Monday, August 23, 2010

QuoteS VII


"People do not like to think. If one thinks, one must reach conclusions. Conclusions are not always pleasant." —Helen Keller

"People who comprehend a thing to its very depths rarely stay faithful to it forever. For they have brought its depths into the light of day: and in the depths there is always much that is unpleasant to see." —Nietzsche

"People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster." —James Baldwin

"There's nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear." —Daniel Dennett

* * *

"The greatest mystery is not that we have been flung at random between the profusion of matter and of the stars, but that within this prison we can draw from ourselves images powerful enough to deny our nothingness." —Malraux

"A man who is born falls into a dream like a man who falls into the sea." —Joseph Conrad

"Life is a sexually transmitted disease and the mortality rate is one hundred percent." —R.D. Laing

"There’s an African saying: 'If we go forward, we die; if we go backward, we die. So let’s go forward and die.'" —Malidoma Somé

* * *

"Particle physics has a long history of zany theories that turned out to be true. Niels Bohr, the doyen of modern physicists, often told a story about a horseshoe he kept over his country home in Tisvilde, Denmark. When asked whether he really thought it would bring good luck, he replied, 'Of course not, but I'm told it works even if you don't believe in it.'" —article: Did a Time-Traveling Bird Sabotage the Collider?

* * *

"For me a convenient place to work is a remote place among strangers where there is good swimming. But life should require a certain minimal effort. You should not have too many people waiting on you, you should have to do most things for yourself. Hotel service is embarrassing. Maids, waiters, bellhops, porters and so forth are the most embarrassing people in the world for they continually remind you of inequities which we accept as the proper thing. The sight of an ancient woman, gasping and wheezing as she drags a heavy pail of water down a hotel corridor to mop up the mess of some drunken overprivileged guest, is one that sickens and weighs upon the heart and withers it with shame for this world in which it is not only tolerated but regarded as proof positive that the wheels of Democracy are functioning as they should without interference from above or below. Nobody should have to clean up anybody else’s mess in this world. It is terribly bad for both parties, but probably worse for the one receiving the service.

I have been corrupted as much as anyone else by the vast number of menial services which our society has grown to expect and depend on. We should do for ourselves or let the machines do for us, the glorious technology that is supposed to be the new light of the world. We are like a man who has bought up a great amount of equipment for a camping trip, who has the canoe and the tent and the fishing lines and the axe and the guns, the mackinaw and the blankets, but who now, when all the preparations and the provisions are piled expertly together, is suddenly too timid to set out on the journey but remains where he was yesterday and the day before and the day before that, looking suspiciously through white lace curtains at the clear sky he distrusts. Our great technology is a God-given chance for adventure and for progress which we are afraid to attempt. Our ideas and our ideals remain exactly what they were and where they were three centuries ago. No. I beg your pardon. It is no longer safe for man to even declare them!" —Tennessee Williams, The Catastrophe of Success

"To all the women of the baby boom generation: Good Housekeeping was wrong. Vogue was wrong. Elle was wrong. Donna Reed was wrong. Cleanliness is not next to godliness, it is next to frivolity. The obsession with cleaning is a reflection of how shallow and empty life appears through your eyes. It is not a mark of social status to have an immaculate home; it is a sign you need a hobby. If things are too cluttered, if things are causing health hazards, I am one hundred percent behind cleaning them. But cleaning just in case someone drops by? Cleaning to make a certain impression? These are not justifiable reasons. You are worth more than mop-sweat and dishwasher hands. Develop your character so people can judge you on that!" —Sarah B.

"A great man is coming to eat at my house. I do not wish to please him; I wish that he should wish to please me." —Emerson

* * *

"Power structure theories have offered three faces of power. The first face of power is described by the theory of pluralism, which says that society is an open system composed of various interest groups of more or less equal power who compete to get what they want. The second face of power is described by the elitist theory, which says that in reality, some individuals and groups have more power than others, and that the powerful control society's agenda. Some issues get addressed, while other issues do not. The powerful have their needs met, while the powerless do not. The powerless are excluded, and their silence or inaction is not necessarily the result of their consensus and conscious choice, as the pluralists imply. The third face of power shows how over time unequal power structures become invisible as people internalize the agenda set by the powerful. Eventually people don't even notice that some things aren't on the agenda. People believe the poor are poor and the powerless are powerless because there's something wrong with them, or because that's the way God (or karma, or fate) arranges the universe. The powerless themselves internalize their subservient role in order to escape the subjective sense of powerlessness, of being responsible for their own subservience. George Bernard Shaw wrote that monarchs are not born; they are made by artificial hallucinations. It's no longer a conspiracy when everyone thinks the same, when everyone has the same hallucination." —George Draffan, interview

"Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of the smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights." —Albert Einstein, 1949

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron." —Dwight D. Eisenhower, from a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953

"I believe that to pursue the American Dream is not only futile but self-destructive because ultimately it destroys everything and everyone involved with it. By definition it must, because it nurtures everything except those things that are important: integrity, ethics, truth, our very heart and soul. [...] What we call success is about getting, getting, getting. Getting money, prestige, feeding the ego. When you follow that path in life, you're really breaking down the gates of hell. We're taught in this country to worship getting things. No one tells you that the purpose in life is giving. We have the whole thing upside down." —Hubert Selby, Jr

3 comments:

Pierian Rose said...

As always, loved your compilation.

I though you might like this:

"You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty."
- Jessica Mitford

Hectocotylus said...

Thanks.

In terms of sentiment I prefer:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." —Margaret Mead

Sean said...

‎"In September 2002 the Bush administration announced its National Security Strategy, which declared the right to resort to force to eliminate any perceived challenge to US global hegemony, which is to be permanent." --Noam Chomsky

"But if America's sound principles and high ideals mean anything, they mean democracy. Advocates of democracy should see something wrong with the idea of a nation of 300 million people dominating a planet with six billion inhabitants. That's 5 percent of the population ruling over the remaining 95 percent - without their consent. If America is dominant, then the United States Congress and the President of the United States dominate the world - but only American citizens get to vote for them." --Peter Singer

"There may still be two superpowers on the planet: the United States and world public opinion." --Patrick Tyler, NYT.