Friday, September 30, 2011

Some Quotations, and Some Observations

“Maybe our favourite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.” – John Green

I see that I have neglected this poor little blog for some time, and likewise have neglected the various quotations that I collect from hither and thither across the vast and endless internet. This past summer is but a blur, and autumn is shaping up to be no less busy. Are you ever given to thinking that after such-and-such event or season or box on the calendar things will slow down or get back to some kind of vague, unknowable “normal”? Certainly I am. And I’m almost always wrong. Nothing ever slows down, and I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as “normal.”

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Mohandas Gandhi

Both Gandhi and I are wrong. Computers certainly slow down over time. I had that fact driven home again this past week when, after just over a year of struggling with an ungodly slow, ancient Windows POS computer at the office, a shiny new one arrived on my desk this past week. (Actually, it arrived under my desk, but let’s not quibble.) Where computers are concerned, there is not more to life than increasing its speed!

Still Windows, alas, but at least I don’t have to shovel coal into a chute on the side as I did with the former machine. One of those cases when you knew that a situation was bad, but really had no idea how bad it was until you got out of it.

Had a job like that once, but that’s neither here nor there.

“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” – Proverbs 29:7

That one’s been resonating with me a great deal in recent weeks. In modern America, we blame and revile the poor, and insist on making them absolutely destitute before we will bring ourselves to throw them the smallest, most stale scraps. Why? Because we’re a “Christian nation,” of course! Jesus himself gave the parable of the Samaritan who, encountering a man along the road who was beaten and left for dead by robbers, wrinkled his nose in disgust and hied on along the road, muttering to himself that it was the man’s own fault for being on that road in the first place, that the noblest act of civilized society is to allow people to fail, and that it’s morally wrong to help anybody except through “the church.”

At least, I gather that’s the parable, given how quickly and gleefully the “Christian” right pull the rug out from the less fortunate. Query: What would Jesus do?

“The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.” – Chinese Proverb

Indeed. We continue to call them “conservatives,” as they themselves do. In fact they are not. If any genuine conservatives still exist, they are small in number and quite quiet. Those who are called such today might more accurately be described as “regressives,” since they obviously wish not to conserve anything but rather to dismantle everything and regress to their Hobbesian, Randian, dog-eat-dog ideal.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

We live in a time of universal deceit. The constant repetition of lies, courtesy of Fox, Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, and the rest of the regressives’ propaganda machine, becomes “truth” to those who lack the moral or intellectual fiber to question what they are show and told, to peer through the opium smoke, to think and see for themselves.

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy

Here are more. Some are heavy, some are frothy. There’s more where that came from.

“You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.” – Eric Hoffer

“The greatest enemy of truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth- persistent and persuasive.” – John F. Kennedy

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.” – Mark Twain

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour (1908 – 1988)

“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day; Give him a religion, and he’ll starve to death while praying for a fish.” – Anonymous

“Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.” – Albert Einstein

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” – Leonard Bernstein

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.” – William James

“Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing.” – Melinda Haynes

“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.” – Charles Bukowski

“Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” – Arthur C. Clarke

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mohandas Gandhi