Wordy Treasures

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


Check Yo’self

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

– Jeremiah


The Absurd 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


Captain America

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.

– Shakespeare


 

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.”

– Daughter


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

– Reddit


On Desires

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


Both Ways

March 30, 2017

One can’t
have it

both ways
and both

ways is
the only

way I
want it.

– A.R. Ammons


Harlem

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?

-Langston Hughes


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
anymore

now that you’re gone
i don’t dream
and no matter
what you think
i’m not lonely
sleeping
all alone

– 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


Sonnet 34

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


On Marriage

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.

– Solomon


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


October 23, 2016
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw

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