Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And This Is What They Said

Time for another batch of quotations that have been collecting dust around here. Regular readers will know that most of them (this time, I think, all of them) are culled from the excellent A Word a Day newsletter, to which you may subscribe by visiting The first two are especially intriguing to me at the moment, since the day before yesterday I had an exchange--more of a shouting match, to be honest--with the rudest and stupidest human being I ever met. (And that's saying something, believe me.) But that's another story for another day...

Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength. -Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)

Politeness is the art of choosing among your thoughts. -Madame de Stael, writer (1766-1817)

People of small caliber like to sit on high horses. -Magdalena Samozwaniec, writer (1894-1972)

Let us enrich ourselves with our mutual differences. -Paul Valery, poet and philosopher (1871-1945)

The noble and the nobility are usually at odds with one another. -Johann Gottfried Seume, author (1763-1810)

Nothing is illegal if one hundred businessmen decide to do it. -Andrew Young, author, civil rights activist, US congressman, mayor, and UN ambassador (b. 1932)

War will never cease until babies begin to come into the world with larger cerebrums and smaller adrenal glands. -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting. -George Orwell, writer (1903-1950)

A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill. -Robert A. Heinlein, science-fiction author (1907-1988)

Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations. -Faith Baldwin, novelist (1893-1978)

It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace. -Andre Gide, author, Nobel laureate (1869-1951)

One of the indictments of civilizations is that happiness and intelligence are so rarely found in the same person. -William Feather, author, editor and publisher (1889-1981)

For in reason, all government without the consent of the governed is the very definition of slavery. -Jonathan Swift, satirist (1667-1745)

The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos. -Stephen Jay Gould, paleontologist, biologist, author (1941-2002)

The conscience of the world is so guilty that it always assumes that people who investigate heresies must be heretics; just as if a doctor who studies leprosy must be a leper. Indeed, it is only recently that science has been allowed to study anything without reproach. -Aleister Crowley, author (1875-1947)

It is also a victory to know when to retreat. -Erno Paasilinna, essayist and journalist (1935-2000)

It is impossible to imagine Goethe or Beethoven being good at billiards or golf. -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

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