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Book Quotes and Passages

There was a time in my life where I didn't read much, and now I look back on it as the most superficial and bleak point of my existence. Ever since I allowed myself to be pulled down the rabbit hole of books--the endless chain of citation, influence and recommendation--my life has improved exponentially. I read each book with a pen and highlighter, folding the pages I like, and filling the margins with notes. You could say I stopped reading books and started devouring them. So here is the transcribed passages of the books that have been most influential to me, without them I am nothing--and each was read and selected directly by me. I hope you enjoy them.

A

"I do not wish to appear to speak favorably of journalism. I have never yet seen a piece of journalism which conveyed more than the slightest fraction of what any even moderately reflective and sensitive person would mean and intend by those inachievable words, and that fraction itself I have never seen clean of one or another degree of patent, to say nothing of essential, falsehood.
Agee, James
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Journalism is true in the sense that everything is true to the state of being and to what conditioned and produced it: but that is about as far as its value goes. This is not to accuse or despise journalism for anything beyond its own complacent delusion, and its enormous power to poison the public with the same delusion, that it is telling the truth even of what it tells of.
Agee, James
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Journalism can within its own limits be 'good' or 'bad,' 'true' or 'false,' but it is not then nature of journalism even to approach any less relative degree of truth. Again, journalism is not to be blamed for this; no more than a cow is to be blamed for being a horse. The difference is, and the reason one can respect or anyhow approve of the cow, that few cows can have the delusion or even the desire to be horses... The very blood and semen of journalism, on the contrary, is a broad and successful form of lying. Remove that form of lying and you no longer have journalism.
Agee, James
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

"Most young writers and artists roll around in description like honeymooners on a bed. It comes easier to them than anything else. In the course of years they grow or discipline themselves out of it. But again I suspect that the lust for describing, and that lust in action is not necessarily a vice. Since when has a landscape painter apologized for painting landscapes...?
Agee, James
Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgement to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology and history, the very first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom. Lucifer.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

These are the days when man has his hands on the sublime while he is up to his hips in the muck of madness.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

As an organizer I start from where the world is, as it as, not as I would like it to be. That we accept the world as it is does not in any sense weaken our desire to change it into what we believe it should be--it is necessary to begin where the world is if we are going to change it to what we think it should be. That means working in the system.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

History is a relay of revolutions; the torch of idealism is carried by the revolutionary group until this group becomes an establishment, and then quietly the torch is put down to wait until a new revolutionary group picks it up for the next leg of the run. Thus the revolutionary cycle goes on.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

Life is a corrupting process from the time a child learns to play his mother off against his father in the politics of when to go to bed; he who fears corruption fears life.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

To the questioner nothing is sacred. He detest dogma, defies any finite definition of morality, revels against any repression of a free, open search for ideas no matter where they may lead. He is challenging, insulting, agitating, discrediting. As with all life, this is a paradox for his irreverence is rooted in a deep reverence for the enigma of life, and an incessant search for its meaning.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

Let us look at what is called process. Process tells us how. Purpose tells us why. But in reality, it is academic to draw a line between them, they are part of a continuum. Process and purpose are so welded to each other that it is impossible to mark where one leaves off and the other begins, or which is which. The very process of democratic participation is for the purpose of organization rather than to rid the alleys of dirt. Process is really purpose.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals

The rest of the middle class, with few exceptions, reside in suburbia, living in illusions of partial escape. Being more literate, they are even more lost. Nothing seems to make sense. They thought that a split-level house in the suburbs, two cars, two color TVs, country club membership, a bank account children in good prep schools and then in college, and they had it made. They got it--only to discover they didn't have it. Many have lost their children--they dropped out of sight into something called the generation gap. They have seen values they held sacred sneered at and found themselves ridiculed as squares or relics of a dead world. If one wants to act, the dilemma is how and where; there is no 'when?' with time running out, the time is obviously now.
Alinsky, Saul D.
Rules for Radicals


But someone may raise a problem about how we can say that, to become just, people need to do what is just, and to do what is moderate in order to become moderate; for if they are doing what is just and moderate they are already just and moderate, in the same way in which, if people are behaving literately and musically, they are already expert at reading and writing and in music.
Aristotle
Nicomanchean Ethics

This is how intellectual accomplishment 'produces' happiness; for since it is part of excellence as a whole, it is the possession of it, and its exercise, that make a person happy. Again, the 'product' is brought to completion by virtue of a person having wisdom and excellence of character; for excellence makes the goal correct while wisdom makes what leads to it correct.
Aristotle
Nicomanchean Ethics


"What we said, then, was that happiness is not a disposition; for if it were, even a person asleep his whole life might have it, living a plant's life or someone who was suffering the greatest misfortunes."
Aristotle
Nicomanchean Ethics


C

"It's the simple things in life that are extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them"
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

"What's the world's greatest lie?" the boy asked, completely surprised.
It's this: That at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That is the world's greatest lie."
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

"We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it's our life or our possession and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand"
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

"It's not what enters men's mouths that's evil," said the alchemist. "It's what comes out of their mouths that is."
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

"You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit it's because it wasn't true love...the love that speaks the Language of the World."
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

"The wise men understood that this natural world is only an image and a copy of paradise. The existence of this world is simply a guarantee that there exists a world that is perfect. God created the world so that, through its visible objects, men could understand his spiritual teachings and the marvels of his wisdom."
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

"Even though I complain sometimes," his heart said, "it's because I'm the heart of a person, and people's hearts are that way. People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel they don't deserve them or that they'll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever or of the moments that could have been good but weren't, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terrible."
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity"
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

"Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him" his heart said. "We, people's hearts seldom say much about those treasures because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its our direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them--the path to their Personal Legends and to happiness. Most people see the word as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place."
Coelho, Paul
The Alchemist

D

The old doctrine that submission is the best cure for outrage and wrong, does not hold good on the slave plantation. He is whipped oftenest, who is whipped easiest; and that slave who has the courage to stand up for himself against the overseer, although he may have many hard stripes at first, becomes, in the end, a freeman. When a slave cannot be flogged he is more than half free. He has a domain as broad as his own manly heart to defend and he is really a "power on earth."
Douglass, Frederick
My Bondage and My Freedom

It rekindled in my breast the smoldering embers of liberty. I was a changed being after that fight. I was nothing before, I WAS A MAN NOW. It recalled to life my crushed self-respect, and my self-confidence, and inspired me with a renewed determination to be A FREEMAN. A man, without force, is without the essential dignity of humanity.
Douglass, Frederick
My Bondage and My Freedom

I was living among freemen; and was, in all respect, equal to them by nature and by attainments. Why should I be a slave? There was no reason why I should be the thrall of any man. To make a contented slave, you must make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken his moral and mental vision, and as far as possible, to annihilate his power of reason.
Douglass, Frederick
My Bondage and My Freedom


E

"Freedom" I said. "Maybe Freedom lie in hating" "Naw son, its in loving"
Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man

"Power doesn't have to show off. Power is confident, self-assuring, self-starting, and self-stopping, self warming and self-justifying. When you have it, you know it"
Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man

"Come out of the fog, young man. And remember you don't have to be a complete fool in order to succeed. Play the game but don't believe in it--that part you owe yourself. Even if it lands you in a straight jacket or a padded cell. Play the game, but play it your own way-part of the time at least. Play the game, but raise the ante, my boy."
Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man

" And now I looked up through a pain so intense now that the air seemed to roar with the clanging of metal, hearing HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE FREE OF ILLUSION...
And now I answered "Painful and empty"
Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man

There is, by the way, an area in which a man's feelings are more rational than his mind, and it is precisely in that area that his will is pulled in several directions at the same time. You may sneer at this, but I know now. I was pulled this way and for that, longer than I can remember. And my problem was that I always tried to go n everyone's way but my own. I have also been called one thing and then another while no really wished to hear what I called myself. So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled. I am an invisible man"
Ellison, Ralph
Invisible Man

"All that Adam had, all that Caesar could, you have and can do. Adam called his house, heaven and earth, Caesar called his house, Rome; you perhaps call yours, a cobbler's trade, a hundred acres of ploughed land; or a scholar's garret. Yet line for line your dominion is as great as theirs, though without the fine names. Build therefore your own world."
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

There is no object so foul that intense light will not make it beautiful. And the stimulus it affords to the sense, and a sort of infinitude which it hath, like space and time, make all matter gay. Even the corpse has its own beauty.
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

"Hence, good writing and brilliant discourses are perpetual allegories. This imagery is spontaneous. It is the blending of experience with the present action of the mind. It is proper creation. It is the working of Original Cause through the instruments he has already made."
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

"In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another."
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

"There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take for himself for better or for worse as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot ground which is given to him to till."
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

"I shall endeavor to nourish my parents, to support my family, to be the chaste husband of one wife--but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way. I appeal from your customs. I must be myself. I cannot break myself any long for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not I will not hurt you or myself with hypocritical attentions."
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

"Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon or Newton? Every great man is unique. Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Phocion, Socrates, Anaxagoros, Diogenes, are great men but they leave no class. He who is really of their class will not be called by their name but will be his own man, and in turn the founder of a sect."
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles."
Emerson, Ralph Waldo
Nature and Selected Essays

"Pride is the rope that God allows us all"
Enger, Lief
Peace like a River

"Having someone point out constellations is pleasant as long as they don't insist that you actually see them. Aside from the Dipper and Orion and the Teapot, constellations tend to hide in the stars"
Enger, Lief
Peace like a River

"Weeping tends to accompany repentance most times. No wonder. Could you reach deep in yourself to locate that organ containing delusions about your general size in the world--could you lay hold of this and dredge it from your chest and look it over in daylight--well it's no wonder people would rather not. Tears seem a small enough thing"
Enger, Lief
Peace like a River

F

" A phrase began to beat in my ears with a sort of heady excitement: 'There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired'"
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby

"If that was true he must have felt he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about...like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees."
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther...And one fine morning--
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby

"Don't aim at success--the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success like happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensure, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself.
Viktor E. Frankl
Man's Search for Meaning

"To draw an analogy: a man's suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the "size" of the suffering is absolutely relative"
Viktor E. Frankl
Man's Search for Meaning

"The way, in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross gives him ample opportunity--even under the most difficult circumstances--to add deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self-preservation he may forget his human dignity and become no more than an animal. Here lies the chance for a man either to make use of or forgo the opportunities of attaining the moral values that a difficult situation may afford him. And this decides whether he is worthy of his suffering or not"
Viktor E. Frankl
Man's Search for Meaning

"The existential vacuum is a widespread phenomenon of the 20th century. This is understandable; it may be a twofold loss which man has had to undergo since he become a truly human being. At the beginning of human history, man lost some of the basic animal instincts in which an animal's behavior is imbedded and by which it is secured. Such security, like paradise, is close to man forever; man has to make choices. In addition to this however, man has suffered another loss in his most recent development inasmuch as the traditions which buttressed his behavior are now rapidly diminishing. No instinct tells him what he has to do, and no tradition tells him what he to do. Instead, he either wished to do what others people wish to do (conformism) or he does what other people wish him to do (totalitarianism).
Viktor E. Frankl
Man's Search for Meaning

The only person who can truly persuade you is yourself. You must turn the issues over in your mind at leisure, consider the many arguments, let them simmer, and after a long time turn your preferences into convictions
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

The existences of a free market does not of course eliminate the need for government. On the contrary, government is essential both as a forum for determining the "rules of the game" and as an umpire to interpret and enforce the rules decided on. What the market does is to reduce greatly the range of issues that must be decided through political means, and thereby to minimize the extent to which government need participate directly in the game.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

A liberal is fundamentally fearful of concentrated power. His objective is to preserve the maximum degree of freedom for each individual separately that is compatible with one man's freedom not interfering with other men's freedom. He believes that this objective requires power to be dispersed. He is suspicious of assigning to government any functions that can be performed through the market, both because this substitutes coercion for voluntary co-operation in the area in question and because, by giving government an increased role, it threatens freedom in other areas.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

We could say to the rest of the world: We believe in freedom and intend to practice it. No one can force you to be free. That is your business. But we can offer you full co-operation on equal terms to all. Our market is open to you. Sell her what you can and wish to. Use the proceeds to buy what you wish. In this way co-operation among individuals can be world wide yet free.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

It is important to distinguish between 'schooling' and 'education.' Not all schooling is education nor all education, schooling.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

Those of us who believe in freedom must believe also in the freedom of individuals to make their own mistakes. If a man knowingly prefers to live for today, to use his resources for current enjoyment, deliberately choosing a penurious old age, by what right do we prevent him from doing so? Is there not always the possibility that he is right and we are wrong? Humility is the distinguishing virtue of the believing in freedom; arrogance, of the paternalist.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom

We shall be able to do so only if we awake to the threat that we face, only if we persuade our fellow men that free institutions offer a surer, if perhaps at times a slower, route to the ends they seek than the coercive power of the state.
Friedman, Milton
Capitalism and Freedom


H

"But there is a fatality, a feeling so irresistible and inevitable that it has the force of doom with almost invariably compels human being to linger around and haunt, ghost-like, the spot where some great and marked event has given color to their lifetime; and still even more irresistibly, the darker tinge that saddens it"
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The Scarlet Letter

"Though must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee"
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The Scarlet Letter


"None!--nothing but despair!" he answered. "What else could I look for, being what I am, and leading such a life of mine? Were I an atheist--a man devoid of conscience--a wretch with coarse and brutal instincts--I might have found peace, long ere now. Nay, I never should have lost it! But as matters stand with my soul, whatever good capacity there originally was in me, all of God's gifts that there the choicest have become ministers of spiritual torment. Hester, I am most miserable!"
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The Scarlet Letter

"It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at the bottom. Each, in it utmost development, supposes a high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge; each renders one individual dependent for the food of his affections and spiritual life upon another; each leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his subject. Philosophically considered, therefore, the two passions seem essentially the same, except that one happens to be seen in a celestial radiance, and the other in a dusky and lurid glow."
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
The Scarlet Letter

J

"Let no one think these are just word changes. Word changes are concept changes and concept changes are behavioral changes. The entire history of religions and of politics and even of science stands shrill witness to that.Without words like soul, liberty, or truth, the pageant of this human condition would have been filled with different roles, different climaxes. And so with the words we have designated as preconscious hypostases, which by the generating process of metaphor through these few centuries unite into the operator of consciousness."
Jaynes, Julian
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

"But for the rest of us, who must scuttle along on conscious models and skeptical ethics, we have to accept our lessened control. We are learned in self-doubt, scholars of our very failures, geniuses at excuses and tomorrowing our resolves. And so we become practiced in powerless resolution until hope gets undone and dies in the unattempted. At least that happens to some of us. And then then to rise above this noise of knowings and really change ourselves, we need an authorization 'we' do not have."
Jaynes, Julian
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

L

"Wall Street makes its best producers into managers. The reward for being a good producer is to be made a manager. The best producers are cutthroat, competitive, and often neurotic and paranoid. You turn those people into managers and they go after each other. They no longer have the outlet for their instincts that producing gave them. They usually aren't well suited to be managers. Half of them get thrown out because they are bad. Another quarter get muscled out because of the politics. The guys left behind are the most ruthless of the bunch. That's why there are cycles on Wall Street--because the ruthless people are bad for the business but can only be washed out by proven failure.
Lewis, Michael
Liar's Poker

"There are all sorts of guys who will show up because they can't think of anything else to do," he said. "Those are exactly the people you don't want. I have a strategy for dealing with these people. When they come by to apply for a job I tell them, 'We're all confused here. We don't know what we're going to do yet.' But when you find someone you want, I tell them, "Here's exactly what we're going to do and it is going to be huge and you are doing to get very, very rich."
Lewis, Michael
The New New Thing

M

So, as a prince is forced to know how to act like a beast he must learn from the fox and the lion; because the lion is defenseless against traps and a fox is defenseless against wolves. Therefore one must be a fox in order to recognize traps and a lion to frighten off wolves. Those who act simply like lions are stupid. So it follows that a prudent cannot, and must not honour his word when it places him at a disadvantage and when the reasons for which he made his promise no longer exist. If all men were good, this precept would no be good; but because men are wretched creatures who would not keep their word to you, you need not keep your word to them"
Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

"A prince must consider it of little importance if he incurs the name of a miser, for this is one of those vices that permits him to rule.
Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

"This institution was a good one so long as the citizens were good: for it is always beneficial for a citizen to be able to propose something he felt was for the public good; it was equally beneficial everyone to be able to express his opinion on the proposal so that the people, after hearing them all, could then select the best one. But when the citizens became wicked, such an institution became most harmful: for only the powerful were proposing laws, not in the name of common liberty but rather for their own power, and no one spoke against them these men because they feared them. In such a way, the people were deceived or forced into decreeing their own ruin"
Machiavelli, Niccolo
The Prince

I was going through the hardest thing, also the greatest thing, for any human being to do; to accept that which is already within you, and around you.
Malcolm X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

I certainly wasn't seeking any degree, the way a college confers a status symbol upon its students. My homemade education gave me, with every additional book that I read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness and blindness that was afflicting the black race in America. Not long ago, an English writer telephoned me, asking questions. One was, "What's your alma mater?" I told him, "Books."
Malcolm X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

When you recognize who your enemy is, he can no longer brainwash you, he can no longer pull wool over your eyes so that you never stop to see that you are living in pure hell on this earth, while he lives in pure heaven right on this same earth.
Malcolm X
The Autobiography of Malcolm X

"From time to time little men will come along to find fault with what you have done...they will go down the stream like bubbles, they will vanish; but the work you have done will remain for the ages."
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

"I have enjoyed in greatly, yet the more I see the better satisfied that I am an American; free born and free bred, where I acknowledge no man as my superior, except for his own worth, or as my inferior, except for his own demerit."
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

"Black care," Roosevelt wrote, "rarely sites behind a rider whose pace is fast enough."
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

"Like all American, I like big things; big prairies, big forests and mountains, big wheat fields, railroads, and herds of cattle too, big factories, steamboats and everything else. But we most keep steadily in mind that no people were ever benefited by riches if their prosperity corrupted their virtue...each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worth of its good fortune. When we rule ourselves, we have the responsibilities of sovereigns, not of subjects."
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

"The most ultimately righteous of all wars is a war with savages, though it is apt to be also the most terrible and inhuman. The rude, fierce settles who drove the savage from the land lays all civilized mankind a debt to him. American and Indian, Boer and Zulu, Cossack and Tartar, New Zealander and Maori--in each case the victor, horrible though many of his deeds are, has laid deep foundations for the future greatness of a mighty people."
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

"Diplomacy," Roosevelt insisted, "is utterly useless when there is no force behind it; the diplomat is the servant, not the master of the soldier."
Theodore Roosevelt in:
Morris, Edmund
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

P

"Now you can see that men are not mortal creatures, but it is only their flesh that dies. A Man's appearance is not his true nature. A man's worth depends on his mind; if he nourishes in properly, he will eventually join God and live forever as an eternal being. Nothing on earth is nobler than exercising our minds through arts and excellent deeds. No action among men can be said to be worthier than taking care of one's own country, protecting one's city and preserving well-organized societies in unity and peace. Whoever practices such things will be the first, before anyone else, to inhabit this heavenly abode as his home in eternal joy with the other blessed, for this is the place whence all the souls of statesmen left to descent to earth, and whither they all must return after death and remain for eternity." Dante as quoted by
Palmieri, Matteo
Vita Civile

One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection. You wake up, and that's enough.
Palahniuk, Chuck
Fight Club

"Disaster is a natural part of my evolution," Tyler whispered, "toward tragedy and dissolution"...
"I'm breaking my attachment to physical power and possessions," Tyler whispered, "because only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit"...
"The liberator who destroys my property," Tyler said "is fighting to save my spirit. The teacher who clears all possessions from my path will set me free."
Palahniuk, Chuck
Fight Club

"Every addiction, she said, was just a way to treat this same problem. Drugs or overeating or alcohol or sex, it was all just another way to find peace. To escape what we know. Our education. Our bite of the apple. Language, she said, was just a way to explain away the wonder and the glory of the world. To deconstruct. To dismiss. She said people can't deal with how beautiful the world really is. How it can't be explained or understood."
Palahniuk, Chuck
Choke

"I admire addicts. In a world where everybody is waiting for some blind, random disaster or some sudden disease, the addict has the comfort of knowing what will most likely wait for him down the road. He's taken some control over his ultimate fate, and his addiction keeps the cause of his death from being a total surprise. In a way, being an addict is very proactive."
Palahniuk, Chuck
Choke

Only gods and heroes can be brave in isolation. A man may call upon his courage only one way, in the ranks with his brothers-in-arms, the line of his tribe and his city. Most piteous of all states under heaven is that of a man alone, bereft of the gods of his home and his polis. A man without a city is not a man. He is a shadow, a shell, a joke, and a mockery. No one may expect valor from one cast out alone, cut off from the gods of his home.
Pressfield, Steven
Gates of Fire: The Epic Novel on the Battle of Thermopylae

"In the East we have learned that which you Greeks have not. The wheel turns, and man must turn with it. To resist is not mere folly, but madness."
"You have never tasted freedom, friend," Dienekes spoke, "or you would know it is purchased not with gold, but steel. And as for this wheel you speak of," he finished, "like every other, it turns both ways."
Pressfield, Steven
Gates of Fire: The Epic Novel on the Battle of Thermopylae

"War, not peace, produces virtue. War, not peace, purges vice. War, and preparation for war, call forth all that is noble and honorable in a man. It unites him with his brothers and binds them in selfless love, eradicating in the crucible of necessity all which is base and ignoble. There in the holy mill of murder the meanest of men may seek and find that part of himself, concealed beneath the corrupt, which shines forth brilliant and virtuous, worth of honor before the gods. Do not despise war, my young friend, nor delude yourself that mercy and compassion are virtues superior to andreia, to manly valor."
Pressfield, Steven
Gates of Fire: The Epic Novel on the Battle of Thermopylae

For what can be more noble than to slay oneself? Not literally. Not with a blade to the guts. But to extinguish the selfish self within, that part which looks only to its own preservation, to save its own skin. That, I saw, I saw, was the victory you Spartans gained over yourselves.
Pressfield, Steven
Gates of Fire: The Epic Novel on the Battle of Thermopylae

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. All that I know, I knew at thirteen, and truth to tell, at ten and younger. Nothing has come to me as a grown commander that I did not apprehend as a child."
Pressfield, Steven
The Virtues of War

"Do you think me vain or self-inflated? Consider: What has Zeus portioned out for man, save this earth? Heaven He has kept for Himself. But this sphere here, beneath this sky, we mortals may roam with naught to hem us but our own will and imagination. Do you know what faculty I claim in myself as preeminent beyond all rivals? No war craft or conquest. Certainly not politics. Imagination."
Pressfield, Steven
The Virtues of War

"The daimon is not a being that can be appealed to. It is a force of nature. To call it not human is only half-exactly. It is inhuman. You make a pact with it. It gifts you with omniscience. But you ally yourself with the whirlwind and make your seat upon the tiger's back."
Pressfield, Steven
The Virtues of War

R

"In every important way we are secrets from each other, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of a number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable--which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live."
Robinson, Marilynne
Gilead

There are two occasions when the sacred beauty of Creation becomes dazzlingly apparent, and they occur together. One is when we feel our mortal insufficiency to the world, and the other is when we feel the world's mortal insufficiency to us.
Robinson, Marilynne
Gilead


I think they must also be a preeminent courage that allows us to be brave--that is, to acknowledge that there is more beauty than our eyes can bear, that previous things have been put in our hands and to do nothing to honor them is to do great harm.
Robinson, Marilynne
Gilead

T

"Hallucinations are bad enough. But after a while you learn to cope with things like seeing your dead grandmother crawling up your leg with a knife in her teeth. Most acid fanciers can handle this sort of thing. But nobody can handle that other trip-- the possibility that any freak with $1.98 can walk into the Circus Circus and suddenly appear in the sky over downtown Las Vegas twelve times the size of God, howling anything that comes into his head. No, this is not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Reality itself is too twisted"
Thompson, Hunter S.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

"I hate to say this" said my attorney as we sat down at the Merry Go Round bar on the second balcony "but this place is getting to me. I think I'm getting the Fear"
"Nonsense " I said. "we came out here to find the American Dream, and now that we're right in the vortex you want to quit." I grabbed his bicep and squeezed. "You must realize" I said "that we've found the main nerve."
"I know he said. "That's what gives me the Fear"
Thompson, Hunter S.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

"The face that people are poor or discriminated against doesn't necessarily endow them with any special qualities of justice, nobility, charity or compassion." Saul Alinsky as quoted by
Thompson, Hunter S.
Hell's Angels.

"To see the Hell's Angels as caretakers of the old "individualist" tradition "that made this country great" is only a painless way to get around seeing them for what they really are-not some romantic leftover, but the first wave of a future that nothing in our history has prepared us to cope with. The Angels are prototypes. Their lack of education has not only rendered them completely useless in a highly technical economy, but it has also given them the leisure to cultivate a powerful resentment...and to translate it into a destructive cult which the mass media insists on portraying as a sort of isolated oddity, a temporary phenomenon that will shortly become extinct now that it's been called to the attention of the police"
Thompson, Hunter S.
Hell's Angels.

"No more self-defeating device could be discovered than the one society has developed in dealing with the criminal. It proclaims his career in such loud dramatic forms that both he and community accept the judgment as a fixed description. He becomes conscious of himself as a criminal, and the community expects him to live up to his reputation, and will not credit him if he does not live up to it." Frank Tannenbaum Crime and Community as quoted
Thompson, Hunter S.
Hell's Angels.

The Angels don't like to being called losers but they have learned to live with it. "Yeah I guess I am, said one. "but you're looking at one loser who's going to make a hell of a scene on the way out"
Thompson, Hunter S.
Hell's Angels.

"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man" Dr Johnson as quoted by
Thompson, Hunter S.
Hell's Angels.

"Make up your minds that happiness depends on being free and freedom depends on being courageous.
-Pericles
Thucydides.
History of the Peloponnesian War

"If one has a free choice and can live undisturbed, it is sheer folly to go to war. But suppose the choice was forced on one--submission and immediate slavery or danger with the hope of survival: then I prefer the man who stands up to danger rather the one who runs aware from it. As for me, I am the same as I was, and do not alter; it is you who have changed."
-Pericles
Thucydides.
History of the Peloponnesian War

"So long as poverty forces men to be bold, so long as insolence and pride of wealth nourish their ambitions, and in other accidents of life they are continually dominated by some incurable master passion or another, so long will their impulses drive them into danger."
-Diodtus
Thucydides.
History of the Peloponnesian War

"That war is an evil is something which we all know, and it would be pointless to go on cataloguing all the disadvantages involved in it."
-Hemocrates
Thucydides.
History of the Peloponnesian War

"When we went to war in the first place we all, no doubt, had the idea of furthering our own private interests, and we have the same idea now that we are attempting, by a process of claims and counter claims, to arrange a settlement. And if things do not work out so that everyone goes away with what he considers his due, then no doubt we shall go to war again."
-Hemocrates
Thucydides.
History of the Peloponnesian War

"For it is more disgraceful, at least for those who have a name to lose, to gain one's endsby deceit which pretends to be morality than by open violence. Straightforward aggression has a certain justification in the strength that is given to us by fortune"
-Brasidas
Thucydides.
History of the Peloponnesian War

"But success goes to the man who sees more clearly when the enemy is making mistakes like this and who, making the most of his own forces, does not attack on obvious and recognized lines, but in the way that best suits the actual situation. And it is by these unorthodox methods that one wins the greatest glory; they completely deceive the enemy, and are of the greatest possible service to one's own side."
-Brasidas
Thucydides.
History of the Peloponnesian War

"Then, too, when people attack their neighbors in a spirit of great confidence of their own strength--as is the case with the Athenians now--they usually march all the more boldly against an enemy who makes no move against them and only defends himself on his own ground, but when they find someone who comes out to meet them outside his own frontiers and who will, if the occasion arises, take the initiative in attack, they are not so ready to come to grips."
Pagondas
Thucydides.
History of the Peloponnesian War

"This is the safe rule--to stand up to one's equals, to behave with deference towards one's superiors, and to treat one's inferiors with moderation."
-The Athenians
Thucydides.
History of the Peloponnesian War

"This is the way we've won our empire, and this is the way all empires have been won--by coming vigorously to help of all who ask for it, irrespective of whether they are Hellenes or not. One does not only defend oneself against a superior power when one is attacked; one takes measures in advance to prevent the attack materializing."
-Alcibiades
Thucydides.
History of the Peloponnesian War

"When a True Genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. Jonathan Swift- "Thoughts on various subjects, moral and diverting"
Toole, John Kennedy
Confederacy of Dunces

We started talking about what it feels like to be young and have ability. You feel like you're going insane, and you're always afraid of empty or quiet rooms for the flashes of nebulous shit buzzing around you. You never feel truly alone. There is whispering in your ear and you can't tell anyone about it. You never have control over the energy around you and no one else even knows its there, and when you slip into sleep its with white knuckles and sweat because the things you see on that plane between your eyes and the rest of the world are getting clearer every day. But like any fear, with age it dissipates.
Tyler, Erin Leigh
The Bunny Blog

W

In one of his most important lessons, he told his sons that conquering an army is not the same as conquering a nation. You may conquer an army with superior tactics and men, but you can conquer a nation only by conquering the heads of the people. As idealistic as that sounded, he followed with the even more practical advice that even though the Mongol Empire should be one, the subject people should never be allowed to unite as one. "People conquered on different sides of the lake should be ruled on different sides of the lake"
Weatherford, Jack
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Power can be enjoyed only when it is recognized and feared. Fearlessness in those without power is maddening to those who have it"
Wolff, Tobias
This Boy's Life

All of Dwight's complaints against me had the aim of giving me a definition of myself. They succeeded but not in the way he wished. I defined myself by opposition to him. In the past I had been ready, even when innocent, to believe any evil thing of myself. Now that I had grounds for guilt I could no longer feel them"
Wolff, Tobias
This Boy's Life

Knowing that everything comes to an end is a gift of experience, a consolation gift for knowing that we ourselves are coming to an end. Before we get it we live in a continuous present, and imagine the future as more of that present. Happiness is endless happiness, innocent of its own sure passing. Pain is endless pain."
Wolff, Tobias
This Boy's Life

"When we are green, still half-created, we believe that our dreams are rights, that the world is disposed to act in our best interests, and that falling and dying are for quitters. We live on the innocent and monstrous assurance that we alone, of all the people ever born, have a special arrangement whereby we will be allowed to stay green forever"
Wolff, Tobias
This Boy's Life

"To be a writer was to escape the problems of blood and class. Writers formed a society of their own outside the common hierarchy. This gave them a power not conferred by privilege--the power to create images of the system they stood apart from, and thereby to judge it."
Wolff, Tobias
Old School

"Don't tell me about science Frost said. I'm something of a scientist myself. Bet you didn't know that. Botany. You boys know what tropism is, it's what makes a plant grow towards the light. Everything aspires to the light. You don't have to chase down a fly to get rid of it--you just darken the room, leave a crack of light in a window and out he goes. Works every time. We all have that instinct, that aspiration. Science cant--what was your word? dim?--science can't dime that. All science can do is turn out the false lights so the true light can get us home"
Wolff, Tobias
"Old School"

"I understood that nothing stood between me and my greatest desire--nothing between me and greatness itself--but the temptation to doubt my will and bow to the counsels of moderation, expedience and conventional morality, and shrink into the long slow death of respectability."
Wolff, Tobias
Old School

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