The primary purpose for this Web posting is to present quotations that are meaningful and thought-provoking.
The secondary, but very important, purpose is to offer along with the quotations the most accurate
credits and attributions to the original authors that I can find.
Comments, questions and corrections are most welcome.
A partial Bibliography of Web and print sources used for verification,
along with contact information for the archivist, is included at the end of the quotations.
I do not choose to be a common man. It is my
right to be uncommon. I seek opportunity to
develop whatever talents God gave me . . . not
security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen,
humbled and dulled by having the state look after
me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream
and to build; to fail and to succeed. I refuse to
barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges
of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of
fulfillment to the stable calm of utopia. I will not
trade freedom for beneficience nor my dignity for a
handout. I will never cower before any earthly
master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to
stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act
myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to
face the world boldly and say, - - - "This, with
God's help, I have done!" All this is what it means
to be an American.
--Dean Alfange (1897-1989)
As for the fanatics, whose number is legion in our own time, we might be
advised to leave them to heaven. They will not, unfortunately, do us the
same courtesy. They attack us and each other, and whatever their
protestations to peaceful intent, the bloody record of history makes clear
that they are easily disposed to restore to the sword.
My own belief in God, then, is just that -- a matter of belief, not
knowledge. My respect for Jesus Christ arises from the fact that He seems
to have been the most virtuous inhabitant of Planet Earth. But even
well-educated Christians are frustated in their thirst for certainty about
the beloved figure of Jesus because of the undeniable ambiguity of the
scriptural record. Such ambiguity is not apparent to children or fanatics,
but every recognized Bible scholar is perfectly aware of it. Some
Christians, alas, resort to formal lying to obscure such reality.
--Steve Allen [Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen](1921-2000)
"The Courage of Conviction", in But Seriously . . .: Steve
Allen Speaks His Mind. Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books, 1996, p.114
(essay originally appeared in Phillip L. Berman, Editor. The Courage of
Conviction. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1985)
"But he has nothing on!" a little child cried out at last.
"Just hear what that innocent says!" said the father: and
one whispered to another what the child had said.
"But he has nothing on!" said the whole people at length.
variant; And the crowd was stilled. One elderly man, wondering at
the sudden silence, turned to the Child and asked him to repeat what he
had said. Wide-eyed, the Child raised his voice and said once again,
"Why, the Emperor has no clothes! He is naked!"
--Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)
"The Emperor's New Clothes", from Tales, as printed in
Charles W. Eliot, Editor. The Harvard Classics, Volume XVII, Part 3.
New York: P.F. Collier and Son, 1909-1914;
variant quoted (unsourced) in James Randi. The Truth About Uri
Geller. Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books, 1982, p.1
XV - Choral
No sad thought his soul affright,
Sleep it is that maketh night.
Let no murmur or rude wind
To his slumbers prove unkind
But a quire of angels make
His dreams of heaven
And let him wake
To as many joys as can
In this world befall a man.
Promise fills the sky with light
Stars and angels dance in flight.
Joy of heaven shall now unbind
Chains of evil from mankind.
Love and joy their power shall break
And for a new-born prince's sake.
Never since the world began
Such a light such dark did span.
set to music in 1954 by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
Build me a son, oh, Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is
weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid. One who will be
proud and unbending in defeat but humble and gentle in victory.
A son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who
will know that to know himself, is the foundation stone of all true knowledge.
Rear him, I pray, not in the paths of ease and comfort but under the
stress and spur of difficulties and challenges. Here let him learn
to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.
Build me a son whose heart will be clean, whose goal will be high.
A son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men.
One who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep. One who will
reach into the future, yet never forget the past.
And after all these are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of
humor so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too
seriously; a touch of humility, so that he may always remember the
simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom;
the meekness of true strength.
Then, I, his father, will dare in the sacred recesses of my own heart
to whisper, "I have not lived in vain".
as published in Anthony Wons, Editor. Tony's Scrap Book: 1932-33 Edition.
Chicago: Reilly & Lee Company, 1932, p.45
usually credited to Gen. Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) as a prayer
written for his son, Arthur IV; MacArthur often quoted it in his speeches,
including a famous one on 12 May 1962, when he addressed the corps of
cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York,
a speech in which he modified the "Prayer" to describe the
attributes of the ideal soldier
Money talks, but all it says is goodbye.
Money talks . . . but all mine keeps saying is "goodbye".
When money talks there are few interruptions.
Money talks and bullshit walks.
--heard on FBI surveillance tape in which Michael Myers (born 1943),
a U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania, was recorded accepting
a $50,000 bribe; the line was also heard in This is Spinal Tap,
1984 film, spoken by Bobbi Flekman (Fran Drescher)
--Richard Armour (1906-1989)
main quote attributed to Armour in Leslie Alan Dunkling and Adrian Room, Editors.
The Guinness Book of Money. London: Guinness Publishing, 1990, p.130
first variant quoted in Martin H. Manser. The Facts on File
Dictionary of Proverbs, Second Edition. New York: Infobase Publishing,
The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever
the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.
-- Don Williams Jr (born 1968)
Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often
more important than the outcome.
--Arthur Robert Ashe Jr (1943-1993)
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
For it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
--often attributed to St Francis of Assisi (c.1182-1226)
first appeared in print (French) in La Clochette, 1912;
first appearance in English was in the Quaker magazine,
Friends' Intelligencer (1929), where it was attributed to St Francis
used in the YMCA Gold Rag study guide
Heaven has the best climate, Hell has the best society.
--Isaac E. Adams, quoting Emery A. Storrs in Life of Emery A. Storrs:
His Wit and Eloquence, as Shown in a Notable Literary, Political
and Forensic Career. Chicago: G.L. Howe, 1886
Both have their advantages: Heaven for climate, Hell for company.
--Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens](1835-1910), from a notebook
entry dated 1 February 1890, quoted in Frederick Anderson,
et al. (Editors). Mark Twain's Notebooks and Journals,
Volume III, 1883-1891. Berkeley: University of California Press,
1979, p.538; also used by Twain in a speech to the Acorn Society in
1901, as noted in Mark Twain's Speeches. New York: Harper,
If it's heaven for climate, it's hell for company.
--J.M. Barrie [Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM](1860-1937)
The Little Minister. New York: H.M. Caldwell, 1898
On such foundations would my judgment be made -- almost
entirely on appearance and personality because, being
so young, it would never occur to me that my pretty teacher
or nice man also had to be proficient, and that
my future growth depended almost entirely on how
seriously they regarded their responsibilities or how
thoroughly they planned for me. No, if I thought of it at
all, I would be certain that they know everything that they
need to know -- and even more! I would be confident they
would do everything for me that needed to be done. You
see, I am eight years old, and grown up people never
cheat little children.
If I were a teen-ager in junior high school, I would take
a long, quiet look at you. You are neither women teachers
or men teachers. You are just teachers.
I would call my crowd together and in a tone of real concern
warn them, "Could be we're headed for trouble. We gotta
stick together". And how surprised I would be to find that
on the very first day you disarmed me so completely!
You kept me so busy! Your poise, your charm, your
dignity, your tremendous ability -- your quiet assurance,
your control of the situation, your infectious
good humor -- I forgot you were supposed to be my enemy.
I did not recognize your weapons because my own weapons
have always been so different.
If I were a teen-ager in senior high school, I would level my
look at you with my head held high. I can wait. Since
you are only a very few years older than I, it could be
that you are not really much more competent. If you can prove
your ability so completely that I cannot ignore it, I shall
give you my allegiance -- every ounce of it! If I do not
recognize my progress, or the progress of the organization
which you direct, I can ignore you completely,
and my life will be just as happy without you.
If I m a boy, I may even flirt with you, kid you along.
If I am a girl, I may bedevil you by making mooneyes
at you! But whatever I am, and however I behave, you really
matter to me only when you have commanded my respect for
your leadership and your adulthood! When this has
happened, I shall elevate you to the rank of an idol, and I
beg you not to betray my action. Will you, please, not have
feet of clay.
I shall adhere to your tastes wholeheartedly in whatever you
give me to do. Your judgment will be superior to that of
any other, even to that of my parents. I shall remember
you through all of my life because you have provided my first
real experience of aesthetic exaltation -- my first realization
that there is something in the world much bigger than I have ever
known, and because you have opened up this world to me -- a
world of beauty, of taste, of discrimination, of tremendous
satisfaction -- because you have thus turned me toward the
way of emotional maturity, I shall never forget you.
--Oleta Albertson Benn (1904-1991)
speaking to a convention of new music teachers in 1954
(references to music edited)
This "cerebral spare tire" concept continues to nourish the
clientele of "pop psychologists" and their many recycling
self-improvement schemes. As a metaphor for the fact that few of us
fully exploit our talents, who could deny it? As a refuge for occultists
seeking a neural basis of the miraculous, it leaves much to be desired.
--Barry L. Beyerstein (1947-2007)
"The Brain and Consciousness: Implications for Psi Phenomena",
The Skeptical Inquirer, Volume XII Number 2, Winter 1987/1988,
He who bends to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy.
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise.
-- William Blake (1757-1827)
(Note: According to The Note Book 1793, of Blake, an early version
of the fourth line is "Lives in an eternal sun rise". And one revised
version of it is "Lives in eternity's sun rise".)
In the noontime of my life I shall look to the sunshine,
At a moment in my life when the sky is blue,
And the blessing I shall ask will remain unchanging:
To be brave and strong and true
And to fill the world with love my whole life through.
In the evening of my life I shall look to the sunset,
At a moment in my life when the night is due,
And the question I shall ask only I can answer:
Was I brave and strong and true?
Did I fill the world with love my whole life through?
--Leslie Bricusse (born 1931)
(lyrics), "Fill the World With Love", from the musical film
Goodbye Mr Chips (1969)
"Water!" it shrieked as it read the spectral report.
"A barrier of water vapor! A civilized race could not have found
such a trick in the Library! A civilized race could not have stooped so
low! A civilized race would not have . . ."
It screamed as the Gubru ship hit a cloud of drifting snowflakes.
--David Brin [Glen David Brin, Ph.D.](born 1950)
Startide Rising. New York: Bantam Books, 1983, p.440
italics in source
There are those
Who are beings complete unto themselves
Whole, undaunted -- a source
As leaves of grass, as stars,
As mountains, alike, alike, alike,
Each is complete and contained
And each unalike star shines
Each ray of light is forever gone
To leave way for a new ray
And a new ray as from a fountain
Complete unto itself, full, flowing.
So are some souls like stars
And their words, works and songs
Like strong, quick flashes of light
From a brilliant, erupting cone.
So where are your mountains
To match some men?
--Johnny Cash (1932-2003)
from "On Bob Dylan", 1969, liner notes for "Nashville Skyline" album
Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day.
Give a man a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish.
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish,
and you drive up the price of bait & tackle and disrupt the local
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach him to use the Net, and he won't bother you for weeks.
--Phil Proctor (born 1940)
Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for one day. Teach a man
to fish, and he'll stink for the rest of his life.
--Jason Love (born late-XXth century)
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish,
and he'll invite himself over for dinner.
Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Hit a man with a brick
and you can have all his fish. And his wife.
--Dave Jeser (born mid-XXth century) and Matthew Silverstein (born mid-XXth century)
Andy Richter Controls the Universe, TV series (Fox, 2002-2004),
"Charity Begins in Cell Block D", spoken by Mr Pickering (John Bliss)
Give a man a fish: feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish: feed him for life.
Teach a hundred men to fish: empty the lake of fish.
Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for a few hours.
Set a man on fire, he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
quoted and discussed (without the variants) in Martin H. Manser.
The Facts on File Dictionary of Proverbs, Second Edition.
New York: Infobase Publishing, 2002/2007, p.101
In 1926 Robert H. Goddard launched the first liquid-propelled rocket,
achieving an altitude of 41 feet. In 1962 John Glenn orbited the earth.
In 1969, only 66 years after Orville Wright flew two feet off the ground
for 12 seconds, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and I rocketed to the moon
in Apollo 11.
--Michael Collins (born 1930)
Former astronaut and past Director of the National Air and Space Museum
quoted in usenet groups, unsourced
Until recently, culture provided us with all the components essential
for the forging of identity. These components included: religion,
family, ideology, class strata, geography, politics and a sense of
living within a historic continuum.
Suddenly . . . with the deluge of eletronic and information media,
these stencils within which we trace our lives began to vanish. . . .
It became possible to be alive yet have no religion, no family
connections, no ideology, no sense of class location, no politics,
and no sense of history. Denarrated.
--Douglas Coupland (born 1961)
The New Republic, 12 December 1994
We are men in the making.
We are small, but tomorrow we will move the world.
We will be true to the things of today, and the great things will
follow, as surely as the sun crosses the sky.
We will keep clean, we will be honest and loyal, because there are
those who trust us.
We will prepare for the tasks ahead.
We will study patiently and faithfully. Within the walls of our
classrooms we will weave threads of knowledge into the pattern
of our destinies. From deep within us we will forge the faith
that may someday shine with beauty and usefulness in the darkened
byways of time.
Because of the skill that we capture now, a train, a ship, an airliner
may come into being and reach safe harbor guided by hands grown strong.
There are bridges to build, and we will build them. There are homes
to make, and we will light their windows. There are those who suffer,
and we will ease their sorrow. There is a God to find, and we will
seek Him with all the power of our hearts and minds.
Like the seedling that finds root in the wind and rain, we will grow
sturdy until our arms reach out into the skies.
We are the men of tomorrow.
--Lt. Wilfrid Dellquest
Mt Lowe Military Academy, Altadena, California
"Boys' Creed" was copyrighted on 22 December 1944,
renewed 22 January 1972
Already the spirit of our schooling is permeated with the feeling that
every subject, every topic, every fact, every professed truth must be
submitted to a certain publicity and impartiality. All proffered
samples of learning must go to the same assay-room and be subjected to
common tests. It is the essence of all dogmatic faiths to hold that
any such "show-down" is sacrilegious and perverse. The characteristic
of religion, from their point of view, is that it is intellectually
secret, not public; peculiarly revealed, not generally known;
authoritatively declared, not communicated and tested in ordinary
ways. . . . It is pertinent to point out that, as long as religion is
conceived as it is now by the great majority of professed religionists,
there is something self-contradictory in speaking of education in
religion in the same sense in which we speak of education in topics
where the method of free inquiry has made its way. The "religious"
would be the last to be willing that either the history or the
content of religion should be taught in this spirit; while those
to whom the scientific standpoint is not merely a technical device,
but is the embodiment of the integrity of mind, must protest against
its being taught in any other spirit.
--John Dewey (1859-1953)
"Religion in Our Schools", Hibbert Journal Number 6, 1908,
pp.796-809; often reprinted
I pray that I may let my child live his own life,
and not the one I wish I had lived. Therefore,
guard me against burdening him with doing what
I failed to do.
Help me to see his missteps today in perspective
against the long road he must go, and grant me
the grace of patience with his slow pace.
Give me the wisdom of knowing when to smile
at the small mischiefs of his age and when to
give him the haven of firmness against the impulses
which he fears and cannot master.
Help me to hear the anguish in his heart through
the din of angry words or across the gulf of
brooding silence, and having heard, give me the
grace to bridge the gap between us with
I pray that I may raise my voice more in joy at
what he is, than vexation at what he has done; so
that each day he may grow in sureness of himself.
Help me to hold him with a warmth that will give
him friendliness toward others; then give me
the fortitude to free him to go strongly on his way.
--Dr Marion B. Durfee (fl. mid-XXth century)
published in part in Saturday Evening Post, Volume 244 Issue 3, September 1972, p.137
many variations of this "Prayer" can be found on the Web,
though there seems to be no definitive, original version available;
author was medical director of the Pasadena (California) Child Guidance
Clinic from the late 1940s to the early 1960s
Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace
there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and
clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in
your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the
changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full
of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many
persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical
about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is
as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the
things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden
misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a
child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is
unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you
conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the
noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams,
drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
--Max Ehrmann (1872-1945)
written in 1927, published posthumously in The Poems of Max Ehrmann.
Boston: Bruce Humphries Publishing Company, 1948
widely believed to have been written in 1692, the date of the founding of
Old St Paul's Church in Baltimore, since the church's rector (1956-1961),
the Rev. Frederick Kates (1910-1987), had included it, without reference to
author or date of creation, in a compilation of devotional materials
But I am persuaded that such behavior on the part of the representatives
of religion would not only be unworthy but also fatal. For a doctrine
which is able to maintain itself not in clear light, but only in the dark,
will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to
human progress. In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of
religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God,
that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed
such vast powers in the hands of priests. In their labors they will have
to avail themselves of those forces which are capable of cultivating the
Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself. This is, to be sure,
a more difficult but an incomparably more worthy task.
--Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
"Science and Religion", in Science, Philosophy, and Religion;
A Symposium. New York: Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion
in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, 1941
Loving people means summoning them forth
with the loudest and most insistent of calls;
it means stirring up in them
a mute and hidden being
who can't help leaping at the sound of our voice --
a being so new
that even those who carried him didn't know him,
and yet so authentic
that they can't fail to recognize him
once they discover him.
All love includes fatherhood and motherhood.
To love someone is to bid him to live,
invite him to grow.
Since people don't have the courage to mature
unless someone has faith in them,
We have to reach those we meet
at the level where they stopped developing,
where they were given up as hopeless,
and so withdrew into
and began to secrete
a protective shell
because they thought they were alone
and no one cared.
They have to feel they're loved very deeply
and very boldly
before they dare appear humble and kind,
--Louis Evely (1910-1985)
That Man is You. Ramsey NJ: Paulist Press, 1964
He who knows, doubts;
He who knows not, believes.
The philosopher is the pessimist;
The fool is the optimist.
The dreamer is stoned;
The tyrant is applauded --
Thus it is in life.
The youth fears that he will regret;
The old man regrets he feared.
The maiden dreams of the godlike lover;
The matron finds him -- Death.
Humanity has its cities
Where men go to live -- but die;
Nature has its deserts
Where men go to die -- but live;
Life is a paradox.
--Arthur Flakoll (1897-1987)
published in Anthony Wons, Editor. Tony's Scrap Book: 1932-33 Edition.
Chicago: Reilly & Lee Company, 1932, p.52
T.V. is the place where the pursuit of happiness
has become the pursuit of trivia
Where toothpaste and cars have become sex objects
Where imagination is sucked out of children
by a cathode ray nipple
T.V. is the only wet nurse
that would create a cripple
Television, the drug of the Nation
Breeding ignorance and feeding radiation
--Michael Franti (born 1966)
"Television, the Drug of the Nation", from the Disposable Heroes
of Hiphoprisy album, Hypocrisy is the Greatest Luxury. 1992
portions heard over end credits of The Comic Strip Presents . . .,
TV series, "Gregory: Diary of a Nutcase", 13 May 1993
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you
cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows
are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He
bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also
the bow that is stable.
--Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
The Prophet. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923, pp.17-18
Be careful with that smile
for it seeps into your eyes
and love, innocent but not naïve,
pours over me
in a waterfall of whimsey
so I am drenched in tenderness
No, don't you be careful
but rather I shall be
lest I drown
in yearning for possession
of a waterfall
which can never be owned
but, by falling, is
--June Goodwin (born mid-XXth century)
I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
Always to look myself straight in the eye.
I don't want to stand with the setting sun
And hate myself for the things I've done.
I don't want to keep on a closet shelf
A lot of secrets about myself
And fool myself as I come and go
Into thinking that nobody else will know
The kind of man I really am,
I don't want to dress myself in a sham.
I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men's respect;
But here in the struggle for fame and pelf
I want to be able to like myself.
I don't want to look at myself and know
That I'm bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
Whatever happens I want to be
Self-respecting and conscience free.
--Edgar A. Guest [Edgar Albert Guest](1881-1959)
in Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1934, p.724
(NOTE: obviously, this is a parody of the Desiderata shown above.
Please resist the temptation to take it seriously!)
You are a fluke of the universe.
You have no right to be here
Whether you can hear it or not,
The universe is laughing behind your back.
Go placidly amid the noise and waste.
And remember what comfort there may be
In owning a piece thereof.
Avoid quiet and passive persons
Unless you are in need of sleep.
Rotate your tires.
Speak glowingly of those greater than yourself
And heed well their advice, even though they be turkeys.
Know what to kiss . . . and when!
Consider that two wrongs never make a right
But that three . . . do.
Wherever possible, put people on hold.
Be comforted that in the face of all aridity and disillusionment
And despite the changing fortunes of time,
There is always a big future in computer maintenance.
Remember the Pueblo.
Strive at all times to bend, fold, spindle and mutilate.
If you need help, call the FBI.
Exercise caution in your daily affairs,
Especially with those persons closest to you.
That lemon on your left, for instance.
Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls
Would scarcely get your feet wet.
Fall not in love therefore; it will stick to your face.
Gracefully surrender the things of youth:
The birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan
And let not the sands of time get in your lunch.
Hire people with hooks.
For a good time call 606-4311; ask for "Ken."
Take heart amid the deepening gloom
That your dog is finally getting enough cheese.
And reflect that whatever misfortune may be your lot
It could only be worse in Milwaukee.
Therefore, make peace with your god
Whatever you conceive him to be --
Hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin.
With all its hopes, dreams, promises and urban renewal
The world continues to deteriorate.
--Tony Hendra (born 1941)
National Lampoon Radio Dinner, 1972 comedy recording
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
--William Ernest Henley (1849-1903)
Since 1945 -- it's taken for granted that manipulating the masses,
secret service operations, the restriction of public liberties, and the
complete sovereignty of a wide array of police forces were appropriate
ways to ensure democracy, freedom and civilization. [p.86] . . .
Governing has never been anything other than postponing by a thousand
subterfuges the moment when the crowd will string you up, and every act
of government is nothing but a way of not losing control of the population.
[p.96] . . .
"Terrorist threats," "natural disasters," "virus warnings,"
"social movements" and "urban violence" are, for society's
managers, so many moments of instability where they reinforce their power,
by the selection of those who please them and the elimination of those
who make things difficult. [p.119]
--The Invisible Committee
L'insurrection qui vient [The Coming Insurrection].
Paris: Editions La Fabrique/Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2007/2009,
My views . . . are the result of a life of inquiry and reflection.
. . . To the corruptions of Christianity I am, indeed, opposed; but
not to the genuine precepts of Jesus himself. I am a Christian in the
only sense in which He wished any one to be; sincerely attached to his
doctrines, in preference to all others; ascribing to himself every
human excellence; & believing he never claimed any other.
(Letter to Dr Benjamin Rush, 21 April 1803)
Among the sayings and discourses imputed to [Jesus] by his biographers,
I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the
most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, so
much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism and imposture. . . .
Of this band of dupes and impostors, [St] Paul was the . . . first
corruptor of the doctrines of Jesus.
(Letter to W. Short, 1820)
--Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Third president of the United States of America
Jefferson here is giving perspective to his somewhat negative reputation
among some Christian believers of his time and ours, as reflected in
the often-quoted statement (virtually always without noting an original
source), that "The Christian God is cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust."
Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth.
The glory of action.
The splendor of achievement.
For yesterday is but a dream.
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore to this day!
--Kalidasa (IVth century CE)
(translated from Sanskrit)
this is probably the first quote I collected and saved, after
hearing adventurer John Goddard (1924-2013) use it in a lecture
at my High School c.1962
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!
--Rudyard Kipling [Joseph Rudyard Kipling](1865-1936)
Rewards and Fairies. Garden City NY: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1911
In the Chapter, "Fortune-Telling With Dice",
32 questions are given, then a set of answers to those questions depending
on what combination shows up when the dice are rolled; question 15 is
"Does he love me?" (p.74), and this quotation (p.86) is the
answer when the dice show a combination of a 2 and 5 (=7); one wonders
if this applies to males who seek advice from a dice-throwing psychic
When we think about risk, human beings and corporations realize in their
heads that risks are necessary to grow, to survive. But when it comes down
to keeping good people when the crunch comes, or investing money in
something untried, only the brave reach deep into their pockets and play
the game as it must be played.
"Yakitori", Electronic Engineering Times, January 18, 1988
Proud word you never spoke, but you will speak
Four not exempt from pride some future day.
Resting on one white hand a warm wet cheek,
Over my open volume you will say,
"This man loved me!" then rise and trip away.
--Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864)
in The Works of Walter Savage Landor, Volume II. London: Edward
Moxon, 1853, poem No.LXIX, p.626
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one anothers throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And dont have any kids yourself.
--Philip Larkin [Philip Arthur Larkin, CH, CBE, FRSL](1922-1985)
Collected Poems. New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001
They are bored because they experience nothing. And they experience
nothing because the wonder has gone out of them. And when the wonder
has gone out of a man, he is dead. He is henceforth only an insect.
When all comes to all, the most precious element in life is wonder.
Love is a great emotion, and power is power. But both love and power
are based on wonder. Love without wonder is a sensational affair,
and power without wonder is mere force and compulsion. The one
universal element in consciousness which is fundamental to life,
is the element of wonder.
--D.H. Lawrence [David Herbert Richards Lawrence](1885-1930)
"Hymns in a Man's Life", Evening News, 13 October 1928
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide Welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
--Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)
written in 1883 to aid the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of
Liberty (which opened in New York Harbor in 1886), then unused until 1903,
when it was engraved in bronze and placed inside the statue's pedestal
The white people never cared for land or deer or bear. When
we Indians kill meat, we eat it all up. When we dig roots,
we make little holes. . . . We shake down acorns and pine nuts.
We don't chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. But the
white people plow up the ground, pull up the trees, kill everything.
The tree says, "Don't. I am sore. Don't hurt me." But they chop
it down and cut it up. The spirit of the land hates them. . . .
The Indians never hurt anything, but the white people destroy all.
They blast rocks and scatter them on the ground. The rock says,
"Dont. You are hurting me." But the white people pay no attention.
When the Indians use rocks, they take little round ones for their
cooking. . . . How can the spirit of the earth like the white man? . . .
Everywhere the white man has touched it, it is sore.
--Dorothy D. Lee (1905-1975)
Freedom and Culture. Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1959, p.163,
quoted by Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections
on the Technocratic Society and Its Youthful Opposition. Garden City NY:
Doubleday, 1969, p.245
A foolish hermit closed his doors and said
"I'll live a Godly life untouched by sin."
Alas! Who builds a wall about himself
Shuts out much more of God than he shuts in.
--James C. Lindberg (born late XIXth century)
in Adeline M. Jenney, Editor. Prairie Poets: An Anthology of Verse of the
South Dakota State Poetry Society, 1927-1949. Minneapolis: Lund Press, 1949
[credited as "J.C. Lindberg " in Anthony Wons. Tony's Scrap
Book, 1932-33 Edition. Chicago: Reilly & Lee, 1932, p.36]
The man I am prefers the light
The deeds well brought to pass.
The boy I was made friends with night
Where mystery still was.
We dwell as one yet rarely meet
And when we meet oppose
Boy dreams, so often indiscreet
To man deeds won in prose.
We find our union makes for gain:
A vigor that resolves
Work into joy and peace from strain,
True love from lesser loves.
--T. Morris Longstreth [Thomas Morris Longstreth](1886-1975)