Published Monday, September 01, 2014 @ 8:18 PM EDT
Sep 01 2014

A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread- and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness-
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!
-Omar Khayyám

An intelligent hell would be better than a stupid paradise.
-Victor Hugo

Autumn truly is what summer pretends to be: the best of all seasons. It is as glorious as summer is tedious; as subtle as summer is obvious; as refreshing as summer is wearying. Autumn seems like paradise.
-Gregg Easterbrook

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring. It was peace.
-Milan Kundera

Homo religiosus invents religious symbols, which he venerates and worships to save him from facing the finality of his death and dissolution. He devises paradise fictions to provide succor and support... In acts of supreme self-deception, at various times and in various places he has been willing to profess belief in the most incredible myths because of what they have promised him.
-Paul Kurtz

If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years.
-Bertrand Russell

In America, you go out, you walk across the country. You discover paradise. In Australia, you walk across the country, and you find absolutely nothing. And then you die.
-Robert Hughes

It is a curious thing... that every creed promises a paradise that will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste.
-Evelyn Waugh

Many years ago when an adored dog died, a great friend, a bishop, said to me, 'You must always remember that, as far as the Bible is concerned, God only threw the humans out of Paradise.'
-Bruce Foyle

Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of this natural paradise which lies all around us- if only we were worthy of it.
-Edward Abbey

Paradise does not exist, but we must nonetheless strive to be worthy of it.
-Jules Renard

Paradise is exactly like where you are right now, only much, much better.
-Laurie Anderson

Paradise is here or nowhere: You must take your joy with you, or you will never find it.
-O.S. Marden

Paradise on earth is where I am.
-Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)

Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.
-W.H. Auden

Recollection is the only paradise from which we cannot be turned out.
-Jean Paul Richter

(Religions) have made men feeble and caused them to become an easy prey to evil minded men, who can control them more securely, seeing that the great body of men, for the sake of gaining Paradise, are more disposed to endure injuries than to avenge them.
-Niccolò Machiavelli

She who goes unarmed in paradise had better be sure that is where she is.
-James Thurber

The only paradise is paradise lost.
-Marcel Proust

There is nothing more miserable in the world than to arrive in Paradise and look like your passport photo.
-Erma Bombeck

Utility is when you have one telephone, luxury is when you have two, opulence is when you have three- and paradise is when you have none.
-Doug Larson

Where choice begins, Paradise ends, innocence ends, for what is Paradise but the absence of any need to choose this action?
-Arthur Miller

With every 72 virgins they get in paradise, they also get 72 mothers-in-law.
-Christopher Hitchens

You cannot avoid paradise. You can only avoid seeing it.
-Charlotte Joko Beck

Your library is your paradise.
-Desiderius Erasmus


(September 2 is the birthday of Cleveland Amory.)

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Quotes of the day: Alan Dershowitz

Published Sunday, August 31, 2014 @ 10:06 PM EDT
Aug 31 2014

Alan Morton Dershowitz (born September 1, 1938) is an American lawyer, jurist, author, and political commentator. He is a prominent scholar on United States constitutional law and criminal law. He spent most of his career at Harvard Law School where in 1967, at the age of 28, he became the youngest full professor of law in its history. He held the Felix Frankfurter professorship there from 1993 until his retirement in December 2013. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A good lawyer knows how to shut up when he's won his case.

All law is about injustice.

Asymmetrical warfare is a euphemism for terrorism, just like collateral damage is a euphemism for killing innocent civilians.

Being offended by freedom of speech should never be regarded as a justification for violence.

Candor and accountability in a democracy is very important. Hypocrisy has no place.

Censorship laws are blunt instruments, not sharp scalpels. Once enacted, they are easily misapplied to merely unpopular or only marginally dangerous speech.

Freedom of speech means freedom for those who you despise, and freedom to express the most despicable views. It also means that the government cannot pick and choose which expressions to authorize and which to prevent.

Good character consists of recognizing the selfishness that inheres in each of us and trying to balance it against the altruism to which we should all aspire. It is a difficult balance to strike, but no definition of goodness can be complete without it.

Hypocrisy is not a way of getting back to the moral high ground. Pretending you're moral, saying your moral is not the same as acting morally.

I don't think the law exists to arrive at the truth. If it did, we wouldn't have exclusionary rules, we wouldn't have presumptions of innocence, we wouldn't have proof beyond reasonable doubt. There's an enormous difference between the role of truth in law and the role of truth in science. In law, truth is one among many goals.

I tell my students, if you ever become comfortable with your role as criminal defense lawyer, it's time to quit. It should be a constant source of discomfort, because you're dealing with incredible moral ambiguity, and you've been cast into a role which is not enviable.

I think that lawyers are terrible at admitting that they're wrong. And not just admitting it; also realizing it. Most lawyers are very successful, and they think that because they're making money and people think well of them, they must be doing everything right.

I think we're seeing privacy diminish, not by laws... but by young people who don't seem to value their privacy.

I'm worried about privacy because of the young people who don't give a damn about their privacy, who are prepared to put their entire private lives online. They put stuff on Facebook that 15 years from now will prevent them from getting the jobs they want. They don't understand that they are mortgaging their future for a quick laugh from a friend.

In the real world in which we live, you always have to choose between evils. And in choosing between evils, you have to have moral criteria for how to make those choices.

In today's distorted world of 'human rights,' truth takes a back seat to ideology, and false claims- especially those that 'support' radical ideologies- persist even after they have been exposed.

Individuals have the right to pick and choose which expressions to condemn, which to praise and which to say nothing about. Governments, however, must remain neutral as to the content of expression. And governments must protect the rights of all to express even the most despicable of views.

Intimidated people always say they are not intimidated; that's the nature of intimidation.

Judges are the weakest link in our system of justice, and they are also the most protected.

Laws are important precisely because in a democracy they reflect the attitudes and aspirations of those they govern.

Many insane people and seriously mentally ill people seem very reasonable.

Scientists search for truth. Philosophers search for morality. A criminal trial searches for only one result: proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sometimes the public has to be reminded that the word criminal in criminal lawyer- like the word baby in baby doctor- is a description not of the professional, but rather of the clientele.

The court of last resort is no longer the Supreme Court. It's 'Nightline.'

The law is agnostic about truth.It's very skeptical of ultimate truth. That's why freedom of speech permits lies to be told.

The threat or fear of violence should not become an excuse or justification for restricting freedom of speech.

The worst mistake you can make is underrating your enemy. Assuming that they're evil- I think it's a terrible thing to do.

We don't have an Official Secrets Act in the United States, as other countries do. Under the First Amendment, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of association are more important than protecting secrets.

When you discriminate against anyone, you discriminate against everyone. It's a display of terrible intolerance.


(September 1 is also the birthday of Ann Richards.)

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32 Observations on Guilt

Published Saturday, August 30, 2014 @ 10:42 PM EDT
Aug 30 2014

It is more important that innocence be protected than it is that guilt be punished, for guilt and crimes are so frequent in this world that they cannot all be punished.
-John Adams

Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war.
-John Adams

To have a sense of sin means to feel guilty at there being an ethical choice to make, a guilt which, however 'good' I may become, remains unchanged.
-W.H. Auden

Wars can be prevented just as surely as they can be provoked, and we who fail to prevent them must share the guilt for the dead.
-Omar Bradley

I'm tired of hearing about innocent victims. It's fiction. If you live on this planet, you're guilty, period, next case, end of report. Your birth certificate is proof of guilt.
-George Carlin

In former days, everyone found the assumption of innocence so easy; today we find fatally easy the assumption of guilt.
-Amanda Cross

Secret guilt by silence is betrayed.
-John Dryden

Sin with the multitude, and your responsibility and guilt are as great and as truly personal, as if you alone had done the wrong.
-Bob Edwards

Being guilty tends to engender feelings of guilt.
-Craig Ferguson

Guilt has very quick ears to an accusation.
-Henry Fielding

Mothers, food, love, and career, the four major guilt groups.
-Cathy Guisewite

For every man who lives without freedom, the rest of us must face the guilt.
-Lillian Hellman

Self-righteousness is a loud din raised to drown the voice of guilt within us.
-Eric Hoffer

A sublime religion inevitably generates a strong feeling of guilt. There is an unavoidable contrast between loftiness of profession and imperfection of practice. And, as one would expect, the feeling of guilt promotes hate and brazenness. Thus it seems that the more sublime the faith the more virulent the hatred it breeds.
-Eric Hoffer

There are no ulterior motives with a dog, no mind games, no second- guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges if a request is denied.
-Caroline Knapp

All religions are the same: Religion is basically guilt, with different holidays.
-Cathy Ladman

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

Guilt is anger directed at ourselves- at what we did or did not do. Resentment is anger directed at others- at what they did or did not do.
-Peter McWilliams

Many people weigh the guilt they will feel against the pleasure of the forbidden action they want to take.
-Peter McWilliams

The inescapable conclusion is that society secretly wants crime, needs crime, and gains definite satisfactions from the present mishandling of it! The crime and punishment ritual is a part of our lives. We need crimes to wonder at, to enjoy vicariously, to discuss and speculate about, and to publicly deplore. We need criminals to identify ourselves with, to envy secretly, and to punish stoutly. They do for us the forbidden, illegal things we wish to do and, like scapegoats of old, they bear the burdens of our displaced guilt and punishment.
-Karl Menninger

The worst thing about the decline of organized religion is that there is no longer a place for the pathological self loathers and guilt freaks to congregate without disturbing the rest of us.

Guilt is what separates humans from animals.
-Anna Quindlen

It is impossible not to notice that our world is tormented by failure, hate, guilt, and fear.
-William Saroyan

Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart.
-William Saroyan

When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; to do so is to renounce our manhood and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies.
-Albert Schweitzer

The writer is either a practicing recluse or a delinquent, guilt- ridden one; or both. Usually both.
-Susan Sontag

Punishment is now unfashionable... because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility.
-Thomas Szasz

A villain who shares one's guilt is inevitably more attractive than a hero convinced of one's innocence.
-Kenneth Tynan

Faith is a journey, not a guilt trip.

God invented mothers because he couldn't be everywhere at once. Then he invented guilt, because mothers couldn't be everywhere at once.

There's no problem so awful that you can't add some guilt to it and make it even worse!
-Bill Watterson (From the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes)

I'm an Episcopal, which is Catholic Lite. It's like same religion, half the guilt.
-Robin Williams


(August 31 is the birthday of William Saroyan.)

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Quotes of the day: Warren Buffett

Published Friday, August 29, 2014 @ 11:17 AM EDT
Aug 29 2014

Warren Edward Buffett (b. August 30, 1930) is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is widely considered the most successful investor of the 20th century. Buffett is the chairman, CEO and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway and consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people. He was ranked as the world's wealthiest person in 2008 and as the third wealthiest person in 2011. In 2012, American magazine Time named Buffett one of the most influential people in the world. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A girl in a convertible is worth five in the phone book.

A public opinion poll is no substitute for thought.

Beware of geeks bearing formulas.

Forecasts may tell you a great deal about the forecaster; they tell you nothing about the future.

Honesty is a very expensive gift. Don't expect it from cheap people.

I buy expensive suits. They just look cheap on me.

I prefer liquor store robbers with hungry kids to companies that locate offshore to avoid U.S. taxes.

I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.

I wouldn't mind going to jail if I had three cellmates who played bridge.

I'll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It's addictive. And there's fantastic brand loyalty.

If a farsighted capitalist had been present at Kitty Hawk, he would have done his successors a huge favor by shooting Orville down.

If past history was all that is needed to play the game, the richest people would be librarians.

If you're in the luckiest one percent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 percent.

It has been far safer to steal large sums with a pen than small sums with a gun.

It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.

It's never paid to bet against America. We come through things, but its not always a smooth ride.

It's nice to have a lot of money, but you know, you don't want to keep it around forever. I prefer buying things. Otherwise, it's a little like saving sex for your old age.

It's only when the tide goes out that your learn who's been swimming naked.

It's very hard to write regulations that will keep people from acting foolishly, particularly when acting foolishly has proven very profitable over the preceding few years.

Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.

Of the billionaires I have known, money just brings out the basic traits in them. If they were jerks before they had money, they are simply jerks with a billion dollars.

Putting people into homes, though a desirable goal, shouldn't be our country's primary objective. Keeping them in their homes should be the ambition.

Risk comes from not knowing what you're doing.

Rule Number 1: Never lose money. Rule Number 2: Never forget rule Number 1.

Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.

The only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune tellers look good.

There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.

There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning.

Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre.

Wall Street is the only place that people ride to in a Rolls-Royce to get advice from those who take the subway.

We believe that according the name "investors" to institutions that trade actively is like calling someone who repeatedly engages in one-night stands a "romantic."

We never want to count on the kindness of strangers in order to meet tomorrow's obligations. When forced to choose, I will not trade even a night's sleep for the chance of extra profits.

When a country needs more income, they should get it from the people that have it.

When you combine ignorance and leverage, you get some pretty interesting results.

You don't need 20 decisions to get very rich. Four or five will probably do it over time.

You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.

You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong.

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Quotes of the day: Charles F. Kettering

Published Thursday, August 28, 2014 @ 4:02 PM EDT
Aug 28 2014

Charles Franklin Kettering (August 29, 1876 – November 24 or November 25, 1958) was an American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents.[1] He was a founder of Delco, and was head of research at General Motors from 1920 to 1947. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A person must have a certain amount of intelligent ignorance to get anywhere.

A problem thoroughly understood is always fairly simple. Found your opinions on facts, not prejudices. We know too many things that are not true.

A problem well stated is a problem half-solved.

Bankers regard research as most dangerous a thing that makes banking hazardous due to the rapid changes it brings about in industry.

Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.

Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.

Great steps in human progress are made by things that don't work the way philosophy thought they should. If things always worked the way they should, you could write the history of the world from now on. But they don't, and it is those deviations from the normal that make human progress.

If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.

In America we can say what we think, and even if we can't think, we can say it anyhow.

Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.

My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.

No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm.

People are very open-minded about new things- as long as they're exactly like the old ones.

People see the wrongness in an idea much quicker that the rightness.

Problems are the price of progress. Don't bring me anything but trouble. Good news weakens me.

The difference between intelligence and education is this: intelligence will make you a good living.

The key to economic prosperity is the organized creation of dissatisfaction.

The only difference between a problem and a solution is that people understand the solution.

The whole fun of living is trying to make something better.

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.

There is a great difference between knowing a thing and understanding it.

We have been measuring too much in terms of the dollar. What we should do is think in terms of useful materials— things that will be of value to us in our daily life.

We think we are smart because we have been flying for about sixty years. Birds and bees and butterflies have been flying for hundreds of thousands of years.

Why is the human skull as dense as it is? Nowadays we can send a message around the world in one-seventh of a second, but it takes years to drive an idea through a quarter-inch of human skull.

You are always too late with a development if you are so slow that people demand it before you yourself recognize it.

You can't have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time.


August 29 is also the birthday of John Locke and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Categories: Charles F. Kettering; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Robertson Davies

Published Wednesday, August 27, 2014 @ 8:00 PM EDT
Aug 27 2014

William Robertson Davies, CC, OOnt, FRSC, FRSL (August 28, 1913 – December 2, 1995) was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best known and most popular authors, and one of its most distinguished "men of letters", a term Davies is variously said to have gladly accepted for himself and to have detested. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A pig can learn more tricks than a dog, but has too much sense to want to do it.

After all, we are human beings, and not creatures of infinite possibilities.

Art lies in understanding some part of the dark forces and bringing them under the direction of reason.

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

Childhood may have periods of great happiness, but it also has times that must simply be endured. Childhood at its best is a form of slavery tempered by affection.

Clarity is not a characteristic of the human spirit.

Every man makes his own summer. The season has no character of its own, unless one is a farmer with a professional concern for the weather.

Extraordinary people survive under the most terrible circumstances and they become more extraordinary because of it.

Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them.

Foolish people laugh at those readers a century ago who wept over the novels of Dickens. Is it a sign of superior intellect to read anything and everything unmoved, in a grey, unfeeling Limbo?

God, youth is such a terrible time! So much feeling and so little notion of how to handle it.

Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.

I do not trust any advice which is given in bad prose.

I don't really care how time is reckoned so long as there is some agreement about it, but I object to being told that I am saving daylight when my reason tells me that I am doing nothing of the kind.

I suppose everybody has these softheaded spells, when they think it would be fun to live in a small town. They pass quickly, of course.

If I tended toward frivolity as a boy, I am incorrigibly settled in it now.

If you are an intellectual, your best course is to relax and enjoy it.

It seems to me that most of us get all the adventure we are capable of digesting.

It would be nice to be unfailingly, perpetually, remorselessly funny, day in and day out, year in and year out until somebody murdered you, now wouldn't it?

Men of action, I notice, are rarely humble, even in situations where action of any kind is a great mistake, and masterly inaction is called for.

Modern disillusion is unlikely to last forever, and nothing rings so hollow as the angst of yesterday.

Modern man is a debtor, or he is nothing, and money becomes more and more illusory.

Motherhood and all the sentimentality that goes with Mother's Day was not congenial to the Greek mind. They were a remarkably unsentimental people; they had no particular reverence for children, nor did they regard them as a special and privileged portion of society. It would not have occurred to them to erect a vast temple to Mickey Mouse. They left that for us

Our age has robbed millions of the simplicity of ignorance, and has so far failed to lift them to the simplicity of wisdom.

People marry most happily with their own kind. The trouble lies in the fact that people usually marry at an age where they do not really know what their own kind is.

The age of an author is of no consequence; if they are any good, they were born old and wise.

The Bible takes much of its color from whoever is reading it, and it provides a text to support almost every shade of opinion, however preposterous.

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

The life of Man is a struggle with Nature and a struggle with the Machine; when Nature and the Machine link forces against him, Man hasn't a chance.

The love that dare not speak its name has become the love that won't shut up.

The pleasures of love are for those who are hopelessly addicted to another living creature.

The simplest form of stupidity- the mumbling, nose-picking, stolid incomprehension- can be detected by anyone. But the stupidity which disguises itself as thought, and which talks so glibly and eloquently, indeed never stops talking, in every walk of life is not so easy to identify, because it marches under a formidable name, which few dare attack. It is called Popular Opinion.

The US, for historical reasons, mistrusts the concept of a welfare state, and this mistrust shows itself nakedly under present US government, which commits uncounted billions of the national wealth to what it calls defense, and is close-fisted in giving money to plans which would ameliorate the grinding poverty of a great part of its people. Quite simply, in Canada you could not get away with that.

The way to impress your boss is to look glum all the time. He may mistake this for intelligence and give you a raise.

The whole world is burdened with young fogies. Old men with ossified minds are easily dealt with. But men who look young, act young, and everlastingly harp on the fact they are young, but who nevertheless think and act with a degree of caution which would be excessive in their grandfathers, are the curses of the world.

The world does so well without me, that I am moved to wish that I could do equally well without the world.

The world is full of people whose notion of a satisfactory future is, in fact, a return to an idealized past.

There is no democracy in the world of intellect, and no democracy of taste.

There is no nonsense so gross that society will not, at some time, make a doctrine of it and defend it with every weapon of communal stupidity.

Thought and reason, unless matched by feelings, are empty, delusive things.

To be apt in quotation is a splendid and dangerous gift. Splendid, because it ornaments a man's speech with other men's jewels; dangerous, for the same reason.

Try some Symbolic Logic on your little Couch Potato when you go home, and see what happens.

We all have slumbering realms of sensibility which can be coaxed into wakefulness by books.

We mistrust anything that too strongly challenges our ideal of mediocrity.

When a man has become a great figure in society as a physician, we must not be surprised if he regards the laws of society as the laws of Nature- but we need not respect him for it.

Whoever declares a child to be 'delicate' thereby crowns and anoints a tyrant.

Women tell men things that men are not very likely to find out for themselves.

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Quotes of the day: Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Published Tuesday, August 26, 2014 @ 8:55 PM EDT
Aug 26 2014

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher, and a major figure in German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help.

Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights.

It is because the method of physics does not satisfy the comprehension that we have to go on further.

It is easier to discover a deficiency in individuals, in states, and in providence, than to see their real import or value.

Life has a value only when it has something valuable as its object.

Reading the morning newspaper is the realist's morning prayer.

The Few assume to be the deputies, but they are often only the despoilers of the Many.

The force of mind is only as great as its expression; its depth only as deep as its power to expand and lose itself.

The heart is everywhere, and each part of the organism is only the specialized force of the heart itself.

The History of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of Freedom...

The true is the whole.

To be aware of limitations is already to be beyond them.

To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great or rational whether in life or in science.

We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the World has been accomplished without passion.

What experience and history teach is this- that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted upon any lessons they might have drawn from it.

What is reasonable is real; that which is real is reasonable.


(August 27 is also the birthday of Lyndon B. Johnson.)

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Quotes of the day: William James

Published Monday, August 25, 2014 @ 8:08 PM EDT
Aug 25 2014

William James (January 11, 1842 – August 26, 1910) was an American philosopher and psychologist who was also trained as a physician. The first educator to offer a psychology course in the United States, James was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is believed by many to be one of the most influential philosophers the United States has ever produced, while others have labelled him the "Father of American psychology." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A difference which makes no difference is no difference at all.

All our scientific and philosophic ideals are altars to unknown gods.

As a rule we disbelieve all facts and theories for which we have no use.

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.

Democracy is still upon its trial. The civic genius of our people is its only bulwark.

Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.

In the deepest heart of all of us there is a corner in which the ultimate mystery of things works sadly.

Instinct leads, intelligence does but follow.

It is an odd circumstance that neither the old nor the new, by itself, is interesting; the absolutely old is insipid; the absolutely new makes no appeal at all. The old in the new is what claims the attention,- the old with a slightly new turn.

Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being.

No matter how full a reservoir of maxims one may possess, and no matter how good one's sentiments may be, if one has not taken advantage of every concrete opportunity to act, one's character may remain entirely unaffected for the better.

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.

Real culture lives by sympathies and admirations, not by dislikes and disdain- under all misleading wrappings it pounces unerringly upon the human core.

Sobriety diminishes, discriminates, and says no; drunkenness expands, unites, and says yes. Not through mere perversity do men run after it.

Take the happiest man, the one most envied by the world, and in nine cases out of ten his inmost consciousness is one of failure. Either his ideals in the line of his achievements are pitched far higher than the achievements themselves, or else he has secret ideals of which the world knows nothing, and in regard to which he inwardly knows himself to be found wanting.

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

The deadliest enemies of nations are not their foreign foes; they always dwell within their borders

The essence of genius is knowing what to overlook.

The gods we stand by are the gods we need and can use, the gods whose demands on us are reinforcements of our demands on ourselves and on one another

The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind.

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way.

The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch- goddess SUCCESS. That- with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word success- is our national disease.

The most any one can do is to confess as candidly as he can the grounds for the faith that is in him, and leave his example to work on others as it may.

There is but one unconditional commandment, which is that we should seek incessantly, with fear and trembling, so to vote and to act as to bring about the very largest total universe of good which we can see.

There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.

There is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it.

There is only one thing that a philosopher can be relied on to do, and that is, to contradict other philosophers.

Thinking is what a great many people think they are doing when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

To change one's life: Start immediately. Do it flamboyantly. No exceptions.

Truth is what works.

We are all ready to be savage in some cause. The difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of the cause.

We are spinning our own fates, good or evil, and never to be undone. Every smallest stroke of virtue or of vice leaves its never so little scar.

Whenever two people meet there are really six people present There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.

Wherever you are it is your own friends who make your world.

(August 25 is also the birthday of Ben Bradlee.)

Categories: Quotes of the day; William James

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Quotes of the day: Martin Amis

Published Sunday, August 24, 2014 @ 10:46 PM EDT
Aug 24 2014

(The Telegraph photo by Clara Molden)

Martin Louis Amis (b August 25, 1949) is an English novelist. His best-known novels are Money (1984) and London Fields (1989). He has received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for his memoir Experience and has been listed for the Booker Prize twice to date (shortlisted in 1991 for Time's Arrow and longlisted in 2003 for Yellow Dog). Amis served as the Professor of Creative Writing at the Centre for New Writing at the University of Manchester until 2011. The Times named him in 2008 as one of the 50 greatest British writers since 1945. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Being inoffensive, and being offended, are now the twin addictions of the culture.

Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun.

Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth, Venus, is that nobody gets over anything.

I think it's the whole impulse to judge and censor and euphemize, that is the enemy.

In my experience of fights and fighting, it is invariably the aggressor who keeps getting everything wrong.

It now seems that pornography is the leading sex educator in the Western world.

It used to be said that by a certain age a man had the face that he deserved. Nowadays, he has the face he can afford.

Just as a Philistine does not on the whole devote his life to his art, so a misogynist does not devote his inner life to women

Laughter always forgives.

Life is chaos. It has none of the symmetries and patterning of the novel.

Money doesn’t mind if we say it’s evil, it goes from strength to strength. It’s a fiction, an addiction, and a tacit conspiracy.

On any longer view, man is only fitfully committed to the rational- to thinking, seeing, learning, knowing. Believing is what he's really proud of.

People don't change or improve much, but they do evolve. It is very slow.

Remember the axiom: the danger of terrorism lies not in what it inflicts but in what it provokes.

Style is not neutral; it gives moral directions.

Terrorism undermines morality. Then, too, it undermines reason.

The true manipulator never has a reputation for manipulating.

There are two rules of war that have not yet been invalidated by the new world order. The first rule is that the belligerent nation must be fairly sure that its actions will make things better; the second rule is that the belligerent nation must be more or less certain that its actions won't make things worse

Weapons are like money; no one knows the meaning of enough.

What is the only provocation that could bring about the use of nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the priority target for nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. What is the only established defense against nuclear weapons? Nuclear weapons. How do we prevent the use of nuclear weapons? By threatening the use of nuclear weapons. And we can't get rid of nuclear weapons, because of nuclear weapons. The intransigence, it seems, is a function of the weapons themselves.

What we eventually run up against are the forces of humourlessness, and let me assure you that the humourless as a bunch don't just not know what's funny, they don't know what's serious. They have no common sense, either, and shouldn't be trusted with anything.

(August 25 is also the birthday of Leonard Bernstein.)

Categories: Martin Amis; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Paulo Coelho

Published Saturday, August 23, 2014 @ 10:42 PM EDT
Aug 23 2014

Paulo Coelho was born on August 24, 1947, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He was a rebellious teenager and his parents committed him to an asylum three times. When Coelho was 38 years old, he had a spiritual awakening in Spain and wrote about it in his first book, The Pilgrimage. It was his second book, The Alchemist, which made him famous. He's sold 35 million copies and now writes about one book every two years. (Click here for full article)


Accumulating love brings luck, accumulating hatred brings calamity.

At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That's the world's greatest lie.

At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.

Be like the fountain that overflows, not like the cistern than merely contains.

Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.

Finding something important in life does not mean that you must give up everything else.

Go in search of your Gift. The more you understand yourself, the more you will understand the world.

I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It's all a question of how I view my life.

If I had to give you one piece of advice, it would be this: don't be intimidated by other people's opinions

If I must fall, may it be from a high place.

If you have a past with which you feel dissatisfied, then forget it. Now.

If you rely only on experience, you'll simply keep applying old solutions to new problems.

It isn't expectations that carry us forward, it is our desire to go on.

It isn't what you did in the past that will affect the present. It's what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.

It's always easy to blame others. You can spend your entire life blaming the world, but your successes or failures are entirely your own responsibility. You can try to stop time, but it's a complete waste of energy.

Laugh at your worries and insecurities. View your anxieties with humor.

Life is a dream from which we wake only when we meet death.

Life moves very fast. It rushes from heaven to hell in a matter of seconds.

Lovers need to know how to lose themselves and then how to find themselves again.

One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.

Our true friends are those who are with us when the good things happen. They cheer us on and are pleased by our triumphs. False friends only appear at difficult times, with their sad, supportive faces, when, in fact, our suffering is serving to console them for their miserable lives.

Past and future exist only in our memory. The present moment, though, is outside of time, it's Eternity.

Seek to live. Remembrance is for the old.

Stop being who you were and become who you are.

The first indication that we are killing our dreams is lack of time.
The second indication that our dreams are dead is certainty.
The third indication that our dreams are dead is peace

The gods throw the dice, and they don't ask whether we want to be in the game or not.

The moment we begin to seek love, love begins to seek us. And to save us.

The only way to make the right decision is to find out which is the wrong decision, to examing that other path without fear, and only then to decide.

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.

There are moments in life when we need to trust to blind intuition.

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

Time neither moves nor is stationary. Time changes.

To live is to experience things, not sit around pondering the meaning of life.

Understand what is going on inside you and you will understand what is going on inside everyone else.

What can't be cured must be endured.

What hurts us is what heals us.

When I knocked, the door opened. When I looked, I found.

When there is no turning back, then we should concern ourselves only with the best way of going forward.

When we postpone the harvest, the fruit rots, but when we postpone our problems, they keep on growing.

When you cease doubting, you have stopped moving forward.

When you want something, the whole Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

Wherever your heart is, that is where you'll find your treasure.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public.

You are someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that in my view is a serious illness.

You are what you believe yourself to be.

You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.

You have two choices: to control your mind or to let your mind control you.

(August 24 is also the birthday of Max Beerbohm and Theodore Parker.)

Categories: Paulo Coelho; Quotes of the day

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