon men, He would kill himself.

If it is one's lot to be cast among fools, one must learn foolishness.

It is necessary to have wished for death in order to know how good it is to live.

It is only rarely that one can see in a little boy the promise of a man, but one can almost always see in a little girl the threat of a woman.

Mastery of language affords one remarkable opportunities.

Men's minds are raised to the level of the women with whom they associate.

My friend, the pleasures to which we are not accustomed oppress us more than the griefs with which we are familiar.

On what slender threads do life and fortune hang.

Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss.

Private misfortunes must never induce us to neglect public affairs.

Pure love and suspicion cannot dwell together: at the door where the latter enters, the former makes its exit.

So heavy is the chain of wedlock that it takes two to carry it, sometimes three.

The merit of all things lies in their difficulty.

There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more.

When you compare the sorrows of real life to the pleasures of the imaginary one, you will never want to live again, only to dream forever

Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them.

You are young, and your bitter recollections have time to change themselves into sweet remembrances.


(Also born on December 5: Werner Heisenberg.)

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Quotes of the day: Samuel Butler

Published Thursday, December 04, 2014 @ 11:36 PM EST
Dec 04 2014

Samuel Butler (December 4, 1835 - June 18, 1902) was an iconoclastic Victorian-era English author who published a variety of works, including the Utopian satire Erewhon and a semi-autobiographical novel published posthumously, The Way of All Flesh. He also examined Christian orthodoxy, and published substantive studies of evolutionary thought, Italian art, and works of literary history and criticism. Butler's prose translations of the Iliad and Odyssey remain in use to this day. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.

All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.

All men can do great things, if they know what great things are.

All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income.

And when one comes to think of it, death and birth are so closely correlated that one could not destroy either without destroying the other at the same time. It is extinction that makes creation possible.

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.

Cleanliness is almost as bad as godliness.

Dullness is so much stronger than genius because there is so much more of it, and it is better organised and more naturally cohesive.

Every new idea has something of the pain and peril of childbirth about it; ideas are just as mortal and just as immortal as organised beings are.

God's merits are so transcendent that it is not surprising his faults should be in reasonable proportion.

He is greatest who is most often in men's good thoughts.

Heaven is the work of the best and kindest men and women. Hell is the work of prigs, pedants and professional truth-tellers. The world is an attempt to make the best of both.

How is it, I wonder, that all religious officials, from God the Father to the parish beadle, should be so arbitrary and exacting.

I do not mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy.

I find the nicest and best people generally profess no religion at all, but are ready to like the best men of all religions.

If people like being deceived- and this can hardly be doubted- there can rarely have been a time during which they can have had more of the wish than now.

If you follow reason far enough it always leads to conclusions that are contrary to reason.

Inspiration is never genuine if it is known as inspiration at the time.

It does not matter much what a man hates provided he hates something.

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.

Life is one long process of getting tired.

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims that he intends to eat until he eats them.

Man is the only animal that laughs and has a state legislature.

Memory and forgetfulness are as life and death to one another. To live is to remember and to remember is to live. To die is to forget and to forget is to die.

Men are seldom more commonplace than on supreme occasions.

Moral influence means persuading another that one can make that other more uncomfortable than that other can make oneself.

Morality is the custom of one's country and the current feeling of one's peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibal country.

Morality turns on whether the pleasure precedes or follows the pain.

One great reason why clergymen's households are generally unhappy is because the clergyman is so much at home or close about the house.

One of the first businesses of a sensible man is to know when he is beaten, and to leave off fighting at once.

Parents are the last people on earth who ought to have children.

People are lucky and unlucky not according to what they get absolutely, but according to the ratio between what they get and what they have been led to expect.

Silence is not always tact and it is tact that is golden, not silence.

Some men love truth so much that they seem to be in continual fear lest she should catch cold on over-exposure.

The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of lying go the longest way.

The difference between God and the historians consists above all in the fact that God cannot alter the past.

The extremes of vice and virtue are alike detestable; absolute virtue is as sure to kill a man as absolute vice is, let alone the dullnesses of it and the pomposities of it.

The great characters of fiction live as truly as the memories of dead men. For the life after death it is not necessary that a man or woman should have lived.

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.

The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore.

The most important service rendered by the press and the magazines is that of educating people to approach printed matter with distrust.

The Will-be and the Has-been touch us more nearly than the Is. So we are more tender towards children and old people than to those who are in the prime of life.

The world is a gambling table so arranged that all who enter the casino must play and all must lose more or less heavily in the long run, though they win occasionally by the way.

The world will, in the end, follow only those who have despised as well as served it.

There are two classes of people in this world, those who sin, and those who are sinned against; if a man must belong to either, he had better belong to the first than to the second.

There is nothing less powerful than knowledge unattached, and incapable of application. That is why what little knowledge I have has done myself personally so much harm. I do not know much, but if I knew a good deal less than that little I should be far more powerful.

There is nothing which at once affects a man so much and so little as his own death.

Think of and look at your work as though it were done by your enemy. If you look at it to admire it you are lost.

Though analogy is often misleading, it is the least misleading thing we have.

Time is the only true purgatory.

To do great work a man must be very idle as well as very industrious.

To live is like to love- all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it.

To try to live in posterity is to be like an actor who leaps over the footlights and talks to the orchestra.

Truth consists not in never lying but in knowing when to lie and when not to do so.

We can see nothing face to face; our utmost seeing is but a fumbling of blind finger-ends in an overcrowded pocket.

We do not know what death is. If we know so little about life which we have experienced, how shall be know about death which we have not- and in the nature of things never can?

We play out our days as we play out cards, taking them as they come, not knowing what they will be, hoping for a lucky card and sometimes getting one, often getting just the wrong one.

Words are like money; there is nothing so useless, unless when in actual use.

You can do very little with faith, but you can do nothing without it.

Youth is like spring, an overpraised season.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Samuel Butler (novelist)

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Quotes of the day: Anna Freud

Published Tuesday, December 02, 2014 @ 8:01 PM EST
Dec 02 2014

Anna Freud (December 3, 1895 – October 9, 1982) was the sixth and last child of Sigmund Freud and Martha Bernays. Born in Vienna, she followed the path of her father and contributed to the newly born field of psychoanalysis. Alongside Melanie Klein, she may be considered the founder of psychoanalytic child psychology: as her father put it, child analysis 'had received a powerful impetus through "the work of Frau Melanie Klein and of my daughter, Anna Freud"'. Compared to her father, her work emphasized the importance of the ego and its ability to be trained socially. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A first visit to a madhouse is always a shock.

Children usually do not blame themselves for getting lost.

Create around one at least a small circle where matters are arranged as one wants them to be.

Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.

Everything becomes so problematic because of basic faults: from a discontent with myself.

How can one know anything at all about people?

How one can live without being able to judge oneself, criticize what one has accomplished, and still enjoy what one does, is unimaginable to me.

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time.

If some longing goes unmet, don't be astonished. We call that Life.

In our dreams we can have our eggs cooked exactly how we want them, but we can't eat them.

It is only when parental feelings are ineffective or too ambivalent or when the mother's emotions are temporarily engaged elsewhere that children feel lost.

Sometimes the most beautiful thing is precisely the one that comes unexpectedly and unearned, hence something given truly as a present.

Teaching is not only the presentation of facts to students, it is persuading them to be interested in the world, to want to learn about it- a state of mind. If you are to 'lead out' children, you have to persuade them to walk with you.

Things are not as we would like them to be. There is only one way to deal with it, namely to try and be all right oneself.

We are imprisoned in the realm of life, like a sailor on his tiny boat, on an infinite ocean.

We live trapped, between the churned-up and examined past and a future that waits for our work.

Who promised you that only for joy were you brought to this earth?

Why do we go around acting as though everything was friendship and reliability when basically everything everywhere is full of sudden hate and ugliness?


(December 3 is also the birthday Joseph Conrad and Jean-Luc Godard.)

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Quotes of the day: Chris Rock

Published Monday, December 01, 2014 @ 8:42 PM EST
Dec 01 2014

(photo by Martin Schoeller)

From Frank Rich's New York magazine interview with comedian Chris Rock:


I don't know what to say. What do you say? I hope it's not true. That's all you can say. I really do. I grew up on Cosby. I love Cosby, and I just hope it's not true. It's a weird year for comedy. We lost Robin, we lost Joan, and we kind of lost Cosby.

Comedians kill themselves. Talk to 100 comedians this week, everybody knows somebody who killed themselves. I mean, we always say ignorance is bliss. Well, if so, what's the opposite? Some form of misery. Being a comedian, 80 percent of the job is just you notice shit, which is a trait of schizophrenics too. You notice things people don't notice.

There's an advantage that Bush had that Obama doesn't have. People thinking you're dumb is an advantage. Obama started as a genius. It's like, What? I've got to keep doing that? That's hard to do! So it's not that Obama's disappointing. It's just his best album might have been his first album.

When Obama first got elected, he should have let it all just drop... Just let the country flatline. Let the auto industry die. Don't bail anybody out. In sports, that's what any new GM does. They make sure that the catastrophe is on the old management and then they clean up. They don't try to save old management's mistakes... Let it all go to hell knowing good and well this is on them. That way you can implement. You hire your own coach. You get your own players. He could have got way more done. You know, we've all been on planes that had tremendous turbulence, but we forget all about it. Now, if you live through a plane crash, you'll never forget that. Maybe Obama should have let the plane crash. You get credit for bringing somebody back from the dead. You don't really get credit for helping a sick person by administering antibiotics.

Grown people, people over 30, they're not changing. But you've got kids growing up.

So, to say Obama is progress is saying that he's the first black person that is qualified to be president. That's not black progress. That's white progress. There's been black people qualified to be president for hundreds of years. If you saw Tina Turner and Ike having a lovely breakfast over there, would you say their relationship's improved? Some people would. But a smart person would go, "Oh, he stopped punching her in the face." It's not up to her. Ike and Tina Turner's relationship has nothing to do with Tina Turner. Nothing. It just doesn't. The question is, you know, my kids are smart, educated, beautiful, polite children. There have been smart, educated, beautiful, polite black children for hundreds of years. The advantage that my children have is that my children are encountering the nicest white people that America has ever produced. Let's hope America keeps producing nicer white people.

Yeah, it's unfair that you can get judged by something you didn't do, but it's also unfair that you can inherit money that you didn't work for.

We treat racism in this country like it's a style that America went through. Like flared legs and lava lamps. Oh, that crazy thing we did. We were hanging black people. We treat it like a fad instead of a disease that eradicates millions of people. You've got to get it at a lab, and study it, and see its origins, and see what it's immune to and what breaks it down.

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Quotes of the day: Bette Midler

Published Sunday, November 30, 2014 @ 7:51 PM EST
Nov 30 2014

Bette Midler (b. December 1, 1945) is an American singer- songwriter, actress, film producer and entrepreneur. In a career spanning almost half a century, Midler has been nominated for two Academy Awards, and won three Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award. She has sold over 30 million records worldwide and has received four Gold, three Platinum and three Multiplatinum album awards from the Recording Industry Association of America. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


After thirty, a body has a mind of its own.

Cherish forever what makes you unique, because you're really a yawn if it goes.

Find your Light; They can't love you if they can't see you.

Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world.

Group conformity scares the pants off me because it's so often a prelude to cruelty towards anyone who doesn't want to- or can't- join the Big Parade.

I always try to balance the light with the heavy- a few tears of human spirit in with the sequins and the fringes.

I celebrate everyone's religious holidays. If it's good enough for the righteous, it's good enough for the self-righteous, I always say.

I have my standards. They're low, but I have them.

I made a pact with myself a long time ago: Never watch anything stupider than you. It's helped me a lot.

I never know how much of what I say is true.

I wouldn't say I invented tacky, but I definitely brought it to its present high popularity.

My idea of superwoman is someone who scrubs her own floors.

Queen Elizabeth is the whitest person in the world.

The outside world doesn't have a lot to offer. You have to make your own heaven in your own home.

The worst part of success is to try finding someone who is happy for you.

Three-day weekends are like bad boyfriends; exciting at first, exhausting by the end, and always shorter than you hoped for.

Time flies when you're on Prozac.

When it's three o'clock in New York, it's still 1938 in London.


(December 1 is also the birthday of Rex Stout and Woody Allen.)

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Quotes of the day: L.M. Montgomery

Published Saturday, November 29, 2014 @ 8:10 PM EST
Nov 29 2014

Lucy Maud Montgomery OBE (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942), called "Maud" by family and friends and publicly known as L.M. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908. The first novel was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poem (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All things great are wound up with all things little.

Humor is the spiciest condiment in the feast of existence. Laugh at your mistakes but learn from them, joke over your troubles but gather strength from them, make a jest of your difficulties but overcome them.

I am very careful to be shallow and conventional where depth and originality are wasted.

I am well in body though considerably rumpled up in spirit.

I've done my best, and I begin to understand what is meant by 'the joy of strife'. Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.

In this life you've got to hope for the best, prepare for the worst and take whatever God sends.

Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?

It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.

It's not what the world holds for you. It's what you bring to it.

Life is worth living as long as there's a laugh in it.

Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.

Oh, of course there's a risk in marrying anybody, but, when it's all said and done, there's many a worse thing than a husband.

One can't get over the habit of being a little girl all at once.

Satirize wickedness if you must- but pity weakness.

Some people go through life trying to find out what the world holds for them only to find out too late that it's what they bring to the world that really counts.

The beauty of winter is that it makes you appreciate spring.

The body grows slowly and steadily but the soul grows by leaps and bounds. It may come to its full stature in an hour.

The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and storytellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.

Those who can soar to the highest heights can also plunge to the deepest depths and the natures which enjoy most keenly are those which also suffer most sharply.

Truth exists, only lies have to be invented.

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

When one great passion seizes possession of the soul all other feelings are crowded out.

You'd find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair.

You're never safe from being surprised until you're dead.

Youth is not a vanished thing but something that dwells forever in the heart.

Categories: L.M. Montgomery , Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Madeleine L'Engle

Published Friday, November 28, 2014 @ 10:00 PM EST
Nov 28 2014

Madeleine L'Engle (November 29, 1918 - September 6, 2007) was an American writer best known for young adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels: A Wind in the Door, National Book Award-winning A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time. Her works reflect both her Christian faith and her strong interest in modern science. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A comprehensible God is no more than an idol.

A great piece of literature does not try to coerce you to believe it or agree with it. A great piece of literature simply is.

A life lived in chaos is an impossibility...

Alike and Equal are not the same.

An infinite question is often destroyed by finite answers. To define everything is to annihilate much that gives us laughter and joy.

Children respond to heroes by thinking creatively and sometimes in breaking beyond the bounds of the impossible in their turn, and so becoming heroes themselves.

Every cell in the body has its own specific job, in interdependence with every other cell. The only cells which insist on being independent and autonomous are cancer cells.

Fantasy contains truths which cannot be stated in terms of proof.

Here we are living in a world of 'identity crises,' and most of us have no idea what an identity is.

How do we teach a child- our own, or those in a classroom- to have compassion: to allow people to be different; to understand that like is not equal; to experiment; to laugh; to love; to accept the fact that the most important questions a human being can ask do not have- or need- answers.

I cannot believe that God wants punishment to go on interminably any more than does a loving parent. The entire purpose of loving punishment is to teach, and it lasts only as long as is needed for the lesson. And the lesson is always love.

I read a book of Einstein's, in which he said that anyone who's not lost in rapturous awe at the power and glory of the mind behind the universe is as good as a burnt-out candle. And I thought, 'Oh, I've found my theologian, what a wonderful thing.'

I wish that we worried more about asking the right questions instead of being so hung up on finding answers.

I wish we'd stop finding answers for everything. One of the reasons my generation has mucked up the world to such an extent is our loss of the sense of the mysterious.

If I have something I want to say that is too difficult for adults to swallow, then I will write it in a book for children.

If our usual response to an annoying situation is a curse, we're likely to meet emergencies with a curse.

In one way or another, we are all unfaithful to each other, and physical unfaithfulness is not the worst kind there is.

It has often struck me with awe that some of the most deeply religious people I know have been, on the surface, atheists.

Just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist.

Love can't be pinned down by a definition, and it certainly can't be proved, anymore than anything else important in life can be proved.

Maybe you have to know darkness before you can appreciate the light.

Nothing important is completely explicable.

The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not understand it, and cannot extinguish it...

The naked intellect is an extraordinarily inaccurate instrument.

The problem of pain, of war and the horror of war, of poverty and disease is always confronting us. But a God who allows no pain, no grief, also allows no choice. There is little unfairness in a colony of ants, but also there is little freedom.

The rational intellect doesn't have a great deal to do with love, and it doesn't have a great deal to do with art.

The shadows are deepening all around us. Now is the time when we must begin to see our world and ourselves in a different way.

The uncommon man has done the impossible and there has been that much more light in the world because of it.

There's more to life than just the things that can be explained by encyclopedias and facts. Facts alone are not adequate.

Truth is eternal, knowledge is changeable. It is disastrous to confuse them.

We are all strangers in a strange land, longing for home, but not quite knowing what or where home is. We glimpse it sometimes in our dreams, or as we turn a corner, and suddenly there is a strange, sweet familiarity that vanishes almost as soon as it comes…

We do have to use our minds as far as they will take us, yet acknowledging that they cannot take us all the way.

We do live, all of us, on many different levels, and for most artists the world of imagination is more real than the world of the kitchen sink.

We do not go around and discard the intellect, but we must go through and beyond it.

What can we give a child when there is nothing left? All we have, I think, is the truth, the truth that will set him free, not limited, provable truth, but the open, growing, evolving truth that is not afraid.

When a child who has been conceived in love is born to a man and a woman, the joy of that birth sings throughout the universe.

When a promise is broken, the promise still remains.

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.

You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.

Categories: Madeleine L'Engle, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: William Blake

Published Thursday, November 27, 2014 @ 8:22 PM EST
Nov 27 2014

William Blake (November 28, 1757 - August 12, 1827) was an English poet, painter and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language". His visual artistry led one contemporary art critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". In 2002, Blake was placed at number 38 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. Although he lived in London his entire life (except for three years spent in Felpham), he produced a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced the imagination as "the body of God" or "human existence itself." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.

A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.

Active Evil is better than Passive Good.

As a man is, so he sees. As the eye is formed, such are its powers.

Christianity is art and not money. Money is its curse.

Empires flourish till they become commercial and then they are scattered abroad to the four winds.

Every harlot was a virgin once.

Every thing that lives
Lives not alone nor for itself.

First God Almighty comes with a Thump on the Head. Then Jesus Christ comes with a balm to heal it.

Forgiveness of enemies can only come upon their repentance.

He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.

He whose face gives no light shall never become a star.

I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvement are roads of genius.

Nothing can be more contemptible than to suppose public records to be true.

O God, protect me from my friends, that they have not power over me. Thou hast given me power to protect myself from thy bitterest enemies.

Prisons are built with stones of Law, Brothels with bricks of Religion.

Reason, or the ratio of all we have already known, is not the same that it shall be when we know more.

Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to endless night.

The Goddess Fortune is the devils servant ready to Kiss any ones Arse.

The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock, but of wisdom no clock can measure.

The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.

The true method of knowledge is experiment.

The weak in courage is strong in cunning.

To generalize is to be an Idiot. To particularize is the alone distinction of merit- general knowledges are those knowledges that idiots possess.

Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed.

What is grand is necessarily obscure to weak men. That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.

When I tell any truth it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it but for the sake of defending those who do.

When nations grow old, the Arts grow cold,
And Commerce settles on every tree.

Without contraries there is no progression. Attraction and repulsion, reason and energy, love and hate are necessary to human existence.

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Blake

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Quotes of the day: James Agee

Published Wednesday, November 26, 2014 @ 8:47 PM EST
Nov 26 2014

James Rufus Agee (November 27, 1909 - May 16, 1955) was an American author, journalist, poet, screenwriter and film critic. In the 1940s, he was one of the most influential film critics in the U.S. His autobiographical novel, A Death in the Family (1957), won the author a posthumous 1958 Pulitzer Prize. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A civilization which for any reason puts a human life at a disadvantage; or a civilization which can exist only by putting human life at a disadvantage; is worthy neither of the name nor of continuance.

And a human being whose life is nurtured in an advantage which has accrued from the disadvantage of other human beings, and who prefers that this should remain as it is, is a human being by definition only, having much more in common with the bedbug, the tapeworm, the cancer, and the scavengers of the deep sea.

As a whole part of psychological education it needs to be remembered that a neurosis can be valuable; also that adjustment to a sick and insane environment is of itself not health but sickness and insanity.

Children, taught either years beneath their intelligence or miles wide of relevance to it, or both: their intelligence becomes hopelessly bewildered, drawn off its centers, bored, or atrophied.

God doesn't believe in the easy way.

I believe that every human being is potentially capable within his 'limits' of fully 'realizing' his potentialities; that this, his being cheated and choked of it, is infinitely the ghastliest, commonest, and most inclusive of all the crimes of which the human world can assure itself.

I know the most important faculty to develop is one for hard, continuous and varied work and living; but the difference between knowing this and doing anything consistent about it is often abysmal.

I prefer a little free speech to no free speech at all; but how many have free speech or the chance or the mind for it; and is not free speech here as elsewhere clamped down on in ratio of its freedom and danger?

In every child who is born under no matter what circumstances and of no matter what parents, the potentiality of the human race is born again, and in him, too, once more, and each of us, our terrific responsibility toward human life: toward the utmost idea of goodness, of the horror of terrorism, and of God.

Isn't every human being both a scientist and an artist; and in writing of human experience, isn't there a good deal to be said for recognizing that fact and for using both methods?

Just spunk won't be enough; you've got to have gumption.

Some people get where they hope to in this world. Most of us don't.

The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest about it.

The goal is the same; life itself; and the price is the same; life itself.

The mere attempt to examine my own confusion would consume volumes.

Understanding, and action proceeding from understanding and guided by it, is one weapon against the world's bombardment, the one medicine, the one instrument by which liberty, health, and joy may be shaped... in the individual, and in the race.

You must be in tune with the times and prepared to break with tradition.

You've got to bear it in mind that nobody that ever lived is specially privileged; the axe can fall at any moment, on any neck, without any warning or any regard for justice.

Categories: James Agee, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Eugene Ionesco

Published Tuesday, November 25, 2014 @ 8:06 PM EST
Nov 25 2014

Eugéne Ionesco (born Eugen Ionesco November 26, 1909 - March 28, 1994) was a Romanian playwright who wrote mostly in French, and one of the foremost figures of the French Avant-garde theatre. Beyond ridiculing the most banal situations, Ionesco's plays depict the solitude and insignificance of human existence in a tangible way. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Everything that has been will be, everything that will be is, everything that will be has been.

God is dead. Marx is dead. And I don't feel so well myself.

Good men make good rhinoceroses, unfortunately.

I believe that what separates us all from one another is simply society itself, or, if you like, politics. This is what raises barriers between men, this is what creates misunderstanding.

I let characters and symbols emerge from me, as if I were dreaming. I always use what remains of my dreams of the night before. Dreams are reality at its most profound, and what you invent is truth because invention, by its nature, can't be a lie. Writers who try to prove something are unattractive to me, because there is nothing to prove and everything to imagine. So I let words and images emerge from within. If you do that, you might prove something in the process.

I'm just a historical dead end. I hope at least that my fate will serve as an example to you all and to posterity.

Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.

It isn't what people think that's important, but the reason they think what they think.

It's not a certain society that seems ridiculous to me, it's mankind.

It's not enough to integrate, you must also disintegrate. That's the way life is. That's philosophy. That's science. That's progress, civilization.

Modern man is a puppet, a jumping jack.

My work has been essentially a dialogue with death, asking him, “Why? Why?” So only death can silence me. Only death can close my lips.

No society has been able to abolish human sadness, no political system can deliver us from the pain of living, from our fear of death, our thirst for the absolute. It is the human condition that directs the social condition, not vice versa.

Oh words, what crimes are committed in your name!

People always try to find base motives behind every good action. We are afraid of pure goodness and of pure evil.

People who don't read are brutes. It is better to write than to make war, isn't it?

Perhaps there will be a morning of grace for humanity. Perhaps there will be a morning of grace for me.

Quotes about Ionesco[edit]

The absence of ideology in a work does not mean an absence of ideas; on the contrary it fertilizes them.

To introduce people to a different world, to encounter the miracle of being, that is important. When I write “The train arrives at the station,” it is banal, but at the same time sensational, because it is invented.

We are all Victims of Duty.

We exist on several different planes, and when we said nothing had any reason we were referring to the psychological and social plane.

Why do people always expect authors to answer questions? I am an author because I want to ask questions. If I had answers, I'd be a politician.

You can stay in society and be alone, as long as you can be detached from the world.

You know, the Cathars believed that the world was not created by God but by a demon who had stolen a few technological secrets from Him and made this world- which is why it doesn't work.

Categories: Eugene Ionesco, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Andrew Carnegie

Published Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 9:24 PM EST
Nov 24 2014

Andrew Carnegie (November 25, 1835 - August 11, 1919) was a Scottish American industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He was also one of the highest profile philanthropists of his era and had given away almost 90 percent- amounting to, in 1919, $350 million (in 2014, $4.76 billion)- of his fortune to charities and foundations by the time of his death. His 1889 article proclaiming 'The Gospel of Wealth' called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, and stimulated a wave of philanthropy. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.

A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.

All honor's wounds are self-inflicted.

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.

Concentrate your energies, your thoughts and your capital. The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket.

Concentration is my motto- first honesty, then industry, then concentration.

Do not look for approval except for the consciousness of doing your best.

Do not make riches, but usefulness, your first aim; and let your chief pride be that your daily occupation is in the line of progress and development; that your work, in whatever capacity it may be, is useful work, honestly conducted, and as such ennobling to your life.

Do your duty and a little more and the future will take care of itself.

He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave.

I don't believe in God. My god is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life.

I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.

I shall argue that strong men, conversely, know when to compromise and that all principles can be compromised to serve a greater principle.

I think the absence of women from any assembly tends to lower the tone of that assembly.

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.

Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control affairs.

Man must have no idol and the amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry.

Never speculate. Never buy or sell grain or stocks upon a margin. If you have savings, invest them in solid securities, lands or property. The man who gambles upon the exchanges is in the condition of the man who gambles at the gaming table. He rarely, if ever, makes a permanent success. His judgment goes; his faculties are snapped; and his end, as a rule, is nervous prostration after an unworthy and useless life.

No man becomes rich unless he enriches others.

No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.

Not only had I got rid of the theology and the supernatural, but I had found the truth of evolution.

People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.

Pittsburgh entered the core of my heart when I was a boy, and cannot be torn out.

Surplus wealth is a sacred trust, to be administered during life by its possessor.

The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell.

The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.

The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.

The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship.

There does not appear to be much use in providing a ladder for the people to ascend if the distance from the earth to the first step be made so great they cannot reach it.

There is always room at the top in every pursuit.

There is little success where there is little laughter.

There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else.

There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.

There is nothing that robs a righteous cause of its strength more than a millionaire's money.

Watch the costs and the profits take care of themselves.

Categories: Andrew Carnegie, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Arundhati Roy

Published Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 8:16 PM EST
Nov 23 2014

Suzanna Arundhati Roy (b. November 24, 1961) is an Indian author and political activist who is best known for the 1998 Man Booker Prize for Fiction-winning novel The God of Small Things (1997) and for her involvement in human rights and environmental causes. Roy's novel became the biggest-selling book by a nonexpatriate Indian author. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

Change is one thing. Acceptance is another.

Free elections, a free press and an independent judiciary mean little when the free market means they are on sale to the highest bidder.

Insanity hovered close at hand, like an eager waiter at an expensive restaurant.

It is true that success is the most boring thing, it is tinny and brittle, failure runs deeper. Success is dangerous.

Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Some things come with their own punishments.

Soviet-style communism failed, not because it was intrinsically evil, but because it was flawed. It allowed too few people to usurp too much power. Twenty-first century market capitalism, American- style, will fail for the same reasons. Both are edifices constructed by human intelligence, undone by human nature.

The American way of life is not sustainable. It doesn't acknowledge that there is a world beyond America.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling- their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

The invasion of Iraq will surely go down in history as one of the most cowardly wars ever fought. It was a war in which a band of rich nations, armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over, rounded on a poor nation, falsely accused it of having nuclear weapons, used the United Nations to force it to disarm, then invaded it, occupied it, and are now in the process of selling it.

The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.

The trouble is that once America goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.

The trouble is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. And once you've seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There's no innocence. Either way, you're accountable.

There is a war that makes us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.

There is only one dream worth having... to live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead.

There's really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.

Things can change in a day.

This was the trouble with families. Like invidious doctors, they knew just where it hurt.

Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons.

What does peace mean to the poor who are being actively robbed of their resources and for whom everyday life is a grim battle for water, shelter, survival and, above all, some semblance of dignity? For them, peace is war.

What does the term 'anti-American' mean? Does it mean you are anti- jazz? Or that you're opposed to freedom of speech? That you don't delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? That you have a quarrel with giant sequoias? Does it mean that you don't admire the hundreds of thousands of American citizens who marched against nuclear weapons, or the thousands of war resisters who forced their government to withdraw from Vietnam? Does it mean that you hate all Americans?

When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.

Categories: Arundhati Roy, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Roald Dahl

Published Saturday, November 22, 2014 @ 5:42 PM EST
Nov 22 2014

Roald Dahl (September 13, 1916 – November 23, 1990) was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot and screenwriter. Dahl's works include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Twits, George's Marvellous Medicine and The BFG. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.

A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

Did they preach one thing and practice another, these men of God?

Don't gobblefunk around with words.

Grown ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets.

I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm going to ignore your advice.

If the Good Lord intended for us to walk, he wouldn't have invented roller skates.

If you are good life is good.

It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.

It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.

It's impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you're not feeling twinkly yourself.

Nobody gets a nervous breakdown or a heart attack from selling kerosene to gentle country folk from the back of a tanker in Somerset.

Nowadays you can go anywhere in the world in a few hours, and nothing is fabulous any more.

Obscurity is never a virtue.

Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.

There are no secrets unless you keep them to yourself...

Unless you have been to boarding-school when you are very young, it is absolutely impossible to appreciate the delights of living at home.

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.

When writing about oneself, one must strive to be truthful. Truth is more important than modesty.

You should never, never doubt something that no one is sure of.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Roald Dahl

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Quotes of the day: André Gide

Published Friday, November 21, 2014 @ 4:04 PM EST
Nov 21 2014

André Paul Guillaume Gide (November 22, 1869 – February 19 1951) was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947 "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight." Gide's career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A straight path never leads anywhere except to the objective.

Believe those who seek the truth, doubt those who find it; doubt all, but do not doubt yourself.

Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.

Generally among intelligent people are found nothing but paralytics and among men of action nothing but fools.

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.

It is with fine sentiments that bad literature is made. Descend to the bottom of the well if you wish to see the stars.

Let every emotion be capable becoming an intoxication to you. If what you eat fails to make you drunk, it is because you are not hungry enough.

Most often people seek in life occasions for persisting in their opinions rather than for educating themselves.

Often the best in us springs from the worst in us.

One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.

Pay attention only to the form; emotion will come spontaneously to inhabit it. A perfect dwelling always finds an inhabitant. The artist's business is to build the dwelling; as for the inhabitant, it is up to the reader to provide him.

Sin is whatever obscures the soul.

The most decisive actions of our life- I mean those that are most likely to decide the whole course of our future- are, more often than not, unconsidered.

The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.

The wise man is astonished by anything.

There are many things that seem impossible only so long as one does not attempt them.

There is no feeling so simple that it is not immediately complicated and distorted by introspection.

True intelligence very readily conceives of an intelligence superior to its own; and this is why truly intelligent men are modest.

True kindness presupposes the faculty of imagining as one's own the suffering and joys of others.

We call 'happiness' a certain set of circumstances that makes joy possible. But we call joy that state of mind and emotions that needs nothing to feel happy.

What another would have done as well as you, do not do it. What another would have said as well as you, do not say it; what another would have written as well, do not write it. Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself- and thus make yourself indispensable.

When intelligent people pride themselves on not understanding, it is quite natural they should succeed better than fools.

Wisdom comes not from reason but from love.


(November 22 is also the birthday of Abigail Adams, Charles deGaulle, and George Eliot)

Categories: André Gide, Quotes of the day

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The Soul...

Published Thursday, November 20, 2014 @ 9:54 PM EST
Nov 20 2014

A common concept of the soul is that the essence of a self lies in some spark of invisible light, a thing that cowers out of body, out of mind, and out of sight.... To look for our virtue in such thoughts seems just as wrongly aimed a search as seeking art in canvas cloths by scraping off the painter's works.
-Marvin Minsky

A consistent soul believes in destiny, a capricious one in chance.
-Benjamin Disraeli

A fella ain't got a soul of his own, just a piece of a big soul, the one that belongs to everybody.
-John Steinbeck

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

A human soul devoid of longing was a soul deformed, deprived of its highest good, sick unto death.
-Saul Bellow

A little righteous anger really brings out the best in the American personality. Our nation was born when 56 patriots got mad enough to sign the Declaration of Independence. We put a man on the moon because Sputnik made us mad at being number two in space. Getting mad in a constructive way is good for the soul- and the country.
-Lee Iacocca

A room without books is like a body without a soul.
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

A soul is a troublesome possession, and when man developed it he lost the Garden of Eden.
-W. Somerset Maugham

All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family, and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others. I cannot detach myself from the wickedest soul.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Art is the final cunning of the human soul which would rather do anything than face the gods.
-Iris Murdoch

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
-Pablo Picasso

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
-H.L. Mencken

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

Be careless in your dress, if you must; but keep a tidy soul.
-Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll; Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
-Alexander Pope

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.
-George Eliot

Books are the mirrors of the soul.
-Virginia Woolf

Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A house without books is like a room without windows.
-Horace Mann

But the world will never weary of watching that troubled soul in its progress from darkness to darkness.
-Oscar Wilde

Celebrity is a corrosive condition for the soul.
-Charlton Heston

Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
-Alexander Pope

Confession is good for the conscience, but it usually bypasses the soul.
-Mignon McLaughlin

Confession is good for the soul in the sense that a tweed coat is good for dandruff.
-Peter De Vries

Corporations cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicated, for they have no souls.
-Sir Edward Coke

Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.
-Agatha Christie

Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.
-Edwin Markham

Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.
-Nelson Mandela

Do you, good people, believe that Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden and that they were forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge? I do. The church has always been afraid of that tree. It still is afraid of knowledge. Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas. So does whiskey. I believe in the brain of man. I'm not worried about my soul.
-Clarence Darrow

Don't let your hearts grow numb. Stay alert. It is your soul which matters.
-Albert Schweitzer

Every human soul is of infinite value, eternal, free; no human being, therefore, is so placed as not to have within his reach, in himself and others, objects adequate to infinite endeavor.
-Arthur James Balfour

Every writer dips his brush into his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.
-Henry Ward Beecher

Everywhere the human soul stands between a hemisphere of light and another of darkness on the confines of two everlasting hostile empires,- Necessity and Free Will.
-Thomas Carlyle

Fame like a drunkard consumes the house of the soul.
-Malcolm Lowry

Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and 50 cents for your soul.
-Marilyn Monroe

How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?
-Carson McCullers

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
-William Butler Yeats

Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood.
-Jimmy Carter

I believe that in our constant search for security we can never gain any peace of mind until we are secure in our own soul.
-Margaret Chase Smith

I believe that man will not merely endure, he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he, alone among creatures, has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.
-William Faulkner

I belong to the Great Church which holds the world within its starlit aisles; that claims the great and good of every race and clime; that finds with joy the grain of gold in every creed, and floods with light and love the germs of good in every soul.
-Robert G. Ingersoll

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

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.
-Albert Einstein

I do not mind if I lose my soul for all eternity. If the kind of God exists Who would damn me for not working out a deal with Him, then that is unfortunate. I should not care to spend eternity in the company of such a person.
-Mary McCarthy

I don't actually take much stock in the collapsing culture bit. I'm beginning to see it instead as the conduct of life without input from your soul.
-Saul Bellow

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
-Maya Angelou

I have never yet met a healthy person who worries very much about his health or a really good person who worries much about his own soul.
-J.B.S. Haldane

I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul. (From the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes)
-Bill Watterson

I once loved a woman, a child I am told
I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul.
But don't think twice, it's all right.
-Bob Dylan

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

I would permit no man, no matter what his color might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.
-Booker T. Washington

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.
-James Herriot

If my soul exists without my body I am convinced all my clothes will be loose-fitting.
-Woody Allen

If we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.
-Maya Angelou

If you are losing your leisure, look out; you may be losing your soul.
-Logan Pearsall Smith

If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose.
-Charles Bukowski

Illusions are to the soul what atmosphere is to the earth.
-Virginia Woolf

Impropriety is the soul of wit.
-W. Somerset Maugham

In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

In order to be created, a work of art must first make use of the dark forces of the soul.
-Albert Camus

In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.
-John Steinbeck

Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.
-Mary McLeod Bethune

It does not matter so much what you do. What matters is whether your soul is harmed by what you do. If your soul is harmed, something irreparable happens, the extent of which you won't realize until it will be too late.
-Albert Schweitzer

It is by little things that we know ourselves; a soul would very probably mistake itself for another, when once disembodied, were it not for individual experiences which differ from those of others only in details seemingly trifling.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

It is only the souls that do not love that go empty in this world.
-Robert Hugh Benson

It is the still, small voice that the soul heeds, not the deafening blasts of doom.
-William Dean Howells

It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked bottles; the less they have in them the more noise they make in pouring out.
-Alexander Pope

It will be a great thing for the human soul when it finally stops worshiping backwards.
-Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It's good for the soul to hear yourself as others hear you, and next time maybe, just maybe, you will not talk so much, so loudly, so brilliantly, so charmingly, so utterly shamelessly foolishly.
-Russell Baker

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.
-Stella Adler

Like body and soul theory and practice are one, and like body and soul they are for the most part at loggerheads.
-Marie Ebner von Ebner-Eschenbach

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.
-Zora Neale Hurston

Man has sold his soul for time, language, tools, weapons, and dominance.
-William S. Burroughs

Man has wrested from nature the power to make the world a desert or to make deserts bloom. There is no evil in the atom; only in men's souls.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

Maybe a man has to sell his soul to get the power to do good.
-Robert Penn Warren

More men discover their souls in darkness than they do in light. This is not to invite darkness; it is only to be reminded that darkness need not go to waste when it is thrust upon us.
-Fulton J. Sheen

Most of the world's great souls have been lonely.
-Aiden Wilson Tozer

Most people sell their souls and live with a good conscience on the proceeds.
-Logan Pearsall Smith

My fate cannot be mastered; it can only be collaborated with and thereby to some extent, directed. Nor am I the captain of my soul; I am only its noisiest passenger.
-Aldous Huxley

My mouth is full of decayed teeth and my soul of decayed ambitions.
-James Joyce

My soul lives in a place where the passions have passed by and where I have known them all.
-Joseph Joubert

Never let a man imagine that he can pursue a good end by evil means, without sinning against his own soul. The evil effect on himself is certain.
-Robert Southey

Obscurity can be a fire of ambition in those who have stalwart souls.
-Taylor Caldwell

One drop of hatred in your soul will spread and discolor everything like a drop of black ink in white milk. I was struck by that and meant to try it, but knew I shouldn't waste the milk.
-Alice Munro

Only the soul that suffers knows its suffering. Only the one who needs knows what need means.
-W.E.B. DuBois

Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
-Oscar Wilde

Our critics are the unpaid guardians of our souls.
-Corrie ten Boom

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls.
-Carl Jung

Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
-Edward Abbey

Some day you will know that there is a beauty of the soul that is more important than worldly beauty. Remember this when you see worldly beauty.
-John P. Marquand

Suffering is not good for the soul, unless it teaches you to stop suffering.
-Jane Roberts

The eyes are the window to where the soul is supposed to be.
-Tina Fey

The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it- basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.
-Charles Bukowski

The greatest battles in life are fought in the quiet chambers of the soul.
-David O. McKay

The happiest people I have known have been those who gave themselves no concern about their own souls, but did their uttermost to mitigate the miseries of others.
-Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The imagination is the eye of the soul.
-Joseph Joubert

The real lost souls don't wear their hair long and play guitars. They have crew cuts, trained minds, sign on for research in biological warfare, and don't give their parents a moment's worry.
-John Boynton Priestley

The Soul is born old, but it grows young; that is the comedy of life. The Body is born young and grows old; that is life's tragedy.
-Oscar Wilde

The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.
-Daniel Defoe

The soul may sleep and the body still be happy, but only in youth.
-Mignon McLaughlin

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.
-Emily Dickinson

There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.
-Elie Wiesel

There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.
-Victor Hugo

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
-Thomas Paine

They were trying to save their souls- and who but a fool could fail to see that all that was the matter with their souls was that they had not been able to get a decent existence for their bodies?
-Upton Sinclair

Violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.
-Robert F. Kennedy

Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.
-Walt Whitman

Whatever the soul knows how to seek, it cannot fail to obtain.
-Margaret Fuller

When one great passion seizes possession of the soul all other feelings are crowded out.
-Lucy Maud Montgomery

When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.
-Edward R. Murrow

You can lend them your talents, but don't give them your soul.
-Alan Alda

You do not 'have' a soul- you ARE a soul. You 'have' a body.
-C.S. Lewis

You got to decide what your soul can handle and how you want to be seen.
-Marc Maron

You start out giving your hat, then you give your coat, then your shirt, then your skin and finally your soul.
-Charles de Gaulle


(November 21 is also the birthday of Voltaire )

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

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Quotes of the day: Nadine Gordimer

Published Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 10:22 PM EST
Nov 19 2014

Nadine Gordimer (November 20, 1923 – July 13, 2014) was a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was recognized as a woman "who through her magnificent epic writing has– in the words of Alfred Nobel– been of very great benefit to humanity." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Art defies defeat by its very existence, representing the celebration of life, in spite of all attempts to degrade and destroy it.

Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.

Communists are the last optimists.

Humans, the only self-regarding animals, blessed or cursed with this torturing higher faculty, have always wanted to know why.

I cannot live with someone who can't live without me.

Nothing factual that I write or say will be as truthful as my fiction.

Perhaps it is the positive knowledge that humans now possess the means to destroy their whole planet, the fear that they have in this way themselves become the gods, dreadfully charged with their own continued existence, that has made comic-book and movie myth escapist.

Power is something of which I am convinced there is no innocence this side of the womb.

Recognize yourself in others.

Responsibility is what awaits outside the Eden of Creativity.

Sentiment is for those who don't know what to do next.

Success sometimes may be defined as a disaster put on hold.

The facts are always less than what really happened.

The gap between the committed and the indifferent is a Sahara whose faint trails, followed by the mind's eye only, fade out in sand.

The truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is.

There are many proven explanations for natural phenomena now; and there are new questions of being arising out of some of the answers. For this reason, the genre of myth has never been entirely abandoned, although we are inclined to think of it as archaic.

There is no moral authority like that of sacrifice.

Time is change; we measure its passage by how much things alter.

We must live fully in order to secrete the substance of our work, but we have to work alone.

You can't change a regime on the basis of compassion. There's got to be something harder.

Categories: Nadine Gordimer, Quotes of the day

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