The Year in Quotable Finds

“When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.” ~ Maya Angelou

“Ethics is basically the study of Nazis in convoluted, improbable scenarios.” ~ Paul Keith

“My rule of thumb: if at first you don’t succeed, try again until your failure is statistically significant.” ~ Melissa Chen

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ~ Haruki Murakami

“His mood was somber, philosophical—which is good if you are a philosopher; if not, not.” ~ David Remnick

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.” ~ Karl Rove “Before mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies, their propaganda is marked by its extreme contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion fact depends entirely on the power of man who can fabricate it. The assertion that the Moscow subway is the only one in the world is a lie only so long as the Bolsheviks have not the power to destroy all the others. In other words, the method of infallible prediction, more than any other totalitarian propaganda device, betrays its ultimate goal of world conquest, since only in a world completely under his control could the totalitarian ruler possibly realize his lies and make true all his prophecies.” ~ Hannah Arendt

“[T]hinking is not unifying or making the appearance familiar under the guise of a great principle. Thinking is learning all over again to see, directing one’s consciousness, making of every image a privileged place. In other words, phenomenology declines to explain the world…[From this] apparent modesty of thought that limits itself to describing what it declines to explain…results paradoxically a profound enrichment of experience and the rebirth of the world in its prolixity…It affirms solely that without any unifying principle, thought can still take delight in describing and understanding every aspect of experience.” ~ Camus on Husserlian phenomenology

“Anyone who translates knowledge from the technical into the popular language is disregarding the rules of caste, and is thus taboo. Technical terms, long words, learned-sounding phrases, are the means by which second-rate intellectuals ‘inflate their egos’ and feed their sense of superiority to the multitude. If an idea can be expressed in two ways, one of which involves a barbarous technical jargon, while the other needs nothing but a few simple words of one syllable which everyone can understand, this kind of person definitely prefers the barbarous technical jargon. He wishes to be thought, and above all to think himself, a person who understands profound and difficult things which common folk cannot comprehend.” ~ W.T. Stace

“In art as in lovemaking, heartfelt ineptitude has its appeal and so does heartless skill, but what you want is passionate virtuosity.” 
~ John Barth

“Freedom, however, is not the last word. Freedom is only part of the story and half of the truth. Freedom is but the negative aspect of the whole phenomenon whose positive aspect is responsibleness. In fact, freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.” ~ Victor Frankl

“Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.” ~ Herman Melville

“I am almost never bored when alone, probably because I find myself endlessly fascinating but also because I can ricochet between any number of distractions without any negotiation or warning. I don’t have to justify what I am preoccupied with in any given moment. The presence of others conjures the boredom of compromise.” ~ Rob Horning

Plenty of cultural norms did indeed exist prior to religions entering certain regions, but that’s like saying Snow White, Aladdin, Ariel, etc. existed prior to Disney — sure, but they got codified and mass-produced and now are forever branded in association with this larger entity.” ~ Amber Adamson

“People seem good while they are oppressed, but they only wish to become oppressors in their turn: life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim.” ~ Bertrand Russell

“If it doesn’t challenge you. It doesn’t change you.” ~ Fred Devito

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” ~ Flannery O’Connor

“The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor; he took my measurement anew every time he saw me, while all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery–isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.” ~ Charles Bukowski

“I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution to someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.” ~ Molly Ivins

“That’s one of the great things about music. You’ll sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.” ~ Dave Grohl

“If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” ~ unknown

“If you’re going to tell people the truth, you had better make them laugh or they will kill you.” ~ unknown

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