Women are stripped to the skin in the presence of leering, white-skinned, black-hearted brutes and lashed into insensibility and strangled to death from the limbs of trees. A girl child of fifteen years was lynched recently by these brutal bullies. Where has justice fled? The eloquence of Wendell Phillips is silent now. John Brown’s body lies moldering in the grave. But will his spirit lie there moldering, too? Brutes, inhuman monsters — you heartless brutes — you whom nature forms by molding you in it, deceive not yourselves by thinking that another John Brown will not arise.

Lucy Parsons
Lucy Parsons (1851-1942) American labor organizer, anarchist, orator [a.k.a. Lucy Gonzalez]
“Southern Lynching” (Apr 1892)
    (Source)
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For me, a hearty “belly laugh” is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.

Bennett Cerf (1898-1971) American publisher, humorist
An Encyclopedia of Modern American Humor, Foreword (1954)
    (Source)

Variant: "For me, one of the most beautiful sounds in the world is a hearty laugh."
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Fascist movements have been “draining swamps” for generations. Publicizing false charges of corruption while engaging in corrupt practices is typical of fascist politics, and anti-corruption campaigns are frequently at the heart of fascist political movements. Fascist politicians characteristically decry corruption in the state they seek to take over, which is bizarre, given that fascist politicians themselves are invariably vastly more corrupt than those they seek to supplant or defeat.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 2 (2018)
    (Source)
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The beautiful thing about losing your illusions, he thought, was that you got to stop pretending.

Daniel Abraham
Daniel Abraham (b. 1969) American writer [pseud. James S. A. Corey (with Ty Franck), M. L. N. Hanover]
Leviathan Wakes, ch. 18 (2011) [with Ty Franck]
    (Source)
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So much in writing depends on the superficiality of one’s days. One may be preoccupied with shopping and income tax returns and chance conversations, but the stream of the unconscious continues to flow undisturbed, solving problems, planning ahead: one sits down sterile and dispirited at the desk, and suddenly the words come as though from the air: the situations that seemed blocked in a hopeless impasse move forward: the work has been done while one slept or shopped or talked with friends.

Graham Greene (1904-1991) English novelist [Henry Graham Greene]
The End of the Affair, Book 1, ch. 2 (1951)
    (Source)
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Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Lady Windermere’s Fan, Act 3 [Mr. Dumby] (1892)
    (Source)

Also in Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 4 (1890):

Experience was of no ethical value. It was merely the name men gave to their mistakes.
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Ripheus fell, a man
Most just of all the Trojans, most fair-minded.
The gods thought otherwise.

[Cadit et Rhipeus, iustissimus unus
qui fuit in Teucris et servantissimus aequi:
dis aliter visum.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 2, l. 426ff (2.426) [Aeneas] (29-19 BC) [tr. Humphries (1951)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Then Ripheus follow'd, in th' unequal fight;
Just of his word, observant of the right:
Heav'n thought not so.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Ripheus too falls, the most just among the Trojans, and of the strictest integrity; but to the gods it seemed otherwise.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Then Rhipeus dies: no purer son
Troy ever bred, more jealous none
Of sacred right: Heaven's will be done.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Next
Rhipeus, of all Trojans most upright
And just : -- such was the pleasure of the gods!
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 580ff]

Rhipeus falls, the one man who was most righteous and steadfast in justice among the Teucrians: the gods' ways are not as ours.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Fell Rhipeus there, the heedfullest of right
Of all among the Teucrian folk, the justest man of men;
The Gods deemed otherwise.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Next, Rhipeus dies, the justest, but in vain,
The noblest soul of all the Trojan train.
Heaven deemed him otherwise.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 57, l. 508ff]

Then Rhipeus fell;
we deemed him of all Trojans the most just,
most scrupulously righteous; but the gods
gave judgment otherwise.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Ripheus, too, falls, foremost in justice among the Trojans, and most zealous for the right -- Heaven's will was otherwise.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Then Rhipeus fell, he who of all the Trojans
Was most fair-minded, the one who was most regardful of justice:
God's ways are inscrutable.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Then Ripheus, too, has fallen -- he was first
among the Teucrians for justice and
observing right; the gods thought otherwise.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971)]

And Ripheus fell,
A man uniquely just among the Trojans,
The soul of equity; but the gods would have it
Differently.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 560ff]

Rhipeus also fell. Of all the Trojans he was the most righteous, the greatest lover of justice. But the gods made their own judgments.
[tr. West (1990)]

Then Rhipeus,
Of all Teucrians the most righteous (but the gods
Saw otherwise) went down.
[tr. Lombardo (2005), l. 493ff]

Rhipeus falls too, the most righteous man in Troy,
the most devoted to justice, true, but the gods
had other plans.
[tr. Fagles (2006)]

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Memory, as we all know, is fitful and phantasmagoric. History is organized memory, and the organization is all-important.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
The Nature and the Study of History, ch. 1 (1965)
    (Source)
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Sleep is perhaps the only among life’s great pleasures which need not be of short duration.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Knight of Shadows, ch. 3 (1990)
    (Source)
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When will the churches learn that intolerance, personal or ecclesiastical, is an evidence of weakness? The confident can afford to be calm and kindly; only the fearful must defame and exclude.

Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) American clergyman, author, teacher
“Tolerance,” sec. 3, Adventurous Religion (1926)
    (Source)
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Books are one of the few things men cherish deeply. And the better the man, the more easily will he part with his most cherished possessions. A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation. Lend and borrow to the maximum — of both books and money. But especially books, for books represent infinitely more than money.

Henry Miller (1891-1980) American novelist
The Books in My Life, ch. 1 (1952)
    (Source)
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A man has more character in his face at forty than at twenty. He has suffered longer, and the more love, the more suffering, the more character.

Mae West (1892-1980) American film actress
Goodness Had Nothing To Do With It, ch. 21 (1959)
    (Source)
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Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first call promising. Young writers if they are to mature require a period of between three and seven years in which to live down their promise. Promise is like the mediaeval hangman who after settling the noose, pushed his victim off the platform and jumped on his back, his weight acting a drop while his jockeying arms prevented the unfortunate from loosening the rope. When he judged him dead he dropped to the ground.

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974) English intellectual, literary critic and writer.
Enemies of Promise, Part 2, ch. 13 “The Poppies” (1938)
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But we must recognize that democracies don’t stop just with elections; they also depend on strong institutions and a vibrant civil society, and open political space, and tolerance of people who are different than you. We have to create an environment where the rights of every citizen, regardless of race or gender, or religion or sexual orientation are not only protected, but respected.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) American politician, US President (2009-2017)
Speech, Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative Town Hall, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (27 Apr 2014)
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There is a breed of lay and social scientist who will forever cling to a concept of “defeating by ignoring.” Hence, when out of the muck of their own neuroses rise these self-proclaimed Fuhrers, there is this well-meaning body who tell us that if we turn both eyes and cheeks, the nutsies will disappear simply by lack of exposure.

My guess is that, in this case, exposure is tantamount to education; and education here, is a most salutary instruction into the mentalities, the motives and the modus operandi of an animal pack that is discounted by the aged maxim that “it can’t happen here.” So might have said the Goethes and the Einsteins of a pre-war Germany, who thought then, as we do now, that civilization by itself protects against a public acceptance of the uncivilized.

What is desperately needed to combat any ism is precisely what “Playboy” has given us — an interview in-depth that shows us the facets of the enemy. Yes, gentlemen, you may be knocked for supposedly lending some kind of credence to a brand of lunacy. But my guess is that you should be given a commendation for a public service of infinite value.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Letter to Playboy Magazine (Jun 1966)
    (Source)

Addressing criticism of the magazine for running in April 1966 an Alex Haley interview of American Nazi Party founder George Lincoln Rockwell. Quoted in Anne Serling, As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling (2013).
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Dear Miss Manners: What about Easter? I suppose you have etiquette rules that apply to Easter Day?

Gentle Reader: Certainly, and when the Day of Judgment comes, Miss Manners will have etiquette rules to apply to that, as well.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, “Easter” (1979)
    (Source)
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The first thing to do when you are upset is to notice that you are. You begin by mastering your emotions and determining not to go any further. With this superior sort of caution you can put a quick end to your anger.

[El primer paso del apasionarse es advertir que se apasiona, que es entrar con señorío del afecto, tanteando la necesidad hasta tal punto de enojo, y no más. Con esta superior refleja entre y salga en una ira.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 155 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
    (Source)

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

The first step towards getting into a passion is to announce that you are in a passion. By this means you begin the conflict with command over your temper, for one has to regulate one's passion to the exact point that is necessary and no further. This is the art of arts in falling into and getting out of a rage.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

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I now return the Sermon you were so kind as to enclose me, having perused it with attention. The reprinting it by me, as you have proposed, would very readily be ascribed to hypocritical affectation, by those who, when they cannot blame our acts, have recourse to the expedient of imputing them to bad motives. This is a resource which can never fail them, because there is no act, however virtuous, for which ingenuity may not find some bad motive.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Edward Dowse (19 Apr 1803)
    (Source)
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I can resist everything except temptation.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Lady Windermere’s Fan, Act 1 [Lord Darlington] (1893)
    (Source)

Also attributed to Mark Twain, Mae West, and W. C. Fields. The sentiment may not be original to Wilde, but his use popularized it.
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Once divested of missionary virus, the cult of our gods gives no offense. It would be a peaceful age if this were recognized, and religion, Christian, communist or any other, were to rely on practice and not on conversion for her growth.

Freya Stark (1893-1993) Franco-British explorer, travel writer [Freya Madeline Stark]
Ionia: A Quest, ch. 17 (1954)
    (Source)
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Matho alleges that my book’s uneven.
He compliments my poems, if that’s true.
Calvinus and Umber write consistent books.
Consistent books are lousy through and through.

[Iactat inaequalem Matho me fecisse libellum:
Si verum est, laudat carmina nostra Matho.
Aequales scribit libros Calvinus et Umber:
Aequalis liber est, Cretice, qui malus est.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 7, epigram 90 (7.90) [tr. McLean (2014)]
    (Source)

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

Matho objects, my books unequal are;
If he says true, he praises ere aware.
Calvin and Umber write an equal strain:
Naught is the book that's free from heights, and plain.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]

My book is unequal, a Matho may boast.
So saying, he knows not he cries it up most.
Books equal a Calvin and Umber did write;
But equally penn'd in poor Pallasses spite.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 3, ep. 15]

Matho exults that I have produced a book full of inequalities; if this be true, Matho only commends my verses. Books without inequalities are produced by Calvinus and Umber. A book that is all bad, Creticus, may be all equality.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Matho puts it abroad that I have composed an unequal book; if that is true, Matho praises my poems. Equal books are what Calvinus and Umber write: the equal book, Creticus, is the bad one.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

My work's uneven, you protest
And sometimes falls beneath my best;
     A compliment, say I:
Dull bards on level planes that grope
Shall never err -- or soar -- with Pope,
     Although they shine with Pye.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "The Dull Level"]

I write unequal verse, so Matho says;
If it be true his criticism's a praise.
Try Umber, Cluveienus by that test:
No, Creticus; bad's bad; good seldom best.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), #382]

Matho's mad,
upset,
says my book
is unfair.

That's good,
I'm glad:
fair books
are dull books.
[tr. Goertz (1971)]

Matho says my book's uneven.
He thinks he's quite the joker.
I'd rather have both highs and lows,
Than just be mediocre.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

Matho's one-word review of my small book:
"Uneven." I'm supposed to get all shook!
The scribblings of Calvinus and Umber
Are very "even" ... yet how they lumber.
I swear to you, Creticus, I thank God
My gift is for being quite frankly "odd."
[tr. Schmidgall (2001)]

Dour Matho offers me a "mixed review,"
To which contentedly I answer, "Whew!"
Most poets get reviews that are unmixed,
With every verse and stanza in them nixed.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Smootus says my book is uneven.
I see this as praise of my work.
A bad book is fat with unvarying quality.
[tr. Kennelly (2008)]

Matho is crowing that I've "made an inconsistent book." If he's right, he's actually praising my poems. Calvinus and Umber write "consistent" books; if a book's "consistent," Creticus, it's consistently bad.
[tr. Nisbet (2015)]

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Anger is a passion, so it makes people feel alive and makes them feel they matter and are in charge of their lives. So people often need to renew their anger a long time after the cause of it has died, because it is a protection against helplessness and emptiness just like howling in the night. And it makes them feel less vulnerable for a little while.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
Hearts That We Broke Long Ago, ch. 5 (1983)
    (Source)
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“Some people say we shouldn’t give alms to the poor, Shirley.”

“They are great fools for their pains. For those who are not hungry, it is easy to palaver about the degradation of charity, and so on; but they forget the brevity of life, as well as its bitterness. We have none of us long to live: let us help each other through seasons of want and woe, as well as we can, without heeding in the least the scruples of vain philosophy.”

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) British novelist [pseud. Currer Bell]
Shirley, ch. 14 [Lina and Shirley] (1849)
    (Source)
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But the best inheritance that fathers can give their children, more precious than any patrimony however large, is a reputation for virtue and for worthy deeds, which if the child disgraces, his conduct should be branded as infamous and impious.

[Optima autem hereditas a patribus traditur liberis omnique patrimonio praestantior gloria virtutis rerumque gestarum, cui dedecori esse nefas et vitium iudicandum est.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 33 / sec. 121 (44 BC) [tr. Peabody (1883)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translation:

Now the noblest inheritance that can ever be left by a father to his son, and far exceeding that of houses and lands, is the fame of his virtues and glorious actions; and for a son to live so, as is unworthy of the name and reputation of his ancestors, is the basest and most abominable thing in the world.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

The best inheritance left by a father to his children, superior to every other patrimony, is the honor of a virtuous conduct, and the glory of his public transactions. And it is base and criminal by an unworthy conduct, to bring disgrace upon a father's reputation.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

Now, the best inheritance a parent can leave a child -- more excellent than any patrimony -- is the glory of his virtue and his deeds; to bring disgrace on which ought to be regarded as wicked and monstrous.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

The noblest heritage, the richest patrimony a father can bequeath to his children is a reputation for virtue and noble deeds. To tarnish his good name is a sin and a crime.
[tr. Gardiner (1899)]

The best legacy a father can leave to his children, a legacy worth far more than the largest patrimony, is the fame of a virtuous and well-spent life. He who disgraces such a bequest is deserving of infamy.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

The noblest heritage, however, that is handed down from fathers to children, and one more precious than any inherited wealth, is a reputation for virtue and worthy deeds; and to dishonour this must be branded as a sin and a shame.
[tr. Miller (1913)]

The best heritage that descends from fathers to sons is the fame for honesty and great deeds. Such fame surpasses any legacy. We must judge it a crime and a shame to disgrace it.
[tr. Edinger (1974)]

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Humanity will ever seek but never attain perfection. Let us at least survive and go on trying.

Dora Russell
Dora, Countess Russell (1894-1986) British author, feminist, social activist [Dora Russell, née Black]
The Religion of the Machine Age (1983)
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All passes. — Only strong art
Passes to eternity.
The bust
Survives the city.

And the austere coin
That a workman finds
Underground
Reveals an emperor.

[Tout passe. — L’art robuste
Seul a l’éternité,
     Le buste
Survit à la cité.

Et la médaille austère
Que trouve un laboureur
     Sous terre
Révèle un empereur.]

Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) French poet, writer, critic
“L’Art,” l. 41ff, Émaux et Camées (1852)
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Everything passes. --
Only robust art is eternal.
The bust outlives the city.

And the simple coin
Unearthed by a peasant
Reveals the image of an emperor.
[Source]

All passes, Art alone
Enduring stays to us;
The Bust outlasts the throne, --
The Coin, Tiberius.
[Austin Dobson, "Ars Victrix" (1876), in imitation]

Everything passes -- Robust art
Alone is eternal.
The bust
Survives the city.
[Source]

Everything disappears -- Robust art
   alone is eternal:
      The Bust survives the city.
[Source]

Everything passes away. -- Robust Art
   Alone has eternity;
      The bust
   Survives the city.
[Source]

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That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) American writer [Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald]
Comment to Sheilah Graham (c. 1938)

Quoted in her book, Beloved Infidel: The Education of a Woman, ch. 22 (1958). Variant, in the 1959 film adaptation of the book:

The beauty of literature is that it’s ageless. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.

See also Baldwin.

More discussion of this quotation: That Is Part of the Beauty of All Literature. You Discover that Your Longings Are Universal Longings – Quote Investigator.
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Alas! in naught may one trust the gods against their will!

[Heu nihil invitis fas quemquam fidere divis!]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 2, l. 402 (2.402) [Aeneas] (29-19 BC) [tr. Fairclough (1916)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

But, ah! what use of valour can be made,
When heav'n's propitious pow'rs refuse their aid!
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Alas! it is right for one to trust to nothing when the gods are adverse.
[tr. Anthon (1843)]

Alas! on nothing ought man to presume, while the gods are against him!
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Alas! a mortal may not lean
On Heaven, when Heaven averts its mien.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Alas, one ought
To trust in nothing, when the gods oppose.
[tr. Cranch (1872), ll. 549-550]

Alas that none may trust at all to estranged gods!
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Alas! what skills it man to trust in Gods compelled to good?
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Ah! vain to boast, if Heaven refuse to aid!
[tr. Taylor (1907)]

But woe is me! If gods their help withhold,
't is impious to be brave.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Alas! it is not well for anyone to be confident when the gods are adverse.
[Source (1922)]

It is not for men to trust unwilling gods.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Ah, well, there's no trusting the gods for anything, once they're against you!
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

But oh, it is not right for anyone
to trust reluctant gods!
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), ll. 540-541]

When gods are contrary
They stand by no one.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), ll. 532-533]

But no man can trust in gods who are opposed to him.
[tr. West (1990)]

Never rely on the gods for anything
Against their will.
[tr. Lombardo (2005), ll. 466-467]

But, oh
how wrong to rely on gods dead set against you!
[tr. Fagles (2006), ll. 501-502]

How wrong it is to trust the gods against their will!
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

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A nation which, in the name of loyalty or of patriotism or of a sincere and high-sounding idea, discourages criticism and dissent, and puts a premium on acquiescence and conformity, is headed for disaster.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“What Ideas Are Safe?” Saturday Review (5 Nov 1949)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Freedom and Order (1966).
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Where shall wisdom be found, and where is the place of understanding? If I knew, I’d walk over and stand there. As it was, I felt as if I stood in the midst of a large map, surrounded by vague areas wherein were penned the visages of particularly nasty-looking random variables. A perfect place for a soliloquy, if one had anything to say.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
The Blood of Amber, ch. 5 (1986)
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Quoting Job 28:12.
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Being tolerant does not mean that I share another one’s belief. But it does mean I acknowledge another one’s right to believe, and obey, his own conscience.

Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) German-American psychologist, writer
The Will to Meaning, Part 1, ch. 3 (1969)
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Conquer, but never triumph.

[Siege, aber triumphire nicht.]

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830-1916) Austrian writer
Aphorisms [Aphorismen], # 9 [tr. Wister (1883)]
    (Source)

(Source (German))
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Little men would be discouraged if they could see themselves in their true light. So conceit was sent into the world — God’s great gift to little men.

Bruce Barton
Bruce Barton (1886-1967) American author, advertising executive, politician
“The Gift to Little Men” (1926)
    (Source)

Often paraphrased, "Conceit is God's gift to little men."
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Literature is the art of writing something that will be read twice; journalism what will be grasped at once, and they require separate techniques.

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974) English intellectual, literary critic and writer.
Enemies of Promise, Part 1, ch. 3 “The Challenge of the Mandarins” (1938)
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Democratic institutions are quarantine arrangements to combat that ancient pestilence, lust for tyranny: as such they are very useful and very boring.

[Die demokratischen Einrichtungen sind Quarantäne-Anstalten gegen die alte Pest tyrannenhafter Gelüste: als solche sehr nützlich und sehr langweilig.]

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
Human, All Too Human [Menschliches, Allzumenschliches], Vol. 2, Part 2 “The Wanderer and His Shadow [Der Wanderer und sein Schatten],” aphorism 289 (1880) [tr. Holingdale (1986)]
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(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

Democratic institutions are centres of quarantine against the old plague of tyrannical desires. As such they are extremely useful and extremely tedious.
[tr. Cohn (1913)]

Democratic institutions are quarantine mechanisms for that old pestilence, tyrannic lust. As such they are very useful and very boring.

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Despite everything, despite our controversies and despite what is apparently and tragically a sense of divisiveness that permeates our land, and despite riots and rebellions that go hand-in-hand, mind you, with repression and brutality, one major and fundamental guarantee of protracted freedom is the unfettered right of the man to write as he sees fit, as his conscience indicates, as his mood dictates, as his cause cries out for. The moment you begin to censor the writer — and history bears this out in the ugliest of fashions — so begins a process of decay in the body politic that ultimately leads to disaster. What begins with a blue pencil — for whatever reason — very often ends in a concentration camp.

It has forever been thus: So long as men write what they think, then all of the other freedoms — all of them — may remain intact. And it is then that writing becomes a weapon of truth, an article of faith, an act of courage.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
“The Challenge of the Mass Media to the 20th Century Writer,” Speech, Library of Congress (15 Jan 1968)
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Quoted in Anne Serling, As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling (2013).
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Few bothersome things are important enough to bother with. It is folly to take to heart what you should turn your back on. Many things that were something are nothing if left alone, and others that were nothing turn into much because we pay attention to them.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 121 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
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Alternate translation:

Troublesome things must not be taken too seriously if they can be avoided. It is preposterous to take to heart that which you should throw over your shoulders. Much that would be something has become nothing by being left alone and what was nothing has become of consequence by being made much of.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

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The mortality of all inanimate things is terrible to me, but that of books most of all.

William Dean Howells (1837-1920) American author, literary critic, and playwright
Letter to Charles Eliot Norton (6 Apr 1903)
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Many quite nefarious ideologies pass for common sense. For decades of American history, it was common sense in some quarters for white people to own slaves and for women not to vote. If common sense sometimes preserves the social status quo, and that status quo sometimes treats unjust social hierarchies as natural, it makes good sense on such occasions to find ways of challenging common sense.

Judith Butler
Judith Butler (b. 1956) American philosopher and gender theorist
“A ‘Bad Writer’ Bites Back,” The New York Times (20 Mar 1999)
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Thus, because we are rapidly advancing along this non-sustainable course, the world’s environmental problems will get resolved, in one way or another, within the lifetimes of the children and young adults alive today The only question is whether they will become resolved in pleasant ways of our own choice, or in unpleasant ways not of our choice, such as warfare, genocide, starvation, disease epidemics, and collapses of societies. While all of those grim phenomena have been endemic to humanity throughout our history, their frequency increases with environmental degradation, population pressure, and the resulting poverty and political instability.

Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond (b. 1937) American geographer, historian, ornithologist, author
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, Part 4, ch. 16 (2005)
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Miss Manners does not subscribe to the notion that merely being present and respectful, when someone else practices their religion, is tantamount to endorsing that religion.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
Twitter (29 Dec 2011)
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Just how Sparks are able to warp the laws of time and motion (among others) has never been successfully analyzed. People who try to carefully watch them report suffering a sort of cognitive dissonance where they simply cannot remember what happened even though it happened right in front of them. These, as it turns out, are the lucky ones, as most people who get too close to a Spark who is happily building something tend to wake up and realize that they have become components.

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H and the Voice of the Castle (2014) [with Kaja Foglio]
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The vulgar ignorance of stubborn people makes them prefer contention to truth and utility. Prudent people are on the side of reason, not passion, whether because they foresaw it from the first, or because they improved their position later.

[Vulgaridad de temáticos, no reparar en la verdad, por contradecir, ni en la utilidad, por litigar. El atento siempre está de parte de la razón, no de la pasión, o anticipándose antes o mejorándose después.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 142 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]
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(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

'Tis the common failing of the obstinate that they lose the true by contradicting it, and the useful by quarrelling with it. The sage never places himself on the side of passion but espouses the cause of right, either discovering it first or improving it later.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

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I learned that speed and simplicity in large affairs are most essential; that severity in preserving an idea is vital; that in a democracy, the public must be informed; and that good will without competence and competence without good will, are both equivalent formulas for political disaster.

Theodore H White
Theodore H. White (1915-1986) American political journalist, historian, author
In Search of History: A Personal Adventure, Part 3, ch. 7 (1978)
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On the factors for the success of the Marshall Plan in Europe.
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I should like to save the Shire, if I could — though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them. But I don’t feel like that now. I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 1: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, ch. 2 “The Shadow of the Past” [Frodo] (1954)
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If you stay alive for no other reason at all, please do it for spite.

Maria Bamford
Maria Bamford (b. 1970) American actress and stand-up comedian
“The Special Special Special!” (2012)
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Such in the Landes of our world is the poet’s stance;
When he receives no wound, his treasure he’ll retain.
With such deep cut mankind his heart must also lance,
To make him spill his verse, his gold tears’ gushing rain!

[Le poète est ainsi dans les Landes du monde.
Lorsqu’il est sans blessure, il garde son trésor.
Il faut qu’il ait au cœur une entaille profonde
Pour épancher ses vers, divines larmes d’or!]

Théophile Gautier (1811-1872) French poet, writer, critic
“The Pine of Landes [Le Pin des Landes]”, l. 13ff (1840)
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The metaphor is of a poet as one of the pine trees used in the reforestation of the Landes of Gascogne, having its sap harvested for turpentine. (Source (French)). Alternate translation:

Landes-like, the poet with his poetry,
Unwounded, holds his treasure well controlled.
But he must bear a deep heart-gash if he
Would spread his verses' heavenly tears of gold!
[tr. Shapiro (2011)]

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Once you have discovered what is happening, you can’t pretend not to know, you can’t abdicate responsibility. Knowledge always brings responsibility.

James - Knowledge always brings responsibility - wist.info quote

P. D. James (1920-2014) British mystery writer [Phyllis Dorothy James White]
Devices and Desires, Book 6, ch. 10 (1990)
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The crucial disadvantage of aggression, competitiveness, and skepticism as national characteristics is that these qualities cannot be turned off at five o’clock.

Margaret Halsey
Margaret Halsey (1910-1997) American writer
The Folks at Home, “The Five O’Clock Shadow over the United States” (1952)
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Why don’t I send my book to you
Although you often urge me to?
The reason’s good, for if I did
You’d send me yours — which God forbid!

[Non donem tibi cur meos libellos
Oranti totiens et exigenti,
Miraris, Theodore? Magna causa est:
Dones tu mihi ne tuos libellos.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, epigram 73 (5.73) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921), “Return Favours”]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Why I dole thee not my pieces,
Theodore, thou may'st devine.
Yet thy wond'ring zeal increases:
Lest thou should'st redole me thine.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 3, ep. 48]

"Why ne'er to me," the Laureat cries,
"Are poet Paulo's verses sent?"
"For fear," the tuneful rogue replies,
"You should return the compliment."
[tr. Hodgson (c. 1810)]

I give thee, friend, no works of mine,
For fear you should return me thine.
[tr. Lamb (1821)]

Do you wonder for what reason, Theodorus, notwithstanding your frequent requests and importunities, I have never presented you with my works? I have an excellent reason; it is lest you should present me with yours.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Though it's true, Theodorus, you frequently pray
For my book in a flattering tone,
No wonder I'm slow; I've good cause for delay
In my fear you'd then send me your own.
[tr. Nixon (1911), "Vendetta"]

Why don't I give you my works, although so often you beseech me for them, and press me? Do you wonder, Theodorus? There is great reason: that you may not give me your works.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

Pompilianus asks why I omit
To send him all the poetry that is mine;
The reason is that in return for it,
Pompilianus, thou might'st send me thine.
[tr. Duff (1929), "Answer to a Poetaster"]

Ted, don't give me pleading looks,
And beg I send you all my books,
Your ask comes with a healthy fee:
You'll then send all of yours to me!
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

Why, Theodorus, don't I send my books, though you demand and plead repeatedly? My answer's good: so you won't give me yours to read.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

You ask my verse, so here. This evens scores:
I had kept mine in hopes you would keep yours.
[tr. Young]

You wonder why I never ask you if you’ve read my book?
I’m not one of those narcissistic bores
who fishes around for praise with such a thinly baited hook.
Besides, I’m worried you’ll ask if I’ve read yours.
[tr. Clark, "A Good Reason"]

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Courage is the thing. All goes if courage goes.

James Barrie (1860-1937) Scottish novelist and dramatist
“Courage,” Rectoral Address, St. Andrew’s University, Scotland (3 May 1922)
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I’m not sure there can be loving without commitment, although commitment takes all kinds of forms, and there can be commitment for the moment as well as commitment for all time. The kind that is essential for loving marriages — and love affairs, as well — is a commitment to preserving the essential quality of your partner’s soul, adding to them as a person rather than taking away.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
Some Men are More Perfect Than Others, ch. 9 “Being True” (1973)
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We should be sure, when we rebuke a want of charity, to do it with charity.

Christian Nestell Bovee (1820-1904) American epigrammatist, writer, publisher
Intuitions and Summaries of Thought, Vol. 1, “Charity” (1862)
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Fortunate are those who recognize the divine importance of youth’s cocksureness and conceit, and yet know how, gently and appreciatively, to temper it with the riper judgment of added years.

Bruce Barton
Bruce Barton (1886-1967) American author, advertising executive, politician
More Power to You, ch. 27 (1917)
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I love both the way a dog looks up to me and a cat condescends to me.

Gladys Taber
Gladys Taber (1899-1980) American author and columnist
Stillmeadow Daybook, “June” (1955)
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