July 17, 2018
If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.
– traditionally attributed to Michelangelo
June 29, 2018
Every day I drew steadily near to the truth that man is not truly one, but truly two
I saw– the primitive duality of man
– Robert Louis Stevenson
June 15, 2015
This planner will have to learn that the work does not stop when the plan is completed.
– Peter Drucker, On Managing Oneself
June 11, 2018
When you sit to dine with a rule, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies for that food is deceptive.
June 10, 2018
Fate put into my hands limp threads! threads to build a future?
– Annie Albers, artist
May 23, 2013
Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food.
May 14, 2018
Then, of course, there’s the challenge of dealing with uncertainty where it’s, I guess… You’re operating in sort of the weird zone where you’re often making decisions that have significant long-term impact, or that are at least difficult to reverse or to course-correct, in the face of great uncertainty. And the uncertainty is often unnecessary in the sense that you could in principle go and significantly reduce the uncertainty. You could go and study the question more, you could go and obtain more information, you could go and run an experiment. It’s not like cosmic uncertainty, where it’s true Knightian unknowability. I think when it is true, deep, unmitigatable uncertainty, then I think it’s not too hard to say, ‘Well, we’re just gonna choose something and make the best decision we can.’ I think it’s a more frustrating kind of uncertainty, where it’s actually not necessary, but the thing that’s limited is essentially the cost of obtaining further information, reducing that uncertainty. And so you’re left in the dissatisfying situation where you have to make a highly consequential decision [and] there’s a lot of uncertainty. ‘We could have less uncertainty, we could take steps to mitigate that, but we just don’t have time to.’ Making a lot of decisions in that zone is somewhat dissatisfying, and I think correctly so, when you’re correctly reacting to the fact that it could be otherwise.
– Patrick Collison, Founder of Stripe
May 11, 2018
My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”— my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten ga in; it takes away the life of those who get it.
Scathing Words by a Mr. Bennett
April 28, 2018
Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.
April 23, 2018
To give people the words to know their own experience–
– Maria Popova, Brainpickings
April 22, 2018
The daily routine of most adults is so heavy and artificial that we are closed off to much of the world. We have to do this in order to get our work done. I think one purpose of art is to get us out of those routines. When we hear music or poetry or stories, the world opens up again. We’re drawn in — or out — and the windows of our perception are cleansed, as William Blake said. The same thing can happen when we’re around young children or adults who have unlearned those habits of shutting the world out.
– Ursula K. Le Guin
April 21, 2018
Life is short. Take care of the ones you love. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Never do anything that makes you unhappy.
– Antoine, formerly co-founder of PlanGrid
April 18, 2018
You are for me, not against me, I am who you say I am.
April 16, 2018
But as the years passed, I began to mourn the loss of something I had once known in the drawing room of Marchmain House and once or twice since, the intensity and singleness and the belief that it was not all done by hand– in a word, the inspiration.
In quest of this fading light I went abroad, in the Augustan manner, laden with the apparatus of my trade, for two year’s refreshment among alien styles. I did not go to Europe; her treasures were safe, too safe, swaddled in expert care, obscured by reverence. Europe could wait. There would be a time for Europe, I thought all too soon the days would come when I should need a man at my side to put up my easel and carry my paints; when I could not venture more than an hour’s journey from a good hotel; when I should need soft breezes and mellow sunshine all day long; then I would take my old eyes to Germany and Italy. Now while I had the strength I would go to the wild lands where man had deserted his post and the jungle was creeping back to its old strongholds…
– Charles Ryder
April 15, 2018
For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
– Matthew 5:46
April 8, 2018
Seek out the possible instead of the predictable
– Seth Godin
April 5, 2018
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.
– C. S. Lewis
March 25, 2018
‘She says we live in different atmospheres. That’s all right, but Julia happens to fancy my atmosphere… Then she brings up religion. I’ve nothing against her Church; we don’t take much account of Catholics in Canada, but that’s different; in Europe you’ve got some very posh Catholics. All right, Julia can go to church whenever she wants to. I shan’t try and stop her. It doesn’t mean two pins to her, as a matter of fact, but I like a girl to have religion. What’s more, she can bring the children up Catholic. I’ll make all the “promises” they want… Then there’s my past. “We know so little about you.” She knows a sight too much. You may know I’ve been tied up with someone else for a year or two.’
I knew; everyone who had ever met Rex knew of his affair with Brenda Champion; knew also that it was from this affair that he derived everything which distinguished him from every other stock-jobber, his gold with the Prince of Wales, his membership of Bratt’s, even his smoking-room comradeship at the House of Commons, for , when he first appeared there, his party chiefs did not say of him, ‘Look there is the promising young member north Gridley who spoke so well on Rent Restrictions.’ They said: ‘There’s Brenda Champion’s latest’; it had done him a great deal of good with men; women he could usually charm.
– Evelyn Waugh
March 14, 2018
The languor of YOUTH – how unique and quintessential it is! How quickly, how irrecoverably, lost! The zest, the generous affections, the illusions, the despair, all the traditional attributes of Youth — all save this — come and go with us through life. These things are a part of life itself; but languor — the relaxation of yet unwearied sinews, the mind sequestered and self-regarding — that belongs to Youth alone and dies with it.
– Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited
March 5, 2018
Rain is good for the soul.
March 1, 2018
There are few men who slavery holds fast, but there are many more who hold fast to slavery.
February 18, 2018
Why has no one told me these things? How easily I might have misjudged another man in the same situation? I might have said, ‘He’s got over it. He’s forgotten his wife,’ when the truth was, ‘He remembers her better because he has partly got over it.
Such was the fact. And I believe I can make sense of it. You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears. You can’t in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately; anyway, you can’t get the best out of it. ‘Now! Let’s have a real good talk’ reduces everyone to silence, ‘ I must get a good sleep tonight’ ushers in hours of wakefulness. Delicious drinks are wasted on a really ravenous thirst. It is similarly the very intensity of the longing that draws the iron curtain, that makes us feel that we are staring into a vacuum when we think about our dead?
– C.S. Lewis
February 17, 2018
No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering in the stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.
– C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
February 7, 2018
Now, I want you to raise your right hand– and remember what we say at Wal-Mart, that a promise we make is a promise we keep– and I want you to repeat after me: From this day forward, I solemnly promise and declare that every time a customer comes within ten feet of me, I will smile, look him in the eye, and greet him. So help me Sam.
– Sam Walton, mid 1980’s
Limits To Knowing What You Know
February 3, 2018
Consider a turkey that is fed everyday. Every single feeding will firm up the bird’s belief that it is the general rule of life to be fed everyday by friendly members of the human race “looking out for its best interests,” as a politician would say. On the afternoon of the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, something unexpected will happen to the turkey. It will incur a revision of belief.
– Nassim Taleb, Black Swan
January 31, 2018
‘No one has ever seen God,
but if we love each other, God lives in us’ John 4:12
I probably read that over 100 times in my life
I thought I knew what it meant, but it turns out I never really understood much of it at all.
It’s not that I don’t see him.
It’s just that I always assumed that it can be done one way— through prayer, through faith, through the perfect ritual of mass.
If it worked for me, why not everyone else?
If we love each other, God lives in us.
What does that really mean?
When Love itself cannot be defined or…
understood… or quantified… denied.
If God is a mystery, love probably is as well.
Because, at the end of the day, after a lifetime of theological study, my knowledge of love and God amounts to little more than these two truths: 1. they both exist, and 2. when it comes to the matters of God or the matters of love, I can no longer tell the difference.
And for this, I feel blessed.
– Danny Glover, The Good Catholic
January 30, 2018
So guide us in the work we do, that we may not do it not for self alone, but for the common good.
January 28, 2018
The failure of GM as an institution– for failure it is– is to a large extent the result of… an attitude that one might call “technocratic”… best exemplified in Alfred P. Sloan’s own book, My Years with General Motors… It focuses exclusively on policies, business decisions, and structure… It is perhaps the most impersonal book of memoirs ever written– and this was clearly intentional. Sloan’s book… knows only one dimension: that of managing a business so that it can produce effectively, provide jobs, create markets and sales, and generate profits. Business in the community; business as a life rather than a livelihood; business as a neighbor; and business as a power center– these are all absent in Sloan’s world.
– Peter Drucker
January 23, 2018
‘A thing is valued,’ she says, only if it is rare and hard to get. ‘We want you to be valued, girls’
– Aunt Lydia, The Handmaid’s Tale
January 22, 2018
Man, as a social animal who has the gift of language, is born to prattle and to pour out twaddle that does much damage when serious work is being attempted. Some people produce copious amounts of twaddle and others very little.”
– Charlie Munger
January 20, 2018
To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail
– some old saying
January 19, 2018
Eventually, I could recognize it happening … Each time I got a bit stronger and the symptoms began to diminish to the point where I was ready to go on stage.
– Danny Glover
January 16, 2018
So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.
‘You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a child and do not know how to carry out my duties. Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number, so give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?
January 15, 2018
Not to be afraid, but be determined, and be orderly, peaceful, and abide by the philosophy and the discipline of non-violence.
– John Lewis
January 13, 2018
Forward ever, backwards never
– a church’s front panel sign from the 1960’s
December 19, 2017
Other geneticists have replicated some of the findings from Korenberg’s monkeys by manipulating the DNA of mice, whose genes correspond to more than 90% of those found in humans, including the region implicated in Williams. By removing a gene named Williams syndrome transcription factor (WSTF) from mouse DNA, scientists produced mice with tiny upturned noses and prominent ears: elfin-faced mice. Removing the mouse equivalent of GTF2I, they raised uninhibited mice that would wander brazenly through mazes. Instead of scurrying into corners, as mice normally do to escape detection by predators, these mice sauntered out into the open as if looking for a party. When a new mouse was introduced into their cage, they were much more interested in the stranger than were mice with unmodified DNA.
– Jennifer Latson, The Boy Who Loved Too Much
On Mistaking the Spark for the Substance
December 18, 2017
If two people who have been strangers, as all of us are, suddenly let the wall between them break down, and feel close, feel one, this moment of oneness is one of the most exhilarating, most exciting experiences in life. It is all the more wonderful and miraculous for persons who have been shut off, isolated, without love. This miracle of sudden intimacy is often facilitated if it is combined with, or initiated by, sexual attraction and consummation. However, this type of love is by its very nature not lasting. The two persons become well acquainted, their intimacy loses more and more its miraculous character, until their antagonism, their disappointments, their mutual boredom kill whatever is left of the initial excitement. Yet, in the beginning they do not know all this: in fact, they take the intensity of the infatuation, this being “crazy” about each other, for proof of the intensity of their love, while it may only prove the degree of their preceding loneliness.
– Erich Fromm, philosopher
December 17, 2017
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.
December 12, 2017
The fool, with all his other faults, has this also, he is always getting ready to live.
December 11, 2017
I once lived in a house where I could look out a window as I worked at my desk and observe a small herd of cattle browsing in a neighboring field. And I was struck with a thought that must have occurred to the earliest herdsmen tens of thousands of years ago. You never get the impression that a cow is about to have a nervous breakdown. Or is puzzling about the meaning of life.
Humans have never mastered that kind of complacency. We are worriers and puzzlers, and we want meaning in our lives. I’m not speaking idealistically; I’m stating a plainly observable fact about men and women. It’s a rare person who can go through life like a homeless alley cat, living from day to day, taking its pleasures where it can and dying unnoticed.
– John Gardner
December 8, 2017
Last summer my eleven-year-old son died of polio. He was an unusual child, a lad of great promise who verily thirsted after knowledge so that he could prepare himself for a useful life in the community. His death has shattered the very structure of my existence, my very life has become an almost meaningless void — for all my dreams and aspirations were somehow associated with his future and his strivings. I have tried during the past months to find comfort for my anguished spirit, a measure of solace to help me bear the agony of losing one dearer than life itself — an innocent, dutiful, and gifted child who was the victim of such a cruel fate. I have sought comfort in the belief that man has a spirit which attains immortality — that somehow, somewhere my son lives on in a higher world.
– R.M., A Letter to Albert Einstein from a grieving father
December 6, 2017
These are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words.
December 5, 2017
So avoid using the word “very” because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use sad, use morose. Language was invested for one reason, boys– to woo women– and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.
– Dead Poets Society
November 30, 2017
For all my grandma’s efforts, for all of her “You can do anything; don’t be like those fuckers who think the deck is stacked against them” diatribes, the message had only partially set in before I enlisted. Surrounding me was another message: that I and the people like me weren’t good enough; that the reason Middletown produced zero Ivy League graduates was some genetic or character defect. I couldn’t possibly see how destructive that mentality was until I escaped it. The Marine Corps replaced it with something else, something that loathes excuses. “Giving it my all” was a catchphrase, something heard in health or gym class. When I ran three miles, mildly impressed with my mediocre twenty-five minute time, a terrifying senior drill instructor greeted me a the finish line: “If you’re not puking, you’re lazy! Stop being fucking lazy!” He then ordered me to sprint between him and a tree repeatedly. Just as I felt I might pass out, he relented. I was heaving, barely able to catch my breath. “That’s how you should feel at the end of every run!” he yelled. In the Marines, giving it your all was a way of life.
I’m not saying ability doesn’t matter. It certainly helps. But there’s something powerful about realizing that you’ve undersold yourself–that somehow your mind confused lack of effort for inability. This is why, whenever people ask me what I’d most like to change about the white working class, I say, “The feeling that our choices don’t matter.”
– J.D. Vance
November 28, 2017
I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily. Without getting there in spirit. In my afternoon walk I would… forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society. But it sometimes happens that I cannot easily shake off the village. The thought of some work will run in my head and I am not where my body is– I am out of my senses… What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?
– Henry David Thoreau
A Poet’s Advice
November 27, 2017
A real human is somebody who feels and who expresses his or her feelings. This may sounds easy. It isn’t.
A lot of people think or believe or know what they feel– but that’s thinking or believing or knowing: not feeling. And being real is feeling– not just knowing or believing or thinking.
Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but it’s very difficult to learn to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody – but – yourself.
To be nobody – but – yourself– in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else– means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
As for communicating nobody-but-yourself to others, that means working just a little harder than anybody who isn’t real can possible imagine. Why?
Because nothing is quite as easy as just being just like somebody else. We all of us do exactly this nearly all the time– and whenever we do it, we are not real.
If, at the end of your first ten or fifteen years of fighting and working and feeling, you find you’ve loved just once with a nobody-but-yourself heart, you’ll be very lucky indeed.
And so my advice to all young people who wish to become real is: do something easy, like dreaming of freedom– unless you’re ready to commit yourself to feel and work and fight till you die.
– EE Cummings
November 24, 2017
The most just is most noble, but health is the best, and to win what one loves is pleasantest.
November 21, 2017
While it can be tempting to believe that sometimes you need people who are hard-charging, aggressive, and mercenary, I’m now convinced that takers only have a toxic effect on teams…Takers use and exploit people for their own personal gain and as a result, they create fear and paranoia in teams.
– Adam Grant, Professor from Wharton Business School and the best-selling author of Give and Take
November 19, 2017
There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”
– Donald Rumsfield, former United States Secretary of Defense
November 18, 2017
There are two great forces of human nature—self-interest, and caring for others.
– Bill Gates, World Economic’s forum (2008)
November 16, 2017
So use all that is called Fortune. Most men gamble with her, and gain all, and lose all, as her wheel rolls. But do thou leave as unlawful these winnings, and deal with Cause and Effect, the chancellors of God. In the Will work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance, and shalt sit hereafter out of fear from her rotations. A political victory, a rise of rents, the recovery of your sick, or the return of your absent friend, or some other favorable event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self – Reliance
November 15, 2017
Consumers don’t distinguish between online and offline as long as it fulfills their needs.
– Jianzhen Peng, secretary general of the China Chain Store and Franchise Association
November 11, 2017
Gone are the days when Sunday church service serves as a drug for you. I don’t want you to go to church just to fill up on some shouting. To fill up on some good word that you forget before you leave. But somebody’s got to pray, “Lord, don’t let this be a one time thing” I don’t want to be empty by Wednesday, help me
– Jonathan McReynolds, gospel singer, Maintain Flow, Live Session
On Genetic Therapy and Skinny Pigs
November 8, 2017
Of course, the most profound power is to alter the human organism. In a modest fashion, science has already begun to do so. These controls are self-imposed; they are political and ethical limits only. The technology to tinker more aggressively already exists. For example, in April 2015, Chinese scientists edited (with mixed success) the genomes of 86 human embryos to modify the gene responsible for a fatal blood disorder. If we choose to expand this line of research, we may one day be able to give birth to the post human, a more evolved form of us: healthy and active log beyond a lifespan that we consider normal, possessing physical and cognitive powers that far outstrip our own. As our confidence in our new genetic and chemical powers grows, will we continue to deny ourselves these powers? Under what circumstances might we decide to wield? Julian Savulescu at the Oxford Martin School is one philosopher who has suggested that those circumstances may already be upon us: for the sake of our own survival, he asks, should we not try to reprogram human behavior at the genetic level to make ourselves more peaceful and less self-interested? Hasn’t history shown– many times over– that we are poorly adapted to coexist with one another?
– Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna
November 7, 2017
Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill tempered wife.
– King Solomon?
November 5, 2017
I adore you, sweetheart.
I know how much you like to hear that — but I don’t only write it because you like it — I write it because it makes me warm all over inside to write it to you.
It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you’ll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing.
But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and that I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you. I want to love you. I always will love you.
I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me. I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. I never thought until just now that we can do that. What should we do. We started to learn to make clothes together — or learn Chinese — or getting a movie projector. Can’t I do something now? No. I am alone without you and you were the “idea-woman” and general instigator of all our wild adventures.
When you were sick you worried because you could not give me something that you wanted to and thought I needed. You needn’t have worried. Just as I told you then there was no real need because I loved you in so many ways so much. And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want you to stand there. You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive.
I know you will assure me that I am foolish and that you want me to have full happiness and don’t want to be in my way. I’ll bet you are surprised that I don’t even have a girlfriend (except you, sweetheart) after two years. But you can’t help it, darling, nor can I — I don’t understand it, for I have met many girls and very nice ones and I don’t want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.
My darling wife, I do adore you.
I love my wife. My wife is dead.
– Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate, physicist, and husband.
November 2, 2017
I had a couple of letters from mother the other day, one written the twelfth and one the fifteenth. Am always glad to get letters from your mother, she is a Dear isn’t she? Your mother and I have been a complete failure financially but if the boys turn out to be good and useful citizens nothing else matters and we know this is happening so why not be jubilant?
– Leroy Pollock, A Letter To His Son Jackson Pollock
November 1, 2017
What I advise you to do is, not to be unhappy before the crisis comes; since it may be that the dangers before which you paled as if they were threatening you, will never come upon you; they certainly have not yet come.
Accordingly, some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow.
..It is likely that some troubles will befall us; but it is not a present fact. How often has the unexpected happened! How often has the expected never come to pass! And even though it is ordained to be, what does it avail to run out to meet your suffering? You will suffer soon enough, when it arrives; so look forward meanwhile to better things. What shall you gain by doing this? Time. There will be many happenings meanwhile which will serve to postpone, or end, or pass on to another person, the trials which are near or even in your very presence. A fire has opened the way to flight. Men have been let down softly by a catastrophe. Sometimes the sword has been checked even at the victim’s throat. Men have survived their own executioners. Even bad fortune is fickle. Perhaps it will come, perhaps not; in the meantime it is not. So look forward to better things.
October 29, 2017
The heart’s memory of the sun grows faint.
The grass is yellower.
A few early snowflakes blow in the wind,
– Anna Akhmatova
October 27, 2017
All you have to do is look around to realize just how many choices we still have. What to eat, who to speak to, what to do for a living, what to learn, what to say, who to contribute to, how we interact, what we stand for…
The safe and comfortable path is to pretend that we’re blocked at every turn.
But most of the turns, we don’t even see. We’ve trained ourselves to ignore them.
A habit is not the same as no choice. And a choice isn’t often easy. In fact, the best ones rarely are.
But we can still choose to make one.
October 26, 2017
How To Become A Rock
Determine a place. If possible, choose one where there are may rocks
Determine the shape of the rock you want to become and take a posture that matches the surroundings by sitting down, lying down, or lowering the body.
Remain still and hold your breath.
Ignore the changes of the seasons and the weather, and do not think at all.
– Kim Beom, Korean contemporary artist
October 23, 2017
I don’t need another tragedy to realize just how much I need you.
– Jonathan McReynold, Christian vocalist
October 7, 2017
Make your life work for you—you can have a fulfilling career and be an amazing mother.
– many wiser female mentors
October 3, 2017
But at least you’re doing it.
Once you’re doing it, you have a chance to do it better.
Waiting for perfect means not starting.
– Seth Godin
October 2, 2017
People are strange about animals. Especially large ones. Daily, on the docks of Wellfleet Harbor, thousands of fish are scaled, gutted, and seasoned with thyme and lemon. No one strokes their sides with water. No one cries when their jaws slip open.
Pilot whales are not endangered species, yet people spend tens of thousands of dollars in rescue efforts, trucking the wounded to aquariums and in some places even airlifting them off beaches. Perhaps the whales’ sheer immensity fosters sympathy. Perhaps the stories of Jonah or Moby Dick do the same. Or maybe it’s that article we read last week about that whale in Australia understanding hand signals. Intelligence matters, doesn’t it? Brain size is important, right? Those whales knew they were dying. They have some sort of language, some sort of emotion. They give birth, for God’s sake! There aren’t any pregnant fish in the Wellfleet nets. No communal understanding of their imminent fatality.
I worry sometimes that humans are afraid of helping humans. There’s less risk associated with animals, less fear of failure, fear of getting too involved. In war movies, a thousand soldiers can die gruesomely, but when the horse is shot, the audience is heartbroken. It’s the My Dog Skip effect. The Homeward Bound syndrome.
When we hear that the lady on the next street over has cancer, we don’t see the entire town flock to her house. We push and shove and wet whales all day, then walk home through town past homeless men curled up on benches- washed up like whales on the curbsides. Pulled outside by the moon and struggling for air among the sewers. They’re suffocating too, but there’s no town assembly line of food. No palpable urgency, no airlifting plane.
– Marina Keegan
September 25, 2017
You have to watch out for opportunism tinged with guile.
– Adam Grant, professor at University of Pennsylvania
September 24, 2017
And above all, be at peace with yourself, with a double Blessing to me, who am, my dear Professor, anxiously, Your fond student.
– Marina Keegan
September 23, 2017
The presentation of social life as an addictive theatrical performance which helps us both to pass the time and to anesthetize awareness of the fact that time in the end runs out, that death and loss are inevitable.
– Mark Treharne
September 15, 2017
The standard antidote to one’s overactive hostility is to train oneself to defer reaction. As my smart friend Tom Murphy so frequently says, “You can always tell the man off tomorrow if it is such a good idea.”
– Charlie Munger
September 13, 2017
I can handle the truth. It’s the mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms that worries me.
– Eric Jaronski
September 6, 2017
Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.
September 2, 2017
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action.”
– Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail
Life as a Creative
August 29, 2017
He continues to create or he perishes. Each task completed carries its own obligation to go on to something new.
– Rachel Carson, writer and marine biologist
August 24, 2017
You do not waste good iron to make nails.
– Chinese Proverb
August 22, 2017
When we enjoy the human being sexually as Lacan would put it using them as a means to an end we’re unnecessarily objectifying them, and really fetishizing some part of them or some quality of them rather than relating to the person themselves. So the subject… is something different from character.. the existence is different from essence. And when we relate to people sexually we’re relating to character qualities. You may think, if someone likes you for your personality that’s more significant than them liking you for your body, one being shallow and one not, but in a way, it’s all shallow under this interpretation, none of it touches the subject as sort of an end in itself.
– The Men from The Partially Examined Life Podcast
August 21, 2017
And second, sometimes being on the receiving end of violence is the whole point. That’s how you expose the hypocrisy and rot you’re struggling against. They attack unprovoked. You don’t counterattack. You’re hurt. The world sees. Hearts change. It takes tremendous courage: Your body ends up being the canvas that bears the evidence of the violence you’re fighting against.
– Moises Velasquez-Manoff, Nytimes.com
Christian KKK, Do you understand?
August 20, 2017
The Americans got the idea of equality from Christianity, which argues that every person has a divinely created soul, and that all souls are equal before God. However, if we do not believe in the Christian myths about God, creations and souls, what does it mean that all people are ‘equal’? Evolution is based on difference, not on equality. Every person carries a somewhat different genetic code, and is exposed from birth to different environmental influences. This leads to the development of different qualities that carry with them different chances of survival. ‘Created equal’ should there be translated into ‘evolved diffrently’.
– Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens
August 19, 2017
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all—
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
– T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
August 16, 2017
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve always imagined.
– Henry David Thoreau
August 12, 2017
We become, neurologically, what we think.
– Nicholas Carr
August 9, 2017
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.”
– (God speaking to Job) Job 38:4
July 31, 2017
He made the earth by his power;
he founded the world by his wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.
When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar;
he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth
On Absurdities in Life
July 24, 2017
I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion
– Albert Camus
July 23, 2017
A part of good science is to see what everyone else can see but think what no one else has ever said.
The difference between being very smart and very foolish is often very small.
So many problems occur when people fail to be obedient when they are supposed to be obedient, and fail to be creative when they are supposed to be creative.
The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.
It is sometimes easier to make the world a better place than to prove you have made the world a better place.
– Amos Tversky
July 12, 2017
I want to learn, I want to experiment.. I want to feel the danger sometimes
– Aurélie Dupont, Director of Dance @ Paris Opera Company
July 10, 2017
I am the kind of person who is always telling you what kind of person I am.
July 9, 2017
Both men and women today see marriage not as a way of creating character and community but as a way to reach personal life goals. They are all looking for a marriage who will “fulfill their emotional, sexual, and spiritual desires.” And that creates an extreme idealism that in turn leads to deep pessimism that you will never find the right person to marry. This is the reason so many put off marriage and look right past great prospective spouses that simply are “not good enough.”
– Timothy Keller
July 8, 2017
During Amos [Tversky]’s final year in high school, the swashbuckling Israeli general Moshe Dayan came to Haifa to speak to the students. A boy who happened to be in the audience recalls, “He says all those who go to the Nahal, raise you hands? A huge number did. Dayan says, ‘You are traitors. We don’t want you growing tomatoes and cucumbers. We want you fighting.'” The next year every youth group in Israel was asked to pick twelve kids out of every hundred to serve their country not as farmers but paratroopers. Amos looked more like a boy scout than an elite soldier, but he volunteered immediately. Too light to qualify, he drank water until he made weight.
– Michael Lewis, The Undoing Project
July 5, 2017
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
– Jeremiah 29:11
July 3, 2017
I know dozens of people who have a story about meeting, or nearly meeting, or somehow engaging with Bob Dylan.
And just about everyone they know has questions about him, about those encounters, about what it was like.
My guess is that these stories began to spring up long before he was a Nobel Prize winning legend.
The question, then: Who has a story about you?
– Seth Godin
June 30, 2017
Lean hard on the people who know you best, love you most, and will tell you when you’re wrong.
June 19, 2017
We are all stardust.
– Stefan Klein
June 10, 2017
It is such a secret place, the land of tears.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Though the empirical nature of tears is a composition of water, proteins, minerals, hormones, and enzymes, the topography of tears is a momentary landscape, transient as the fingerprint of someone in a dream. The accumulation of these images is like an ephemeral atlas.
Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as rites of passage. They are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Tears spontaneously release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis, intractable resistance short-circuited… It’s as though each one of our tears carries a microcosm of the collective human experience, like one drop of an ocean.
– Rose-Lynn Fisher
June 8, 2017
The art of competing, I’d learned from track, was the art of forgetting, and I now reminded myself of that fact. You must forget your limits. You must forget your doubts, your pain, your past. You must forget that internal voice screaming, begging, “Not one more step!” And when it’s not possible to forget it, you must negotiate with it.
– Phil Knight
June 1, 2017
Humanity is at a fork in the road.
– Kai Sauer, Finland diplomat, in response to Trump’s announcement to pull U.S. out of Paris Climate Accord
May 30, 2017
O me, what eyes hath Love put in my head,
Which have no correspondence with true sight!
Or, if they have, where is my judgment fled,
That censures falsely what they see aright?
If that be fair whereon my false eyes dote,
What means the world to say it is not so?
If it be not, then love doth well denote
Love’s eye is not so true as all men’s ‘No.’
How can it? O, how can Love’s eye be true,
That is so vex’d with watching and with tears?
No marvel then, though I mistake my view;
The sun itself sees not till heaven clears.
O cunning Love! with tears thou keep’st me blind,
Lest eyes well-seeing thy foul faults should find.
May 28, 2017
The way you realize your wildest dreams is actually one step at a time
-Bjarke Ingels, Architect
May 27, 2017
One of the biggest problems with the world today is that we have large groups of people who will accept whatever they hear on the grapevine, just because it suits their worldview– not because it is actually true or because they have evidence to support it. The striking thing is that it would not take much effort to establish validity in most of these cases… but people prefer reassurance to research.
-Neil deGrasse Tyson
May 26, 2017
We used to think that everything started in the lab. Now we realize that everything spins off the consumer. And while technology is still important, the consumer has to lead innovation. We have to innovate for a specific reason, and that reason comes from the market. Otherwise, we’ll end up making museum pieces.
– Phil Knight, Nike
May 26, 2017
See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind…
The wolf and the lamb will feed together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox,
and dust will be the serpent’s food.
– God, Isaiah 65
May 23, 2017
Can machines think?
– Alan Turing
May 22, 2017
What if I’m made of stone?… I should be feeling more, draped over your bones.
May 18, 2017
Start now, every day, becoming, in your actions, your regular actions, what you would like to become in the bigger scheme of things.
– Anna Deavere Smith
May 11, 2017
The dead still live: for they appear to the living in dreams.
– Friedrich Nietzsche
May 10, 2017
You cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt! You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow, it is kept from you.
You have to live on this 24 hours of time. Out of it you have to spin health, pleasure, money, content, respect and the evolution of your immortal soul. It’s right use…is a matter of the highest urgency.
– Arnold Bennett
May 3, 2017
Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
– Proverbs 11: 22
April 21, 2017
Since you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life.
– Isaiah 43:4
On Passion and Reason
April 19, 2017
Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and your appetite.
Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay, the lovers of all your elements.
Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul.
If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, is a force confirming; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing.
And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.”
– Kahlil Gibran
April 18, 2017
The painter Kramskoy has a remarkable painting entitled The Contemplator: it depicts a forest in winter, and in the forest, standing all by himself on the road, in deepest solitude, a stray little peasant in a ragged caftan and bast shoes; he stands as if he were lost in thought, but he is not thinking, he is “contemplating” something. If you nudged him, he would give a start and look at you as if he had just woken up, but without understanding anything. It’s true that he would come to himself at once, and yet, if he were asked what he had been thinking about while standing there, he would most likely not remember, but would most likely keep hidden away in himself the impression he had been under while contemplating. These impressions are dear to him, and he is most likely storing them up imperceptibly and even without realizing it— why and what for, of course, he does not know either; perhaps suddenly, having stored up his impressions over many hears, he will drop everything and wander off to Jerusalem to save his soul, or perhaps he will suddenly burn down his native village, or perhaps he will do both. There are plenty of contemplators among the people.
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky
April 15, 2017
Can there be beauty in Sodom?
– Dmitri Karamazov, The Brothers Karamazov
On Space X
April 14, 2017
It’s also pretty interesting that two SpaceX drone ships are named after Culture ships… – The Culture
Pretty sure he’s referring to The Culture by Ian M. Banks, a hyper advanced civilization ruled by benevolent AIs. The Culture have agents that work to uplift lesser advanced civilizations and prepare them for contact. – Gen_Ripper
April 11, 2017
I wanted to be there and see what was this thing
I don’t like second hand knowledge
I want to feel from the fire directly
I want to drink from the source.
– Tim Wu, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School
I Have This Hope
April 10, 2017
Sometimes my faith is thin. Like the night will never end.
– Tenth Avenue North
April 9, 2017
Intelligence is not consciousness. Intelligence is the ability to solve problems. Consciousness is the ability to feel things. In humans and other animals, the two indeed go together.
– Yuval Harari
60 Days of Meditation
April 5, 2017
What happens along the 60 days is that as your mind becomes more focused and more clear, you go deeper and deeper, and you start seeing the sources of where all this anger is coming from, where all this fear is coming from, and you just observe. You don’t try to do anything. You don’t tell any stories about your anger. You don’t try to fight it. Just observe. What is anger? What is boredom? You live sometimes for years and years and years experiencing anger and fear and boredom every day, and you never really observe, how does it actually feel to be angry? Because you’re too caught up in the angry.
– Yuval Harari
On Childhood Memories
April 4, 2017
He suffered– did he suffer!– from constipation. Her ubiquity and his constipation, my mother flying through the bedroom window, my father reading the evening paper with a suppository up his ass… these, Doctor, are the earliest impressions I have of my parents, of their attributes and secrets. He used to brew dried senna leaves in a saucepan, and that, along with the suppository melting invisibly in his rectum, comprised his witchcraft: brewing these veiny green leaves, stirring with a spoon the evil-smelling liquid, then carefully pouring it into a strainer, and hence into his blockaded body, though that weary and afflicted expression on his face. And then hunched silently above the empty glass, as though listening for distant thunder, he awaits the miracle… As a little boy I sometimes sat in the kitchen and waited with him. But the miracle never came, not least as we imagined and prayed it would, as a lifting of the sentence, a total deliverance from the plague. I remember that when they announced over the radio the explosion of the first atom bomb, he said aloud, “Maybe that would do the job.” But all catharses were in vain for that man: his kishkas were gripped by the iron hand of outrage and frustration.
– Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint
April 3, 2017
The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and was only longing. If these things are mistaken for the things itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself. … Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
– C.S. Lewis
March 31, 2017
Tragedy is not a trend, it’s a forever. But so is hope. So is kindness. So is your heart tucked beneath your teeshirt, and that thing has been beating since the world began. Listen.
– Haley Jakobsen
March 30, 2017
– A.R. Ammons
March 29, 2017
What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
March 28, 2017
It is not miracles that bring a realist to faith. A true realist, if he is not a believer will always find in himself the strength and ability not to believe in miracles as well, and if a miracle stands before him as an irrefutable fact, he will sooner doubt his own senses than admit the fact. And even if he does admit it, he will admit it as a fact of nature that was previously unknown to him. Once the realist comes to believe, then, precisely because of his realism, he must also allow for miracles.
– Fyodor Dostoevsky
March 27, 2017
The fortune you seek is in another cookie.
– Fortune cookie.
March 24, 2017
Let some holy ambition invade our souls, so that, dissatisfied with mediocrity, we shall eagerly desire the highest things and shall toil with all our strength to obtian them, since we may if we wish.
– Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man
March 22, 2017
i’m not lonely
sleeping all alone
you think i’m scared
but i’m a big girl
i don’t cry or anything
i have a great
big bed to roll around
in and lots of space
and i don’t dream
bad dreams like i used
to have that you
were leaving me
now that you’re gone
i don’t dream
and no matter
what you think
i’m not lonely
– Nikki Giovanni, The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni: 1968 – 1995
March 15, 2017
The compensation of growing old [is] that the passions remain as strong as ever, but one has gained– at last!– the power which adds the supreme flavor to existence– the power of taking hold of experience, of turning it around, slowly, in the right.
– Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
March 13, 2017
The repetitional costs of failure are falling, too. Don’t be too proud of your fame; don’t be ashamed if your innovation flops. More and more, both are driven by network effects beyond your control– and are quickly crowded out of everyone’s mind by whatever topic trends next. Attention is cheap. Knowing that frees you to make a brief fool of yourself as often as it takes to achieve what’s important to you.
– Chris Kutarna, Age of Discovery
March 9, 2017
Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. It causes you to work not on what you like, but what you’d like to like.
– Paul Graham, Y-Combinator founder
March 8, 2017
And suddenly, a familiar song.
Then you’re off your chair in one exquisite movement. Wondering, searching, sniffing the wind like a dapple deer. Has God heard your little prayer? Will Cinderella dance again? And then, suddenly, the crowds part. And there he is.
Sleek, stylish, raaadiant with charisma.
And he comes toward you, the moves of a jungle cat. And although you quite correctly sense that he is, gay– like most devastatingly handsome single men of his age are– you think, what the hell.
Life goes on.
Maybe there won’t be marriage, maybe there won’t be sex …but by God, there’ll be dancing.
– George, My Best Friend’s Wedding
March 7, 2017
No heart’s desire is repeatable, or, therefore, predictable. If a few hungry foxes gorge on a large population of rabbits, the population of foxes increases while that of the rabbits declines, until some point of equlibrium is passed and the foxes begin to vanish with the depleted supply of rabbits, and then the rabbits multiply, like rabbits. And so on. The ebb and flow of desire and fulfillment is a story as old as the world. So, if I loved you, finally, too much, until you began to disappear, and I followed, would you theoretically return to love repeatedly again? There are forces so small in our story of foxes and rabbits no Malthus could ever account for them. Whole species daily disappear, intractable as weather. Or think of a continent’s coastlines, their unmeasurable eddies and whorls: infinite longings inscribed by finite space and time, the heart’s intimate branchings.
– Ronald Wallace, Chaos Theory
March 3, 2017
Race is not to the swift…but time and chance happeneth to them all.
– Ecclesiastes 9:11
March 1, 2017
The nature of all other creatures is defined and restricted within laws which [God] has laid down; you, by contrast…may…as the free and proud shaper of your own being, fashion yourself in the form you may prefer. It will be in your power to descend to the lower, brutish forms of lie [or] …to rise again to the superior orders whose life is divine.
– Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man
February 26, 2017
Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery
February 9, 2017
We can be be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness
– Daniel Kahneman, psychologist
January 27, 2017
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost
January 20, 2017
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent. Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust.
– Isaiah 5:21-24
January 16, 2017
I’m rich in gold and rich in tone; if you lack virtue leave me alone.
– a beautiful piano
January 14, 2017
All that is gold does not glitter; Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither; Deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken, The crown less again shall be king.
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Ring: The Fellowship of the Ring
January 9, 2017
Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day,
And make me travel forth without my cloak,
To let base clouds o’ertake me in my way,
Hiding thy bravery in their rotten smoke?
‘Tis not enough that through the cloud thou break,
To dry the rain on my storm-beaten face,
For no man well of such a salve can speak
That heals the wound and cures not the disgrace:
Nor can thy shame give physic to my grief;
Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss:
The offender’s sorrow lends but weak relief
To him that bears the strong offence’s cross.
Ah! but those tears are pearl which thy love sheds,
And they are rich and ransom all ill deeds.
– William Shakespeare
January 7, 2017
Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.
– Joshua Fields Milburn of The Minimalists
January 5, 2017
My beloved is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand. His head is purest gold; his hair is wavy and black as a raven. His eyes are like doves by the water streams, washed in milk, mounted like jewels. His cheeks are like beds of spice yielding perfume. His lips are like lilies dripping with myrrh. His arms are rods of gold set with topaz. His body is like polished ivory decorated with lapis lazuli. His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. His appearance is like Lebanon, choice as its cedars. His mouth is sweetness itself; he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, this is my friend, daughters of Jerusalem.
– a maiden of the royal courts of King Solomon recalling her shepherd lover amidst repeated attempts by King Solomon to woo her.
January 2, 2017
The wild ass, if when going to the spring to drink, it should find the water muddy has never so great a thirst as to cause it not to abstain from drinking and wait until the water grows.
– Leonardo da Vinci
December 31, 2016
The attainment of the good for one man alone is, to be sure, a source of satisfaction; yet to secure it for a nation and for states is nobler and more divine.
– Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
December 30, 2016
A painter was asked why he had made his children so ugly, when his figures, which were dead things, he had made so beautiful. His reply was that he made his picture by day and his children at night.
– Leonardo da Vinci
December 28, 2016
The acquisition of any knowledge whatever is always useful to the intellect, because it will be able to banish the useless things and retain those that are good. For nothing can be either loved or hated unless it is first known.
– Leonardo da Vinci
December 26, 2016
The hill of Zion yields a thousand sacred sweets before we reach the heavenly fields or walk the golden streets.
– Isaac Watts
December 21, 2016
Of grotesque faces I need say nothing, because they are kept in mind without difficulty.
– Leonardo da Vinci
December 19, 2016
I wish to work miracles; it may be that I possess less than other men of more peaceful lives, or than those who want to grow rich in a day. I may live for a long time in great poverty, as always happens, and to all eternity will happen, to alchemists, the would-be creators of gold and silver, and to engineers who would have dead water stir itself into life and perpetual motion, and to those supreme fools, the necromancer and the enchanter.
– Leonardo da Vinci
December 12, 2016
It’s funny having at 59 the sort of happiness most men have in their twenties… Thou hast kept the good wine till now.
– C.S. Lewis
December 9, 2016
I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side… [But] there are some things, of course, whose side I’m altogether not on.
– ancient Treebeard, J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
December 5, 2016
He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
On Civil Principalities
November 28, 2016
the acquisition of which neither depends completely upon virtue nor upon Fortune, but instead upon a fortunately astuteness: “And in doubtful times he will always find a scarcity of men in whom he can trust. Such a prince (one who becomes prince with the support of the common people) cannot rely upon what he sees during periods of calm when the citizens need his rule, because then everyone comes running, everyone makes promises, and each person is willing to die for him, since death is remote.
-Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
November 22, 2016
Then, if the sick man is reading, the pages will turn silently, as if they are being moved by the fingers of a god. The heavy rumble of a running bath becomes faint, light, and remote, like a celestial babbling. THe withdrawal of sound, its dilution, robs it of any aggressive power it may have over us; thrown into a panic a moment ago by the sound of hammer blows that seemed to be making the ceiling shudder over our heads, we now find it possible to enjoy them, light, caressing, distant, like the rustle of leaves playing along the roadside with the passing breeze. We play games of patience with cards we cannot hear, so much so that we imagine we have not shuffled them, that they are moving of their own accord and anticipating our desire to play with them, have begun to play with us. And in this connection we may wonder whether, in the case of Love (to which we may even add the love of life, the love of fame, since there are people, it appears, who are acquainted with these two), we should not behave like those who, when noise disturbs them, rather than praying for it to stop, block their ears against it; and, following their example, bring our attention our defenses, to bear upon ourselves, give them as an object to subdue not the external being whom we love, but our capacity to suffer on account of the loved one.
– Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way
November 10, 2016
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
November 8, 2016
For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering his State, as the means will always be considered honorable, and he will be praised by all because the vulgar masses are always seduced by the appearances of things and by the outcome of events; and in this world there are only vulgar masses.”
Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
November 2, 2016
Brains don’t exempt you from hitting the wall, because on the scale of science itself, we are all idiots. My analogy is that humans learning science is akin to pigeons learning Calculus– it really doesn’t matter if you’re pigeon Einstein, the scale of the problem is negligible. Unless you’ve got a notebook full of solved millenium problems, a cure for cancer, and an explanation for dark matter… shut your brag hole and get back to work, pigeon.
– wise man from Quora
November 1, 2016
One major unpleasantness involved in writing a memoir is the historian’s task of rereading your personal archive of texts, messages, and emails. In contemplating an earlier version of yourself, you’ll realize that young and glorious you was in fact a total and complete f***wit. An older you, going back and whispering in your younger ear, would issue not praise and encouragement, but insults and dire warnings.
– Antonio Garcia Martinez, Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure
October 31, 2016
An empty pageant; a state play; flocks of sheep, herds of cattle; a bone flung among a pack of dogs; a crumb tossed into a pond of fish; ants, loaded and laboring; mice, scared and scampering; puppets, jerking on their strings; that is life. In the midst of it all you must take your stand, good temperedly and without disdain, yet always aware that a man’s worth is no greater than the worth of his ambitions.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
October 30, 2016
As an age when Names, offering us the image of the unknowable that we have invested in them and simultaneously designating a real place for us, force us accordingly to identify the one with the other, to a point where we go off to a city to seek out a soul that it cannot contain but which no longer have the power to expel from its name, it is not only to cities and ruins that they give an individuality, as do allegorical paintings, nor is it only the physical world that they spangle with differences and people with marvels, it is the social world as well: so every historic house, every famous residence or palace, has its lady or its fairy, deep in her name, the fairy is transformed by the needs of our imaginative activity through which she lives… However, the fairy wastes away when we come into contact with the actual person to whom the name corresponds, for the name then begins to reflect that person, who contains nothing of the fairy; the fairy can reappear if we absent ourselves from the person, but if we stay in the person’s presence the fairy dies forever, and with her the name.. So the Name, beneath the successive retouchings that might eventually lead us to discover the original handsome portrait of an unknown woman we have never met, becomes no more than the mere photograph on an identity card to which we refer when we need to decide whether we know, whether or not we should acknowledge a person we encounter.
Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way
October 26, 2016
No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness — they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it…
– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
October 25, 2016
The whole question boils down for you into “doing well.” Always and still always look for the best, there and everywhere, and, preoccupied day and night with how to perfect your work, be stricter with yourself than with anybody else. Never let anything emerge from your studio that cannot defy the criticism of a rival. To seek honor before profit is the surest means of finding profit with honor.
– Felix Nadar, 19th century photographer
When honor’s at the stake.
– Shakespeare, Hamlet
October 15, 2016
Once he had been dazzled by this opulent depiction of what he called mediocrity, this appetizing depiction of a life he had found insipid, this great art of nature he had thought paltry, I should say to him: Are you happy?
When you walk around a kitchen, you will say to yourself, this is interesting, this is grand, this is beautiful like a Chardin.
– Marcel Proust
October 4, 2016
‘Surely she cannot truly like him, or not like him with true affection! If she did, she need not coin her smiles so lavishly, flash her glances so unremittingly, manufacture airs so elaborate, graces so multitudinous. It seems to me that she might, by merely sitting quietly at his side, saying little and looking less, get nigher his heart. I have seen in his face a far different expression from that which hardens it now while she is so vivaciously accosting him; but then it came of itself; it was not elicited by meretricious arts and calculated manoeuvres; and one had but to accept it—to answer what he asked, without pretension, to address him, when needful, without grimace—and it increased, and grew kinder and more genial, and warmed one like a fostering sunbeam.’
– Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
September 26, 2016
Often down here I have entered into a sanctuary … of great agony once; and always some terror; so afraid one is of loneliness; of seeing to the bottom of the vessel. That is one of the experiences I have had here in some Augusts; and got then to a consciousness of what I call “reality”: a thing I see before me: something abstract; but residing in the downs or sky; beside which nothing matters; in which I shall rest and continue to exist. Reality I call it. And I fancy sometimes this is the most necessary thing to me: that which I seek. But who knows — once one takes a pen and writes? How difficult not to go making “reality” this and that, whereas it is one thing. Now perhaps this is my gift: this perhaps is what distinguishes me from other people: I think it may be rare to have so acute a sense of something like that — but again, who knows? I would like to express it too.
– Virginia Woolf
September 19, 2016
The queen can have balls to be fit for a king
– a woman.
September 12, 2016
The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.
– Mortimer Adler