Friday, July 31, 2009

Quotes: Power (1)

Power 883 "Many wished for power; a strange desire, indeed, since it is but another form of slavery." Hawthorne: "The Intelligence Office" Having power makes you a slave to those who have given it to you.

Power 41 "Power is much more easily manifested in destroying than in creating." Wordsworth. 1796. Power usually destroys; it does not usually create.

Power 112 "To be feared is to fear; no one has been able to strike terror into others and at the same time enjoy peace of mind himself." Seneca. 1st Century. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Making others fear you will not give you peace of mind.

Power 177 "You cannot have power for good without having power for evil too." George Bernard Shaw. 1905. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Power can be used for good or for evil.

Power 188 "Want of principle is power; truth and honesty set a limit to our efforts…". Hazlitt. 1823. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.You gain power by ignoring principle; truth and honesty set limits on power.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Quotes: Poverty.

Poverty 102 "It’s no great step for a poor man to the grave;/ He’s lived his life out only half-alive." Palladas. 4th-5th century. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Poverty 25 "Poverty has no shame." Spanish. Dictionary of Foreign Terms

Poverty 339 "They stayed, because poverty, that most supreme of masters, had deprived them of the liberty to rise up and go away." Rölvaag, Giants in the Earth. On why everyone in Europe did not come to the American frontier.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quote: Pollution

Pollution 429 Pollution: …industrial vomit. Toffler, Future Shock.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quotes: Pollen.

Pollen 145 "Pollen…golden dust of life, so minute that it dances in the sunbeams…". Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year

Pollen 145 "Pollen forms a yellow film on rain pools and makes them look like molten gold." Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year

Monday, July 27, 2009

Quotes: Politics. (2)

Politics 117 "Private passions grow tired and wear themselves out; political passions, never." Lamartine. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Politics 130 "Party is the madness of many for the gain of a few." Swift. 1711. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Politics 220 "Politics: strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles." Ambrose Bierce. Portable Curmudgeon. Politics is about interests, not principles.

Politics 220 "Being in politics is like being a football coach; you have to be smart enough to understand the game, and dumb enough to think it’s important." Eugene McCarthy. Portable Curmudgeon. Whew! That's heresy!

Politics 220 "All politics are (is?) based on the indifference of the majority." James Reston. Portable Curmudgeon.

Politics 221 "It is dangerous for a national candidate to say things that people might remember." Eugene McCarthy. Portable Curmudgeon.

Politics 390 "Firmly fixed in the English tradition of common sense, compromise and comprehension, he [Creighton] held on his way amid the shrieking of extremists with imperturbable moderation." Lytton Strachey. “Creighton.” 1925. Gross, ed. Essays. Caught between extremes, he was imperturbable in insisting on moderation.

Politics 526 "No, it is not possible for a person of moral sensibility to take part in American politics." Lionel Trilling. “Adams at Ease.” 1952. Gross, ed. Essays. Politicians have no sense of morality.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Quotes: Politicians and Politics (1)

Politician 219 "…a politician, ready and willing to see other people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one." Henry Miller. Portable Curmudgeon. A politician is all about sacrificing some people for other people.

Politician 219 "In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant". Charles De Gaulle Portable Curmudgeon.

Politicians 129 "Politicians neither love nor hate; interest, not sentiment, directs them". Lord Chesterfield. 1748. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Politicians have no feeling for what they do except self-interest.

Politicians 390 John Bright: "If the people knew what sort of men statesmen were, they would rise and hang the whole lot of them." Lytton Strachey. “Creighton.” 1925. Gross, ed. Essays. It's hard not to think that all politicians are corrupt.

Politics 116 "What matters most about political ideas is the underlying emotions….". Sir Lewis Namier. 1955. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Politics is all about emotions.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quotes: Politeness.

Politeness 218 "Politeness: the most acceptable hypocrisy." Ambrose Bierce. Portable Curmudgeon.

Politeness 49 "Fair words cost nothing." Spanish. Dictionary of Foreign Terms

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quotes: Point of View (2)

Point of view 62 "We measure the excellency of other men, by some excellency we conceive to be in ourselves." John Selden. Mid 17th century. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Point of view 67 "Up to a certain point, every man is what he thinks he is." F. A. Bradley. 1930. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Point of view 67 "Were it not the sign of a fool to talk to one’s self, there would hardly be a day or hour wherein I might not be heard to grumble and mutter to myself and against myself, ‘Confound the fool!’ " Montaigne. 1580-8. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Point of view 69 "We discover in ourselves what others hide from us, and we recognize in others what we hide from ourselves." Vauvenargues. 1746. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Point of view 84 "We never remark any passion or principle in others, of which, in some degree or other, we may not find a parallel in ourselves." Hume. 1739. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Point of view 261 "Your judgment ‘This is right’ has a pre-history in your instincts, likes, dislikes, experiences, and lack of experiences; ‘How did it originate…?’ you must ask, and then also: ‘what is it that impels me to [believe] it?’ " Nietzsche. 1882-7. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Point of view 155 "Every person carries within his head a mental model of the world—a subjective representation of external reality." Toffler, Future Shock.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Quotes: Point of View (1)

Point of view 860 "Men pass before me like shadows on the wall—their actions, passions, feelings, are flickerings of the light—and then they vanish." Hawthorne: "The Christmas Banquet" People pass through life like shadows on the wall.

Point of view 864 "There was a modern philanthropist, who had become so deeply sensible of the calamities of thousands and millions of his fellow creatures and of the impracticableness of any general measures for their relief, that he had no heart to do what little good lay immediately within his power, but contented himself with being miserable for sympathy." Hawthorne: "The Christmas Banquet" There is so much misery in the world that we feel we can do nothing to alleviate it and we settle for feeling miserable and sympathetic.

Point of view 59 "To others we are not ourselves but a performer in their lives cast for a part we do not know that we are playing." Elizabeth Bibesco. 1951. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. To others we are like members of a cast of actors in a part we do not know we are playing.

Point of view 59 "We lack the sense of our own visibility...imagining as quite close to us the interested attention of people who on the contrary never give us a thought, and not suspecting that we are at the same moment the sole preoccupation of others." Marcel Proust. 1921-2. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. We don't know who is out there watching us.

Point of view 59 "A man cannot look in the mirror at his own image with the eyes of a stranger...." Schopenhauer. 1851. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. We cannot look objectively at ourselves in a mirror.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Quotes: Poetry (2)

Poetry 564 " …and systematically converting into poetry what we see and feel and are!" Randall Jarrell. “Bad Poets.” 1953. Gross, ed. Essays.

Poetry 270 "If there were no girls like them in the world, there would be no poetry." Cather, My Ántonia

Poetry 64 "I enjoyed learning the poems, but I didn’t understand of what use they might possibly be; 'They’ll keep you company on the day you have no books to read,' ” my teacher said." Manguel, A History of Reading.

Poetry 269 "Asking why, of the work of all the twentieth-century poets, Rilke’s difficult poetry acquired such popularity in the West, the critic Paul De Man suggested that it might be because 'many have read him as if he addressed the most secluded parts of their selves….' " Manguel, A History of Reading.

Poetry vs. rationality 479 "…safeguarding our poetic institutions against the encroachments of mechanized, insensate, inhumane, abstract rationality. " Robert Graves. “The Case for Xanthippe [Plato’s shrewish wife].” 1960. Gross, ed. Essays. Poetry appeals to our feelings.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Quotes: Poetry (1)

Poetry 1082 "Thus the world assumed another and a better aspect from the hour that the poet blessed it with his happy eyes…[God’s] creation was not finished till the poet came to interpret and so complete it. "Hawthorne: "The Great Stone Face." God's creation was not completed until the poets interpreted it.

Poetry 218 "All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling." Oscar Wilde. Portable Curmudgeon. I think this idea refers to the need for the poet to create a distance between the reader and the feelings suggested in the poem.

Poetry 237 "A picture is a silent poem, or a poem without words." Latin. Dictionary of Foreign Terms. Defining a picture as a silent poem has to mean that the picture is suggestive. RayS.

Poetry 477 "The nucleus of every true poem is a single phrase which (the poet’s intuition tells him) provides a key to its eventual form." Robert Graves. “The Case for Xanthippe [Plato’s shrewish wife].” 1960. Gross, ed. Essays. An interesting exercise would be to find that single phrase that is the essence of the poem. RayS.

Poetry 479 "Poetry, for us, means not merely poems but a peculiar attitude to life." Robert Graves. “The Case for Xanthippe [Plato’s shrewish wife].” 1960. Gross, ed. Essays. Now what does he mean by that? I think we'll find the answer in Emerson. RayS.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Quotes: Pleasure.

Pleasure 110 "The test of pleasure is the memory it leaves behind." Jean Paul Richter. German. Dictionary of Foreign Terms

Pleasure 80 "Almost all the Utopians claim that [bodily health] is a great pleasure, the foundation and basis of all others; for even alone it can produce a calm and delightful state of life." Sir Thomas More, Utopia. Good health is the greatest pleasure of all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Quotes: Pity

Pity 75 "To show pity is felt as a sign of contempt because one has clearly ceased to be an object of fear as soon as one is pitied." Nietzsche. 1880. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Hitler felt that his soldiers showed real courage when they slaughtered helpless Jews.

Pity 257 "They are poor creatures who are always craving for pity." Mark Rutherford. “Talking about Our Troubles.” 1900. Gross, ed. Essays. No one wants to hear about your troubles.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quotes: Photograph and Pictures

Photograph 177 " A photograph is a universe of dots." DeLillo, Underworld.

Pictures 97 " …the Second commandment given by God to Moses specifically forbids the making of graven images of 'any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth….' ” Manguel, A History of Reading. Hmmmmm. I wonder why this commandment? Rob the object of its soul? Worshiping the object instead of God? Too much enjoyment of the world around us instead of the hereafter? What is the theologian's take on this commandment?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quotes: Philosophers and Philosophy (2)

Philosophy 151 Small-town philosophy: "What we need is to get back to the true word of God, and a good sound belief in hell, like we used to have it preached to us." Sinclair Lewis, Main Street. CF. "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God."

Philosophy 55 " …I've never discovered any body that knew what the deuce Man really was made for." Lewis, Babbitt. The ultimate question in philosophy.

Philosophy 74 Pasteur: "My philosophy is of the heart and not of the mind, and I give myself up, for instance, to those feelings about eternity that come naturally at the bedside of a cherished child drawing its last breath." DeKruif, Microbe Hunters. The feelings are too complex to be interpreted.

Philosophy 143 "There was something unclean about having a conversation like this [about the philosophy of war], while somewhere out on the front a man might be rigid with terror in his foxhole." Mailer, The Naked and the Dead. There's philosophy and then there's reality.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Quotes: Philosophers and Philosophy (1)

Philosophers 176 "I think it is Franklin who says that philosophers are sages in their maxims and fools in their conduct…." John Clare. 1825-37. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms.

Philosophy 233 "Speculative reasonings, which cost so much pains to philosophers, are often formed by the world naturally and without reflection." Hume 1739. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. What philosophers spend so much time thinking about is well known by normal people who call it "common sense."

Philosophy 365 "What the first philosopher taught the last will have to repeat." Thoreau. 1840. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Philosophical thought moves in circles.

Philosophy 217 "Philosophy teaches us to bear with equanimity the misfortunes of others." Oscar Wilde. Portable Curmudgeon. The goal of philosophy is to accept without emotion others' misfortunes.

Philosophy 272 "Philosophy is a yearning after heavenly wisdom". Plato. Greek. Dictionary of Foreign Terms. And what is "heavenly wisdom"? The infallible truth?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Quote: Philadelphia.

Philadelphia 216 "Philadelphia…the city of bleak November afternoons." S. J. Perelman. Portable Curmudgeon.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Quotes: Persuasion

Persuasion 93 "If you wish to win a man’s heart, allow him to confute you." Disraeli. 1826. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. If you want to win over people, allow them to contradict you.

Persuasion 209 "Whoever wants his judgment to be believed, should express it coolly and dispassionately…. "Schopenhauer. 1851. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Persuade by keeping the emotion our of your tone.

Persuasion 260 " We are usually convinced more easily by reasons we have found ourselves than by those which have occurred to others." Pascal. 1670. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. We are more easily convinced by what we have discovered ourselves.

Persuasion 349 "Time makes more converts than reason." Tom Paine. 1776. Gross, ed. Oxford Book of Aphorisms. Introduce the idea and then let it settle in the other person's mind.

Persuasion 24 "He [Littlefield] could, on ten hours' notice, appear before the board of aldermen or the state legislature and proved, absolutely, with figures all in rows with precedents from Poland and New Zealand, that the street-car company loved the public and yearned over its employees; that all its stock was owned by widows and orphans; and that whatever it desired to do would benefit property owners by increasing rental values, and help the poor by lowering rent." Lewis, Babbitt. Persuading people by telling them what they want to hear.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quotes: Personality (2)

Personality 82 "Mrs. Norris was all delight and volubility." Austen, Mansfield Park. All happiness and talk.

Personality 115 "Maria, with only Mr. Rushworth to attend to her, and doomed to the repeated details of his day’s sport, good or bad, his boast of his dogs, the jealousy of his neighbors, his doubts of their qualification, and his zeal after poachers—subjects which will not find their way to female feelings without some talent on one side, or some attachment on the other…." Austen, Mansfield Park. The daily dose of Mr. Rushworth.

Personality 236 "…and though Mrs. Norris could fidget about the room, and disturb everybody in quest of two needlefuls of thread or a second hand shirt button in the midst of her nephew’s account of a shipwreck or an [military] engagement, everybody else was attentive." Austen, Mansfield Park. Irrelevant interruptions.

Personality 59 Utopia. "For they do not allow their own citizens to grow accustomed to the slaughter of animals, as they think that constant practice in this gradually destroys the kindness and gentle feeling of our souls." Sir Thomas More, Utopia. Cruelty to animals leads to cruelty to humans.

Personality 318 "Each time we make a style choice…each time we link up with some particular sub-cultural group or groups, we make some change in our self-image." Toffler, Future Shock. Our self-image is defined by the groups with whom we associate.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Quotes: Personality (1)

Personality 914 "There was nothing so antipodal to his nature as this man’s cold, unimaginative sagacity." Hawthorne: “The Artist of the Beautiful.” He greeted his beautiful creations with a cold, uncomprehending stare.

Personality 41 " Outwardly…he showed only a buoyant recklessness, as if wrapped in a cloak of gay, wanton levity; but down beneath all this lay a stern determination of purpose, a driving force, so strong that she shrank back from the least contact with it." Rölvaag, Giants in the Earth. On the surface, he was like anyone else, but deep below that personality was a driving, determined purpose that put her off.

Personality 43 "There was something in that sad resignation of hers which he was powerless against". Rölvaag, Giants in the Earth. Her sadness was a wall against his attempts to approach her.

Personality 325 "She came out of her several conflicting poses…." Sinclair Lewis, Main Street. Which pose was her real personality?

Personality 52 "In comparison with his brother, Edmund would have nothing to say: the soup would be sent round in a most spiritless manner, wine drank without any smiles, or agreeable trifling, and the venison cut up without supplying one pleasant anecdote of any former haunch, or a single entertaining story about ‘my friend such a one.’ "Austen, Mansfield Park. In short, a deadbeat personality.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Quote: Pedantry

1. Pedantry 36 "Pedantry is properly...overrating any kind of knowledge we pretend to." Jonathan Swift. “A Treatise on Good Manners and Good Breeding.” 1714. Gross, ed. Essays. The pedant, of course, is a bore.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Quote: Peasants

Peasants 122 " One sees that draught-horse neck among the peasant women in all old countries." Cather, My Ántonia. This is the frontier, pal, not Hollywood.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quotes: Patriotism

Patriotism 213 "Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell. Portable Curmudgeon. Or for no reason.

Patriotism 94 "...the patriotic gentleman observed, with a contemptuous sneer, that he was greatly surprised how some people could have the conscience to live in a country which they did not love, and to enjoy the protection of a government, to which in their hearts they were inveterate enemies." Oliver Goldsmith. “On National Prejudices.” 1763. Gross, ed. Essays.It seems to me that I have heard that comment before.

Patriotism 266 Cy [Bogart] shouted that he “hated every dirty Hun; by gosh, if he could just poke a bayonet into one big fat Heinie and learn him some decency and democracy, he’d die happy.” Sinclair Lewis, Main Street.

Patriotism 266 "Cy got much reputation by whipping a farm boy named Adolph Pochbauer for being a 'damn hyphenated German' …the younger Pochbauer who was killed in the Argonne, while he was trying to bring the body of his Yankee captain back to the lines [while] at this time Cy Bogart was still dwelling in Gopher Prairie and planning to go to war." Sinclair Lewis, Main Street. The stories of war almost always feature irony.