Quotations and Dreams to Live By
"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout.
There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the
minds of men." Rod Serling.
"I learned much about my academic colleagues. They fell into three categories.
The first, and by far the most numerous, wanted only to be left alone to get on with
their own work. But they were like hermit crabs: if you were foolish enough to tread
on them, they nipped painfully. The second were intelligent and public-spirited,
understood the problems and were positively helpful in solving them. Finally there
was a tiny but inescapable minority of menacing nuisances who expressed their egos
by causing trouble. The proble was how to avoid antagonizing the first group, to
enlist the support of the second and to neutralize the third." Sir Michael Howard,
Regis Professor of Modern History, Oxford.
"Discomfort endured in congenial company can be quite enjoyable." Sir Michael
Howard, the motto of the Western Desert Society.
"“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we
have lost in information?” T.S. Eliot in “Choruses from the Rock.”
"Too old am I to be content with play; Too young to be untroubled by
desire." Goethe's Faust.
"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change."
Tancredi in Giuseppe di Lampedusa's "The Leopard."
"I like my coffee Arabian style: Black as Night, Hot as Hades, Sweet as
Love." George MacDonald Frazier's Flashman in "Flashman and the Tiger."
"As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We
also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some
things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't
know we don't know." The Zen of Donald Rumsfeld.
"Once in a while, I'm standing here, doing something. And I think, 'What in
the world am I doing here?' It's a big surprise." The Zen of Donald
"Things will not be necessarily continuous. The fact that they are something
other than perfectly continuous ought not to be characterized as a pause. There
will be some things that people will see. There will be some things that people
won't see. And life goes on. " The Zen of Donald Rumsfeld.
"Therefore the sage holds in his embrace the one thing (of humility), and
manifests it to all the world. He is free from self-display, and therefore
he shines; from self-assertion, and therefore he is distinguished; from
self-boasting, and therefore his merit is acknowledged; from self-complacency,
and therefore he acquires superiority. It is because he is thus free from
striving that therefore no one in the world is able to strive with him." Lao
"Good judgement is learned by experience. Experience is learned by bad
"Fools say they learn by experience. I prefer to profit by other people's
experience." Otto von Bismark.
"Scorn not the vision; scorn not the idea. ... Power grows out of the barrel
of a gun. A gun is certainly powerful, but who controls the man with a gun? A
man with an idea." Keith Joseph, Conservative Member of the British Parliament,
and Mentor to Margaret Thatcher.
"WE'RE going through!" The Commander's voice was like thin ice breaking. He
wore his full-dress uniform, with the heavily braided white cap pulled down
rakishly over one cold gray eye. "We can't make it, sir. It's spoiling for a
hurricane, if you ask me." "I'm not asking you, Lieutenant Berg," said the
Commander. "Throw on the power lights! Rev her up to 8500! We're going through!"
The pounding of the cylinders increased:
ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa. The Commander stared at the ice
forming on the pilot window. He walked over and twisted a row of complicated
dials. "Switch on No. 8 auxiliary!" he shouted. "Switch on No. 8 auxiliary!"
repeated Lieutenant Berg. "Full strength in No. 3 turret!" shouted the
Commander. "Full strength in No. 3 turret!" The crew, bending to their various
tasks in the huge, hurtling eight-engined Navy hydroplane, looked at each other
and grinned. "The Old Man'll get us through," they said to one another. "The Old
Man ain't afraid of hell!" . . . from The Secret Life of Walter
Mitty, James Thurber.
"Academic distinction by itself did not bestow the gift of a cultivated
sensibility. Dons were not intellectuals. Most dons were professional men and
women enjoying the rituals of their club, uninterested in the arts or indeed in
general ideas. How many visitors dining at high table and expected to be dazzled
by the conversation were first bewildered and then bored by the unintelligent
university gossip." The Dons: Mentors, Eccentrics, and Geniuses, Noel
"We find ourselves in the last of the three generations history chooses to
repeat every now and then. The first generation needs a god, and so they invent
one. The second erects temples to that god and tries to imitate him. And the
third uses the marble from those temples to build brothels in which to worship
their own greed, lust and dishonesty. And that is why gods and heroes are
always, inevitably, succeeded by mediocrities, cowards and imbeciles." The
Fencing Master, Arturo Perez-Reverte, 1988.
"Scientia non habet inimicum nisi ignorantem." Knowledge (science) has no
enemy but the ignorant.
"He who receives an idea from me, receives
instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine,
receives light without darkening me." Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Issac
McPherson, "No Patents on Ideas," 13 August 1813. Sometimes paraphrased as
"Knowledge is like a candle. Even as it lights a new candle, the strength of the
original flame is not diminished."
"I do not know what I may appear to the world. But to myself I seem to have
been like a boy playing on the seashore, and enjoying myself in now and then
finding a smoother peeble, or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great
ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." Sir Isaac Newton
"The political mind is a strange mixture of vanity and timidity, of an
obsequious attitude at one time and a delusion of grandeur at another time, of
the most selfish preferment combined with the sacrificing patriotism. The
political mind is the product of men in public life who have been twice spoiled.
They have been spoiled with praise and they have been spoiled with abuse. With
them nothing is natural, everything is artificial." Calvin Coolidge
Why Quit? Manifesto: "Consider the quit at every juncture. You may be
inspired to jump even if the ship isn't actually sinking. Always get out while
you still can, but consider getting out the minute it crosses your mind.
to combat stasis.
Quit to avoid exhaustion.
Quit as a method of crisis
Quit to prove a point.
Quit to see what you are made
Quit because you are driven to it.
Quit because you are
Quite because you can."
From The Quit: A Consideration of the
Art of Quitting, Evan Harris, Simon and Shuster (no longer in print).
"Most marks come from the upper strata of society, which, in America, means
that they have made, married, or inherited money. Because of this, they acquire
status which in time they come to attribute to some inherent superiority,
especially as regards matters of sound judgement in finance and investment.
Friends and associates, themselves social climbers and sycophants, help to
maintain this illusion of superiority. Eventually, the mark comes to regard
himself as a person of vision and even a genius. Thus a Babbitt who has cleared
half a million in a real-estate development easily forgets the part which luck
and chicanery have played in his financial rise; he accepts his mantle of
respectability without question; he naively attributes his success to sound
business judgement. And any confidence man will testify that a real-estate man
is the fattest and juiciest of suckers." David Maurer in The Big Con,
originally published in 1940.
"What was the meaning of that South-Sea Exploring Expedition, with all its
parade and expense, but an indirect recognition of the fact, that there are
continents and seas in the moral world, to which every man is an isthmus or an
inlet, yet unexplored by him, but that it is easier to sail many thousand miles
through cold and storm and cannibals, in a government ship, with five hundred
men and boys to assist one, than it is to explore the private sea, the Atlantic
and the Pacific Ocean of one's being alone." Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Pond, quoted in The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett.
"Quiet resolution. The hardihood to take risks. The will to take full
responsibility for decision. The readiness to share its rewards with
subordinates. An equal readiness to take the blame when things go adversely. The
nerve to survive the storm and disappointment and to face towards each day with
the scoresheet wiped clean, neither dwelling on one's successes nor accepting
discouragement from one's failures. In these things lie the great part of the
essence of leadership, for they are the constituents of that kind of moral
courage that has enabled one man to draw others to him in any age." S. L. A.
Marshall, noted military historian.
"The essence of leadership: resolve, civility, and high standards."
"Every commander should keep constantly before him the great truth, that to
be well obeyed, he must be perfectly esteemed."--John Paul Jones
"Men mean more than guns in the rating of a ship."--John Paul Jones
"In the eighteenth-century European balance of power, territory, population,
and agriculture provided the basis for infantry, and France was a principal
beneficiary. In the nineteenth century, industrial capacity provided the
resources that enabled Britain, and later Germany, to gain dominance. By the
mid-twentieth century, science and particularly nuclear physics contributed
crucial power resources to the United States and the Soviet Union. In the
next century, information technology, broadly defined, is likely to be the most
important power resource."-- R. O. Keohane and J. S. Nye, Jr., "Power and
Interdependence in the Information Age," in Foreign Affairs,
"I will find a way. Or I will make one."--Seneca
"Although there may be nothing new under the sun, what is old is new to us
and so rich and astonishing that we never tire of it. If we do tire of it, if we
lose our curiosity, we have lost something of infinite value, because to a high
degree it is curiosity that gives meaning and savour to life." -- Robertson
"Go forth into the world in peace; be of good courage; hold fast that which
is good; render no man evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the
weak; help the afflicted; honor all men."--The Royal Navy Prayer
"Our legions are brim fill, our cause is ripe.
The enemy increaseth every
We at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the
affairs of men,
Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shadows and miseries.
On such a
full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it
Or lose our ventures."--Brutus in Shakespear's Julius
"Responsibility is not yours to toss away. It is a privilege, not a
right."--Vice Admiral Richard Bolitho in Beyond the Reef by Alexander
"I wish to have no connection with ships that do not sail fast, for I
intend to go in harm's way."--John Paul Jones
"He rises fastest who knows not whither he is going."--Oliver Cromwell
"It is confessed by all that from his youth he was of a vehement and
impetuous nature, of a quick apprehension, and of a strong and aspiring bent for
action and for great affairs."--Life of Themistocles by Plutarch
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Last updated 24 October 2006, Randy H. Katz, randy@cs.Berkeley.edu