Quotations about   fallibility

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A newspaper, as I’m sure you know, is a collection of supposedly true stories written down by writers who either saw them happen or talked to people who did. These writers are called journalists, and like telephone operators, butchers, ballerinas, and people who clean up after horses, journalists can sometimes make mistakes.

Lemony Snicket (b. 1970) American author, screenwriter, musician (pseud. for Daniel Handler)
The Vile Village, ch. 1 (2001)
Added on 3-Feb-21 | Last updated 3-Feb-21
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Anyone who idolizes you is going to hate you when he discovers that you are fallible. He never forgives. He has deceived himself, and he blames you for it.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American writer, businessman, philosopher
An American Bible [ed. Alice Hubbard] (1918)
Added on 13-Nov-15 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
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There is (usually) no crime in performing a jerk maneuver, or acting like a jerk. Everyone can, and has, acted like a jerk from time to time. It’s a regrettable but natural part of the human experience. But most people have the good sense to understand that acting like a jerk should not be a lifestyle choice, and that if you make it one, people will respond to you based on your choices.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
“Being a Jerk About the Hugos: Not as Effective a Strategy as You Might Think”, Whatever (blog) (24 Aug 2015)
Added on 14-Sep-15 | Last updated 14-Sep-15
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If you look at automata which have been built by men or which exist in nature you will very frequently notice that their structure is controlled to a much larger extent by the manner in which they might fail and by the (more or less effective) precautionary measures which have been taken against their failure. And to say that they are precautions against failure is to overstate the case, to use an optimistic terminology which is completely alien to the subject. Rather than precautions against failure, they are arrangements by which it is attempted to achieve a state where at least a majority of all failures will not be lethal. There can be no question of eliminating failures or of completely paralyzing the effects of failures. All we can try to do is to arrange an automaton so that in the vast majority of failures it can continue to operate. These arrangements give palliatives of failures, not cures. Most of the arrangements of artificial and natural automata and the principles involved therein are of this sort.

John von Neumann (1903-1957) Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, inventor, polymath [János "Johann" Lajos Neumann]
Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata, Lecture 3 “Statistical Theories of Information”
Added on 6-Feb-15 | Last updated 6-Feb-15
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Be careful of your word, even in keeping the most trifling appointment. But do not blame another for a failure of that kind till you have heard his excuse.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
Added on 10-Jul-14 | Last updated 10-Jul-14
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