Thursday, February 15, 2007

Perspectives on Ideas

213 Merlyn: Asking advice is a fatal thing. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

625 Ideal advice, which nobody was built to follow, was no advice at all. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

625 Advising heaven to earth was useless. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

261 [On asking advice]: “If thee asks ten people what to do, they will tell thee ten things, and then thee doesn’t know as much as when thee set out.” Jewett, A Country Doctor.

30 ...Stevenson’s conviction that affluence was not enough for the good life. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

137 Chorus: Where is the man who wants/ More length of days/ O cry it out: / There is a fool. Sophocles. Oedipus at Colonus.

138 Chorus: His dawdling years/ Are loaded down with cares/ His joys are flown/ His extra time but trickles on/ He waits the Comforter/ Who comes to all. Sophocles. Oedipus at Colonus.

138 Chorus: Vexations crowd without/ And worries crowd within. Sophocles. Oedipus at Colonus.

210 Leader: But high and mighty words and ways/ Are flogged to humbleness, till age,/ Beaten to its knees, at last is wise. Sophocles, Antigone.

416 Hawthorne, seeing his former classmates at a reunion in old age: “All my contemporaries have grown the funniest old men in the world.” Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

225 A playfulness has revisited my mind; a sympathy with the young and gay; an unpainful interest in the business of others; a light and wandering curiosity; arising, perhaps, from the sense that my toil on earth is ended, and the brief hour till bedtime may be spent in play. Hawthorne, Tales and Sketches

352 At twenty-two, the age of thirty seems to be the verge of senility. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

Age 140 Faulkner: the world’s anguish is caused by people between twenty and forty. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

297 “And now, through the crevice of the curtain, I saw my little Una of the golden locks, looking very beautiful; and so full of spirit and life, that she was life itself…and then I looked at my poor dying mother; and seemed to see the whole of human existence at once.” Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

126 Creon: Rage, remember, knows no age till death. Sophocles. Oedipus at Colonus.

111 Oedipus: Son of Aegeus [Theseus], gentle son, only to the gods is given not to age or die/All else disrupts through all-disposing Time./ Earth ebbs in strength. The body ebbs in power./ Faith dies and faithlessness is born. Sophocles. Oedipus at Colonus.

763 A Lenin adage said Bohlen in one of our first meetings [on the Cuban Missile Crisis] compares national expansion to a bayonet drive: if you strike steel, pull back; if you strike mush, keep going. Sorenson, Kennedy

528 Our greatest agitations have ridiculous springs and causes. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

45 …an agricultural population is inclined to supernatural belief by its helpless dependence on the caprice of the elements, and by that inability to control nature which always leads to fear and thence to worship. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Plato.

133 Lincoln: In my judgment, such of us as have never fallen victims [to alcohol abuse] have been spared more from the absence of appetite, than from any mental or moral superiority over those who have. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

55 And if the patient whose wounds you are washing did not greet you with gratitude, but worried you with his whims, without valuing or remarking your charitable services, began abusing you and rudely commanding you, and complaining to the superior authorities of you (which often happens when people are in great suffering)…would you persevere in your love…? Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

55 I expect payment at once—that is praise, and the repayment of love with love; otherwise I am incapable of loving anyone. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

114 Actually, altruism simply does not exist on earth: even the most devoted nun, laboring all her life in the hospitals, is sustained by the promise of a stupendous reward…billions of centuries of indescribable bliss for a few years of unpleasant but certainly not unendurable drudgery and privation. Mencken, Minority Report.

55 The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

55 In my dreams…I have often come to making enthusiastic schemes for the service of humanity…. and yet I am incapable of living in the same room with any one for two days together…as soon as anyone is near me, his personality disturbs my self-complacency and restricts my freedom…. I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

196 The great thing now is to persuade him that he is on an equal footing with us, in spite of his taking money from us. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

434 Tacitus: Benefits are agreeable so long as they seem capable of being returned; but when they go much beyond that, they are repaid with hatred instead of thanks. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

468 As giving is an ambitious quality, mark of prerogative, so is accepting a quality of submission. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

392 Spencer: Altruistic actions, having become instinctive through their natural selection for social utility, will, like every instinctive operation, be performed without compulsion and with joy. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

153 The truth is that in any conflict between altruistic purpose and private self-interest the latter always wins hands down. Mencken, Minority Report.

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