In 1986 or 1987, before email as we know it today existed, I devised an email system for my business, to send memos to my clients. The system printed out the memos rather than display them on screen. The system remained in use until 2003.
Many of the memos would have only a few lines of text, yet they printed on a full sheet of paper. So for memos to be circulated to all clients, I began to collect quotations for use as filler. The quotations had the desired effect: they got the clients to read the memos.
In this paper I have collected several of my favorite quotations that were broadcast over the years, up through 2003. There are also quotations collected after 2003, which were never broadcast.
I do not vouch for the accuracy of either quotations or citations; in fact, on rare occasions, I edited a quotation just a bit, the better to make a point.
Strange as it may seem, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and formal education positively fortifies it. -Stephen Vizinczey
Outcome Based Education (OBE) betrays the very functioning and faculties which distinguish humans from brutes. It is training, as is done to animals, rather than education which is offered to humans, even young ones. And as with animals who are trained, the response is automatic, not free; the intellect is bypassed, so that the will may be captured, to a great extent through the emotions and conditioned responses. The ignorance of brute animals about what is happening to them in regard to outcome training is purposely applied to OBE. -Frank Morriss
The trouble in too many of our modern schools is that the state, being controlled so specially by the few, allows cranks and experiments to go straight to the schoolroom when they have never passed through the Parliament, the public house, the private house, the church, or the marketplace. Obviously, it ought to be the oldest things that are taught to the youngest people; the assured and experienced truths that are first put to the baby. But in a school today the baby has to submit to a system that is younger than itself. The flopping infant of four actually has more experience, and has weathered the world longer, than the dogma to which he is made to submit. Many a school boasts of having the last ideas in education, when it has not even the first. -G.K. Chesterton
We had none of the so-called “prerequisites” for quality education. We did not, for example, have racially integrated student bodies. Nor did we have racial role models: Virtually all the teachers were white. I was taught more about a Dutchman named Peter Stuyvesant than about Frederick Douglass or W.E.B. DuBois. ... More black males passed the difficult entrance examination for Stuyvesant High School in 1938 than in 1983, even though the black population of New York was much smaller in 1938. -Thomas Sowell
There is only one thing a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative. If this belief is put to the test, one can count on the students’ reaction: they will be uncomprehending. That anyone should regard the proposition as not self-evident astonishes them, as though he were calling into question 2 + 2 = 4. They are unified only in their relativism and in their allegiance to equality. And the two are related in a moral intention. The danger they have been taught to fear is not error but intolerance. -Alan Bloom
The fashionable fallacy is that by education we can give people something that we have not got. To hear people talk one would think it was some sort of magic chemistry, by which, out of a laborious hotchpotch of hygenic meals, baths, breathing exercises, fresh air, and freehand drawing we can produce something splendid by accident; we can create what we cannot conceive. -G.K. Chesterton
The older I grow, the more I am convinced that there is no education which one can get from books and costly apparatus that is equal to that which can be gotten from contact with great men and women. -Booker T. Washington
Mansfield prefaced these paragraphs with this introduction: The majority of my clients are school board members, former teachers, or spouses of teachers. The following excerpt, from a column in a weekly Catholic paper I receive, struck me as so insightful that it deserved laborious copying and distribution, since you people are so influential in education. I urge you to read it carefully, twice.
During and after the era of the French Revolution, the basic control of education by established churches was destroyed. As increasingly secular regimes developed in Europe (and even America) in the 19th century, it became obvious that the only agency capable of maintaining social cohesion through shaping morals was the public or state school. By our time it has become obvious that the public school has become the established church of a secular society.
It is within these secular churches that doctrine is determined (e.g., whether or to what extent homosexual behavior will be incorporated into society’s creed or canon), and discipline enforced (e.g., what exercises will be mandated to develop approved attitudes, and what penances will be assigned to those who sin against them). Trained in what are euphemistically called “teachers’ colleges” ... an administrative cadre, the equivalent of an episcopal hierarchy, ensures educational conformity. The public schools have pre-empted the determination of orthodoxy: the churches, consequently, go in for private interpretation. Education becomes our “public thing”, religion our “private thing”.
The First Amendment to the Constitution is often hailed as the jewel in the crown of the American political experiment. Perhaps we would be wiser to think of it as our “Achilles’ heel”, because every state will have an established church. It is there that the faithful will gather to celebrate the things that bind them together (“religion”, i.e., from res+ligere, the thing that binds) and to reinforce the code of conduct conducive to such living together. That in some nations the established church is called the public school does not change that fact.
All too often those who spout old cliches about the “separation of church and state” really are not against an established church; they simply want it to be the one they belong to, the one that announces secular doctrine and inculcates secular morals. They are not against discrimination.... Were such people genuinely serious about separating the state from religious and moral functions, they would demand the separation of school and state.
[From the column “First Teachers”, by James K. Fitzpatrick, a retired public school teacher, in The wanderer, November 7, 2002, page 7. He is quoting from a letter he received.]
Were the educational authorities of yesteryear absurdly mistaken about the importance of the ancient writers? Have today’s educational authorities mercifully rescued the rising generation from servitude to the dead hand of the past, that the young may rejoice in the blessings of the new discipline of computer science? On the contrary, the classical disciplines in schooling were immensely important, and for centuries successful. Their purpose was to bring about order in the soul and order in the commonwealth. -Russell Kirk
As I have gotten older I have become more and more convinced that the great mission of the school is not to teach so much as to inspire, that it is more important to instill in the pupil the desire to learn than it is to try to cram him full of facts and figures, an that the greatest thing of all is to arouse the desire and initiative of the boy and girl.—S.G. Thigpen
La biblioteca de un hombre es también su retrato, y tan fino que no pueden igualarle ni los pinceles más exactos ni la pluma más penetrante y fiel del mejor biógrafo. Los libros que cual escoge para su recreo, para su instrucción, incluso para su vanidad, son verdaderas huellas dactilares del espíritu, que permiten su exacta identificación. -Gregorio Marañón
Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions. -G.K. Chesterton
A teacher who is not dogmatic is simply a teacher who is not teaching. -G.K. Chesterton
We live in an age that reads too much to be wise, and that thinks too much to be beautiful. -Lord Henry, in The picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde
Es más fácil abandonar el ghetto económico que el ghetto cultural. -Eduardo Torres Lozano
(return to top)
In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man; brave, hated, and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him; for then it costs nothing to be a patriot. -Mark Twain
If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves. -Churchill
A friend in power is a friend lost. -Henry Adams
Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants. -Benjamin Franklin
Two liars are company, three a crowd and four or more a chamber of commerce. -George Bernard Shaw
Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise. -Francis Bacon
We should really appreciate the Louis Farrakhans and Khallid Muhammads while we’ve got them. While these guys talk a lot, they don’t actually do anything. The new crop of leaders are going to be a lot more dangerous and radical, and the next phase will probably be led by charismatic individuals, maybe even teenagers, who urge that instead of killing each other, they should go out in gangs and kill a whole lotta white people. -Derrick Bell (black law professor at New York Univ.)
People are starting to realize the cost of big government is not all measured in dollars; it is also measured in terms of what big government does to harm the human spirit and the cause of freedom. -Caspar W. Weinberger
Ever since 1830, France has been in the grip of an idiot realism. The infallibility of universal suffrage is about to become a dogma which will take the place of papal infallibility. Brute force, weight of numbers, respect for the masses have taken the place of the authority of the name, of divine right, the supremacy of the Spirit. ... Here is humanity now, overwhelmed with weariness, ready to drift away into a sensual stupor ... What is equality then if it is not the negation of all liberty, all forms of superiority, of Nature itself? Equality, it’s slavery. -Flaubert
Military force—especially when wielded by an outside power—cannot bring order to a country that cannot govern itself. -Robert McNamara
Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. -C.S. Lewis
Revolutions are set in motion not by emerging classes but by classes over whom the wheel of progress is about to roll. -Christopher Lasch
I would believe in the jury system if they were told more. How can a jury come to a decision if half the facts are withheld? There should be no inadmissible evidence. -Dick Francis, in Come to grief.
The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do. -Eric Hoffer
If I am elected, I will not empower any assistant secretary of the navy to draft a constitution for helpless neighbors and jam it down their throats at the point of bayonets born by the United States Marines. -Warren G. Harding
Morally, the promise of an impossible “right” to economic security is ... a promise to enslave the men who produce, for the benefit of those who don’t. -Ayn Rand
When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness, its logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chamber. -Flannery O’Connor
Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin. Economics and art are strangers. -Willa Cather
St Francis thought that to choose to be poor is just as good as if one should marry the most beautiful girl in the world. We seem to think that poor people are social nuisances and not the Ambassadors of God. We seem to think that Lady Poverty is ugly and not the beautiful girl that St Francis of Assisi says she is. And because we thnk so, we refuse to feed the poor with our superfluous goods and let the politicians feed the poor by going around like pickpockets, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and feeding the poor by soaking the rich. -Peter Maurin (1930s)
Freedom is a duty more than a right. We have a duty to be intelligent. We have a duty to choose intelligently between two alternatives. We have a duty to act intelligently using pure means to reach pure aims. To use impure means to reach pure aims is to take the wrong road. You cannot go where you want to go by taking a road that does not lead you there. Having pure aims and using pure means is making the right use of freedom. -Peter Maurin
Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to people being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. -Chesterton
America, it is said, is suffering from intolerance. It is not. It is suffering from tolerance of right and wrong, truth and error, virtue and evil, Christ and chaos. Our country is not nearly so much overrun with the bigoted as it is overrun with the broadminded. In the face of this broadmindedness, what the world needs is intolerance. -Fulton J. Sheen, writing in 1931
There is now no aspect of American life, public or private, that the federal government does not invade, instruct, and finally coerce to its will. Farm and factory, home and school, university and research center, club and playground—all are overlaid with a spidery network of laws, guidelines, restrictions and Draconian penalties that stifle the spirit, the energy, the creative capacity of what was once the freest nation on earth. -Charlton Heston
A nation’s welfare depends on a stable and honorable ruling class. Democracy isn’t even worth discussing; rascals will always dominate it. -Joseph Sobran, describing what he sees as Shakespeare’s attitude on the matter.
For men to merit good government they must abstain from sinning, because it is as a punishment for sin that, by divine permission, the impious are allowed to rule. ... So guilt must first be expiated before the affliction of tyranny can cease. -Thomas Aquinas
If liberalism or any other economic system favors only those who possess capital and makes work only a means of production, it becomes the source of serious injustices. Legitimate competition, which stimulates economic development, must not go against the primordial right of every man to have work through which he can earn a living for himself and his family. -Pope John Paul II
We shall never know how many acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of appearing not sufficiently progressive. -Charles Peguy
If you would hold power, you must share the booty. -E.L. Doctorow, who says this is one of the principal lessons in Beowulf
The people must be helped to think naturally about money. They must be told what it is, and what makes it money, and what are the possible tricks of the present system which put nations and peoples under control of the few. -Henry Ford, Sr.
Every attempt to find a wholly secular foundation for rights leads ultimately to some form of totalitarianism and to the utter negation of human rights and dignity. -Francis Martin
The introduction of a new kind of music must be shunned as imperiling the whole state, since styles of music are never disturbed without affecting the most important political institutions. -Plato, The republic
The modes of music may be distinguished by their effects on character ... one, for example, working in the direction of melancholy, another of effeminacy, one encouraging abandonment, another self-control, another enthusiasm, and so on. -Aristotle
Music may be intoxicating. Such apparently slight causes destroyed Greece and Rome. -Henry David Thoreau
Music is a curiously subtle art with innumerable, varying emotional connotations. It is made up of many ingredients and, according to the proportions of these components, it can be soothing or invigorating, ennobling or vulgarizing, philosophical or orgiastic. It has powers for evil as well as for good. -Dr Howard Hanson, in The american journal of psychiatry
Unfortunately, the noise that millions of our youth call music is ... invigorating, vulgarizing and orgiastic. It is destroying our youth’s ability to relax, reflect, study, pray, and meditate, and is in fact preparing them for riot, civil disobedience and revolution. Dr David Noebel, The marxist minstrels (1974)
I do not believe in communism any more than you do but there is nothing wrong with the communists in this country; several of the best friends I have got are communists. -Franklin D. Roosevelt
Compulsory social insurance is in its essence undemocratic and it cannot prevent or remove poverty. The workers of America adhere to voluntary institutions in preference to compulsory systems, which are held to be not only impractical, but a menace to their rights, welfare, and their liberty. Compulsory sickness insurance for workers is based on the theory that they are unable to look after their own interests and the state must use its authority and wisdom and assume the relation of parent and guardian. Samuel Gompers, in 1917
Western civilization is inseparable from Christian civilization and the latter is the more fundamental and intelligible unit. By studying Christian culture in its several forms, we are led to understand Western civilization from within outwards; whereas it is much more difficult to achieve a unitary study if we begin with the centrifugal multiplicity of Western civilization and attempt to discover its principle of unity by going from without inwards. If we begin our study with Christian culture, we immediately discover the sources of the moral values of Western culture and intellectual traditions that have determined the course of Western education. -Christopher Dawson
The startling claim that Dawson makes is that the study of Christian culture should be central to a liberal arts education, not only in Catholic and other Christian colleges and universities, but even in the secular counterparts. ... It is the measure of the secularization of the modern world that even Christians are astounded by the idea that Christianity should lie at the center of a liberal arts education. -R. V. Young
To me consensus seems to be : the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner, “I stand for consensus?” -Margaret Thatcher
Mansfield sez: Men in a committee are like dogs in a pack. They will do together things any one of them would be ashamed to do by himself.
One does not know with how little wisdom the world is governed. -Pope Julius III (16th century)
I discovered what it is that makes America great. America is great because America is good; and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. -Alexis de Tocqueville
Today the regime doesn’t need secret police and torture dungeous to brainwash saps like [David] Howard [the one who said that word]. It has public schools and universities, televisions and newspapers, Hollywood and the evening news to accomplish the same goal. Those who make the mistake of taking seriously the news and opinions they read or absorb in the dominant media will sooner or later wind up like Howard whether they realize it or not. -Samuel Francis
Mansfield sez ... Mr Francis apparently thinks one can expose oneself to the “dominant media” without being brainwashed—he says it is a mistake to “tak[e it] seriously”. I contend one will be brainwashed by any exposure at all, even if one doesn’t mean to take it seriously. This is why I refuse to allow television in my home and refuse to read any mainstream newspaper. Of course you think I am an extremist, and you are right. I try to avoid swallowing brainwash twenty-four hours a day, not just twenty-one or nineteen.
The new state will be universal and omnicompetent. It will mold the mind and guide the life of its citizens from the cradle to the grave. It will not tolerate any interference with its educational foundation by any sectarian organization, even though the latter is based on religious conviction. -Christopher Dawson
If Christianity goes, the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture ready made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many centuries of barbarism. By destroying traditional habits of the people, by dissolving their natural collective consciousness into individual constituents, by licensing the opinions of the most foolish, by substituting instruction for education, by encouraging cleverness rather than wisdom, the upstart rather than the qualified, by fostering a notion of getting on to which the alternative is a hopeless apathy, liberalism can prepare the way for that which is its own negation: the artificial, mechanized, or brutalized which is a desperate remedy for its chaos. -T.S. Eliot
In the United States, scarcely a private conversation or public debate can occur which does not in some way touch on the question of human freedom. The language of rights relentlessly emphasizes the individual need for freedom from external civil and/or ecclesial restraint, rather than freedom to pursue the common good of all by rational reflection on the moral heritage of Judeo-Christian belief. This has created the “decline or obscuring of the moral sense” to which the Holy Father alludes.
The practical outcome is an exaltation of the principle of moral autonomy, based upon consent of parties to a social contract, where moral law is rejected in favor of a generalized, minimalist “morality of mutual respect and sympathy.”
According to this view, the only ethical restraint on human freedom is negative: In the absence of a recognized moral authority prior to consent which is the sole condition for establishment of personal autonomy, no positive moral obligations are ultimately sustainable. In other words, the traditional basis for personal or public virtue is shattered, and, in obeisance to the sovereignty of personal moral autonomy, the unborn’s right to life is denied, while the right of the sick to choose euthanasia is sanctioned.
In respect to the general cultural and political context of American society, where “an allegiance between democracy and ethical relativism” is not only a possibility but reality, the Holy Father’s reflections on the relationship of freedom and law are particularly welcome. Abortion, health care, reform of the justice and welfare systems—all demand our recognition of legitimate human freedom depends on the gift of grace given in Jesus Christ and on explicit acceptance of values known to reason without which human dignity and rights cannot be sustained. -J. Francis Stafford
Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion—when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing—when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors—when you see that men get richer by graft and pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you—when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice—you may know that your society is doomed. -Ayn Rand
Years ago I was studying theology in Lyons, France, at the Jesuit theologate atop a steep hill overlooking the entire city. The place was called Fourviere, from the Latin Forum Vetus (Old Forum), because the Romans had established the civic forum there in 43 B.C.
On the steepest part of the hill’s face, several stone-lined caves stood about 30 yards apart, with openings about 8 feet square. At best they seemed to serve no purpose; worse, they seemed to be an attractive nuisance. I wondered who had built them, and why. An elderly resident of the quartier told me the following story.
In the early part of the 20th century, city officials had made the same observation I had : the caves served no apparent purpose, and they were a dangerous temptation for children. So they were all filled in with earth. A few years later, during a particularly wet rainy season, a huge section of the face of the hill slid down upon the houses below, killing 27 people. More than 2,000 years earlier, Roman engineers had constructed the caves to drain off excess water from the soil. As long as the Lyonnais maintained them—even if they forgot the reason they were there in the first place—the community was safe. When they changed what they didn’t understand, they perished.
Ne mutetur quod non intelligitur. -Joseph Fessio, S.J.
There is no such thing in America as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you who dare to write his honest opinions, and if you did you know beforehand they would never appear in print. I am paid $150.00 a week for keeping my honest opinions out of the paper I am connected with. If I should permit honest opinions to be printed in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone. -John Swinton, speaking at a journalists’ meeting in New York City in 1883
It would be a gain to this country were it vastly more superstitious, more bigoted, more gloomy, more fierce in religion than at present it shows itself to be. Not, of course, that I think the tempers herein implied desirable; but I think them infinitely more desirable and more promising than a heathen obduracy, and a cold, self-sufficient, self-wise tranquility. -John Henry Cardinal Newman
We have not yet seen to what modern civilization is on its way. It is making progress, it is true; but what will it progress to? To the utter and entire rejection of Christianity; to the “abolition” of the “religious difficulty” from legislation, from education, from domestic life; to the relegating and banishing of religion from all public life to the individual conscience and private life of man. Civilization before Christianity was bad enough. But civilization which is apostate from Christianity is worst of all. Before it became Christian, civilization persecuted Christianity with the blind brute force of the heathen. But apostate civilization will know how to persecute with refined and cunning procedure, which nothing but a knowledge of Christianity could have given. ... There is yet a time of stillness and indifference. Liberalism is a twilight state in which all errors are softened, in which no persecution for religion will be countenanced. It is the stillness before the storm. There is a time coming when nothing will be persecuted but truth; and if you possess the truth, you will share it. -Henry Edward Cardinal Manning
What political leaders decide, intelligence services tend to seek to justify. Popular literature and films often depict the opposite—policymakers as the helpless tools of intelligence experts. In the real world, intelligence assessments more often follow than guide policy decisions. -Henry Kissinger
[The following paragraphs are from Marcuse’s Eros and civilization. Page numbers (in parentheses) are from the Vintage 1962 paperback printing.]
The basic control of leisure is achieved by the length of the working day itself, by the tiresome and mechanical routine of alienated labor; these require that leisure be a passive relaxation and a re-creation of energy for work. Not until the late state of industrial civilization, when the growth of productivity threatens to overflow the limits set by repressive domination, has the technique of mass manipulation developed an entertainment industry which directly controls leisure time, or has the state directly taken over the enforcement of such controls. The individual is not to be left alone. (43)
Civilization has to defend itself against the specter of a world which could be free. If society cannot use its growing productivity for reducing repression (because such usage would upset the hierarchy of the status quo), productivity must be turned against the individuals; it becomes itself an instrument of universal control. Totalitarianism spreads over late industrial civilization wherever the interests of domination prevail upon productivity, arresting and diverting its potentialities. The people have to be kept in a state of permanent mobilization, internal and external. (85)
The high standard of living in the domain of the great corporations is restrictive in a concrete sociological sense: the goods and services that the individuals buy control their needs and petrify their faculties. In exchange for the commodities that enrich their life, the individuals sell not only their labor but also their free time. The better living is offset by the all-pervasive control over living. People dwell in apartment concentrations—and have private automobiles with which they can no longer escape into a different world. They have huge refrigerators filled with frozen foods. They have dozens of newspapers and magazines that espouse the same ideals. They have innumerable choices, innumerable gadgets which are all of the same sort and keep them occupied and divert their attention from the real issue—which is the awareness that they could both work less and determine their own needs and satisfactions. (90)
The ideology of today lies in that production and consumption reproduce and justify domination. But their ideological character does not change the fact that their benefits are real. The repressiveness of the whole lies in a high degree in its efficacy: it enhances the scope of material culture, facilitates the procurement of the necessities of life, makes comfort and luxury cheaper, draws ever-larger areas into the orbit of industry—while at the same time sustaining toil and destruction. The individual pays by sacrificing his time, his consciousness, his dreams; civilization pays by sacrificing its own promises of liberty, justice, and peace for all. (91)
Freud once defined happiness as the “subsequent fulfillment of a prehistoric wish. That is why wealth brings so little happiness: money was not a wish in childhood.” (quoting Freud) (186)
Of all things, hard work has become a virtue instead of the curse it was always advertised to be by our remote ancestors. Our children should be prepared to bring their children up so they won’t have to work as a neurotic necessity. The necessity to work is a neurotic symptom. It is a crutch. It is an attempt to make oneself feel valuable even though there is no particular need for one’s working. -C.B. Chisholm, quoted in Marcuse (202)
When Confucius was asked what would be his most important undertaking if he were placed in charge of China, he said : “It would certainly be to correct language. If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant. If what is said is not what is meant, then what ought to be done remains undone. If this remains undone, then morals and acts deteriorate. If morals and acts deteriorate, justice will go astray. If justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence, there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.”
[The following paragraphs are from Rand’s Atlas shrugged. Page numbers (in parentheses) are from the Dutton 1992 hardback printing.]
No, Mr Rearden, it’s one or the other. The same kind of brain can’t do both. Either you’re good at running the mills or you’re good at running to Washington. (303)
Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth—the man who would make his own fortune no matter where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it serves him; if not, it destroys him. But you look on and you cry that money corrupted him. Did it? Or did he corrupt his money? (412)
Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against—then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with. (436)
Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another—their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun. (412)
They were offering Galt the best that their view of existence could offer, they were trying to tempt him with that which was their dream of life’s highest fulfillment: this spread of mindless adulation, the unreality of this enormous pretense—approval without standards, tribute without content, honor without causes, admiration without reasons, love without a code of values. (1123)
Give me the power to control a nation’s money, and I care not who writes its laws. -Meyer Amschel Rothschild
At any given moment, there is a sort of all-pervading orthodoxy—a general tacit agreement not to discuss some large and uncomfortable fact. -George Orwell
It is a characteristic of the Progressive Mind to believe that all problems admit of a solution. Conservatives, on the other hand, are quite prepared to confess that the solution to some problems may escape us altogether. -Lord Salisbury
We should realize that a city is better off with bad laws, so long as they remain fixed, then with good laws that are constantly being altered, that the lack of learning combined with sound common sense is more helpful than the kind of cleverness that gets out of hand, and that as a general rule, states are better governed by the man in the street than by intellectuals. These are the sort of people who want to appear wiser than the laws, who want to get their own way in every general discussion, because they feel that they cannot show off their intelligence in matters of greater importance, and who, as a result, very often bring ruin on their country. -Cleon, Thucydides, III, 37 translation by Rex Warner
In these sentiments, sir, I agree to this Constitution, with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general government necessary for us, and there is no form of government, but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered; and believe further, that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other. -Benjamin Franklin; from his last speech in the Constitutional Convention of 1787
It is when misfortune comes upon the household, when prolonged unemployment, or old age, or sickness, or the death of the breadwinner comes upon the household, that you see how narrow was the margin on which it was apparently living so prosperously, and in a few months the result of the thrift of years may be swept away, and the house broken up. -Winston Churchill
When one crosses the various countries of Europe, one is struck by a very extraordinary and apparently inexplicable sight. The countries appearing to be the most impoverished are those which in reality account for the fewest indigents, and among the people most admired for their opulence, one part of the population is obliged to rely on the gifts of the other in order to live. -Alexis de Tocqueville
Mansfield sez ... This was quoted in a book by Gertrude Himmelfarb, who goes on to observe that in England, in Toqueville’s time, one sixth of the population was considered impoverished and was on some sort of dole; whereas in Portugal at the same time, people appeared to be much poorer overall but only about one per cent depended on “charity”. The portuguese hardly missed amenities the english thought essential.
With my living part time in Mexico I see a similar contrast. The mexicans on average do not have the material things americans have. Yet it appears to me that poverty is almost non-existent there. Most mexicans, at least in my area, own their own homes and have some savings. Most do not have mortgages or other installments to pay. They appear to me, with their lower standard of living, to be more satisfied with it than americans with theirs, and they are certainly more secure. If they have any welfare system or housing projects, I haven’t found them yet.
Obedience to law, absolute—yes, even abject—is the lesson that this war [between the states], under Providence, will teach the free and enlightened American citizen. -William Tecumseh Sherman. Quoted in Sandburg, Carl, Abraham Lincoln; the war years; volume two, p.391. New York : Harcourt, 1937.
Those who control the present control the past; those who control the past control the future. -anon
[The following paragraphs are from Fromm’s Escape from freedom. Page numbers (in parentheses) are from the Avon 1965 paperback printing.]
In the medieval system capital was the servant of man, but in the modern system it becomes his master. In the medieval world economic activities were a means to an end; the end was life itself, or—as the Catholic Church understood it—the spiritual salvation of man. Economic activities are necessary, even riches can serve God’s purposes, but all external activity has only significance and dignity as far as it furthers the aims of life. Economic activity and the wish for gain for its own sake appeared as irrational to the medieval thinker as their absence appears to modern thought.
In capitalism economic activity, success, material gains, become ends in themselves. It becomes man’s fate to contribute to the growth of the economic system, to amass capital, not for purposes of his own happiness or salvation, but as an end in itself. Man became a cog in the vast economic machine—an important one if he had much capital, an insignificant one if he had none—but always a cog to serve a purpose outside of himself. This readiness for submission of one’s self to extrahuman ends was actually prepared by Protestantism, although nothing was further from Luther’s or Calvin’s mind than the approval of such supremacy of economic activities. But in their theological teaching they had lain the ground for this development by breaking man’s spiritual backbone, his feeling of dignity and pride, by teaching him that activity had no further aims outside of himself.
As we have seen in the previous chapter, one main point in Luther’s teachings was his emphasis on the evilness of human nature, the uselessness of his will and of his efforts. Calvin placed the same emphasis on the wickedness of man and put in the center of his whole system the idea that man must humiliate his self-pride to the utmost; and furthermore, that the purpose of mans life is exclusively God’s glory and nothing of his own. Thus Luther and Calvin psychologically prepared man for the role which he had to assume in modern society: of feeling his own self to be insignificant and of being ready to subordinate his life exclusively for purposes which were not his own. Once man was ready to become nothing but the means for the glory of a God who represented neither justice nor love, he was sufficiently prepared to accept the role of a servant to the economic machine—and eventually a “Führer.” (130 sq.)
[E]arly in his education, the child is taught to have feelings that are not at all “his”; particularly is he taught to like people, to be uncritically friendly to them, and to smile. What education may not have accomplished is usually done by social pressure in later life. If you do not smile you are judged lacking in a “pleasing personality”—and you need to have a pleasing personality if you want to sell your services, whether as a waitress, a salesman, or a physician. Only those at the bottom of the social pyramid, who sell nothing but their physical labor, and those at the very top do not need to be particularly “pleasant”. Friendliness, cheerfulness, and everything that a smile is supposed to express, become automatic responses which one turns on and off like an electric switch. (268)
What then is the meaning of freedom for modern man?
He has become free from the external bonds that would prevent him from doing and thinking as he sees fit. He would be free to act according to his own will, if he knew what he wanted, thought, and felt. But he does not know. He conforms to anonymous authorities and adopts a self which is not his. The more he does this, the more powerless he feels, the more he is forced to conform. In spite of a veneer of optimism and initiative, modern man is overcome by a profound feeling of powerlessness which makes him gaze toward approaching catastrophes as though he were paralyzed. (281 sq.)
What has made industrial capitalism is not the machine but the mind of man perverted by a false philosophy. In our civilization the French heresiarch, Jean Cauvin, better known in the latinized form of Calvin, stands at the origin of this perversion. The force that has destroyed property among us is greed. For if men regard wealth as the supreme good each will struggle to obtain the most of it, for himself. Under such competition, a smaller and smaller number obtain the desired thing and each new conglomeration swallows what is less than itself. In this the eternal paradox appears which was best expressed by Our Lord when He said that if you would save your life you would lose it. Millions all snatching from each other, each in order that he may clutch a maximum in his claws, end by a general spoliation wherein the vast majority are left with nothing. It can only be after the purging out of this main product of the Reformation that right living can return. -Hilaire Belloc
If I could control Hollywood, I would never have to fire a gun. -Joseph Stalin, quoted by John Ford’s daughter Barbara, according to Andrew Sinclair in John Ford, New York, Dial Press, 1979.
A democracy is two wolves and a small lamb voting on what to have for dinner. Freedom under a constitutional republic is a well armed lamb contesting the vote. -Benjamin Franklin
Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and conflict; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. -James Madison
It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. -G.K. Chesterton, in The Cleveland Press, 01 march 1921
So the case stands, and under all the passion of the parties and the cries of battle lie the two chief moving causes of the struggle. Union means so many millions a year lost to the South; secession means the loss of the same millions to the North. The love of money is the root of this as of many many other evils. -Charles Dickens, writing in All the year round, a London weekly, in 1861
¡Pobre México! ¡Tan lejos de Dios y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos! -Porfirio Díaz
Never get angry. Never make a threat. Reason with people. -Don Vito Corleone
Decay leaves ruin and traces for the memory to linger over; prosperity is unrelenting in its complete and smiling obliteration of the past. -Bret Harte, in A first family of Tasajara, chapter 5
Ability does not lie in organizing a feast, but in finding people capable of enjoying it. -Friedrich Nietzsche
Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. -Ulpian, a Roman jurist, born about A.D. 170 and died in A.D. 228, in Digesta, 1.1.10.
(return to top)
A thousand years after Pope Urban II preached the First Crusade, his Successor, Pope John Paul II, brought another crusade to the East. Forty years after Stalin mockingly asked how many divisions does the Pope have, the first Polish Pope came to an altar set up in a field outside Krakow. There, deep inside the Soviet Empire, he gave the answer, in front of hundreds of thousands who had kept the faith. And in a dozen captive nations, millions more had kept the faith. More than any bomb or missile, that is why the walls came tumbling down, why the Evil Empire collapsed. Not a single shot was fired by the winning side. Truth, crushed to earth, rose again. -Pat Buchanan (abridged from a recent speech)
Catholicism is not just a religion : it is a country of the heart and of the mind. -Anne Roche Muggeridge
Mansfield sez: This is why a non-Catholic can never know a Catholic; and also why a Catholic can be a bad Catholic but can never cease to be Catholic. But I refer, as did Miss Muggeridge, to those who are Catholic in heart and mind; these comprise probably a minority, and perhaps even a small minority, of those who are enrolled as members of the Catholic Church.
All literature is either Catholic propaganda or atheist propaganda. -Evelyn Waugh
It is, indeed, an intolerable paradox to assert, that a revelation, given from God to man, should lie unknown or mistaken for eighteen centuries, and now at length should suddenly be deciphered by individuals. -Cardinal Newman
Let’s face it: No one really hates, say, the Methodist or Presbyterian churches, but the Catholic Church is hated. As Harvard historian Arthur Schlesinger Sr noted, prejudice against the Catholic Church is “the deepest bias in the history of the American people.” Today it’s not acceptable to hate blacks, Jews, homosexuals, et al., but it’s OK to hate the Church, especially the Pope, as well as Catholics who refuse to be politically correct. Perusing the media makes this amply clear. No, it isn’t fair, but then our Lord was hated, so we shouldn’t be surprised. -Dale Vree
Under the Pope’s rule the people were mild and generous, but, under the new gospel, nobody will give, but the one cheats the other; and the longer the gospel is preached, the more the people are sinking into avarice, pride, and luxury. Verily, the devil has got twice into them. -Martin Luther
At the present time our own country is in greater need of conversion than Russia. The efforts of atheistic Communism to wipe out belief in God has not been nearly as effective as the secularism of America has been in giving rise to a society without God. If Communism, with help from Russia, has forcefully spread its ideology and errors to many countries, our own country has spread its secularism throughout the world in more subtle ways, e.g. as a condition of receiving foreign aid and by means of Hollywood. We believe that our secularist America is doing more harm worldwide in the breakdown of moral values than is communist Russia. -Paul A. Duffner
A sense of sin is almost totally lacking. Our situation is thus very different from that of the Apostles. The Pagans to whom they preached were haunted by a sense of guilt and to them the Gospel was, therefore, “good news”. We address people who have been trained to believe that whatever goes wrong in the world is someone else’s fault—the Capitalists’, the Government’s, the Nazis’, the Generals’, etc. They approach God Himself as His judges. They want to know, not whether they can be acquitted for sin, but whether He can be acquitted for creating such a world. -C.S. Lewis
The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of Supreme Pontiffs. The republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains ... not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life. -Macaulay
Fecisti nos ad te et inquietum est cor nostrum, donec requiescat in te. -Augustine of Hippo
To the devotional mind what is new and strange is as repulsive, often as dangerous, as falsehood is to the scientific. -Cardinal Newman
The Church is built upon the doctrine that impurity is hateful to God, and that concupiscence is its root; with the Prince of the Apostles, her invisible Head, she denounces “the corruption of concupiscence which is in the world,”, or, that corruption in the world which comes of concupiscence; whereas the corrupt world defends, nay I may even say, sanctifies that concupiscence which is the world’s corruption ... it deifies and worships human nature and its impulses, and denies the power and the grant of grace. This is the source of the hatred the world bears the Church; it finds the whole catalogue of sins brought into the light and denounced, which it would fain believe were no sins at all. -John Henry Cardinal Newman
To the Catholic it has always been apparent that a man, to remain a man, must be free in the all-important sense of internal freedom. He may be beaten to earth by the might of a dictator; he might be sold into bondage by the greed of a usurer; but no force in heaven or on earth can throw his intellect and will into chains. The Catholic has known, and knows today, that there is no more serious threat to that internal freedom, that sovereignty by which the humanity of man is guaranteed, than the threat involved in the appeal of unreasonable pleasures. So the Catholic has known, and knows today, that purity and the demands of purity are not an infringement on his freedom, not a high fence enclosing his actions in a narrow, sterile field; rather they are the solid protectors, the solid guarantees of the freedom man must have, if he is to be a man. -Walter Farrell, O.P.
It does seem to me that one of the reasons why our Lord chose Judas to be an apostle was because he wanted us to be prepared, from the first, against every possible shock to our consciences. If Judas could be described as our Lord’s apostle, I don’t quite see why Alexander VI should not be his vicar. -R.A. Knox
Christianity, considered as a moral system, is made up of two elements, beauty and severity; whenever either is indulged to the loss or disparagement of the other, evil ensues. -J.H. Card. Newman
I am suspicious of any religion that is a people’s religion, or an age’s religion. -J.H. Card. Newman
The faith is not liberal or conservative. It is true. I will preach the faith. -Francis George, archbishop of Chicago
When did ever any power go to war with Peter, material or moral, civilized or savage, and get the better? When did the whole world ever band together against him solitary, and not find him too many for it? All who take part with Peter are on the winning side. -John Henry Cardinal Newman
How many divisions does the Pope have? -Joseph Stalin
In the past the critics of religion formulated the thesis that fear had created God and the gods. Today we are experiencing the opposite: the elimination of God has generated the fear which lurks beneath the surface of modern existence. The man of today is afraid that God might really exist and that he is dangerous. He is afraid of himself and of the terrible possibilities which he carries within him. He is afraid of the dark and unforeseeable side of a world which he no longer attributes to a loving reason but to the play of chance and to the victory of the strongest. The fear of what men can do to themselves and to the world, the fear of the absence of meaning, of the emptiness of human life, the fear of the future, of overpopulation, of war, of disease and disasters has taken profound hold of the men of today. Under the thin veneer of optimism and faith in progress this fear is increasingly the dominant mood. “Be not afraid”: with these words the pope desires to renew in us that certainty which dwells in the depths of the human soul: “Someone exists who holds in his hands the destiny of this passing world; Someone who holds the keys to death and the netherworld; Someone who is the Alpha and the Omega of human history ... and this Someone is Love.” Here the question of God meets the question of man and the question of redemption, and this three-way connection is characteristic of the thought of Karol Wojtyla. He who knows God, the true God, the living God who loves men, is redeemed, set free from fear and kept safe in loving confidence. -Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
It is, indeed, an intolerable paradox to assert, that a revelation, given from God to man, should lie unknown or mistaken for eighteen centuries, and now at length should suddenly be deciphered by individuals. -John Henry Cardinal Newman
The greatest contribution to society by Christianity was the establishment of marriage as a sacrament. -D.H. Lawrence
The Church is the only thing that saves man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his own age. -G.K. Chesterton
On Yom Kippur, 1944, the Chief Rabbi of Rome knew that he was leading services for the last time. Christ was calling, and the Rabbi knew he must follow. A few weeks later Zolli and his wife were baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. Zolli took the name Eugenio in honor of Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) whose sanctity and dedication to saving Jews from the Nazis he deeply admired.
Zolli was a prominent Scripture scholar and a brilliant writer. He became Chief Rabbi of Rome in 1939. As the Nazis prepared to occupy the city, Zolli urged the Jewish community to disperse. Very few took his advice. Once the Nazis arrived in Rome, Zolli—with a price on his head—went undercover to the Vatican to obtain the Holy Father’s protection for the Jewish community. Pius XII opened the monasteries, convents, and churches of Rome, as well as the Vatican itself, as sanctuaries for the Jews of the city. When the Nazis began their roundup of Roman Jews, they managed to seize only 1600 of the approximately 9500 Jews then present in the city. All the rest were hidden by the Church at the urging of the pope. Among those who escaped were Rabbi Zolli and his wife.
The Zollis’ baptism on February 13, 1945, in the Roman church of Santa Maria degli Angeli made headlines. Although some attributed his conversion to base motives, Zolli himself always insisted that it was his own ardent interest in Jesus Christ which drew him to the Catholic Faith and the Christ-like compassion and charity of Pius XII which finally convinced him to seek baptism.
Not long after his conversion, Zolli traveled to America to deliver a series of Biblical lectures at the University of Notre Dame. In Washington, D.C., he met Archbishop A.G. Cicognani, Pius XII’s Apostolic Delegate to the United States. In the course of their conversation, Zolli assured the archbishop that it was not scholarship or erudition that had attracted him to Catholicism, but charity.
In spite of the drama of his conversion, the post-war world quickly consigned Eugenio Zolli to oblivion. He died in poverty in 1956. Yet Zolli’s vision, courage, profound biblical knowledge, penetrating spirituality, and deep faith make him one of the most inspiring Catholic figures of the 20th century. -source lost
Not once did Darwin ask himself the question whether his lifelong and most purposeful commitment to the prupose of proving that there was no purpose was not a slap in his own mental face. Stanley Jaki
There’s nothing wrong in the Catholic Church that a good Inquisition can’t fix. -Congressman John Schmitz
Mansfield sez: Twelve-step : it is not so much that I am at odds with such programs; rather such programs are at odds with reality. They acknowledge the necessity of help from some “higher power”, which is fine as far as it goes. They then proceed to allow each person to define such power as he wishes. The underlying assumption is that what counts is not the higher power per se, but the individual’s own belief; and further, that it does not matter whether the power believed in by an individual even exists, so long as he believes. In short, twelve-step in effect denies the existence of objective grace; its “higher power” is just a therapeutic trick. The alternative, of course—i.e., recognition of a true spiritual reality—would, if honestly pursued, lead to Roman Catholicism and thence to healing, thus destroying the patient base of an immensely profitable therapeutic scam.
Mansfield sez: The funeral was awful, I thought. At a protestant funeral they rigidly exclude prayer for the dead. Ostensibly this is because they deny the existence of purgatory, claiming that the dead go directly to heaven and thus have no need of our assistance. In reality I think it comes off as a solemn excommunication of the deceased, the same being refused our love and prayer at the most critical juncture of all : entrance into eternity. I think the denial of purgatory also masks a refusal to face the demands of moral living, an attempt to convince oneself that one can live any way one pleases and sail into heaven without a snag.
The reason for the crisis of the Catholic hierarchy today can be traced to a single failing : For 40 years, priests and bishops have not shown zero tolerance of a culture of dissent, without and within the Church, that challenged the truths they were ordained to defend. Contrast the moral authority of Pope John Paul II, who defied the spirit of the age on contraception, abortion, euthanasia, and homosexuality, with that of the U.S. Catholic bishops who sought to “reach out” and “dialog” with dissenters. Pope John Paul is respected, even by his enemies. The bishops are an embarrassment, even to their friends. -Pat Buchanan
Modern materialists, I confess, have usually had vulgar and jejune minds; but notso the ancients who were materialists by nature and not foolishly hostile to popular religion or without religion in their hearts. -George Santayana
Not only does the decay of religious faith let loose all sorts of moral license, but the inevitable rebellion of the passions, noble as well as base, against any external control, because people wish to be free to do as they like with good conscience. -George Santayana
The modern mind is liberal and romantic; but a state of society and a discipline of the will inspired by pure reason would be neither romantic nor liberal. It would be sternly organic, strictly and traditionally moral, military, and scientific. The literary enemies of Christianity might soon find reason to pine for the broad margin of liberty and folly by which Christianity, in merry Christian times, was always surrounded. -George Santayana
No one can read Catholic books and still believe in God—the thing is too utterly puerile to fit a big world like this. -Harold Laski, British socialist
It is impossible to make peace with the Roman Catholic Church. It is one of the permanent enemies of all that is decent in the human spirit. -Harold Laski, British socialist
I wonder whether the world would not be better off if we had never invented the notion of sin. -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Supreme Court justice
It makes me sick at heart ... to hear poor little devils told that what they thought were good actions were bad, because they had a thought of reward or punishment and did not do it simply for Christ—and the next minute to hear a puke in an apron trying to scare them stiff with a picture of hell they are likely to be sent to. -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Supreme Court justice [by “puke in an apron” he means a nun]
I do not think that morality depends upon any particular system of religious doctrine. The ecclesiastical imperialism which claims there cannot be a universal good society until Christian doctrine is accepted is both mischievous and grotesque. What is needed is the identification of the spiritual and moral values in all the great provinces of religious culture (and outside them), so that the world may have a common basis for its united life. -William O. Douglas, Supreme Court justice
Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the Church, is often labelled today as fundamentalism, whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed or “swept along by every wind of teaching”, looks like the only attitude acceptable by today’s standards. We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognise anything as certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires. -Cardinal Ratzinger, the day before he was elected pope.
Unos dichos favoritos de San Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer:
Que obremos siempre de tal manera, en la presencia de Dios, que no tengamos que ocultar nada a los hombres. (Surco, 334)
Libertad de concienca: ¡No! Cuántos males ha traido a los pueblos y las personas este lamentable error, que permite actuar en contra de los propios dictados íntimos. Libertad "de las conciencias", sí: que significa el deber de seguir ese imperativo interior..., ¡ah, pero después de haber recibido una seria formación! (Surco, 389)
Lo que se necesita para conseguir la felicidad, no es una vida cómoda, sino un corazón enamorado. (Surco, 795)
El purgatorio es una misericordia de Dios, para limpiar los defectos de los que desean identificarse con Él. (Surco, 889)
Vociferan los sectarios contra lo que llaman "nuestro fanatismo", porque los siglos pasan y la Fe católica permanece inmutable. En cambio,el fanatismo de los sectarios -- porque no guarda relación con la verdad -- cambia en cada tiempo de vestidura, alzando contra la Santa Iglesia el espantajo de meras palabras, vacías de contenido por sus hechos: "libertad", que encadena; "progrreso", que devuelve a la selva; "ciencia", que esconde ignorancia.... Siempre un pabellón que encubre vieja mercancía averiada. ¡Ojalá se haga cada dia más fuerte "tu fanatismo" por la fe, única defensa de la única Verdad! (Surco, 933)
¡Señor, líbrame de mí mismo! (Forja, 120)
De acuerdo: tu preocupación deben ser "ellos". Pero tu primera preocupación debes ser tú mismo, tu vida interior; porque, de otro modo, no podrás servirles. (Forja, 399)
¡Valor de la piedad en la Santa Liturgia! Nada me extrañó lo que, hace unos días, me comentaba una persona hablando de un sacerdote ejemplar, fallecido recientemente: ¡Que santo era! --¿Le trató Vd. mucho?, le pregunt‚. --No --me contestó--, pero le vi una vez celebrar la Santa Misa. (Forja, 645)
Cada vez estoy más persuadido: la felicidad del Cielo es para los que saben ser felices en la tierra. (Forja, 1005)
(return to top)
According to the thinkers of the East, there are five different intoxications: of beauty, youth and strength; then the intoxication of wealth; the third is power, command, the power of ruling; and there is the fourth intoxication, which is the intoxication of learning, of knowledge. But all these four intoxications fade away just like stars before the sun in the presence of the intoxication of music. The reason is that it touches that deepest part of man's being. Music reaches farther than any other impression from the external world can reach. And the beauty of music is that it is both the source of creation and the means of absorbing it. In other words, by music was the world created, and by music it is withdrawn again into the source which has created it. -Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927), founder of the Sufi Order in the West
... musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful; and also because he who has received this true education of the inner being will most shrewdly perceive omissions or faults in art and nature, and with a true taste, while he praises and rejoices over and receives into his soul the good, and becomes noble and good, he will justly blame and hate the bad, now in the days of his youth, even before he is able to know the reason why; and when reason comes he will recognise and salute the friend with whom his education has made him long familiar. -Plato, from Book 3 of The Republic
(return to top)
Life: You only live once—but if you work it right, once is enough. -Joe E. Lewis
Wisdom: A man should never be ashamed to own that he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. -Swift
A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one or the other, and then we know how to meet him. -Aesop
Being rich is having money. Being wealthy is having time. -Stephen Swid
Money doesn’t change men, it merely unmasks them. If a man is naturally selfish or arrogant or greedy, the money brings that out, that is all. -Henry Ford
Count no mortal fortunate till he has departed this life free from pain. -Sophocles
I have learned to use the word “impossible” with the greatest caution. -von Braun
The University of Tennessee Alumnus magazine for spring 1994 says the Vols played their first intercollegiate game in 1891 against Sewanee ... and lost.
A child’s instinct is almost perfect in the matter of fighting. The child’s hero is always the man or boy who defends himself suddenly and splendidly against aggression. -Chesterton
We have tried everything else; hasn’t the hour arrived to try the Truth? -Louis Edouard Cardinal Pie
The hardest thing to cope with is not selfishness or vanity or deceitfulness, but sheer stupidity. -Eric Hoffer
A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject. -Churchill
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. -Edison
Success is measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed. - Booker T. Washington
If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the ghosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great sweeper who did his job well.” -Martin Luther King jr.
One great mistake made by intelligent people is to refuse to believe that the world is as stupid as it is. -Madame de Tencin
Rascality has limits; stupidity has not. -Napoleon
One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing. -Socrates
Men can always be blind to a thing, so long as it is big enough. -Chesterton
I would rather that the people should wonder why I wasn’t president than why I am. -Salmon P. Chase
Intolerance is the “Do Not Touch” sign on something that cannot bear touching. We do not mind having our hair ruffled, but we will not tolerate any familiarity with the toupee that covers our baldness. -Eric Hoffer
Modern slavery, the worst kind, is slavery to the mass media, which impose themselves in such a way, through the audiovisual senses, that they make people behave like puppets, mechanically. The very senses that the Lord gave us with which to recognize his design become the instruments of subjection, the source of submission to artificial and induced desires. One loses one’s critical faculties. They show you Coca Cola and miraculous chewing gum and one is no longer capable of asking: but is this a real need or an artificial, induced one? Unfortunately the path of true liberty is arduous and for very few. -Roberto Busa, SJ
The fact that we live better than our counterparts in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union cannot ease the pain that we no longer live nobly. -John Updike
The world would be better off if people tried to become better. And people would become better if they stopped trying to become better off. For when everybody tries to become better off, nobody is better off. But when everybody tries to become better, everybody is better off. Everybody would be rich if nobody tried to become richer. And nobody would be poor if everybody tried to be the poorest. And everybody would be what he ought to be if everybody tried to be what he wants the other fellow to be. -Peter Maurin
I find in practice that when you are in trouble, the moment you regard it as a “punishment”, it becomes easier to bear. If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable. Think of it as a place of training and it’s not so bad. -C.S. Lewis
Some things are too important to be left to experts. -G.K. Chesterton
This has been the course of lawless pride and lust : to lead us, first to exult in our uncontrollable liberty of will and conduct; then, when we have ruined ourselves, to plead that we are the slaves of necessity. -J.H. Card. Newman
Diplomacy and courage are strangers to each other; excessive business prudence and charity will not shake hands; but God and the poor await us, side by side. -Rose Hawthorne
Mansfied sez: The daughter of the famous writer, she became a nun and in 1896 founded in New York City a home to care for poor folks dying of cancer. The home is still in operation today, along with five others in other cities.
Sex and breathing are about the only two things that generally work best when they are least worried about. That, I suppose, is why the same sophisticated age that has poisoned the world with feminism is also polluting it with breathing exercises. -G.K. Chesterton
Magis valet homo propter id quod est, quam propter id quod habet. -Gaudium et spes, 35 (Vatican II)
I will not shrink from uttering my firm conviction that it would be a gain to this country were it vastly more superstitious, more bigoted, more gloomy, more fierce in its religion than at present it shows itself to be. Not, of course, that I think the tempers herein implied desirable, which would be an evident absurdity; but I think them infinitely more desirable and more promising than a heathen obduracy, and a cold, self-sufficient, self-wise tranquility. -J.H. Card. Newman
As long as a man minds his own business, pays his taxes, and avoids the company of criminals and the vicinity of crime, he can get away with almost any kind of secret aims and pursuits. -a character in Seven from the stars, by Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people. -G.K. Chesterton
True happiness flows from the possession of wisdom and virtue and not from the possession of external goods. -Aristotle
It defies logic to believe that God made certain people “gay” and then (in his Torah) told them that to act according to their nature is “an abomination”—a term of opprobrium that the Bible reserves exclusively for idolatry, human sacrifice, ritual prostitution, and homosexuality. -Don Feder
Discovery consists in seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought. -Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
It is not true that life is one damn thing after another—it’s one damn thing over and over. -Edna St. Vincent Millay
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. -Plato
A face bears the reflection of our nature, which in the beginning is veiled by the attractiveness of youth. But as soon as youth begins to go, everything written on the face starts to come to the surface, and pretty soon it’s engraved there. No landscape can equal a human face that’s been molded by its own character. -Francoise Giroud
Youth is a religion from which one always ends up being converted. -André Malraux
[DiMaggio] belonged to a world of achievement and honor, of manliness and reticence, where glibness was distrusted. His name stands for a kind of majesty even Babe Ruth didn’t have. The Babe was convivial, available, childishly and endearingly emotional; DiMaggio was aloof and a little mysterious. You can almost imagine Ruth on a talk show, pouring his heart out. Not DiMaggio. He had an Old World quality, something you might find in either a duke or an Italian fisherman, a sense of who he was and what was fitting. He let his deeds do the talking. He didn’t invite prying. You’d have noticed that magnetic reserve even if he hadn’t played baseball and become famous. He would have commanded respect if he’d worked on an assembly line. He’d have done a good job and taken pride in his work whether anyone noticed or not. -Joseph Sobran
Atticus painstakingly washed the dishes after dinner and Scott dried them and told him, We’d had about a hundred feet of rain fall on us, but then it didn’t rain at all for two days and the highways were being used again. And so I took my Volkswagen out to the jungle for the first time in a month and painted for half a day. And then I remembered that Renata expected me for dinner at six and it was already half past five and getting dark. I hurried into the Volkswagen and took a shortcut into town, skidding wildly in mud, and going way too fast for the road. Suddenly I rushed up on a half-dozen Mayan kids in their finest white shirts and work pants, probably heading to work in the hotels. I honked the horn and then jumped from the road and frowned at me and there was this pothole filled with rainwater that my front tire plunged into, ramming hard, splashing their good clothes with muck. Their hands flew up and they yelled in fury and I thought I ought to go back and say how sorry I was. But then I thought about how late I was and how Renata would be fuming and how often their clothing must get ruined in the monsoon season. And I was gazing back in my rearview mirror to see them slapping the gunk from their shirts when the car slammed forward, blam!, into a trench of mud where the ground had crumbled away. I got the engine going again but then looked out the side window and saw the mud was as high as the door and my tires were turning fruitlessly in the slime. I shifted to first gear and then reverse, hoping to rock the car forward, but it only settled another inch or two. And I thought, This is how God repays your thoughtlessness. And then I looked up to see the Mayan kids were hulking around the Volkswagen, angrily peering in. But before I could say anything, I saw them bend from my sight and lift the Volkswagen and heave it forward until all four tires were on hard ground again and I could roll free of the mire. I got out of the car to thank them, but the kids walked ahead without saying a word. -from Atticus, Ron Hansen
We cherish our friends not for their ability to amuse us, but for ours to amuse them. -Evelyn Waugh
What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are. -C.S. Lewis
Mansfield sez: The day your letter arrived, 13 August 94, Dunlap ceased to be in any sense a city and became a ‘burb. They closed the last remaining downtown grocery store. I can no longer walk to market like they do in the Bronx. They are putting in a new traffic light. A new highway to Bignooga opens this month. Quality of rural life all shot to hell. -from a letter I wrote in 1994
Winesburg, Ohio is full of insights into the buried life, into the thoughts of the repressed, the inarticulate, the misunderstood. Most frequently frustrated is the desire to establish some degrees of intimacy with another person. A tradition of manners would accomplish just this by providing a medium through which acquaintance could ripen into intimacy. Small-town America has wanted such a tradition. In place of it, it has had joking, back-slapping, and buffoonery which irk the sensitive spirit and make him draw ever more secretly into himself. -Charles Child Walcutt
The author Evelyn Waugh was known to be an ill-tempered man who liked to use sarcasm when referring to others. He was, however, a daily communicant who spent much time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and prayed the rosary every day. A woman rebuked him one day after Mass, telling him that he gave bad example by his impatience and sarcasm. What was the point of all his prayer if he was impatient and sarcastic with others? His retort was simple: “Madam, if this is the best I can be with all of my prayer, imagine how much worse off I would be without it.” -Thomas A. Drolesky
You have not converted a man because you have silenced him. -John Viscount Morley
The secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power’s sake but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. - Joan Didion
Some one asked me: What are you going to do when you are no longer the Mother Superior? I answered: I am an expert in cleaning bathrooms. It’s not a matter of what we do but rather how much love we put into doing it. If I belong to Christ and in this moment he wants me to clean bathrooms, or care for lepers, or speak with the President of the United States, it is the same; because I am being what God wants me to be, and doing what he wants me to do. -Mother Teresa
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy... neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water. -anon
Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, But beautiful old people are works of art. -anon
To say that a work of art is good, but incomprehensible to the majority of men, is the same as saying of some kind of food that it is very good, but most people can’t eat it. -Leo Tolstoy
Only a fool will say that any opinion is as good as any other opinion—and even a fool is apt to seek expert opinion when he gets sick. -Herbert J. Muller
Chesterton was a man of logic. No wonder people cannot understand him today. -Rawley Myers
A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it. -Oscar Wilde
I love everything that’s old; old friends, old times, old manners, old books, old wines. -Oliver Goldsmith
Women are all alike. When they’re maids they’re mild as milk: once make ‘em wives, and they lean their backs against their marriage certificates, and defy you. -Jerrold
The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any. -Fred Astaire
Progress might have been all right at one time, but it’s gone on too long. -Ogden Nash
The gods of the hearth exist for us still; and let all new faith be tolerant of that fetichism, lest it bruise its own roots. -George Eliot, in Silas Marner
Mansfield sez: 2001 September 20 I thought I could get away from progress here, but the Mexican grocery store is putting in scanning registers this week. The Chinese store will probably never put them in. The Chinese store is better in various ways. It is named “Up-to-date Grocery Company”, a snazzy name when they commenced business in 1912. They have continued as a family business ever since, and have been in the same old brick, oiled-floor storefront almost that long. The family members are highly educated and fluent in three languages. But—the Chinese store is nine blocks away, and the Mexican only one. I must now walk nine times as far to the store, or else reconcile myself to the invasion of computers everywhere. I am thinking of moving to the south end of the county, to Hachita. There are only two business in town, a general store and a saloon, neither of which will ever gross enough to put in scanning registers.
When there’s no solution, there’s no problem. -James Burnham
Theologians and philosophers have been saying for a century that God is dead, but what we confront now is the possibility that man is dead. -Erich Fromm, in 1966
Men will always be men—no matter where they are. -Harry Mudd, “Mudd’s Women”, stardate 1329.8
Our public life consists almost exclusively of small men. Our public men are small because they have to prove that they are in the commonplace interpretation clever, because they have to pass examinations, to learn codes of manners, to imitate a fixed type. It is in private life that we find the great characters. They are too great to get into the public world. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a great man to enter into the kingdoms of the earth. The truly great and gorgeous personality, he who talks as no one else could talk and feels with an elementary fire, you will never find this man on any cabinet bench, in any literary circle, at any society dinner. Least of all will you find him in artistic society; he is utterly unknown in Bohemia. He is more than clever, he is amusing. He is more than successful, he is alive. You will find him stranded here and there in all sorts of unknown positions, almost always in unsuccessful positions. You will find him adrift as an impecunious commercial traveller like Micawber. You will find him but one of a batch of silly clerks, like Swiveller. You will find him as an unsuccessful actor, like Crummles. You will find him as an unsuccessful doctor, like Sawyer. But you will always find this rich and reeking personality where Dickens found it—among the poor. For the glory of this world is a very small and priggish affair, and these men are too large to get in line with it. They are too strong to conquer. -G.K. Chesterton, on Dickens’s characters
The work and word of God tell us clearly that women must be used for marriage or for prostitution. If women get tired and die of bearing, there is no harm in that; let them die so long as they bear; they are made for that. -Martin Luther, Werke
To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection. -H. Poincare
Tolerance is not a virtue. It’s a mere expedient, when you cannot do otherwise. -Giuseppe Siri
It is undignified for a woman to play servant to a man who is not hers. -Spock, “Amok Time”, stardate 3372.7
The adjuration to be “normal” seems shockingly repellent to me; I see neither hope nor comfort in sinking to that low level. I think it is ignorance that makes people think of abnormality only with horror and allows them to remain undismayed at the proximity of “normal” to average and mediocre. For surely anyone who achieves anything is, essentially, abnormal. -Dr. Karl Menninger, The human mind, 1930
In this world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. -Oscar Wilde
Hildebrant’s Principle: If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.
Learn to say no. It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin. -Charles Haddon Spurgeon, an English Baptist preacher who lived from 1834 to 1892.
From Many colored threads, an old Goethe anthology:
The first love, it is rightly said, is the only one, for in the second, and by the second the highest sense of love is already lost. The conception of the eternal and infinite, which elevates and supports it, is destroyed, and it appears transient like everything else that recurs.
This love, then, this constancy, this passion, is no poetical fiction. It is actual, and dwells in its greatest purity amongst that class of mankind whom we term rude, uneducated.
Assuredly we spend far too much labor and outlay in preparation for life. Instead of beginning at once to make ourselves happy in a moderate condition, we spread ourselves out wider and wider, only to make ourselves more and more uncomfortable.
Song is the first step in education; all the rest are connected with it, and attained by means of it. The simplest enjoyment, as well as the simplest instruction, we enliven and impress by song; nay, even what religious and moral principles we lay before our children, are communicated in the way of song.
It is being without occupation which is really fretting him. The many accomplishments which he has cultivated in himself, it is his only pleasure—indeed, it is his passion—to be daily and hourly exercising for the benefit of others. And now, to sit still, with his arms folded; or to go on studying, acquiring and acquiring, when he can make no use of what he already possesses;--it is a painful situation; and, alone as he is, he feels it doubly and trebly.
We know that men will treat with derision whatever they cannot understand.
It is a pious wish of all fathers to see what they have themselves failed to attain, realized in their sons, as if in this way they could live their lives over again, and, at last, make a proper use of their early experience.
To be misunderstood is the fate of us all.
Say what you will of fortitude, but show me the man who can patiently endure the laughter of fools, when they have obtained an advantage over him. ‘Tis only when their nonsense is without foundation that we can suffer it without complaint.
There aren’t many of them [men] in the world, as everyone finds out sooner or later. -John Steinbeck
If one’s different, one’s bound to be lonely. They’re beastly to one. Do you know, they shut me out of absollutely everything? When other boys were sent out to spend the night on the mountains—you know, when you have to dream which your sacred animal is—they wouldn’t let me go with the others; they wouldn’t tell me any of the secrets. I did it by myself, though. Didn’t eat anything for five days and then went out one night alone into those mountains there.—And did you dream of anything? --(Nods yes) But I mustn’t tell you what. -the Savage, One of the principal functions of a friend is to suffer (in a milder and symbolic form) the punishments that we should like, but are unable, to inflict upon our enemies. -Aldous Huxley, in Brave new world
“At Malpais,” the Savage was incoherently mumbling, “you had to bring her the skin of a mountain lion—I mean, when you wanted to marry someone. Or else a wolf.” -the Savage, in Brave new world, by Aldous Huxley.
Mansfield sez: In the brave new world babies are made in bottles; sex is solely for pleasure. Lenina wants to have sex with the Savage. The Savage knows nothing but the tradition of monogamy of his tribe. He wants Lenina. But as his wife, not as a fuck. He cannot just have sex with Lenina because she wants it. He can only conceive of a monogamy where fidelity is unconditional and where a man must win a woman, must prove himself worthy, perhaps by slaying a mountain lion.
How to God can a black man ask a white man to please not lay down with his black wife? And even if he could ask it, how to God can the white man promise he wont? -William Faulkner; spoken by Lucas in The fire and the hearth
He was old. He had no children, no people, none of his blood anywhere above earth that he would ever meet again. And even if he were to, he could not have touched it, spoken to it, because for seventy years now he had had to be a negro. It was almost over now and he was glad. -William Faulkner; spoken by Isaac in The bear. Isaac was the son of a Chickasaw chief and a slave woman, thus was legally black, though he inherited his father’s royal temperament.
Not even in Black Dahomey was it ever, I think, forgotten to the typhus-fever length. Mungo Park, resourceless, had sunk down to die under the Negro Village-Tree,a horrible White object in the eyes of all. But in the poor Black Woman and her daughter who stood aghast at him, whose earthly wealth and funded capital consisted of one small calabash of rice, there lived a heart richer than 'Laissez-faire': they, with a royal munificence, boiled their rice for him; they sang all night to him, spinning assiduous on their cotton distaffs, as he lay to sleep: "Let us pity the poor white man; no mother has he to fetch him milk, no sister to grind him corn!" Thou poor black Noble One, thou Lady too: did not a God make thee too; was there not in thee something of a God! -Thomas Carlyle, in Past and present, the modern worker.
"That's wrong," Uncle Gavin said. "It's women who murder their spouses for immediate personal gain--insurance policies, or at what they believe is the instigation or promise of another man. Men murder their wives from hatred or rage or despair, or to keep them from talking since not even bribery nor even simple absence can bridle a woman's tongue." -William Faulkner, An error in chemistry.
Nullum magnum ingenium sine mixtura dementiæ fuit. -Seneca
Mujer que sabe latín, tiene mal fin. -Proverbio mexicano
Do, or do not. There is no try. -Yoda
(return to top)
I am dying with the help of too many physicians. -Alexander the Great
You medical people will have more lives to answer for in the other world than even we generals. -Napoleon
Medicine being a compendium of the successive and contradictory mistakes of medical practitioners, when we summon the wisest of them to our aid, the chances are that we may be relying on a scientific truth the error of which will be recognized in a few years’ time. -Marcel Proust
As long as men are liable to die and are desirous to live, a physician will be made fun of, but he will be well paid. -La Bruyere
So you wish to conquer in the Olympic Games? But first mark the conditions and the consequences. You will have to put yourself under discipline; to eat by the rule, to avoid cakes and sweetmeats; to take exercise at the appointed hour whether you like it or not, in cold and heat; to abstain from cold drinks and wine at your will; in a word, to give yourself over to the trainer as to a physician. -Epictetus
The one area of medicine that hasn’t had wild inflation in the last 30 years is cosmetic surgery. Unless cosmetic surgery is required to correct the disfigurement from a disease or an accident, it’s not covered by insurance. The patient has to pay. If you ask a cosmetic surgeon about a procedure, he can tell you precisely what it will cost, what its components are—and the price doesn’t roar up. -Steve Forbes
All physicians have now arrived at the unanimous opinion that the fetus in utero is alive from the very moment of conception. To extinguish the first spark of life is a crime of the same nature, both against our Maker and society, as to destroy an infant, a child, or a man. The deliberate prevention of pregnancy is detrimental to the health and to the moral sense. -policy statement of the American Medical Association ... in 1866.
By medicine life may be prolonged, yet death will seize the doctor too. -Shakespeare, Cymbeline
A woman physician has made the statement that smoking is neither physically defective nor morally degrading, and that nicotine, even when indulged to in excess, is less harmful than excessive petting. -Purdue Exponent, Jan 16, 1925
(return to top)
Bad news always means big business for someone. -LAN TIMES, 19 Apr 93, p.1
In a new book, Principle-Centered Leadership, author Stephen Covey says the foundation of the effective businessman is character, not technique. He lists what he calls “seven deadly sins” that can destroy one’s business as well as one’s character :
Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Religion without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.
He goes so far as to say not only that greed is bad, but that if greed influences your business practices it will in the long run reduce your bottom line.
Affairs are easier of entrance than exit; and it is but common prudence to see our way out before we venture in. -Aesop
Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. -Harvey Mackay
(return to top)
The globe-trotter lives in a smaller world than the peasant. He is always breathing an air of locality. London is a place, to be compared to Chicago; Chicago is a place, to be compared to Timbuctoo. But Timbuctoo is not a place, since there, at least, live men who regard it as the universe, and breath, not an air of locality, but the winds of the world. The man in the saloon steamer has seen all the races of men, and he is thinking of the things that divide men—diet, dress, decorum, rings in the nose as in Africa, or in the ears as in Europe, blue paint among the ancients, or red paint among the modern Britons. The man in the cabbage field has seen nothing at all; but he is thinking of the things that unite men—hunger and babies, and the beauty of women, and the promise or menace of the sky. -Chesterton
Writing is easy. All you have to do is sit in front of a typewriter and sweat a pint of blood. -sportswriter Red Smith
Pope John Paul is a modern, jet-setting, electronic, communications-minded, best-selling player working from the cutting edge. He is engaged in every facet of life from the secular to the divine. He is energized, opinionated, well-informed, generous, and not above giving you a piece of his mind. Polish by birth and Roman by domicile, he is also that finest of all persons—your basic New Yorker. -Ray Kerrigan, The New York Post
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
-Eliot, Four quartets
A dead man is the worst enemy alive. You can’t alter his power over you. You can’t alter what you love or owe. And it’s too late to ask him for his absolution. He has you beaten all ways up. -John le Carre
The gout is a complaint as arises from too much ease and comfort. If ever you’re attacked with the gout, sir, jist you marry a widder as has got a good loud voice, with a decent notion of usin’ it, and you’ll never have the gout agin. It’s a capital prescription, sir. I takes it reg’lar, and I can warrant it to drive away any illness as is caused by too much jollity. -Mr Weller, Sr, in Dickens’s Pickwick Papers.
When you have shot and killed a man you have in some measure clarified your attitude toward him. You have given a definite answer to a definite problem. For better or worse you have acted decisively. In a way, the next move is up to him. -R.A. Lafferty
The difference between a misfortune and a calamity? If Gladstone fell into the Thames, it would be a misfortune. But if someone dragged him out again, it would be a calamity. -Benjamin Disraeli
Mansfield sez: No, I’m not here, or at least I wasn’t until today. I spent the past week in a Trappist abbey near Charleston (SC), got home last night. This is how I take my spring vacation every year, though for the past eighteen or so years I have gone to an abbey near Atlanta. I hadn’t realized just how subtropical the climate is in coastal SC. The monastery campus has live oak draped with spanish moss, palm trees, and garden snakes as long as you and as thick as your wrist. On first day and last day I was wading water to get to my cottage. Nevertheless the beauty of the place, even when wet, is overwhelming. They have for a campus an old plantation, first used as a rice farm over 300 years ago. Henry and Clare Boothe Luce bought the place in 1936 and gave it to the Trappists in 1949. They are buried in the formal gardens. The monks raise chickens and sell eggs by the truckload. That part of their land which is visible from the road is in pulpwood. I don’t know if they use other areas to grow chicken feed, or buy their feed. Week ended with a spectacular electrical storm about 0500 yesterday morning, at which time I happened to be in the abbey church, which in turn blacked out when power lines went down. The flashing lights and shadows and the dim glow off the organ pipes could have been from an old spooky movie. I thought the 0530 service would have to be by candlelight; but no, the monks’ generating plant kicked in about ten minutes later with a great roar and column of blue smoke. All in all a wonderful week. -from a letter written after last year’s retreat (1998)
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, he told her, to which she retorted that a proverb was the last refuge of the mentally destitute. -W. Somerset Maugham, in The painted veil
No, I’m not a Catholic. I describe myself as a member of the Church of England, which I suppose is an inoffensive way of saying that you don’t believe in anything very much. -a character of W. Somerset Maugham, in The painted veil
Siempre imaginé el Paraíso como una especie de biblioteca. -Jorge Luis Borges
Mansfield sez: My own formulation, arrived at before discovering that of Borges, is, “Heaven is having time to read everything.”
Truth is eternal, knowledge is changeable. It is disastrous to confuse them. -Madeleine L’Engle
You say you are lying. But if everything you say is a lie, then you are telling the truth. You cannot tell the truth because everything you say is a lie. You lie, you tell the truth ... but you cannot, for you lie. -Norman the android, “I, Mudd”, stardate 4513.3
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd. -Flannery O’Connor
I puts it all away, some here, some there, and none too much anywheres, by reason of suspicion. -Long John Silver, in Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson
[From Alice in Wonderland, a work of philosophy disguised as a children’s book]
The executioner’s argument was that you couldn’t cut off a head unless there was body to cut it off from; that he had never had to do such a thing before, and he wasn’t going to begin at his time of life. The King’s argument was that anything that had a head could be beheaded, and that you weren’t to talk nonsense. The Queen’s argument was that if something wasn’t done about it in less than no time, she’d have everybody executed, all round. [The executioner had just been ordered to behead the disappearing Cheshire cat, of which at the moment only the head was visible.]
Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin, thought Alice; but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!
[Alice] had read several nice little stories about children who had got burnt, and eaten up by wild beasts, and other unpleasant things, all because they would not remember the simple rules their friends had taught them, such as, that a red-hot poker will burn you if you hold it too long; and that if you cut your finger very deeply with a knife it usually bleeds; and she had never forgotten that if you drink much from a bottle marked “poison,” it is almost certain to disagree with you sooner or later.
The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please, your Majesty?” he asked. “Begin at the beginning,”, the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end; then stop.”
“Cheshire-Puss,” she began, “would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t care much where,” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
You know my heart keeps tellin’
You’re not a kid at thirty-three,
You play around, you lose your wife,
You play too long, you lose your life.
Some gotta win, some gotta lose,
Goodtime Charlie’s got the blues.
“I can’t feel as I’ve got any father but one,” said Eppie, impetuously, while the tears gathered. “I’ve always thought of a little home where he’d sit i’ the corner, and I should fend and do everything for him : I can’t think o’ no other home. I wasn’t brought up to be a lady, and I can’t turn my mind to it. I like the working-folks, and their victuals and their ways. And,” she ended passionately, while the tears fell, “I’m promised to marry a working-man, as’ll live with father, and help me to take care of him.” -George Eliot, in Silas Marner. As a child Eppie did not know who her father was. She was adopted and raised by a working man. At about age twenty her natural father, a nobleman, surfaces, and invites her to live with him. He is otherwise childless and has no heir. Effie makes this moving speech as she declines his offer.
Is truth not truth for all? -Natira, “For the World is Hollow and I have Touched the Sky”, stardate 5476.4
Computers make excellent and efficient servants, but I have no wish to serve under them. Captain, a starship also runs on loyalty to one man. And nothing can replace it or him. -Spock, “The Ultimate Computer”, stardate 4729.4
The bay-trees in our country are all
And meteors fright the fixed stars of heaven;
The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the earth
And lean-look’d prophets whisper fearful change.
These signs forerun the death or fall of kings.
-Wm. Shakespeare, Richard II 
Had he and I but met
By some old ancient inn,
We should have sat us down to wet
Right many a nipperkin.
But ranged as infantry,
And staring face to face,
I shot at him as he at me,
And killed him in his place.
I shot him dead because—
Because he was my foe,
Just so; my foe of course he was;
That’s clear enough; although
He thought he’d ‘list, perhaps,
Off-hand-like—just as I—
Was out of work—had sold his traps—
No other reason why.
Yes, quaint and curious war is.
You shoot a fellow down
You’d treat, if met where any bar is
Or help to half-a-crown.
I distrust a close-mouthed man. He generally picks the wrong time to talk and says the wrong things. Talking’s something you can’t do judiciously, unless you keep in practice. Now, sir, we’ll talk if you like. I’ll tell you right out, I’m a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk. -Kasper Gutman, a character in The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
I knew one thing: as soon as anyone said you didn’t need a gun, you’d better take one along. -Raymond Chandler
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth is a sister’s “See?” -Linus Van Pelt
The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.
I am told that the Countess of Shrewsbury is brought home by the Duke of Buckingham to his house, where his Duchess saying that it was not for her and the other to live together in a house, he answered, “Why, Madam, I did think so, and, therefore, have ordered your coach to be ready, to carry you to your father’s.” -from The diary of Samuel Pepys
An academic speculated whether a bather is beautiful if there is none in the forest to admire her. He hid in the bushes to find out, which vitiated his premise but made him happy. -Sam Weber
If I had been a Heathen,
I’d have praised the purple vine,
My slaves would dig the vineyards,
And I would drink the wine;
But Higgins is a Heathen,
And his slaves grow lean and grey,
That he may drink some tepid milk
Exactly twice a day.
“She’ll recover,” Andrew said, and he gave scientific reasons. Urquhart shook his old head dubiously. He said: “I never heard tell of your polyvalent sera or your antibodies or your international units. But she was a Powell before her marriage and when the Powells get a swollen belly with their pneumonias they die before the eighth day. I know that family backwards. She’s got a swollen belly, hasn’t she?” The old man went about with an air of sombre triumph over the scientific method when his patient died on the seventh day. -A.J. Cronin, in The citadel (a novel set in the 1920s)
If everything isn’t black and white, I say, “Why the hell not?” -John Wayne
Sunday morning, though recurring at frequent and well-established intervals, always seems to take this railway by surprise. -William Schwenck Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan)
… For the world was changing, and sweetness was gone, and virtue too. Worry had crept on a corroding world, and what was lost--good manners, ease and beauty? Ladies were not ladies anymore, and you couldn't trust a gentleman's word. ... Oh, strawberries don't taste as they used to and the thighs of women have lost their clutch! -John Steinbeck, East of Eden (1952): Part 2, Chapter 12
That brunette coquette my dad married's garden has gone to weeds. -Cæcilia
(return to top)
Nothing works just for you ... you gotta make the damn thing work. -Thomas Alva Edison
I was on a flight to Charlotte, and it was the first time I really noticed how many people have laptops with them. The first guy I saw with a laptop was playing solitaire. The second guy was playing solitaire. The next two guys were playing some sort of Sega Genesis street fighting game. This is the information superhighway? -Tom Wolfe
You think Abort, Retry, Ignore, Fail is a weird error message? Consider these true life messages :
I don’t eat raisins -from a Data General AOS/VS
Permanent compiler error -from a Fortran compiler
Happy birthday! -sole response from a bad motherboard
Something bad has happened which has no error message; please restart your computer. -Windows
Panic -from AIX (IBM’s version of Unix)
This style of code is no longer used. -from Borland’s C++
Guru meditation error -Commodore Amiga
Disaster -from an IBM mainframe compiler
Control level closure leaves gaping wound in control stack. -source unknown
Make it as simple as possible but not simpler. -Einstein
On graphical user interfaces, and mice. For engineers and architects this is the obvious way to go. But I cannot see the use of icons to represent programs, nor the forced use of a mouse to call them. It is also a mystery to me why, in this advanced computer age, the icons are two or three generations out of date. They represent sound recordings with a cassette, and show manila folders as places to put letters. On the other hand, could icons be up to date? Everything now is bits. The bits of a phone call are the same as those of a house plan. You can’t put a picture of a bit in an icon. It would seem the only up to date way to refer to processes and data would be Words.
At this point, if we were full of beer and the night was young, I would launch into dumbing down, and say mass literacy is obsolete, having been useful mainly for disinformation (common sense alone is generally enough to recognize truth), but now displaced by more efficient methods such as the TV and multimedia. I would mention the expurgation of libraries and suppression of the Latin liturgy. I would say that walls are being built so we can’t see any culture of any other place or time except through the filters someone wants us to see through. Age not of information but disinformation. But we’re not full of beer and it is not night, at least not in the astronomical sense.
And that comes to Unix. In just a couple of hours of tinkering I have been able to see the beauty, the balance, the elegance of the thing. I’ve done beautiful stuff in DOS—built an email system, a development environment, a network that runs like a mainframe in my spare bedroom. But DOS to Unix is like scratching on a rock to painting with oils. DOS is a prison; Unix open space. I have some degree of feeling that I have wasted myself for eleven years by not finding Unix to start with.
But even more there is a sense of sadness, a sense that replacement of the system prompt with the pointer is very much the irruption of Vandals into the cathedral. That power now lies with force, not reason; that barbarians will now enslave priests, and turn them from the chanting of sacrifice to the barking of profit. That the precise articulation of crafted code serves no purpose but to support presentation graphics, the better for the staff to deceive the board, and the board to lie to the stockholders. It is wrong to turn a cloister into a whorehouse. But it is an atrocity to force the clergy to do the remodeling.
I may try to find a job in a Unix shop. But I have got to think about it for a while. For a while programming was a good place for a thinking man to work. But a monk will never be happy in a brothel. -from a letter I wrote in 1995
When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -Donald Douglas
It took 300 years to build and by the time it was 10% built, everyone knew it would be a total disaster. But by then the investment was so big they felt compelled to go on. Since its completion, it has cost a fortune to maintain and is still in danger of collapsing. There are at present no plans to replace it, since it was never really needed in the first place. I expect every installation has its own pet software which is analogous to the above. -K.E. Iverson, on the Leaning Tower of Pisa
As soon as we started programming, we found to our surprise that it wasn’t as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs. -Maurice Wilkes, designer of EDSAC, on programming, 1949
Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -Gilb
Pseudocode can be used to some extent to aid the maintenance process. However, pseudocode that is highly detailed - approaching the level of detail of the code itself - is not of much use as maintenance documentation. Such detailed documentation has to be maintained almost as much as the code, thus doubling the maintenance burden. Furthermore, since such voluminous pseudocode is too distracting to be kept in the listing itself, it must be kept in a separate folder. The result: Since pseudocode - unlike real code - doesn’t have to be maintained, no one will maintain it. It will soon become out of date and everyone will ignore it. Once, I did an informal survey of 42 shops that used pseudocode. Of those 42, 0 [zero!], found that it had any value as maintenance documentation. -Meilir Page-Jones, The Practical Guide to Structured Design, Yourdon Press © 1988
There are two ways of constructing a software design. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies and the other is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. -Charles Anthony Richard Hoare
“No program is perfect,”
they said with a shrug.
“The customer’s happy—
What’s one little bug?”
But he was determined.
The others went home.
He dug out the flow chart,
Night passed into morning.
The room was cluttered
with core dumps, source listings.
“I’m close,” he muttered.
Chain smoking, cold coffee,
“I’ve got it!” he cried,
“just change one instruction.”
Then change two, then three more,
as year followed year,
and strangers would comment,
“Is that guy still here?”
He died at the console
of hunger and thirst.
Next day he was buried
face down, nine edge first.
And his wife through her tears
accepted his fate;.
Said, “He’s not really gone,
he’s just working late.”
-The perfect programmer
Two is not equal to three, even for large values of two. -anon
A manager asked a programmer how long it would take him to finish the program on which he was working. “I will be finished tomorrow,” the programmer promptly replied.
“I think you are being unrealistic,” said the manager. “Truthfully, how long will it take?”
The programmer thought for a moment. “I have some features that I wish to add. This will take at least two weeks,” he finally said.
“Even that is too much to expect,” insisted the manager, “I will be satisfied if you simply tell me when the program is complete.”
The programmer agreed to this.
Several years later, the manager retired. On the way to his retirement lunch, he discovered the programmer asleep at his terminal. He had been programming all night. -Geoffrey James, The Tao of programming
All programmers are optimists. Perhaps this modern sorcery especially attracts those who believe in happy endings and fairy godmothers. Perhaps the hundreds of nitty frustrations drive away all but those who habitually focus on the end goal. Perhaps it is merely that computers are young, programmers are younger, and the young are always optimists. But however the selection process works, the result is indisputable: “This time it will surely run,” or “I just found the last bug.” -Frederick Brooks, The mythical man month
Mansfield sez … Talk is easy, writing hard. When my clients would request this feature and that on their software, I said I would not consider any request unless it were submitted in writing; in the case of a report, with a sample layout and exact steps to calculate each field. The requests dried up at once. They didn’t really know what they wanted and were not prepared to think it through. They wanted me to do that. But it only took me a couple of years to figure out that if they didn’t know exactly what they wanted, nothing I produced would ever exactly satisfy them.
A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow. -Patton
No battle plan survives contact with the enemy. -well worn saying
Mansfield sez... No, but one must still have a plan.
In the battle of programming, a battle plan (program) must anticipate every single move the enemy might ever make and provide an explicit response to it.
In the battle of life, a battle plan is better drawn in broad general strokes, with details worked out on the fly—as they will be in any case, because one cannot anticipate every possible contingency.
In the last year or two I have realized that I have complicated much of my life more than I ever needed to by trying to devise my various battle plans for life with all the precision I do for those of a program.
Never retract. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl. -Benjamin Jowett
(return to top)
The reason lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place is that the place isn’t there the second time. -Willie Tyler
The story behind the letter below is that there is this person in Newport, RI, named Scott Williams who digs things out of his backyard and sends the material he finds to the Smithsonian Institute, labeling them with scientific names, insisting that they are actual archaeological finds. This guy really exists and does this in his spare time! Anyway. here’s the actual response from the Smithsonian Institution. Bear this in mind next time you think you are challenged in your duty to respond to a difficult situation in writing.
207 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20078
Dear Mr. Williams:
Thank you for your latest submission to the Institute, labeled “93211-D, layer seven, next to the clothesline post...Hominid skull.” We have given this specimen a careful and detailed examination, and regret to inform you that we disagree with your theory that it represents conclusive proof of the presence of Early Man in Charleston County two million years ago. Rather, it appears that what you have found is the head of a Barbie doll, of the variety that one of our staff, who has small children, believes to be “Malibu Barbie.” It is evident that you have given a great deal of thought to the analysis of this specimen, and you may be quite certain that those of us who are familiar with your prior work in the field were loathe to come to contradiction with your findings.
However, we do feel that there are a number of physical attributes of the specimen which might have tipped you off to its modern origin:
1. The material is molded plastic. Ancient hominid remains are typically fossilized bone.
2. The cranial capacity of the specimen is approximately 9 cubic centimeters, well below the threshold of even the earliest identified proto-homonids.
3. The dentition pattern evident on the skull is more consistent with the common domesticated dog than it is with the ravenous man- eating Pliocene clams you speculate roamed the wetlands during that time.
This latter finding is certainly one of the most intriguing hypotheses you have submitted in your history with this institution, but the evidence seems to weigh rather heavily against it.
Without going into too much detail, let us say that:
A. The specimen looks like the head of a Barbie doll that a dog has chewed on.
B. Clams don’t have teeth.
It is with feelings tinged with melancholy that we must deny your request to have the specimen carbon-dated. This is partially due to the heavy load our lab must bear in its normal operation, and partly due to carbon-dating’s notorious inaccuracy in fossils of recent geologic record. To the best of our knowledge, no Barbie dolls were produced prior to 1956 AD, and carbon-dating is likely to produce wildly inaccurate results.
Sadly, we must also deny your request that we approach the National Science Foundation Phylogeny Department with the concept of assigning your specimen the scientific name Australopithecus spiffarino.
Speaking personally, I, for one, fought tenaciously for the acceptance of your proposed taxonomy, but was ultimately voted down because the species name you selected was hyphenated, and didn’t really sound like it might be Latin.
However, we gladly accept your generous donation of this fascinating specimen to the museum. While it is undoubtedly not a Hominid fossil, it is, nonetheless, yet another riveting example of the great body of work you seem to accumulate here so effortlessly. You should know that our Director has reserved a special shelf in his own office for the display of the specimens you have previously submitted to the Institution, and the entire staff speculates daily on what you will happen upon next in your digs at the site you have discovered in your Newport back yard.
We eagerly anticipate your trip to our nation’s capital that you proposed in your last letter, and several of us are pressing the Director to pay for it. We are particularly interested in hearing you expand on your theories surrounding the transpositating fillifitation of ferrous metal in a structural matrix that makes the excellent juvenile tyrannosaurus rex femur you recently discovered take on the deceptive appearance of a rusty 9-mm Sears Craftsman automotive crescent wrench.
Yours in Science,
On an overdone 32,000 square foot house in Atlanta that the owner can neither pay for nor sell:
Way out here where the kudzu blooms
in the red clay hills and lonesome pines;
where the coon dog trots and the possum climbs,
they’s a house been built with a hundred rooms
on sixty acres of lush and green.
The ceilings rise to fifty feet
and there’s six jacuzzis in the master suite—
don’t look like nothing we ever seen.
The floors are marble, the roof is slate,
they’s a ten-ton pineapple over the gate;
the fountains squirt like a summer rain,
and you yank the johns with a silver chain.
All this has been done by a guy
who says it’s like a new Versigh,
whatever that is. At any rate,
it’s one hell of a piece of rillerstate.
-Ralph T. Birdsey, Atlanta, in Wall Street Journal.
There’s some people that, if they don’t already know, it’s no use trying to tell them. -Satchmo
You think YOU have trouble? Two hunters from Wisconsin (true story) had more trouble than you probably do. Read on.....
This is from a radio program, a true report of an incident in Wisconsin:
A guy buys a brand new Lincoln Navigator for $42,500 and has $560 monthly payments. He and a friend go duck hunting in winter, and of course all the lakes are frozen. These two guys go out on the lake with the guns, the dog, and of course the new vehicle.
They drive out onto the lake ice and get ready. Now, they want to make some kind of a natural landing area for the ducks, something for the decoys to float on. In order to make a hole large enough to look like something a wandering duck would fly down and land on, it is going to take a little more effort than an ice hole drill.
So, out of the back of the new Navigator comes a stick of dynamite with a short, 40-second fuse. Now these two rocket scientists do take into consideration that they want to place the stick of dynamite on the ice at a location far from where they are standing (and the new Navigator), because they don’t want to take the risk of slipping on the ice when they run from the burning fuse and possibly go up in smoke with the resulting blast.
They light the 40-second fuse and throw the dynamite. Remember a couple of paragraphs back when I mentioned the vehicle, the guns and the dog? Let’s talk about the dog: A highly trained Black Lab used for RETRIEVING. Especially things thrown by his owner.
You guessed it, the dog takes off at a high rate of speed on the ice and captures the stick of dynamite with the burning 40-second fuse about the time it hits the ice. The two men yell, scream, wave their arms and wonder what to do now.
The dog, cheered on, keeps coming. One of the guys grabs the shotgun and shoots the dog. The shotgun is loaded with #8 birdshot, hardly big enough to stop a Black Lab. The dog stops for a moment, slightly confused, but continues on. Another shot and this time the dog, still standing, becomes really confused and of course terrified, thinking these two geniuses have gone insane.
The dog takes off to find cover, under the brand new Navigator. ----BOOM!---- Dog and Navigator are blown to bits and sink to the bottom of the lake in a very large hole, leaving the two idiots standing there with this “I can’t believe this happened” look on their faces.
The insurance company says that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is not covered. He still had yet to make the first of those $560 a month payments!
And you thought your day was not going well?
Although written many years ago, Lady Chatterley’s Lover has just been reissued by the Grove Press, and this pictorial account of the day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is full of considerable interest to outdoor minded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant-raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin, and other chores and duties of the professional gamekeeper. Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savour those sidelights on the management of a midland shooting estate, and in this reviewer’s opinion the book cannot take the place of J. R. Miller’s Practical gamekeeping. -Ed Zern, in Field and Stream (Nov. 1959)
You got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there. -Yogi Berra
Un café con piquete, sin café. -Eduardo Torres Lozano
The story is still told in diplomatic circles of old Ambassador Brown, who went to an embassy function somewhere, some say Brazil, having first spent an hour watering at a nearby bar. Arriving at the embassy just as music started up, he spotted what he thought must be the most elegantly dressed lady he had ever seen. Approaching the purple-clad figure, he asked, “Madame, may we dance?” Whereupon he was answered by a deep bass voice: “No, Mr Brown, we may not dance; and for three reasons. First, this is a reception and not a ball. Second, even if this were a ball and not a reception, that is a march and not a waltz. And third, even if this were a ball and not a reception, and that were a waltz and not a march, I would still be the cardinal archbishop.”
(return to top)
2011.06.08 This document was named, until today, “Segunda mano”. I have changed it to “Second hand”. There are many entities out there called “segunda mano”, including one in Spain which seems to be a sort of trading site like Craig's List. Perhaps that is why I am getting more hits on “Segunda mano” than on all other pages together, and the majority of them are from Spain. We will see what happens with the rename.