Quotations about   system

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The great disadvantage of being in a rat race is that it is humiliating. The competitors in a rat race are, by definition, rodents.

Margaret Halsey
Margaret Halsey (1910-1997) American writer
The Folks at Home (1952)
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Added on 23-Mar-22 | Last updated 23-Mar-22
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We are never going to have someone who’s perfect [for President]. We have to change our system so that it can operate with flawed people.

Hendrik Hertzberg (b. 1943) American journalist, editor, speech writer, political commentator
Speech, Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs (17 Feb 1995)
Added on 4-Mar-22 | Last updated 4-Mar-22
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If the main pillar of the system is living a lie, then it is not surprising that the fundamental threat to it is living in truth. This is why it must be suppressed more severely than anything else.

Havel - main pillar system living a lie not surprising fundamental threat living in truth - wist.info quote

Václav Havel (1936-2011) Czech playwright, essayist, dissident, politician
The Power of the Powerless, title essay (1979)
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Added on 14-Jul-21 | Last updated 14-Jul-21
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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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Added on 4-Jun-21 | Last updated 4-Jun-21
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Americans today often speak of racial prejudice as a thing that simply exists — like air — with no nod to the actual work it takes to create and maintain systems based upon prejudice.

Annette Gordon-Reed (b. 1958) American historian, law professor, author
“The Captive Aliens Who Remain Our Shame,” New York Review of Books (19 Jan 2017)
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Added on 24-May-21 | Last updated 24-May-21
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The supposition is prevalent the world over that there would be no problems in production or service if only our production workers would do their jobs in the way that they were taught. Pleasant dreams. The workers are handicapped by the system, and the system belongs to the management.

W Edwards Deming
W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) American management consultant, educator
Out of the Crisis, ch. 3 (1982)
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Added on 11-Aug-20 | Last updated 11-Aug-20
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The name philosopher, which meant originally “lover of wisdom,” has come in some strange way to mean a man who thinks it is his business to explain everything in a certain number of large books. It will be found, I think, that in proportion to his colossal ignorance is the perfection and symmetry of the system which he sets up; because it is so much easier to put an empty room tidy than a full one.

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
Quoted in A. D’Abro, The Evolution of Scientific Thought from Newton to Einstein, Part 4, ch. 37 (1927)
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D'Abro says it comes from one of Clifford's essays, but the source does not appear online.
Added on 14-Feb-20 | Last updated 14-Feb-20
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In meditation we should not look for a “method” or “system,” but cultivate an “attitude,” and “outlook”: faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, supplication, trust, and joy.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) French-American religious and writer [a.k.a. Fr. M. Louis]
Contemplative Prayer (1973)
Added on 5-Sep-19 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

[Lorsque la Spoliation est devenue le moyen d’existence d’une agglomération d’hommes unis entre eux par le lien social, ils se font bientôt une loi qui la sanctionne, une morale qui la glorifie.]

Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) French philosopher, economist, politician
Economic Sophisms [Sophismes économiques], 2nd Series, ch. 1 “Physiology of plunder Physiologie de la spoliation” (1848)
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Alt. trans. "When Spoliation has become the means of existence of an agglomeration of men united by social bonds, they soon make themselves a law which sanctions it, a morality which glorifies it."
Added on 26-Jul-19 | Last updated 26-Jul-19
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Sure, there are differences in degree, but we’ve got to stop comparing wounds and go out after the system that does the wounding.

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) American lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Gloria Steinem, "The Verbal Karate of Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.," Ms. (Mar 1973).
Added on 14-Aug-17 | Last updated 14-Aug-17
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In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Loving Your Enemies,” Sermon, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery (17 Nov 1957)
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Added on 30-Jun-17 | Last updated 30-Jun-17
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The biggest sin is sitting on your ass.

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) American lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist
(Attributed)
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Quoted in Gloria Steinem, "The Verbal Karate of Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.," Ms. (Mar 1973).

Full quote: "Some people say they won’t work 'inside the system' -- they’re 'waiting for the revolution.' Well, when the ramparts are open, honey, I'll be there. But until then, I'm going to go right on zapping the business and government delinquents, the jockocrats, the fetus fetishists, and all the other niggerizers any way I can. The biggest sin is sitting on your ass."
Added on 21-Jun-17 | Last updated 28-Aug-17
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Any fool could devise a more consistent system than exists, but even a despot can rarely institute one.

Alfred Louis "A. L." Kroeber (1876-1960) American cultural anthropologist
The Nature of Culture, ch. 14 (1952)
Added on 14-Nov-16 | Last updated 14-Nov-16
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The envious nature of men, so prompt to blame and so slow to praise, makes the discovery and introduction of any new principles and systems as dangerous as almost the exploration of unknown seas and continents.

macchiavelli-new-systems-and-discoveries-wist_info-quote

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses on Livy, Book 1, Introduction (1517) [tr. Detmold (1882)]
Added on 11-Nov-16 | Last updated 27-Jan-20
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What is wrong then? The system. But when you’ve said that you’ve said nothing. The system, after all, is only the outcome of the human psyche, the human desires. We shout and blame the machine. But who on earth makes the machine, if we don’t? And any alterations in the system are only modifications in the machine. The system is in us, it is not something external to us. The machine is in us, or it would never come out of us. Well then, there’s nothing to blame but ourselves, and there’s nothing to change except inside ourselves.

David Herbert "D. H." Lawrence (1885-1930) English novelist
“Education of the People,” Reflections on the Death of a Porcupine (1925)
Added on 16-Feb-16 | Last updated 16-Feb-16
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A system cannot fail those it was never designed to protect.

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) American writer, historian, social reformer [William Edward Burghardt Du Bois]
(Attributed)
Added on 21-May-15 | Last updated 21-May-15
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English does not contain a suitable word for “system of problems.” Therefore, I have had to coin one. I choose to call such a system a mess.

Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
Redesigning the Future (1974)
Added on 5-Mar-15 | Last updated 5-Mar-15
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A lawyer has no business with the justice or injustice of the cause which he undertakes, unless his client asks his opinion, and then he is bound to give it honestly. The justice or injustice of the cause is to be decided by the judge.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (15 Aug 1773)

In James Boswell, Tour to the Hebrides (1786)
Added on 14-Mar-14 | Last updated 14-Mar-14
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Management works within the paradigm. Leadership creates new paradigms. Management works within the system. Leadership works on the system. You manage ‘things’ but you lead people.

Stephen R Covey
Stephen R. Covey (1932-2012) American consultant, author
First Things First, ch. 1 (1994) [with Merrill & Merrill]
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Jan-22
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