Wednesday, August 22, 2012


From time to time I come across such quotations as dilate vast new vistas where once were mere inklings of insight about the landscape of experience I’ve been wandering and reading I’ve been pondering since the last such an epiphany. When I do, I like to scour that plethora of jotted thoughts and quotes collecting in my notebook like iron filings cling to the magnet of my curiosity and arrange them in a coherent conversation about the latest, greatest revelation they’ve led me to.

This time the key to the new vista is:

Let go or be drug.

These components of the landscape are notches on the key:

Health is nature’s default.
—Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm

To a clear eye the smallest fact is a window through which the infinite may be seen.
Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority.
—Thomas Henry Huxley, biologist and writer (1825-1895)

The noble art of losing face
May one day save the human race
And turn into eternal merit
What weaker minds would call disgrace.
—Piet Hein, poet and scientist (1905-1996)

The Karma of Hubris

In youth we feel richer for every new illusion; in maturer years, for every one we lose.
—Madame Anne Sophie Swetchine, mystic (1782-1857)

A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary.
—Thomas Carruthers

Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.
Sydney J. Harris, journalist and author (1917-1986)

The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests, and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.
—Thomas Jefferson

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation.
—Susan B. Anthony, suffragist (1820-1906)

How far should one accept the rules of the society in which one lives? To put it another way: at what point does conformity become corruption? Only by answering such questions does the conscience truly define itself
—Kenneth Tynan, critic and writer (1927-1980)

When I go into the garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health that I discover that I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands.
Our chief want in life, is somebody who shall make us do what we can.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher (1803- 1882)

Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.
—Chapman Cohen, author and lecturer (1868-1954)

It is the certainty that they possess the truth that makes men cruel.
—Anatole France, novelist, (1844-1924)

Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known.
Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

The greatest obstacle to discovering the shape of the earth, the continents, and the oceans was not ignorance but the illusion of knowledge.
— Daniel J. Boorstin, historian, writer (1914-2004)

Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life -- except religion.
—Christopher Hitchens, author (1949-2011)

Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God's infinite love.
Bill Hicks, comedian and social critic (1961-1994)

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.
Saul Bellow, writer, Nobel laureate (1915-2005)

Elvira always lied first to herself before she lied to anybody else, since this gave her a conviction of moral honesty.
—Phyllis Bottome, novelist (1884-1963)

Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you.
—Carl Jung, psychiatrist (1875-1961)

The propagandist's purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.
—Aldous Huxley, novelist

The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.
—George Bernard Shaw, writer (1856-1950)

There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity.
—Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788-1860)

If words are to enter men's minds and bear fruit, they must be the right words shaped cunningly to pass men's defenses and explode silently and effectually within their minds.
—J.B. Phillips, writer and clergyman (1906-1982)

The World is divided into armed camps ready to commit genocide just because we can't agree on whose fairy tales to believe.
—Ed Krebs, photographer (b. 1951)

In International Consequences
The players must reckon
To reap what they've sown.
We have a defense against other defenses,
But what's to defend us against our own?
-Piet Hein

A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct of its business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it.
—Lewis H. Lapham, editor and writer (1935- )

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable.
—Alexander Solzhenitsyn, novelist (1918-2008)

It is my belief that the writer, the free-lance author, should be and must be a critic of the society in which he lives. It is easy enough, and always profitable, to rail away at national enemies beyond the sea, at foreign powers beyond our borders who question the prevailing order. But the moral duty of the free writer is to begin his work at home; to be a critic of his own community, his own country, his own culture. If the writer is unwilling to fill this part, then the writer should abandon pretense and find another line of work: become a shoe repairman, a brain surgeon, a janitor, a cowboy, a nuclear physicist, a bus driver.
—Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
—Aristotle, philosopher (384-322 BCE

It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen.
—Jerome K. Jerome, humorist (1859-1927)

In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: they must be fit for it; they must not do too much of it; and they must have a sense of success in it.
— John Ruskin, author, social reformer (1819-1900)

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.
—Lin Yutang, writer and translator (1895-1976)

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
There is more to life than increasing its speed.
—Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948)

Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.
—Thomas Szasz, author (b. 1920)

Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.
— Marla

The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else -- we are the busiest people in the world.
—Eric Hoffer, philosopher and author (1902-1983)

I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.
Blaise Pascal

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