QUOTEoftheDay

Friday
Nov182011

F. Scott Fitzgerald

The idea that to make a man work you've got to hold gold in front of his eyes is a growth, not an axiom. We’ve done that for so long that we've forgotten there’s any other way.

He knew now that he had always been a fool.

My generation of radicals and breakers-down never found anything to take the place of the old virtues of work and courage and the old graces of courtesy and politeness.

Once one is caught up into the material world not one person in ten thousand finds the time to form literary taste, to examine the validity of philosophic concepts for himself, or to form what, for lack of a better phrase, I might call the wise and tragic sense of life.

People try so hard to believe in leaders now, pitifully hard. But we no sooner get a popular reformer or politician or soldier or writer or philosopher — a Roosevelt, a Tolstoy, a Wood, a Shaw, a Nietzsche, than the cross-currents of criticism wash him away. My Lord, no man can stand prominence these days. It's the surest path to obscurity.

Just think how it would be if every one else looked at things as you do — what would the world be like?

Thursday
Nov172011

Robert A. Heinlein

Hand the people a scapegoat to hate. Let them kill a scapegoat occasionally for cathartic release. The mechanism is ages old. Tyrants used it centuries before the word "psychology" was ever invented. It works, too.

A rational anarchist believes that concepts, such as "state" and "society" and "government" have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame, share blame, distribute blame ... as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live perfectly in an imperfect world ... aware that his efforts will be less than perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure.

Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often confuses one for the other, or assumes the greater the love, the greater the jealousy. In fact they are almost incompatible; both at once produce unbearable turmoil.

Man is not a rational animal, he is a rationalizing animal.

The capacity of the human mind for swallowing nonsense and spewing it forth in violent and repressive action has never yet been plumbed.

Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.

If you would know a man, observe how he treats a cat.

 

Wednesday
Nov162011

Percy Bysshe Shelley

You would not easily guess
All the modes of distress
Which torture the tenants of earth;
And the various evils,
Which like so many devils,
Attend the poor souls from their birth.

Sweet the rose which lives in Heaven,
Although on earth ’tis planted . . .

GOVERNMENT has no rights; it is a delegation from several individuals for the purpose of securing their own. It is therefore just, only so far as it exists by their consent, useful only so far as it operates to their well-being.

Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?

Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle —
Why not I with thine?'

 

Tuesday
Nov152011

William Thomson, Lord Kelvin

Do not imagine that mathematics is hard and crabbed, and repulsive to common sense. It is merely the etherealization of common sense.

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts, advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be.

Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.

In science there is only physics; all the rest is stamp collecting.

Large increases in cost with questionable increases in performance can be tolerated only in race horses and women.

Science is bound, by the everlasting vow of honour, to face fearlessly every problem which can be fairly presented to it.

The atheistic idea is so nonsensical that I cannot put it into words.

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he would never be caught.

Monday
Nov142011

Joseph Conrad

Woe to the man whose heart has not learned while young to hope, to love — and to put its trust in life!!

The sea never changes and its works, for all the talk of men, are wrapped in mystery.

All idealization makes life poorer. To beautify it is to take away its character of complexity — it is to destroy it.

Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth! . . . The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires.

They wanted facts. Facts! They demanded facts from him, as if facts could explain anything.

Vanity plays lurid tricks with our memory.

History repeats itself, but the special call of an art which has passed away is never reproduced. It is as utterly gone out of the world as the song of a destroyed wild bird.


Saturday
Nov122011

Bram Stoker

No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.

I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome, Mr. Harker, to my house. Come in, the night air is chill, and you must need to eat and rest.

We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things.

Nothing is too small. I counsel you, put down in record even your doubts and surmises. Hereafter it may be of interest to you to see how true you guess. We learn from failure, not from success!

The fame of an actor is won in minutes and seconds, not in years.

Let me be accurate in everything, for though you and I have seen some strange things together, you may at the first think that I, Van Helsing, am mad. That the many horrors and the so long strain on nerves has at the last turn my brain.

And so we remained till the red of the dawn began to fall through the snow gloom. I was desolate and afraid, and full of woe and terror. But when that beautiful sun began to climb the horizon life was to me again.

 

Friday
Nov112011

Samuel Beckett

It is rare that the feeling of absurdity is not followed by the feeling of necessity … it is rare that the feeling of necessity is not followed by the feeling of absurdity.

Don't wait to be hunted to hide, that's always been my motto.

Dear incomprehension, it’s thanks to you I’ll be myself, in the end.

The tears stream down my cheeks from my unblinking eyes. What makes me weep so? From time to time. There is nothing saddening here. Perhaps it is liquefied brain.

All I know is what the words know, and dead things, and that makes a handsome little sum, with a beginning and a middle and an end, as in the well-built phrase and the long sonata of the dead.

Birth was the death of him.

Do we mean love, when we say love?

Let me go to hell, that's all I ask, and go on cursing them there, and them look down and hear me, that might take some of the shine off their bliss.

No, I regret nothing, all I regret is having been born, dying is such a long tiresome business I always found.

 

Wednesday
Nov092011

John Stuart Mill

Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.

I deny that anyone knows, or can know, the nature of the two sexes, as long as they have only been seen in their present relation to one another.

Stupidity is much the same all the world over. A stupid person's notions and feelings may confidently be inferred from those which prevail in the circle by which the person is surrounded. Not so with those whose opinions and feelings are an emanation from their own nature and faculties.

Truth gains more even by the errors of one who, with due study and preparation, thinks for himself, than by the true opinions of those who only hold them because they do not suffer themselves to think.

Whatever is known to us by consciousness, is known beyond possibility of question. What one sees or feels, whether bodily or mentally, one cannot but be sure that one sees or feels.

The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.

However unwillingly a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that, however true it may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth.

 


Tuesday
Nov082011

Oliver Stone

I study history in order to give an interpretation.

I think experience will teach you a combination of liberalism and conservatism. We have to be progressive and at the same time we have to retain values. We have to hold onto the past as we explore the future.

I would vote for the man who's lived life, who's done different occupations, who's been out in the real world and struggled to make a living, struggled to raise a family, struggled with life as it exists. So I'd vote for experience, honest experience.

I've been to war, and it's not easy to kill. It's bloody and messy and totally horrifying, and the consequences are serious.

When I was a child, I'd see a movie, I took it for what it was, I enjoyed it. And if I believed it I would tend to be more interested in knowing more about it.

When you look at a movie, you look at a director's thought process.

You do the best job you can. You take it step by step. It's hard enough to make a movie. If it works, that's great. If it means something beyond the moment to somebody, they can take it and it lasts through the years, we'll see.

You're not a historian, but most historians will tell you that they make very discrete judgment as to what facts to omit in order to make their book into some shape, some length that can be managed.

Monday
Nov072011

Henry Miller

Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music - the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.
 
Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.

Example moves the world more than doctrine. The great exemplars are the poets of action, and it makes little difference whether they be forces for good or forces for evil.

The history of the world is the history of a privileged few.

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.

Take a good look at me. Now tell me, do you think I'm the sort of fellow who gives a fuck what happens once he's dead?

One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.

This is not a book [Tropic of Cancer]. This is libel, slander, defamation of character. This is not a book, in the ordinary sense of the word. No, this is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Love, Beauty ... what you will.