Invincible Summer |||


Aphorisms serve me as a substitute for serious thought.

There is no reason why we should not feel ourselves free to be bold, to be open, to experiment, to take action, to try the possibilities of things. Over against us, standing in the path, there is nothing but a few old gentlemen tightly buttoned up in their frock coats, who only need to be treated with a little friendly disrespect and bowled over like ninepins.
John Maynard Keynes

After bread, education is the first need of the people.
Georges Danton

Woman? Well, maybe—but I was a Grown-
Up, entitled to make up my own
mind, manners, morals, myths—menses small price
to pay for midnight and my own advice.
Marilyn Hacker, “Peterborough”, Assumptions

to work at re-inventing work and love.
We may be learning how to tell the truth.
Marilyn Hacker, “La Fontaine de Vaucluse”, Assumptions

Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, davon muß man schweigen.
Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung, §7

They were careless people … they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Block by block he hurried through the darkening city. Struggling to get back as soon as possible to the fixed, comprehensible place he had been.
Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

Freedom for the pike is death for the minnow.
Isaiah Berlin

Whoever has learnt to be anxious in the right way, has learnt the ultimate.
Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety

There are only two industries that call their customers ‘users’: illegal drugs and software.
Edward Tufte, The Social Dilemma

Nothing vast enters the life of mortals without a curse.
Sophocles, Antigone

Experience makes fools of us all. In experiencing so much and growing older, I’ve realised there was definitely a naivety to my former self. There was a hopefulness, joyfulness and playfulness to a lot of those early records that’s been slowly receding over the years. It’s hard for me to speak for it because it’s happened so gradually, like watching a tree grow. But you start to lose faith in the structures of society as you get older, and I think that’s coming to the surface now.
Sufjan Stevens, The Guardian

None are more helplessly enslaved than those who believe they are free.
Juliet Gilkes Romero, The Whip

You rise, because you cannot subvert your neighbour’s liberty without attacking your own.
Juliet Gilkes Romero, The Whip

You can’t have everything. Where would you put it?
Steven Wright, The Guardian

Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.
A.J. Liebling, The Guardian

London, long since the natural home of everyone who owned the world but didn’t live in China…
William Gibson, The Peripheral

As a rule, it was the fittest who perished. The misfits,
Forced by failure to migrate to unsettled niches,
altered their structure and prospered.
W.H. Auden, Robert Newman

All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
Blaise Pascal

Dum loquimur, fugerit invida aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
While we talk the years will sneak away.
Distrust that ripe tomorrow: pluck the day.

Quintus Horatius Flaccus, “Odes”, Book I, Ode xi

Broadly speaking, ours is a society of altruists governed by psychopaths.
George Monbiot, The Guardian

I feel like, a hundred years ago, America gave us a safe word – and we’ve simply forgotten it.
Frankie Boyle, Hurt Like You’ve Never Been Loved

Quidquid praecipies, esto brevis, ut cito dicta percipiant animi dociles teneantque fideles: omne supervacuum pleno de pectore manat.
When you wish to instruct, be brief; that men’s minds may take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus, “Ars Poetica”, l.335-7

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.
Frederick Douglass

Abstractions are defined by thinkably few relationships among thinkably few entities.
Tracy Harms, Jsoftware conference 2014

Art is what we do. Culture is what is done to us.
Carl Andre, Cuts: Texts 1959-2004

Individuals who never sense the contradictions of their cultural inheritance run the risk of becoming little more than host bodies for stale gestures, metaphors and received ideas, all the stereotypic likes and dislikes by which cultures perpetuate themselves.
Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, myth and art

The agile mind is pleased to find what it was not looking for.
Lewis Hyde, Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, myth and art

People feel even more than before that the country is not being governed for them, but for a narrow segment of well-connected insiders who reap most of the gains and, when things go wrong, are not just shielded from loss but impose massive costs on everybody else.
Martin Wolf, The Shifts and the Shocks: What we’ve learned – and have still to learn – from the financial crisis

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
R. Buckminster Fuller

A large acquaintance with particulars often makes us wiser than the possession of abstract formulas.
William James

I’ve stopped reading the newspapers. Now I just lie to myself and cut out the middleman.
Frankie Boyle, link

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the public alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
H.L. Mencken, “Life or death”, David Edwards, openDemocracy, 2014-12-15

The difference between dreaming and being awake is just that at night, consciously, you stop doing anything else. I have to be awake and go around, be a properly dressed person, every day, but actually only just enough to eat and make a few friends. But as far as I’m concerned, I’m dreaming all the time. The only difference is that I come up for daylight and other people the way a whale has to come up for air.
Robert Wyatt, “Free Will and Testament: the Robert Wyatt Story”, Calliope Media

I see craftmanship not as an ability to plan campaigns but as being able to jump the right way in all the unguessable emergencies of writing.
Denise Levertov, Robert Baird in “Exotic bird from Ilford”, London Review of Books, 25 Sep 2014

One cannot really come to appreciate one’s life save by playing with it and hazarding it a little.
Jack London, James Camp in “In a boat of his own making”, London Review of Books, 25 Sep 2014

There has been no design to my life at all. No plot, no plan. I’ve lived by the skin of my teeth and taking chances at village dances.
Jean, Baroness Trumpington, Coming Up Trumps, Macmillan, London, 2014

This island is made mainly of coal and is surrounded by fish. Only an organizing genius could produce a shortage of coal and fish at the same time.
Aneurin Bevan, Speech at Blackpool, 1943. In Going South: Why Britain will have a third-world economy by 2014, Larry Elliott & Dan Atkinson, Macmillan Palgrave, London, 2012

as regards wealth, … no citizen should be rich enough to be able to buy another, and none so poor that he has to sell himself.
Jean-Jaques Rousseau, Democratic Wealth

The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.
Edward Dowling, William Blum, America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy – The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else, Zed Books, London, 2014, p. 319

Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.
Noam Chomsky, link

The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don’t know how to be submissive, and so on – because they’re dysfunctional to the institutions.
Noam Chomsky, link

We must be as courteous to a man as we are to a picture, which we are willing to give the advantage of a good light.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, link, Courtesy

The education that has been given to the people is at most partial and second best, and has little in common whether in range or spirit with the universal education that may be. It was but the least possible with which the people would be contented, and it was calculated to equip not citizens, but servants… But education has to fit us for something… so incomparably precious that it will save a man from being a mere unit, a cipher: it will give him a life of his own, independent of the machine. And therefore at any cost our education must never sink to the level at which it will be merely vocational.
Cyril Norwood, headmaster of Harrow School, Ian Irvine in “The way we were’, Prospect, April 2014

Ignorance, or the want of knowledge and literature, the appointed lot of all born to poverty and the drudgeries of life, is the only opiate capable of infusing that insensibility, which can enable them to endure the miseries of the one, and the fatigues of the other. It is a cordial, administered by the gracious hand of providence, of which they ought never to be deprived by an ill-judged and improper education. It is the basis of all subordination, the support of society, and the privilege of individuals… by which means the prince and the labourer, the philosopher and the peasant, are, in some measure, fitted for their respective situations.
Soames Jenyns, MP, Ian Irvine in “The way we were’, Prospect, April 2014

Genius lies in limitation.

Nothing more than memory is left of the old Anglo-German antagonism.
Sir Edward Grey, Vernon Bogdanor, “Sir Edward Grey and the crisis of 1914”, lecture at The Legatum Institute, London 26 Sep 2013, per BBC Parliament

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed and well-fed.
Herman Melville

The world is only improved by people who do ordinary jobs and refuse to be bullied. Nobody can persuade owners to share with makers when makers won’t shift for themselves.
Alasdair Gray, “Man is the pie” by Jenny Turner, review of “Every Short Story 1951–2012” by Alasdair Gray, in London Review of Books, 21 February 2013

You suffer from the oldest delusion in politics. You think you can change the world by talking to a leader. But leaders are the effects, not the causes, of changes.
Alasdair Gray, “Man is the pie” by Jenny Turner, review of “Every Short Story 1951–2012” by Alasdair Gray, in London Review of Books, 21 February 2013

If a book is well written, I always find it too short.
Jane Austen

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened.
Cora Harvey Armstrong

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. … Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.
Howard Zinn

You can live two lives but not three.
Nigella Lawson

Love when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely.

Sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day – unless you’re too busy, in which case, sit for an hour.

It is poor civic hygiene to install the machinery of repression in the belief that it will never be used.

The Wright brothers learned more about flying in 12 seconds than mankind had done in the previous two millennia.

I believe that men and nations can live in peace and harmony – when they’ve tried everything else.

Organised people are just too lazy to look for things.

The best is the enemy of the good.

Until the lion learns to write the hunter will always tell the story of the hunt.

Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Smile a lot, it relaxes yourself and others. And dance like no one’s watching.

When the Viennese government compiled a Catalogue of Forbidden Books in 1765, so many Austrians used it as a reading guide that the Hapsburg censors were forced to include the Catalogue itself as a forbidden book.
Craig Nelson, Thomas Paine: His life, his times and the birth of modern nations

When it shall be said in any country in the world, ‘my poor are happy, neither ignorance nor distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want; the taxes are not oppressive; the rational world is my friend, because I am the friend of happiness’; when these things can be said, then may that country boast its constitution and its government.
Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, Part the Second

The spirit of society, and the inequality which society produces … is contrary to the laws of nature … that the privileged few should gorge themselves with superfluities, while the starving multitude are in want of the basic necessities of life.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

When in countries that are called civilized, we see age going to the work-house and youth to the gallows, something must be wrong with the system of government.
Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, Part the Second

A too great disproportion among the citizens weakens any state. Every person, if possible, ought to enjoy the fruits of his labour, in a full possession of all the necessaries, and many of the conveniences of life. No one can doubt, but such an equality is most suitable to human nature, and diminishes much less from the happiness of the rich than it adds to that of the poor.
David Hume, Of Commerce

Boys do now cry “Kiss my Parliament” instead of “Kiss my arse,” so great and general contempt is the Rump come to among all men, good and bad.
Samuel Pepys, Diary

Every orientation presupposes a disorientation. Only someone who has experienced bewilderment can free himself of it. But these games of orientation are in turn games of disorientation. Therein lies their fascination and their risk. The labyrinth is made so that whoever enters it will stray and get lost. But the labyrinth also poses the visitor a challenge: that he reconstruct the plan of it and dissolve its power. If he succeeds, he will have destroyed the labyrinth; for one who has passed through it, no labyrinth exists.
Hans Magnus Enzensberger, “Topological Structures in Modern Literature”, Sur, Buenos Aires, May-Jun 1966

What woman wakes up of a morning and says “Today I do not want to be swept off my feet?”
Kevin Bisch, Hitch

Software design is a constant battle with complexity.
Eric Evans, Domain-Driven Design

It is not that we misunderstand each other, that we keep getting it wrong, it is that we put so much belief – false belief – in the whole notion of knowing and understanding
Adam Phillips, Darwin’s Worms

I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.
Harold Pinter, Nobel Prize acceptance speech

The strong take from the weak; and the smart take from the strong.
Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason, The Rule of Four

Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.
Kurt Vonnegut, Cats Cradle

Our love poems are mostly the work of madmen. I laid them at her feet, proudly, as a cat would a half-eaten rat.
Don Paterson, ”Aphorisms”, London Review of Books

My time here has afforded me no enlightenment; though my night-vision has improved enormously.
Don Paterson, “Aphorisms”, London Review of Books

On the one hand is the world of mechanised industry claiming to be able to give happiness to men and all the delights of human life – provided we are content to have them in our spare time and do not demand such things in the work by which we earn our livings… On the other… – a world in which the notion of spare time hardly exists, for the thing is hardly known and very little desired; a world wherein the work is the life & love accompanies it.
Eric Gill, An Essay on Typography

Die Welt ißt alle, das die Falle ißt.
The world is everything that is the case.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Sexual harassment is a crime committed by beta-males who think they can get away with alpha behaviour…
Jemima Lewis, The Week

Ye are the duped and dormant, damned to the end of things
Motes in the merchant’s ledger, dust in the path of kings.
anonymous, “Hallelujah lasses”, ES Turner, London Review of Books

Repeat after me: happiness is merely a habit.
Paddy McAloon, I Trawl The Megahertz

“There are two great powers,” the man said, “and they’ve been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit.”
Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife

Killing your opponent is the ultimate in conflict resolution.
Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate

Was it Romeo or Juliet
Who said when about to die
Love is not all peaches and cream
Goodbye little dream, goodbye?
Cole Porter, Anything Goes

Poetry is no more a vocation than good health is.
Robert Bolt, Doctor Zhivago

Rule 4: Always say less than necessary.
Personal ad, London Review of Books

Communication ceases when one being is no different from another: when there is nothing strange to wonder at and nothing new to exchange.
Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style

Only short programs have a hope of being correct.
Arthur Whitney

I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776 … is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it. … I have sometimes asked myself whether my country is the better for my having lived at all.
Thomas Jefferson

This American world was not made for me.
Alexander Hamilton

They who feed, cloathe and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labour as to be themselves tolerably well fed, cloathed and lodged.
Adam Smith

The most extravagant idea that can be born in the head of a political thinker is to believe that it suffices for people to enter, weapons in hand, among a foreign people and expect to have its laws and constitutions embraced. No one loves armed missionaries.
Maximilien de Robespierre

From the respect paid to property, as from a poisoned fountain, flow most of the evils and vices which render this world such a dreary scene.
Mary Wollstonecraft

Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.

Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.
Benito Mussolini

The great majority of us are required to live a life of constant, systematic duplicity.
Boris Pasternak

We human beings are strange creatures and still reserve the right to think for ourselves.
Marilyn Monroe

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Mae West

To feel much for others and little for ourselves; to restrain our selfishness and exercise our benevolent affections, constitute the perfection of human nature.
Adam Smith

Beware the barrenness of a busy life.

Fiat justitia ruat caelum.
Let justice be done even if the skies fall.
Lord Mansfield

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.

Bread and water can easily be tea and toast.
The Teahouse Theatre, Vauxhall

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
George Bernard Shaw

A nation of sheep soon begets a government of wolves.
Edward R. Murrow

Poetry is – I fear – incurable.
Lord Byron

Who would write – who had anything better to do?
Lord Byron

Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.
Oscar Wilde

Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.
Oscar Wilde

One should always be in love; that is the reason one should never marry.
Oscar Wilde

Only the shallow know themselves.
Oscar Wilde

The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
Frederick Douglass

If you do not read the newspapers you are uninformed. If you do read them, you are misinformed.
Mark Twain

Princes and priests soon saw an enemy in the press. Type was in their opinion the most serious form that lead could take.
George Jacob Holyoake

I will use Arial when Helvetica freezes over.
Rocío Rødtjer

Just as science is the religion of the positivists, justice is the religion of the Jew.
Léon Blum

If you can’t write clearly, you probably don’t think nearly as well as you think you do.
Kurt Vonnegut

It is hard for anyone to become an honest politician who is not born and bred a Dissenter.
William Hazlitt

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.
Thomas Paine

If we have learned nothing else from the 20th century, we should at least have grasped that the more perfect the answer, the more terrifying its consequences.
Tony Judt

The disposition to admire, and almost to worship, the rich and the powerful, and to despise, or, at least, to neglect persons of poor and mean condition … is … the great and most universal cause of the corruption of our moral sentiments.
Adam Smith

We shouldn’t leave the job of loving the earth to the mole.
Dulce María Loynaz (‘Autumn Melancholy’ CXLIII, trans. James O’Connor)

Across the globe we can recognize a common situation, in which gigantic masses of people are abandoned to the banlieues and ghettoes of large cities, and where the old principles of proletarian organization are no longer effective.
Alain Badiou

The masses we speak of are profoundly atomized by capitalism. They are, for the most part, delivered over to conditions of existence that are precarious and chaotic. They are a collective figure that still has no name.
Alain Badiou

Those who have nothing have only their discipline.
Alain Badiou

Throughout history, the really fundamental changes in societies have come about not from the dictates of governments and the results of battles, but through vast numbers of people changing their minds, sometimes only a little bit.
Willis Harman

There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies and the other is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies.
C. A. R. Hoare

The things we want to be most private about are what we are stopped by. They are also what makes us connected as human beings.
The Landmark Forum

The jerk that you are is all you have to work with. The cavalry is not coming. Do you have the jerk or does it have you?
The Landmark Forum

Standing in the opening that is the verge of breakthrough, who you used to be would know what to do – but it wouldn’t work. Building tolerance for not knowing is mastery.
The Landmark Forum

Why write – if not to praise the sacred places?
Richard Howard

…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive … it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organising its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

Nothing could be more remote from Socialist ideals than the competitive scramble of a society which pays lip-service to equality, but too often means by it merely equal opportunities of becoming unequal.
R.H. Tawney

Whatever the crimes of the Elizabethans, respectability was not among them.
R.H. Tawney

And so the author vanishes—that spoiled child of ignorance—to give place to a more thoughtful person, a person who will know that the author is a machine and will know how this machine works.
Italo Calvino, The Uses of Literature

Liberalism is the trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism is distrust of the people, tempered by fear.
William Ewart Gladstone

Is it not wonderful, sir, that all true constitutional watchfulness of England should be dead to the only real danger that the present day exhibits and they should alone be roused by the idiotic clamour of republican frenzy and popular insurrection, which do not exist? We are come to the moment when the question is whether we should give to the King, that is to the executive government, complete power over our thoughts.
Charles James Fox

I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a hand upon. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.
J.B. Books, The Shootist

The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.
George Orwell, 1984

All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations.
George Orwell, 1984

They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening.
George Orwell, 1984

The capitalists owned everything in the world, and everyone else was their slave. They owned all the land, all the houses, all the factories, and all the money. If anyone disobeyed them they could throw him into prison, or they could take away his job and starve him to death.
George Orwell

When I became an adult I put away childish things, including the fear of seeming childish and the desire to be very grown-up.
C.S. Lewis

Pessimism is the luxury of the very rich. It is a real energy drainer.
Richard Chartres

Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.
G.B. Shaw

Don’t ever argue with a fool in a public forum. While you might think you are winning the argument, bystanders might not be able to tell which of you is the fool.
Philip Emma

A poem is never finished, only abandoned.
Paul Valéry

Premature optimization is the root of all evil in programming.
C. A. R. Hoare

The screwed-up way we approach software development is because of what we have done with programming languages.
Richard Gabriel

If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.
Blaise Pascal

Who after all is today speaking of the destruction of the Armenians?
Adolf Hitler

Copyright is for losers™

The only real problem with APL is that it is still ahead of its time.
Morten Kromberg

Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.
Calvin Coolidge

Civilisation is an exercise in self-restraint.
W.B. Yeats

There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.
Robert Louis Stevenson

In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards.
Mark Twain

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
John F. Kennedy

Englishmen are so odd. They are like a nest of Chinese boxes. It takes a very long time to get to the centre of them. When one gets there the result is unrewarding, but the process is instructive and entertaining.
Ian Fleming

…the antipathy which every true-born Briton naturally bears to ministers of state
David Hume

What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue.
Thomas Paine

Conscience is the inner voice that warns us someone might be looking.
H.L. Mencken

Reality is just a crutch for people who can’t deal with drugs.
Robin Williams

I don’t like country music, but I don’t mean to denigrate those who do. And for those who do like country music, ‘denigrate’ means ‘put down’.
Bob Newhart

The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne,
Th’assay so hard, so sharp the conquerynge.
Geoffrey Chaucer

The generality of the male sex cannot yet tolerate the idea of living with an equal.
John Stuart Mill

Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.
Anatole France

The only response to absolute evil is fraternity.
André Malraux

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, and those who are cold and are not clothed.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

My house burns with the three fires. It is not fit to live in.
Gautama Buddha

No individual or people can be so cold, indifferent and insensitive … as those who by their nature are lively, sensitive and warm.

Let thy speech be short, signifying much in few words.
Ecclesiastes 23.8

In Cuba the music flows like a river. It takes care of you and rebuilds you from the inside out.
Ry Cooder

Hope is the power to be cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate.
G.K. Chesterton

Many are stubborn in the path they have chosen, few in pursuit of the goal.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men. The other 999 follow women.
Groucho Marx

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
Aldous Huxley

When a man tells you he got rich through hard work, ask him: ‘Whose?’
Don Marquis

TV is trash… poison.

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love each other.
Jonathan Swift

You make the movie to find out why you wanted to make the movie.
David Cronenberg

Seems to me the kids are just too darn healthy nowadays… get the same pleasure from flossing their teeth, jogging five miles or fucking and a shower. I mean, doesn’t anybody muffle sobs in pillows anymore? Get dizzy with desire in phone booths?
Lucia Berlin to August Kleinzahler

Even if the system assigned me a guest-room in the attic, I still prefer to be a thinker who lives like a bird on a twig.
Søren Kierkegaard

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
Margaret Mead

The trouble with life is, by the time you can read a girl like a book, your library card has expired.
Milton Berle

Money doesn’t make you happy. The man with ten million dollars is no happier than a man with nine.
Sign on foreign-exchange trader’s desk at Macquarie Bank, Sydney

Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.
Alan Perlis

Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
Benjamin Franklin

That language is an instrument of human reason, and not merely a medium for the expression of thought, is a truth generally admitted.
George Boole

When I get a little money I buy books; if any is left I buy food and clothes.

APL is like a diamond. It has a beautiful crystal structure; all of its parts are related in a uniform and elegant way. But if you try to extend this structure in any way – even by adding another diamond – you get an ugly kludge. LISP, on the other hand, is like a ball of mud. You can add any amount of mud to it and it still looks like a ball of mud.
Joel Moses

Science is like sex; sometimes something useful comes out, but that is not the reason we are doing it.
Richard Feynman

But the key to flexibility, I think, is to make the language very abstract. The easiest program to change is one that’s very short.
Paul Graham

A programming language is for thinking of programs, not for expressing programs you’ve already thought of. It should be a pencil, not a pen.
Paul Graham

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.
John Cage

I hate to advocate weird chemicals, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone – but they’ve always worked for me.
Hunter S. Thompson

Women need to feel loved to have sex. Men need to have sex to feel loved. Someone out there in the Cosmos must be laughing at us.
Billy Connolly

I know men find intimacy difficult. I have to have a lot of sex with someone before I’ll ask them out for a drink.
Dylan Moran

Huske at elske, mens du tør det.
Huske at leve, mens du gør det.
Remember to love, while you dare it.
Remember to live, while you do that.

Piet Hein

Cry Havoc! and let loose the dogs of war.
William Shakespeare

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
Martin Buber

Weeds are God dancing without our permission.
Andrew Gaines

I believe people can find true love and happiness, as I did – eventually.
Richard Curtis

Five years from now you will be exactly the same person you are today … apart from the people you meet and the books you read.
Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

It is rare to find learned men who are clean, do not stink, and have a sense of humour.
Elisabeth Charlotte of Orange-Nassau

With me, it’s not a case of having left undone the things I ought to have done; I’ve left undone those things I ought not to have done too.
Alan Bennett

…and the serene confidence of a Christian with four aces.
Mark Twain

If ever it shall happen that in the house of the artisan you can turn on power as you can now turn on gas, you will then see men and women able to pursue in their own houses many industries which now require the aggregation of the factory.
Lord Salisbury

To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.
Cary Grant

Understanding is the booby prize in life.
David Ure

Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to.
Mark Twain

The masters of the art, it seems to me, are those who never stop apprenticing.
Robert Bringhurst

Put not your faith in kings and princes. Three of a kind beats them every time.
P.J. O’Rourke

I believe poetry is indispensable, but to what, I can’t quite say.
Jean Cocteau

Did you hear about Magda Lupescu
Who came to Romania’s rescue?
It’s a wonderful thing
To be under a king:
Is democracy better, I esk you?
Unknown, per Bruce Schultz OP

It’s a nervous tic of analytical philosophy to be forever wishing to clarify distinctions that nobody is actually confused about.
Jerry Fodor

Things which you have lived with tend to seem unproblematical until you change them; then you wonder what on earth you once thought you were doing.
Stephen Sedley, Lord Justice of Appeal

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
H.L. Mencken

When I was little I wanted to be somebody. Now I wish I’d been more specific.
Lily Tomlin

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
Dorothy Parker

Kindness is in our power; fondness is not.
Samuel Johnson

Doubt is not a pleasant condition. But certainty is absurd.

The mark of an educated mind is to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.

In a choice between grief and nothing, people will choose grief.
Jim White, gospel singer

Don’t think of retiring from the world until the world will be sorry to see you retire.
Samuel Johnson

I measure my financial success by how little time I spend thinking about it.

What mostly stops us in life is stopping to handle what stops us.
The Landmark Forum

Courage is knowing what not to fear.

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie
W.H. Auden

He that lives well in the world is better than he who lives well in a monastery.
Samuel Johnson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure,
It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
Marianne Williamson, “Return To Love”

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
William James

All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.
James Thurber

I’m tired of this back-slapping “Isn’t humanity neat?” bullshit. We’re a virus with shoes, okay?
Bill Hicks

Work as if you lived in the early days of a better nation.
Alasdair Gray

Eat, drink and be merry; for tomorrow we die.
A fan of merriment

Mors certa est, incerta dies, nec certa sequentum.
Death is certain, but not the day, nor what follows.
Inscription in York Minster

Life is trouble; only death is not. To be alive is to undo your belt and look for trouble.
Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.
St Jerome

After forty, every man is responsible for his own face.
Abraham Lincoln

One’s real life is so often the life that one does not lead.
Oscar Wilde

No one wants APL but so many want what APL makes possible.

Work every day, except play days.
Brooke Allen

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

Au milieu de l’hiver, j’apprenais enfin qu’il y avait en moi un été invincible.
In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
Albert Camus, Retour à Tipasa

Friends are not made, but recognised.
Carl Rakosi

I have nothing against abstinence – as long as it does not harm anybody.
Mark Twain

The only place you can fall from is where it’s at, and when you’re down, you’re not there, that’s why.
Alastair Howard Robertson

We love the people who make us whole.
Robertson Davies

A man’s homeland is wherever he prospers.

What is to give light must endure burning.
Viktor Frankl

There are more men ennobled by study than by nature.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

The world belongs to the energetic.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Only short programmers have a hope of being correct.
Ray Cannon

a hard-won knowledge of what wears us down
Geoffrey Hill, The Orchards of Zion

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it.
Upton Sinclair

Not [taking action to address the climate crisis] will leave us in a position where we are—just by inadvertence, by lack of will, by lack of coming together—marching forward in what is almost tantamount to a mutual suicide pact.
John Kerry, The Economist

… a depoliticisation of politics that is the mark of the current age: that is, the cancellation of any popular agency able to carry or fight for an alternative to a status quo that simulates representative forms the better to empty them of division or conflict
Perry Anderson, The Peripeteia of Hegemony

The web is structurally engineered to shove a banquet of the dumbest arguments in human history in our faces several times a day.
Emily Witt, Perseverate My Doxa, London Review of Books

The dark bed, like a gentle pool of water, receives you; you sink down into its encompassing arms, floating down the wandering trail of a dream, as down some straying river that softly twists and slides … now dripping darkly into blind waves, now emerging, lit with the odd phospherescent light of oneiric reason, unsearchable and dark to waking eyes.
Rose Macaulay, Personal Pleasures: Essays on enjoying life, London Review of Books

Only puny secrets need protection. Big secrets are protected by public incredulity.
Marshall McLuhan

Freedom is not for the timid.
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Experience is fundamentally illusory. When one is experiencing emotional pain or grief, one feels that everything that happens in life is unreal. And this is a right understanding of life.
Joy Williams

Every person considered themselves unique as snowflakes but in the aggregate they were a blizzard, a whiteout of swirling expectation and denial.
Joy Williams

Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.
Alan Wilson Watts

Life itself is not a dreadful situation by any means and most of the bad things that happen come because people don’t have respect for one another or are unable to put themselves in the shoes of someone who might be more desperate than you are.
David Amram

Adventure is the thing when you don’t know what’s going to happen.
Brooke Allen

Either do something worth writing about or write about something worth doing.
Brooke Allen

Your job is to have stories for your grandchildren; and the worse it gets, the better the story.
Brooke Allen

Don’t look for a job; look for work.
Brooke Allen

Rewriting is the essence of writing well: it’s where the game is won or lost.
William Zinsser, On Writing Well: The classic guide to writing nonfiction

Look for the clutter in your writing and prune it ruthlessly. Be grateful for everything you can throw away. Reexamine each sentence you put on paper. Is every word doing new work? Can any thought be expressed with more economy? Are you hanging onto something useless just because you think it’s beautiful? Simplify, simplify.
William Zinsser, On Writing Well: The classic guide to writing nonfiction

Whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither, in my opinion, is safe.
Edmund Burke

Before a revolution happens, it is perceived as impossible; after it happens, it is seen as having been inevitable.
Rosa Luxemburg

A company will get nowhere if all of the thinking is left to management.
Akio Morita

I don’t know. I’m in the forest most of the time. How do I know what the world is? I can tell you what the trees look like.
Jennifer Beals, Guardian

Forget your readers, forget acknowledgment. Poetry is not about making connections. You don’t need to be understood, you don’t even need to understand yourself. Poetry is only research into the unfathomable.
Aase Berg, Interview with Paul Cunningham

Only stupid people don’t change their minds.
Boutros Boutros-Ghali

Men, pursuing their interests, are rarely aware of the ultimate results of their activity.
Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery

If you only read one book this year, you should really try reading a few more…
Tony Parsons

Knowledge for the sake of understanding, not merely to prevail, that is the essence of our being. None can define its limits, or set its ultimate boundaries.
Vannevar Bush

The problem is not that there is evil in the world. The problem is that there is good. Because otherwise, who would care?

There is a moral obligation, I think, not to ally oneself with power against the powerless.
Chinua Achebe

I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else. (To Stanley Johnson, about his son Boris.)
Martin Hammond, former headmaster, Eton College

The best instruction is that which uses the least words sufficient for the task.
Maria Montessori

Women, like men, ought to have their years so glutted with freedom that they hate the very idea of freedom.
Vita Sackville-West

Ask them when they’re running out. Ask them when there’s no heat in their homes and they’re cold. Ask them when their engines stop. Ask them when people who have never known hunger start going hungry. Want to know something? They won’t want us to ask them. They’ll just want us to get it for them.
James Grady, Three Days of the Condor

The tradition of the camp-fire faces the tradition of the pyramid.
Martin Buber, Moses

There is no happiness for the man who does not travel. Living in the society of men, the best man becomes a sinner. For Indra is the friend of the traveller. Therefore wander!.
Aitaraya Brāhmana

It is good to collect things, but it is better to go on walks.
Anatole France

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it … but by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill … Thus, if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.
Søren Kierkegaard, letter to Jette

There is nothing better than a change of air in this malady, than to wander up and down,as those Tartari Zalmohenses, that live in hordes, and take the opportunity of times, places, seasons.
Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy

Our nature lies in movement, complete calm is death.
Blaise Pascal, Pensées

A study of the Great Malady: horror of home.
Charles Baudelaire, Journaux Intimes

We all have two lives. The second begins when we realise that we only have one.
Jutta Vinzent

Nor is consensus a useful guide; one further lesson of history is that, in every age, the consensus view of the future is consistently wrong.
John Michael Greer, Dark Age America

Visitors to a baby ward in hospital are often surprised by the silence. Yet if the mother really has abandoned her child, its only chance of survival is to shut its mouth.
Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines

The market is incapable of respecting a common resource such as the environment, which provides no price signal to express the cost of its erosion nor to warn of the long-term dangers of its destruction.
Robin Cook

Learn from the mistakes of others. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself.
Groucho Marx

The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

Trauma in a person, decontextualised over time, looks like personality. Trauma in a family, decontextualised over time, looks like family traits. Trauma in a people, decontextualised over time, looks like culture.
Resmaa Menakem

An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted.
Arthur Miller

Of course we know we’re in a fatal holding pattern; of course we know the cabin crew are running out of ways to keep us entertained.
Jeremy Harding, London Review of Books

I believe that this instinct to perpetuate useless work is, at bottom, simply fear of the mob. The mob (the thought runs) are such low animals that they would be dangerous if they had leisure; it is safer to keep them too busy to think.
George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

Puritanism: the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
H.L. Mencken

One could easily make a case that the main reason the Soviet economy worked so badly was because they never were able to develop computer technology efficient enough to coordinate such large amounts of data automatically. But the Soviet Union only made it to the 1980s. Now it would be easy. Yet no one dares suggest this.
David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs: A theory

It’s hard to imagine a surer sign that one is dealing with an irrational economic system than the fact that eliminating drudgery is considered to be a problem.
David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs: A theory

Automation did, in fact, lead to mass unemployment. We have simply stopped the gap by adding dummy jobs that are effectively made up.
David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs: A theory

Human life is a process by which we, as humans, create one another; even the most extreme individualists only become individuals through the care and support of their fellows; and “the economy” is ultimately just the way we provide ourselves with the necessary material provisions with which to do so.
David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs: A theory

If we let everyone decide for themselves how they were best fit to benefit humanity, with no restrictions at all, how could we possibly end up with a distribution of labour more inefficient than the one we already have?
David Graeber, Bullshit Jobs: A theory

So there’s one datapoint, surfing. Another would be, quite simply, the existence of women’s breasts. Now we have two datapoints, each of which by itself offers full and sufficient proof that there is a God, and that he loves us very much.
Matthew B. Crawford, “Can gratitude save humanity?”

Igitur quī dēsīderat pācem, praeparet bellum.
He who desires peace should be ready for war.
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus, De re militaris, III

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
John Muir

Good organisers listen to people to figure out what they need – and then show them that, through the collective exercise of power, a world in which those needs are met is, contrary to appearances, possible.
Amia Srinivasan, London Review of Books

Ch’an Buddhism added to Indian Buddhism the requirement that everybody work: “a day without work, a day without food.”
Gary Snyder, The Real Work

The longing for growth is not wrong. The nub of the problem now is how to flip over, as in jujitsu, the magnificent growth energy of modern civilization into a nonacquisitive search for deeper knowledge of self and nature.
Gary Snyder, A Place in Space

Creativity draws on wildness, and wildness confers freedom, which is (at bottom) the ability to live in the real physical daily world at each moment, totally and completely.
Gary Snyder, A Place in Space

This is an oral art. They should listen to the unsaid words that resonate around the edge of the poem.
Gary Snyder, The Paris Review

What was the future? One answer might be, “The future was to have been further progress, an improvement over our present condition.” This is more in question now. The deep past confounds the future by suggesting how little we are agreed on what is good.
Gary Snyder, The Gary Snyder Reader

What then has coal to do with our race? As far as we know yet, everything.
John Turnbull Thomson, London Review of Books

I am certain we cannot wait for the storm to pass or seek to skirt around its edges—we must learn to dance in the rain.
Jem Bendell, Breaking Together

One of the key effects of waking up to the predicament of modern societies is that people with a similar Western upbringing to myself begin to sense how the dominant culture that we accepted or admired is actually ‘omnicidal’—leading to the mass extinction of life on Earth and threatening the survival of our own species. Some people may want to frame this merely as a problem with the oil industry, or profligate elites, but a closer examination leads us beneath that to the ideas we were taught about self, other, nature, reality and progress.
Jem Bendell, Breaking Together

Our whole culture, our whole civilisation, in so far as it is involved in time and living only for a future, is nuts, it’s not all here. We are not awake, we are not completely alive now.
Alan Watts

Let us truly live the beauty and responsibility of being a prophetic people.
Bishop Oscar Romero

Everywhere people ask: ‘what can I actually do?’ The answer is as simple as it is disconcerting: we can, each of us, put our inner house in order. The guidance we need for this work cannot be found in science or technology, the value of which utterly depends on the ends they serve; but it can still be found in the traditional wisdom of mankind.
E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light

I feel I have begun to deeply adapt by changing my life plans, including my economic situation, so that I have a better chance of being free to do what I think serves love and truth, without fear or compromise for the rest of this decade. […] I have no plans or wishes for after the end of this decade, as I would be surprised to be alive at that point, due to societal circumstances rather than my own. I hope that during this decade I can continue to share ideas that invite attention to delusions and aggressions that are implanted within us by culture or power and that help rekindle our commitments to - and joy from - courageous loving action.
Jem Bendell

Leadership often involves helping people to see the limitations of the assumptions and stories that have been offered to us through the culture we live within and by the powerful institutions within our societies. To me, unlearning is as important as learning for adults who have grown up within modern cultures, and therefore whose very tools of thought are shaped by those cultures. To focus only on learning can imply what Paolo Freire called the banking model of education, where people think to add to what we already know. Instead, we can be liberated from prior assumptions.
Jem Bendell

And what is also certain is that, as multiple globules of Tory turds hit multiple overheating fans in the hottest days ever recorded on Earth, the BBC presenter story absolutely isn’t the main story. But we sit here on our collective sofa, like colostomy bags with clown faces daubed on us in shit, sucking up buckets of queasy filth through straws, bleating our half-understood opinions out on to social media networks that farm us for data like pigs, consuming this calculated crap. We deserve to burn.
Stewart Lee, The Guardian

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

[On spiritual practice] In the beginning nothing came. In the middle, nothing stayed. In the end, nothing left.

He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave.
Andrew Carnegie

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Affectus, qui passio est, desinit esse passio simulatque eius claram et distinctam formamus ideam.
Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.
Baruch Spinoza

The urgent challenge facing the world is not to give more to the poor, but to take less from the poor.
Satish Kumar

There comes a point when we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out who pushed them in.
Desmond Tutu

…to take more than one’s essential requirements means depriving other people and is theft; to use up finite resources at a greater rate than they can be replenished is stealing from future generations.
Nguyễn Phương Lam

What were bad harvests
To the need that ravages us in the midst of plenty?
Bertolt Brecht, On Judging

Wenn ein Löwe sprechen könnte, wir könnten ihn nicht verstehen.
If a lion could speak, we could not understand him.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophische Untersuchungen

Ignorance allied with power is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.
James Baldwin

The old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.
Antonio Gramsci

The past creates who you are. It shouldn’t be your burden. […] Lower your burden. Run towards new life.
Kwong-Kim Yip, Tai Chi Master

Capitalism sharpens its tools on the bodies of the most marginalised.
Dalia Gebrial, BOOMERANG: Empire and Britain’s Economy

So the guidance that the mind
provides to human beings
depends upon the arrangement,
at any given moment, of the shipwrecked limbs.

The basic operations of the body –
in each part and in all parts – aim at the same thing
in every human being. Thought
is whatever is left over.— (Parmenides, Fragment B16)
Robert Bringhurst, Everywhere Being Is Dancing

When the rich steal from the poor it’s called business; when the poor resist it’s called violence.
Mark Twain

This is a world where exploitation passes for innovation, where daylight robbery passes for business. This is a world of suffering and flames, slaving under a master who governs those whose morality crumbled under the pressure of their own desires. This a world without limits.

Welcome to Hell.
Rachel Donald, Planet: Critical

The cure for death is birth, not immortality.
Robert Bringhurst, Licking The Lips With A Forked Tongue

To the enterprise of thinking, talk is every bit as dangerous as song. Poetry has to make its way between them.
Robert Bringhurst, Licking The Lips With A Forked Tongue

Ästhetik ist ja nichts als eine angewandte Physiologie.
Aesthetics is really nothing but a kind of applied physiology.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Nietzsche contra Wagner

Like headdresses, robes, and masks – the prized possessions known in Tlingit as ut.ûw – books have to be danced with, lived with, used, or else their power seeps away.
Robert Bringhurst, The Story and the Orphan: The narrative art of Elizabeth Nyman

What a storyteller tells depends on who is listening, and how well.
Robert Bringhurst, The Story and the Orphan: The narrative art of Elizabeth Nyman

As Napoleon Bonaparte is supposed to have said, wars happen when the government tells you who the enemy is; revolutions happen when you figure it out for yourselves.
John Michael Greer, The Laughter of Wolves

Although most people do not realise it, there is a shocking possibility that living organisms draw upon forms of energy over and above those recognised by standard physics and chemistry.
Rupert Sheldrake, The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry