It is not impossibilities which fill us with deepest despair, but possibilities which we have failed to realize.

Robert Mallet (1915-2002) French novelist, poet, playwright, academician
Apostilles: ou, L’Utile et le Futile (1972)
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No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined. Our Constitution leaves no room for classification of people in a way that unnecessarily abridges this right.

Black - No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election - wist.info quote

Hugo Black (1886-1971) American politician and jurist, US Supreme Court Justice (1937-71)
Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 U.S. 17 (1964) – majority opinion
    (Source)

The ruling held that congressional districts must have roughly equal populations if possible, such that "one man's vote in a congressional election is to be worth as much as another's."
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But a man’s best friend is the one who not only wishes him well but wishes it for his own sake (even though nobody will ever know it).

[φίλος δὲ μάλιστα ὁ βουλόμενος ᾧ βούλεται τἀγαθὰ ἐκείνου ἕνεκα, καὶ εἰ μηδεὶς εἴσεται]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 9, ch. 8 (1168b.1) (c. 325 BC) [tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

He is most a friend who wishes good to him to whom he wishes it for that man’s sake even though no one knows.
[tr. Chase (1847)]

A man's best friend is he who wishes him well for his own sake, without caring whether others are aware of his affection.
[tr. Williams (1869)]

The best friend is he who, when he wishes the good of another, wishes it for the other's sake, and wishes it even if nobody will know his wish.
[tr. Welldon (1892)]

He is most truly a friend who, in wishing well to another, wishes well to him for his (the other’s) sake, and even though no one should ever know.
[tr. Peters (1893)]

Man's best friend is one who wishes well to the object of his wish for his sake, even if no one is to know of it.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

The best friend is he that, when he wishes a person's good, wishes it for that person's own sake, even though nobody will ever know of it.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]

The one who is most a friend is the one who wishes good things to the person he wishes them to for that person's sake, even if no one will know.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

A best friend is one who wishes the good of another for that other's sake, even if no one is to know this.
[tr. Apostle (1975)]

My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake.

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The mistakes I made from weakness do not embarrass me nearly so much as those I made insisting on my strength.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #27 (Spring 1999)
    (Source)
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She became for me an island of light, fun, wisdom where I could run with my discoveries and torments and hopes at any time of day and find welcome.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
A World of Light, ch. 4 (1976)
    (Source)

Referring to Edith Forbes Kennedy (1890-1942), a long-time mentor and "muse."
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There really are broad patterns in history, and the search for them is as fascinating as it is productive.

Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond (b. 1937) American geographer, historian, ornithologist, author
Guns, Germs and Steel, Introduction (1997)
    (Source)
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Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms such as you have named … but a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Friday (1982)
    (Source)
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Agatha looked up. “I guess. I just wonder how many other girls have to worry about whether or not it’s smart to really trust their … you know, the guys they –”

Lady Vitriox crossed her arms. “All of them,” she said flatly.

“But mine has an army!”

The old woman shook her head. “They all do, my Lady. It consists of other men.”

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (2020) [with Kaja Foglio]
    (Source)
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One person by himself is not a complete human being.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
The Educated Imagination, Talk 1 “The Motive for Metaphor” (1963)
    (Source)
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Some praise books for their girth, as if they were written to exercise our arms, not our wits.

[Estiman algunos los libros por la corpulencia, como si se escriviessen para exercitar antes los braços que los ingenios.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 27 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation: "Some reckon books by the thickness, as if they were written to try the brawn more than the brain." [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
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Inquiry into the evidence of a doctrine is not to be made once for all, and then taken as finally settled. It is never lawful to stifle a doubt; for either it can be honestly answered by means of the inquiry already made, or else it proves that the inquiry was not complete.

“But,” says one, “I am a busy man; I have no time for the long course of study which would be necessary to make me in any degree a competent judge of certain questions, or even able to understand the nature of the arguments.” Then he should have no time to believe.

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Ethics of Belief,” Part 1 “The Duty of Inquiry,” Lecture, London (11 Apr 1876)
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So you pretend to fear you may be hit
By pointed epigrams, the shafts of wit?
To seem a worthy foeman you aspire,
How vain alike the fear and the desire!
Against fiercest bulls the lion’s wrath may rise,
He scorns to war with puny butterflies.

[Versus et breve vividumque carmen
in te ne faciam times, Ligurra,
et dignus cupis hoc metu videri.
sed frustra metuis cupisque frustra.
in tauros Libyci fremunt leones,
non sunt papilionibus molesti.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 61 (12.61) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
    (Source)

"To Ligurra". (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

You dread my verse, and sting of wit,
Which put you in a shaking fit:
Would seem of rank to entertain
Such fears: your fears and hopes are vain.
'Tis at the bull that lions fly,
While rats run unregarded by.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

Lest a little living song
Make thy fame, Ligurra, long;
Thou would'st have thy terror seen:
Vain thy wish as fear, I ween.
At the bulls the lions rise,
Never rush on butterflies.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 3, ep. 31]

You are afraid, Ligurra, lest I should compose verses on you, some short and pungent epigram, and you wish to be thought a proper object of such rear. But vain is your fear. and vain your desire! Libyan lions rush upon bulls; they do not hurt butterflies.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

You are afraid, Ligurra, I should write verses on you, and some short and lively poem, and you long to be thought a man that justifies such fear. But vain is your fear, and your longing is vain. Against bulls Libyan lions rage, they are not hostile to butterflies.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Ligurra's fearful I'll contrive
Some pungent piece, some sprightly ditty,
And longs to be considered worth it.
Longings baseless! Baseless fears!
The Libyan lion paws the Libyan bull
But does not bat the butterfly.v [tr. Whigham (1987)]

Ah Ligurra, you’re quite afraid that I might write
About you. Some nasty, pithy, diamond-shard of spite
As is my wont. In fact, you quite like the idea.
Well, don’t get your hopes up I’ll gratify that fear.
I may be beastly but I claw with discretion,
No stepping on insects, flattered to be flattened.
[tr. @mym [2005]

Ligurra, you fear that I might compose
Verses against you, a brief, intense poem --
Oh how you long to seem worthy of this fear.
But you fear in vain, in vain you long.
The Libyan lions growl at bulls;
They do not pester butterflies.
[tr. @sentantiq (2018)]

See also Ben Jonson (1572-1637):

Sir Inigo doth fear it, as I hear,
And labors to seem worthy of that fear,
That I should write upon him some sharpe verse,
Able to eat into his bones, and pierce
Their marrow. Wretch! I quit thee of thy pain,
Thou'rt too ambitious, and dost fear in vain:
The Lybian lion hunts no butterflies,
He makes the camel and dull ass his prize.

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As many years as I have been listening to Easter sermons, I have never heard anyone talk about that part. Resurrection is always announced with Easter lilies, the sound of trumpets, bright streaming light. But it did not happen that way. If it happened in a cave, it happened in complete silence, in absolute darkness, with the smell of damp stone and dug earth in the air. Sitting deep in the heart of Organ Cave, I let this sink in: new life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
Learning to Walk in the Dark
    (Source)
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Never acquire the “all hands ’round” habit. Shake hands with your host, but a bow to the rest is sufficient.

No picture available
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Don’ts for Bachelors and Old Maids (1908)
    (Source)
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Representing the voices of all those whose existence has shaped and formed the world in which we live provides an essential protection against the fascist myth.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 4 (2018)
    (Source)
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We miss so much out of life if we don’t love. The more we love the richer life is — even if it is only some little furry or feathery pet.

Lucy Maud Montgomery
Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) Canadian author
Rainbow Valley, ch. 20 (1919)
    (Source)
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More strategies fail because they are overripe than because they are premature.

Kenichi Ohmae
Kenichi Ohmae (b. 1943) Japanese management consultant, writer
The Mind of the Strategist (1982)
    (Source)
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The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next.

Helen Keller (1880-1968) American author and lecturer
Optimism, Part 2 (1903)
    (Source)

See Parker.
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Then forth they led Melanthius, and began
Their bloody work; they lopp’d away the man,
Morsel for dogs! then trimm’d with brazen shears
The wretch, and shorten’d of his nose and ears;
His hands and feet last felt the cruel steel:
He roar’d, and torments gave his soul to hell.
They wash, and to Ulysses take their way:
So ends the bloody business of the day.

[ἐκ δὲ Μελάνθιον ἦγον ἀνὰ πρόθυρόν τε καὶ αὐλήν:
475τοῦ δ᾽ ἀπὸ μὲν ῥῖνάς τε καὶ οὔατα νηλέϊ χαλκῷ
τάμνον, μήδεά τ᾽ ἐξέρυσαν, κυσὶν ὠμὰ δάσασθαι,
χεῖράς τ᾽ ἠδὲ πόδας κόπτον κεκοτηότι θυμῷ.
οἱ μὲν ἔπειτ᾽ ἀπονιψάμενοι χεῖράς τε πόδας τε
εἰς Ὀδυσῆα δόμονδε κίον, τετέλεστο δὲ ἔργον.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 22, l. 474ff (22.474) (c. 700 BC) [tr. Pope (1725)]
    (Source)

Telemachus and company executing the treacherous goatherd, Melanthius, the last of the deaths on Odysseus' homecoming. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Then fetch’d they down Melanthius, to fulfill
The equal execution; which was done
In portal of the hall, and thus begun:
They first slit both his nostrils, cropp’d each ear,
His members tugg’d off, which the dogs did tear
And chop up bleeding sweet; and, while red-hot
The vice-abhorring blood was, off they smote
His hands and feet; and there that work had end.
Then wash’d they hands and feet that blood had stain’d,
And took the house again.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Then down they dragg’d Melantheus, and his nose
And ears with cruel steel from ’s head they tear,
And brake his arms and legs with many blows,
And to the dogs to eat they throw his gear.
Their work now done, they wash’d their hands and feet,
And to Ulysses in the hall they went,
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 417]

And now through vestibule and hall
They led Melanthius forth. With ruthless steel
They pared away his ears and nose, pluck’d forth
His parts of shame, destin’d to feed the dogs,
And, still indignant, lopp’d his hands and feet.
Then, laving each his feet and hands, they sought
Again Ulysses; all their work was done,
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 548ff]

Then to the courtyard they Melanthius draw,
Lop with knife his nose and ears, and cast
His manhood to the dogs, to eat up raw,
And his limbs dock with iron -- for so vast
Burned the grim wrath within them. At the last,
Washed in pure water, and with hands and feet
Clean from the red gore, to the king they passed;
And all was over, and the work complete.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 57]

Then dragged they Melanthius forth to the porch and courtyard:
From him nose and ears with the ruthless brass
They sheared: and threw his manhood to the dogs:
And chopped off his hands and feet in vengeful rage!
This done, they washed their hands and feet; and hied
To Odysseus int he house: and the work was done.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

Melantius
Was through the corridor and hall led out.
The armed men his nostrils and his ears
With pitiless blade excis'd: his very groin
Was to the rav'nous maw of hounds laid bare;
And both his hands and feet, -- so hotly raged
Avenging wrath! -- were from his body hewn.
Telemachus, at length, and both the herds
When they their hands and feet by blood defil'd
Had in ablusion cleans'd, the house regain'd
And there Ulysses join'd. The work had now
Its full completion reach'd.
[tr. Musgrave (1869), l. 755ff]

Then they led out Melanthius through the doorway and the court, and cut off his nostrils and his ears with the pitiless sword, and drew forth his vitals for the dogs to devour raw, and cut off his hands and feet in their cruel anger. Thereafter they washed their hands and feet, and went into the house to Odysseus, and all the adventure was over.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

Then did they bring Melanthius through the port and into the court,
And they cropped with the ruthless brass the ears and the nose from his face,
And drew out his privy parts for the dogs to eat raw in the place,
And hewed off his hands and his feet in their fierce and fell intent.
Then their hands and their feet they washed, and into the house they went,
And came unto Odysseus, and done was the work of the day.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Then forth they led Melanthius across the porch and yard. With ruthless sword they lopped off his nose and and ears, pulled out his bowels to be eaten raw by dogs, and in their rage cut off his hands and feet. Afterwards, washing clean their own hands and their feet, they went to meet Odysseus in the house, and all the work was done.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

As for Melanthius, they took him through the cloister into the inner court. There they cut off his nose and his ears; they drew out his vitals and gave them to the dogs raw, and then in their fury they cut off his hands and his feet. When they had done this they washed their hands and feet and went back into the house, for all was now over.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

As for Melanthios, they took him through the room into the inner court. There they cut off his nose and his ears; they drew out his vitals and gave them to the dogs raw, and then in their fury they cut off his hands and his feet. When they had done this they washed their hands and feet and went back into the house, for all was now over.
[tr. Butler (1898), rev. Power/Nagy]

Then forth they led Melanthius through the doorway and the court, and cut off his nostrils and his ears with the pitiless bronze, and drew out his vitals for the dogs to eat raw, and cut off his hands and his feet in their furious wrath. Thereafter they washed their hands and feet, and went into the house to Odysseus, and the work was done.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Melanthius they dragged through the entry and the court, sliced his nose and ears with their cruel swords and tore out his privates, which they fed raw to the dogs. Their spite made them also cut off his hands and feet, after which they rinsed their own feet and hands and rejoined Odysseus in the house, all their achievement perfected.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

Next Melanthius was dragged out across the court and through the gate. There with a sharp knife they sliced his nose and ears off; they ripped away his privy parts as raw meat for the dogs, and in their fury they lopped off his hands and feet. Then, after washing their own hands and feet, they went back indoors to Odysseus and the business was finished.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

From the storeroom to the court they brought Melanthios, chopped with swords to cut his nose and ears off, pulled off his genitals to feed the dogs and raging hacked his hands and feet away. As their own hands and feet called for a washing, they went indoors to Odysseus again. Their work was done.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

They took Melanthios along the porch and the courtyard.
They cut off, with the pitiless bronze, his nose and his ears,
tore off his private parts and gave them to the dogs to feed on
raw, and lopped off his hands and feet, in fury of anger.
Then, after they had washed their own hands and feet clean,
they went into the house of Odysseus. Their work was ended.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

Melanthius was led outside the door into the court; with savage bronze they hacked off both his ears and nose, cut off his genitals -- a raw meal for the dogs -- and then, with frenzied hearts, hacked off his hands and feet. Their work complete, as soon as they had washed their hands and feet, again they joined Odysseus in the house.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]

Melanthius?
They hauled him out through the doorway, into the court,
lopped his nose and ears with a ruthless knife,
tore his genitals out for the dogs to eat raw
and in manic fury hacked off hands and feet. Then,
once they'd washed their own hands and feet,
they went inside again to join Odysseus.
Their work was done with now.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

Then they brought Melanthius outside,
And in their fury they sliced off
His nose and ears with cold bronze
And pulled his genitals out by the root --
Raw meat for the dogs -- and chopped off
His hands and feet. This done,
They washed their own hands and feet
And went back into their master's great hall.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 498ff]

Leading Melánthios out to the portico, then to the courtyard,
there with the pitiless bronze they cut off his nose and his ears, then
tore out his privates and gave them raw to the dogs to be eaten,
also chopped off his hands and his feet in the wrath of their spirits.
Finally, when they had cleansed their hands and their feet of the carnage,
they went into the house of Odysseus; the labor was finished.
[tr. Merrill (2002)]

Next they dragged Melanthius out through the hall entrance and across the court. There with a pitiless knife they sliced his nose and ears off; they ripped away his genitals as raw meat for the dogs, and in their fury they lopped off his hands and feet. Then, after washing their own hands and feet, they went back indoors to Odysseus and the business was finished.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]

Then they dragged Melanthius out through the door into the yard, and with the pitiless bronze sliced off his nose and ears, tore away his genitals to be raw meat for the dogs to eat, and in their raging fury lopped off his hands and feet as well. After this they scoured the gore from their hands and feet, and went into the house to meet Odysseus, their work done.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

Then the men took Melanthius outside and with curved bronze cut off his nose and ears and ripped away his genitals, to feed raw to the dogs. Still full of rage, they chopped his hands and feet off. Then they washed their own, and they went back inside.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

Then they brought out Melanthios, ripped out his genitals and fed them to the dogs, and cut off all his extremities. That done, they washed off their hands and feet, and went back in. The work was done.
[tr. Green (2018)]

Then they brought Melanthius out through the doorway
into the yard. With pitiless bronze they sliced off
his nose and ears, then ripped off his cock and balls
as raw meat for dogs to eat, and in their fury
hacked off his hands and feet. After they’d done that,
they washed their hands and feet and went inside the house,
returning to Odysseus. Their work was finished.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 586ff]

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there are worse things than
being alone
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it’s too late
and there’s nothing worse
than
too late.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
“Oh Yes,” You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense (1986)
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The greatest danger that threatens us is neither heterodox thought nor orthodox thought, but the absence of thought.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
Civil Liberties under Attack (1951)
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I am, by calling, a dealer in words; and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.

Kipling - Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind - wist.info quote

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
“Surgeons and the Soul,” speech, Royal College of Surgeons (14 Feb 1923)
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When you get right down to it, one of the most important tasks of a manager is to eliminate his people’s excuse for failure.

Robert Townsend
Robert Townsend (1920-1998) American business executive and author
Further Up the Organization (1984)
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My own view is that to expel a political asylum-seeker because his country threatens to cancel business contracts with Britain is absolutely wrong. And it is not only wrong but dangerous in the long term to us all. This is because of one of the Laws of Politics that I wrote long ago into my little black notebook: “The way a state treats its aliens is the way it would treat its own subjects if it dared”.

Neal Ascherson
Neal Ascherson (b. 1932) Scottish journalist and writer
“If we teach children morality, what will we say about the arms trade?” The Independent (21 Jan 1996)
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Next would seem properly to follow a dissertation on Friendship: because, in the first place, it is either itself a virtue or connected with virtue; and next it is a thing most necessary for life, since no one would choose to live without friends though he should have all the other good things in the world.

[μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα περὶ φιλίας ἕποιτ᾽ ἂν διελθεῖν: ἔστι γὰρ ἀρετή τις ἢ μετ᾽ ἀρετῆς, ἔτι δ᾽ ἀναγκαιότατον εἰς τὸν βίον. ἄνευ γὰρ φίλων οὐδεὶς ἕλοιτ᾽ ἂν ζῆν, ἔχων τὰ λοιπὰ ἀγαθὰ πάντα.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 8, ch. 1 (1155a.3) (c. 325 BC) [tr. Chase (1847)]
    (Source)

Rackham notes:

φιλία, ‘friendship,’ sometimes rises to the meaning of affection or love, but also includes any sort of kindly feeling, even that existing between business associates, or fellow-citizens. The corresponding verb means both ‘to like’ and ‘to love’; the adjective is generally passive, ‘loved,’ ‘liked,’ ‘dear,’ but sometimes active ‘loving,’ ‘liking,’ and so on, as a noun ‘a friend.’

Weldon notes:

If it were necessary to choose one word for φιλία the best would be "friendship," but it corresponds as substantive to the meanings of the verb φιλείν and therefore rises at times in point of intensity to "love."

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Next in order it follows that we ought to treat of friendship. For friendship, if not itself a virtue, at least involves and implies virtue; and it is, moreover, an absolute essential for a happy life, since without friends no man would choose to live, although possessed of every other good thing.
[tr. Williams (1869)]

It will be natural to discuss friendship or love next, for friendship is a kind of virtue or implies virtue. It is also indispensable to life. For nobody would choose to live without friends, although he were in possession of every other good.
[tr. Welldon (1892)]

After the foregoing, a discussion of friendship will naturally follow, as it is a sort of virtue, or at least implies virtue, and is, moreover, most necessary to our life. For no one would care to live without friends, though he had all other good things.
[tr. Peters (1893)]

After what we have said, a discussion of friendship would naturally follow, since it is a virtue or implies virtue, and is besides most necessary with a view to living. For without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

Our next business after this will be to discuss Friendship. For friendship is a virtue, or involves virtue; and also it is one of the most indispensable requirements of life. For no one would choose to live without friends, but possessing all other good things.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]

The next topic we should discuss is friendship, since friendship is a sort of virtue or involves virtue. Furthermore, it is most necessary as regards living. For no one would choose to live without friends, even if he had all the other good things.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

After what has just been said, a discussion of friendship would follow, for friendship is a virtue or something with virtue, and besides it is most necessary to life, for no one would choose to live without friends, though he were to have all the other goods.
[tr. Apostle (1975)]

After this the next step will be to discuss friendship; for it is a kind of virtue, or implies virtue, and it is also most necessary as for living. Nobody would choose to live without friends, even if he had all the other good things.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]

After this, the next step would be a discussion of friendship, since it is a virtue or involves virtue, and is an absolute necessity in life. No one would choose to live without friends, even if he had all the other goods.
[tr. Crisp (2000)]

It would follow, after these matters, to go through what concerns friendship. For friendship is a certain virtue or is accompanied by virtue; and, further, it is most necessary with a view to life: without friends, no one would choose to live, even if he possessed all other goods.
[tr. Bartlett/Collins (2011)]

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Think of all the smart people who are made stupid by flaws of character. The finest watch isn’t fine long when used as a hammer.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #19 (Spring 1999)
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Where music thundered let the mind be still,
Where the will triumphed let there be no will,
What light revealed, now let the dark fulfill.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
“Now Voyager”
    (Source)

First published in The Lion and the Rose, Part 3 (1948).
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History never repeats itself, but the Kaleidoscopic combinations of the pictured present often seem to be constructed of the broken fragments of antique legends.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Gilded Age: A Tale of To-Day, ch. 47 (1874) [with Charles Dudley Warner]
    (Source)

Probably the source of the Twain misquote "History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes" (which does not appear prior to 1970).

More discussion of this quotation: History Does Not Repeat Itself, But It Rhymes – Quote Investigator
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Civilization will cease without civility.

Helen Hayes (1900-1993) American actress
Loving Life (1987) [with Marion Glasserow Gladney]
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Tarvek thought about lying, but the first rule of lying was in knowing when you had a shot at getting away with it.

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (2020) [with Kaja Foglio]
    (Source)
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A person who knows nothing about literature may be an ignoramus, but many people don’t mind being that.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
The Educated Imagination, Talk 1 “The Motive for Metaphor” (1963)
    (Source)
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Let friendly relations be a school of erudition, and conversation, refined teaching.
Make your friends your teachers and blend the usefulness of learning with the pleasure of conversation.

[Sea el amigable trato escuela de erudición, y la conversación, enseñança culta; un hazer de los amigos maestros, penetrando el útil del aprender con el gusto del conversar.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 11 (1647) § 11 [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation: "Let friendly intercourse be a school of knowledge, and culture be taught through conversation; thus you make your friends your teachers and mingle the pleasures of conversation with the advantages of instruction." [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
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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 (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Ethics of Belief,” Part 1 “The Duty of Inquiry,” Lecture, London (11 Apr 1876)
    (Source)
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Administrivia: Doing some long-awaited tidying

There should certainly be a quotation somewhere along the lines of “Creating something new is fun and sexy and draws lots of applause. Keeping that thing maintained and operating is … not.” Every Congresscritter wants to build a new bridge or highway. Nobody wants to be the one to push for actually keeping those things well-maintained after the fact.

Bridge building is really cool. Bridge maintenance … doesn’t quite pull the same headlines (until it suddenly does).

Anyway …

I’ve finished my first-ever (hoo-boy) top-to-bottom author review, wherein I …

  1. Checked on whether any author without a death date was still alive, and updated same as needed.  I have quote (thus authors) going back (mumblety) decades, and in edge cases some of those have never been brought up to date.  A few of these were, ahem, mighty embarrassing.
  2. Made sure that any author with at least two quotations got an image associated with them. My preferences are color>B&W, but “when they were establishing their fame” > “more contemporary but kind of past their prime”. Also, images looking at the viewer are preferred. These folk are talking to you.

So many authors.

(Which is always a reminder of how many of the folk quoted here are Old White Guys. I am quite aware of that, believe me.)

So, all 3,023 authors have been vetted. Something long overdue, and that I need to repeat every few years.

Onward and upward!


Added on 24-Nov-21; last updated 24-Nov-21
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And, oh! whate’er Heaven destined to betide,
Let neither flattery soothe, nor pity hide.
Prepared I stand: he was but born to try
The lot of man; to suffer, and to die.

[πέρι γάρ μιν ὀιζυρὸν τέκε μήτηρ.
μηδέ τί μ᾽ αἰδόμενος μειλίσσεο μηδ᾽ ἐλεαίρων,
ἀλλ᾽ εὖ μοι κατάλεξον ὃπως ἤντησας ὀπωπῆς.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 3, l. 96ff (3.96) (c. 700 BC) [tr. Pope (1725), l. 114ff]
    (Source)

Telemachus seeking to learn from Nestor of the fate of his father, Odysseus. Telemachus later repeats these words in seeking news of his father from Menelaus (4.326). (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

[T]he unhappy wanderer,
To too much sorrow whom his mother bore.
You then by all your bounties I implore,
[...] that in nought applied
To my respect or pity you will glose,
But uncloth’d truth to my desires disclose
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

[B]orn to calamity.
Let no respect, or pity mitigate
Your story, howsoever sad it be.
Nothing but naked truth to me relate.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 85ff]

For my father at his birth
Was, sure, predestin’d to no common woes.
Neither through pity, or o’erstrain’d respect
Flatter me, but explicit all relate
Which thou hast witness’d.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 120ff]

How hath his mother to exceeding teen
borne him! Let no kind thought thy tidings screen;
Paint not the tale through pity.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 12]

For sure a woeful wight his mother bore him!
Extenuate naught for shame or pity's sake,
But tell me all, as thou hast chanced to see!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869), l. 95ff]

His mother bare him to exceeding sorrow. And speak me no soft words in ruth or pity, but tell me plainly what sight thou didst get of him.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

This man, his mother bore him to most exceeding woe --
But have no respect of my sorrow nor be soft and soothing now,
But tell all out unto me, in what wise the man thou hast seen.
[tr. Morris (1887), l. 95ff]

To exceeding grief his mother bore him. Use no mild word, no yield to pity, from regard for me, but tell me fully all you chanced to see.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

He was a man born to trouble. Do not soften things out of any pity for me, but tell me in all plainness exactly what you saw.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

For beyond all men did his mother bear him to sorrow. And do thou nowise out of ruth or pity for me speak soothing words, but tell me truly how thou didst come to behold him.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Even from his mother's womb, calamity had marked him for her own. Do not in pity convey to me smooth things, things gentler than the truth: blurt out, rather, all that met your sight.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

For if ever a man was born for misery, it was he. Do not soften your account out of pity or concern for my feelings, but faithfully describe the scene that met your eyes.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

The man was born for trouble. Spare me no part for kindness' sake; be harsh; but put the scene before me as you saw it.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

His mother bore this man to be wretched. Do not soften it because you pity me and are sorry for me, but fairly tell me all that your eyes have witnessed.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

She who gave birth to him gave birth to grief. You need not sweeten anything for me. Forget discretion, set aside your pity: tell me completely -- all you chanced to see.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]

More than all other men, that man was born for pain.
Don't soften a thing, from pity, respect for me --
tell me, clearly, all your eyes have witnessed.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

He was born to sorrow.
More than any man on earth. And do not,
Out of pity, spare me the truth, but tell me
Whatever you have seen, whatever you know.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 104ff]

For his mother indeed bore him to be woeful. Spare me nothing, extenuate nothing, nor show any pity; tell me all to the end, however it came to your notice.
[tr. Merrill (2002)]

For if ever a man was born to suffer it was he. Do not soften your account out of pity or concern for my feelings, but faithfully describe the scene that met your eyes.
[tr. D C H Rieu (2002)]

More than any other man his mother bore him for wretchedness. Do not let respect or pity for me soften your words, but tell me exactly how you chanced to see him.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

He was surely born to suffer in extraordinary ways. Please do not try to sweeten bitter news from pity; tell me truly if you saw him, and how he was.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

To unmatched sorrow his mother bore him! And don't, from concern or pity, speak false comfort to me, but tell me exactly what you may have witnessed!
[tr. Green (2018)]

For his mother bore him
to go through trouble more than other men.
Do not pity me or, from compassion,
just offer me kind words of consolation,
but tell me truly how you chanced to see him.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 119ff]

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Sex is interesting, but it’s not totally important. I mean, it’s not even as important (physically) as excretion. A man can go seventy years without a piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Notes of a Dirty Old Man (1969)
    (Source)
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Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear,
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Julius Caesar, Act 2, sc. 2, l. 34ff [Caesar] (1599)
    (Source)

The initial phrase has seemingly morphed in the retelling, though still being cited to Shakespeare: "A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once." This is the form most often seen, but is not Shakespeare.

In A Farewell to Arms (1929), Hemingway gives another paraphrase: "The coward dies a thousand deaths, the brave but one."
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There is always a certain glamour about the idea of a nation rising up to crush an evil simply because it is wrong. Unfortunately, this can seldom be realized in real life; for the very existence of the evil usually argues a moral weakness in the very place where extraordinary moral strength is called for.

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) American writer, historian, social reformer [William Edward Burghardt Du Bois]
The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, ch. 12, sec. 93 (1896)
    (Source)
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The key to any progress is to ask the question Why? All the time. Why is that child poor? Why was there a war? Why was he killed? Why is he in power? And of course questions can get you into a lot of trouble, because society is trained by those who run it to accept what goes on. Without questions we won’t make any progress at all.

Tony Benn
Tony Benn (1925-2014) British politician, writer, diarist
Interview in Raoul Martinez, Creating Freedom: The Lottery of Birth (2013)
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So many times I’ve made myself stupid with the fear of being outsmarted.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #17 (Spring 1999)
    (Source)
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I feel more alive when I’m writing than I do at any other time — except when I’m making love. Two things when you forget time, when nothing exists except the moment — the moment of the writing, the moment of love. That perfect concentration is bliss.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
Interview (1983)
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If pressed to pick a political system, I think that some country or other ought to try jury duty as a way of picking its politicians: if your name gets picked, and you can’t come up with a good enough excuse, you’ll have to give up four or five years of your life to helping run the country, which avoids the main problem of politics as I see it, which is that the kind of people you have to choose between and vote for are the kind of people who actually think that they ought to be running things. If you have a country and want to try this as a political system, let me know how it works out.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
“Politics, Portugal and No Gumbo-Limbo Trees,” blog entry (17 Nov 2004)
    (Source)
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The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.

John Gilmore
John Gilmore (b. 1955) Computer scientist, developer, civil liberties activist
Quoted in Phillip Elmer-Dewitt, “First Nation in Cyberspace,” Time (6 Dec 1993)
    (Source)

Sometimes misquoted with "a defect" instead of "damage". Gilmore was speaking of Usenet specifically, though he acknowledges that the principle can be observed on the (now broader) Internet.

More discussion about this quotation: The Net Interprets Censorship As Damage and Routes Around It – Quote Investigator.
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The genius of a good leader is to leave behind him a situation which common sense, without the grace of genius, can deal with successfully.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
“Roosevelt Has Gone,” “Today and Tomorrow” column (14 Apr 1945)
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I had discovered what one man could do to another. I am not talking about one man killing another with a gun, or dropping a bomb on him or blowing him up or torpedoing him. I am thinking of the vileness beyond all words that went on, year after year, in the totalitarian states. It is bad enough to say that so many Jews were exterminated in this way and that, so many people liquidated — lovely, elegant word — but there were things done during that period from which I still have to avert my mind lest I should be physically sick. They were not done by the headhunters of New Guinea, or by some primitive tribe in the Amazon. They were done, skilfully, coldly, by educated men, doctors, lawyers, by men with a tradition of civilization behind them, to beings of their own kind. I must say that anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey must have been blind or wrong in the head.

William Golding
William Golding (1911-1983) British novelist, playwright, poet
Lord of the Flies as Fable,” Lecture, UCLA (1962)
    (Source)

Reprinted in The Hot Gates (1965).
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Drink, the social glue of the human race. Probably in the beginning we could explain ourselves to our close family members with grunts, muttered syllables, gestures, slaps, and punches. Then when the neighbors started dropping in to help harvest, stomp, stir, and drink the bounty of the land, after we’d softened our natural suspicious hostility with a few stiff ones, we had to think up some more nuanced communications, like words. From there it was a short step to grammar, civil law, religion, history, and “The Whiffenpoof Song.”

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
The Joy of Drinking (2007)
    (Source)
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Captious, yet kind; pleasant but testy too;
I cannot bear to part, or live with you.

[Difficillis facillis, iucundus acerbus es idem:
Nec tecum possum vivere nec sine te.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 12, epigram 47 (12.47) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Sometimes given as 12.46. Ker notes the second line is borrowed from Ovid, Amores, 3.9. Alternate translations:

In all thy humours whether grave or mellow,
Thou'rt such a touchy, testy, pleasant fellow;
Hast so much wit and mirth, and spleen about thee
There is no living with the, or without thee.
[Addison, The Spectator #68 (18 May 1711)]

Such stiffness, ease; such sweets and sours about thee!
I cannot live, or with thee, or without thee.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 12, #126]

Difficult and easy, churlish and pleasing; you are all of these, and yet one person;
there is no living with thee, nor without thee.
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 3 #85]

Thou'rt merry, sad; easy, and hard to please;
Nor with nor from thee can I live at ease.
[tr. Wright (<1859)]

You are at once morose and agreeable, pleasing and repulsive.
I can neither live with you, nor without you.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Difficult and easy-going, pleasant and churlish, you are at the same time:
I can neither live with you nor without you.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Difficult or easy, pleasant or bitter, you are the same you:
I cannot live with you -- or without you.
[Source]

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It can be difficult to be an introvert in church, especially if you happen to be the pastor. Liking to be alone can be interpreted as a judgment on other people’s company. Liking to be quiet can be construed as aloofness. There is so much emphasis on community in most congregations that anyone who does not participate risks being labeled a loner.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
An Altar in the World, ch. 7 (2009)
    (Source)
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It is an error to suppose that no man understands his own character. Most persons know even their failings very well, only they persist in giving them names different from those usually assigned by the rest of the world; and they compensate for this mistake by naming, at first sight, with singular accuracy, those very same failings in others.

Arthur Helps (1813-1875) English writer and bureaucrat
Thoughts in the Cloister and the Crowd (1835)
    (Source)
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The guest who deliberately wounds his Host strikes a Manacled Man.

No picture available
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Don’ts for Bachelors and Old Maids (1908)
    (Source)
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Wretchedness is caused by emotional disturbances, and the happy life by calmness, and disturbance takes two forms — anxiety and fear in expecting evils, ecstatic joy and lustful thoughts in misunderstanding good things, all of which are at variance with with wisdom and reason. Accordingly, if a man possesses self-control and consistency, and is without fear, distress, excitability, or lust, is he not happy? But this is the nature of the wise man always, so he is happy always.

[Atque cum perturbationes animi miseriam, sedationes autem vitam efficiant beatam, duplexque ratio perturbationis sit, quod aegritudo et metus in malis opinatis, in bonorum autem errore laetitia gestiens libidoque versetur, quae omnia cum consilio et ratione pugnent, his tu tam gravibus concitationibus tamque ipsis inter se dissentientibus atque distractis quem vacuum solutum liberum videris, hunc dubitabis beatum dicere? atqui sapiens semper ita adfectus est; semper igitur sapiens beatus est.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 5, ch. 15 / sec. 43 (45 BC) [tr. Davie (2017)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Now since the Disturbances of the Soul render the Life miserable, but the composure of them happy; and there is a double rank of Passions; in that, Discontent and Fear are terminated on Evils conceiv'd; but excessive Mirth and Lust arise from the misapprehension of good things, since all are inconsistent with Advice and Reason, if you shall see any one clear, emancipated, free from these emotions so vehement, so discordant one with the other, and so distracting, can you make any question of calling him Happy? But the Wise man is always so dispos'd, therefore the Wise man is always Happy.
[tr. Wase (1643)]

But as the perturbations of the mind make life miserable, and tranquility renders it happy: and as these perturbations are of two sorts; grief and fear, proceeding from imagined evils, immoderate joy and lust, from the mistake of what is good; and all these are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such troublesome commotions, which are so much at variance with one another, can you hesitate to pronounce such a one a happy man? Now the wise man is always in such a disposition: therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Main (1824)]

But when the perturbations render life unhappy, while their repose makes it happy -- and since the mode of perturbation is twofold -- sorrow and fear having birth from reputed evils -- the delirium of joy and desire, from the delusion of good, -- when all these are repugnant to counsel and reason, and you see a man void, exempt, free from these excitements, so vehement, so discordant, so distracted by mutual conflicts, -- will you hesitate to pronounce him happy? But the wise man is always thus, and therefore always happy.
[tr. Otis (1839)]

But as the perturbations of the mind make life miserable, and tranquillity renders it happy; and as these perturbations are of two sorts, grief and fear, proceeding from imagined evils, and as immoderate joy and lust arise from a mistake about what is good, and as all these feelings are in opposition to reason and counsel; when you see a man at ease, quite free and disengaged from such troublesome commotions, which are so much at variance with one another can you hesitate to pronounce such an one a happy man? Now the wise man is always in such a disposition, therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

Now since perturbations of mind create misery, while quietness of mind makes life happy, and since there are two kinds of perturbations, grief and fear having their scope in imagined evils, inordinate joy and desire in mistaken notions of the good, all being repugnant to wise counsel and reason, will you hesitate to call him happy whom you see relieved, released, free from these excitements so oppressive, and so at variance and divided among themselves? Indeed one thus disposed is always happy. Therefore the wise man is always happy.
[tr. Peabody (1886)]

Added on 18-Nov-21 | Last updated 18-Nov-21
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Women are good listeners, but it’s a waste of time telling your troubles to a man unless there is something specific you want him to do.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 3 (1963)
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For the fascist, schools and universities are there to indoctrinate national or racial pride, conveying for example (where nationalism is racialized) the glorious achievements of the dominant race.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 4 (2018)
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Added on 18-Nov-21 | Last updated 18-Nov-21
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It is never quite safe to think we have done with life. When we imagine we have finished our story fate has a trick of turning the page and showing us yet another chapter.

Lucy Maud Montgomery
Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) Canadian author
Rainbow Valley, ch. 13 (1919)
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Of course, when stood next to the choice of American political parties (“So, would you like Right Wing, or Supersized Right Wing with Extra Fries?”) my English fuzzy middle-of-the-roadness probably translates easily as bomb-throwing Trotskyist, but when I get to chat to proper lefties like Ken MacLeod or China Mieville I feel myself retreating rapidly back into the woffly Guardian-reading why-can’t-people-just-be-nice-to-each-otherhood of the politically out of his depth.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
“Walking Down the Street Naked, Possibly with a Mullet,” blog entry (15 Jun 2003)
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When asked whether (and denying) he is a Communist.
Added on 17-Nov-21 | Last updated 17-Nov-21
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