Wordy Treasures

December 12, 2017

The fool, with all his other faults, has this also, he is always getting ready to live.

– Epicurus


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.

– Aristotle


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


FashionAI

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

MAINTAIN

– 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

D’Arline,

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.

Rich.

– 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.

– Seneca


October 29, 2017

The heart’s memory of the sun grows faint.

The grass is yellower.

A few early snowflakes blow in the wind,

Barely, barely.

– 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.

Seth Godin


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

“You’re doing it wrong”

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


On Principles

September 6, 2017

Rather fail with honor than succeed by fraud.

– Sophocles


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


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


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


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

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