Friday, February 16, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas February 16, 2007

185 Leader: Let Ambition touch his wings on many flowers;/ Blessed to one he comes—as hope;/ All ruin to another/ Lured to fly too high,/ His life too late hot ashes now beneath his feet. Sophocles. Antigone.

467 It is not good for man to cherish a solitary ambition. Hawthorne, Tales and Sketches

116 F. Bacon: He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Francis Bacon.

143 F. Bacon: Men in great place are thrice servants; servants to the sovereign or state, servants of fame, and servants of business, so as they have no freedom, neither in their persons nor in their action, nor in their time...the rising unto place is laborious, and by pains, men come to greater pains...the standing is slippery, and the regress is either a downfall or at least an eclipse. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Francis Bacon.

579 There is also the story they tell of the shepherd who set fire and burned down the celebrated Temple of Diana, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the world, simply in order that his name might be remembered for centuries to come; although it was forbidden to speak of him, or even to mention his name by word of mouth or in writing, so that his ambition might not be fulfilled, it is nevertheless known that he was called Erostratus. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote of La Mancha. Part Two: 1615.

910 Sancho on ambition: ...never stretch your feet beyond the sheet. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote of La Mancha. Part Two: 1615.

140 For in the multitude of middle-aged men who go about their vocations in a daily course determined for them much in the same way as the tie of their cravats, there is always a good number who once meant to shape their own deeds and alter the world a little [and] the story of their coming to be shapen after the average and fit to be picked by the gross, is hardly ever told even in their consciousness; for perhaps their ardor in generous unpaid toil cooled as imperceptibly as the ardor of other youthful loves. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

141 The hardening pattern of bigness in American life.... Blum, V Was for Victory

14 Kennedy: “My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

64 JFK: “Too many Americans have lost their way, their will, and their sense of historic purpose.” Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

64 JFK: The new frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises--it is a set of challenges. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

66 The message of Kennedy’s 1960 campaign had been that the American way of life was in terrible shape, that our economy was slowing down, that we were neglectful of our young and our old, callous toward our poor and our minorities, that our cities and schools and landscapes were a mess, that our motives were materialistic and ignoble and that we were fast becoming a country without purpose and ideals. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

88 Kennedy: The nation…was founded ‘on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.’ Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

151 American life is so damned dumb and stupid and healthy. Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise.

430 JFK: “This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.” Sorenson, Kennedy

436 JFK: “I am certain that, after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics but for our contributions to the human spirit.” Sorenson, Kennedy

439 [Kennedy] was wise enough to know that in a nation of consent, not command, Presidential words alone cannot always produce results. Sorenson, Kennedy

561 The President wanted not only a bill which dealt effectively with the problem of discrimination in voting, public accommodations, educational and other public institutions, federal programs and employment, but also a bill which reflected a bipartisan approach and a national consensus which the nation would accept and obey. Sorenson, Kennedy

575 JFK: “We must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent nor omniscient…that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94% of mankind—that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity—and that therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem.” Sorenson, Kennedy

607 [Kennedy]…believed that the most relevant contributions from his own country’s experience were not its concepts of private property or political parties but its traditions of human dignity and liberty. Sorenson, Kennedy

338 At their best…popular psychology and self-help books are part of the huge democratization of knowledge…also seem to me distinctively American—a reminder of our old faith in self-improvement, self-reliance, and human perfectibility, married to the can-do temperament of management: just find the right technique, and you can make life work for you. Burbank, T. Gross, ed. Editors on Editing.

00 Gov. Wm. Bradford: …they had now no friends to welcome them, nor inns to entertain or refresh their weather beaten bodies, no houses or much less towns to repair to, to seek for succor…if they looked behind them there was the mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the world. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

185 While European culture had developed elaborate ways of fragmenting, specializing, and monopolizing pieces of man’s knowledge and functions, American culture from its very beginning allowed many of these to come together. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

189 William Byrd: “It was a place free from those three great scourges of mankind, priests, lawyers, and physicians.” Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

669 About New York City: …looking at the faces of the people rushing by, in a hurry to return to their families and sit down to their suppers; no leisurely pace, but an onslaught against time, as though more than enough of the day had been given to work, and now one wanted to return to the security of home. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

690 Mitya: And though they [Americans] may be wonderful at machinery, every one of them, damn them, they are not of my soul…I love Russia…. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

597 Lincoln: I am a living witness that any of your children may look to come here [the White House as President] as my father’s child has. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

723 America: A mystic dream of a majestic republic holding to human freedom and equal opportunity ran parallel to motives of hard cash and pay dirt. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

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