Why do casinos lavish such gaudy gifts on someone who has just taken piles of their money? To ensure he doesn’t leave. The more gifts they give, the longer the gambler will stay. The longer he stays, the more likely he is to cough up his winnings. In fact, because of the false sense of his own skill he acquired while racking up his temporary purse, he’ll probably end up losing far more than he would have tolerated had he not found himself up in the first place. However cautious and determined people are when they begin, their good judgment goes out the window once they start to win.

Nathan H. Lents (b. 1978) American biologist, author, academic
Human Errors, ch. 6 (2018)
    (Source)
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What, sir, would the people of this earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir. Mighty scarce.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“Women, a Eulogy of the Fair Sex,” Speech at the Correspondents Club, Washington, DC (11 Jan 1868)
    (Source)

The speech (responding to a toast) was printed on 13 January in the Washington Star. The last sentence (or, in some cases, "Almighty scarce") was apparently added later in Twain's published speeches.

Variant: "What would men be without women? Scarce, sir, mighty scarce."
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From time immemorial the wise and practical have denounced every heroic spirit. Yet it has not been they who have influenced our lives. The idealists and visionaries, foolish enough to throw caution to the winds and express their ardour and faith in some supreme deed, have advanced mankind and have enriched the world.

Emma Goldman (1869-1940) Lithuanian-American anarchist, activist
Living My Life, Part 2, ch. 39 (1931)
    (Source)
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By Hercules, I prefer to be wrong with Plato … than to be right with those idiots.

[Errare mehercule malo cum Platone … quam cum istis vera sentire.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 1, ch. 17 / sec. 39 [Auditor] (45 BC) [tr. @sententiq (2012)]
    (Source)

Original Latin. Alternate translations:
  • "Had rather, I assure you, be mistaken with Plato ... than to be of their opinion in the right." [tr. Wase (1643)]
  • "I had rather, so help me Hercules, be mistaken with Plato ... than be in the right with them." [tr. Main (1824)]
  • "I would rather err, by Hercules, with Plato ... than to embrace the truth with those others." [tr. Otis (1839)]
  • "I had rather, so help me Hercules! be mistaken with Plato ... than be in the right with those others." [tr. Yonge (1853)]
  • "I would rather, by Hercules, err with Plato ... than hold the truth with those other philosophers." [tr. Peabody (1886)]
  • "I would rather, so help me Hercules! be wrong with Plato ... than be right with all the rest of them." [tr. Black (1889)]
  • "Believe me, I'd rather go wrong in the company of Plato ... than hold the right views with his opponents." [tr. Davie (2017)]
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It is important to remember that events now long in the past were once in the future.

F. W. Maitland (1850-1906) English legal historian and jurist [Frederic William Maitland]
(Attributed)

A favorite saying of A. J. P. Taylor's which he used repeatedly in his writings, attributing it to Maitland. It is sometimes erroneously attributed to Taylor. Variant: "It is very had to remember that events now long in the past were once in the future"
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What egotism, what stupid vanity, to suppose that a thing could not happen because you could not conceive it!

Philip Wylie (1902-1971) American author
When Worlds Collide (1933) [with Edwin Balmer]
    (Source)
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Under normal circumstances, the name a human being bears is no more than the band is to a cigar: a means of identification, a superficial, almost unimportant thing that is only loosely related to the real subject, the true ego. In the event of a success the name begins to swell, so to say. It loosens itself from the human being that bears it and becomes a power in itself, a force, an independent thing, an article of commerce, a capital asset; and psychologically again with strong reaction it becomes a force which tends to influence, to dominate, to transform the person who bears it.

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist, biographer
The World of Yesterday [Die Welt von Gestern], ch. 13 (1942)
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Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion, incapable, that is, of doing an honest or intelligent job.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
Freedom, Loyalty and Dissent (1954)
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When first we fall in love, we feel that we know all there is to know about life, and perhaps we are right.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 1 (1963)
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A lot of people seem to believe in a big-daddy-God or a big-cop-God or a big-king-God. They believe in a kind of superperson. A few believe God is another word for nature. And nature turns out to mean just about anything they happen not to understand or feel in control of.

Octavia Butler (1947-2006) American writer
Parable of the Sower, ch. 2 (1993)
    (Source)
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Paul reads as his own all the poems he buys.
Well, all that he pays for is his, I surmise.

[Carmina Paulus emit, recitat sua carmina Paulus.
Nam quod emas, possis iure vocare tuum.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 2, epigram 20 [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
    (Source)

Original Latin. Alternate translations:

Paul verses buys; and what he buys, recites.
Alike his own are what he buys and writes.
[tr. Elphinson (1782)]

Sly Paul buys verse as he buys merchandise,
Then for his own he'll pompously recite it --
Paul scorns a lie -- the poetry is his --
By law his own, although he could not write it.
[tr. New Monthly Magazine (1825)]

Paulus buys verses; Paulus recites his own verses. And they are his own, for that which you buy, you have a right to call yours.
[tr. Amos (1858), 2.32]

Paullus buys poems, and aloud,
As his, recites them to the crowd.
For what you buy it is well known
You have a right to call your own.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

Paulus buys verses: Paulus recites his own verses; and what you buy you may legally call your own.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1897)]

Paulus buys a book of verse
And reads us then his own.
One's right, of course, to what one buys
Can legally be shown.
[tr. Nixon (1911)]

Paul buys up poems, and to your surprise,
Paul then recites them as his own:
And Paul is right; for what a person buys
Is his, as can by law be shown!
[tr. Duff (1929)]

Paulus buys poems; Paulus gives readings from his poems.
After all, what you buy you can rightfully call your own.
[tr. Williams (2004)]

A poet's name is what you sought.
The name, you found, is all you bought.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Bought verses for his own Paul doth recite,
For what you buy you may call yours by right.
[tr. Wright]

Paulus buys verse, recites, and owns them all,
For what thou buy'st, thou may'st thine truly call.
[tr. Fletcher]

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Once we have labeled someone as “evil” there is often no limit to the cruelty and violence we can feel justified in administering to him ….

James Gilligan (b. c. 1936) American psychiatrist and author
Preventing Violence (2001)
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What vitiates nearly all that is written about antisemitism is the assumption in the writer’s mind that he himself is immune to it. “Since I know that antisemitism is irrational,” he argues, “it follows that I do not share it.” He thus fails to start his investigation in the one place where he could get hold of some reliable evidence — that is, in his own mind.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Antisemitism in Britain,” Contemporary Jewish Record (Apr 1945)
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I hold it blasphemy to say that a man ought not to fight against authority: there is no great religion and no great freedom that has not done it, in the beginning.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Felix Holt, the Radical, ch. 46 (1866)
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And so I say that for brutality and infamy there is no one to equal a woman who can contemplate such deeds. Who else could conceive so hideous a crime as her deliberate butchery of her husband and her lord?

[ὣς οὐκ αἰνότερον καὶ κύντερον ἄλλο γυναικός,
ἥ τις δὴ τοιαῦτα μετὰ φρεσὶν ἔργα βάληται:
οἷον δὴ καὶ κείνη ἐμήσατο ἔργον ἀεικές,
κουριδίῳ τεύξασα πόσει φόνον.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 11, l. 427ff [Agamemnon] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Rieu (1946)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Nothing so heap’d is with impieties,
As such a woman that would kill her spouse
That married her a maid.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Nothing so cruel as a woman yet
Did nature e’er produce; a thought so ill
In any other breast did never sit,
As her own loving husband’s blood to spill.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 409ff]

O woman, woman, when to ill thy mind
Is bent, all hell contains no fouler fiend:
And such was mine! who basely plunged her sword
Through the fond bosom where she reign'd adored!
[tr. Pope (1725)]

So that the thing breathes not, ruthless and fell
As woman once resolv’d on such a deed
Detestable, as my base wife contrived,
The murther of the husband of her youth.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 519ff]

Since nought exists more horrible and bold
Than evil in the breast of womankind,
When she to her own lust herself hath sold,
Even as this fell monster in her mind
Against the husband of her youth designed
Black murder.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 60]

Thus there is nought more horrible and shameless,
Than woman, who such deeds as these could think on!
Like as she compassed this unseemly deed --
Blood -- murder 'gainst the husband of her youth!
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

So surely is there nought more terrible and shameless than a woman who imagines such evil in her heart, even as she too planned a foul deed, fashioning death for her wedded lord.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

Nought more shameless or more fearful than a woman may ye find
When she at last conceiveth such deeds within her mind.
E'en such a deed so unseemly as she imagined for me,
To murder her wedded husband!
[tr. Morris (1887), l. 427ff]

Ah, what can be more horrible and brutish than a woman when she admits into her thoughts such deeds as these! And what a shameless deed she plotted to bring about the murder of the husband of her youth!
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

For there is nothing in this world so cruel and so shameless as a woman when she has fallen into such guilt as hers was. Fancy murdering her own husband!
[tr. Butler (1898)]

So true is it that there is nothing more dread or more shameless than a woman who puts into her heart such deeds, even as she too devised a monstrous thing, contriving death for her wedded husband.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

I tell you, there is nought more awful and inhuman than a woman who can fondle in her heart crimes so foul as this conception of my wife's to murder the husband of her youth.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

So,
there’s nothing more deadly, bestial than a woman
set on works like these -- what a monstrous thing
she plotted, slaughtered her own lawful husband!
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

Nothing
Is more grim or more shameless than a woman
Who sets her mind on such an unspeakable act
As killing her own husband.
[tr. Lombardo (2000), l. 443ff]

There is nothing more terrible, nor anything more shameless, than a woman who can plan deeds like this in her heart, deeds like this ugly crime that Clytemnestra plotted: the murder of her lawfully wedded husband.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

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“What is truth?” Sometimes people ask this question because they wish to do nothing. Generic cynicism makes us feel hip and alternative even as we slip along with our fellow citizens into a morass of indifference. It is your ability to discern facts that makes you an individual, and our collective trust in common knowledge that makes us a society.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, ch. 10 (2017)
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As an experimental psychologist, I have been trained not to believe anything unless it can be demonstrated in the laboratory on rats or sophomores.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
Words and Rules, ch. 4 (1999)
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Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Can Socialists Be Happy?” Tribune (20 Dec 1943) [as John Freeman]
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To disagree well you must first understand well. You have to read deeply, listen well, watch closely. You need to grant your adversary moral respect; give him the intellectual benefit of doubt; have sympathy for his motives and participate empathically with his line of reasoning. And you need to allow for the possibility that you might yet be persuaded of what he has to say.

Bret Stephens (b. 1973) American journalist, editor, columnist
“The Dying Art of Disagreement,” Lecture, Lowy Institute Media Award dinner, Sydney (23 Sep 2017)
    (Source)

Reprinted in the New York Times (24 Sep 2017)
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It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire. For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroe and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
“The Cats of Ulthar,” Tryout (Nov 1920)
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People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Witches Abroad (1991)
    (Source)
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Try not to pay attention to those who will try to make life miserable for you. There will be a lot of those — in the official capacity as well as the self-appointed. Suffer them if you can’t escape them, but once you have steered clear of them, give them the shortest shrift possible.

Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) Russian-American poet, essayist, Nobel laureate, US Poet Laureate [Iosif Aleksandrovič Brodskij]
“Speech at the Stadium,” Commencement Address, University of Michigan (18 Dec 1988)
    (Source)
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If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.

John von Neumann (1903-1957) Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, inventor, polymath [János "Johann" Lajos Neumann]
Speech, Association for Computing Machinery inaugural conference, Columbia University, New York (15 Sep 1947)
    (Source)

Von Neumann insisted that ENIAC's command language could encompass all mathematics, given how only a thousand words could handle most needs of life, and mathematics was, he insisted, simpler than life. When the audience laughed, he replied with this comment. Quoted in Franz L. Alt, "Archaeology of computers: Reminiscences, 1945-1947," Communications of the ACM, Vol 15, #7 (Jul 1972).
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Science: essentially math disguised as dinosaurs and outer space in order to seem interesting.

John Oliver (b. 1977) British-American comedian, writer, producer, political commentator
Last Week Tonight, ep. 136 (1 Jul 2018)

Segment on CRISPR and genome editing.
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The general uncertainty as to what is really happening makes it easier to cling to lunatic beliefs. Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Notes on Nationalism” (May 1945)
    (Source)
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If you wish to succeed in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother, and hope your guardian genius.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
(Attributed)

Broadly attributed to Addison, but possibly a 19th Century creation. The earliest found appearance is in 1854, and the earliest attribution to Addison in in 1862.
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How few philosophers are to be found who are such in character, so ordered in soul and in life, as reason demands; who regard their teaching not as a display of knowledge, but as the rule of life; who obey themselves, and submit to their own decrees!

[Quotus enim quisque philosophorum invenitur, qui sit ita moratus, ita animo ac vita constitutus, ut ratio postulat? qui disciplinam suam non ostentationem scientiae, sed legem vitae putet? qui obtemperet ipse sibi et decretis suis pareat?]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 2, ch. 4 / sec. 11 [Marcus] (45 BC) [tr. Peabody (1886)]
    (Source)

Original Latin. Alternate translations:

For where is there one Philosopher of a thousand to be found, of such a Temper and Conversation, as Reason requires? who maketh use of his Doctrine not for Ostentation of Knowledge, but a Rule of Life? who believes himself, and observes his own Precepts?
[tr. Wase (1643)]

For how few philosophers will you meet with, whose life and manners are conformable to the dictates of reason? who look on their profession, not as a means of displaying their learning, but as a rule for their practice? who follow their own precepts, and comply with their own decrees?
[tr. Main (1824)]
For, how rare to find a philosopher with such morals, with a mind and life so regulated, as reason requires -- who deems his own doctrine, not a parade of science, but the rule of life -- who yields obedience to himself, and deference to his own decrees.
[tr. Otis (1839)]

For how few philosophers will you meet with, whose life and manners are conformable to the dictates of reason! who look on their profession, not as a means of displaying their learning, but as a rule for their own practice! who follow their own precepts, and comply with, their own decrees!
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

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History is not another name for the past, as many people imply. It is the name for stories about the past.

A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) British historian, journalist, broadcaster [Alan John Percivale Taylor]
(Attributed)
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We can’t start over again, and it wouldn’t “be perfect” if we could. We can only continue.

Theodore Isaac Rubin (b. 1923) American psychiatrist and author
Compassion and Self Hate: An Alternative to Despair, Part 2 (1975)
    (Source)
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I’m a pacifist about certain things. I’m a pacifist in the way I define national interest. I use this example frequently: If the Mexicans decided to cross the Texas border with firearms, I would be down there in a moment with a rifle and a whistle to direct the troops to repel them. If the United States is attacked, I will defend it. My problem is the United States’ defending the interests of the Union Oil Company or the United Fruit Company. Those are not American interests. They’re private-money interests, and that bothers me a great deal.

Paul Fussell (1924-2012) American cultural and literary historian, author, academic
“The Initial Shock,” Interview by Sheldon Hackney, Humanities (Nov/Dec 1996)
    (Source)
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When I talk about the death penalty to people, there are a zillion pragmatic arguments to make that the death penalty is more expensive, that you could make mistakes with the death penalty. I try to never use them, because I believe that as soon as I use them, I have dropped what matters to me. Because those arguments are disingenuous. To say, “What if we put an innocent person to death?” I am then telling you that if you can promise me we won’t put any innocent people to death that I’m somehow OK with that, and I’m fucking not. Killing people is wrong. Government shouldn’t fucking do it. End of story.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
Interview by Kahterine Mangu-Ward, Reason (Jan 2017)
    (Source)
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You are astonished to find yourself the butt of so much calumny, opposition, indifference and ill-will. You will be more so and have more of it; it is the reward of the good and the beautiful: one may calculate the value of a man from the number of his critics and the importance of a work by the evil said of it.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) French writer, novelist
Letter to Louise Colet (14 Jun 1853) [tr. Hannigan (1896)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation: "You can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies, and the importance of a work of art by the harm that is spoken of it." [Source]
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The muffled syllables that Nature speaks
Fill us with deeper longing for her word;
She hides a meaning that the spirit seeks;
She makes a sweeter music than is heard.

George Santayana (1863-1952) Spanish-American poet and philosopher [Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruíz de Santayana y Borrás]
“Premonition”
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And earth who herself bestowed the body takes it back and wastes not a whit.

[Terram corpus quae dederit, ipsam capere neque dispendi facere hilum.]

Quintus Ennius (239-169 BC) Roman poet, writer
Fragment from the Annales Book 1, frag. 11-12 [tr. Warmingham (1935)]
    (Source)

In Varro, De Lingua Latina, Book 5, sec 60, ll. 4-5 (1st C BC). In some locations, the Latin is given as "terraque corpus quae dedit ipsa capit neque dispendi facit hilum."

Alternate translations:
The body she's given Earth does herself take back, and of loss not a whit does she suffer.
[tr. Kent (1938)]

Earth herself takes back the body which she gave, and permits no loss whatsoever.
[Source (2013)]

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All deaths are dour: the fate of men is sad; but there’s no death more miserable than the doom starvation sends.

[Πάντες μὲν στυγεροὶ θάνατοι δειλοῖσι βροτοῖσι,
λιμῷ δ’ οἴκτιστον θανέειν καὶ πότμον ἐπισπεῖν.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 12, l. 342ff [Eurylochus] (c. 700 BC) [tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

Hear what I shall say,
Though words will staunch no hunger, ev’ry death
To us poor wretches that draw temporal breath
You know is hateful; but, all know, to die
The death of Famine is a misery
Past all death loathsome.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Meantime Eurylochus bad counsel gives
To his companions. All deaths, quoth he,
Are hateful to what thing soever lives;
But death by hunger is the worst can be.
[tr. Hobbes (1675)]

O friends, a thousand ways frail mortals lead
To the cold tomb, and dreadful all to tread;
But dreadful most, when by a slow decay
Pale hunger wastes the manly strength away.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

Death, however caused,
Abhorrence moves in miserable man,
But death by famine is a fate of all
Most to be fear’d.
[tr. Cowper (1792)]

Friends, though to wretched men all deaths are dire,
Yet it is far most miserable to pine
With pangs of famine and for want expire.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 47]

All deaths are hateful to us wretched mortals;
But death by famine is most pitiable.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869)]

Truly every shape of death is hateful to wretched mortals, but to die of hunger and so meet doom is most pitiful of all.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

All manner of death is loathly to wretched men that die,
But to meet our fate by famine is to end most wretchedly.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Hateful is every form of death to wretched mortals; and yet to die by hunger, and so to meet one's doom, is the most pitiful of all.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

All deaths are bad enough, but there is none so bad as famine.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

All forms of death are hateful to wretched mortals, but to die of hunger, and so meet one's doom, is the most pitiful.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

No variety of death is pleasing to us poor mortals: but commend me to hunger and its slow perishing as the meanest fate of all.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

To us wretched men all forms of death are abominable, but death by starvation is the most miserable end that one can meet.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

All deaths are hateful to us, mortal wretches, but famine is the most pitiful, the worst end that a man can come to.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

All ways of dying are hateful to us poor mortals,
true, but to die of hunger, starve to death --
that's the worst of all.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

All ways of dying are hateful to wretched mortals, but the most miserable way to meet one's doom is by hunger.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

All human deaths are hard to bear. But starving is most miserable of all.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

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The most intelligent of the Nazis, the legal theorist Carl Schmitt, explained in clear language the essence of fascist governance. The way to destroy all rules, he explained, was to focus on the idea of the exception. A Nazi leader outmaneuvers his opponents by manufacturing a general conviction that the present moment is exceptional, and then transforming that state of exception into a permanent emergency. Citizens then trade real freedom for fake safety.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, ch. 17 (2017)
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Some people think that evolutionary psychology claims to have discovered that human nature is selfish and wicked. But they are flattering the researchers and anyone who would claim to have discovered the opposite. No one needs a scientist to measure whether humans are prone to knavery. The question has been answered in the history books, the newspapers, the ethnographic record, and the letters to Ann Landers. But people treat it like an open question, as if someday science might discover that it’s all a bad dream and we will wake up to find that it is human nature to love one another.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
How the Mind Works, ch. 7 (1997)
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The selfish man believes that by closing his heart against his fellows, and centering in self every thought and feeling, he escapes much suffering. But his egotistical calculations are invariably defeated; for his contracted sympathies being all directed to one focus, he so aggravates the ills he endures, that he expends on self along more painful pity than the most enthusiastic philanthropist devotes to mankind.

Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (1789-1849) Irish novelist [Lady Blessington, b. Margaret Power]
Desultory Thoughts and Reflections (1839)
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Tyrants thrive on cliché, on language that declares itself beyond questioning.

Gary Greenberg (contemp.) American psychotherapist, author
“The Stories We Tell About Drinking,” The New Yorker (2 Apr 2018)
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All cats can see futures, and see echoes of the past. We can watch the passage of creatures from the infinity of now, from all the worlds like ours, only fractionally different. And we follow them with our eyes, ghost things, and the humans see nothing.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
“A Dream of a Thousand Cats,” Sandman #18 (Aug 1990)
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Crowley had always known that he would be around when the world ended, because he was immortal and wouldn’t have any alternative. But he hoped it was a long way off.

Because he rather liked people.

It was major failing in a demon. Oh, he did his best to make their short lives miserable, because that was his job, but nothing he could think up was half as bad as the stuff they thought up themselves. They seemed to have a talent for it. It was built into the design, somehow. They were born into a world that was against them in a thousand little ways, and then devoted most of their energies to making it worse. Over the years Crowley had found it increasingly difficult to find anything demonic to do which showed up against the natural background of generalized nastiness. There had been times, over the past millennium, when he’d felt like sending a message back Below saying, Look we may as well give up right now, we might as well shut down Dis and Pandemonium and everywhere and move up here, there’s nothing we can do to them that they don’t do to themselves and they do things we’ve never even thought of, often involving electrodes. They’ve got what we lack. They’ve got imagination. And electricity, of course.

One of them had written it, hadn’t he … “Hell is empty, and all the devils are here.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Good Omens, “Eleven Years Ago” (1990) [with Neil Gaiman]
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Now and in the time to be, try to be kind to your parents. If this sounds too close to “Honor thy mother and father” for your comfort, so be it. All I am trying to say is try not to rebel against them, for, in all likelihood, they will die before you do, so you can spare yourselves at least this source of guilt if not of grief. If you must rebel, rebel against those who are not so easily hurt. Parents are too close a target (so, by the way, are sisters, brothers, wives or husbands); the range is such that you can’t miss.

Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) Russian-American poet, essayist, Nobel laureate, US Poet Laureate [Iosif Aleksandrovič Brodskij]
“Speech at the Stadium,” Commencement Address, University of Michigan (18 Dec 1988)
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There probably is a God. Many things are easier to explain if there is than if there isn’t.

John von Neumann (1903-1957) Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, inventor, polymath [János "Johann" Lajos Neumann]
(Attributed)
    (Source)

As quoted in Norman Macrae, John Von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence and Much More (1992).
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Perhaps the hardest thing for humans to do is to imagine the world as it is imagined by others. We tend to confuse acting in accordance with the goals and values of the society in which we live with rationality; we tend to confuse intelligence with thinking in accordance with those goals and values. And, of course, we are always inclined to see events as predetermined — and we are almost always wrong.

Masha Gessen (b. 1967) Russian-American journalist, author, translator, activist
“The Fundamental Uncertainty of Mueller’s Russia Indictments,” The New Yorker (20 Feb 2018)
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Don’t play for safety.
It’s the most dangerous thing in the world.

Hugh Walpole (1884-1941) English novelist
Fortitude, ch. 2, sec. 2 (1913)
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Old women will often bear the lack of food for two or three days. But take food from an athlete for a single day, he will implore the very Olympian Jupiter for whose honor he is in training, and will cry that he cannot bear it. Great is the power of habit.

[Aniculae saepe inediam biduum aut triduum ferunt; subduc cibum unum diem athletae: Iovem, Iovem Olympium, eum ipsum, cui se exercebit, implorabit, ferre non posse clamabit.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
Tusculan Disputations [Tusculanae Disputationes], Book 2, ch. 17 / sec. 40 (45 BC) [tr. Peabody (1886)]
    (Source)

Original Latin. Alternate translations:

Weak old Women oftentimes go without eating two or three days together; do but with-hold Meat one day from a Wrestler, he will cry out upon Olympian Jupiter; the same to whose Honor he shall exercise himself. He will cry he cannot bear it. Great is the Power of Custom.
[tr. Wase (1643)]

You may often hear of diminutive old women living without victuals three or four days; but take away a wrestler's provision for but one day, he will implore Jupiter Olympus, the very god for whom he exercises himself: he will cry out, It is intolerable. Great is the force of custom!
[tr. Main (1824)]

Tender old women often support a fast of two or three days. Withdraw his rations for one day from a wrestler; he will appeal to that Olympic Jove himself, for whom he exercises; he will cry out it impossible to bear it. Great is the force of habit.
[tr. Otis (1839)]

You may often hear of old women living without victuals for three or four days: but take away a wrestler's provisions but for one day, and he will implore the aid of Jupiter Olympius, the very God for whom he exercises himself: he will cry out that he cannot endure it. Great is the force of custom!
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

Feeble old women often endure hunger for two or three days. Take food away from an athlete for just one day. He will appeal to Jupiter, that Olympian Jupiter, the very one for whom he will be doing this training -- he will cry out that he can't bear it. Practice has great power.
[tr. Douglas (1990)]

Little old ladies often bear a two or three day period of fasting; but take away an athlete’s food for a day, and he will beg for relief from Jove! Olympian Jove, the one for whom he exercises! And he’ll tell you that he simply cannot bear it.
[tr. @sentantiq (2015)]

Old women regularly endure a lack of food for a period of three or four days; take from an athlete his food for a single day and he will appeal to olympian Jupiter, the very god in whose honor he trains, he will cry out that he can't bear it. The force of habit is considerable.
[tr. Davie (2017)]

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In retrospect, though many were guilty, none was innocent. The purpose of political activity is to provide peace and prosperity; and in this every statesman failed, for whatever reason. This is a story without heroes, and perhaps even without villains.

A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) British historian, journalist, broadcaster [Alan John Percivale Taylor]
The Origins of the Second World War, ch. 1 (1961)
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The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.

Theodore Isaac Rubin (b. 1923) American psychiatrist and author
One to One (1983)
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Fairness for everyone would be possible only if everyone’s interests were the same, if everyone were in agreement as to what baseline considerations must be in place for a procedure to be labeled “fair.” But if that were the case, the question of fairness would never be raised. It is raised precisely because everyone’s interests are not the same, and since different interests will generate different notions of fairness (the debate between those who call for equality of access and those who call of equality of opportunity is an example), any regime of fairness will always be unfair in the eyes of those for whom it was not designed.

Stanley Fish (b. 1938) American literary theorist, legal scholar, author
There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech, And It’s A Good Thing, Too, Part 1, ch. 5 (1994)
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Blowing a gale all day. Nothing to do and we did it.

Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) British writer and physician
Journal of Arctic voyage (19 Jul 1880)
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EXPERT, n. A modern seer, often self-styled, whose pronouncements are received as if emanating from an oracle. A “recognized expert” is one whose pronouncements are closest to conventional wisdom.

Edmund H. Volkart (1919-1992) American sociologist, researcher, editor
The Angel’s Dictionary: A Modern Tribute to Ambrose Bierce (1986)
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When asked to define a friend, he said, “One soul dwelling in two bodies.”

[ἐρωτηθεὶς τί ἐστι φίλος, ἔφη, “μία ψυχὴ δύο σώμασιν ἐνοικοῦσα.”]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
    (Source)

In Diogenes Laërtius (fl. 3rd C AD), Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, Book 5 [tr. Mensch (2018)]. Original Greek. Alternate translations:

He was once asked what a friend is; and his answer was, “One soul abiding in two bodies.”
[tr. Yonge (1853), sec. 11]

To the query, "What is a friend?" his reply was, "A single soul dwelling in two bodies."
[tr. Hicks (1925), sec. 20]

When he was asked what a friend is, he replied “one soul occupying two bodies.”
[tr. @sentantiq (2020)]

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The happy should not insist too much upon their happiness in the presence of the unhappy.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“Table-talk”
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It is so much easier to tell intimate things in the dark.

William McFee (1881-1966) English writer
Casuals of the Sea, Book 1, ch. 4 (1916)
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We injure ourselves more than our enemies, by indulging hatred towards them.

Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (1789-1849) Irish novelist [Lady Blessington, b. Margaret Power]
Desultory Thoughts and Reflections (1839)
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