Mark Twain

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."

- Mark Twain

Monday, May 25, 2015

Inspirational quotes

"If we ever reach the point where we think we thoroughly understand who we are and where we came from, we will have failed" (Carl Sagan)

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"
(Albert Szent-Gyorgyi)

"The best way to predict your future is to create it" (Peter Drucker)

"Religious wars are basically people killing each other over who has the better imaginary friend" (Napoleon)

"The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born" (Antonio Gramsci)

"Education is paradoxical in that it is largely composed of things that cannot be learned" (Roberto Calasso)

"Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be."
(Miguel de Cervantes)

"The history of science, like the history of all human ideas, is a history of irresponsible dreams, of obstinacy, and of error." (Karl Popper)

"The task is...not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees" (Erwin Schroedinger)

"Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible" (Maurits Cornelis Escher)

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes"
(Marcel Proust)

"A man wants what a woman has sex. He can steal it (rape), persuade her to give it away (seduction), rent it (prostitution), lease it over the long term (marriage in the United States) or own it outright (marriage in most societies)" (Andrea Dworkin)

"A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all" (Tacitus)

"God is a hacker, not an engineer" (Francis Crick)

"Not to be mad is another form of madness" (Blaise Pascal)

"Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes" (Oscar Wilde)

"We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience" (George Bernard Shaw)

"Experience is not what happens to a man, it is what a man does with what happens to him" (Aldous Huxley)

"No one believes in God any more, but everyone believes in Bach" (composer Mauricio Kagel)

"To leave is to arrive and to arrive is to leave" (Yong-Kyun Bae)

"Hell is other people" (Sartre)

"There's no such thing as information overload. There's only filter failure." (Clay Shirky)

"... the death of the spirit which threatens every man unless he is conscious of the danger and has a real purpose which can keep it alive and enable it to thrust its way through the choking weeds and thorns to the air and to the sun" (Hugh Trevor-Roper)

"We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine." (Henry Louis Mencken)

"The hallmark of a deep explanation is that it answers more than you ask" (Max Tegmark)

"I think people who write programs do have at least a glimmer of extra insight into the nature of God... because creating a program often means that you have to create a small universe" (Don Knuth)

"It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation." (Vladimir Putin)

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" (Voltaire)

"Where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people too" (Heinrich Heine)

"The goal of the future is full unemployment (Arthur Clarke)

"We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like" (Dave Ramsey)

"Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans" (Allen Saunders, 1957)

"To find something interesting you merely have to look at it long enough" (Flaubert)

"Science is always wrong - It never solves a problem without creating 10 more" (George-Bernard Shaw)

"The world is but a canvas to our imaginations" (Henry Thoreau)

"There is no position so absurd that some philosopher has not held it" (James Fetzer)

"A little rebellion every now and then is a good thing" (Thomas Jefferson)

"It is inconceivable that we should allow so great a possibility for service, for news, for entertainment, for education and for vital commercial purposes to be drowned in advertising chatter" (Herbert Hoover talking about the radio in 1922).

"In 3000 AD one will doubtless be able to travel from Kansas City to Peking in a few hours. But if the civilization of these two places is the same, there will be no object in doing so." (Aldous Huxley in 1926)

"Humans - who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals - have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain." (Carl Sagan)

"Radio broadcasting is a sort of cleansing instrument for the mind just as the bathtub is for the body"
(David Sarnoff at RCA in the 1920s).

"There can be no greater absurdity and no greater disservice to humanity in general than to insist that all men are equal" (Henry Ford)

"The entire Earth will be converted into a huge brain" (Nikolas Tesla, talking about the radio in 1904)

"Every monument of civilization is a monument of barbarism" (Walter Benjamin)

"Now the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room" (David Weinberger)

"Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had" (Robert Downey)

"Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other" (Oscar Ameringer)

"Better to understand very little than to misunderstand a lot" (one-liner signature file on the internet)

"War does not determine who is right - only who is left" (Bertrand Russell)

"People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don't know is what what they do does" (Michel Foucault)

"There is something not-there there" (Terrence Deacon)

"I'm dying, but so are you" (Christopher Hitchens, dying of cancer)

"The past isn't dead. It isn't even past." (William Faulkner)

"Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly" (Dalai Lama)

"Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it" (Dalai Lama)

"Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed." (Mahatma Gandhi)

"I Seem To Be a Verb" (Buckminster Fuller)

"An optimist is someone who doesn't quite understand the problem" (Steve Kaufman)

"When you are invited to a dinner, you are either a guest or you are part of a menu" (Guy Verhofstadt)

"If you torture statistics long enough, they'll eventually confess the truth" (Alan Simpson)

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving" (Lao Tzu)

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas - I'm frightened of the old ones" (John Cage)

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn" (Alvin Toffler)

"Begin Anywhere" (John Cage)

"The imperative to develop new technologies and implement them on a heroic scale no longer seems like the childish preoccupation of a few nerds with slide rulers - It's the only way for the human race to escape from its current predicaments - Too bad we've forgotten how to do it" (Neal Stephenson)

"Time is Nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once" (John Wheeler)

"An investor who has all the answers doesn't even understand the questions" (John Templeton)

"The worst labyrinth is not that intricate form that can entrap us forever, but a single and precise straight line" (Borges)

"I have been everything and it is worth nothing" (Roman emperor Septimius Severus)

"We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done" (Alan Turing)

"Contentment is rare among men as it is natural among animals" (Will Durant)

"Mankind's ability to understand and control the forces of nature greatly exceeds our ability to govern ourselves" (George Soros)

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it" (Upton Sinclair)

"We are drowning in information while starving for wisdom" (Edward Osborne Wilson)

"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding" (Khalil Gibran)

"The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting" (Charles Bukowski)

"Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed" (Samuel Johnson)

"I don't do drugs - I am drugs" (Salvador Dali)

"Love that is not madness is not love" (Pedro Calderon de la Barca)

"When a man suffers from delusions he is described as mad but when a million do so they belong to a world religion" (Anthony Storr)

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable -There is another theory which states that this has already happened" (Douglas Adams)

"If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians" (Warren Buffett)

"The world is a playground" (Indian-Persian poet Ghalib)

"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition" (Timothy Leary)

"You are all you've got" (Janis Joplin)

"Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent" (Eleanor Roosevelt)

"If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman" (Margaret Thatcher)

"Be like a flower that gives fragrance, even to the hand that crushes it" (Ali ibn Abi Talib)

"If you want to sacrifice the admiration of many men for the criticism of one, go ahead, get married" (Katherine Hepburn)

"When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping - Men invade another country - It's a whole different way of thinking" (Elayne Boosler)

"There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper" (Camille Paglia)

"If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun" (Katherine Hepburn)

"Poor clowns of the absolute, we forget that we act out a tragedy to enliven the boredom of one spectator whose applause has never reached a mortal ear" (Ciorin)

"O you proud Christians, wretched souls and small,/ Who by the dim lights of your twisted minds/ Believe you prosper even as you fall,/ Can you not see that we are worms, each one/ Born to become the angelic butterfly/ That flies defenseless to the Judgement Throne?" (Dante, Canto 10, Purgatorio)

"God doesn't vote" (Former Italian prime minister Giulio Andreotti justifying his dirty political methods despite being a very religious man)

"If I owe you a pound, I have a problem; but if I owe you a million, the problem is yours" (John Maynard Keynes)

"During my lifetime most of the problems the world has faced have come, in one fashion or other, from mainland Europe, and the solutions from outside it" (Margaret Thatcher)

"Wait and see" (Albert Einstein, answering the question what's going to happen to the universe?)

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible" (Lord Kelvin in 1895)

"Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now - They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are" (Bill Gates)

"There is a world market for maybe five computers" (Thomas Watson of IBM in 1943)

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value" (French general Ferdinand Foch in 1913)

"Hell is the truth seen too late" (Thomas Hobbes)

"We inhabit a universe that is still inventing itself" (Peter Corning)

"No poem is intended for the reader, no painting for the beholder, no symphony for the listener" (Walter Benjamin)

"Opera is where a guy gets stabbed in the back, and instead of dying, he sings" (Robert Burns)

"There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing" (Robert Burns)

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler" (Albert Einstein)

"Yvonne: Where were you last night? = Rick: That's so long ago, I don't remember - Yvonne: Will I see you tonight? - Rick: I never make plans that far ahead" (Curtiz's film Casablanca)

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood - Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less" (Marie Curie)

"The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process" (Edward Bernays)

"Nature has all the answers, so what is your question?" (Howard Odum)

"There can be no true friends without true enemies" (Michael Dibdin)

"Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an emperor" (the Pirate to Alexander the Great in St Augustine's City of God)

"The more laws and orderre made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be" (Lao Tze)

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety" (Benjamin Franklin)

"Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do" (Bertrand Russell)

"Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind (Bernard Baruch)

"The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order" (Alfred North Whitehead)

"Failure is the foundation of success - Success is the foundation of failure" (Lao Tze)

"Wer immer strebend sich bemuht, Den konnen wir erlosen/ Whoever exerts himself in constant striving, Him we can save" (Goethe, Faust)

"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do" (Jalal ad-Din Rumi)

"Every journey of 10,000 li starts with the first step" (Chinese proverb)

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library" (Jorge Luis Borges)

"Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal" (Albert Einstein)

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new" (Albert Einstein)

"It doesn't matter whether a cat is black or white as long as it catches the mice" (Deng Xiaoping)

"I suspect that many of the great cultural shifts that prepare the way for political change are largely aesthetic" (JG Ballard)

"The world henceforth will be run by synthesizers, people able to put together the right information at the right time" (Edward-Osborne Wilson)

"So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do" (Benjamin Franklin)

"Truths are more likely to be discovered by one man than by a nation" (Descartes)

"History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake" (James Joyce)

"He who follows another will never overtake him" (Michelangelo)

"The impossible is justified by the fact that it occurred" (Balzac)

"Esse Est Percipi/ To be is to be perceived" (Bishop Berkeley)

"A believer is a stranger in this world" (Al-Hasan al-Basri)

"Change has rarely ever changed things" (Walter Sorrell)

"We've learned how to make a living, but not a life" (George Carlin)

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it" (Chinese proverb)

"There are no inevitabilities in history" (Paul Johnson)

"When goods don't cross borders, armies will" (Frederic Bastiat)

"A junkie is someone who uses their body to tell society that something is wrong" (Stella Adler)

"While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die" (Leonardo da Vinci)

"While we are asleep in this world, we are awake in another one" (Jorge Luis Borges)

"The difference between me and a madman is that i am not mad" (Salvador Dali)

"All truth passes through three stages - First, it is ridiculed - Second, it is violently opposed - Third, it is accepted as being self-evident" (Arthur Schopenhauer)

"There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life" (Frank Zappa)

"Show me a sane man and I will cure him" (Carl Jung)

"If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you" (Friedrich Nietzsche)

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them" (Albert Einstein)

"Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary" (Blaise Pascal)

"Democrats have become very good at electing very bad Republicans" (Ralph Nader)

"Revolutions are always verbose" (Leon Trotsky)

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh" (Voltaire)

"Love, friendship, respect, do not unite people as much as a common hatred for something" (Anton Chekhov)

"You are mistaken if you think that your customer is paying you to have sex with him -He is also paying you to go away after the sex is over" (Anonymous prostitute quoted in a Leonard Shlain book)

"Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it" (George Santayana)

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect" (Mark Twain)

"Men have become the tools of their tools" (Henry Thoreau)

"If God made us in His image, we have certainly returned the compliment" (Voltaire)

"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading" (Lao Tzu)

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful" (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)

"Everything should be as simple as possible - but no simpler" (Albert Einstein)

"Most books are about aspects of human knowledge - Few people write books about human ignorance, despite the fact that there would be much more to write about" (Piero Scaruffi)

"Nasrudin sat on a river bank when someone shouted to him from the opposite side: Hey! how do I get across? - Nasrudin shouted back: You are across!" (Popular Turkish tale)

"No amount of study of present forms [of life] would permit us to infer [the existence of] dinosaurs" (Max Delbruck)

"There is no substitute for victory" (Douglas MacArthur)

"Somewhere something incredible is waiting to happen" (John Wheeler)

"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known" (Carl Sagan)

"No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public" (H.L. Mencken)

"Ekam sat vipra bahuda vadanti/ The one truth is called by different names by various learned men" (Rig Veda)

"God does not exist - He is being itself beyond essence and existence - Therefore to argue that God exists is to deny him" (Paul Tillich)

"Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing" (Wernher Von Braun)

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day - Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" (Lao Tzu)

"I do not believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use" (Galileo Galilei)

"The Brain is wider than the Sky / For put them side by side / The one the other will contain" (Emily Dickinson)

"The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced" (Frank Zappa)

"Congressmen are like diapers - You need to change them often, and for the same reason" (Pete McCloskey)

"I think I know what it is but don't ask me to play it" (John Coltrane to Zita Carno on seeing one of his improvisations transcribed to music notation)

"A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic" (Josef Stalin)

"The foolish ask questions the wise cannot answer" (Oscar Wilde)

"No one really knows enough to be a pessimist" (Norman Cousins)

"Life is a question in the form of an answer" (Piero Scaruffi)

"Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught" (Oscar Wilde)

"I would characterize current US nuclear weapons policy as immoral, illegal, militarily unnecessary, and dreadfully dangerous" (former USA defense secretary Robert McNamara)

"Give me a place to stand, and I will move the Earth" (Archimedes)

"We only had our brains to use as weapons against the Christians" (A Jewish friend, when i asked him why so many Jews became scientists and artists and writers - Contrast it with a very similar statement made by an Al Jazeera commentator regarding suicide bombers: The Arabs only have their bodiesto use as weapons against Israel and the USA)

"Sometimes the metaphors write themselves" (Eugene Robinson, 2006)

"All murderers are punished unless they kill in great numbers" (Voltaire)

"Je ne suis pas d'accord avec ce que vous dites, mais je d‚fendrai jusqu'… la mort le droit que vous avez de le dire/ I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it" (Voltaire)

"It is better to kill one hundred innocents than to let one guilty person go" (Dolores Ibarruri La Pasionaria)

"There is a limit to human intelligence, but there is no limit to human stupidity" (Piero Scaruffi)

"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them - But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being - And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn)

"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement - The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth" (Niels Bohr)

"La lor cieca vita e` tanto bassa, che invidiosi son d'ogni altra sorte - Fama di loro esser non lassa; misericordia e giustizia li sdegna - Non ti curar di lor, ma guarda e passa/ Their pointless life is so low that all other lots they envy - Fame of them the world hath none; Mercy and Justice scorn them both - Ignore them, look ahead and pass them by" (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto III)

"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time - And all our yesterdays have lighted fools, The way to dusty death - Out, out brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more - It is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing" (William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act 5 Scene 5)

"Envy is blind, and she has no other quality than that of detracting from virtue" (Titus Livius)

"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject" (Winston Churchill)

"There are known knowns: there are things we know we know - We also know there are known unknowns: we know there are some things we do not know - But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know that we don't know" (Donald Rumsfeld)

"A scientist is someone who learns more and more about less and less, and ultimately knows everything about nothing - A Philosopher is someone who learns less and less about more and more, and ultimately knows nothing about everything" (Anonymous joke)

"Why should I care about posterity? What's posterity ever done for me?" (Groucho Marx)

"The beaver told the rabbit as they stared at the Hoover Dam: No, I didn't build it myself, but it's based on an idea of mine" (Charles Townes)

"Time is the substance of which we are made" (Borges)

"First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist - Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew - Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up, because I was a Protestant - Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me" (Reverend Martin Niemoller, 1945)

"What good fortune for governments that the people do not think" (Adolf Hitler)

"The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed" (Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf)

"Karl Radek: Vladimir Ilyich, where are we going to get enough rope to hang the whole bourgeoisie? Vladimir Ilyich Lenin: They will sell it to us themselves

"It is reasonable to expect that, with the favourable effects of time, and of European arts and sciences, [America] will become the most formidable power in the world" (the Venetian ambassador to Paris, 1783)

"Truth and untruth often co-exist; good and evil often are found together" (Gandhi)

"A great country worthy of the name does not have any friends" (Charles De Gaulle)

"Life is not a journey, it is a destination" (Piero Scaruffi)

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies" (Groucho Marx)

"For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the Middle East, and we achieved neither" (Condoleeza Rice)

"We are not shooting enough professors" (Lenin)

"Pacifism is objectively pro-Fascist" (George Orwell)

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind" (Mahatma Gandhi)

"I thank my parents for the greatest gift of all: poverty" (Robert Benigni)

"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it" (Winston Churchill)

"The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking" (Martin Heidegger)

"You were born with wings - Why prefer to crawl through life?" (Jalal ad-Din Rumi)

"Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians" (Charles De Gaulle)

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world" (Mahatma Gandhi)

"This whole world Is one big prison yard - Some of us are prisoners The rest of us are guards" (Bob Dylan)

"The past is not dead - it isn't even past" (Christa Wolf, 1976)

"I think it would be a good idea" (Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization)

"God is dead - Nietzsche/ Nietzsche is dead - God" (Graffiti on Nietzsche's tomb)

"Philosophy has only interpreted the world - The real challenge is to change it" (Epigraph on Karl Marx tomb)

"It will take a thousand years for the frontier to reach the Pacific" ( Thomas Jefferson)

"A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere" (Groucho Marx)

"Like all religions, Reason presents itself as the solution to the problems it has created" (John Ralston Saul, 1992)

"The Army causes Taxes; Taxes cause Discontents; and Discontents make an Army necessaryLord Bath, 1749)

"To do is to be - Descartes; To be is to do - Voltaire; Do be do be do - Frank Sinatra" (Men'w Restrooms, Greasewood Flats, Scottsdale)

"I told him to be fruitful and multiply, but not in those words" (Woody Allen)

"I play the notes, in order, as they are written - It is God who makes the music" (Johan Sebastian Bach)

"The first thing that we do let's kill all the lawyers" (Henry VI, II/4, Shakespeare)

"The difference between a psychiatric patient and a psychiatric doctor is that the former gets better" (paraphrasing a line in Vincent Minnelli's Cowbweb)

"Under no circumstances should a true Christian draw the sword" (Tertullian, 2nd century AD)

"The basis of government is jugglery - If it lasts and works, it becomes policy" (Caliph Al Mansur of Baghdad)

"The worst things are those that are novelties - Every innovation is an error, and every error leads to hell" (Prophet Mohammed, The Neglected Duty)

"shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi shi = the master is fond of licking lion spittle" (Chinese tonguetwister)

"I am who I am" (God to Moses)

"Jesus: I came into the world to bear witness to the truth - Pilate: What is truth?" (John 18:3438)

"What is the sound of one hand clapping?" (Hakuin)

"Four blind men gave four altogether contradictory descriptions of an elephant because one had been able to touch only its tail, the other its legs, the third its belly and the fourth its ears only" (Ancient Arab proverb)

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty" (Winston Churchill)

"There is nothing more dangerous than a philosopher who wants to change the world" (Piero Scaruffi)

"Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy" (Jorge-Luis Borges)

"Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets" (Napoleon Bonaparte)

"Quote me as saying that I was mis-quoted" (Groucho Marx)

Proust or Poseur? Podcast

John Crace digests Karl Ove Knausgaard's multi-volume autobiographical fiction, 'My Struggle', and asks if it is exceptional in anything apart from length.
Here, he takes on the autobiographical novel which has taken the reading world by storm, with Karl Ove Knausgaard acclaimed as Norway's Proust.

Three volumes are already out in the UK, with a fourth coming in the spring. But is it any more than an extended piece of literary navel-gazing?

Reading list:
Hari Kunzru on why My Struggle is a great work of literature
My Struggle: The Digested Read


Karl Ove Knausgaard

I ordered one of his ('boring' but enthralling) books at the library, just to see what the fuss is all about.

"As fans in New York will discover this week, the Norwegian writer’s rock’n’roll reputation is matched by actual drumming in a bona fide band. It seems odd that more writers don’t do likewise."

I have purchased thousands of books over time but they just become a storage problem.  Then I read:
... too bad we can't buy the time to read the books we buy...

“... that when you're buying books, you're optimistically thinking you're buying the time to read them.
(Paraphrase of Schopenhauer)”
― Arthur Schopenhauer

On Letterman Zevon talked about all the books he compulsively bought:
“We buy books because we believe we're buying the time to read them." 
― Warren Zevon

Nobody can buy more time...

“The art of not reading is a very important one. It consists in not taking an interest in whatever may be engaging the attention of the general public at any particular time. When some political or ecclesiastical pamphlet, or novel, or poem is making a great commotion, you should remember that he who writes for fools always finds a large public. A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.” 
― Arthur SchopenhauerEssays and Aphorisms

“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.” 
― Arthur SchopenhauerStudies in Pessimism: The Essays

“Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, "Lighthouses" as the poet said "erected in the sea of time." They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind, Books are humanity in print.” 
― Arthur Schopenhauer

“The person who writes for fools is always sure of a large audience.”
― Arthur SchopenhauerReligion: A Dialogue and Other Essays

Der Mensch kann tun was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will.

Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.” 
― Arthur SchopenhauerEssays and Aphorisms

“Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.” 
― Arthur Schopenhauer

Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest......................................Mark Twain

Hiring Hillary

Hiring Hillary——It Takes A Private Jet, Presidential Suite, Lots Of Aides And $225K
by ZeroHedge • May 23, 2015

Late last month we highlighted an IB Times report which showed that Goldman Sachs paid Bill Clinton some $200,000 for a speech ahead of an effort to lobby The State Department (then led by Hillary Clinton) on Export-Import Bank legislation tied to a $75 million purchase order from a Chinese company to a Goldman-owned aircraft manufacturer.

The idea that the paid speech and the authorization of an Export-Import Bank loan to the Chinese firm were related was of course dismissed as “preposterous” by Goldman (draw your own conclusions) but what certainly isn’t preposterous is the fact that the Clintons reap millions for speaking engagements and as you can see from the following, if you want a Clinton, a quarter-million in cash isn’t all you’ll need to budget for.

Here is the rest:

Be Present In Your Life.


Look at this day, for it is life, the very life of life.

In its brief course lie all the realities and verities of existence, the bliss of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power.

For yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision, but today, well lived, makes every day a dream, a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day.

Mark Twain Quotes

We all have thoughts that would shame the devil.
Mark Twain - Notebooks (1935)

What a good thing Adam had. When he said a good thing he knew nobody had said it before.
Mark Twain - Speech in NYC, Jan. 22, 1906

 The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all wrong; he can swear and still be a gentleman if he does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate way.
Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
Mark Twain - Following the Equator

A human being has a natural desire to have more of a good thing than he needs.
Mark Twain

The best cure for Christianity is reading the Bible.
Mark Twain

Golf is a good walk, ruined.
Mark Twain - Following the Equator (1897)

Man is the Only Animal that Blushes. Or needs to.
Mark Twain

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
Mark Twain

Those who say truth is stranger than fiction have wasted their time on poorly written fiction.
Mark Twain

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
Mark Twain - (attributed)

A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.
Mark Twain

I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position.
Mark Twain

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man.
Mark Twain

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Mark Twain

All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure.
Mark Twain

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
Mark Twain

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
Mark Twain

I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting.
Mark Twain

 Sacred cows make the best hamburgers.
Mark Twain

Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
Mark Twain

Good breeding consists of concealing how much we think of ourselves and how little we think of the other person.
Mark Twain

Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds upon the heel that crushes it.
Mark Twain

I admire the serene assurance of those who have religious faith. It is wonderful to observe the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces.
Mark Twain

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bringing back a Wandering Attention - William James

 William James was interested in mindfulness and attention:

 “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will. No one is compos sui [master of himself] if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence.”

William James, Psychology: Briefer Course, p. 424 (Harper Torchbooks, 1961)

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