Quotations about:

Note not all quotations have been tagged, so Search may find additional quotes on this topic.

Among other things I think humor is a shield, a weapon, a survival kit. Not only has this brief span of ours been threatened by such perils not of our making such as fire and flood, Tyrannosaurus Rex, the black death, and hurricanes named after chorus girls, but we have been most ingenious in devising means for destroying each other, a habit we haven’t yet learned how to kick.

So here we are several billion of us, crowded into our global concentration camp for the duration. How are we to survive? Solemnity is not the answer, any more than witless and irresponsible frivolity is. I think our best chance lies in humor, which in this case means a wry acceptance of our predicament. We don’t have to like it but we can at least recognize its ridiculous aspects, one of which is ourselves.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
Commencement address at his daughter Linell’s boarding school

Quoted in Douglas M. Parker, Dana Giaoia, Ogden Nash: The Life and Work of America's Laureate of Light (2005).
Added on 4-Sep-20 | Last updated 4-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Nash, Ogden

Things are never so bad that they can’t get worse. But they’re sometimes so bad they can’t get better.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 5 (1966)
Added on 7-Jul-20 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by McLaughlin, Mignon

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
​”Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
​”How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
​”You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) English writer and mathematician [pseud. of Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson]
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, ch. 6 “Pig and Pepper” (1865)
Added on 23-Feb-18 | Last updated 5-Jan-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Carroll, Lewis

There may be no good reason for things to be the way they are.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 1 “Consolations for Unpopularity,” sec. 4 (2000)
Added on 7-Sep-17 | Last updated 7-Sep-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by De Botton, Alain

I have no use for the strictures of You must. You must not.


Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [Lúnyǔ, 论语], Book 18, verse 8 (18.8.5) (6th C. BC) [ed. Lao-Tse, tr. Hinton (1998)]

(Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations:

I have no course for which I am predetermined, and no course against which I am predetermined.
[tr. Legge (1861)]

I will take no liberties, I will have no curtailing of my liberty.
[tr. Jennings (1895); in the footnote he gives a more raw translation, "Without possibilities (or freedom to act) -- without impossibilities"]

With me there is no inflexible "thou shalt" or 'thou shalt not."
[tr. Soothill (1910)]

I have no categoric can and cannot.
[tr. Pound (1933)]

I have no "thou shalt" or "thou shalt not."
[tr. Waley (1938)]

I have no preconceptions about the permissible and the impermissible.
[tr. Lau (1979)]

I avoid saying what should or should not be done.
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

I follow no rigid prescriptions on what should, or should not, be done.
[tr. Leys (1997)]

I have not any stubborn positiveness or negation.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998)]

I do not have presuppositions as to what may and may not be done.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]

I have no "may" and no "may not."
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998)]

I have no preconceptions about what one can or cannot do.
[tr. Annping Chin (2014)]

This may be the source of Lin-Yutang, ed. The Wisdom of Confucius (1938):

The superior man goes through his life without any one preconceived course of action or any taboo. He merely decides for the moment what is the right thing to do.

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Confucius

Know thou this: that men
Are as the time is; to be tender-minded
Does not become a sword.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
King Lear, Act 5, sc. 3, l. 35ff [Edgar] (1606)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Shakespeare, William