QUOTEoftheDay

Tuesday
Dec272011

Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways.

They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

Don't be too harsh to these poems until they're typed. I always think typescript lends some sort of certainty: at least, if the things are bad then, they appear to be bad with conviction.

Dylan talked copiously, then stopped. 'Somebody's boring me,' he said, 'I think it's me.'

He who seeks rest finds boredom. He who seeks work finds rest.

Monday
Dec262011

Anne Tyler

And I am interested in the fact that class is very much a factor in America, even though it's not supposed to be.

But what I hope for from a book - either one that I write or one that I read - is transparency. I want the story to shine through. I don't want to think of the writer.

Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul - chicken, pork, half a cow. They must think we're the greatest hunters on earth!

For my own family, I would always choose the makeshift, surrogate family formed by various characters unrelated by blood.

I don't want to say I hear voices; well, actually I do hear voices, but I don't think it's supernatural. I think it's just that when characters are given enough texture and backbone, then lo and behold, they stand on their own.

I never think about the actual process of writing. I suppose I have a superstition about examining it too closely.

Time, in general, has always been a central obsession of mine - what it does to people, how it can constitute a plot all on its own. So naturally, I am interested in old age.

While armchair travelers dream of going places, traveling armchairs dream of staying put.

Sunday
Dec252011

Stephen Hawking


We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special.

For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen . . .

Consideration of black holes suggests, not only that God does play dice, but that he sometimes confuses us by throwing them where they can't be seen.

I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space . . .

Equations are just the boring part of mathematics. I attempt to see things in terms of geometry.

I still believe there are grounds for cautious optimism that we may now be near the end of the search for the ultimate laws of nature.

Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.

 

Saturday
Dec242011

Chuck Palahniuk

A minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.

Every woman is just a different kind of problem.

Find out what you're afraid of and go live there.

Game shows are designed to make us feel better about the random, useless facts that are all we have left of our education.

Give me rampant intellectualism as a coping mechanism.

I just don't want to die without a few scars.

People don't want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messed cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.

People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.

People used what they called a telephone because they hated being close together and they were scared of being alone.

Since change is constant, you wonder if people crave death because it's the only way they can get anything really finished.

Sometimes the past seems too big for the present to hold.

Friday
Dec232011

Marcel Proust

A powerful idea communicates some of its strength to him who challenges it.

A woman one loves rarely suffices for all our needs, so we deceive her with another whom we do not love.

All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.

As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress.

Every reader finds himself. The writer's work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself.

Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces.

It is always during a passing state of mind that we make lasting resolutions.

It is in moments of illness that we are compelled to recognize that we live not alone but chained to a creature of a different kingdom, whole worlds apart, who has no knowledge of us and by whom it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body.

It is not because other people are dead that our affection for them grows faint, it is because we ourselves are dying.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Thursday
Dec222011

H. L. Mencken

Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.

Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.

The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth. He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely. Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men. It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor.

I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind — that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.

I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.

I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty and the democratic form is as bad as any of the other forms.

I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.

I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech — alike for the humblest man and the mightiest, and in the utmost freedom of conduct that is consistent with living in organized society.


I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.


I —But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie.

I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.

 

Wednesday
Dec212011

Jacob Bronowski

Science, like art, is not a copy of nature but a re-creation of her.

Dissent is the native activity of the scientist, and it has got him into a good deal of trouble in the last years. But if that is cut off, what is left will not be a scientist. And I doubt whether it will be a man.

Man is not the most majestic of the creatures, long before the mammals even, the dinosaurs were far more splendid. But he has what no other animal possesses: a jigsaw of faculties, which alone, over three thousand million years of life, made him creative. Every animal leaves traces of what he was. Man alone leaves traces of what he created.

Every animal leaves traces of what it was; man alone leaves traces of what he created.

Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? Several have died of conformity in our lifetime.

It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.

Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty.

Man is unique not because he does science, and his is unique not because he does art, but because science and art equally are expressions of his marvelous plasticity of mind.

Man masters nature not by force but by understanding. This is why science has succeeded where magic failed: because it has looked for no spell to cast over nature.

The painter's portrait and the physicist's explanation are both rooted in reality, but they have been changed by the painter or the physicist into something more subtly imagined than the photographic appearance of things.

Tuesday
Dec202011

V. S. Naipaul

Everybody is interesting for an hour, but few people can last more than two.

Men need history; it helps them to have an idea of who they are. But history, like sanctity, can reside in the heart; it is enough that there is something there.

Life doesn't have a neat beginning and a tidy end, life is always going on. You should begin in the middle and end in the middle, and it should be all there.

That element of surprise is what I look for when I am writing. It is my way of judging what I am doing - which is never an easy thing to do.

The world is always in movement.

The world is what it is; men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.

The world outside existed in a kind of darkness; and we inquired about nothing.

This is unusual for me. I have given readings and not lectures. I have told people who ask for lectures that I have no lecture to give. And that is true.
Monday
Dec192011

Leo Tolstoy

Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love . . .

The hero of my tale, whom I love with all the power of my soul, whom I have tried to portray in all his beauty, who has been, is, and will be beautiful, is Truth.

In our world everybody thinks of changing humanity, and nobody thinks of changing himself.

The truth is always accessible to a man. It can't be otherwise, because a man's soul is a divine spark, the truth itself.

Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait.

History is the life of nations and of humanity. To seize and put into words, to describe directly the life of humanity or even of a single nation, appears impossible.

Art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.

Humanity unceasingly strives forward from a lower, more partial and obscure understanding of life to one more general and more lucid.

Sunday
Dec182011

J. Robert Oppenheimer

It worked.

The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true.

In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge which they cannot lose.

We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita... "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry ... There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.

I believe that through discipline, though not through discipline alone, we can achieve serenity, and a certain small but precious measure of the freedom from the accidents of incarnation, and charity, and that detachment which preserves the world which it renounces.

It is perfectly obvious that the whole world is going to hell. The only possible chance that it might not is that we do not attempt to prevent it from doing so.

The atomic bomb made the prospect of future war unendurable. It has led us up those last few steps to the mountain pass; and beyond there is a different country.