Here is our monthly selection of amusing, interesting and thought-provoking quotes encountered in the last few weeks.
Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.
To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
Everyone knows silence is a beautiful thing. Conservatives know it. Liberals know it. People who believe in a literal interpretation of ancient scriptures know it. People who believe in the scientific method know it. Everyone who follows any religion knows it. Even terrorists know it. There is nothing about silence that anyone can argue about. You can’t compare one kind of silence to a different kind of silence. It’s always exactly the same.
[Brad Warner at http://hardcorezen.info/zen-and-the-art-of-rock-guitar/4927]
It may be that this current wave of refugees is human society acting as a single entity to try to balance itself out. I know a guy in Germany who keeps bees. He said you can’t understand bees if you just consider individual insects. You have to think of the hive as a single entity. I wonder if people are like that too.
We don’t act this way consciously, of course. Our so-called “leaders” are just worker-bees with delusions of grandeur. The best they can accomplish is to follow the hive directive while pretending they invented it themselves. I believe a lot of forces are at work that individual human beings can never truly understand because they don’t operate on the level of the individual. The individual is totally inconsequential.
I know a lot of people believe that the human collective must be stupid, that it always devolves into the lowest common denominator. I believed that myself for a very long time. But now I’m starting to wonder if the human collective might be smarter than any of us as individuals. We may be forcing ourselves into these head-on confrontations knowing unconsciously that it’s the only way things will ever get solved.
[Brad Warner at http://hardcorezen.info/resist-xenophobia/4939]
The only success worth one’s powder was success in the line of one’s idiosyncrasy. Consistency was in itself distinction, and what was talent but the art of being completely whatever it was that one happened to be? One’s things were characteristic or were nothing.
The way a government treats refugees is very instructive. It shows how they would treat the rest of as if they thought they could get away with it.
The difference is important. Freaks lead. Frauds follow. Freaks want out. Frauds want in. Freaks are truth-tellers. Frauds are attention-hounds. Freaks are driven by their weirdness. Frauds perform weirdness for the delight of strangers. Freaks are tenacious. Frauds are thin-skinned. Freaks are in it for life. Frauds are in it for laughs — and when the party’s over, they can always move back home to Connecticut and start studying for the LSAT.
[Chris Richards, Washington Post, 28/10/2016]
All human beings, driven as they are at different speeds by the same Furies, are at close range equally extraordinary.
But do not lie about all day under a punkah in a dressing gown, reading trashy novels; be trim and neat as you would be in your home in England and when, you lie down, take off all your garments as though going to bed at night and have a complete rest. Then after a cup of early tea, get into fresh dainty kit once more and be ready to meet the “goodman” at tea or wherever it is. You will often feel inclined to give in to slack ways when the heat is severe, but believe me it is better for you both mentally and physically to keep yourself up to the mark, and you will be far better in health and much happier for this little self-discipline.
[Advice to ladies in India during the Raj]
Telling people nudity is good for them is like trying to persuade them to eat healthily. Best way to promote naturism is to just be natural.
A long time ago, I found myself working in unfamiliar mountains where I knew nobody. Within days of arriving, I came across a lone rowan by a rock and for the following months, this became ‘my place’. We’re all topophiliacs. We have a predisposition to invest locations with attachments. We should perhaps look at that extended tract of blue and green and grey that was Doggerland and Britain in 9000 BC and see most of it as ‘space’, an abstract, unknown entity. Faintly sketched onto this space were the ‘places’ that were known to foragers and hunters. The story of Britain is a contest between space and place, between the unknown and known, the insecure and secure, the unconfined and confined. Space was imagined from afar; place was experienced from within.
[Nicholas Crane; Making of the British Landscape]
A king can stand people fighting but he can’t last long if people start thinking.
[Will Rogers; humorist; 1879-1935]
One doesn’t have to get anywhere in a marriage. It’s not a public conveyance.
[Iris Murdoch; A Severed Head]
No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power.
Bill Clinton and Tony Blair did not possess a narrative of their own. Rather than develop a new political story, they thought it was sufficient to triangulate. In other words, they extracted a few elements of what their parties had once believed, mixed them with elements of what their opponents believed, and developed from this unlikely combination a “third way”.
… … …
the result is first disempowerment then disenfranchisement. If the dominant ideology stops governments from changing social outcomes, they can no longer respond to the needs of the electorate. Politics becomes irrelevant to people’s lives; debate is reduced to the jabber of a remote elite. The disenfranchised turn instead to a virulent anti-politics in which facts and arguments are replaced by slogans, symbols and sensation.
[George Monbiot at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/14/neoliberalsim-donald-trump-george-monbiot]
And the pièce de résistance of the last month …
The thing about forward guidance is that it is guidance that is forward. Which isn’t to say it’s meant to be in any way accurate. Indeed, it would be surprising if it were. The most important thing about forward guidance is that the underlying economic determinants should be correct, not that it should be helpful.
[Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, to Parliamentary Select Committee, 14/11/2016; reported at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/nov/15/mark-carney-bank-of-england-brexit-treasury-select-committee]