Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Quotes: Providence. Psychiatry. Psychology. Public Opinion. Public Relations. Publication. Punishment. Puns. Purgatory. Puritans. Purposes.

A collection of quotes on various topics. The sentence in bold face is a plain statement of the quote that follows.

Providence may take a very long time to repay you for the sorrows it sent you.
Providence 1198 …though Providence is infinitely good and wise…it may be half an eternity before the great circle of its scheme shall bring us the superabundant recompense for all these sorrows! Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

Psychiatrists don’t agree on the meanings of basic psychiatric terminology and differ even more depending on which language is used.
Psychiatry 476 …Gustav Gilbert…recommended against another examination [of Hess] on the curious grounds that psychiatrists were unlikely to reach a consensus: lay discussion of psychiatric concepts does not help throw any light on this case because psychiatrists themselves are not in agreement on the definition of terms like ‘psychopathic constitution,’ ‘hysterical reaction,’ etc. and these terms have entirely different meanings in English and in German usage. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg.

We sometimes observe without premeditation and see deeper and farther than we ever expected.
Psychological experience 1122 There is a singular effect, oftentimes, when out of the midst of engrossing thought and deep absorption, we suddenly look up, and catch a glimpse of external objects…at such moments to look farther and deeper into them, than by any premeditated observation. Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

No matter what I engage in, I am aware of a part of me that is observing my actions as a spectator.
Psychology 429 However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me, but spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it. Thoreau, Walden.

People are most often disturbed by reminiscences.
Psychology 288 …hysterics [any psychical disturbance] suffer mainly from reminiscences. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Public Opinion
Public opinion is either with the leader or against him; success or failure depends on public opinion.
Public opinion 105 Lincoln: Public opinion is everything: with it nothing can fail, without it nothing can succeed. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Public Relations
You can manipulate statements much more successfully than you can reality.
Public relations 207 More and more effort went into public relations because it was easier to manipulate appearances and statement than it was to affect reality…. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

One can select from a mountain of incoming information one or two pieces of positive news.
Public relations 638 He [Walt Rostow] would pore over the voluminous amount of incoming military information, make his selections, and come up with one or two positive pieces of news. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

The bad news was certain to break; the policy was to let it leak out a little at a time.
Public Relations 228 The dam [i.e., bad news] was certain to break sooner or later; the wise policy was to let out the water little by little. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

The ultimate in public relations: stating that you are right because you know you are wrong.
Public Relations 317 …nervous, cornered men who must announce each day that they are right because they know they are wrong. Sevareid, Not So Wild a Dream.

By the time it is published, the information is out of date.
Publication 33 What people write/Was out of date on the previous night. Anon. A Random Walk in Science.

Booksellers do not publish in order to promote learning.
Publishers 603 Johnson: I suppose with all our scholastic ignorance of mankind, we are still too knowing to expect that the booksellers will erect themselves into patrons, and buy and sell under the disinterested zeal for the promotion of learning. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

The deadliest idea in publishing: giving people what they want.
Publishing 136 Malcolm Cowley: the whole notion of divining the public taste has been one of the deadliest ideas of publishing. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

A positive method to reject a submission: it’s so good we would never be able meet its standard again.
Publishing 134 Rejection slip from a Chinese economic journal quoted in the Financial Times: We have read your manuscript with boundless delight[; however,] if we were to publish your paper it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard[; therefore,] as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal we are, to our regret, etc. Plimpton, ed. The Writer’s Chapbook

Punishment was severe but was to be administered impersonally.
Punishment 360 The structure of Dachau served as the model...of the concentration camps: The system of brutal punishment was expanded in Eicke’s detailed instructions of October 1933, to include lashings in the presence of guards and inmates; the death penalty was proposed...for incitement and spreading atrocity stories; every penalty increased the length of detention; and it was a basic rule that punishments were to be administered with the greatest harshness and inflexibility yet impersonally and in a disciplined fashion. Bracher, The German Dictatorship

To help someone by punishing him is the same as killing him to cure his distemper.
Punishment 474 To help…by punishments is the same thing as killing a man to cure him of a distemper. Steele, 8/30/1711. The Spectator.

Puns are an unavoidable trait in human beings.
Puns 186 The seeds of punning are in the minds of all men, and though they may be subdued by reason, reflection and good sense, they will be very apt to shoot up in the greatest genius…. Addison, 5/10/1711. The Spectator.

The idea of purgatory is reasonable: most humans are not so bad or so good that they are ready immediately for hell or heaven; rather they work themselves into heaven from a middle state.
Purgatory 376 Johnson on the Catholic belief in purgatory: They are of the opinion that the generality of mankind are neither so obstinately wicked as to deserve everlasting punishment, nor so good as to merit being admitted into the society of blessed spirits; and therefore that God is graciously pleased to allow of a middle state, where they may be purified by certain degrees of suffering…nothing unreasonable in this. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

The children played at being Puritans: going to church, persecuting Quakers, taking scalps and imitating acts of witchcraft.
Puritans 198 She saw the children of the settlement, on the grassy margin of the street, or at the domestic thresholds, disporting themselves in such grim fashion as the Puritanic nurture would permit; playing at going to church, perchance; or at scourging Quakers; or taking scalps in a sham fight with the Indians; or scaring one another with freaks of imitative witchcraft. Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter.

My purpose in writing this book is to come to terms with my country even as I struggle to come to terms with my personal life and with my career as a public servant.
Purpose xvi ...my attempt to come to terms with our country, its history, its people, its problems, its potential, its current circumstances, even as I struggle with where I am in my own life and in…my career as a public servant. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

When someone does something, he defines its purpose after the fact.
Purpose 1217 When a man finds himself in motion he always devises some purpose for his bodily exertion. Tolstoi, War and Peace

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