Quotations

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“My view of life is, that it’s next to impossible to convince anybody of anything.” — Lewis Carroll

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“I cannot easily buy a blankbook to write thoughts in: they are commonly ruled for dollars and cents.” — Thoreau

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“To breed an animal with the right to make promises — is not this the paradoxical problem nature has set herself with regard to man?” — Nietzsche

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“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.” — Leonardo

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“I wrote somewhere once that the third-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking with the majority, the second-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking with the minority, and the first-rate mind was only happy when it was thinking.” — A.A. Milne

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“Personally, I have always looked upon cricket as organized loafing.” — William Temple

“I regard golf as an expensive way of playing marbles.” — G.K. Chesterton

“I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense.” — H.L. Mencken

Misc

  • Fathers can mother, but mothers can’t father.
  • The Mall of America is owned by Canadians.
  • Neil Armstrong was 17 when Orville Wright died.
  • LONELY TYLENOL is a palindrome.
  • 258402 + 437762 = 2584043776
  • “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” — Plutarch

Edward Gorey’s pen names included Ogdred Weary, Raddory Gewe, Regera Dowdy, D. Awd­rey-Gore, E.G. Deadworry, Waredo Dyrge, Deary Rewdgo, Dewda Yorger, and Dogear Wryde. Writer Wim Tigges responded, “God reward ye!”

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“Among the smaller duties of life I hardly know any one more important than that of not praising where praise is not due.” — Sydney Smith

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“Now she is like everyone else.” — Charles de Gaulle, at the funeral of his daughter Anne, who had Down syndrome, February 1948

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“Humiliation and indifference, these are conditions every one of us finds unbearable — this is why the Coyote when falling is more concerned with the audience’s opinion of him than he is with the inevitable result of too much gravity.” — Chuck Jones

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“I maintain that there is no common language or medium of understanding between people of education and without it — between those who judge of things from books or from their senses. Ignorance has so far the advantage over learning; for it can make an appeal to you from what you know; but you cannot re-act upon it through that which it is a perfect stranger to. Ignorance is, therefore, power.” — William Hazlitt

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“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” — Neil Armstrong, 1969

“Better if he had said something natural like, ‘Jesus, here we are.'” — Edmund Hillary, 1974

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“I have somewhere met with the epitaph of a charitable man, which has very much pleased me. I cannot recollect the words, but the sense of it is to this purpose; What I spent I lost; what I possessed is left to others; what I gave away remains with me.” — Joseph Addison

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“History is philosophy teaching by examples.” — Thucydides

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“Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions that differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.” — Albert Einstein

“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” — Oscar Wilde

“We think as we do mainly because other people think so.” — Samuel Butler

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“In like manner, if I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.” — William Kingdon Clifford

(He distilled this into a credo: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for any one, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.”)

Clan Handled

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“Why does one never hear of a blessing thundering down the years and pursuing a certain family while pouring the gifts of the gods into their laps?” — Lady Norah Ida Emily Noel Bentinck, My Wanderings and Memories, 1924

Misc

  • WEALTH is an anagram of THE LAW.
  • U.S. Navy submarines observe an 18-hour day.
  • Joaquín Rodrigo wrote his compositions in Braille.
  • 45632 = –45 + 63×2
  • “Thy modesty’s a candle to thy merit.” — Henry Fielding

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“The mode of death is sadder than death itself.” — Martial

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“Adam was but human — this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple’s sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent.” — Mark Twain

Insight

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Still more wisdom from German aphorist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799):

  • “That man is the noblest creature may also be inferred from the fact that no other creature has yet contested this claim.”
  • “If people should ever start to do only what is necessary, millions would die of hunger.”
  • “I am convinced we do not only love ourselves in others, but hate ourselves in others too.”
  • “Erudition can produce foliage without bearing fruit.”
  • “Nothing is judged more carelessly than people’s characters, and yet there is nothing about which we should be more cautious. Nowhere do we wait less patiently for the sum total which actually is the character. I have always found that the so-called bad people gain when we get to know them more closely, and the good ones lose.”
  • “Completely to block a given effect requires a force equal to that which caused it. To give it a different direction, a trifle will often suffice.”
  • “Undeniably, what we call perseverance can lend the appearance of dignity and grandeur to many actions, just as silence in company affords wisdom and apparent intelligence to a stupid person.”
  • “The sure conviction that we could if we wanted to is the reason so many good minds are idle.”
  • “There were honest people long before there were Christians and there are, God be praised, still honest people where there are no Christians. It could therefore easily be possible that people are Christians because true Christianity corresponds to what they would have been even if Christianity did not exist.”
  • “He who knows himself properly can very soon learn to know all other men. It is all reflection.”
  • “It is certain, it seems, that we can judge some matter correctly and wisely and yet, as soon as we are required to specify our reasons, can specify only those which any beginner in that sort of fencing can refute. Often the wisest and best men know as little how to do this as they know the muscles with which they grip or play the piano. This is very true and deserves to be pursued further.”

See Diamonds and Pearls, From the Notebooks, and The Sage of Göttingen.

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“I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid.” — G.K. Chesterton

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“If I could remember the names of all these particles I’d be a botanist.” — Enrico Fermi

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“It is not that I have accomplished too few of my plans, for I am not ambitious; but when I think of all the books I have read, and of the wise words I have heard spoken, and of the anxiety I have given to parents and grandparents, and of the hopes that I have had, all life weighed in the scales of my own life seems to me a preparation for something that never happens.”

— Yeats, Reveries Over Childhood and Youth, 1914