Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Athens, Greece - 2007

Pablo Neruda

I don't love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

John Stuart Mill

Athens, Greece -2007

1. “All good things which exist are the fruits of originality.”
2. “[A] man and still more the woman, who can be accused either of doing "what nobody does," or of not doing "what everybody does," is the subject of as much depreciatory remark as if he or she had committed some grave moral delinquency.”
3. “Ask yourself whether you are happy, and you cease to be so.”
4. “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”
5. “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.”
6. "Human existence is girt round with mystery; the narrow region of our experiences is a small island in the midst of a boundless sea."
7. ”If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, then mankind is no more justified in silencing the one than the one - if he had the power - would be justified in silencing mankind.”
8. "In the case of any person whose judgement is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct. Because it has been his practice to listen to all that could be said against him; to profit by as much of it as was just, and expound to himself...the fallacy of what was fallacious.”
9. “Liberty consists in doing what one desires.”
10. "Judging by common sense is merely another phrase for judging by first appearances; and everyone who has mixed among mankind with any capacity for observing them, knows that the men who place implicit faith in their own common sense, are, without any exception, the most wrong-headed and impracticable persons with whom he has ever had to deal."
11. “No stronger case can be shown for prohibiting anything which is regarded as a personal immorality, than is made out for suppressing these practices in the eyes of those who regard them as impieties; and unless we are willing to adopt the logic of persecutors, and to say that we may persecute others because we are right, and that they must not persecute us because they are wrong, we must be aware of admitting a principle of which we should resent as a gross injustice the application to ourselves.”
12. "One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interest."
13. “That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.”
14. “That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.”
15. “The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement.”
16. ”The fatal tendency of mankind to leave off thinking about a thing when it is no longer doubtful, is the cause of half their errors.”
17. “The great creative individual. . . is capable of more wisdom and virtue than collective man ever can be.”
18. “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.”
19. ”The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
20. “There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realised until personal experience has brought it home.”
21. “There is always need of persons not only to discover new truths, and point out when what were once truths are true no longer, but also to commence new practices, and set the example of more enlightened conduct, and better taste and sense in human life.”
22. “There is one characteristic of the present direction of public opinion, peculiarly calculated to make it intolerant of any marked demonstration of individuality. The general average of mankind are not only moderate in intellect, but also moderate in inclinations: they have no tastes or wishes strong enough to incline them to do anything unusual, and they consequently do not understand those who have, and class all such with the wild and intemperate whom they are accustomed to look down upon.”
23. “The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self- protection. The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinions of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil in someone else. The only part of the conduct of anyone, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”
24. "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
25. "The worth of the state, in the long run, is the worth of the individuals composing it."
26. “They who know how to employ opportunities will often find that they can create them; and what we can achieve depends less on the amount of time we possess than on the use we make of our time.”
27. “Though the practice of chivalry fell even more sadly short of its theoretic standard than practice generally falls below theory, it remains one of the most precious monuments of the moral history of our race, as a remarkable instance of a concerted and organized attempt by a most disorganized and distracted society, to raise up and carry into practice a moral ideal greatly in advance of its social condition and institutions; so much so as to have been completely frustrated in the main object, yet never entirely inefficacious, and which has left a most sensible, and for the most part a highly valuable impress on the ideas and feelings of all subsequent times.”
28. “To understand one woman is not necessarily to understand any other woman.”
29. “Truth gains more even by 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.”
30. “Unquestionably, it is possible to do without happiness; it is done involuntarily by nineteen-twentieths of mankind.”
31. "We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still."
32. "Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called."

Dreamer of dreams

Dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time,
Why should I strive to set the crooked straight?
Let it suffice me that my murmuring rhyme
Beats with light wing against the ivory gate,

William Morris 1834-1896 The Earthly Paradise (l. 22-25)

Filthy ways

Often a noble face hides filthy ways.

Euripides 480-406BC

Hard battle

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.


Open the window of your heart

Do not worry if our harp breaks
thousands more will appear.
We have fallen in the arms of love where all is music.
If all the harps in the world were burned down,
still inside the heart
there will be hidden music playing.
Do not worry if all the candles in the world flicker and die
we have the spark that starts the fire.
The songs we sing
are like foam on the surface of the sea of being
while the precious gems lie deep beneath.
But the tenderness in our songs
is a reflection of what is hidden in the depths.
Stop the flow of your words,
open the window of your heart and
let the spirit speak.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I TOO have a garret of old playthings.
I have tin soldiers with broken arms upstairs.
I have a wagon and the wheels gone upstairs.
I have guns and a drum, a jumping-jack and a magic lantern.
And dust is on them and I never look at them upstairs.
I too have a garret of old playthings.

Carl Sandburg.

“I like relativity and quantum theories
because I don't understand them
and they make me feel as if space shifted about like a swan that can't settle,
refusing to sit still and be measured;
and as if the atom were an impulsive thing
always changing its mind.”

D.H. Lawrence

"Real, constructive mental power lies in the creative thought that shapes your destiny, and your hour-by-hour mental conduct produces power for change in your life. Develop a train of thought on which to ride. The nobility of your life as well as your happiness depends upon the direction in which that train of thought is going."

Laurence J. Peter


“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”

Langston Hughes.

Throw away your papers tonight
put aside your pen
let your fingers
write on my body,
an empty page
a word,
a sentence,
write a poem
if your syntax hurts my skin
if I sigh, if I moan
just tighten your embrace
if your fingers stammer
dip them in darkness
and start again
fill up my margins
suffocate me with your grammar
proofread the madness
you have created
erase with your lips
any mistakes
your fingers make
read to me
what you have written
see the pages of my life
come alive
in your fingers

Rina Singh

“It is harder to kill a phantom than a reality.”

Virginia Woolf.

"There is a theory which states that if ever anybody 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 Noel Adams.

“A child her wayward pencil drew
On margins of her book;
Garlands of flower, dancing elves,
Bud, butterfly, and brook,
Lessons undone, and plum forgot,
Seeking with hand and heart
The teacher whom she learned to love
Before she knew t'was Art.”

Louisa May Alcott.

"An enchanted life has many moments when the heart is overwhelmed with beauty and the imagination is electrified by some haunting quality in the world or by a spirit or voice speaking from deep within a thing, a place, or a person. Enchantment may be a state of rapture and ecstasy in which the soul comes to the foreground, and the literal concerns of survival and daily preoccupation at least momentarily fade into the background."

Thomas Moore

Erich Fromm

Athens, Greece - 2007

1. “A dream is a microscope through which we look at the hidden occurrences in our soul.”
2. “As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found--in himself.”
3. “Another error against which I want to caution is to ignore the spiritual and religious meaning and motivation of actually destructive and cruel acts. Let us consider one drastic example, the sacrifice of children, as it was practiced in Canaan at the time of the Hebrew conquest and in Carthage down to its destruction by the Romans, in the third century BC. Were these parents motivated by the destructive and cruel passion to kill their own children? Surely this is very unlikely. The story of Abraham's attempt to sacrifice Issac, a story meant to speak against sacrifice of children, movingly emphasizes Abraham's love for Issac; nevertheless Abraham does not waver in his decision to kill his son. Quite obviously we deal here with a religious motivation which is stronger than even the love for the child. The man in such a culture is completely devoted to his religious system, and he is not cruel, even though he appears so to a person outside this system. / It may help to see this point if we think of a modern phenomenon which can be compared with child sacrifice, that of war. Take the first World War. A mixture of economic interests, ambition, and vanity on the part of the leaders, and a good deal of blundering on all sides brought about the war. But once it had broken out (or even a little bit earlier), it became a "religious" phenomenon. The state, the nation, national honor, became the idols.... Surely they were loved by their parents. Yet, especially for those who were most deeply imbued with the traditional concepts, their love did not make them hesitate in sending their children to death, nor did the young ones who were going to die have any hesitation.... In the case of war, those who are responsible for it know what is going to happen, yet the power of the idols is greater than the power of love for their children.”
4. "Authority is not a quality one person ''has,'' in the sense that he has property or physical qualities. Authority refers to an interpersonal relation in which one person looks upon another as somebody superior to him."
5. "By alienation is meant a mode of experience in which the person experiences himself as an alien. He has become, one might say, estranged from himself. He does not experience himself as the center of his world, as the creator of his own acts -- but his acts and their consequences have become his masters, whom he obeys, or whom he may even worship. The alienated person is out of touch with himself as he is out of touch with any other person. He, like the others, is experienced as things are experienced; with the senses and with common sense, but at the same time without being related to oneself and to the world outside positively."
6. "Conditions for creativity are
to be puzzled; to concentrate;
to accept conflict and tension;
to be born everyday;
to feel a sense of self."
7. “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”
8. "Dreams - A microscope through which we look at the hidden occurrences in our soul."
9. “Education makes machines which act like men and produces men who act like machines.”
10. “Immature love says: "I love you because I need you." Mature love says "I need you because I love you."”
11. “In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.”
12. “In our society emotions in general are discouraged....To be "emotional" has become synonymous with being unsound or unbalanced. By the acceptance of this standard the individual has become greatly weakened; his thinking is impoverished and flattened. On the other hand, since emotions cannot be completely killed, they must have their existence totally apart from the intellectual side of the personality; the result is the cheap and insincere sentimentality with which movies and popular songs feed millions of emotion-starved customers.”
13. "Integrity simple means not violating one's own identity."
14. “In the nineteenth century the problem was that God is dead; in the twentieth century the problem is that man is dead.”
15. "Just as love is an orientation which refers to all objects and is incompatible with the restriction to one object, so is reason a human faculty which must embrace the whole of the world with which man is confronted."
16. “Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.”
17. "Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self."
18. “Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”
19. “Man always dies before he is fully born.”
20. ”Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.”
21. “Man is forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He acts against God's command.... From the standpoint of the Church, which represents authority, this is essentially sin. From the standpoint of man, however, this is the beginning of human freedom.”
22. “Man is the only animal for whom his existence is a problem which he has to solve.”
23. "Man may be defined as the animal that can say ''I,'' that can be aware of himself as a separate entity."
24. "Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality."
25. “Men are born equal but they are also born different.”
26. “Modern man lives under the illusion that he knows what he wants, while he actually wants what he is supposed to want.”
27. “Modern man thinks he loses something; time; when he does not do things quickly. Yet he does not know what to do with the time he gains; except kill it.”
28. "Most people die before they are fully born. Creativeness means to be born before one dies."
29. "Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity. ''Patriotism'' is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by ''patriotism'' I mean that attitude which puts the own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one's own nation, which is the concern with the nation's spiritual as much as with its material welfare -- never with its power over other nations. Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love, love for one's country which is not part of one's love for humanity is not love, but idolatrous worship."
30. "Not he who has much is rich, but he who gives much."
31. "Reason is man's faculty for grasping the world by thought, in contradiction to intelligence, which is man's ability to manipulate the world with the help of thought. Reason is man's instrument for arriving at the truth, intelligence is man's instrument for manipulating the world more successfully; the former is essentially human, the latter belongs to the animal part of man."
32. “Reason is man's instrument for arriving at the truth, intelligence is man's instrument for manipulating the world more successfully; the former is essentially human, the latter belongs to the animal part of man.”
33. “The capacity to be puzzled is the premise of all creation, be it in art or in science.”
34. “The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men may become robots. True enough, robots do not rebel. But given man's nature, robots cannot live and remain sane, they become "Golems," they will destroy their world and themselves because they cannot stand any longer the boredom of a meaningless life.”
35. "The ordinary man with extraordinary power is the chief danger for mankind -- not the fiend or the sadist."
36. “The paradoxical - and tragic - situation of man is that his conscience is weakest when he needs it most.”
37. “The psychic task which a person can and must set for himself is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.”
38. "The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers."
39. “There is hardly any activity, any enterprise, which is started out with such tremendous hopes and expectations, and yet which fails so regularly, as love.”
40. “There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives to his life by the unfolding of his powers.”
41. “The successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.”
42. "Today I begin to understand what love must be, if it exists.... When we are parted, we each feel the lack of the other half of ourselves. We are incomplete like a book in two volumes of which the first has been lost. That is what I imagine love to be: incompleteness in absence."
43. "To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable."
44. "To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime."
45. “We all dream; we do not understand our dreams, yet we act as if nothing strange
goes on in our sleep minds, strange at least by comparison with the logical,
purposeful doings of our minds when we are awake.”
46. "What most people in our culture mean by being lovable is essentially a mixture between being popular and having sex appeal."
47. ”Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.”

Our world

Our world is not, in fact, an objective world but a purely subjective one, a world
of thought, a world of the word, a world given rise to by the extraordinary fertility
of the imagination.

Ramesh S. Balsekar

A dream within a dream

Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow--
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

Edgar Allan Poe~

Too much sanity

Too much sanity may be madness. And maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be!

Miguel de Cervantes


Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky.

Rabindranath Tagore

The easiest thing

"The easiest thing in the world to be is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don't let them put you in that position."

Leo Buscaglia


Any person capable of angering you becomes your master; he can anger you only when you permit yourself to be disturbed by him.

Epictetus (55-135 AD)
Greek Philosopher


Calmness comes from within. It is the peace and restfulness of the depths of our nature. The fury of storm and of wind agitate only the surface of the sea; they penetrate only two or three hundred feet; below that is the calm, unruffled deep. To be ready for the great crises of life we must learn serenity in our daily living. Calmness is the crown of self-control.

William George Jordan, The Majesty of Calmness, p. 8-9.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Susan Sontag

Athens, Greece - 2007

1. “A large part of the popularity and persuasiveness of psychology comes from its being a secular and sublimated spiritualism: a secular, ostensibly scientific way of affirming the primacy of "spirit" over matter.”
2. "All forms of consensus about ''great'' books and ''perennial'' problems, once stabilized, tend to deteriorate eventually into something philistine. The real life of the mind is always at the frontiers of ''what is already known.'' Those great books don't only need custodians and transmitters. To stay alive, they also need adversaries. The most interesting ideas are heresies."
3. "Any important disease whose causality is murky, and for which treatment is ineffectual, tends to be awash in significance."
4. "Anything in history or nature that can be described as changing steadily can be seen as heading toward catastrophe."
5. “Books are... funny little portable pieces of thought.”
6. "Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination: both depend on being outside rather than inside a situation, and one leads to the other."
7. "Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future."
8. “False values begin with the worship of things.”
9. “I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them.”
10. "If literature has engaged me as a project, first as a reader and then as a writer, it is an extension of my sympathies to other selves, other domains, other dreams, other territories."
11. “Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.”
12. "Intelligence. is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas."
13. “Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art.”
14. "It's a pleasure to share one's memories. Everything remembered is dear, endearing, touching, precious. At least the past is safe - though we didn't know it at the time. We know it now. Because it's in the past; because we have survived."
15. “I was not looking for my dreams to interpret my life, but rather for my life to interpret my dreams.”
16. "Left-wing movements have tended to be unisex, and asexual in their imagery. Right-wing movements, however puritanical and repressive the realities they
usher in, have an erotic surface. Certainly Nazism is 'sexier' than communism."
17. "Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction; the result is a steady loss of sharpness in our sensory experience. All the conditions of modern life -- its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness -- conjoin to dull our sensory faculties."
18. "Reading usually precedes writing. And the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you become a writer."
19. “Sanity is a cozy lie.”
20. "Science fiction films are not about science. They are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art."
21. "The best emotions to write out of are anger and fear or dread. The least energizing emotion to write out of is admiration. It is very difficult to write out of because the basic feeling that goes with admiration is a passive contemplative mood."
22. “The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people's reality, and eventually in one's own.”
23. “The discovery of the good taste of bad taste can be very liberating. The man who insists on high and serious pleasures is depriving himself of pleasure; he continuously restricts what he can enjoy; in the constant exercise of his good taste he will eventually price himself out of the market, so to speak. Here Camp taste supervenes upon good taste as a daring and witty hedonism. It makes the man of good taste cheerful, where before he ran the risk of being chronically frustrated. It is good for the digestion.”
24. "The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects - making it possible. to see a new beauty in what is vanishing."
25. “The only interesting answers are those that destroy the questions. “
26. "The past itself, as historical change continues to accelerate, has become the most surreal of subjects --making it possible... to see a new beauty in what is vanishing."
27. "The problems of this world are only truly solved in two ways: by extinction or duplication."
28. "The taste for quotations (and for the juxtaposition of incongruous quotations) is a Surrealist taste."
29. ”[T]he undermining of standards of seriousness is almost complete, with the ascendancy of a culture whose most intelligible, persuasive values are drawn from the entertainment industries. Now the very idea of the serious (and the honorable) seems quaint, unrealistic,' to most people; and when allowed, as an arbitrary decision for temperament, probably unhealthy, too.”
30. “Though collecting quotations could be considered as merely ironic mimetism -- victimless collecting, as it a world that is well on its way to becoming one vast quarry, the collector becomes someone engaged in a pious work of salvage. The course of modern history having already sapped the traditions and shattered the living wholes in which precious objects once found their place, the collector may now in good conscience go about excavating the choicer, more emblamatic fragments.”
31. "Unfortunately, moral beauty in art -- like physical beauty in a person -- is extremely perishable. It is nowhere so durable as artistic or intellectual beauty. Moral beauty has a tendency to decay very rapidly into sententiousness or untimeliness."
32. "Victims suggest innocence. And innocence, by the inexorable logic that governs all relational terms, suggests guilt."
33. "We live under continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror. It fantasy, served out in large rations by the popular arts, which allows most people to cope with these twin specters."
34. "What pornographic literature does is precisely to drive a wedge between one's existence as a sexual being - while in ordinary life a healthy person is one who prevents such a gap from opening up."
35. “What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.”

Questions and answers

It is not every question that deserves an answer.

Publilius Syrus (85-43 B.C.)

True or false

A thing is not necessarily false because it is badly expressed, nor true
because it is expressed magnificently.

St. Augustine of Hippo, 354 - 430


If someone wants a sheep, then that means that he exists.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "The Little Prince"

On wings

When I only begin to read, I forget I'm on this world. It lifts me on wings with high thoughts.

Anzia Yezierska

Sunday, April 27, 2008


“COVER me over
In dusk and dust and dreams.

Cover me over
And leave me alone.

Cover me over,
You tireless, great.

Hear me and cover me,
Bringers of dusk and dust and dreams.”

Carl Sandburg

"Love is an attempt to change a piece of a dream-world into reality."

Henry David Thoreau.

"There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy and a tragedy."

Mark Twain.

"I could be bounded in a nutshell
and count myself a king of infinite space."

William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2.

"Like all people who have nothing, I lived on dreams."

Anzia Yezierska.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

So Thin a Veil

Ancient Agora - Athens, Greece - 2007

So Thin a Veil
By Edward Carpenter (b. 1844)

SO thin a veil divides
Us from such joy, past words,
Walking in daily life—the business of the hour, each detail seen to;
Yet carried, rapt away, on what sweet floods of other Being:
Swift streams of music flowing, light far back through all Creation shining,
Loved faces looking—
Ah! from the true, the mortal self
So thin a veil divides!

Thomas Mann

Ancient Agora - Athens, Greece - 2007

1. ”A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a great truth.”
2. ”A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
3. “Disease makes men more physical; it leaves them with nothing but body.”
4. "For the myth is the foundation of life."
5. "If you are possessed by an idea, you find it expressed everywhere, you even smell it."
6. “I have always been an admirer. I regard the gift of admiration as indispensable if one is to amount to something; I don't know where I would be without it.”
7. "It is love, not reason, that is stronger than death."
8. “Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them.”
9. "Order and simplification are the first steps towards the mastery of a subject."
10. "Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous- to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd."
11. "Speech is civilization itself. The word... preserves contact -- it is silence which isolates."
12. "The only religious way to think of death is as part and parcel of life."
13. “This was love at first sight, love everlasting: a feeling unknown, unhoped for, unexpected--in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness; it took entire possession of him, and he understood, with joyous amazement, that this was for life.”
14. “Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunderstorm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.”
15. "This was love at first sight, love everlasting: a feeling unknown, unhoped for, unexpected--in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness; it took entire possession of him, and he understood, with joyous amazement, that this was for life."
16. ”War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.”
17. "We don't love qualities, we love persons; sometimes by reason of their defects as well as of their qualities."
18. "What happens to a man is less significant than what happens within him."
19. "You ask what is the use of classification, arrangement, systemization? I answer you: order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject-the actual enemy is the unknown."

The gift of fantasy

"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking."

Albert Einstein


Escape, then, is common to many good and bad kinds of reading. By
adding - ism to it, we suggest, I suppose, a confirmed habit of
reading of escaping too often, or for too long, or into the wrong
things, or using escape as a substitute for action where action is
appropriate, and thus neglecting real opportunities and evading real
obligations. If so, we must judge each case on its merits. Escape is
not necessarily joined to escapism. The authors who lead us furthest
into impossible regions--Sidney, Spenser, and Morris--were men active
and stirring in the real world. The Renaissance and our own
nineteenth century, periods prolific in literary fantasy, were periods
of great energy.

C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism, 1961


"It is wrong to think that love comes from long companionship and persevering courtship. Love is the offspring of spiritual affinity and unless that affinity is created in a moment, it will not be created for years or even generations."

Khalil Gibran

Two solitudes

Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.

Rainer Maria Rilke

Milk and water

You should respect each other and refrain from disputes;
you should not, like water and oil, repel each other,
but should, like milk and water, mingle together.

Gotama Buddha

The greatest happiness

The greatest happiness for the thinking man is to have fathomed the fathomable, and to quietly revere the unfathomable.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Proverbs in Prose


Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.


Tangible bodies

Words for me are tangible bodies, visible sirens, incarnate
sensualities. Perhaps because real sensuality doesn't interest me in
the least, not even intellectually or in my dreams, desire in me
metamorphosed into my aptitude for creating verbal rhythms and for
noting them in the speech of others. I tremble when someone speaks
well. Certain pages from Fialho and Chateaubriand make my whole being
tingle in all of its pores, make me rave in a still shiver with
impossible pleasure. Even certain pages of Vieira, in the cold
perfection of their syntactical engineering, make me quiver like a
branch in the wind, with the passive delirium of something shaken.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Rose of Flame

Ancient Agora - Athens, Greece - 2007

The Rose of Flame
By William Sharp (1856–1902)

OH, fair immaculate rose of the world, rose of my dream, my Rose!
Beyond the ultimate gates of dream I have heard thy mystical call:
It is where the rainbow of hope suspends and the river of rapture flows—
And the cool sweet dews from the wells of peace for ever fall.

And all my heart is aflame because of the rapture and peace,
And I dream, in my waking dreams and deep in the dreams of sleep,
Till the high sweet wonderful call that shall be the call of release
Shall ring in my ears as I sink from gulf to gulf and from deep to deep—

Sink deep, sink deep beyond the ultimate dreams of all desire—
Beyond the uttermost limit of all that the craving spirit knows:
Then, then, oh then I shall be as the inner flame of thy fire,
O fair immaculate rose of the world, Rose of my dream, my Rose!


Ancient Agora - Athens, Greece - 2007

1. "All kinds are good except the kind that bores you."
2. "All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds."
3. "All the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books."
4. "A long dispute means that both parties are wrong"
5. "A multitude of laws in a country is like a great number of physicians, a sign of weakness and malady."
6. “Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.”
7. “Anyone who seeks to destroy the passions instead of controlling them is trying to play the angel.”
8. “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
9. "As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities."
10. "A witty saying proves nothing."
11. “Chance is a word devoid of sense; nothing can exist without a cause.”
12. “Common sense is not so common”
13. "Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing."
14. "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."
15. "Do well and you will have no need for ancestors."
16. ”Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous.”
17. “England has forty-two religions and only two sauces.”
18. "Every man is the creature of the age in which he lives; very few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the time."
19. “Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is.”
20. “He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise.”
21. ”He who has heard the same thing told by 12,000 eye-witnesses has only 12,000 probabilities, which are equal to one strong probability, which is far from certain.”
22. “He who is only wise lives a sad life.“
23. “I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”
24. ”I detest your ideas but I am ready to die for your right to express them.”
25. "I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
26. “If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.”
27. "If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent Him. But all nature cries aloud that He does exist; that there is a supreme intelligence, an immense power, an admirable order, and everything teaches us our own dependence on it."
28. “If this world were what it seems it should be, it is clear that it would be impossible for one man to enslave another.”
29. “If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new.”
30. “If you are attacked as regards your style, never reply; it is for your work alone to make answer.”
31. ”I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.”
32. “I know many books which have bored their readers, but I know of none which has done real evil.”
33. “In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other.”
34. "In my life, I have prayed but one prayer: oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it."
35. ”I place good books among the absolutely essential possessions.
36. ”I should like to lie at your feet and die in your arms.”
37. ”Is there anyone so wise as to learn by the experience of others?”
38. "It is better to risk saving a guilty man than to condemn an innocent one."
39. “It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”
40. "It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."
41. “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”
42. “It is lamentable, that to be a good patriot one must become the enemy of the rest of mankind.”
43. ”It is not enough to conquer; one must learn to seduce.”
44. "It is not known precisely where angels dwell -- whether in the air, the void, or the planets. It has not been God's pleasure that we should be informed of their abode."
45. "It shows a curious narrowness of mind to love one science, only to hate all the others."
46. "God created sex. Priests created marriage."
47. “God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best.”
48. “He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise.”
49. "History is fables agreed upon."
50. “History should be written as philosophy.”
51. “I believe that there never was a creator of a philosophical system who did not confess at the end of his life that he had wasted his time. It must be admitted that the inventors of the mechanical arts have been much more useful to men that the inventors of syllogisms. He who imagined a ship towers considerably above him who imagined innate ideas.”
52. "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."
53. "If we do not find anything very pleasant, at least we shall find something new."
54. "I should like to lie at your feet and die in your arms."
55. "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it."
56. “It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge.”
57. “It is far better to be silent than merely to increase the quantity of bad books.”
58. "It is hard to free fools from the chains they revere."
59. “It is the characteristic of the most stringent censorships that they give credibility to the opinions they attack.”
60. "Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers."
61. “Let us read, and let us dance - two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.”
62. “Let us work without theorizing, 'Tis the only way to make life endurable.”
63. ”Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.”
64. “Life resembles the banquet of Damocles; the sword is ever suspended.”
65. “Love has features which pierce all hearts, he wears a bandage which conceals the faults of those beloved. He has wings, he comes quickly and flies away the same.”
66. "Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination."
67. “Love truth, but pardon error."
68. ”Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all.”
69. "Men argue, nature acts."
70. “Men use thought only as authority for their injustice, and employ speech only to conceal their thoughts.”
71. "No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking."
72. “No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.”
73. “Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense.”
74. ”One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything's fine today, that is our illusion.”
75. "One great use of words is to hide our thoughts."
76. “Opinion has caused more trouble on this little earth than plagues or earthquakes.”
77. “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed from one another. The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.”
78. "Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road."
79. “Paradise is where I am.”
80. "People have declaimed against luxury for 2000 years, in verse and in prose, and people have always delighted in it."
81. "Philosopher: A lover of wisdom, which is to say, Truth".
82. “Poetry is the music of the soul, and, above all, of great and feeling souls.”
83. "Really, to stop criticism, they say, one must die."
84. ”So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.”
85. ”Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy; the mad daughter of a wise mother.”
86. “The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while Nature cures the disease.”
87. ”The best is the enemy of the good.”
88. ”The first step, my son, which one makes in the world, is the one on which depends the rest of our days.”
89. "The great consolation in life is to say what one thinks".
90. “The burning of an author's books, imprisonment for opinion's sake, has always been the tribute that an ignorant age pays to the genius of its time.”
91. "The great consolation in life is to say what one thinks."
92. “The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.”
93. ”The multitude of books is making us ignorant.”
94. “The public is a ferocious beast; one must either chain it or flee from it.”
95. "There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all times."
96. "There has never been a perfect government, because men have passions; and if they did not have passions, there would be no need for government."
97. “There is no complete language, no language which can express all our ideas and all our sensations; their shades are too numerous, too imperceptible. Nobody can make known the precise degree of sensation he experiences. One is obliged, for example, to designate by the general names of love and hate a thousand loves and a thousand hates all different from each other; it is the same with our pleasures and our pains. Thus all languages are, like us, imperfect.”
98. "The secret of being a bore is to tell everything."
99. "The superfluous is very necessary."
100. “The way to become boring is to say everything.”
101. "The wicked can have only accomplices, the voluptuous have companions in debauchery, self-seekers have associates, the politic assemble the factions, the typical idler has connections, princes have courtiers. Only the virtuous have friends."
102. “The world embarrasses me, and I cannot think this watch exists and has no Watchmaker.”
103. “They use thought only to justify their injustices, and speech only to disguise their thoughts.”
104. ”Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.”
105. “To believe in God is impossible not to believe in Him is absurd.”
106. "To hold a pen is to be at war."
107. "To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered."
108. "To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth."
109. “Truth is a fruit which should not be plucked until it is ripe.”
110. “Tyrants have always some slight shade of virtue; they support the laws before destroying them.”
111. ”Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.”
112. “Verses which do not teach men new and moving truths do not deserve to be read.”
113. “Very often, say what you will, a knave is only a fool.”
114. "Weakness on both sides is, the motto of all quarrels."
115. “We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies it is the first law of nature.”
116. “We must cultivate our own garden. . . . When man was put in the garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work, which proves that man was not born to rest.”
117. “We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.”
118. ”What a heavy burden is a name that has become too famous.”
119. "Whatever you do, stamp out superstition, and love those who love you."
120. “When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, that is metaphysics.”
121. “When he who hears does not know what he who speaks means, and when he who speaks does not know what he himself means, that is philosophy.”
122. “When the speaker and he to whom he is speaks do not understand, that is metaphysics.”
123. “When truth is evident, it is impossible for parties and factions to rise. There never has been a dispute as to whether there is daylight at noon.”
124. “When we hear news we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.”
125. ”Whoever serves his country well has no need of ancestors.”
126. “Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning! It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.”
127. “Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.”
128. “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time - but most of the time they will make fools of themselves.”


The scenes of our life are like pictures done in rough mosaic. Looked
at close, they produce no effect. There is nothing beautiful to be
found in them, unless you stand some distance off.

Arthur Schopenhauer


We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate; it oppresses.

Carl Gustav Jung, 1875 - 1961

Noble acts

He who requires urging to do a noble act will never accomplish it.

Kahlil Gibran


It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.


I have a pen

I have no sceptre, but I have a pen.

Francois Marie Arouet Voltaire


No matter how much restriction civilization imposes on the individual,
he nevertheless finds some way to circumvent it. Wit is the best safety
valve modern man has evolved; the more civilization, the more
repression, the more need there is for wit.

Sigmund Freud 1856-1939

The great end of art

The great end of art is to strike the imagination with the
power of a soul that refuses to admit defeat even in the
midst of a collapsing world.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


“So what is real and what is imaginary? Is the distinction only in our minds?”

Stephen Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell.

“She walks in Beauty, like the night
Of cloudness climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven and gaudy day denies.”


THERE is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry--
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll--
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul.

Emily Dickinson

“The universe has multiple histories, each one determined by a tiny nut.”

Stephen Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell.

“A man is always a teller of tales, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his life as if he were recounting it.”

Jean Paul Sartre.

“A mind is like a canvas: The more open your mind, The more colors you can use.”

Ehlen Goossens

“The mind is like a richly woven tapestry in which the colors are distilled from the experiences of the senses, and the design drawn from the convolutions of the intellect.”

Carson McCullers.

“The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”

Katherine Mansfield.

"The power of Thought, - the magic of the Mind!"


“There's music in the sighing of a reed;
There's music in the gushing of a rill;
There's music in all things, if men had ears:
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.”


Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life.

Andrew Marvell.

“There is something Pagan in me that I cannot shake off. In short, I deny nothing, but doubt everything.”


“The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”

Katherine Mansfield.

“Who loves, raves.”


"Yes, Love indeed is light from heaven;
A spark of that immortal fire
With angels shared, by Allah given
To lift from earth our low desire."


”A human being is a part of the whole, called by us Universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty.”

Albert Einstein.

"Any fool can know. The point is to understand."

Albert Einstein.

“I DREAMED I was dreaming one morn as I lay
In a garden with flowers teeming.
On an island I lay in a mystical bay,
In the dream I dreamed I was dreaming.”

Ambrose Bierce, The Key Note.

"Gravitation can not be held responsible for people falling in love."

Albert Einstein.

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world."

Albert Einstein.

“WORDS, like fine flowers, have their colors too:
What do you say to crimson words and yellow;
And what to opal, emerald, pale blue?
And elvish gules? -- he is a glorious fellow.
Think of the purple hung in Elsinore,
Or call it black, and close your eyes to see;
Go look for amber then on Lochlyn shore
And drag a sunbeam out of Arcady.
And who of Rosamund or Rosalind
Can part the rosy-petalled syllables?
For women's names keep murmuring like the wind
The hidden things that none for ever tells.
Last, to forgo soft beauty, take the sword,
And see the blue steel redden at the word.”

Ernest Percival Rhys


“I'm just going to write because I cannot help it.”

Charlotte Bronté

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts."

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), English dramatist, poet and actor:
"As You Like It", Sc. II, act vii.

“A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanging; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

“We can burst the bonds which chain us,
Which cold human hands have wrought,
And where none shall dare restarin us
We can meet again, in thought.”

Charlotte Bronté

“Who has words at the right moment?”

Charlotte Bronté

“Each portion of matter may be conceived as a garden full of plants, and as a pond full of fish. But every branch of each plant, every member of each animal, and every drop of their liquid parts is itself likewise a similar garden or pond.”

Leibniz, Monadology, 67, Ibid., p. 190.

“To be a poet and not know the trade,
To be a lover and repel all women,
Twin ironies by which great saints are made,
The agonising pincer jaws of heaven.”

Patrick Kavanagh.

“How could our finite minds comprehend an infinite universe?”

Stephen Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell.

“Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray.”


”But words are things,
and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew,
upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands,
perhaps millions, think.”


“I had a dream which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguished, and the stars
Did wander darkling in eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air…”


Octavio Paz

Ancient Agora, Athens, Greece - 2007

1. "Between what I see and what I say
Between what I say and what I keep silent
Between what I keep silent and what I dream
Between what I dream and what I forget:
2. "Believing ourselves to be possessors of absolute truth degrades us: we regard every person whose way of thinking is different from ours as a monster and a threat and by so doing turn our own selves into monsters and threats to our fellows."
3. “Every moment is nothing without end.”
4. “I am a man: little do I last / and the night is enormous. / But I look up: / the stars write. / Unknowing I understand: / I too am written, / and at this very moment / someone spells me out.”
5. “If we are a metaphor of the universe, the human couple is the metaphor par excellence, the point of intersection of all forces and the seed of all forms. The couple is time recaptured, the return to the time before time.”
6. "I travel your length
like a river
I travel your body
like a forest."
7. “Literature is the expression of a feeling of deprivation, a recourse against a sense of something missing. But the contrary is also true: language is what makes us human. It is a recourse against the meaningless noise and silence of nature and history.”
8. "Love is an attempt at penetrating another being, but it can only succeed if the surrender is mutual."
9. “Love is one of the answers humankind invented to stare death in the face: time ceases to be a measure, and we can briefly know paradise.”
10. “Man does not speak because he thinks; he thinks because he speaks. Or rather, speaking is no different than thinking: to speak is to think.”
11. "Man, even man debased by the neocapitalism and pseudosocialism of our time, is a marvelous being because he sometimes speaks. Language is the mark, the sign, not of his fall but of his original innocence. Through the Word we may regain the lost kingdom and recover powers we possessed in the far-distant past."
12. "Memory is not what we remember, but that which remembers us. Memory is a present that never stops passing."
13. "Modern man likes to pretend that his thinking is wide-awake. But this wide-awake thinking has led us into the mazes of a nightmare in which the torture chambers are endlessly repeated in the mirrors of reason."
14. "Perhaps to love is to learn
to walk through this world
To learn to be silent
like the oak and the linden of the fable
To learn to see
Your glance scatters seeds
It planted a tree
I talk
because you shake its leaves."
15. “Reality is a staircase going neither up nor down, we don't move, today is today, always today.”
16. "Technology is not an image of the world but a way of operating on reality. The nihilism of technology lies not only in the fact that it is the most perfect expression of the will to power... but also in the fact that it lacks meaning."
17. “Today we all speak, if not the same tongue, the same universal language. There is no one center, and time has lost its former coherence: East and West, yesterday and tomorrow exist as a confused jumble in each one of us. Different times and different spaces are combined in a here and now that is everywhere at once.”
18. “To read a poem is to hear it with our eyes; to hear it is to see it with our ears.”
19. "What sets worlds in motion is the interplay of differences, their attractions and repulsions; life is plurality, death is uniformity."
20. "Wisdom lies neither in fixity nor in change, but in the dialectic between the two."

If the shoe fits...

Ancient Agora - Athens, Greece - 2007

The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.

Carl Jung

A bore

Every hero becomes a bore at last.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


If any thing is sacred the human body is sacred.

Walt Whitman

Universal misunderstanding

It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree. For if, by ill luck, people understood each other, they would never agree.

Charles Baudelaire

The golden rule

The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.

George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903) "Maxims for Revolutionists"

The best thing

The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity.

Francis Maitland Balfour

Excess on occasion

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.

W. Somerset Maugham


Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.

Albert Schweitzer


Our passions are ourselves.

Anatole France

The great procession of Destiny

It's a rule of life that we can, and should, learn from everyone.
There are solemn and serious things we can learn from quacks and
crooks, there are philosophies taught us by fools, there are lessons
in faithfulness and justice brought to us by chance and by those we
chance to meet. Everything is in everything.

In certain particularly lucid moments of contemplation, like those of
early afternoon when I observantly wander through the streets, each
person brings me a novelty, each building teaches me something new,
each placard has a message for me.

My silent stroll is a continual conversation, and all of us - men,
buildings, stones, placards and sky - are a huge friendly crowd,
elbowing each other with words in the great procession of Destiny.

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Soren Kierkegaard

Athens, Greece - 2007

1. “Action and passion is as absent in the present age as peril is absent from swimming in shallow waters....”
2. "Adversity draws men together and produces beauty and harmony in life's relationships, just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers on the window-panes, which vanish with the warmth."
3. “A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.”
4. "Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom."
5. “A Revolutionary Age is an age of action; the present age is an age of advertisement, or an age of publicity: nothing happens, but there is instant publicity about it. A revolt in the present age is the most unthinkable act of all; such a display of strength would confuse the calculating cleverness of the times. Nevertheless, some political virtuoso might achieve something nearly as great. He would write some manifesto or other which calls for a General Assembly in order to decide on a revolution, and he would write it so carefully that even the Censor himself would pass on it; and at the General Assembly he would manage to bring it about that the audience believed that it had actually rebelled, and then everyone would placidly go home -- after they had spent a very nice evening out.”
6. "Be that self which one truly is."
7. "Boredom is the root of all evil--the despairing refusal to be oneself."
8. "Concepts, like individuals, have their histories and are just as incapable of withstanding the ravages of time as are individuals. But in and through all this they retain a kind of homesickness for the scenes of their childhood."
9. “Destroy your primitivity, and you will most probably get along well in the world, maybe achieve great success -- but Eternity will reject you. Follow up your primitivity, and you will be shipwrecked in temporality, but accepted by Eternity.”
10. “Don't forget to love yourself.”
11. “Dread is a sympathetic antipathy and an antipathetic sympathy.”
12. "During the first period of a man's life, the danger is not to take the risk."
13. "Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are."
14. "Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further."
15. “Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good.”
16. “For my own part I don't lack the courage to think a thought whole. No
thought has frightened me so far.”
17. "God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners."
18. “How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.”
19. "How ironical that it is by means of speech that man can degrade himself below the level of dumb creation -- for a chatterbox is truly of a lower category than a dumb creature."
20. "I begin with the principle that all men are bores. Surely no one will prove himself so great a bore as to contradict me in this."
21. “I divide my time as follows: half the time I sleep, the other half I dream. I never dream when I sleep, for that would be a pity, for sleeping is the highest accomplishment of genius.”
22. "If an Arab in the desert were suddenly to discover a spring in his tent, and so would always be able to have water in abundance, how fortunate he would consider himself; so too, when a man always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him."
23. "I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved."
24. “If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of potential -- for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints; possibility never.”
25. “If I were to wish for anything, / I should not wish for wealth and power, / but for the passionate sense of the potential, / for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. / what wine is so sparkling, so fragrant, so intoxicating, as possibility!”
26. “In a theatre it happened that a fire started off stage. The clown came out to tell the audience. They thought it was a joke and applauded. He told them again, and they became still more hilarious. This is the way, I suppose, that the world will be destroyed -- amid the universal hilarity of wits and wags who think it is all a joke.”
27. “In order to swim one takes off all one's clothes -- in order to aspire to the truth one must undress in a far more inward sense, divest oneself of all one's inward clothes, of thoughts, conceptions, selfishness etc. before one is sufficiently naked.”
28. "Irony is a disciplinarian feared only by those who do not know it, but cherished by those who do. He who does not understand irony and has no ear for its whispering lacks of what might called the absolute beginning of the personal life. He lacks what at moments is indispensable for the personal life, lacks both the regeneration and rejuvenation, the cleaning baptism of irony that redeems the soul from having its life in finitude though living boldly and energetically in finitude."
29. "It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite."
30. "It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey."
31. “It is the duty of human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand, and what those things are. Human understanding has vulgarly occupied itself with nothing but understanding, but if it would only take the trouble to understand itself at the same time it would simply have to posit the paradox.”
32. “It is quite true what Philosophy says: that Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying: that it must be lived -- forwards. The more one ponders this, the more it comes to mean that life in the temporal existence never becomes quite intelligible, precisely because at no moment can I find complete quiet to take the backward-looking position.”
33. “It is the duty of human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand, and what those things are. Human understanding has vulgarly occupied itself with nothing but understanding, but if it would only take the trouble to understand itself at the same time it would simply have to posit the paradox.”
34. "It requires courage not to surrender oneself to the ingenious or compassionate counsels of despair that would induce a man to eliminate himself from the ranks of the living; but it does not follow from this that every huckster who is fattened and nourished in self-confidence has more courage than the man who yielded to despair."
35. "It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important"
36. "Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God."
37. “Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.”
38. "Life is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be experienced."
39. “Love is all, it gives all, and it takes all.”
40. ”Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.”
41. “Never cease loving a person, and never give up hope for him, for even the prodigal son who had fallen most low, could still be saved; the bitterest enemy and also he who was your friend could again be your friend; love that has grown cold can kindle again”
42. "Not just in commerce but in the world of ideas too our age is putting on a veritable clearance sale. Everything can be had so dirt cheap that one begins to wander whether in the end anyone will want to make a bid."
43. “Oh, cursed be that arrogant satisfaction in standing alone.”
44. “Once you label me, you negate me.”
45. “Only when it is a duty to love, only then is love eternally and happily secured against despair.”
46. “Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.”
47. "People commonly travel the world over to see rivers and mountains, new stars, garish birds, freak fish, grotesque breeds of human; they fall into an animal stupor that gapes at existence and they think they have seen something."
48. “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
49. “People generally think that it is the world, the environment, external relationships, which stand in one's way, in the way of ones' good fortune... and at bottom it is always man himself that stands in his own way.”
50. "People hardly ever make use of the freedom they have, for example, the freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as compensation."
51. "Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own."
52. "Philosophy always requires something more, requires the eternal, the true, in contrast to which even the fullest existence as such is but a happy moment."
53. "Repetition is the reality and the seriousness of life."
54. "Since boredom advances and boredom is the root of all evil, no wonder, then, that the world goes backwards, that evil spreads. This can be traced back to the very beginning of the world. The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings."
55. "Spiritual superiority only sees the individual. But alas, ordinarily we human beings are sensual and, therefore, as soon as it is a gathering, the impression changes -- we see something abstract, the crowd, and we become different. But in the eyes of God, the infinite spirit, all the millions that have lived and now live do not make a crowd, He only sees each individual."
56. “Subjectivity is the only truth.”
57. "That is the road we all have to take - over the Bridge of Sighs into eternity.”
58. "The more a man can forget, the greater the number of metamorphoses which his life can undergo, the more he can remember the more divine his life becomes."
59. "The most terrible fight is not when there is one opinion against another, the most terrible is when two men say the same thing -- and fight about the interpretation, and this interpretation involves a difference of quality."
60. "The paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life and just as only great souls are exposed to passions it is only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call paradoxes, which are nothing else than grandiose thoughts in embryo."
61. "The present generation, wearied by its chimerical efforts, relapses into complete indolence. Its condition is that of a man who has only fallen asleep towards morning: first of all come great dreams, then a feeling of laziness, and finally a witty or clever excuse for remaining in bed."
62. “The public has a dog for its amusement. That dog is the Media. If there is someone better than the public, someone who distinguishes himself, the public sets the dog on him and all the amusement begins. The biting dog tears up his coat-tails, and takes all sort of vulgar liberties with his leg -- until the public bores of it all and calls the dog off. That is how the public levels.”
63. “There are, as is known, insects that die in the moment of fertilization. So it is with all joy: life's highest, most splendid moment of enjoyment is accompanied by death.”
64. “There are many people who reach their conclusions about life like schoolboys; they cheat their master by copying the answer out of a book without having worked out the sum for themselves.”
65. “There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.”
66. “The self is only that which it is in the process of becoming.”
67. ”The truest expression of loving much is just to forget oneself completely.”
68. “The truth is a snare: you cannot have it without being caught. You cannot have the truth in such a way that you catch it, but only in such a way that it catches you."
69. “The Two Ways: One is to suffer; the other is to become a professor of the fact that another suffered.”
70. “The tyrant dies and his rule ends, the martyr dies and his rule begins.”
71. “This is what is sad when one contemplates human life, that so many live out their lives in quiet lostness...they live, as it were, away from themselves and vanish like shadows. Their immortal souls are blown away, and they are not disquieted by the question of its immortality, because they are already disintegrated before they die.”
72. "To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception. It is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, neither in time nor in eternity."
73. "To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself."
74. “To write a book is the easiest of all things in our time, if, as is customary, one takes ten older works on the same subject and out of them puts together an eleventh on the same subject.”
75. “Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion -- and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion...while Truth again reverts to a new minority.”
76. “Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.”
77. “Without risk there is no faith. Faith is precisely the contradiction between the infinite passion of the individual's inwardness and the objective uncertainty. If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. If I wish to preserve myself in faith I must constantly be intent upon holding fast the objective uncertainty, so as to remain out upon the deep, over seventy thousand fathoms of water, still preserving my faith.”
78. "What our age lacks is not reflection, but passion."

Not yet!

Athens, Greece - 2007

Lord, help me to be pure, but not yet.

Saint Augustine

More miscellaneous

The human mind thinks in lateral terms,but almost everything in the universe iscircular. Anything that changes has tocome back again.

Ramesh S. Balsekar

Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.

Johann W. von Goethe

"Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people."

Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


“The light of memory, or rather the light that memory lends to things, is the palest light of all. I am not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether I have lived my life or dreamed it. Just as dreams do, memory makes me profoundly aware of the unreality, the evanescence of the world, a fleeting image in the moving water.”

Eugène Ionescu.

“The universe seems to me infinitely strange and foreign. At such a moment I gaze upon it with a mixture of anguish and euphoria; separate from the universe, as though placed at a certain distance outside it; I look and I see pictures, creatures that move in a kind of timeless time and spaceless space, emitting sounds that are a kind of language I no longer understand or ever register.”

Eugène Ionescu.

”A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.”

Jorge Luis Borges.

"Almost instantly, I understood: 'The garden of forking paths' was the chaotic novel; the phrase 'the various futures (not to all)' suggested to me the forking in time, not in space. A broad rereading of the work confirmed the theory. In all fictional works, each time a man is confronted with several alternatives, he chooses one and eliminates the others; in the fiction of Ts'ui Pên, he chooses - simultaneously - all of them. He creates, in this way, diverse futures, diverse time which themselves also proliferate and fork."

Jorge Luis Borges.

“A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face.”

Jorge Luis Borges.

“And yet, and yet . . . Denying temporal succession, denying the self, denying the astronomical universe, are apparent desperations and secret consolations. Our destiny is not frightful by being unreal; it is frightful because it is irreversible and iron-clad. Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire. The world, unfortunately, is real; I, unfortunately, am Borges.”

Jorge Luis Borges.

“Every novel is an ideal plane inserted into the realm of reality.”

Jorge Luis Borges.

“I cannot think it unlikely that there is such a total book on some shelf in the universe. I pray to the unknown gods that some man -- even a single man, tens of centuries ago -- has perused and read this book. If the honor and wisdom and joy of such a reading are not to be my own, then let them be for others. Let heaven exist, though my own place may be in hell. Let me be tortured and battered and annihilated, but let there be one instant, one creature, wherein thy enormous Library may find its justification.”

Jorge Luis Borges.

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library."

Jorge Luis Borges.

“Nowadays, one of the churches of Tlön maintains platonically that such and such a pain, such and such a greenish-yellow colour, such and such a temperature, such and such a sound, etc., make up the only reality there is. All men, in the climactic instant of coitus, are the same man. All men who repeat one line of Shakespeare are William Shakespeare.”

Jorge Luis Borges.

"Properly, we should read for power. Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one's hand. "

Ezra Pound.

“Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.”

Jorge Luis Borges.

"We are an impossibility in an impossible universe."

Ray Bradbury.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bertrand Russell

Hydra, Greece - 2007

1. ”A habit of basing convictions upon evidence, and of giving to them only that degree or certainty which the evidence warrants, would, if it became general, cure most of the ills from which the world suffers.”
2. “A hallucination is a fact, not an error; what is erroneous is a judgment based upon it.”
3. “All exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation.”
4. "All human activity is prompted by desire."
5. "Although this may seem a paradox, all exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation. When a man tells you that he knows the exact truth about anything, you are safe in inferring that he is an inexact man."
6. ”All movements go too far.”
7. An extra-terrestrial philosopher, who had watched a single youth up to the age of twenty-one and had never come across any other human being, might conclude that it is the nature of human beings to grow continually taller and wiser in an indefinite progress towards perfection; and this generalisation would be just as well founded as the generalisation which evolutionists base upon the previous history of this planet.”
8. “An individual's human existence should be like a river -- small at first, narrowly contained within its bounds, and seeking passionately past boulders and even waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wide, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break they become merged in the sea and painlessly lose their individual being.”
9. "Anything you're good at contributes to happiness."
10. “A process which led from the amoebae to man appeared to the philosophers to be obviously a progress - though whether the amoebae would agree with this opinion is not known.”
11. "Aristotle could have avoided the mistake of thinking that women have fewer teeth than men, by the simple device of asking Mrs. Aristotle to keep her mouth open while he counted."
12. ”Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths.”
13. "A sense of duty is useful in work but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not to be endured with patient resignation."
14. "A truer image of the world, I think, is obtained by picturing things as entering into the stream of time from an eternal world outside, than from a view which regards time as the devouring tyrant of all that is."
15. “Bad philosophers may have a certain influence; good philosophers, never."
16. “Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.”
17. “Both in thought and in feeling, even though time be real, to realise the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.”
18. "Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark."
19. “But schools are out to teach patriotism; newspapers are out to stir up excitement; and politicians are out to get re-elected. None of the three, therefore, can do anything whatever toward saving the human race from reciprocal suicide.”
20. ”"But," you might say, "none of this shakes my belief that 2 and 2 are 4." You are quite right, except in marginal cases -- and it is only in marginal cases that you are doubtful whether a certain animal is a dog or a certain length is less than a meter. Two must be two of something, and the proposition "2 and 2 are 4" is useless unless it can be applied. Two dogs and two dogs are certainly four dogs, but cases arise in which you are doubtful whether two of them are dogs. "Well, at any rate there are four animals," you may say. But there are microorganisms concerning which it is doubtful whether they are animals or plants. "Well, then living organisms," you say. But there are things of which it is doubtful whether they are living organisms or not. You will be driven into saying: "Two entities and two entities are four entities." When you have told me what you mean by "entity," we will resume the argument.”
21. “Change is scientific, progress is ethical; change is indubitable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy.”
22. “Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.”
23. “Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
24. "Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken."
25. “Every isolated passion, is, in isolation, insane; sanity may be defined as synthesis of insanities. Every dominant passion generates a dominant fear, the fear of its non-fulfillment. Every dominant fear generates a nightmare, sometimes in form of explicit and conscious fanaticism, sometimes in paralyzing timidity, sometimes in an unconscious or subconscious terror which finds expression only in dreams. the man who wishes to preserve sanity in a dangerous world should summon in his own mind a parliament of fears, in which each in turn is voted absurd by all the others.”
26. ”Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise.”
27. “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.”
28. “Few people can be happy unless they hate some other person, nation, or creed.”
29. "Folly is perennial, yet the human race has survived."
30. “Hatred of enemies is easier and more intense than love of friends. But from men who are more anxious to injure opponents than to benefit the world at large no great good is to be expected.”
31. “If all our happiness is bound up entirely in our personal circumstances it is difficult not to demand of life more than it has to give.”
32. "If any philosopher had been asked for a definition of infinity, he might have produced some unintelligible rigmarole, but he would certainly not have been able to give a definition that had any meaning at all."
33. ”I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: "The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that's fair." In these words he epitomized the history of the human race.”
34. "If all our happiness is bound up entirely in our personal circumstances, it is difficult not to demand of life more than it has to give."
35. “If the old morality is to be re-established, certain things are essential; some of them are already done, but experience shows that these alone are not effective. The first essential is that the education of girls should be such as to make them stupid and superstitious and ignorant; this requisite is already fulfilled in schools over which the churches have any control. The next requisite is a very severe censorship upon all books giving information on sex subjects; this condition also is coming to be fulfilled in England and in America, since the censorship, without change in the law, is being tightened up by the increasing zeal of the police. These conditions, however, since they exist already, are clearly insufficient. The only thing that will suffice is to remove from young women all opportunity of being alone with men: girls must be forbidden to earn their living by work outside the home; they must never be allowed an outing unless accompanied by their mother or an aunt; the regrettable practice of going to dances without a chaperon must be sternly stamped out. It must be illegal for an unmarried woman under fifty to possess a motor-car, and perhaps it would be wise to subject all unmarried women once a month to medical examination by police doctors, and to send to a penitentiary all such as were found to be not virgins. The use of contraceptives must, of course, be eradicated, and it must be illegal in conversation with unmarried women to throw doubt upon the dogma of eternal damnation. These measures, if carried out vigorously for a hundred years or more, may perhaps do something to stem the rising tide of immorality. I think, however, that in order to avoid the risk of certain abuses, it would be necessary that all policemen and all medical men should be castrated. Perhaps it would be wise to carry this policy a step further, in view of the inherent depravity of the male character. I am inclined to think that moralists would be well advised to advocate that all men should be castrated, with the exception of ministers of religion since reading Elmer Gantry, I have begun to feel that even this exception is perhaps not quite wise.”
36. "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."
37. “If we were all given by magic the power to read each other's thoughts, I suppose the first effect would be to dissolve all friendships.”
38. “In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”
39. “In Lisbon when heretics were publicly burned, it sometimes happened that one of them, by particularly edifying recantation, would be granted the boon of being strangled before being put into the flames. This would make the spectators so furious that the authorities had great difficulty in preventing them from lynching the penitent and burning him on their own account. The spectacle of the writhing torments of the victims was, in fact, one of the principal pleasures to which the populace looked forward to enliven a somewhat drab existence. I cannot doubt that this pleasure greatly contributed to the general belief that the burning of heretics was a righteous act. The same sort of thing applies to war. People who are vigorous and brutal often find war enjoyable, provided that it is a victorious war and there is not too much interference with rape and plunder. This is a great help in persuading people that wars are righteous.”
40. "In science men have discovered an activity of the very highest value in which they are no longer, as in art, dependent for progress upon the appearance of continually greater genius, for in science the successors stand upon the shoulders of their predecessors; where one man of supreme genius has invented a method, a thousand lesser men can apply it."
41. “I've always thought respectable people scoundrels, and I look anxiously at my face every morning for signs of my becoming a scoundrel.”
42. ”It has been said that man is a rational animal. All my life I have been searching for evidence which could support this.”
43. “...[I]t seems to be the fate of idealists to obtain what they have struggled for in a form which destroys their ideals.”
44. “I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”
45. “Language serves not only to express thought but to make possible thoughts which could not exist without it.”
46. “Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.”
47. “Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse ; it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which affects most men and woman throughout the greater part of their lives. Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of mutual love, have missed the best thing that life has to give.”
48. "Machines are worshipped because they are beautiful, and valued because they confer power; they are hated because they are hideous, and loathed because they impose slavery."
49. “Man can be scientifically manipulated.”
50. “Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.”
51. “Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true.”
52. “Mathematics . . . possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty - a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture.”
53. "Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones."
54. "Many people when they fall in love look for a little haven of refuge from the world, where they can be sure of being admired when they are not admirable, and praised when they are not praiseworthy."
55. "Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do."
56. "Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true."
57. "Mathematics, rightly viewed, posses not only truth, but supreme beauty a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture."
58. “Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.”
59. “Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin -- more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”
60. “Men have from time immemorial been allowed in practice, if not in theory, to indulge in illicit sexual relations. It has not been expected of a man that he should be a virgin on entering marriage, and even after marriage, infidelities are not viewed very gravely if they never come to the knowledge of a man's wife and neighbors. The possibility of this system has depended upon prostitution. This institution, however, is one which it is difficult for a modern to defend, and few will suggest that women should acquire the same rights as men through the establishment of a class of male prostitutes for the satisfaction of women who wish, like their husbands, to seem virtuous without being so.... Every conventional moralist who takes the trouble to think it out will see that he is committed in practice to what is called the double standard, that is to say, the view that sexual virtue is more essential in a woman than in a man. It is all very well to argue that his theoretical ethic demands continence of men also. To this there is the obvious retort that the demand cannot be enforced on the men since it is easy for them to sin secretly. The conventional moralist is thus committed against his will not only to an inequality as between men and women, but also to the view that it is better for a young man to have intercourse with prostitutes than with girls of his own class, in spite of the fact that with the latter, though not with the former, his relations are not mercenary and may be affectionate and altogether delightful. Moralists, of course, do not think out the consequences of advocating a morality which they know will not be obeyed; they think that so long as they do not advocate prostitution they are not responsible for the fact that prostitution is the inevitable outcome of their teaching. This, however, is only another illustration of the well-known fact that the professional moralist in our day is a man of less than average intelligence.”
61. “Men who allow their love of power to give them a distorted view of the world are to be found in every asylum: one man will think that he is the Governor of the Bank of England, another will think he is the King, and yet another will think he is God. Highly similar delusions, if expressed by educated men in obscure language, lead to professorships in philosophy; and if expressed by emotional men in eloquent language, lead to dictatorships.”
62. ”Men who are unhappy, like men who sleep badly, are always proud of the fact.”
63. “Most men and women, given suitable conditions, will feel passionate love at some period of their lives. For the inexperienced, however, it is very difficult to distinguish passionate love from mere sex hunger; especially is this the case with well-brought-up girls, who have been taught that they could not possibly like to kiss a man unless they loved him. If a girl is expected to be a virgin when she marries, it will very often happen that she is trapped by a transient and trivial sex attraction, which a woman with sexual experience could easily distinguish from love. This has undoubtedly been a frequent cause of unhappy marriages. Even where mutual love exists, it may be poisoned by the belief of one or both that it is sinful. This belief may, of course, be well founded. Parnell, for example, undoubtedly sinned in committing adultery, since he thereby postponed the fulfillment of the hopes of Ireland for many years.”
64. “Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power.”
65. ”No man treats a motor car as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behavior to sin, he does not say, "You are a wicked motorcar, and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go." He attempts to find out what is wrong and set it right.”
66. ”No one gossips about other people's secret virtues.”
67. ”Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.”
68. “Obscenity is whatever happens to shock some elderly and ignorant magistrate.”
69. “Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.”
70. “One should respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.”
71. “Order, unity and continuity are human inventions just as truly as catalogues and encyclopedias.”
72. ”Ordinary language is totally unsuited for expressing what physics really asserts, since the words of everyday life are not sufficiently abstract. Only mathematics and mathematical logic can say as little as the physicist means to say.”
73. "Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoon to the philosopher, and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoon, who gives us this assurance."
74. "One must care about a world one will not see."
75. “One must respect public opinion insofar as is necessary to avoid starvation and keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny.”
76. “Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons.”
77. "People don't seem to realize that it takes time and effort and preparation to think. Statesmen are far too busy making speeches to think."
78. “Power is sweet; it is a drug, the desire for which increases with a habit.”
79. “Prophets, mystics, poets, scientific discoverers are men whose lives are dominated by a vision; they are essentially solitary men . . . whose thoughts and emotions are not subject to the dominion of the herd.”
80. “Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible; but the world of pure reason knows no compromise, no practical limitations, no barrier to the creative activity.”
81. “Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.”
82. “Religions that teach brotherly love have been used as an excuse for persecution, and our profoundest scientific insight is made into a means of mass destruction.”
83. “Religions, which condemn the pleasures of sense, drive men to seek the pleasures of power. Throughout history power has been the vice of the ascetic.”
84. “Science is what you know, philosophy is what you don't know.”
85. “Sin is geographical.”
86. “So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.”
87. “Some would sooner die than think. In fact, they often do.”
88. “The commonest objection to birth control is that it is against 'nature.' (For some reason we are not allowed to say that celibacy is against nature; the only reason I can think of is that it is not new.) Malthus saw only three ways of keeping down the population: moral restraint, vice, and misery. Moral restraint, he admitted, was not likely to be practiced on a large scale. 'Vice,' i.e., birth control, he, as a clergyman, viewed with abhorrence. There remained misery. In his comfortable parsonage, he contemplated the misery of the great majority of mankind with equanimity, and pointed out the fallacies of the reformers who hoped to alleviate it.”
89. “The completely untraveled person will view all foreigners as the savage regards the members of another herd. But the man who has traveled, or who has studied international politics, will have discovered that, if he had to prosper, it must, to some degree, become amalgamated with other herds. If you are English and someone says to you: "The French are your brothers," your instinctive feeling will be "Nonsense, they shrug their shoulders, and talk French. And I am even told that they eat frogs. If he explains to you that one may have to fight the Russians, that, if so, it will be desirable to defend the line of the Rhine, and that, if the line of the Rhine is to be defended, the help of the French is essential, you will begin to see what he means when he says that French are our brothers. But if some fellow-traveler were to go on and say that the Russians are also your brothers, he would be unable to persuade you, unless he could show that we are in danger from the Martians. We love those who hate our enemies, and if we had no enemies, there would be very few people whom we should love.”
90. “The criminal law has, from the point of view of thwarted virtue, the merit of allowing an outlet for those impulses of aggression which cowardice, disguised as morality, restrains in their more spontaneous forms. War has the same merit. You must not kill you neighbor, whom perhaps you genuinely hate, but by a little propaganda this hate can be transferred to some foreign nation, against whom all your murderous impulses become patriotic heroism.”
91. ”The degree of one's emotion varies inversely with one's know - ledge of the facts -- the less you know the hotter you get.”
92. “The demand for certainty is one which is natural to man, but is nevertheless an intellectual vice…So long as men are not trained to withhold judgment in the absence of evidence, they will be led astray by cocksure prophets, and it is likely their leaders will be either ignorant fanatics or dishonest charlatans. To endure uncertainty is difficult, but so are most of the other virtues. For the learning of every virtue there is an appropriate discipline, and for the learning of suspended judgment the best discipline is philosophy.”
93. “The desire for excitement is very deep-seated in human beings, especially in males. I suppose that in the hunting stage it was more easily gratified than it has been since. The chase was exciting, war was exciting, courtship was exciting. A savage would manage to commit adultery with a woman while her husband is asleep beside her. This situation, I imagine, is not boring. But with the coming of agriculture life began to grow dull, except, of course, for the aristocrats, who remained, and still remain, in the hunting stage.”
94. “... The difference between mind and brain is not a difference of quality, but a difference of arrangement. It is like the difference between arranging people in geographical order or in alphabetical order, both of which are done in the post office directory. The same people are arranged in both cases, but in different contexts. In like manner, the context of visual sensation for physics is physical, and outside the brain. Going backwards, it takes you to the eye, and thence to a photon and thence to a quantum transition in some distant object. The context of visual sensation for psychology is quite different. Suppose, for example, the visual sensation is tat of a telegram saying that you are ruined. A number of events will take place in your mind in accordance with the laws of physical causation, and it may be quite a long time before there is any purely physical effect, such as tearing your hair or exclaiming "Woe is me!"”
95. “The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not utterly absurd; indeed, in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief is more often likely to be foolish than sensible.”
96. “The frequency with which a man experiences lust depends upon his own physical condition, whereas the occasion which rouse such feelings in him depend upon the social conventions to which he is accustomed. To an early Victorian man a woman's ankles were sufficient stimulus, whereas the modern man remains untouched by anything up to the thigh. This is merely a question of fashion in clothing. If nakedness were the fashion, it would cease to excite us, and women would be forced, as they are in certain savage tribes, to adopt clothing as means of making themselves sexually attractive. Exactly similar considerations apply to the literature and pictures: what was exciting in the Victorian Age, would leave a man of franker epoch quite unmoved. The more prudes restrict the permissible degree of sexual appeal, the less is required to make such an appeal effective. Nine-tents of thew appeal of pornography is due to indecent feelings which moralists inculcate in the young; the other tents is psychological, and will occur in one way of another, whatever the state of the law may be. On these grounds, although I fear that few will agree with me, I am firmly persuaded that there ought to be no law whatsoever on the subject of obscene publications.”
97. "The fundamental concept in social science is Power, in the same sense in which Energy is the fundamental concept in physics."
98. “The fundamental defect of fathers is that they want their children to be a credit to them.”
99. “The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy; I mean that if you are happy you will be good.”
100. "The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."
101. “The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists - that is why they invented hell.”
102. "The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way."
103. “The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.”
104. "The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation."
105. ”The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others.”
106. “The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.”
107. “The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, chiefly I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses.”
108. “Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”
109. “There are two motives for reading a book: one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it.”
110. "There is much pleasure to be gained in useless knowledge."
111. ”There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed.”
112. "There will still be things that machines cannot do. They will not produce great art or great literature or great philosophy; they will not be able to discover the secret springs of happiness in the human heart; they will know nothing of love and friendship."
113. “The root of the matter is a very simple and old-fashioned thing, a thing so simple that I am almost ashamed to mention it for fear of the derisive smile with which cynics will greet my words. The thing I mean -- please forgive me for mentioning it -- is love, or compassion. If you feel this, you have a motive for existence, a reason for courage, a guide in action, an imperative necessity for intellectual honesty. If you feel this, you have all that anybody should need in the way of religion.”
114. “The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.”
115. "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."
116. “The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours.”
117. “The view of the orthodox moralist (this includes the police and the magistrates, but hardly any modern educators) on the question of sex knowledge may, I fancy, be fairly stated as follows.... There is no doubt that sexual misconduct is promoted by sexual thoughts, and that the best road to virtue is to keep the young occupied in mind and body with matters wholly unconnected with sex. They must, therefore, be told nothing whatever about sex; they must as far as possible be prevented from talking about it with each other, and grownups must pretend that there is no such topic. It is possible by these means to keep a girl in ignorance until the night of her marriage, when it is to be expected that the facts will so shock her as to produce exactly that attitude towards sex which every sound moralist considers desirable in women.”
118. "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
119. "This idea of weapons of mass exterminations utterly horrible and is something which no one with one spark of humanity can tolerate. I will not pretend to obey a government which is organizing a mass massacre of mankind."
120. “This is patently absurd; but whoever wishes to become a philosopher must learn not to be frightened by absurdities.”
121. "Those who forget good and evil and seek only to know the facts are more likely to achieve good than those who view the world through the distorting medium of their own desires."
122. "Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, the chief glory of man."
123. "Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit."
124. "To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance to the citizens of a democracy."
125. “To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization, and at present very few people have reached this level.”
126. "To be happy in this world, especially when youth is past, it is necessary to feel oneself not merely an isolated individual whose day will soon be over, but part of the stream of life slowing on from the first germ to the remote and unknown future."
127. "To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness."
128. “To fear love is to fear life.”
129. “To realize the unimportance of time is the gate of wisdom.”
130. “To teach men how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing philosophy can still do.”
131. “Vanity is a motive of immense potency. Anyone who has much to do with children knows how they are constantly performing some antic, and saying: "Look at me." "Look at me" is one of the fundamental desires of human heart. It can take innumerable forms, from buffoonery to the pursuit of posthumous fame. There was a Renaissance Italian princeling who was asked by a priest on his death-bed if he had anything to repent of. "Yes," he said, "there is one thing. On one occasion I had a visit from Emperor and the Pope simultaneously. I took them to the top of my tower to see the view, and I neglected the opportunity to throw them both down, which would have given me immortal fame." History does not relate whether the priest gave him absolution.”
132. “Very few men or women who have had a conventional upbringing have learnt to feel decently about sex and marriage. Their education has taught them that deceitfulness and lying are considered virtues by parents and teachers; that sexual relations, even within marriage, are more or less disgusting, and that in propagating the species men are yielding to their animal nature while women are submitting to a painful duty. This attitude has made marriage unsatisfying both to men and to women, and the lack of instinctive satisfaction has turned to cruelty masquerading as morality.”
133. ”War does not determine who is right - only who is left.”
134. “We have, in fact, two kinds of morality side by side; one which we preach but do not practise, and another which we practise but seldom preach.”
135. "We know too much and feel too little. At least, we feel too little of those creative emotions from which a good life springs."
136. “We know very little, and yet it is astonishing that we know so much, and still more astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power.”
137. “What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.”
138. “What men want is not knowledge, but certainty."
139. “What the world needs is not dogma but an attitude of scientific inquiry combined with a belief that the torture of millions is not desirable, whether inflicted by Stalin or by a Deity imagined in the likeness of the believer.”
140. “What we need is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out.”
141. “When the intensity of emotional conviction subsides, a man who is in the habit of reasoning will search for logical grounds in favor of the belief which he finds in himself."
142. ”With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway about the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.”
143. "Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it tries to stir up friendly feeling?"
144. “Young men and young women meet each other with much less difficulty than was formerly the case, and every housemaid expects at least once a week as much excitement as would have lasted a Jane Austen heroine throughout a whole novel.”