Saturday Quotathon: Mixed Bag

>> Saturday, November 14, 2009


I've been almost completely diverted by the metric argument - no writing done at all yesterday, and I really must get back. Still, it's a topic I enjoy. Since I'm in a weird mood and have this on the brain, I figured I'd just pick random quotes that seemed to suit my current mindset.

About the use of language: it is impossible to sharpen a pencil with a blunt ax. It is equally vain to try to do it with ten blunt axes instead.
-- Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago.
-- Bernard Berenson


(These really are the first two unused quotes I've run into so far.)

No cause is helpless if it is just. Errors, no matter how popular, carry the seeds of their own destruction.
-- John W. Scoville

The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.
-Abraham Lincoln

Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.
- Bertrand Russell

Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us
- Bill Watterson

Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.
- Charles H. Spurgeon

Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.
- Elbert Hubbard

I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.
- Leo Tolstoy

When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.
- Otto von Bismarck

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
- Gautama Buddha

Where men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, and have there given reins to passion, without that proper deliberation and suspense, which can alone secure them from the grossest absurdities.
- David Hume

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
- Bill Cosby

Perhaps no sin so easily besets us as a sense of self-satisfied superiority to others.
-William Osler, M.D.

I’m always fascinated by the way memory diffuses fact.
-Diane Sawyer

Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
-Daniel J. Boorstin

Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you want can’t be done and why. Then do it.
-Robert A. Heinlein

It is a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.
-W. Somerset Maugham

Some marry the first information they receive, and turn what comes later into their concubine. Since deceit is always first to arrive, there is no room left for truth.
-Baltasar Gracián

Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans) show a truly staggering ability to "ignore" certain kinds of information — that which does not "fit" their imprinted/conditioned reality-tunnel. We generally call this "conservatism" or "stupidity", but it appears in all parts of the political spectrum, and in learned societies as well as in the Ku Klux Klan.
-Robert Anton Wilson


Eh, I'll keep it short today. Must get back to my novel.

P.S. For Relax Max' amusement:

My favourite piece of information is that Branwell Brontë, brother of Emily and Charlotte, died standing up leaning against a mantelpiece, in order to prove it could be done. This is not quite true, in fact. My absolute favourite piece of information is the fact that young sloths are so inept that they frequently grab their own arms and legs instead of tree limbs, and fall out of trees.
-Douglas Adams

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.
-Douglas Adams

I wrote an ad for Apple Computer: 'Macintosh - We might not get everything right, but at least we knew the century was going to end.'
-Douglas Adams

First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we've realized it's a brochure.
-Douglas Adams

3 comments:

  • The Mother
     

    "I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives."
    - Leo Tolstoy

    Hence everything from religion to the scientific paradigm. Kuhn, anyone?

    Open mindedness is quite difficult. For everyone.

  • Stephanie B
     

    Good addition, the Mother.

  • Jeff King
     

    i love this one... rings true.

    "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
    - Bill Cosby

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