“How melancholy is the Reflection, that the Folly & Wickedness of Man, under the abused Titles of Prudence & Patriotism, shall ruin the finest Countries, and proceed, as far as they may, to desolate the Earth!” – Ambrose Serle, Journal, August 28th, 1776
“It happened late Friday night. That morning no one suspected anything. I sent my son to school, my husband went to the barber’s. I was preparing lunch when my husband came back. ‘There’s some sort of fire at the atomic station. They’re saying we are not to turn off the radio.’ This wasn’t any ordinary fire, it was some kind of shining. It was pretty. I’d never seen anything like it in the movies. That evening everyone spilled out onto their balconies, and those who didn’t have balconies went to friends’ houses. We were on the ninth floor, we had a great view. People brought their kids out, picked them up, said: ‘Look! Remember!’ And these were people who worked at the reactor—engineers, laborers, physics instructors. They stood in the black dust, talking, breathing, wondering at it. People came from all around in their cars and on their bikes to have a look. We didn’t know that death could be so beautiful.” – Nadezhda Petrovna Vygovskaya (from Voices from Chernobyl, by Svetlana Alexievich, trans. Keith Gessen)
“The logic of the present situation is no longer of an economic but of an ethico-political kind. Work is the linchpin of the citizen factory. As such, it is indeed necessary, as necessary as nuclear reactors, city planning, the police, or television. One has to work because one has to feel one’s existence, at least in part, as foreign to oneself.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program (emphases in original)
“Citizens, insofar as they are made to compensate more and more frequently for the failures of the welfare state, will be paid more and more overtly for their work in comanaging social pacification. A citizen’s dividend will therefore be established as a form of coercion to maintain self-discipline, in the form of strange, extremely tight-knit, community policing. If necessary, they maight even call it ‘existence wages,’ since it would in fact entail sponsoring those forms-of-life most compatible with Empire.” – Tiqqun, This Is not a Program
“If you let one demon in the front door, he will let all of his friends in the back door.” – Patrick Glenn Jeffries, “A Mother’s Earth”
“To be truly hospitable you don’t ask someone if they’re thirsty or hungry—you offer them food, you offer them drink. They will not turn down what you put in front of them if they’re hungry and thirsty.” – Patrick Glenn Jeffries, “A Mother’s Earth”
“Always look a man in his eyes. Even when you are afraid of him. After a while you will see he is only a man.” – Patrick Glenn Jeffries, “A Mother’s Earth”
“Never talk tough before a fight. Losing a fight is one thing. Looking foolish and losing a fight is another.” – Patrick Glenn Jeffries, “A Mother’s Earth”
“Before flaws look like style, they look like flaws.” – Maria Adelmann, “Basket Weaving 101”
“A man who resembles a rodent should never wear tweed.” – Mark Helprin, “The Schreuderspitze”
“Most problems aren’t rocket science, but when they are rocket science, you should ask a rocket scientist about them.” Captain Scott Kelly, “What I Learned in Space” (emphasis in original)
“I think that if people began thinking about death sooner they’d make fewer foolish mistakes.” – Dmitri Shostakovich (quoted by David Dubal in The Essential Canon of Classical Music)
“Of all minor afflictions, house-cleaning is the worst.” – Rachel Henning, March 1, 1854, The Letters of Rachel Henning, ed. David Adams
“Nobody really says anything honest until they know they are dying.” – Alex McElroy, “Responsible Fear”
“Look, the sun is a sort of bribe, you know, and so is a heavy thunderstorm or a snowfall. So is a dawn, though not I think a sunset. So is a warm bath or a shower, and a sound sleep. Bribes all, in the conspiracy of everything to continue to exist.” – Renata Adler, Pitch Dark
“The world is everything that is the case. And in the second place because.” – Renata Adler, Pitch Dark
“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
“None see God and live.” – Emily Dickinson
“An optimist is not the first to shout ‘hurray,’ but the last to shout ‘we’re finished.’ ” – Andrey Stavnitser (quoted by Tim Judah, In Wartime)
“The past is not made out of time, out of memory, out of irony but is also a crime we cannot admit and will not atone.” – Eavan Boland, “Making Money”
“No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails.” – Nelson Mandela
“You will not be able to find the boundaries of the soul even if you walk every path, so deep is its measure.” – Heraclitus (quoted by John Bussanich in “The Roots of Platonism and Vedanta”)
“Girls, never trust a man under 40, because he’s still a boy.” – John Mellencamp (interviewed by Edna Gundersen in AARP The Magazine)
“Marriage is the tomb of love.” – Giacomo Girolamo Casanova, Memoirs
“The best of us will try to live by a few simple rules: do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with thy God, and never draw to an inside straight.” – Stephen Jay Gould, “The Streak of Streaks”
“If you look at the moon, you’ll dream of the animals, and they’ll tell you they’re sorry they died, and they miss you.” – Liam, Facebook, May 29, 2017
The Limits to Human Survival: The Four Threes
1. Three minutes without oxygen.
2. Three days without water.
3. Three weeks without food.
4. Three months without companionship.
– from Christy Gutowski, “7 Days Lost”
“Love’s service is without eyes, and love is without fear.” – Gottfried von Strassburg, Tristan und Isold
Stars, darkness, a lamp, a phantom, a dew, a bubble;
A dream, a flash of lightning, and a cloud:
Thus should we look upon the world.
– from The Diamond Sutra
Make merry, day and night;
Make of each day a festival of joy,
Dance and play, day and night!
Let your raiment be kept clean,
Your head washed, body bathed.
Pay heed to the little one, holding onto your hand,
Let your wife delight your heart,
For in this is the portion of man.
– from The Epic of Gilgamesh