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Quotes of the day: George Herbert Mead

Published Thursday, February 26, 2015 @ 6:51 PM EST
Feb 26 2015

George Herbert Mead (February 27, 1863 – April 26, 1931) was an American philosopher, sociologist and psychologist, primarily affiliated with the University of Chicago, where he was one of several distinguished pragmatists. He is regarded as one of the founders of social psychology and the American sociological tradition in general. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A multiple personality is in a certain sense normal.

History is always the interpretation of the present.

Imagery is not past but present. It rests with what we call our mental processes to place these images in a temporal order.

In wartime we identify ourselves with the nation, and its interests are the interests of our primal selves.

Man lives in a world of meaning.

No very sharp line can be drawn between social psychology and individual psychology.

Our cautious ancestors, when yawning, blocked the way to the entrance of evil spirits by putting their hands before their mouths. We find a reason for the gesture in the delicacy of manner which forbids an indecent exposure.

Social psychology is especially interested in the effect which the social group has in the determination of the experience and conduct of the individual member.

Society is unity in diversity.

The beauty of a face is not a separate quality but a relation or proportion of qualities to each other.

The self has the characteristic that it is an object to itself, and that characteristic distinguishes it from other objects and from the body.

To be interested in the public good we must be disinterested, that is, not interested in goods in which our personal selves are wrapped up.

Warfare is an utterly stupid method of settling differences of interest between different nations.


(February 27 is also the birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hugo Black, John Steinbeck, and Peter De Vries.)

Categories: George Herbert Mead, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Theodore Sturgeon

Published Wednesday, February 25, 2015 @ 9:10 PM EST
Feb 25 2015

(Photo by Mark Zicree)

Theodore Sturgeon (born Edward Hamilton Waldo; February 26, 1918 - May 8, 1985) was an American science fiction and horror writer and critic. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database credits him with about 400 reviews and more than 200 stories. At the height of his popularity in the 1950s, he was the most anthologized English-language author alive and much respected by critics. Sturgeon wrote the screenplays for the Star Trek original series episodes "Shore Leave" (1966) and "Amok Time" (1967), the latter known for the introduction of pon farr, the Vulcan mating ritual, and the first use of the phrase "Live long and prosper." Sturgeon wrote several episodes of Star Trek that were never produced, one of which was notable for having first introduced the concept of the Prime Directive.

(Click here for full Wikipedia article)


An ethic isn't a fact you can look up. It's a way of thinking.

Ask the next question.

Do you know what morals are? Morals are an obedience to rules that people laid down to help you live among them.

Fear is a survival instinct; fear in its way is a comfort for it means that somewhere hope is alive.

If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister? (story title)

It's the Simple things that are really effective. Try to remember that.

Live long and prosper.
(from the Star Trek original series episode "Amok Time")

Logic and truth are two very different things, but they often look the same to the mind that's performing the logic.

Love's a different sort of thing, hot enough to make you flow into something, interflow, cool and anneal and be a weld stronger than what you started with.

Ninety percent of everything is crud. (Sturgeon's Revelation)

No man can rob successfully over a period of years without pleasing the people he robs.

Nothing is always absolutely so. (Sturgeon's Law)

The movers and shakers have always been obsessive nuts.

There are no synonyms. There are no two words that mean exactly the same thing.

There are people who have tremendously important things to say, but they say it so poorly that nobody would ever want to read it.

There's this about a farm: when the market's good there's money, and when it's bad there's food.

We don't believe anything we don't want to believe.

Why must we love where the lightning strikes, and not where we choose?


(February 26 is also the birthday of Victor Hugo.)

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Quotes of the day: Bob Schieffer

Published Tuesday, February 24, 2015 @ 7:02 PM EST
Feb 24 2015

Bob Lloyd Schieffer (b. February 25, 1937) is an American television journalist who has been with CBS News since 1969, serving 23 years as anchor on the Saturday edition of CBS Evening News from 1973 to 1996; chief Washington correspondent since 1982, and moderator of the Sunday public affairs show Face the Nation since 1991. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


American politics used to be an amateur sport. But somewhere along the way, we handed over to professionals all the things people used to do for free.

At the White House, everybody works for the same person. They're all part of the same company. But on Capitol Hill, they're all independent contractors. They all work for themselves. That's a formula for getting news.

Every news organization, if it's aggressive and doing what it ought to be doing, is going to get caught with a bad story from time to time.

God knows everything, but I'm not quite that good. Every once in a while, something will slip by me.

I always thought writing was the foundation and the basis for journalism in the same way being able to draw is the foundation for art.

I don't know what temporarily means. Life is temporary.

I switched over to journalism. I didn't graduate with honors, but I did graduate on time and with some doing.

I think journalism is a great way to do public service, to have an impact on your community.

If I were smart, I could figure out curling. If I were even smarter, I could figure out why people would actually watch other people doing it.

Nowadays I'm not even sure if newspapers take into account whether a person is a good writer.

Once you realize there is life after mistakes, you gain a self- confidence that never goes away.

Wars are not fought on the training ground, nor can they be covered from the television studio.

We're far from perfect. It's a human enterprise.

You cannot be objective about human suffering and people dying. Any person who was not outraged by that, I'm not sure they have business being a reporter.


(February 25 is also the birthday of Anthony Burgess and Abe Vigoda.)

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Quotes of the day: George Moore

Published Monday, February 23, 2015 @ 8:59 PM EST
Feb 23 2015

George Augustus Moore (February 24, 1852 - January 21, 1933) was an Irish novelist, short-story writer, poet, art critic, memoirist and dramatist. As a naturalistic writer, he was amongst the first English-language authors to absorb the lessons of the French realists, and was particularly influenced by the works of Émile Zola. His writings influenced James Joyce, according to the literary critic and biographer Richard Ellmann, and, although Moore's work is sometimes seen as outside the mainstream of both Irish and British literature, he is as often regarded as the first great modern Irish novelist. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A great artist is always before his time or behind it.

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.

All reformers are bachelors.

Faith goes out of the window when beauty comes in at the door.

Humanity is a pigsty, where lions, hypocrites, and the obscene in spirit congregate.

I am filled with pride when I think of the noble and exalted world that must have existed before Christian doctrine caused men to look upon women with suspicion and bade them to think of angels instead.

I will admit that an artist may be great and limited; by one word he may light up an abyss of soul; but there must be this one magical and unique word.

I would lay aside the wisest book to talk to a stupid woman.

Injustice we worship; all that lifts us out of the miseries of life is the sublime fruit of injustice. Every immortal deed was an act of fearful injustice; the world of grandeur, of triumph, of courage, of lofty aspiration, was built up on injustice. Man would not be man but for injustice.

It does not matter how badly you paint so long as you don't paint badly like other people.

Love- but not marriage. Marriage means a four-post bed and papa and mamma between eleven and twelve. Love is aspiration: transparencies, colour, light, a sense of the unreal. But a wife- you know all about her- who her father was, who her mother was, what she thinks of you and her opinion of the neighbours over the way. Where, then, is the dream?

Self is man's main business; all outside of self is uncertain, all comes from self, all returns to self.

Terrible is the day when each sees his soul naked, stripped of all veil; that dear soul which he cannot change or discard, and which is so irreparably his.

The lot of critics is to be remembered by what they failed to understand.

The mind petrifies if a circle be drawn around it, and it can hardly be denied that dogma draws a circle round the mind.

The public will accept a masterpiece, but it will not accept an attempt to write a masterpiece.

The world is dying of machinery; that is the great disease, that is the plague that will sweep away and destroy civilization; man will have to rise against it sooner or later.

The world wants geniuses, but it wants them to behave just like other people.

The wrong way always seems the more reasonable.

Ugliness is trivial, the monstrous is terrible.

We all want notoriety; our desires on this point, as upon others, are not noble, but the human is very despicable vermin and only tolerable when it tends to the brute, and away from the evangelical.

We humans are more complicated than animals, and we love through the imagination.


(February 24 is also the birthday of Steve Jobs and Mitch Hedberg.)

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Quotes of the day: Jessamyn West

Published Sunday, February 22, 2015 @ 1:06 PM EST
Feb 22 2015

Mary Jessamyn West (July 18, 1902 - February 23, 1984) was an American author of short stories and novels, notably The Friendly Persuasion (1945). A Quaker from Indiana, she graduated from Fullerton Union High School in 1919 and Whittier College in 1923. There she helped found the Palmer Society in 1921. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever.

A good time for laughing is when you can.

A rattlesnake that doesn't bite teaches you nothing.

A religious awakening which does not awaken the sleeper to love has roused him in vain.

A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor, for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself.

Faithfulness to the past can be a kind of death above ground. Writing of the past is a resurrection; the past then lives in your words and you are free.

Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures.

Groan and forget it.

How can you tell whether or not you have had enough until you've had a little too much?

I never meet anyone nowadays who admits to having had a happy childhood. Everyone appears to think happiness betokens a lack of sensitivity.

I've done more harm by the falseness of trying to please than by the honesty of trying to hurt.

If you train people properly, they won't be able to tell a drill from the real thing. If anything, the real thing will be easier.

If you want a baby, have a new one. Don't baby the old one.

In their sympathies, children feel nearer animals than adults. They frolic with animals, caress them, share with them feelings neither has words for. Have they ever stroked any adult with the love they bestow on a cat? Hugged any grownup with the ecstasy they feel when clasping a puppy?

It is very east to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed your own.

Justice is a terrible but necessary thing.

Memory is a magnet. It will pull to it and hold only material nature has designed it to attract.

Nothing is so dear as what you're about to leave.

Only a fool would refuse to enter a fool's paradise when that's the only paradise he'll ever have a chance to enter.

Sleeplessness is a desert without vegetation or inhabitants.

Some people are always thirsting for water from other people's wells.

Suffering is also one of the ways of knowing you're alive.

Talent is helpful in writing, but guts are absolutely necessary.

The basic essential of a great actor is that he loves himself in acting.

The past is really almost as much a work of the imagination as the future.

The source of one's joy is also often the source of one's sorrow.

There are two barriers that often prevent communication between the young and their elders. The first is middle-aged forgetfulness of the fact that they themselves are no longer young. The second is youthful ignorance of the fact that the middle aged are still alive.

We can love an honest rogue, but what is more offensive than a false saint?

We want the facts to fit the preconceptions. When they don't it is easier to ignore the facts than to change the preconceptions.


(February 23 is also the birthday of W.E.B. DuBois.)

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Quotes of the day: Christian Bovee

Published Saturday, February 21, 2015 @ 5:31 PM EST
Feb 21 2015

Christian Nestell Bovee (February 22, 1820 – January 18, 1904) was an epigrammatic New York writer who wrote two books that were widely quoted in contemporaneous compilations: Intuitions and Summaries of Thought and Thoughts, Feelings and Fancies. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A sound discretion is not so much indicated by never making a mistake as by never repeating it.

As threshing separates the wheat from the chaff, so does affliction purify virtue.

Courage enlarges, cowardice diminishes resources. In desperate straits the fears of the timid aggravate the dangers that imperil the brave.

Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.

Enthusiasm is the inspiration of everything great. Without it no man is to be feared, and with it none despised.

Example has more followers than reason. We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and approximate to the characters we most admire.

False friends are like our shadow, keeping close to us while we walk in the sunshine, but leaving us the instant we cross into the shade.

Fame- a few words upon a tombstone, and the truth of those not to be depended on.

Genius makes its observations in short-hand; talent writes them out at length.

Good men have the fewest fears. He has but one great fear who fears to do wrong; he has a thousand who has overcome it.

In ambition, as in love, the successful can afford to be indulgent toward their rivals. The prize our own, it is graceful to recognize the merit that vainly aspired to it.

In politics, merit is rewarded by the possessor being raised, like a target, to a position to be fired at.

Living with a saint is more grueling than being one.

Loss of sincerity is loss of vital power.

At all events, the next best thing to being witty one's self, is to be able to quote another's wit.

No man is happy without a delusion of some kind. Delusions are as necessary to our happiness as realities.

Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination.

Tears are nature's lotion for the eyes. The eyes see better for being washed by them.

The body of a sensualist is the coffin of a dead soul.

The great artist is a slave to his ideals.

The language denotes the man. A coarse or refined character finds its expression naturally in a coarse or refined phraseology.

The light in the world comes principally from two sources- the sun, and the student's lamp.

The passions are like fire, useful in a thousand ways and dangerous only in one, through their excess.

The small courtesies sweeten life; the greater ennoble it.

The worst deluded are the self-deluded.

There is great beauty in going through life without anxiety or fear. Half our fears are baseless, and the other half discreditable.

There is, indeed, no wild beast more to be dreaded than a communicative man having nothing to communicate.

They are the weakest, however strong, who have no faith in themselves or their own powers.

Tranquil pleasures last the longest; we are not fitted to bear the burden of great joys.

We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.

We make way for the man who boldly pushes past us.

We trifle when we assign limits to our desires, since nature hath set none.

What we call conscience, in many instances, is only a wholesome fear of the constable.

When all else is lost, the future still remains.


(February 22 is also the birthday of Arthur Schopenhauer and Jules Renard.)

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Quotes of the day: Malcolm X

Published Friday, February 20, 2015 @ 9:49 AM EST
Feb 20 2015

Malcolm X (May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), born Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was an African-American Muslim minister and a human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A ballot is like a bullet. You don’t throw your ballots until you see a target, and if that target is not within your reach, keep your ballot in your pocket.

A fox and a wolf are both canine, both belong to the dog family. Now you take your choice. You going to choose a Northern dog or a Southern dog? Because either dog you choose, I guarantee you’ll still be in the dog house.

A segregated school means a school that is controlled by people who have no real interest in it whatsoever.

A segregated school system produces children who, when they graduate, graduate with crippled minds.

Any time you find the government involved in a conspiracy to violate the citizenship or the civil rights of a people, then you are wasting your time going to that government expecting redress.

Any time you have to rely upon your enemy for a job you’re in bad shape.

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs only to the people who prepare for it today.

I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.

I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.

No religion is greater than truth. No faith is greater than fact.

Nonviolence is fine as long as it works.

Our forefathers weren't the Pilgrims. We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. The rock was landed on us. We were brought here against our will. We were not brought here to be made citizens. We were not brought here to enjoy the constitutional gifts that they speak so beautifully about today.

People don't realize how a man's whole life can be changed by one book.

Sitting at the table doesn't make you a diner, unless you eat some of what's on the plate. Being here in America doesn't make you an American. Being born in America doesn't make you an American.

The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make the criminal look like he's a the victim and make the victim look like he's the criminal.

To me the earth's most explosive and pernicious evil is racism, the inability of God's creatures to live as One, especially in the Western world.

We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.

Were we to come out here discussing religion, we’d have too many differences from the outstart and we could never get together.

Whenever you’re going after something that belongs to you, anyone who’s depriving you of the right to have it is a criminal. Understand that. Whenever you are going after something that is yours, you are within your legal rights to lay claim to it. And anyone who puts forth any effort to deprive you of that which is yours, is breaking the law, is a criminal.

Whether we are Christians or Muslims or nationalists or agnostics or atheists, we must first learn to forget our differences. If we have differences, let us differ in the closet; when we come out in front, let us not have anything to argue about until we get finished arguing with the man.

You can't separate peace from freedom, because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.

You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you'll do anything to get your freedom; then you'll get it. It's the only way you'll get it.

You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it.


(February 21 is also the birthday of Anais Nin, Sacha Guitry, W.H. Auden, and Erma Bombeck.)

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Quotes of the day: Ansel Adams

Published Thursday, February 19, 2015 @ 10:28 PM EST
Feb 19 2015

Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 - April 22, 1984) was an American photographer and environmentalist. His black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park, have been widely reproduced on calendars, posters, and books. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A great photograph is a full expression of what one feels about what is being photographed in the deepest sense, and is, thereby, a true expression of what one feels about life in its entirety.

A photograph is usually looked at- seldom looked into.

A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.

For me the future of the image is going to be in electronic form. ... You will see perfectly beautiful images on an electronic screen. And I'd say that would be very handsome. They would be almost as close as the best reproductions.

I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics, and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to comprehend and control them.

I have often thought that if photography were difficult in the true sense of the term- meaning that the creation of a simple photograph would entail as much time and effort as the production of a good watercolor or etching- there would be a vast improvement in total output. The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.

I would never apologize for photographing rocks. Rocks can be very beautiful. But, yes, people have asked why I don't put people into my pictures of the natural scene. I respond, 'There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.' That usually doesn't go over at all.

If what I see in my mind excites me, there is a good chance it will make a good photograph.

It is horrifying that we have to fight our own Government to save the environment.

Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer, and often the supreme disappointment.

No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.

No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied- it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.

Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.

Photography, as a powerful medium... offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.

The herculean task of a photographer is to capture a momentary frame as beautiful in reality, as it would be in a dream.

The only things in my life that compatibly exist with this grand universe are the creative works of the human spirit.

The sheer ease with which we can produce a superficial image often leads to creative disaster.

The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.

There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.

There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.

To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces.

We must remember that a photograph can hold just as much as we put into it, and no one has ever approached the full possibilities of the medium.

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.


(February 20 is also the birthday of DeForest Kelley.)

Categories: Ansel Adams, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: André Breton

Published Wednesday, February 18, 2015 @ 8:28 PM EST
Feb 18 2015

André Breton (February 19, 1896 - September 28 1966) was a French writer and poet, known best as the founder of Surrealism. His writings include the first Surrealist Manifesto (Manifeste du surréalisme) (1924), in which he defined surrealism as "pure psychic automatism". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.

Beauty will be convulsive or not at all.

Beloved imagination, what I most like in you is your unsparing quality. There remains madness, 'the madness that one locks up', as it has aptly been described. That madness or another...

But in this day and age logical methods are applicable only to solving problems of secondary interest.

Do not forget to make proper arrangements for your last will and testament: speaking personally, I ask that I be taken to the cemetery in a moving van.

Everything tends to make us believe that there exists a certain point of the mind at which life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease to be perceived as contradictions.

Eyes exist in the savage state.

I could spend my whole life prying loose the secrets of the insane. These people are honest to a fault, and their naivety has no peer but my own.

I have always been amazed at the way an ordinary observer lends so much more credence and attaches so much more importance to waking events than to those occurring in dreams... Man... is above all the plaything of his memory.

If I place love above everything, it is because for me it is the most desperate, the most despairing state of affairs imaginable.

It is living and ceasing to live which are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere.

Let me come back again to the waking state. I have no choice but to consider it a phenomenon of interference. Not only does the mind display, in this state, a strange tendency to lose its bearings (as evidenced by the slips and mistakes the secrets of which are just beginning to be revealed to us), but, what is more, it does not appear that, when the mind is functioning normally, it really responds to anything but the suggestions which come to it from the depths of that dark night to which I commend it.

Life’s greatest gift is the freedom it leaves you to step out of it whenever you choose.

Love is always before you. Love it.

Love is when you meet someone who tells you something new about yourself.

My wish is that you may be loved to the point of madness.

No one who has lived even for a fleeting moment for something other than life in its conventional sense and has experienced the exaltation that this feeling produces can then renounce his new freedom so easily.

No rules exist, and examples are simply life-savers answering the appeals of rules making vain attempts to exist.

Nothing retains less of desire in art, in science, than this will to industry, booty, possession.

Nothing that surrounds us is object, all is subject.

Perhaps I am doomed to retrace my steps under the illusion that I am exploring, doomed to try and learn what I should simply recognize, learning a mere fraction of what I have forgotten.

So strong is the belief in life, in what is most fragile in life- real life, I mean- that in the end this belief is lost.

Surrealism is the 'invisible ray' which will one day enable us to win out over our opponents.

Surrealism will usher you into death, which is a secret society. It will glove your hand, burying therein the profound M with which the word Memory begins.

The imaginary is what tends to become real.

The mind, placed before any kind of difficulty, can find an ideal outlet in the absurd. Accommodation to the absurd readmits adults to the mysterious realm inhabited by children.

There is nothing with which it is so dangerous to take liberties as liberty itself.

What one hides is worth neither more nor less than what one finds. And what one hides from oneself is worth neither more nor less than what one allows others to find.

Words make love with one another.


(February 19 is also the birthday of Carson McCullers.)

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Quotes of the day: Toni Morrison

Published Tuesday, February 17, 2015 @ 5:26 PM EST
Feb 17 2015

Toni Morrison (b. Chloe Ardelia Wofford, February 18, 1931) is an American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Sula, Song of Solomon and Beloved. She won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1988 for Beloved and the Nobel Prize in 1993. On May 29, 2012, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A dream is just a nightmare with lipstick.

All paradises, all utopias are designed by who is not there, by the people who are not allowed in.

All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.

Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth. It is a lovely surging.

Anything dead coming back to life hurts.

As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.

At some point in life the world's beauty becomes enough. You don't need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.

Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.

Don't ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn't fall in love, I rose in it.

Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.

If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.

If you surrender to the wind you can ride it.

If you're going to hold someone down you're going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.

In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.

It is sheer good fortune to miss somebody long before they leave you.

Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names. Language alone is meditation.

Lonely was much better than alone.

Love is never any better than the lover.

Love is or it ain't. Thin love ain't love at all.

Passion is never enough; neither is skill. But try.

Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it's not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it's gone, but the place- the picture of it- stays, and not just in my remory, but out there, in the world.

Something that is loved is never lost.

There is really nothing more to say- except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.

We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.

What difference do it make if the thing you scared of is real or not?

What I think the political correctness debate is really about is the power to be able to define. The definers want the power to name. And the defined are now taking that power away from them.

You are an adult. The old one, the wise one. Stop thinking about saving your face. Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world.

You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.

Categories: Quotes of the day, Toni Morrison

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Quotes of the day: Heinrich Heine

Published Monday, February 16, 2015 @ 5:01 PM EST
Feb 16 2015

Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (December 13, 1797 - February 17, 1856) was a German poet, journalist, essayist, and literary critic. He is best known outside Germany for his early lyric poetry, which was set to music in the form of Lieder (art songs) by composers such as Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert. Heine's later verse and prose are distinguished by their satirical wit and irony. His radical political views led to many of his works being banned by German authorities. Heine spent the last 25 years of his life as an expatriate in Paris. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


At first I was almost about to despair, I thought I never could bear it- but I did I bear it. The question remains: how?

Great genius takes shape by contact with another great genius, but less by assimilation than by friction.

He only profits from praise who values criticism.

If one has no heart, one cannot write for the masses.

If the Romans had been obliged to learn Latin, they would never have found time to conquer the world.

Mark this well, you proud men of action: You are nothing but the unwitting agents of the men of thought who often, in quiet self- effacement, mark out most exactly all your doings in advance.

Of course God will forgive me; that's his business.

One must, it is true, forgive one's enemies- but not before they have been hanged.

One should forgive one's enemies, but not before they are hanged.

Ordinarily he is insane, but he has lucid moments when he is only stupid.

People in those old times had convictions; we moderns only have opinions. And it needs more than a mere opinion to erect a Gothic cathedral.

The arrow belongs not to the archer when it has once left the bow; the word no longer belongs to the speaker when it has once passed his lips, especially when it has been multiplied by the press.

The duration of religions has always been dependent on human need for them.

The fundamental evil of the world arose from the fact that the good Lord has not created money enough.

There are more fools in the world than there are people.

Whatever tears one may shed, in the end one always blows one's nose.

When words leave off, music begins.

Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.

Wild, dark times are rumbling toward us, and the prophet who wishes to write a new apocalypse will have to invent entirely new beasts, and beasts so terrible that the ancient animal symbols of St. John will seem like cooing doves and cupids in comparison.


(February 17 is also the birthday of Barry Humphries.)

Categories: Heinrich Heine, Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: Angela Carter

Published Sunday, February 15, 2015 @ 3:59 PM EST
Feb 15 2015

Angela Carter (May 7, 1940 - February 16, 1992) was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, and picaresque works. In 2008, The Times ranked Carter tenth in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". In 2012, Nights at the Circus was selected as the best ever winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A book is simply the container of an idea like a bottle; what is inside the book is what matters.

A day without an argument is like an egg without salt.

Anticipation is the greater part of pleasure.

Anxiety is the beginning of conscience, which is the parent of the soul but is not compatible with innocence.

Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.

Hollywood... was the place where the United States perpetrated itself as a universal dream and put the dream into mass production.

I think it's one of the scars in our culture that we have too high an opinion of ourselves. We align ourselves with the angels instead of the higher primates.

If the Barbarians are destroyed, who will we then be able to blame for the bad things?

In a secular age, an authentic miracle must purport to be a hoax, in order to gain credit in the world.

In the mythic schema of all relations between men and women, man proposes, and woman is disposed of.

Is not this whole world an illusion? And yet it fools everybody.

It is far easier for a woman to lead a blameless life than it is for a man; all she has to do is to avoid sexual intercourse like the plague.

It is, perhaps, better to be valued as an object of passion than never to be valued at all.

It's every woman's tragedy, that, after a certain age, she looks like a female impersonator. Mind you, we've known some lovely female impersonators, in our time.

Love is desire sustained by unfulfilment.

Mother goddesses are just as silly a notion as father gods. If a revival of the myths of these cults gives woman emotional satisfaction, it does so at the price of obscuring the real conditions of life. This is why they were invented in the first place.

Nostalgia, the vice of the aged. We watch so many old movies our memories come in monochrome.

Nothing is a matter of life and death except life and death.

Some cities are women and must be loved; others are men and can only be admired or bargained with.

Soon, nostalgia will be another name for Europe.

Strangers used to gather together at the cinema and sit together in the dark, like Ancient Greeks participating in the mysteries, dreaming the same dream in unison.

The bed is now as public as the dinner table and governed by the same rules of formal confrontation.

The child's laughter is pure until he first laughs at a clown.

The notion of a universality of human experience is a confidence trick and the notion of a universality of female experience is a clever confidence trick.

The tiger will never lie down with the lamb; he acknowledges no pact that is not reciprocal. The lamb must learn to run with the tigers.

There is a striking resemblance between the act of love and the ministrations of a torturer.

There was a house we all had in common and it was called the past, even though we'd lived in different rooms.

To be the object of desire is to be defined in the passive case. To exist in the passive case is to die in the passive case- that is, to be killed. This is the moral of the fairy tale about the perfect woman.

To pin your hopes upon the future is to consign those hopes to a hypothesis, which is to say, a nothingness. Here and now is what we must contend with.

We must all make do with the rags of love we find flapping on the scarecrow of humanity.

What is marriage but prostitution to one man instead of many?

Where ambition can cover its enterprises, even to the person himself, under the appearance of principle, it is the most incurable and inflexible of passions.


(February 16 is also the birthday of G.M. Trevelyan and Henry Adams.)

Categories: Angela Carter, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Alfred North Whitehead

Published Saturday, February 14, 2015 @ 8:46 PM EST
Feb 14 2015

Alfred North Whitehead, OM FRS (February 15, 1861 - December 30, 1947) was an English mathematician and philosopher. He is best known as the defining figure of the philosophical school known as process philosophy, which today has found application to a wide variety of disciplines, including ecology, theology, education, physics, biology, economics, and psychology, among other areas. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A general definition of civilization: a civilized society is exhibiting the five qualities of truth, beauty, adventure, art, peace.

All the world over and at all times there have been practical men, absorbed in 'irreducible and stubborn facts': all the world over and at all times there have been men of philosophic temperament, who have been absorbed in the weaving of general principles.

Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment in recognition of the pattern.

Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.

Education is the acquisition of the art of the utilisation of knowledge.

Error is the price we pay for progress.

Every intellectual revolution which has ever stirred humanity into greatness has been a passionate protest against inert ideas.

Every simplification is an oversimplification.

For successful education there must always be a certain freshness in the knowledge dealt with. It must be either new in itself or invested with some novelty of application to the new world of new times.

I have always noticed that deeply and truly religious persons are fond of a joke, and I am suspicious of those who aren’t.

Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them.

Identification of rhythm as the casual counterpart of life; wherever there is some life, only perceptible to us when the analogies are sufficiently close.

If we like to assume the rise of language as a given fact, then it is not going too far to say that the souls of men are the gift from language to mankind. The account of the sixth day should be written: He gave them speech, and they became souls.

In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of a defeat; but in the evolution of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress towards victory.

In the inescapable flux, there is something that abides; in the overwhelming permanence, there is an element that escapes into flux.

Intelligence is quickness to apprehend as distinct from ability, which is capacity to act wisely on the thing apprehended.

Intolerance is the besetting sin of moral fervor.

It is the business of the future to be dangerous; and it is among the merits of science that it equips the future for its duties.

It is the first step in sociological wisdom, to recognize that the major advances in civilization are processes which all but wreck the societies in which they occur...

It must be admitted that there is a degree of instability which is inconsistent with civilization. But, on the whole, the great ages have been unstable ages.

It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.

Knowledge does not keep any better than fish. You may be dealing with knowledge of the old species, with some old truth; but somehow it must come to the students, as it were, just drawn out of the sea and with the freshness of its immediate importance.

Life is an offensive, directed against the repetitious mechanism of the Universe.

Life is complex in its expression, involving more than percipience, namely desire, emotion, will, and feeling.

Ninety percent of our lives is governed by emotion. Our brains merely register and act upon what is telegraphed to them by our bodily experience. Intellect is to emotion as our clothes are to our bodies; we could not very well have civilized life without clothes, but we would be in a poor way if we had only clothes without bodies.

Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, behind and within the passing flux of immediate things; something which is real, and yet waiting to be realized; something which is a remote possibility, and yet the greatest of present facts; something that gives meaning to all that passes, and yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final good, and yet is beyond all reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and the hopeless quest.

Religion will not regain its old power until it can face change in the same spirit as does science. Its principles may be eternal, but the expression of those principles requires continual development.

Seek simplicity, and distrust it.

Systems, scientific and philosophic, come and go. Each method of limited understanding is at length exhausted. In its prime each system is a triumphant success: in its decay it is an obstructive nuisance.

The absolute pacifist is a bad citizen; times come when force must be used to uphold right, justice and ideals.

The aim of science is to seek the simplest explanations of complex facts.

The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order.

The chief danger to philosophy is narrowness in the selection of evidence.

The chief error in philosophy is overstatement.

The deepest definition of youth is life as yet untouched by tragedy.

The greatest invention of the nineteenth century was the invention of the method of invention.

The guiding motto in the life of every natural philosopher should be, "Seek simplicity and distrust it."

The human body is an instrument for the production of art in the life of the human soul.

The learned tradition is not concerned with truth, but with the learned adjustment of learned statements of antecedent learned people.

The major advances in civilization are processes that all but wreck the societies in which they occur.

The mentality of mankind and the language of mankind created each other.

The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.

The science of pure mathematics, in its modern developments, may claim to be the most original creation of the human spirit.

The worst that happened to men of science was that Galileo suffered an honorable detention and a mild reproof, before dying peacefully in his bed.

There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.

There is a quality of life which lies always beyond the mere fact of life; and when we include the quality in the fact, there is still omitted the quality of the quality.

We are apt to fall into the error of thinking that the facts are simple because simplicity is the goal of our quest.

We cannot think first and act afterwards. From the moment of birth we are immersed in action and can only fitfully guide it by taking thought.

We think in generalities, but we live in detail. To make the past live, we must perceive it in detail in addition to thinking of it in generalities.

What is morality in any given time or place? It is what the majority then and there happen to like, and immorality is what they dislike.

What the learned world tends to offer is one second-hand scrap of information illustrating ideas derived from another second-hand scrap of information. The second-handedness of the learned world is the secret of its mediocrity.

Whether or no it be for the general good, life is robbery. It is at this point that with life morals become acute. The robber requires justification.

Without adventure, civilization is in full decay.


(Also born on February 15: Susan B. Anthony and Matt Groening.)

Categories: Alfred North Whitehead, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Destiny

Published Friday, February 13, 2015 @ 7:42 PM EST
Feb 13 2015


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

A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.
-Jean de la Fontaine

All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny.
-Aldous Huxley

America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses.
-Woodrow Wilson

Anatomy is destiny.
-Sigmund Freud

Biology is Destiny.
-Lois McMaster Bujold

Character is destiny.

Destiny has two ways of crushing us- by refusing our wishes and by fulfilling them.
-Henri Frédéric Amiel

Destiny is a feeling you have that you know something about yourself nobody else does. The picture you have in your own mind of what you're about will come true. It's a kind of a thing you kind of have to keep to your own self, because it's a fragile feeling, and you put it out there, then someone will kill it. It's best to keep that all inside.
-Bob Dylan

Destiny is a good thing to accept when it's going your way. When it isn't, don't call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery or simple bad luck.
-Joseph Heller

Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
-William Jennings Bryan

Destiny is something we've invented because we can't stand the fact that everything that happens is accidental.
-Nora Ephron

Destiny is what you are supposed to do in life. Fate is what kicks you in the ass to do it.
-Henry Miller

Destiny urges me to a goal of which I am ignorant. Until that goal is attained I am invulnerable, unassailable. When Destiny has accomplished her purpose in me, a fly may suffice to destroy me.
-Napoleon Bonaparte

Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny.
-Bob Marley

Every man is working out his destiny in his own way and nobody can be of any help except by being kind, generous, and patient.
-Henry Miller

I almost think it is the ultimate destiny of science to exterminate the human race.
-Thomas L. Peacock

I don't expect to retire. Every man must work, that's his natural destiny.
-Henry Ford

I don't think that a leader can control to any great extent his destiny. Very seldom can he step in and change the situation if the forces of history are running in another direction.
-Richard M. Nixon

I was hardly fit for human society. Thus destiny shaped me to be a science fiction writer.
-Brian Aldiss

It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.
-Winston Churchill

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.
-William Shakespeare

It's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.
-Coco Chanel

Let a man accept his destiny. No pity and no tears.

Loneliness is the way by which destiny endeavors to lead man to himself.
-Hermann Hesse

Lots of folks confuse bad management with destiny.
-Frank McKinney (Kin) Hubbard

Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
-Jean-Paul Sartre

Man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become to fulfill his destiny.
-Paul Tillich

Marriage and hanging go by destiny; matches are made in heaven.
-Robert Burton

May the men who hold the destiny of peoples in their hands, studiously avoid anything that might cause the present situation to deteriorate and become even more dangerous.
-Albert Schweitzer

Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny.
-John Oliver Hobbes

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of life are made. Destiny is known silently.
-Agnes DeMille

Our history is not our destiny.
-Alan Cohen

Sometimes in life you have an appointment with destiny, and sometimes you just have to get destiny to squeeze you in.
-Robert Brault

The deeds of a man, not the words of a prophecy, are what shape his destiny.
-Lloyd Alexander

The efforts which we make to escape from our destiny only serve to lead us into it.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Usually the woman has an appointment with destiny, and the man just happens to be there.
-Robert Brault

We are not permitted to chose the frame of our destiny. But what we put in it is ours.
-Dag Hammarskjold

We must always take risks. That is our destiny.
-T.S. Eliot

We write our own destiny. We become what we do.
-Madame Chiang Kai-Shek

What do I know of man's destiny? I could tell you more about radishes.
-Samuel Beckett


(February 14 is the birthday of George Jean Nathan and Paul Tsongas.)

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

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Quotes of the day: oh, behave!

Published Thursday, February 12, 2015 @ 10:36 PM EST
Feb 12 2015

Always behave as though others were watching. A man who looks after his actions sees that others see him, or will. He knows that walls have ears, and that what is badly done is bursting to become known.
-Baltasar Gracián

Always behave like a duck. Keep calm and unruffled at the surface but paddle like the devil underneath.
-Jacob Braude

Charming people live up to the very edge of their charm, and behave as outrageously as the world lets them.
-Logan Pearsall Smith

Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know; it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.
-John Ruskin

Even though I don't personally believe in the Lord, I try to behave as though He was watching.
-Christopher Reeve

Everyone would like to behave like a pagan, with everyone else behaving like a Christian.
-Albert Camus

Gods always behave like the people who make them.
-Zora Neale Hurston

How you behave toward cats here below determines your status in Heaven.
-Robert A. Heinlein

Human beings are the only creatures who are able to behave irrationally in the name of reason.
-Ashley Montagu

I don't say we all ought to misbehave, but we ought to look as if we could.
-Orson Welles

If people behaved like governments, you'd call the cops.
-Kelvin Throop, III

If you don't behave as you believe, you will end by believing as you behave.
-Fulton J. Sheen

If you're born with a gift, to behave like it's an achievement is not right.
-Woody Allen

It is a waste of energy to be angry with a man who behaves badly, just as it is to be angry with a car that won't go.
-Bertrand Russell

It is usually when men are at their most religious that they behave with the least sense and the greatest cruelty.
-Ilka Chase

It's good to know that if I behave strangely society will take full responsibility for me.
-Ashleigh Brilliant

Men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other resources.
-Abba Eban

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

The government is mainly an expensive organization to regulate evildoers and tax those who behave.
-E.W. Howe

The less I behave like Whistler's mother the night before, the more I look like her the morning after.
-Tallulah Bankead

The moral of the story of the Pilgrims is that if you work hard all your life and behave yourself every minute and take no time out for fun you will break practically even, if you can borrow enough money to pay your taxes.
-Will Cuppy

The people I respect most behave as if they were immortal and as if society was eternal.
-E.M. Forster

The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do.
-John Holt

The weirder you're going to behave, the more normal you should look. It works in reverse, too. When I see a kid with three or four rings in his nose, I know there is absolutely nothing extraordinary about that person.
-P.J. O'Rourke

The world wants geniuses, but it wants them to behave just like other people.
-George Moore

There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob.
-G.K. Chesterton

To be able to destroy with good conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior 'righteous indignation'- this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats.
-Aldous Huxley

To be true to ourselves, we must be true to others. We will not behave in foreign places so as to violate our rules and standards here at home, for we know that the trust which our Nation earns is essential to our strength.
-Jimmy Carter

To suppose, as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and keep absolutely sober.
-Logan Pearsall Smith

We do not behave as if we believed that the affairs of our world were significant enough for the intervention of great men.
-Paul Goodman

You can't talk your way out of something you behaved your way into. You have to behave your way out of it.
-Doug Conant

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.
-Anne Lamott

You simply disobey. Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We disobey the social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom.
-Charlton Heston

Categories: Quotes of the day, Quotes on a topic

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Quotes of the day: William Allen White

Published Monday, February 09, 2015 @ 11:00 PM EST
Feb 09 2015

William Allen White (February 10, 1868 - January 29, 1944) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American newspaper editor, politician, author, and leader of the Progressive movement. Between 1896 and his death, White became the iconic spokesman for middle America. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A little learning is not a dangerous thing to one who does not mistake it for a great deal.

Any appeasement of tyranny is treason.

Consistency is a paste jewel that only cheap men cherish.

Democracy is an experiment, and the right of the majority to rule is no more inherent than the right of the minority to rule; and unless the majority represents sane, righteous, unselfish public sentiment, it has no inherent right.

Every one expects to go further than his father went; every one expects to be better than he was born and every generation has one big impulse in its heart - to exceed all the other generations of the past in all the things that make life worth living.

Greatness, generally speaking, is an unusual quantity of a usual quality grafted upon a common man.

I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today!

I fear vastly more a futile, incompetent old age than I do any form of death.

I have never been bored an hour in my life. I get up every morning wondering what new strange glamorous thing is going to happen and it happens at fairly regular intervals.

I have tried to teach people there are three kicks in every dollar: one, when you make it; two, when you have it. The third kick it when you give it away- and it is the biggest kick of all.

If each man or woman could understand that every other human life is as full of sorrows, or joys, or base temptations, of heartaches and of remorse as his own... how much kinder, how much gentler he would be.

If our colleges and universities do not breed men who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all the youthful vim and vigor, then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come on college campuses, the better world for tomorrow.

Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others.

Live for today. Multitudes of people have failed to live for today... What they have had within their grasp today they have missed entirely, because only the future has intrigued them.

My advice to the women of America is to raise more hell and fewer dahlias.

Never use the word, 'very.' It is the weakest word in the English language; doesn't mean anything. If you feel the urge of 'very' coming on, just write the word, 'damn,' in the place of 'very.' The editor will strike out the word, 'damn,' and you will have a good sentence.

Peace without justice is tyranny.

Reason has never failed men. Only force and repression have made the wrecks in the world.

Since others have to tolerate my weaknesses, it is only fair that I should tolerate theirs.

The facts fairly and honestly presented; truth will take care of itself.

There is no insanity so devastating in man's life as utter sanity.

Whenever a free man is in chains we are threatened also. Whoever is fighting for liberty is defending America.

What's the matter with Kansas?

You can have no wise laws nor free enforcement of wise laws unless there is free expression of the wisdom of the people- and, alas, their folly with it. But if there is freedom, folly will die of its own poison, and the wisdom will survive.

Youth should be radical. Youth should demand change in the world. Youth should not accept the old order if the world is to move on. But the old orders should not be moved easily -- certainly not at the mere whim or behest of youth. There must be clash and if youth hasn't enough force or fervor to produce the clash the world grows stale and stagnant and sour in decay.


(February 10 is also the birthday of Boris Pasternak, Bertolt Brecht, and Doug Larson.)

Categories: Quotes of the day, William Allen White

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Quotes of the day: Alice Walker

Published Sunday, February 08, 2015 @ 11:32 PM EST
Feb 08 2015

Alice Malsenior Walker (b. February 9, 1944) is an American author and activist. She wrote the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple (1982) for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Activism is the rent I pay for living on the planet.

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

Being happy is not the only happiness.

But please remember, especially in these times of group-think and the right-on chorus, that no person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended.

Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you've got to make yourself.

Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.

I grew up in the South under segregation. So, I know what terrorism feels like- when your father could be taken out in the middle of the night and lynched just because he didn't look like he was in an obeying frame of mind when a white person said something he must do. I mean, that's terrorism, too.

I have fallen in love with the imagination. And if you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit. It will go anywhere, and it can do anything.

I think Africans are very much like white people back home, in that they think they are the center of the universe and that everything that is done is done for them.

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.

I think unless the people are given information about what is happening to them, they will die in ignorance. And I think that's the big sin. I mean if there is such a thing as a sin, that's it, to destroy people and not have them have a clue about how this is happening.

If you want to have a life that is worth living, a life that expresses your deepest feelings and emotions and cares and dreams, you have to fight for it.

Ignorance, arrogance, and racism have bloomed as Superior Knowledge in all too many universities.

In search of my mother's garden, I found my own.

Life is abundant, and life is beautiful. And it's a good place that we're all in, you know, on this earth, if we take care of it.

Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.

Nobody is as powerful as we make them out to be.

People always want to keep you in a little box or they need to label you and fix you in time and location.

People do not wish to appear foolish; to avoid the appearance of foolishness, they are willing to remain actually fools.

Sexuality is one of the ways that we become enlightened, actually, because it leads us to self-knowledge.

'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.

The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men.

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.

The most important question in the world is, 'Why is the child crying?'

The world is changing, I said. It is no longer a world just for boys and men.

Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to get attention we do, except walk?

What the mind doesn't understand, it worships or fears.

Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.

Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me.

You better not never tell nobody but God.


(February 9 is also the birthday of Brendan Behan.)

Categories: Alice Walker, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Jules Verne

Published Saturday, February 07, 2015 @ 7:49 PM EST
Feb 07 2015

Jules Gabriel Verne (February 8, 1828 - March 24, 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright best known for his adventure novels and his profound influence on the literary genre of science fiction. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man of merit owes himself to the homage of the rest of mankind who recognize his worth.

An energetic man will succeed where an indolent one would vegetate and inevitably perish.

Anything one man can imagine, other men can make real.

As long as a man's heart beats, as long as a man's flesh quivers, I do not allow that a being gifted with thought and will can allow himself to despair.

Be it understood you are never rich when you get no advantage from it.

Before all masters, necessity is the one most listened to, and who teaches the best.

Civilization never recedes; the law of necessity ever forces it onwards.

Everything is possible for an eccentric, especially when he is English.

Great robbers always resemble honest folk. Fellows who have rascally faces have only one course to take, and that is to remain honest; otherwise, they would be arrested off-hand.

He who is mistaken in an action which he sincerely believes to be right may be an enemy, but retains our esteem.

How many things have been denied one day, only to become realities the next! Well, I feel that we should always put a little art into what we do. It's better that way.

I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.

I have noticed that many who do not believe in God believe in everything else, even in the evil eye.

I seriously believed that my last hour was approaching, and yet, so strange is imagination, all I thought of was some childish hypothesis or other. In such circumstances, you do not choose your own thoughts. They overcome you.

If Providence has created the stars and the planets, man has called the cannonball into existence.

If there were no thunder, men would have little fear of lightning.

In presence of Nature's grand convulsions, man is powerless.

In spite of the opinions of certain narrow-minded people, who would shut up the human race upon this globe, as within some magic circle it must never outstep, we shall one day travel to the moon, the planets, and the stars, with the same facility, rapidity, and certainty as we now make the voyage from Liverpool to New York!

It is certain that the inanimate objects by which you are surrounded have a direct action on the brain.

It is said that the night brings counsel, but it is not said that the counsel is necessarily good.

It may be taken for granted that, rash as Americans usually are, when they are prudent, there is good reason for it.

It seems wisest to assume the worst from the beginning... and let anything better come as a surprise.

Liberty is worth paying for.

Man is never perfect nor contented.

Man's constitution is so peculiar that his health is purely a negative matter. No sooner is the rage of hunger appeased than it becomes difficult to comprehend the meaning of starvation. It is only when you suffer that you really understand.

Man, a mere inhabitant of the earth, cannot overstep its boundaries! But though he is confined to its crust, he may penetrate into all its secrets.

Movement is life; and it is well to be able to forget the past, and kill the present by continual change.

Nothing can astound an American. It has often been asserted that the word 'impossible' is not a French one. People have evidently been deceived by the dictionary. In America, all is easy, all is simple; and as for mechanical difficulties, they are overcome before they arise.

Now, when an American has an idea, he directly seeks a second American to share it. If there be three, they elect a president and two secretaries. Given four, they name a keeper of records, and the office is ready for work; five, they convene a general meeting, and the club is fully constituted.

Put two ships in the open sea, without wind or tide, and, at last, they will come together. Throw two planets into space, and they will fall one on the other. Place two enemies in the midst of a crowd, and they will inevitably meet; it is a fatality, a question of time; that is all.

Put two Yankees in a room together, and in an hour they will each have gained ten dollars from the other.

Reality provides us with facts so romantic that imagination itself could add nothing to them.

Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.

Solitude, isolation, are painful things and beyond human endurance.

The body regulates the soul, and, like the balance-wheel, it is submitted to regular oscillations.

The chance which now seems lost may present itself at the last moment.

The earth does not need new continents, but new men.

The possession of wealth leads almost inevitably to its abuse. It is the chief, if not the only, cause of evils which desolate this world below. The thirst for gold is responsible for the most regrettable lapses into sin.

The sea does not belong to despots. Upon its surface men can still exercise unjust laws, fight, tear one another to pieces, and be carried away with terrestrial horrors. But at thirty feet below its level, their reign ceases, their influence is quenched, and their power disappears.

The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy. It is an immense desert, where man is never lonely, for he feels life stirring on all sides.

The sea is the vast reservoir of Nature. The globe began with sea, so to speak; and who knows if it will not end with it?

The wisest man may be a blind father.

The Yankees, the first mechanicians in the world, are engineers- just as the Italians are musicians and the Germans metaphysicians- by right of birth. Nothing is more natural, therefore, than to perceive them applying their audacious ingenuity to the science of gunnery.

There are no impossible obstacles; there are just stronger and weaker wills, that’s all!

Though sleep is called our best friend, it is a friend who often keeps us waiting!

Trains, like time and tide, stop for no one.

We are of opinion that instead of letting books grow moldy behind an iron grating, far from the vulgar gaze, it is better to let them wear out by being read.

We may brave human laws, but we cannot resist natural ones.

When the mind once allows a doubt to gain entrance, the value of deeds performed grow less, their character changes, we forget the past and dread the future.

While there is life, there is hope.

You cannot oppose reasoning to pride, the principal of all the vices, since, by its very nature, the proud man refuses to listen to it.


(February 8 is also the birthday of John Ruskin.)

Categories: Jules Verne, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Emo Philips

Published Friday, February 06, 2015 @ 11:41 PM EST
Feb 06 2015

Emo Philips (b. February 7, 1956) is an American entertainer and comedian born in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove. Much of his standup comedy stems from the use of paraprosdokians and garden path sentences spoken in a wandering falsetto tone of voice and a confused, childlike delivery of his material to produce the intended comic timing in a manner invoking the 'wisdom of children' or the idiot savant. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing.

Always remember the last words of my grandfather, who said: 'A truck!'

Capital punishment turns the state into a murderer. But imprisonment turns the state into a gay dungeon-master.

How many people here have telekinetic powers? Raise my hand.

I got some new underwear the other day. Well, new to me.

I think of my body as a temple... or at least as a relatively well- run Presbyterian youth center.

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.

I was feeling a bit down, I went to a therapist a few times, at a hundred bucks a pop. But then I realized that no therapy session would ever cheer me up half as much as if I was just strolling along and found a hundred dollar bill.

I was in a bar a few nights ago, moving from stool to stool, trying to get lucky... But there was no gum under any of them.

I was the kid next door's imaginary friend.

My classmates would copulate with anything that moved, but I never saw any reason to limit myself.

My girlfriend always giggles during sex. No matter what she's reading.

Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to gnaw through the leather straps.

The IRS sent back my tax return saying I owed $800. I said, 'If you'll remember, I fastened my return with a paper clip... which, according to your own very latest government Pentagon spending figures, will more than make up the difference.'

The way I understand it, the Russians are sort of a combination of evil and incompetence... sort of like the Post Office with tanks.

Three things that make me laugh: my sister's nipples. One's tiny. I haven't named the other two.

Well, my brother says hello. So, hooray for speech therapy.

When I was a little boy, I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized, the Lord, in his wisdom, doesn't work that way. So I just stole one and asked Him to forgive me.

You don't appreciate a lot of stuff in school until you get older. Little things like being spanked every day by a middle aged woman: Stuff you pay good money for in later life.

You know how when you pee in the toilet it sounds like a chipmunk commanding you to kill Kenny G?

You know what I hate? Indian givers... no, I take that back.


(February 7 is also the birthday of Frederick Douglass, Charles Dickens, Alfred Adler, and Sinclair Lewis)

Categories: Emo Philips, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: James Otis, Jr.

Published Wednesday, February 04, 2015 @ 10:34 PM EST
Feb 04 2015

James Otis, Jr. (February 5, 1725 – May 23, 1783) was a lawyer in colonial Massachusetts, a member of the Massachusetts provincial assembly, and an early advocate of the Patriot views against British policy that led to the American Revolution. His catchphrase "Taxation without representation is tyranny" became the basic Patriot position. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A man is accountable to no person for his doings.

An act against the Constitution is void; an act against natural equity is void.

But I think I can sincerely declare that I cheerfully submit myself to every odious name for conscience' sake; and from my soul I despise all those whose guilt, malice, or folly has made them my foes.

Can there be any liberty where property is taken away without consent?

Every man may reign secure in his petty tyranny, and spread terror and desolation around him, until the trump of the Archangel shall excite different emotions in his soul.

Every one with this writ may be a tyrant; if this commission be legal, a tyrant in a legal manner, also, may control, imprison, or murder any one within the realm.

I do not say that, when brought to the test, I shall be invincible.

I pray God I may never be brought to the melancholy trial; but, if ever I should, it will then be known how far I can reduce to practice principles which I know to be founded in truth.

I will to my dying day oppose, with all the powers and faculties God has given me, all such instruments of slavery on the one hand and villainy on the other as this Writ of Assistance is.

If we are not represented, we are slaves.

It is a clear truth that those who every day barter away other men's liberty will soon care little for their own.

Let the consequences be what they will, I am determined to proceed.

My dear sister, I hope, when God Almighty in his righteous providence shall take me out of time into eternity, that it will be by a flash of lightning.

One of the most essential branches of English liberty is the freedom of one's house. A man's house is his castle.

Parliaments are in all cases to declare what is good for the whole; but it is not the declaration of parliament that makes it so.

Taxation without representation is tyranny.

The only principles of public conduct that are worthy of a gentleman or a man are to sacrifice estate, ease, health, and applause, and even life, to the sacred calls of his country.

These manly sentiments, in private life, make good citizens; in public life, the patriot and the hero.


(February 5 is also the birthday of Adlai Ewing Stevenson II and William S. Burroughs.)

Categories: James Otis, Jr., Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: James A. Michener

Published Monday, February 02, 2015 @ 9:45 PM EST
Feb 02 2015

James Albert Michener (February 3, 1907 – October 16, 1997) was an fictional, lengthy family sagas covering the lives of many generations in particular geographic locales and incorporating solid history. Michener was known for the popularity of his works; he had numerous bestsellers and works selected for Book-of-the-Month club. He was also known for his meticulous research. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.

Don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today, because if you enjoy it today you can do it again tomorrow.

I am a humanist because I think humanity can, with constant moral guidance, create a reasonably decent society.

I am terrified of restrictive religious doctrine, having learned from history that when men who adhere to any form of it are in control, common men like me are in peril.

I do not believe that pure reason can solve the perpetual problems unless it is modified by poetry and art and social vision. So I am a humanist. And if you want to charge me with being the most virulent kind— a secular humanist— I accept the accusation.

I think that young people who want to understand the world can profit from the works of Plato and Socrates, the behavior of the three Thomases, Aquinas, More and Jefferson- the austere analyses of Immanuel Kant and the political leadership of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.

I was brought up in the great tradition of the late nineteenth century: that a writer never complains, never explains and never disdains.

If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.

It is difficult to be king when the gods are changing.

Look, son, if you calculate on getting me drunk and outsmarting me, quit now, because you simply can't do it.

No man leaves where he is and seeks a distant place unless he is in some respect a failure.

Russia, France, Germany and China. They revere their writers. America is still a frontier country that almost shudders at the idea of creative expression.

The arrogance of the artist is a very profound thing, and it fortifies you.

Things are going to go wrong, and I think we are false to life if we don't portray it. But there is also the hope that some lucky clown is going to come along and stumble into the gold mine. And I think you are also entitled to hold out that hope.

We are never prepared for what we expect.

Youth is truth.


(February 3 is also the birthday of Gertrude Stein and Walter Bagehot.)

Categories: James A. Michener, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Elaine Stritch

Published Sunday, February 01, 2015 @ 5:49 PM EST
Feb 01 2015

Elaine Stritch (February 2, 1925 - July 17, 2014) was an American actress and singer, best known for her work on Broadway. She appeared in numerous stage plays and musicals, feature films and many television programs. She was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1995. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All you have to do is say, 'I'm going home,' and you're the most popular girl at the party.

Certain type of actresses get younger instead of older. I always say, 'Only ingenues age.'

Convent schools are breeding grounds for great broads and occasionally one-of-the-boys.

Everybody’s just lovin’ everybody else just too much for my money.

Fear is the base of what everybody does wrong in their lives.

I am not influenced by other human beings. But I am inspired.

I don't think there's any thrill in the world like doing work you're good at.

I find it easier to abstain than do a little bit of anything. I'm not a 'little bit' kind of dame. I want it all, whatever I do.

I never found anyone who could look after me as well as I could look after myself.

I tell the truth, and it has gotten me into a lot of trouble. My dad used to say to me, 'If you tell the truth all day long, you will end up in jail.'

Talent is seductive.

Talent is very dangerous. It alienates people.

This age thing is all up to you. It's like happiness is up to you. You just have to understand what it is before you get it.

You can't be funny unless you're tragic, and you can't be tragic unless you're funny.

You cannot tell an audience a lie. They know it before you do; before it's out of your mouth, they know it's a lie.

You never know what is happening to yourself when it is happening.

It gets tiring being a smartass.

I try to think of myself as an actress playing Elaine Stritch. That helps.

And why not do something new every day of your life? Change! Change!


(February 2 is also the birthday of James Joyce.)

Categories: Elaine Stritch, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Ed Koch

Published Saturday, January 31, 2015 @ 9:50 PM EST
Jan 31 2015

Edward Irving "Ed" Koch (December 12, 1924 - February 1, 2013) was an American lawyer, politician, political commentator, movie critic and reality television arbitrator. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1969 to 1977 and three terms as mayor of New York City, which he led from fiscal insolvency to economic boom, from 1978 to 1989. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That's how I get my kicks.

Have you ever lived in the suburbs? It's sterile. It's nothing. It's wasting your life.

How'm I doin'?

I was born at the age of twelve on a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot.

I'm not the type to get ulcers. I give them.

If I traveled to the end of the rainbow as Dame Fortune did intend, Murphy would be there to tell me the pot's at the other end.

If you agree with me on 9 out of 12 issues, vote for me. If you agree with me on 12 out of 12 issues, see a psychiatrist.

If you seek violence, we will seek to put you in jail.

In a neighborhood, as in life, a clean bandage is much, much better than a raw or festering wound.

In action be primitive; in foresight, a strategist.

It is not possible to remake the world. You can fix parts, but you can't remake the world.

It's a lot more fun being a critic than being the one criticized.

No, I am not a homosexual. If I were a homosexual, I would hope I would have the courage to say so. What's cruel is that you are forcing me to say I am not a homosexual. This means you are putting homosexuals down. I don't want to do that.

Stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest. When we learn that individuals do not fit the group stereotype, then it begins to fall apart.

The art of creation is older than the art of killing.

The mere process of growing old together will make the slightest acquaintance seem a bosom friend.

The person who is bent on killing you will follow you wherever you are.

The Republicans are coming- make nice.

There's a nastiness out there that wants to harm me with words. These are my enemies- the ideologues, the populists, the columnists who don't like the fact that I take them on toe-to-toe. What I try to do is tell the truth. It's not the coin of the realm in politics.

There's enormous energy required to carry grudges- enormous energy! And I'm getting too old to expend my energy that way, cause I think every person has a limited amount of energy. So I have given up all grudges.

To learn something new every day is still exciting!

Tone can be as important as text.

Twelve years ago, if someone attacked me, I wouldn't let them get away with it. I'd take them on. I now perceive my job to include allowing people to vent their rage.

We're in the hands of the state legislature and God, but at the moment, the state legislature has more to say than God.

When all are wrong, everyone is right.

Whenever I leave Manhattan, I get the bends!

You don't have to love them. You just have to respect their rights.

You punch me, I punch back. I do not believe it's good for one's self-respect to be a punching bag.


(February 1 is also the birthday of S.J. Perelman.)

Categories: Ed Koch, Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: John O'Hara

Published Friday, January 30, 2015 @ 4:09 PM EST
Jan 30 2015

John Henry O'Hara (January 31, 1905 - April 11, 1970) was an Irish American writer. He earned a reputation first for short stories and became a best-selling novelist by the age of thirty with Appointment in Samarra and BUtterfield 8. O'Hara was a keen observer of social status and class differences, and wrote frequently about the socially ambitious. O'Hara had a reputation for personal irascibility and for cataloging social ephemera, both of which sometimes overshadowed his gifts as a storyteller. Writer Fran Lebowitz called him "the real F. Scott Fitzgerald." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


America has leapt from barbarism to decadence without touching civilization.

An artist is his own fault.

George Gershwin died on July 11, 1937, but I don't have to believe it if I don't want to.

Hot lead can be almost as effective coming from a linotype as from a firearm.

If Yale had given me a degree, I could have joined the Yale Club, where the food is pretty good, the library is ample and restful, the location convenient, and I could go there when I felt like it without sponging off friends. They also have a nice-looking necktie.

It is the trouble with all metaphors where human behavior is concerned. People are not ships, chess men, flowers, race horses, oil paintings, bottles of champagne, excrement, musical instruments or anything else but people.

Little old ladies of both sexes. Why do I let them bother me?

Much as I like owning a Rolls-Royce, I could do without it. What I could not do without is a typewriter, a supply of yellow second sheets and the time to put them to good use.

So who's perfect? Washington had false teeth. Franklin was nearsighted. Mussolini had syphilis. Unpleasant things have been said about Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde. Tchaikovsky had his problems, too. And Lincoln was constipated.

The trouble is people leave too much to luck. They get married and then trust to luck. They should be sure in the first place.

There comes a time in a man's life, if he is unlucky and leads a full life, when he has a secret so dirty that he knows he never will get rid of it.

They say great themes make great novels, but what these young writers don't understand is that there is no greater theme than men and women.


(January 31 is also the birthday of Tallulah Bankhead and Thomas Merton.)

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Quotes of the day: Lloyd Alexander

Published Thursday, January 29, 2015 @ 10:42 PM EST
Jan 29 2015

Lloyd Chudley Alexander (January 30, 1924 - May 17, 2007) was a widely influential American author of more than forty books, primarily fantasy novels for children and young adults. His most famous work is The Chronicles of Prydain, a series of five high fantasy novels whose conclusion, The High King, was awarded the 1969 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature. He won U.S. National Book Awards in 1971 and 1982. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A crown is a pitiless master, harsher than the staff of a pig- keeper; while a staff bears up, a crown weighs down, beyond the strength of any man to wear it lightly.

Craftsmanship isn't like water in an earthen pot, to be taken out by the dipperful until it's empty. No, the more drawn out the more remains.

Even in a fantasy realm, growing up is accomplished not without cost.

Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It's a way of understanding it.

For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are.

I have learned there is greater honor in a field well plowed than in a field steeped in blood.

If I do find pride, I'll not find it in what I was or what I am, but what I may become. Not in my birth, but in myself.

If I fret over tomorrow, I'll have little joy today.

If life is a loom, the pattern you weave is not so easily unraveled.

If you want truth, you should begin by giving it.

In some cases we learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.

Is there not glory enough in living the days given to us? You should know there is adventure in simply being among those we love and the things we love, and beauty, too.

Is there worse evil than that which goes in the mask of good?

It is easy to judge evil unmixed. But, alas, in most of us good and bad are closely woven as the threads on a loom; greater wisdom than mine is needed for the judging.

It is not the trappings that make the prince, nor, indeed, the sword that makes the warrior.

Laws assure animals of protection- formally, officially, set down in black and white. But in the long run, the best protection is the human heart.

Many have pursued honor, and in the pursuit lost more of it than ever they could gain.

Neither refuse to give help when it is needed nor refuse to accept it when it is offered.

Once you have courage to look upon evil, seeing it for what it is and naming it by its true name, it is powerless against you, and you can destroy it.

Story, finally, is humanity's autobiography.

The deeds of a man, not the words of a prophecy, are what shape his destiny.

The destinies of men are woven one with the other, and you can turn aside from them no more than you can turn aside from your own.

The more we find to love, the more we add to the measure of our hearts.

The task counts more than the one who does it.

There is truth in all things, if you understand them well.

We hold each other's lives in our open hands, not in clenched fists.

We're neither good nor evil. We're simply interested in things as they are.

Well, that is one of the three foundations of learning: see much, study much, suffer much.

When I was a child I dreamed of adventure, glory, honor in feats of arms. I think now that these things are shadows.


(January 30 is also the birthday of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.)

Categories: Lloyd Alexander, Quotes of the day

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