Silly Quotes

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About Silly Quotes

Keyword: Silly

Quotes: 361 total. 1 Misattributed. 1 Disputed. 22 About.

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Darwinian evolution may be the most truthful and powerful idea ever generated by Western Science, but if we continue to illustrate our conviction with an indefensible, unsupported, entirely speculative, and basically rather silly story, then we are clothing a thing of beauty in rags - and we should be ashamed, "for the apparel oft proclaims the man."
Mother brings a child late to contact by half-an-hour; father then requires an extra half-hour the next week. This is getting silly. If, in fact, the father does not see the child at all, of course he should see the child on another occasion, but there are fathers who actually add up the minutes and produce it and say "Now I should have so much more contact because I lost five minutes last week and ten minutes the week before".
Finally, law enforcement needs to increase the consequences for kids found intoxicated or in possession of drugs. The current slap on the wrist leaves kids with the idea "Cops are cool. When they take our drugs they are going to use them to get high. They are really helping us avoid the silly law.
Many people have said since the beginning — actually, all my life — "don't you suppose you were born in the wrong era — the wrong time?" Well, I don't think so at all! Because, don't you see, I can come into your home, in your office, and wherever you are, and sing to you these silly songs. And I'm just a simple lady, and I can show you how much I love you very much, and share these feelings with you. And I don't know that could have been done really this way at any other time. So I think that I was born at just the right time — wouldn't you say?
All those agonizing philosophical-theological conundrums amount to "Ask a silly question, get a silly answer."
For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
2 Timothy 3:6
• King James Version of the Bible originally published in 1611. Full KJV Authorized Book Name: The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy; Common Book Name: 2 Timothy; Chapter: 3; Verse: 6.
• The data for the years individual books were written is according to Dating the Bible on Wikipedia.
"We are willing to worship a God only if God makes us safe. Thus you get the silly question, How does a good God let bad things happen to good people? Of course, it was a rabbi who raised that question, but Christians took it up as their own. Have you read the Psalms lately? We're seeing a much more complex God than that question gives credit for."
[On death & euthanasia] I think its funny how, that if I want to die with peace and dignity that there's someone far away that can prevent it. Someone's like [strong southern accent] 'Hi, I just wanted to call. This is Jeanette Dunwoody from Valdosta, Georgia. I heard that you're trying to kill yourself and I just wanna say that, well, you can't.' 'What?' 'Yeah, its not right, because all life is precious.' 'No, my life isn't precious, I've been reduced to a shit and piss factory. I hurt always. I'm going to die within a year and I'm in pain constantly.' 'Oh, but Because of the Bible.' 'Well, I don't believe in the Bible.' 'Well, I do, silly!' [Hangs up]
Silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts.
"You see my adjutant made rather a silly mistake. He hadn't had much truck with boots before and the silly fellow thought they were extra rations. My men ate the whole bag of tricks last night."
"…Oh, let me be silly a little. You don't know how unhappy I have been. And now I know that there has been no deep sin in this business at all. Only a little lunacy, perhaps—and who minds that?"
#define NULL 0 /* silly thing is, we don't even use this */
Larry Wall
• Source: Wikiquote: "Larry Wall" (3, and three: 0, does that make pi, Source code: Quotations come from the source code to Perl version 4. Some may be present in more recent versions as well., perl.c)
"Reason with children" was Locke's chief maxim; it is in the height of fashion at present, and I hardly think it is justified by its results; those children who have been constantly reasoned with strike me as exceedingly silly. Of all man's faculties, reason, which is, so to speak, compounded of all the rest, is the last and choicest growth, and it is this you would use for the child's early training. To make a man reasonable is the coping stone of a good education, and yet you profess to train a child through his reason! You begin at the wrong end, you make the end the means. If children understood reason they would not need education, but by talking to them from their earliest age in a language they do not understand you accustom them to be satisfied with words, to question all that is said to them, to think themselves as wise as their teachers; you train them to be argumentative and rebellious; and whatever you think you gain from motives of reason, you really gain from greediness, fear, or vanity with which you are obliged to reinforce your reasoning.
"Tell me why not, Bella," he demanded. "This had better not be about me." Everything in my world was about him. What a silly thing to expect.
There were two brothers called Both and Either; perceiving Either was a good, understanding, busy fellow, and Both a silly fellow and good for little, Philip said, "Either is both, and Both is neither."
• 35 Philip
• Source: Wikiquote: "Plutarch" (Quotes, Apophthegms of Kings and Great Commanders: Quotes reported in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919).)
Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
Hosea 7:11
• King James Version of the Bible originally published in 1611. Full KJV Authorized Book Name: Hosea; Common Book Name: Hosea; Chapter: 7; Verse: 11.
• The data for the years individual books were written is according to Dating the Bible on Wikipedia.
For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.
Job 5:2
• King James Version of the Bible originally published in 1611. Full KJV Authorized Book Name: The Book of Job; Common Book Name: Job; Chapter: 5; Verse: 2.
• The data for the years individual books were written is according to Dating the Bible on Wikipedia.
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun And the free maids that weave their thread with bones Do use to chant it: it is silly sooth, And dallies with the innocence of love, Like the old age.
Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux makes you talk of them and Champagne makes you do them.
Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmas time with the endless unrestrained and often silly buying of gifts is that we don't quite know how to put our love into words.
It's silly talking about how many years we will have to spend in the jungles of Vietnam when we could pave the whole country and put parking stripes on it and still be home by Christmas.
Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games Hiding out in tree-tops shouting out rude names — whistling tunes we hide in the dunes by the seaside — whistling tunes we piss on the goons in the jungle. It’s a knockout.
It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is absolutely fatal.
I refuse to believe that trading recipes is silly. Tuna-fish casserole is at least as real as corporate stock.
Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!
Women gather together to wear silly hats, eat dainty food, and forget how unresponsive their husbands are. Men gather to talk sports, eat heavy food, and forget how demanding their wives are. Only where children gather is there any real chance of fun.
No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately.
He didn’t even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights... it had to be some silly little Communist.
The band broke up because I couldn't bear Rotten anymore because he was an embarrassment with his silly hats and his, like, shabby, dirty, nasty looking appearance.
I want some red roses for a blue lady. Mister Florist, take my order please. We had a silly quarrel the other day; I hope these pretty flowers chase her blues away.
Archimedes will be remembered when Aeschylus is forgotten, because languages die and mathematical ideas do not. "Immortality" may be a silly word, but probably a mathematician has the best chance of whatever it may mean.
Does a man of sense run after every silly tale of hobgoblins or fairies, and canvass particularly the evidence? I never knew anyone, that examined and deliberated about nonsense who did not believe it before the end of his enquiries.
Silly girl, silver girl,
Draw the mirror toward you;
Time who makes the years to whirl
Adorned as he adored you.
If ever that silly old man comes interfering here again with his umbrella, I'll kick him downstairs and jump on his stomach in front of the photographers.
You're dealing with a lot of silly people in the marketplace; it's like a great big casino and everyone else is boozing. If you can stick with Pepsi, you should be O.K.
Warren Buffett
• On being dispassionate and patient in investments, in an interview in Forbes magazine (1 November 1974); he is contrasting soft-drinks to intoxicating beverages in this example; Buffet eventually became a major investor in Coca-Cola.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Warren Buffett" (Quotes)
Slap me silly, Sidney!
If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.
• Variant: If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.
It just seems silly to me that something so right and simple has to be fought for at all.
The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates into silly arguments, and big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away.
Years from now, people will find our acceptance of the HIV theory of AIDS as silly as we find those who excommunicated Galileo.
threats like, "if you don't mind I will beat on your behind" "slap you, slap you silly" made me say, "o, what's the matter here?"
Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade To shepherds looking on their silly sheep Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy To kings that fear their subjects' treachery?
• William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part III (c. 1591), Act II, scene 5, line 42.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Hawthorn" (Sourced)
It is little silly to be a caricature of something of which you know very little, and which means very little to you, but to be your own caricature — that is the true carnival!
I think that's what makes many Swedes jealous of immigrant groups. You have a culture, an identity, a history, something that brings you together. And what do we have? We have Midsummer's Eve and such silly things.
Mona Sahlin
• Mona Sahlin in a speech to the Turkish youth organization Euroturk, March, 2002. Source -> No idea how to make links
• Source: Wikiquote: "Mona Sahlin" (Sourced)
Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues and freebooters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.
Misattributed to Winston Churchill
• Often cited as from a speech "on the eve of Indian Independence in 1947", e.g. "Anything multiplied by zero is zero indeed!" in Rediff India Abroad (11 April 2007), or even from a speech in the house of Commons, but it does not appear to have any credible source. May have first appeared in the Annual Report of P. N. Oak's discredited "Institute for Rewriting Indian History" in 1979, and is now quoted in at least three books, as well as countless media and websites.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Winston Churchill" (Misattributed)
"Pray, my dear," quoth my mother, "have you not forgot to wind up the clock?" — "Good G—!" cried my father, making an exclamation, but taking care to moderate his voice at the same time, — "Did ever woman, since the creation of the world, interrupt a man with such a silly question?"
I honestly don't understand the big fuss made over nudity and sex in films. It's silly. On TV, the children can watch people murdering each other, which is a very unnatural thing, but they can't watch two people in the very natural process of making love. Now, really, that doesn't make any sense, does it?
• Sharon Tate as quoted in Sharon Tate and the Manson Murders (2000) by Greg King
• Source: Wikiquote: "Children" (Quotes: Alphabetized by author )
The complete life, the perfect pattern, includes old age as well as youth and maturity. The beauty of the morning and the radiance of noon are good, but it would be a very silly person who drew the curtains and turned on the light in order to shut out the tranquillity of the evening. Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than the pleasures of youth.
Animals aren’t actors, spectacles to imprison and gawk at, or circus clowns. Yet thousands of these animals are forced to perform silly, confusing tricks under the threat of physical punishment; are carted across the country in cramped and stuffy boxcars or semi-truck trailers; are kept chained or caged in barren, boring, and filthy enclosures; and are separated from their families and friends—all for the sake of human “entertainment.” Many of these animals even pay with their lives.
For my friend said that he opened his intellect as the sun opens the fans of a palm tree, opening for opening's sake, opening infinitely for ever. But I said that I opened my intellect as I opened my mouth, in order to shut it again on something solid. I was doing it at the moment. And as I truly pointed out, it would look uncommonly silly if I went on opening my mouth infinitely, for ever and ever.
Be neither silly, nor cunning, but wise.
And now, our submarines are armed with mass murder, our silly, only way of deterring mass murder.
Sorry Mrs. Drizzy, for so much art talk. Silly me, rapping about shit that I really bought.
The petty economies of the rich are just as amazing as the silly extravagances of the poor.
But what is to be the fate of the great wen of all? The monster, called, by the silly coxcombs of the press, "the metropolis of the empire"?
I consider that of all the dashed silly, drivelling ideas I ever heard in my puff this is the most blithering and futile. It won't work. Not a chance.
To lave in the wave, Majestic and chilly, Tomorrow I crave; But today it is silly. It is pleasant to look at the ocean; Tomorrow, perhaps, I shall swim in it.
Loud laughter is the mirth of the mob, who are only pleased with silly things; for true wit or good sense never excited a laugh since the creation of the world.
• Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, Letters, Volume I, p. 211, edited by Mahon
• Source: Wikiquote: "Laughter" (C)
A silly ass … wrote a paper to prove me inconsistent. … Inconsistency is the bugbear of fools! I wouldn't give a damn for a fellow who couldn't change his mind with a change of conditions.
John Arbuthnot "Jacky" Fisher, British Admiral and First Sea Lord, in a letter to former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour (ndg); reported in Arthur J. Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow: The Royal Navy in the Fisher Era, 1904-1919. (1961-1965); quoted by Robert K. Massie in Deadnought: Britain, Germany and the Comiing of the Great War (1991).
• Source: Wikiquote: "Consistency" (Quotes)
"I can attest to the fact that cDc is the sexiest group of computer hackers there ever was. You may think this silly, but it's the God's honest truth." - Jane Pratt of Sassy and Jane magazines
The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States.
About Abraham Lincoln
• Attributed to the Chicago Times as their editorial following the Gettysburg Address, but never traced in that newspaper's archives.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Abraham Lincoln" (Quotes about Lincoln: These are arranged alphabetically by author, followed by some of the more notable anonymous quotations about him.)
Why has this silly engine suddenly turned up, which is so idiotically welded together? They told me then, there would be two engines connected behind each other, and suddenly there appears this misbegotten monster of welded-together engines one cannot get at!
Hermann Göring
• Comment by Göring to a report submitted to him by Oberst Edgar Petersen, the Kommandeur der Erprobungsstellen (commander of German military aircraft test facilties in the Third Reich) on August 13 1942, regarding the usage and deficient installation design for the trouble-prone, complex Daimler-Benz DB 606 "power system" powerplants for the He 177A, Nazi Germany's only operational heavy bomber, which was suffering from an unending series of engine fires. As quoted in Heinkel He 177-277-274 (1998) by Manfred Griehl and Joachim Dressel, p. 52
• Source: Wikiquote: "Hermann Göring" (Quotes)
I wish I loved the human Race, I wish I loved its silly face, I wish I liked the way it walks, I wish I liked the way it talks, And when I'm introduced to one, I wish I thought "what jolly fun"!
I want to work in revelations, not just spin silly tales for money. I want to fish as deep down as possible into my own subconscious in the belief that once that far down, everyone will understand because they are the same that far down.
Jack Kerouac
• Letter to Ed White (5 July 1950) as published in The Missouri Review, Vol. XVII, No. 3, 1994, page 137, and also quoted in Jack Kerouac: Angelheaded Hipster (1996) by Steve Turner, p. 117
• Source: Wikiquote: "Jack Kerouac" (Quotes)
You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs
I look around me and I see it isn't so
Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs
And what's wrong with that?
I'd like to know
'Cause here I go again...

I love you.
Do not shorten the morning by getting up late, or waste it in unworthy occupations or in talk; look upon it as the quintessence of life, as to a certain extent sacred. Evening is like old age: we are languid, talkative, silly. Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death.
I was reading in the paper the other day about those birds who are trying to split the atom, the nub being that they haven't the foggiest as to what will happen if they do. It may be all right. On the other hand, it may not be all right. And pretty silly a chap would feel, no doubt, if, having split the atom, he suddenly found the house going up in smoke and himself torn limb from limb.
In the heated idleness of youth we were all rather inclined to quarrel with the implication of that proverb which says that a rolling stone gathers no moss. We were inclined to ask, "Who wants to gather moss, except silly old ladies?" But for all that we begin to perceive that the proverb is right. The rolling stone rolls echoing from rock to rock; but the rolling stone is dead. The moss is silent because the moss is alive.
The American political system is like a gigantic Mexican Christmas fiesta. Each political party is a huge piñata — a papier-mâché donkey, for example. The donkey is filled with full employment, low interest rates, affordable housing, comprehensive medical benefits, a balanced budget and other goodies. The American voter is blindfoled and given a stick. The voter then swings the stick wildly in every direction, trying to hit a political candidate on the head and knock some sense into the silly bastard.
He was, indeed, in a condition, in which, if reason had interposed, though only to advise, she might have received the answer which one Cleostratus gave many years ago to a silly fellow, who asked him, if he was not ashamed to be drunk? "Are not you," said Cleostratus, "ashamed to admonish a drunken man?" — To say the truth, in a court of justice drunkenness must not be an excuse, yet in a court of conscience it is greatly so.
If you ask your mother whether she knew about Peter Pan when she was a little girl she will say, "Why, of course, I did, child," and if you ask her whether he rode on a goat in those days she will say, "What a foolish question to ask; certainly he did." Then if you ask your grandmother whether she knew about Peter Pan when she was a girl, she also says, "Why, of course, I did, child," but if you ask her whether he rode on a goat in those days, she says she never heard of his having a goat. Perhaps she has forgotten, just as she sometimes forgets your name and calls you Mildred, which is your mother's name. Still, she could hardly forget such an important thing as the goat. Therefore there was no goat when your grandmother was a little girl. This shows that, in telling the story of Peter Pan, to begin with the goat (as most people do) is as silly as to put on your jacket before your vest.
Of course, it also shows that Peter is ever so old, but he is really always the same age, so that does not matter in the least.
These men — Yeats, James Stephens, and the rest — had aristocratic minds. For them, the world was not fragmented. An idea did not suddenly grow … all alone and separate. For them, all things had long family trees. They saw nothing shameful or silly in myths and fairy stories, nor did they shovel them out of sight and some cupboard marked "Only For Children." They were always willing to concede that there was more things in heaven and earth than philosophy dreamed of. They allowed for the unknown. And, as you can imagine, I took great heart from this. It was Æ who showed me how to look and learn from one's own writing. "Popkins" he said once — he always called her just plain Popkins, whether deliberately mistaking the name or not I never knew. His humor was always subtle — "Popkins had she lived in another age, in the old times to which she certainly belongs, she would undoubtedly have had long golden tresses, a wreath of flowers in one hand, and perhaps a spear in the other. Her eyes would have been like the sea, her nose comely, and on her feet winged sandals. But, this age being the Kali Yuga, as the Indus call it — in our terms, the Iron Age — she comes in habiliments suited to it."
P. L. Travers
• Ch. 2, p. 38
• Source: Wikiquote: "P. L. Travers" (Quotes, Myth, Symbol, and Meaning in Mary Poppins (2007): Quotes of Travers form Myth, Symbol, and Meaning in Mary Poppins: The Governess as Provocateur (2007) by Giorgia Grilli)
The very day after I learned that I was the laureate for literature for 1983 I drove into a country town and parked my car where I should not. I only left the car for a few minutes but when I came back there was a ticket taped to the window. A traffic warden, a lady of a minatory aspect, stood by the car. She pointed to a notice on the wall. "Can't you read?" she said. Sheepishly I got into my car and drove very slowly round the corner. There on the pavement I saw two county policemen. I stopped opposite them and took my parking ticket out of its plastic envelope. They crossed to me. I asked if, as I had pressing business, I could go straight to the Town Hall and pay my fine on the spot. "No, sir," said the senior policeman, "I'm afraid you can't do that." He smiled the fond smile that such policemen reserve for those people who are clearly harmless if a bit silly. He indicated a rectangle on the ticket that had the words 'name and address of sender' printed above it. "You should write your name and address in that place," he said. "You make out a cheque for ten pounds, making it payable to the Clerk to the Justices at this address written here. Then you write the same address on the outside of the envelope, stick a sixteen penny stamp in the top right hand corner of the envelope, then post it. And may we congratulate you on winning the Nobel Prize for Literature."
Men always tell such silly lies.
And I don't like doing silly things (except on purpose).
'Tis a silly sheep that makes the wolf her confessor.
• As quoted in Henry G. Bohn, A polyglot of foreign proverbs, (1857).
• Source: Wikiquote: "Wolves" (Proverbs, French proverbs)
He was a silly boy. He went mad. He murdered everyone.
Silly what's his name, the Shrek, whoever he was on the television this morning?
Well, John, does that sound silly to you? I mean it's unrecognizable to me.
What a lonely and silly thing it is to be an Armenian writer in America.
I looked upon myself, in a sort of romantic and silly way, as like a laboratory.
You silly old fool, you don't even know the alphabet of your own silly old business.
• Attributed to Judge William Henry Maule. in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 85-87.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Business" (Quotes, M)
Shoes won’t help you get white girls. White girls are disgusted by you, silly little Asian.
Elliot Rodger
• As quoted in Josh Glasstetter, "Elliot Rodger, Isla Vista Shooting Suspect, Posted Racist Messages on Misogynistic Website", Hatewatch (May 24, 2014)
• Source: Wikiquote: "Elliot Rodger" (Quotes,, PUAhate and ForeverAlone posts)
I just catch myself wonderin', waitin', worryin' bout some silly little things that don't add up to nothin'.
Behold a silly tender babe, In freezing winter night, In homely manger trembling lies; Alas! a piteous sight.
My advice to all students is to question everything! You never know where a "silly question" may lead you.
Go back, go back, you silly bastards. This ain't our kind of war. This one is for the birds.
Noam Chomsky's idea that Bill Clinton's missile strike on a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was worse than "9/11" is plain silly.
That's silly talk... Talk to my wife. She'll tell me I need to learn to just put my socks on the hamper.
It is silly to call fat people “gravitationally challenged”, a self-righteous fetishism of language which is no more than a symptom of political frustration.
Because of the security reasons for one thing and, second, my wife doesn't like to have her hair blown about. Have you got another silly question?
In my youth it was said that what was too silly to be said may be sung. In modern economics it may be put into mathematics.
Ronald Coase
• Ronald Coase (1988). The firm, the market and the law. Chicago London: The University of Chicago press: Ch. 6. A remark on "The problem of social cost", last sentence
• Source: Wikiquote: "Ronald Coase" (Quotes)
What can we know? What are we all? Poor silly half-brained things peering out at the infinite, with the aspirations of angels and the instincts of beasts.
Remembrance of hopes that were silly has an especial tenderness, for much of their silliness came from a thoughtless credulity which we would be glad to have back again.
Sometimes it's great fun to be silly, like children playing statues and dying of laughter. And sometimes being silly breaks the even pace and lets you get a new start.
I'm always embarrassed when people say that I'm courageous. Soldiers are courageous. Policemen are courageous. Firemen are courageous. I just have a thick hide and disregard what silly people say.
Without the Christian explanation of original sin, the seemingly silly story of Adam and Eve and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, there was no explanation of conflict. At all.
I'm sure I must have misunderstood you, Professor Dumbledore, so silly of me. But it sounded for a teensy moment as though you were suggesting that the Ministry of Magic had ordered an attack on this boy!
Life must not cease. That comes before everything. It is silly to say you do not care. You do care. It is that care that will prompt your imagination; inflame your desires; make your will irresistible; and create out of nothing.
...I mean to say, when a girl, offered a good man’s heart, laughs like a bursting paper bag and tells him not to be a silly ass, the good man is entitled, I think, to assume that the whole thing is off.
There can be — there ought to be — no medium course; a love-affair is either sober earnest or contemptible folly, if not wickedness: to gossip about it is, in the first instance, intrusive, unkind, or dangerous; in the second, simply silly.
I remember watching Kurt come through and thinking, "God, this music is nuclear," This is really splitting the atom. They raised the temperature for everybody. Manufactured pop never looked so cold as when that heat was around. Nirvana made everything else look silly.
The guns spell money's ultimate reason In letters of lead on the spring hillside. But the boy lying dead under the olive trees Was too young and too silly To have been notable to their important eye. He was a better target for a kiss.
'We are strangers, lost and bemused," Roadstrum said to the lady. "We have landed here by accident. We are looking for a lady who was singing, the lady who (according to silly myth) is identical with the planet and who sang the planet into being."
If I were a young man
And young was my Lily,
A smart girl, a bold young man,
Both of us silly.
And though from time before I knew
She'd stab me with pain,
Though well I knew she'd not be true,
I'd love her again.
"Faith mountains move" I hear: I see the practice of the world unheed The foolish vaunt, the blatant boast that serves our vanity to feed. "Faith stands unmoved"; and why? Because man's silly fancies still remain, And will remain till wiser man the day-dreams of his youth disdain.
In the course of describing my formative moment in 1978, I have already implicitly given my four basic rules for research. Let me now state them explicitly, then explain. Here are the rules:1. Listen to the Gentiles 2. Question the question 3. Dare to be silly 4. Simplify, simplify
The true knight of faith is a witness, never a teacher, and therein lies his deep humanity, which is worth a good deal more than this silly participation in others' weal and woe which is honored by the name of sympathy, whereas in fact it is nothing but vanity.
I believe it would be right for common sense to revolt against the extreme claims made today on behalf of "intellectual property." What the law demands today is increasingly as silly as a sheriff arresting an airplane for trespass. But the consequences of this silliness will be much more profound.
Your crystal? That’s silly. Whom do you think you are fooling? Come on, everyone knows that I threw the baby out of the window. The crystal is shattered on earth, and I do not care. I am no longer anything but a skin, and my skin does not belong to you.
You are a vain fellow. You want to be a hero. That is why you do such silly things. A hero! ... I don't quite know what that is: but, you see, I imagine that a hero is a man who does what he can. The others do not do it.
• Variant translation: A hero is one who does what he can. The others don't.
When you're young, you're stupid. You do silly things. I did it (the O-Z-Z-Y tattoo across his knuckles) when I was 14. I was in jail for something. I could have had it removed, but why? It's my trademark. People stop me and say, 'Let me have a look at your hand.'
"I'm no good, Teddy. Let's run away!" "You're a very good boy. Your Mummy loves you." Slowly, he shook his head. "If she loved me, then why can't I talk to her?" "You're being silly, David. Mummy's lonely. That's why she had you." "She's got Daddy. I've got nobody 'cept you, and I'm lonely."
There's something strange about theater. My characters consistently demonize elitism, but of course it's taking place in a theater where only so many people can see it. I've been in silly popcorn movies - the kind of thing that as an actor you might feel embarrassed about - but those movies reach many more people.
What do you say? cried they; do you call it Entelechy or Endelechy? Truly, truly, sweet cousins, quoth Panurge, we are a silly sort of grout-headed lobcocks, an't please you; be so kind as to forgive us if we chance to knock words out of joint. As for anything else, we are downright honest fellows and true hearts.
I think that, like in my writing, reality is always a soap bubble, Silly Putty thing anyway. In the universe people are in, people put their hands through the walls, and it turns out they're living in another century entirely. … I often have the feeling — and it does show up in my books — that this is all just a stage.
This silly playlet seemed to satisfy them completely as a picture of what they were doing, why they were doing it, and who was against them, and why some people were against them. It was a beautifully simple picture these procession leaders had. It was as though a navigator, in order to free his mind of worries, had erased all the reefs from his maps.
"Teddy — I suppose Mummy and Daddy are real, aren't they?" Teddy said, "You ask such silly questions, David. Nobody knows what 'real' really means. Let's go indoors." "First I'm going to have another rose!" Plucking a bright pink flower, he carried it with him into the house. It could lie on the pillow as he went to sleep. Its beauty and softness reminded him of Mummy.
It's just rock and roll. A lot of times we get criticized for it. A lot of music papers come out with: 'When are they going to stop playing these three chords?' If you believe you shouldn't play just three chords it's pretty silly on their part. To us, the simpler a song is, the better, 'cause it's more in line with what the person on the street is.
The best part is that I'm able to come in, and whenever I want, choose an intern... oh, wait — Is this being recorded? No, the coolest part is the ability to have a silly thought about whatever is going on in your world at 10 o'clock in the morning, and be able to see it go out on the airwaves at 11 o'clock that night. That's an amazing privilege.
Silly me; silly old Doctor. When you wake up, you'll have a mum and dad, and you won't even remember me. Well, you'll remember me a little... I'll be a story in your head. But that's OK. We're all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? Cause it was, you know. It was the best. A daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away.
There is no doubt, and in this I agree with Milton Friedman, that once the Crash had occurred, the Federal Reserve System pursued a silly deflationary policy. I am not only against inflation but I am also against deflation! So, once again, a badly programmed monetary policy prolonged the depression! So, once again, a badly programmed monetary policy prolonged the depression. One consequence of this policy was, of course, the fact that confidence was destroyed.
Christians, be ye more serious in your movements; Be ye not like a feather at each wind, And think not every water washes you. Ye have the Old and the New Testament, And the Pastor of the Church who guideth you Let this suffice you unto your salvation. If evil appetite cry aught else to you, Be ye as men, and not as silly sheep, So that the Jew among you may not mock you.
In the 1970s I was amazed to be talked about as a ’60s sex symbol. I wasn’t that person, as if I were a doll from the past. I had to learn to come to terms with that. It’s funny, it’s silly, the ridiculousness of having asked so much of celebrity. Then it becomes really interesting and very much part of the excitement of the life you’re living now, knowing you’re approaching the end of it.
When scientists need to explain difficult points of theory, illustration by hypothetical example - rather than by total abstraction - works well (perhaps indispensably) as a rhetorical device. Such cases do not function as speculations in the pejorative sense - as silly stories that provide insight into complex mechanisms - but rather as idealized illustrations to exemplify a difficult point of theory. (Other fields, like philosophy and the law, use such conjectural cases as a standard device.)
"By Heaven, Kemp, you don't know what rage is! To have worked for years, to have planned and plotted, and then to get some fumbling purblind idiot messing across your course! Every conceivable sort of silly creature that has ever been created has been sent to cross me."If I have much more of it, I shall go wild—I shall start mowing 'em."As it is, they’ve made things a thousand times more difficult.""No doubt it’s exasperating," said Kemp, dryly.
You don't hear any more of, 'Hey, we did something creative and we turned a profit, how about that?' Everywhere we look, we want to make the most money possible. This is a dangerous, corrupt notion. That's where you see the advent of programming on the radio, and radio research, all these silly things. That has made pop music what it is today. Everything — morals, truth — is all going out the window in favor of profit.
"It was very, very hard work organizing that Wall concert but everyone was fabulous to work with - Bryan Adams, Van Morrison, Cyndi Lauper, bloody brilliant. All brilliant. Except for Sinead O'Connor... She doesn't understand anything. She's just a silly little girl. You can't just lie in the corner and shave your bloody head and stick it up your arse and occasionally pull it out to go (_"brogue"_) 'Oh, I tink this is wrong and dat is wrong' and burst into tears."
Association, applied to land, shares the economic advantage of large-scale landed property, and first brings to realization the original tendency inherent in land-division, namely, equality. In the same way association also re-establishes, now on a rational basis, no longer mediated by serfdom, overlordship and the silly mysticism of property, the intimate ties of man with the earth, since the earth ceases to be an object of huckstering, and through free labour and free enjoyment becomes once more a true personal property of man.
What a silly question! What a silly person you are! Hezbollah is winning the war; you can see on the other half of the screen. Hezbollah is more popular today in Lebanon amongst Christians, amongst Sunnis, amongst Shiite, amongst all Arabs, amongst all Muslims that it has ever been. It’s Israel who’s lost the war, and Bush and Blair for politically organizing the war, who’ve lost politically. This is a defeat of Bush and Blair and Israel. Everybody but you can see it!
It is frequently more rewarding merely to ask pertinent questions. It may get someone to go and look for an answer. If you get a silly answer, which can easily happen, you can return to the charge with even more telling effect. Whatever happens, don't give up and don't despair. Results may not be immediately apparent, but you may have touched a receptive chord without knowing it. Even the most unsympathetic and unenlightened politician, industrialist or bureaucrat begins to take notice when a lot of people write about the same subject.
"You hate America, don't you?" she said. "That would be as silly as loving it," I said. "It's impossible for me to get emotional about it, because real estate doesn't interest me. It's no doubt a great flaw in my personality, but I can't think in terms of boundaries. Those imaginary lines are as unreal to me as elves and pixies. I can't believe that they mark the end or the beginning of anything of real concern to the human soul. Virtues and vices, pleasures and pains cross boundaries at will."
They left me, by the side of the road, with a plastic bag and all kinds of bitterness Well, in my mind, and I can say this forever I suppose, and people might laugh at it, but I don't think I ever really left The Libertines, nor can I ever leave The Libertines, you know, having been a founder of the band with Carl, but that sounds silly, doesn't it, seeing as they played all the festivals without me and made it difficult, no - impossible, for me to play live with them.
This lady's suin' everybody in the whole friggin' county! She's like-- she's like, "My husband got his leg bit by a shark and no one jumped in and saved him!" No shit, lady! It's a friggin' shark! Get off your fat ass and save him! That's jus' like asking a retard to go out and beat up Jackie Chan! Well, the waterhead's gonna get his ass kicked! I tell ya, put that shark out in the parking lot of Walmart, I'll kick the shit outa him! I'll beat him silly all day long!
A certain critic—for such men, I regret to say, do exist—made the nasty remark about my last novel that it contained ‘all the old Wodehouse characters under different names’. He has probably now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have outgeneralled this man by putting in all the old Wodehouse characters under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy. (From preface)
When it has become silly to suppose that the role of our government should be to "seek balance," then count me with the silly, for that means that this has become quite serious indeed. If it should be obvious to everyone that the government does not seek balance, that the government is simply the tool of the most powerful lobbyists, that the idea of holding the government to a different standard is absurd, that the idea of demanding of the government that it speak truth and not lies is just naïve, then who have we, the most powerful democracy in the world, become?
And the thing is woman do have to do all kinds of things themselves. And they lie about it 'cause of all the pressure. Woman go and get their hair made bullet-proof and get the implants. The silly clothes and the stupid shoes everybody wears now. You know these... And they say: "Oh, l enjoy. l did it for me, you know. l like the fact that it takes me 45 minutes to get in or out of a chair." l've always wanted to look like a prawn who's being airlifted. lt's a total lie. That's not the kind of thing a person does for themselves. You know what l did for me? I had an eclair inside an eclair. That's the kind of thing you do for yourself.
To take a stronger case, they give girls very heavy home-work; never reflecting that all girls have home-work already in their homes. It is all a part of the same silly subjugation; there must be a hard stick-up collar round the neck of a woman, because it is already a nuisance round the neck of a man. Though a Saxon serf, if he wore that collar of cardboard, would ask for his collar of brass. It will then be answered, not without a sneer, "And what would you prefer? Would you go back to the elegant early Victorian female, with ringlets and smelling-bottle, doing a little in water colors, dabbling a little in Italian, playing a little on the harp, writing in vulgar albums and painting on senseless screens? Do you prefer that?" To which I answer, "Emphatically, yes."
I like dogs, but this one seemed so small and worthless that I objected to his going, and asked the missionary why he was taking him. "Such a little helpless creature will only be in the way," I said; "you had better pass him up to the Indian boys on the wharf, to be taken home to play with the children. This trip is not likely to be good for toy-dogs. The poor silly thing will be in rain and snow for weeks or months, and will require care like a baby." But his master assured me that he would be no trouble at all; that he was a perfect wonder of a dog, could endure cold and hunger like a bear, swim like a seal, and was wondrous wise and cunning, etc., making out a list of virtues to show he might be the most interesting member of the party.
Not long before the child had passed a small stone which had torn the passage, but the trouble was over and forgotten. "Mamma," said the eager child, "where do little children come from?" "My child," replied his mother without hesitation, "women pass them with pains that sometimes cost their life." Let fools laugh and silly people be shocked; but let the wise inquire if it is possible to find a wiser answer and one which would better serve its purpose. In the first place the thought of a need of nature with which the child is well acquainted turns his thoughts from the idea of a mysterious process. The accompanying ideas of pain and death cover it with a veil of sadness which deadens the imagination and suppresses curiosity; everything leads the mind to the results, not the causes, of child-birth. This is the information to which this answer leads. If the repugnance inspired by this answer should permit the child to inquire further, his thoughts are turned to the infirmities of human nature, disgusting things, images of pain. What chance is there for any stimulation of desire in such a conversation? And yet you see there is no departure from truth, no need to deceive the scholar in order to teach him.
Mike: (Grumbles) Silly nonsense
Rex: They're silly but they're useful.
Soft-buzzing Slander; silly moths that eat An honest name.
• James Thomson, Liberty, Part IV, line 609.
Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 89.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Defamation" (Quotes, Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations: Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 714-15.)
I see the silly songs you sing To yourself
Silly ass. The land would be much more valuable today.
Charles: Anything interesting in The Times?
Ruth: Don't be silly, Charles.
The foolish big boys who fight with their toys are so sadly silly.
You know, I think I forgot to ask. [Helen: You...] Isn't that silly of me?
We must get rid of the silly, sloppy idea that all people are equal in capacity.
Rex: Silly! We don't drive sheep, we take their wool, in bales on trucks. It'll be easy.
What a silly god, he makes everybody born bad to go to burning hell. Why so mad? All his fault!
Old folks love to seem wise- and if you are silly enough to correspond with grey hairs, take the consequence.
Amberkit: Why is Ferncloud asleep?
Dewkit: She's tired after all the fighting, silly. Dustpelt will wake her up.
Dustpelt: Ferncloud? Ferncloud!
We're all doomed, you know. The whole, silly, drunken, pathetic lot of us. Doomed by the air we're about to breathe.
On the Beach (1959), written by John Paxton, based on the 1957 novel by Nevil Shute
• Source: Wikiquote: "Doom" (O)
There is something silly about grown men and women striving to reduce their vision of themselves and of civilization to bean counting.
I've been called over the top. How silly. If you don't go over the top, you can't see what's on the other side.
Unfortunately, nigh the whole world is now duped into thinking that silly fill-in forms on web pages is the way to do user interfaces.
(Sylvia driving to nervous passenger Venusian Gernif) Don't be silly. You're not going to be the first interplanetary traveler to die in a Chevy.
Emacs is the ground. We run around and act silly on top of it, and when we die, may our remnants grace its ongoing incrementation.
I must get off for a bit or I'll bonnet Joggleberry or get up and propose a national monument to Guy Fawkes or something silly.
Tiny, nonfunctional wings, a dangerous appendix, eyes that can’t see, and silly ear muscles simply don’t make sense if you think that species were specially created.
He’s like a kid at school playing against a load of kids who can’t play, it’s incredible. It’s so silly; he’s on another planet, just amazing.
Gives not the hawthorn-bush a sweeter shade To shepherds, looking on their silly sheep, Than doth a rich embroidered canopy To kings, that fear their subjects' treachery?
It was silly to suppose that trials only hardened men, automatically making them wise. He knew many who were stupid, arrogant, and mean, in spite of having suffered.
The world may be utterly crazy    And life may be labour in vain; But I'd rather be silly than lazy,    And would not quit life for its pain.
When you think of the silly things people have said to you which have stopped you from saying the same silly things, you simply can’t do justice to your gratitude.
Some people like to talk of intuition as a way of knowing truth; that gut reactions are as good as evidence based facts. It’s a really silly way of thinking...
He loved to play silly tricks to amuse children and to make sly jokes and thumb his nose at authority. But most of all, Erdős loved those who loved numbers, mathematicians.
About Paul Erdős
• Bruce Schechter, in My Brain Is Open : The Mathematical Journeys of Paul Erdos (1998), p. 17
• Source: Wikiquote: "Paul Erdős" (Quotes about Erdős: Sorted alphabetically by author or source)
There are those who propose that both sides remove all their forces from Germany. That's a silly idea. The Germans hate us; we couldn't think of removing our forces from Germany.
The mind of man, though perhaps the most splendid achievement of evolution, is not, surely, that answer to every problem of the universe. Hamlet suffers, but the Gravediggers go right on with their silly quibbles.
Mindy: [speaking Japanese] Shinjuku eki-wa doko des-ka. [Where is the train station?] Who can guess what that means?
Dana: I'd like to kill myself.
Mindy: Silly – no.
Dana: No, I'd like to kill myself.
If Courtezans and Strumpets were to be prosecuted with as much Rigour as some silly People would have it, what Locks or Bars would be sufficient to preserve the Honour of our Wives and Daughters?
I don't care how many people I have to fire to make it stop. If you think the rules are silly, if you think compliance is a joke, please resign now and save me the trouble.
Sherry...a silly, sickly compound, the use of which will transform a nation, however bold and warlike by nature, into a race of sketchers, scribblers, and punsters, in fact into what Englishmen are at the present day.
The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dish-watery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as President of the United States.
President of the United States
• Attributed to The Chicago Times, following President Abraham Lincoln's address at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863; reported in Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years (1939), vol. 2, p. 472; no date of issue for the Times is given. This quotation also appears in Robert S. Harper, Lincoln and the Press (1951), chapter 33, p. 287, also without a specific date for the Times, citing only Sandburg. This same quotation and attribution is used in Gore Vidal, Lincoln, part 3, chapter 2, p. 494 (1984, reprinted 1985). This quotation could not be found in The Chicago Times, November 20–25, 1863.
• Source: Wikiquote: "President of the United States" (Quotes)
In many ways, Big Brother is the present day equivalent of a 1980s Club 18-30 Holiday - flirting, sunbathing, silly little organised games, and lots of people you'd like to remove from the genepool with a cricket bat.
A pitiful fellow! Such a ridiculous kind of pity his, as those silly souls have, who would not kill an innocent chicken for the world; but when killed to their hands, are always the most greedy devourers of it.
The beauty of the morning and the radiance of noon are good, but it would be a very silly person who drew the curtains and turned on the light in order to shut out the tranquility of the evening.
I knew all the time I was going to get through the war. It was completely irrational, a silly idea, but I was not going to lie down and get myself killed. I was going to get out of it.
Abraham Pais
• p. 50
• Source: Wikiquote: "Abraham Pais" (Quotes, To Save A Life : Stories of Holocaust Rescue (2000): Testimony in To Save A Life : Stories of Holocaust Rescue (2000), edited by Ellen Land-Weber, Part I, Holland, Ch. 1 : Like Violets in the Woods )
The pursuit of pretty formulas and neat theorems can no doubt quickly degenerate into a silly vice, but so also can the quest for austere generalities which are so very general indeed that they are incapable of application to any particular.
The Great Code was a silly and sloppy book. It was also a work of very great genius. The point is that genius is not enough. A book worthy of God and of Helen [Frye's wife] must do better than that. (1:160)
To you a pious young girl who goes to mass and communion, seems pretty silly and childish; you take us for innocents... Well, let me tell you, sometimes we know more about evil than people who have only learned to offend God.
Daine: “Does your ma know you're this silly?” Numair: “The few grey hairs she has on her head are my doing. But, I send her plenty of money, so she can have them dyed!” Onua: “I hope she beat you as a child.”
One minute she is a sweet old silly, knitting herself a set of syringe covers and talking about her favourite flowers, and the very next moment she has told you and your friends she has a ring supporting the back of her vagina.
Reuven, as you grow older you will discover that the most important things that will happen to you will often come as a result of silly things, as you call them— "ordinary things" is a better expression. That is the way the world is.
Kady:I made you some chicken noodle soup.
Michael: Did you get this [water in the soup] out of the toilet like the last time?
Kady: No, silly!
(Michael starts to eat the soup)
Kady: ...the fish tank!
(Michael then spits out the soup)
Michael: Mmm, mmm, guppy!
A silly society is a youth-obsessed society: To the Chinese, who appreciate the value of experience, the greater the ratio in a team of grey ‘hairs and no-hairs’ to ‘black hairs’—the faster and better a task will be completed. The opposite assumption obtains in the youth-obsessed U.S.
It would be silly, of course, to be either 'for' or 'against' modernity tout court, not only because it is pointless to try to stop the development of technology, science, and economic rationality, but because both modernity and antimodernity may be expressed in barbarous and antihuman terms.
There are three [Apple Watch] lineups that range in price from "just" $350 for an Apple Sport stripper model with low-end materials to an astonishing $17,000 for an 18 karat gold silly version. As I noted on Twitter, this isn't consumer electronics anymore. It's consumerism run amok.
Yet the ivory gods, And the ebony gods, And the gods of diamond-jade, Sit silently on their temple shelves While the people Are afraid Yet the ivory gods, And the ebony gods, And the gods of diamond-jade Are only silly puppet gods That people themselves Have made.
Mrs. O'Dell: Paige, you look a little tired. Are you sure you're up to babysitting?
Paige: [half asleep] Don't be silly, Ms. O'Dell. I'm fine. Your pillow and I will have a great time together.
Mrs. O'Dell: Pillow?
Paige: I mean sofa. I mean bed. I mean daughter.
Consider his life which was valueless
In terms of employment, hotel ledgers, news files.
Consider. One bullet in ten thousand kills a man.
Ask. Was so much expenditure justified
On the death of one so young and so silly
Lying under the olive tree, O world, O death?
The potential for self-loathing comes from the unavoidable problem that one is engaging in a childish, fraudulent activity: although it has the capacity to delight and amaze, the performer is also a hair’s breadth from being justifiably treated like a silly child. It is, after all, just tricks.
I am Aeaea. To my notion there is no other lady anywhere. And I resent your calling this a silly myth. I made the myth and it is not silly; charming rather. Well, come along, come along! You are my things now, and you will come when I call you.
Professor Botch: Just think: This tomb has remained undisturbed for thousands of years.
Leslie: This is exciting.
LapTrap: (sarcastically) I'm all aquiver.
Professor Botch: Who knows what lies behind these doors? Untold treasures, perhaps.
LapTrap: (sarcastically) Oh great, mysteries! I hate mysteries!
Joni: LapTrap, shush.
Loveless: Just open the tomb, you silly little man.
It is of first-rate importance to notice from the start that stupidity is not the same thing, or the same sort of thing, as ignorance. There is no incompatibility between being well-informed and being silly, and a person who has a good nose for arguments or jokes may have a bad head for facts.
My (unfriendly) approach to modern society is to regard it as an integrated totality. Silly doctrinaire theories which regard the state as a parasitic excrescence on society cannot explain its centuries-long persistence, its ongoing encroachment upon what was previously market terrain, or its acceptance by the overwhelming majority of people including its demonstrable victims.
I know you want it to stay pleasant around here, but — there are so many things … that are so much better. Like silly, or sexy, or dangerous … or brief. And every one of those things is in you all the time, if you just have the guts to look for them.
... confess now- could you lie with the wife of your friend? could you debauch his sister? could you defraud a poor creditor? could you by gambling rejoice in the outwitting a novice of all his possessions?- No! why then thou art a silly fellow, incumbered with three abominable inmates; to wit- Conscience, Honesty, and Good-nature
"Such savoir faire! Such punctilious courtesy!" The dowager and the blond young thing are often impressed. Men have less pleasant comments to make. But the child goes to the root of the matter.
"You're silly!"
How can an immature human understand the complicated system of social relationships? He can't. To him, an exaggeration of natural courtesy is silly.
Presidents are made, not born. That’s a good thing to remember. It’s silly to think that Presidents are born, because very few people are 35 years old at birth, and those who are won’t admit it. So if you’re only 16 don’t be discouraged, because it’s only a phase and there’s nothing wrong with you that you won’t outgrow.
What a vast Traffick is drove, what a variety of Labour is performed in the World to the Maintenance of Thousands of Families that altogether depend on two silly if not odious Customs; the taking of Snuff and smoking of Tobacco; both which it is certain do infinitely more hurt than good to those that are addicted to them!
Vorpal had the trick of adding a Malay enclitic to his utterances. This also had power to irritate, especially in the mornings. It irritated Nabby Adams that this should irritate him, but somewhere at the back of his brain was the contempt of the man learned in languages for the silly show-off, jingling the small change of ‘wallah’ and charpoy...
I think so badly of philosophy that I don't like to talk about it. … I do not want to say anything bad about my dear colleagues, but the profession of teacher of philosophy is a ridiculous one. We don't need a thousand of trained, and badly trained, philosophers — it is very silly. Actually most of them have nothing to say.
Karl Popper
• As quoted in "At 90, and Still Dynamic : Revisiting Sir Karl Popper and Attending His Birthday Party" by Eugene Yue-Ching Ho, in Intellectus 23 (Jul-Sep 1992)
• Source: Wikiquote: "Karl Popper" (Quotes)
The ‘Women’ had to do with the female painted through all ages, all those idols, and maybe I was stuck to a certain extent; I couldn’t go on. It did one thing for me: it eliminated composition, arrangement, relationships, light – all this silly talk about line, colour and form – because that was the thing I wanted to get hold of.
Willem de Kooning
• interview conducted by David Sylvester for the BBC, 1962; as quoted in Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics, edited by Clifford Ross, Abrahams Publishers, New York 1990, p. 45.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Willem de Kooning" (Sourced, 1960s)
He knew what the press and the fans and the kids expected of him, and he was always trying to live up to that image. That's why he couldn't be silly in public like I could, or ever be caught without his shirt buttoned or his shoes shined. He knew he was Joe DiMaggio and he knew what that meant to the country.
I loved these compliments, which he lobbed at me like popcorn at a pigeon. I felt silly for craving his attention and powerful because he had noticed me. I bounced between those extremes, every other heartbeat, laying down hope one stratum at a time. The fact that he was all wrong––married, my boss, a flirt––gave me a perverse desire to make it right.
The claim that the United States cannot possibly bring about the fall of clerical fascism in Tehran is as silly as similar claims directed at Ronald Reagan when he set about bringing an end to the evil Soviet Empire. Indeed, skepticism about our determination to defeat Soviet Communism was far more justifiable than doubts about the thoroughly plausible path to end the Iranian mullahcracy.
Be the poor silly ass
And you'll always travel first class.

Give 'em quips, give 'em fun,
And they'll pay to say you're A–1.
If you become a farmer, you've the weather to buck.
If become a gambler you'll be struck with your luck.
But jack you'll never lack if you can quack like a duck.
Be a clown, be a clown, be a clown.
[A] puppy, once my pretty little man, now blear-eyed, or rather a blinding; having never had any mental vision, he has now lost his bodily sight; a silly coxcomb, fancying himself a beauty ; an unclean beast, with nothing more human about him than his guttering eyelids; the fittest doom for him would be to hang him on the highest gallows, and set his head on the Tower of London.
I get guilty when I spend money on silly things like clothes and stuff... Having experienced a completely different extreme of wealth, and I don't mean me being poor or rich, I mean knowing that 40 quid that gets spent on a pair of shoes could go a long way for a family in Georgia for a week or even a month, having experienced that, you're a bit more [guilty].
I still do politics but I do it behind the scenes now. So that's still my passion. It's what I believe most strongly in, and I love that. Do I miss being in elective politics? Sometimes. This show is fun to do, my American show, and it's obviously silly, sometimes stupid. It gives me a good living and I enjoy it but I'm not passionate about it like I am about politics.
Apocalypses, apparently, are subject to fashion like everything else. What terrifies one generation can seem obsolete and trivial to the next. Take our modern attitude toward war. Most anthropologists now think this activity was based originally on theft and rape—perhaps rewarding enterprises for some caveman or Viking, but no longer either sexy or profitable in the context of nuclear holocaust! Today, we look back on large-scale warfare as an essentially silly enterprise.
There is no such thing as natural law, the expression is nothing more than a silly anachronism … There is no such thing as right, except when there is a law to forbid a certain thing under pain of punishment. Before law existed, the only natural thing was the strength of the lion, or the need of a creature who was cold or hungry, to put it in one word, need. ~
Marisol does a silly dance with Balder and the screw, one in each hand, so that nobody gets the idea that she takes tins — or anything else, for that matter — seriously. And just like that, something in the cosmos shifts. A butterfly flaps its wings in South America. Snow falls in Chicago. You give an idiot a stupid magic screw and it turns out to be a necessary part after all.
I never give my work to somebody else and say, "What do you think about that?" I just don't trust anybody. If I think it's funny, or if I think it's silly, I send it in anyway because I'm just trying to please myself. I never try to please a certain audience. I think that's disastrous. There's no way in the world you can anticipate what your reader is going to like or dislike.
For the record: Though our professional circles did cross-over slightly... I never had the honour or pleasure of meeting Michael Jackson personally, nor did we ever correspond on matters of our professions, personal lives or faiths. … My approach to faith does not include concepts of "conversion/reversion" or "propagation", so the very idea that I would have even tried to "convert" Mr. Jackson (or anyone else for that matter) to my spiritual perspective, is silly.
Dawud Wharnsby
• On rumors that he, Yusuf Islam (aka Cat Stevens), and others had convinced Michael Jackson to convert to Islam, in a statement on his blog site in "The Passing of Michael Jackson : Enter Into Peace" (26 June 2009); Yusuf Islam also repudiated the rumors at his site: "Contrary to persistent press rumours, I was not at any kind of conversion ceremony for Michael Jackson. Nor, I believe, was Dawud Wharnsby or any of the others mentioned in connection with the story."
• Source: Wikiquote: "Dawud Wharnsby" (Quotes)
The pictures of me on the Internet were silly, inappropriate shots. I appreciate all the support of my fans, and hope they understand that along the way I am going to make mistakes and I am not perfect. I never intended for any of this to happen, and I am truly sorry if I have disappointed anyone. Most of all, I have let myself down. I will learn from my mistakes and trust my support team.
With respect to my following, or, more accurately, being led by other members of the Court, that is silly, but expected since I couldn't possibly think for myself. And what else could possibly be the explanation when I fail to follow the jurisprudential, ideological and intellectual, if not anti-intellectual, prescription assigned to blacks. Since thinking beyond this prescription is presumptively beyond my abilities, obviously someone must be putting these strange ideas into my mind and my opinions.
Now you know yo' ass is Willie when they got you in the mag for like half a billy, and yo' ass ain't lily white that mean that shit you write must be illy Either that or your flow is silly - it's both I don't mean to boast, but damn if I don't brag Them crackers gon' act like I ain't on they ass The Martha Stewart, that's far from Jewish Far from a Harvard student, just had the balls to do it
As for why it's not particularly smart -- whether he wins or loses -- is because he just called a whole bunch of attention to some silly internet meme that clearly wants attention. Beck would have been better off just ignoring it. Instead, in legitimizing it by trying to take it down, many more people become aware of the meme -- and may start calling attention to situations where Beck (and others) make use of such tactics.
I really wanted to go on Broadway but I was like - do I want to leave my dogs, my house and my friends for nine months? But then I thought, "Wait a second. If this wasn't being offered to me and I heard there was an audition I'd be desperate to have the job." When you're offered things, it makes it so much easier to be indecisive. And it's silly because you can pass on some really amazing things.
Both Athens and America are criticized over slavery, as we see referenced by Barack Obama as 'this nation's original sin'. Criticism of Athens about slavery is a little silly, since no ancient state ever abolished slavery. A condemnation of Athens would need to be of the form, 'somehow, they should have known better'. America is more vulnerable, since the ideal of the Declaration of Independence that 'all men are created equal' seems to be immediately contradicted by the continuation of slavery.
Andy: Roger, that toupee is the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen!
Roger: Bond. James Bond.
Andy: You look fine the way you are! I love the way you look! All this does is make you look silly and insecure! Can't you see that?!
Roger: Here's looking at you, kid.
Andy: Roger, take it back to the store. Please? I'm begging you.
Roger: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. [Andy stuffs the toupee in his mouth.] Wha wa da fuh?
The most of us make our backs ache carrying useless, foolish burdens. We carry luggage and rubbish that are of no earthly use, but which sap our strength and keep us jaded and tired to no purpose. If we could only learn to hold on to the things worthwhile, and drop the rubbish, — let go the useless, the foolish, the silly, the hamperers, the things that hinder, — we should not only make progress but we should keep happy and harmonious.
Chicago 1968 taught one how close any civilized country is to berserkness at all times; also how terrorism, even silly terrorism, strengthens the cops more than anyone. Yet already this European-style history lesson has been watered down by consensus into something crazy we did in the sixties, just as we "did" McCarthyism in the fifties. As if a nation changes its nature completely every ten years; as if social forces were as evanescent as hula hoops or skateboards, instead of as remorseless as glaciers.
Association, applied to land, shares the economic advantage of large-scale landed property, and first brings to realization the original tendency inherent in land-division, namely, equality. In the same way association re-establishes, now on a rational basis, no longer mediated by serfdom, overlordship and the silly mysticism of property [alberne Eigentumsmystik], the intimate ties of man with the earth, for the earth ceases to be an object of huckstering, and through free labor and free enjoyment becomes once more a true personal property of man. is a great evil thus to be in doubt, but it is at least an indispensable duty to seek when we are in such doubt; and thus the doubter who does not seek is altogether completely unhappy and completely wrong. And if besides this he is easy and content, professes to be so, and indeed boasts of it; if it is this state itself which is the subject of his joy and vanity, I have no words to describe so silly a creature. 194
"MR. JONSTONE IS A FINE MAN!" "Don't be silly, he's an obvious sadist," I said. "How long have you been in the Post Office?" "Three weeks." "MR. JONSTONE HAS BEEN WITH THE POST OFFICE FOR 30 YEARS!" "What does that have to do with it?" "I said, MR. JONSTONE IS A FINE MAN!" I believe the poor fellow actually wanted to kill me. ..."All right," I said, "Jonstone is a fine man. Forget the whole... thing." Then I walked out and took the next day off. Without pay, of course.
I think a lot of what motivates me songwriting-wise is — this might sound silly — but, when I listen to a song that I love, it kind of makes me feel better. I think that’s the impetus behind everything I write; I want to make people feel better, whether it’s myself, or a friend, or whoever. I don’t know how to say this without sounding corny or banal, but I know a lot of people who are very hard on themselves. So this is sort of a cheerleading lullaby.
Plato's cosmogony is set forth in the Timaeus, which was translated into Latin by Cicero, and was, in consequence, the only one of the dialogues that was known in the West in the Middle Ages. Both then, and earlier in Neoplatonism, it had more influence than anything else in Plato, which is curious, as it certainly contains more that is simply silly than is to be found in his other writings. As philosophy, it is unimportant, but historically it was so influential that it must be considered in some detail.
I am daily more amazed at the ignorance of grown-up men and women, called gentlemen and gentlewomen, who, with so many means at their command, are little better than Hottentots in disguise. ...These people may read a newspaper, which is the best thing that they do read... But the chief reading of these silly people is stories, tales, novels, and works of some kind of fiction, and not even the best works of the kind. They are very much in the state of those who commit excess in strong drink.
I've repeatedly said that for people as little in common as Joanne and myself, we have an uncommonly good marriage. We are actors, we make pictures — and that's about all we have in common. Maybe that's enough. Wives shouldn't feel obligated to accompany their husbands to a ball game, husbands do look a bit silly attending morning coffee breaks with the neighbourhood wives when most men are out at work. Husbands and wives should have separate interests, cultivate different sets of friends — and not impose one upon the other.
Roethlisberger argues that people who are preoccupied with success ask the wrong question. They ask, “what is the secret of success” when they should be asking, “what prevents me from learning here and now?” To be overly preoccupied with the future is to be inattentive toward the present where learning and growth take place. To walk around asking, “am I a success or a failure” is a silly question in the sense that the closest you can come to answer is to say, everyone is both a success and a failure.
The acting was always disappointing. Silly stories about nonsense people. I felt really cheated by acting, because I've never really felt anything from it. I don't wanna be the women on television, who are always nice and do the right thing. I want to be the woman who makes mistakes and gets away with it. The Night Porter is my favourite film. Charlotte Rampling is boiling with rage and going, "I can do it worse. I'm badder, and dirtier than you will ever be, and you'll never break me." And I just love that.
For the last 12 years, I've felt really privileged to be living such a normal life. It's so a part of who I am. It's so important to me to do the washing, do the Hoovering. Friends of mine in the business don't know how dishwashers work. For me, that's frightening. I want to be in a position where I can function as a human being. Even more so now where you've got this sort of truly silly preoccupation with celebrities. Just because somebody's been in an ad on TV, so what? Who gives a toss?
Today artists are in a belated age of reason. They want to get hold of things. Take Mondrian; he was a fantastic artist. But when we read his ideas and his idea of Neo-Plasticism – pure plasticity – it’s kind of silly. Not for him, but I think one could spend one’s life having this desire to be in- and outside at the same time. He could see a future life and a future city – not like me, who am absolutely not interested in seeing the future city. I’m perfectly happy to be alive now.
Willem de Kooning
• interview conducted by David Sylvester for the BBC, 1962; as quoted in Abstract Expressionism: Creators and Critics, edited by Clifford Ross, Abrahams Publishers, New York 1990, p. 47.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Willem de Kooning" (Sourced, 1960s)
There are certain devices that one uses in Romantic music that are appropriate only for Romantic or subsequent music. If you take those devices and apply them to earlier music, then it’s totally inappropriate, and it makes the Classical music sound silly. However, if you were to use what you might call ‘Classical devices’ on Romantic music, historically, that would be correct! It very often benefits Romantic music, which is sometimes rather disjunctive, rather shapeless in comparison with Classical symphonic or sonata form. Romantic music very often benefits from that tighter organization that you get from Classical music.
I doubt not but one great reason why many children abandon themselves wholly to silly sports, and trifle away all their time insipidly, is, because they have found their curiosity baulk'd, and their inquiries neglected. But had they been treated with more kindness and respect, and their questions answered, as they shuold, to their satisfaction; I doubt not but that they would have taken more pleasure in learning, and improving their knowledge, wherein there would still be newness and variety, which is what they are delighted with, than in returning over and over to the same play and play-things.
In Locke's theory of government, I repeat, there is little that is original. In this Locke resembles most of the men who have won fame for their ideas. As a rule, the man who first thinks of a new idea is so much ahead of his time that every one thinks him silly, so that he remains obscure and is soon forgotten. Then, gradually, the world becomes ready for the idea, and the man who proclaims it at the fortunate moment gets all the credit. So it was, for example, with Darwin; poor Lord Monboddo was a laughing stock.
They have called me bizarre, neurotic or silly, and said that what I am doing is pointless. "Animals don't need a human to teach them how to behave." Many of these critics are generally misinformed about my intentions. This is not a one-time experiment. My "science," or my way of researching wolf behavior, is from inside the pack and actually becoming part of their world -- exploring the unknown and untested. I think the madness that some people will see in living alongside a pack of wolves will be justified when people see the results of what we've learned.
Do you question whether Aristotle, had he but seen the novelties discovered in Hea­ven, would not have changed his opinion, amended his Books, and embraced the more sensible Doctrine; rejecting those silly Gulls, which too scrupulously, go about to defend what ever he hath said; not considering, that if Aristotle were such a one as they fancy him to themselves, he would be a man of an untracta­ble wit, an obstinate mind, a barbarous soul, a stubborn will, that accounting all men else but as silly sheep, would have his Oracles preferred before the Senses, Experience, and Nature herself?
When a poet is being a poet — that is, when he is writing or thinking about writing — he cannot be concerned with anything but the making of a poem. If the poem is to turn out well, the poet cannot have thought of whether it will be saleable, or of what its effect on the world should be; he cannot think of whether it will bring him honor, or advance a cause, or comfort someone in sorrow. All such considerations, whether silly or generous, would be merely intrusive; for, psychologically speaking, the end of writing is the poem itself.
"I'm no historian," said Harry. "But morals are morals. What's unethical here and now is unethical anywhere, anytime." "Kane, you're wrong. It is ethical to execute a man for theft?" "Of course." "Did you know that there was once a vastly detailed science of rehabilitation for criminals? It was a branch of psychology, naturally, but it was by far the largest such branch. By the middle of century twenty-one, nearly two-thirds of all criminals could eventually be released as cured." "That's silly. Why go to all that trouble when the organ banks must have been crying for — Oh. I see. No organ banks."
All passion is lost now. The world is mediocre, limp, without force. And madness and despair are a force. And force is a crime in the eyes of the fools, the weak and the silly who rule the roost. You are mediocre. Verloc, whose affair the police has managed to smother so nicely, was mediocre. And the police murdered him. He was mediocre. Everybody is mediocre. Madness and despair! Give me that for a lever, and I'll move the world. Ossipon, you have my cordial scorn. You are incapable of conceiving even what the fat-fed citizen would call a crime. You have no force.
In the nineteen-sixties, apartheid was driven out of America. Legal segregation — Jim Crow — ended. We didn't end racism, but we ended legal segregation. We ended the idea that you can send a million soldiers ten thousand miles away to fight in a war that people do not support. We ended the idea that women are second-class citizens. Now, it doesn't matter who sits in the Oval Office. But the big battles that were won in that period of civil war and strife you cannot reverse. We were young, we were reckless, arrogant, silly, headstrong … and we were right! I regret nothing!
[The Roman philosopher Lucretius] thought it a mistake to find the prospect of my death upsetting. Yes, as the deprivation account points out, after death we can't enjoy life's pleasures. But wait a minute, says Lucretius. The time after I die isn't the only period during which I won't exist. What about the period before my birth? If nonexistence is so bad, shouldn't I be upset by the eternity of nonexistence before I was born? But that's silly, right? Nobody is upset about that. So, he concludes, it doesn't make any sense to be upset about the eternity of nonexistence after you die, either.
I can't help liking old Sunday. No, it's not an admiration of force, or any silly thing like that. There is a kind of gaiety in the thing, as if he were bursting with some good news. Haven't you sometimes felt it on a spring day? You know Nature plays tricks, but somehow that day proves they are good-natured tricks. I never read the Bible myself, but that part they laugh at is literal truth, 'Why leap ye, ye high hills?' The hills do leap — at least, they try to....''' Why do I like Sunday?... how can I tell you?... because he's such a Bounder."
“You know what you can buy at the supermarket?” Laws inquired acidly. “I’ll tell you. Canned burnt offerings.” “You know what you can buy at the hardware store?” Hamilton answered. “Scales to weigh your soul on.” “That’s silly,” the blond said petulantly. “A soul doesn’t have any weight.” “Then,” Hamilton reflected, “you could put one through the U. S. mail for nothing.” “How many souls,” Laws conjectured ironically, “can be fitted into one stamped envelope? New religious question. Split mankind in half. Warring factions. Blood running in the gutters.” “Ten,” Hamilton guessed. “Fourteen,” Laws contradicted. “Heretic. Baby-murdering monster.” “Bestial drinker of unpurified blood.” “Accursed spawn of filth-devouring evil.”
There are lessons here. Las Vegas is a major family destination. Nevada casinos have become American family values now. It's considered just fine to go into one of these windowless scary gambling-malls, drink yourself silly, lose your ass at roulette, and then go ogle showgirls with breast implants. Republicans do this now. Working-class folks do it in polyester stretch pants. It's normal.
Meanwhile, if you want to get high and be a naked hippie, you're under suspicion of engaging in the moral equivalent of terrorism. You've got to haul out into the middle of some godforsaken desert and hope that not too many people find out about it.
Of course, spoon bending has been the focus of long-standing controversy. Uri Geller, an Israeli magician, who claims psychic powers, often bends spoons, but other magicians, such as James Randi, claim that spoon bending isn't a psychic phenomenon at all, just a trick. But I had bent a spoon, and I knew it wasn't a trick. I looked around the room and saw little children, eight or nine years old, bending large metal bars. They weren't trying to trick anybody. They were just little kids having a good time. Staying up past their bedtimes on a Friday night, going along with the adults, doing this silly bending stuff.
I have written independently without Judgment. I may write independently, and with Judgment, hereafter. The Genius of Poetry must work out its own salvation in a man: It cannot be matured by law and precept, but by sensation and watchfulness in itself — That which is creative must create itself — In Endymion, I leaped headlong into the sea, and thereby have become better acquainted with the Soundings, the quicksands, and the rocks, than if I had stayed upon the green shore, and piped a, silly pipe, and took tea and comfortable advice. I was never afraid of failure; for I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest.
I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.
Of all the kindes of common countrey life, Methinkes a shepheards life is most content; His state is quiet peace, devoyd of strife; His thoughts are pure from all impure intent, His pleasures rate sits at an easie rent; He beares no mallice in his harmles hart, Malicious meaning hath in him no part. He is not troubled with th' afflicted minde, His cares are onely over silly sheepe; He is not unto jealozie inclinde, (Thrice happie man) he knowes not how to weepe; Whilst I the treble in deepe sorrowes keepe. I cannot keepe the meane; for why (alas) Griefes have no meane, though I for meane doe passe.
"A hundred years from now, people will look back on us and laugh. They'll say, 'You know what people used to believe? They believed in photons and electrons. Can you imagine anything so silly?' They'll have a good laugh, because by then there will be newer and better fantasies. And meanwhile, you feel the way the boat moves? That's the sea. That's real. You smell the salt in the air? You feel the sunlight on your skin? That's all real. You see all of us together? That's real. Life is wonderful. It's a gift to be alive, to see the sun and breathe the air. And there isn't really anything else."
Those who raise the objection of the distance in time, will certainly recall many golden words of long-dead sages and poets which strike such a deep and kindred chord in our own hearts that we very vividly feel a living and intimate contact with those great ones who have left this world long ago. Such experience contrasts with the ‘very much present’ silly chatter of society, newspapers or radio, which, when compared with those ancient voices of wisdom and beauty, will appear to emanate from the mental level of stone-age man tricked out in modern trappings. True wisdom is always young, and always near to the grasp of an open mind.
[Most people] are neither extraordinarily silly, nor extraordinarily wicked, nor extraordinarily wise; their eyes are neither deep and liquid with sentiment, nor sparkling with suppressed witticisms; they have probably had no hairbreadth escapes or thrilling adventures; their brains are certainly not pregnant with genius, and their passions have not manifested themselves at all after the fashion of a volcano. … Depend upon it, you would gain unspeakably if you would learn with me to see some of the poetry and the pathos, the tragedy and the comedy, lying in the experience of a human soul that looks out through dull grey eyes, and that speaks in a voice of quite ordinary tones.
George Eliot
• "The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton" Ch. 5
• Source: Wikiquote: "George Eliot" (Quotes, Scenes of Clerical Life (1858): This volume contains three stories: "The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton", "Mr Gilfil's Love Story" and "Janet's Repentance". The full text is available from Project Gutenberg. )
War isn't a fraud, Charlie, it's very real. At least that's what you always tried to tell me, isn't it? That we shall never get rid of war by pretending it's unreal? It's the virtue of war that's the fraud, not war itself. It's the valor and the self-sacrifice and the goodness of war that needs the exposing. And here you are being brave and self-sacrificing, positively clanking with moral fervor, perpetuating the very things you detest merely to do "the right thing". Honestly, Charlie, your conversion to morality is really quite funny. All this time I've been terrified of becoming Americanized, and you, you silly ass, have turned into a bloody Englishman
The initial stage of that developing experience which is called thinking is experience. This remark may sound like a silly truism. It ought to be one; but unfortunately it is not. On the contrary, thinking is often regarded both in philosophic theory and in educational practice as something cut off from experience, and capable of being cultivated in isolation. In fact, the inherent limitations of experience are often urged as the sufficient ground for attention to thinking. Experience is then thought to be confined to the senses and appetites; to a mere material world, while thinking proceeds from a higher faculty (of reason), and is occupied with spiritual or at least literary things.
Our 'overhead' expense in segregating the delinquent, the defective and the dependent, in prisons, asylums and permanent homes, our failure to segregate morons who are increasing and multiplying … demonstrate our foolhardy and extravagant sentimentalism. No industrial corporation could maintain its existence upon such a foundation. Yet hardheaded 'captains of industry,' financiers who pride themselves upon their cool-headed and keen-sighted business ability are dropping millions into rosewater philanthropies and charities that are silly at best and vicious at worst. In our dealings with such elements there is a bland maladministration and misuse of huge sums that should in all righteousness be used for the development and education of the healthy elements of the community.
What other books there are in English of the kind of those above-mentioned, fit to engage the liking of children, and tempt them to read, I do not know; but am apt to think that children, being generally delivered over to the method of schools, where the fear of the rod is to enforce, and not any pleasure of the employment to invite them to learn; this sort of useful books, amongst the number of silly ones that are of all sorts, have yet had the fate to be neglected; and nothing that I know has been considered of this kind out of the ordinary road of the horn-book, primer, psalter, Testament, and Bible.
Once man was tossed about helplessly and incessantly by the wind that blew through him—now the toughest of all plants is more sensitive, more easily moved than he. In other words, death is better than life, nothing is better than anything. Nor is this a silly adolescent pessimism peculiar to Housman, as so many critics assure you. It is better to be dead than alive, best of all never to have been born—said a poet approvingly advertised as seeing life steadily and seeing it whole; and if I began an anthology of such quotations there it would take me a long time to finish. The attitude is obviously inadequate and just as obviously important.
It seems silly and churlish to attack others for their private beliefs, unless one is entirely convinced of the greater view that harm is caused by the persistence of that belief in society; but when pressed into engaging on the matter, I recall the question I asked myself many times until I found my own faith breaking down: Bearing in mind we can all utterly convince ourselves of things that are not true – and that therefore important truths about the universe must surely always be based on more solid foundations than what my easily fooled, fickle feelings tell me – what is it that supports this belief other than my own already-existing conviction?
I don't think it's a good attitude in your life to feel that you have to be rich to have self-esteem. You know, I saw a billboard in New York I wish I had photographed. It was for the TNN network. It said three words against a patriotic background of red, white and blue — BIGGER, YOUNGER, RICHER. Now, I find that fascinating: 'Bigger, younger, richer.' This whole idea of being wealthy has gone too far. I never ride in a limousine, you know. I feel gross if I get in a limousine. One good thing about the sixties was it sort of was the opposite back then. You looked silly trying to appear rich.
I used to think it didn't matter—that everyone in this world had the same chance, the same fight. Imagine two babies born—one white, one black. Maybe their mothers shared the same hospital room and talked low—when all the excited visitors were gone and the hospital was heavy with sleep—about their futures. Talked about their dreams for the babies, long after the two A.M. feeding was over. I used to think that all those babies needed was some kind of chance—and a mother's dream for them. I was so … so silly back then. Naive. I believed stuff like that. Just because no one in this family had ever said a hateful thing about black people.
I would like evolution to join the roster of other discredited religions, like the Cargo Cult of the South Pacific. Practitioners of Cargo Cult believed that manufactured products were created by ancestral spirits, and if they imitated what they had seen the white man do, they could cause airplanes to appear out of the sky, bringing valuable cargo like radios and TVs. So they constructed “airport towers” out of bamboo and “headphones” out of coconuts and waited for the airplanes to come with the cargo. It may sound silly, but in defense of the Cargo Cult, they did not wait as long for evidence supporting their theory as the Darwinists have waited for evidence supporting theirs.
We know what happened to those who chanced to meet the Great God Pan, and those who are wise know that all symbols are symbols of something, not of nothing. It was, indeed, an exquisite symbol beneath which men long ago veiled their knowledge of the most awful, most secret forces which lie at the heart of all things; forces before which the souls of men must wither and die and blacken, as their bodies blacken under the electric current. Such forces cannot be named, cannot be spoken, cannot be imagined except under a veil and a symbol, a symbol to the most of us appearing a quaint, poetic fancy, to some a foolish, silly tale.
I would like evolution to join the roster of other discredited religions, like the Cargo Cult of the South Pacific. Practitioners of Cargo Cult believed that manufactured products were created by ancestral spirits, and if they imitated what they had seen the white man do, they could cause airplanes to appear out of the sky, bringing valuable cargo like radios and Television|TVs. So they constructed “airport towers” out of bamboo and “headphones” out of coconuts and waited for the airplanes to come with the cargo. It may sound silly, but in defense of the Cargo Cult, they did not wait as long for evidence supporting their theory as the Darwinists have waited for evidence supporting theirs.
If a man approaches a work of art with any desire to exercise authority over it and the artist, he approaches it in such a spirit that he cannot receive any artistic impression from it at all. The work of art is to dominate the spectator: the spectator is not to dominate the work of art. The spectator is to be receptive. He is to be the violin on which the master is to play. And the more completely he can suppress his own silly views, his own foolish prejudices, his own absurd ideas of what Art should be, or should not be, the more likely he is to understand and appreciate the work of art in question.
She was our guardian, friend and protector. She never once allowed her unfaltering love for us to go unspoken or undemonstrated. She will always be remembered for her amazing public work. But behind the media glare, to us, just two loving children, she was quite simply the best mother in the world. We would say that wouldn't we. But we miss her. She kissed us last thing at night. Her beaming smile greeted us from school. She laughed hysterically and uncontrollably when sharing something silly she might have said or done that day. She encouraged us when we were nervous or unsure. She - like our father - was determined to provide us with a stable and secure childhood.
We already live a very long time for mammals, getting three times as many heartbeats as a mouse or elephant. It never seems enough though, does it? Most fictional portrayals of life-extension simply tack more years on the end, in series. But that's a rather silly version. The future doesn't need a bunch of conservative old baby-boomers, hoarding money and getting in the grand-kids' way. What we really need is more life in parallel — some way to do all the things we want done. Picture splitting into three or four "selves" each morning, then reconverging into the same continuous person at the end of the day. What a wish fulfilment, to head off in several directions at once!
"Dear robin," said this sad young flower, "Perhaps you'd not mind trying To find a nice white frill for me, Some day when you are flying?" "You silly thing!" the robin said; "I think you must be crazy! I'd rather be my honest self Than any made-up daisy. "You're nicer in your own bright gown, The little children love you; Be the best buttercup you can, And think no flower above you. "Though swallows leave me out of sight, We'd better keep our places; Perhaps the world would all go wrong With one too many daisies. "Look bravely up into the sky, And be content with knowing That God wished for a buttercup Just here, where you are growing."
• Sarah Orne Jewett, "Discontent", in St. Nicholas Magazine, volume 3 (February 1876), p. 247.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Buttercups" (Sourced)
"Dear robin," said this sad young flower,
"Perhaps you'd not mind trying
To find a nice white frill for me,
  Some day when you are flying?"

"You silly thing!" the robin said;
"I think you must be crazy!
I'd rather be my honest self
Than any made-up daisy.

"You're nicer in your own bright gown,
The little children love you;
Be the best buttercup you can,
And think no flower above you.

"Though swallows leave me out of sight,
We'd better keep our places;
Perhaps the world would all go wrong
With one too many daisies.

"Look bravely up into the sky,
And be content with knowing
That God wished for a buttercup
Just here, where you are growing.

If one of two persons, who are telling silly stories, uses language with a double meaning, understood in his own circle, while the other uses it with only one meaning, any one not in the secret, who hears them both talk in this manner, will pass upon them the same judgment. But if afterwords, in the rest of their conversation one says angelic things, and the other always dull commonplaces, he will judge that the one spoke in mysteries, and not the other; the one having sufficiently shown that he is incapable of such foolishness, and capable of being mysterious; and the other that he is incapable of mystery, and capable of foolishness. The Old Testament is a cipher. 690
Education, journalism, technology, entertainment and business may also find better methods for their purpose than books and writing. But this does not mean that tapes and films have made books obsolescent—the contention is almost too ludicrous to be taken seriously. Books are certainly old fashioned, but only people with a very limited perception are silly enough to condemn ideas because of their age. It is, of course, equally silly to condemn the new fangled simply because it is strange, and I am full of admiration for the technologists who have developed all sorts of gadgets for the purpose of improving communications. However, I believe that all these fascinating machines are complementary to, and not substitutes for, books and the printed word.
Dr. Raymond Damadian failed to be included in this year's Nobel honors for work in Medicine, and feels sore about it. … But as one who loves science above all and thinks it the greatest triumph of the human spirit - as one who has no religious beliefs whatsoever - I cringe at the thought that Raymond Damadian was refused his just honor because of his religious beliefs. Having silly ideas in one field is no good reason to deny merit for great ideas in another field. Apart from the fact that this time the Creation Scientists will think that there is good reason to think that they are the objects of unfair treatment at the hands of the scientific community.
Theorist, and trifler though I may be called, I again assert as our first and holiest duty, the elevation and enlightenment of the proletariate: I again call on those nobler spirits among us who are working erroneously, it may be, but with incipient or growing sincerity and nobleness of mind, to divert their strenuous effort from the promotion of narrow class interests, from silly squabbles about offices and salaried positions, from a philanthropy laudable in itself and worthy of rational pursuit, but meagre in the range of its benevolence and ineffectual towards promoting the nearest interests of the nation, into that vaster channel through which alone the healing waters may be conducted to the lips of their ailing and tortured country.
Illich was valued during his comparatively short period of fame for the destructive possibilities of his criticisms of almost all the institutions of industrial society, capitalist or communist, in books such as Deschooling Society (1971) and Medical Nemesis (1975) … My attitude to Illich was composed half of admiration, half of irritation. He had a distinctly prophetic quality, but he could also be very silly, and some of the things he said were destructive of civilization itself... He was a flawed figure as a man and as a thinker: but so, no doubt, are we all. And unlike the other radicals of the era such as Herbert Marcuse, he still repays reading. Being not easily pigeon-holed, he forces us to think.
You don’t talk to Ahmadinejad. First of all, he’s not the decision maker. When Senator Obama suggests that he would be prepared to meet with him, he says such a meeting first has to be prepared. What he means is that you have to coordinate with your allies - all your allies. Secondly, it means you have to check whether you can put together an agenda for a lower-level meeting. If it becomes clear that you can’t put together such an agenda, then you don’t hold a meeting at a high level - the presidential level - because it’s not going to lead anywhere. But if you can produce something that you know will lead somewhere, then it’s silly not to do that.
I yield to no one in my detestation of Bolshevism, and of the revolutionary violence which precedes it. … But my hatred of Bolshevism and Bolsheviks is not founded on their silly system of economics, or their absurd doctrine of an impossible equality. It arises from the bloody and devastating terrorism which they practice in every land into which they have broken, and by which alone their criminal regime can be maintained. … Governments who have seized upon power by violence and by usurpation have often resorted to terrorism in their desperate efforts to keep what they have stolen, but the august and venerable structure of the British Empire … does not need such aid. Such ideas are absolutely foreign to the British way of doing things.
Homosexuality is not “normal.” On the contrary, it is a challenge to the norm; therein resides its eternally revolutionary character. Note I do not call it a challenge to the idea of a norm. Queer theorists — that wizened crew of flimflamming free-loaders — have tried to take the poststructuralist tack of claiming that there is no norm, since everything is relative and contingent. This is the kind of silly bind that word-obsessed people get into when they are deaf, dumb and blind to the outside world. Nature exists, whether academics like it or not. And in nature, procreation is the single, relentless rule. That is the norm. Our sexual bodies were designed for reproduction. Penis fits vagina: no fancy linguistic game-playing can change that biologic fact.
The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
• Kurt Vonnegut, in Slaughterhouse-Five, Or The Children's Crusade : A Duty-dance with Death, (1969), Ch. 2
• Source: Wikiquote: "Moment" (V)
[John is doing laundry. Elly is wearing an aerobics getup like Olivia Newton-John's Physical music video]
John: I fail to understand why you need all those silly clothes just to perform a few simple exercises.
Elly: Listen, when you go to war, you wear a uniform.
John: Elly, I see nothing wrong with you.
Elly: Nothing wrong? Are you joking? I am shaped like a GOURD!!
John: Elly, the painter Rubens considered that a healthy shape. The ideal female form!
John: Most women were not stick figures in the 19th Century. So cheer up. There is nothing odd about your figure...
[John walks away while holding laundry]
John: were just born in the wrong century!
[A water cup is headed for the back of John's head]
What stands in the way? Not physical or technical obstacles, but only the evil passions in human minds: sus­picion, fear, lust for power, hatred, intolerance. … The human race could, here and now, begin a rapid approach to a vastly better world, given one single condition: the removal of mutual distrust between East and West. I do not know what can be done to fulfill this condition. Most of the suggestions that I have seen have struck me as silly. Mean­while the only thing to do is to prevent an explosion some­how, and to hope that time may bring wisdom. The near future must either be much better or much worse than the past; which it is to be will be decided within the next few years.
Freddie Mercury was one of those guys who didn't care. That's extremely rare, I think, When you couple that with his musical abilities, well, I wouldn't say he was the greatest piano player in the world, but he was certainly intensely musical. And his vocals; there's a guy I wouldn't want to have a cutting contest with as a singer. He had just silly ability. When you listen to his vibrato, it's erratic. That's just talent, straight-up talent and creativity. That's ridiculous. Imagine what he would have been able to do if he had been trained. It wouldn't have affected his spontaneity or creativity. I think that's a big myth, this idea that when you become educated, it takes away from the soulful part. That's just once-in-a-century talent.
But the thing that's really disturbing about Noah isn't the silly, it's that it's immoral. It's about a psychotic mass murderer who gets away with it, and his name is God. Genesis says God was so angry with himself for screwing up when he made mankind so flawed (grr!), that he sent the flood to kill everyone. Everyone. Men, women, children, babies. What kind of tyrant punishes everyone just to get back at the few he's mad at? I mean, besides Chris Christie. Hey God, you know you're kind of a dick when you are in a movie with Russell Crowe, and you're the one with anger issues. You know, conservatives are always going on about how Americans are losing their values and their morality. Well, maybe it's because you worship a guy who drowns babies.
Everything I've learned in life I've learned either by doing it or watching the changes other people go through. And when you're famous, you don't get to meet people — because they want you to like them when they present themselves to you, present the best sides of themselves, and you don't see the real people. Which is why I don't really go anywhere. And when I do, I put on my silly face and do what they expect me to do. Actually, I never do what they expect me to do. It's the only way I could go on doing what I have to do. I do whatever I… you know, I didn't even comb my hair today. I didn't know we were taking pictures but when I found out, it didn't change my mind any.
Don't you think that it's amazing that I'm singing into this silly camera with the desk lamp, and it's going through all these wires and everything else, and these computers, and you still feel what I'm feeling, and you still get what I'm trying to do? Yeah. I think its amazing. And I think it's so nice in a period when we're very isolated people, and kind of emotionless people, I think it's great that we can still touch one another and we can still feel what we're feeling, and we can still have fun, and we can be sad, and we can be happy, and to know that someone cares about you — because I really do. I really do.
And I can't believe that I have over 10,000 subscribers. What is wrong with you people?
Our magistrates have known well this mystery. Their red robes, the ermine in which they wrap themselves like furry cats, the courts in which they administer justice, the fleurs-de-lis, and all such august apparel were necessary; if the physicians had not their cassocks and their mules, if the doctors had not their square caps and their robes four times too wide, they would never have duped the world, which cannot resist so original an appearance. If magistrates had true justice, and if physicians had the true art of healing, they would have no occasion for square caps; the majesty of these sciences would of itself be venerable enough. But having only imaginary knowledge, they must employ those silly tools that strike the imagination with which they have to deal; and thereby in fact they inspire respect. 82
We are indeed living at the end of the Golden Age of Mankind, or at least the end of this particular human civilization. That almost everything we take for granted today may, only a couple of decades farther along, seem entirely remarkable, that our most mundane artefacts and toys will stand as incredible examples of luxury and excess. That all of this will pass away, and the "simplest" bits of our day-to-day lives will become miracles of a half-remembered past. A past which will be responsible for that future-present misery. It is difficult to force myself through the trivial routine of my days when these thoughts are front and center. It is difficult to see beyond the veil they draw up about me and difficult to push it all aside long enough to write my silly little stories.
The public be damned. What does the public care for railroads except to get as much out of them for as small a consideration as possible? I don't take any stock in this silly nonsense about working for anybody's good but our own, because we are not. When we make a move, we do it because it is in our interest to do so, and not because we expect to do somebody else good. Of course, we like to do everything possible for the benefit of humanity in general, but when we do, we first see that we are benefiting ourselves. Railroads are not run on sentiment, but on business principles and to pay, and I don't mean to be egotistic when I say that the roads which I have had anything to do with have generally paid pretty well.
Disputed quote by William Henry Vanderbilt
• Quoted in Clarence P. Dresser, "Vanderbilt in the West" New York Times (9 October 1882). Dresser's account has Vanderbilt denying that he ran a particular passenger express service for the public benefit, but rather to drive down prices of a competing Pennsylvania Railroad service. By some accounts Dresser fabricated the interview except for the first sentence, which Vanderbilt said in refusing to give an interview. See "Reporter C. P. Dresser Dead", New York Times (25 April 1891).
• Source: Wikiquote: "William Henry Vanderbilt" (Disputed)
The physicists didn't want to be bothered with the idea that maybe quantum theory is only provisional. A horn of plenty had been spilled before them, and every physicist could find something to apply quantum mechanics to. They were pleased to think that this great mathematician had shown it was so. Yet the Von Neumann proof, if you actually come to grips with it, falls apart in your hands! There is nothing to it. It's not just flawed, it's silly. If you look at the assumptions made, it does not hold up for a moment. It's the work of a mathematician, and he makes assumptions that have a mathematical symmetry to them. When you translate them into terms of physical disposition, they're nonsense. You may quote me on that: The proof of Von Neumann is not merely false but foolish!
What on earth has given opera its prestige in western civilisation — a prestige that has outlasted so many different fashions and ways of thought? Why are people prepared to sit silently for three hours listening to a performance of which they do not understand a word and of which they very seldom know the plot? Why do quite small towns all over Germany and Italy still devote a large portion of their budgets to this irrational entertainment? Partly, of course, because it is a display of skill, like a football match. But chiefly, I think, because it is irrational. "What is too silly to be said may be sung" — well, yes; but what is too subtle to be said, or too deeply felt, or too revealing or too mysterious — these things can also be sung and can only be sung.
Kenneth Clark
• Ch. 9: The Pursuit of Happiness; "What is too silly to be said may be sung" is a commonly used translation or paraphrase of lines from Act I, Scene ii of the play The Barber of Seville by Pierre de Beaumarchais, which was the basis of famous operas.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Kenneth Clark" (Quotes, Civilisation (1969))
Economists likewise argue that their role as policy-makers is legitimate because they are neutral among competing values in the client society. ... Following the same line of reasoning, it should be possible to decide whether Creationism should be taught in the public schools, whether black and white people should be segregated, whether the death penalty should be enforced, and whether the square root of six is three. All of these questions arguably depend upon how much people are willing to pay for their subjective preferences or wants. This is the beauty of cost-benefit analysis: no matter how relevant or irrelevant, wise or stupid, informed or uninformed, responsible or silly, defensible or indefensible wants may be, the analyst is able to derive a policy from them-a policy which is legitimate because, in theory, it treats all of these preferences as equally valid and good.
Mark Sagoff
• Source: Wikiquote: "Mark Sagoff" (Quotes, "At the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima: Or, Why Political Questions are Not all Economic": Arizona Law Review, volume 22, issue 4, September 1981)
Look how your children grow up. Taught from their earliest infancy to curb their love natures — restrained at every turn! Your blasting lies would even blacken a child's kiss. Little girls must not be tomboyish, must not go barefoot, must not climb trees, must not learn to swim, must not do anything they desire to do which Madame Grundy has decreed "improper." Little boys are laughed at as effeminate, silly girl-boys if they want to make patchwork or play with a doll. Then when they grow up, "Oh! Men dont care for home or children as women do!" Why should they, when the deliberate effort of your life has been to crush that nature out of them. "Women can't rough it like men." Train any animal, or any plant, as you train your girls, and it wont be able to rough it either.
I don't have a social life right now. I try to -- it's something that I miss -- but David Foster told me: 'The golden microphone is in front of your mouth. You have to sing into it or it will get passed onto someone else.' It's very lonely, what I'm doing. Even though you have a lot of people around you, they're not experiencing it first-hand. It's hard to name more than five close friends. As much as people want to understand, it's hard when you don't see someone for five months at a time, and they're like, 'C'mon, make time.' But I don't have time. My days are gone. There are a lot of firsts for me. And I'm not going to toss it off. It would be silly to say, 'No, I'd rather go see a movie.' I know there will be time for that later.
I remember that night. It was late at night—in the daytime one was bothered with the gaping, silly students—and I worked then sometimes till dawn. It came suddenly, splendid and complete in my mind. I was alone; the laboratory was still, with the tall lights burning brightly and silently. In all my great moments I have been alone. 'One could make an animal—a tissue—transparent! One could make it invisible! All except the pigments—I could be invisible!' I said, suddenly realising what it meant to be an albino with such knowledge. It was overwhelming. I left the filtering I was doing, and went and stared out of the great window at the stars. 'I could be invisible!' I repeated.To do such a thing would be to transcend magic. And I beheld, unclouded by doubt, a magnificent vision of all that invisibility might mean to a man—the mystery, the power, the freedom. Drawbacks I saw none.
Yet Moore is a silly and shady man who does not recognize courage of any sort even when he sees it because he cannot summon it in himself. To him, easy applause, in front of credulous audiences, is everything … If Michael Moore had had his way, Slobodan Milosevic would still be the big man in a starved and tyrannical Serbia. Bosnia and Kosovo would have been cleansed and annexed. If Michael Moore had been listened to, Afghanistan would still be under Taliban rule, and Kuwait would have remained part of Iraq. And Iraq itself would still be the personal property of a psychopathic crime family, bargaining covertly with the slave state of North Korea for WMD. You might hope that a retrospective awareness of this kind would induce a little modesty. To the contrary, it is employed to pump air into one of the great sagging blimps of our sorry, mediocre, celeb-rotten culture.
The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman.
The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly — the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light.
The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.
If the loyal people united were put to the utmost of their strength by the rebellion, must they not fail when divided and partially paralyzed by a political war among themselves? But the election was a necessity. We cannot have free government without elections; and if the election could force us to forego or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us. The strife of the election is but human nature practically applied to the facts of the case. What has occurred in this case must ever recur in similar cases. Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared with the men of this, we will have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good. Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this as philosophy to learn wisdom from, and none of them as wrongs to be revenged.
Me, I just don't care about proprietary software. It's not "evil" or "immoral," it just doesn't matter. I think that Open Source can do better, and I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is by working on Open Source, but it's not a crusade – it's just a superior way of working together and generating code. It's superior because it's a lot more fun and because it makes cooperation much easier (no silly NDA's or artificial barriers to innovation like in a proprietary setting), and I think Open Source is the right thing to do the same way I believe science is better than alchemy. Like science, Open Source allows people to build on a solid base of previous knowledge, without some silly hiding. But I don't think you need to think that alchemy is "evil." It's just pointless because you can obviously never do as well in a closed environment as you can with open scientific methods.
There are many hypotheses in science that are wrong. That's perfectly alright; it's the aperture to finding out what's right. Science is a self-correcting process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny. The worst aspect of the Velikovsky affair is not that many of his ideas were wrong or silly or in gross contradiction to the facts; rather, the worst aspect is that some scientists attempted to suppress Velikovsky's ideas. The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge and there is no place for it in the endeavor of science. We do not know beforehand where fundamental insights will arise from about our mysterious and lovely solar system, and the history of our study of the solar system shows clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources.
Tim the Enchanter:  There he is!
King Arthur:  Where?
Tim:  There!
King Arthur:  What?  Behind the rabbit?
Tim:  It is the rabbit!
King Arthur:  You silly sod!
Tim:  What?
King Arthur:  You got us all worked up!
Tim:  Well, that's no ordinary rabbit.
King Arthur:  Ohh.
Tim:  That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot:  You tit!  I soiled my armor I was so scared!
Tim:  Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide!  It's a killer!
Sir Galahad the Pure:  Get stuffed!
Tim:  He'll do you up a treat, mate.
Sir Galahad:  Oh, yeah?
Sir Robin:  You manky Scots git!
Tim:  I'm warning you!
Sir Robin:  What's he do?  Nibble your bum?
Tim:  He's got huge, sharp... er...  He can leap about.  Look at the bones!
King Arthur:  Go on, Bors.  Chop his head off!
Sir Bors:  Right!  Silly little bleeder.  One rabbit stew comin' right up!
In 1989, during the heat and height of the Satanic Verses controversy, I was silly enough to accept appearing on a program called Hypotheticals which posed imaginary scenarios by a well-versed (what if…?) barrister, Geoffrey Robertson QC. I foolishly made light of certain provocative questions. When asked what I’d do if Salman Rushdie entered a restaurant in which I was eating, I said, “I would probably call up Ayatollah Khomeini”; and, rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author, I jokingly said I would have preferred that it'd be the “real thing”.
Criticize me for my bad taste, in hindsight, I agree. … Certainly I regret giving those sorts of responses now. However, it must be noted that the final edit of the program was made to look extremely serious; hardly any laughs were left in and much common sense was savagely cut out. … Balanced arguments were cut out and the most sensational quotes, preserved.
Secession is not mentioned in the Constitution. That does not make it a power of the states. The argument brought up that because it is not in the Constitution, therefore it must be legal is a silly argument. The counterargument to that is if it is not in the Constitution, it is not permitted fits just as well. The concept of leaving the union was brought up in the ratification process and shown to be incompatible with being in the union to begin with. This 'legal because it isn't in the constitution or the tenth amendment' garbage is the usual crap from the Lost Cause crowd in adherence with their Confederate Catechism. It is not how the Constitution is interpreted and it certainly is not how the constitution is examined by scholars and legal experts. Only a little tiny fringe element believes the Lost Cause version of secession’s legality. They repeat it like a mantra because everything else shows that they’re wrong.
Moreover, he knows by experience that there is always a reason for my slightest questions, though he may not see it at once; so he has not got into the habit of giving silly answers; on the contrary, he is on his guard, he considers things carefully and attentively before answering. He never gives me an answer unless he is satisfied with it himself, and he is hard to please. Lastly we neither of us take any pride in merely knowing a thing, but only in avoiding mistakes. We should be more ashamed to deceive ourselves with bad reasoning, than to find no explanation at all. There is no phrase so appropriate to us, or so often on our lips, as, "I do not know;" neither of us are ashamed to use it. But whether he gives the silly answer or whether he avoids it by our convenient phrase "I do not know," my answer is the same. "Let us examine it."
It must be remembered that all trade is and must be in a sense selfish; trade not being infinite, nay, the trade of a particular place or district being possibly very limited, what one man gains another loses. In the hand to hand war of commerce, as in the conflicts of public life, whether at the bar, in Parliament, in medicine, in engineering (I give examples only), men fight on without much thought of others, except a desire to excel or to defeat them. Very lofty minds, like Sir Philip Sidney with his cup of water, will not stoop to take an advantage, if they think another wants it more. Our age, in spite of high authority to the contrary, is not without its Sir Philip Sidneys; but these are counsels of perfection which it would be silly indeed to make the measure of the rough business of the world as pursued by ordinary men of business. The line is in words difficult to draw. . . .
• John Duke Coleridge, Lord Chief Justice, Mogul Steamship Co. v. McGregor, Gow & Co. (1888), L. R. 21 Q. B. D. 553.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Trade" (Sourced, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904): Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 31-35.)
Property has always been the central consideration of the United States government, but it has become even more so over time. Between the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, to provide just one obvious, and in some ways, silly, example (silly because all of the terms are seemingly obvious, yet in fact nearly impossible to adequately define) and the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1868, the inalienable right with which men [sic] are self-evidently endowed by their Creator, and which may not be abridged by the State, changed from "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness," to life, liberty, and property. The Fourteenth Amendment, passed during the KKK's maiden reign of terror, ostensibly to protect the rights of blacks from racist state governments, has been used far more often to protect the rights to property: Of the Fourteenth Amendment cases brought before the Supreme Court between 1890 and 1910, only nineteen dealt with the rights of blacks, while two hundred and eighty-eight dealt with the rights of corporations.
Simplicity of life, even the barest, is not a misery, but the very foundation of refinement: a sanded floor and whitewashed walls, and the green trees, and flowery meads, and living waters outside; or a grimy palace amid the smoke with a regiment of housemaids always working to smear the dirt together so that it may be unnoticed; which, think you, is the most refined, the most fit for a gentleman of those two dwellings?
So I say, if you cannot learn to love real art; at least learn to hate sham art and reject it. It is not because the wretched thing is so ugly and silly and useless that I ask you to cast it from you; it is much more because these are but the outward symbols of the poison that lies within them; look through them and see all that has gone to their fashioning, and you will see how vain labour, and sorrow, and disgrace have been their companions from the first — and all this for trifles that no man really needs!
I do admire Van Gogh - I do think he was one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived. He did some very silly things. Top of the list, famously – after a row with Gaugin - absolutely ripped to the tits on absinthe – girlfriend had left him – so, he chopped his ear off and sent it to her. Do you think she came back? Do you think that did the trick? Hasn't really caught on, has it? For a start, you wouldn't try that trick today with our post, would you? Six months later, she'd be saying 'Ooh! a sun-dried tomato!' And what was he thinking? What was this girl going to do? Open up this package, fish out this lug, and go 'Ooh, Vinny! I thought you were all mad and driven and weird and a loner, and our relationship was doomed, and you go and do a lovely thing like this. Ooh, you know how to get round me. I SAID, YOU KNOW HOW TO GET ROUND ME!' (Wrap Up Warm tour, May 2004)
[T]his theme of mutually invisible life at widely differing scales bears an important implication for the “culture wars” that supposedly now envelop our universities and our intellectual discourse in general […]. One side of this false dichotomy features the postmodern relativists who argue that all culturally bound modes of perception must be equally valid, and that no factual truth therefore exists. The other side includes the benighted, old-fashioned realists who insist that flies truly have two wings, and that Shakespeare really did mean what he thought he was saying. The principle of scaling provides a resolution for the false parts of this silly dichotomy. Facts are facts and cannot be denied by any rational being. (Often, facts are also not at all easy to determine or specify—but this question raises different issues for another time.) Facts, however, may also be highly scale dependent—and the perceptions of one world may have no validity or expression in the domain of another. The one-page map of Maine cannot recognize the separate boulders of Acadia, but both provide equally valid representations of a factual coastline.
In the name of Purity what lies are told! What queer morality it has engendered. For fear of it you dare not tell your own children the truth about their birth; the most sacred of all functions, the creation of a human being, is a subject for the most miserable falsehood. When they come to you with a simple, straightforward question, which they have a right to ask, you say, "Don't ask such questions," or tell some silly hollowlog story; or you explain the incomprehensibility by another — God! You say "God made you." You know you are lying when you say it. You know, or you ought to know, that the source of inquiry will not be dammed up so. You know that what you Could explain purely, reverently, rightly (if you have any purity in you), will be learned through many blind gropings, and that around it will be cast the shadowthought of wrong, embryo'd by your denial and nurtured by this social opinion everywhere prevalent. If you do not know this, then you are blind to facts and deaf to Experience.
The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever. When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in the particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is "So it goes."
Kurt Vonnegut
• Billy writing a letter to a newspaper describing the Tralfamadorians
• Source: Wikiquote: "Kurt Vonnegut" (Quotes, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969): Full title: Slaughterhouse-Five, Or The Children's Crusade : A Duty-dance with Death These are just a few samples, for more from this work see Slaughterhouse-Five)
The most important thing I learned on ] was that when a person dies he only [[appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever. When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is "So it goes."
• Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five, Or The Children's Crusade : A Duty-dance with Death, (1969), Ch. 2.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Appearance" (Quotes)
Both these men are in love with Natasha, Count Rostov's younger daughter, and in her Tolstoy has created the most delightful girl in fiction. Nothing is so difficult as to portray a young girl who is at once charming and interesting. Generally the young girls of fiction are colorless (Amelia in Vanity Fair), priggish (Fanny in Mansfield Park), too clever by half (Constantia Durham in The Egoist), or little geese (Dora in David Copperfield), silly flirts or innocent beyound belief. It is understandable that they should be an awkward subject for the novelist to deal with, for at that tender age the personality is undeveloped. Similarly a painter can only make a face interesting when the vicissitudes of life, thought, love and suffering have given it character. In the portrait of a girl the best he can do is to represent the charm and beauty of youth. But Natasha is entirely natural. She is sweet, sensitive, and sympathetic, willful, childish, womanly already, idealistic, quick-tempered, warm-hearted, headstrong, capricious and in everything enchanting. Tolstoy created many women and they are wonderfully true to life, but never another who wins the affection of the reader as does Natasha.
By the side of a wood, in a country a long way off, ran a fine stream of water; and upon the stream there stood a mill. The miller's house was close by, and the miller, you must know, had a very beautiful daughter. She was, moreover, very shrewd and clever; and the miller was so proud of her, that he one day told the king of the land, who used to come and hunt in the wood, that his daughter could spin gold out of straw. Now this king was very fond of money; and when he heard the miller's boast his greediness was raised, and he sent for the girl to be brought before him. Then he led her to a chamber in his palace where there was a great heap of straw, and gave her a spinning-wheel, and said, 'All this must be spun into gold before morning, as you love your life.' It was in vain that the poor maiden said that it was only a silly boast of her father, for that she could do no such thing as spin straw into gold: the chamber door was locked, and she was left alone.
Textile arts
• Brothers Grimm, Rumpelstiltskin. Quoted in Edgar Taylor, (1872). German Popular Stories and Fairy Tales, as Told by Gammer Grethel. Bell & Daldy, Page 68.
• Source: Wikiquote: "Textile arts" (Sourced)
And the ethical system of these men of the New Republic, the ethical system which will dominate the world state, will be shaped primarily to favour the procreation of what is fine and efficient and beautiful in humanity—beautiful and strong bodies, clear and powerful minds, and a growing body of knowledge—and to check the procreation of base and servile types, of fear-driven and cowardly souls, of all that is mean and ugly and bestial in the souls, bodies, or habits of men. To do the latter is to do the former; the two things are inseparable. And the method that nature has followed hitherto in the shaping of the world, whereby weakness was prevented from propagating weakness, and cowardice and feebleness were saved from the accomplishment of their desires, the method that has only one alternative, the method that must in some cases still be called in to the help of man, is death. In the new vision death is no inexplicable horror, no pointless terminal terror to the miseries of life, it is the end of all the pain of life, the end of the bitterness of failure, the merciful obliteration of weak and silly and pointless things.
What I do want to stress is that the kind of lethargic despair which is now not uncommon, is irrational. Mankind is in the position of a man climbing a difficult and dangerous precipice, at the summit of which there is a plateau of delicious mountain meadows. With every step that he climbs, his fall, if he does fall, becomes more terrible; with every step his weariness increases and the ascent grows more difficult. At last there is only one more step to be taken, but the climber does not know this, because he cannot see beyond the jutting rocks at his head. His exhaustion is so complete that he wants nothing but rest. If he lets go he will find rest in death. Hope calls: "One more effort-perhaps it will be the last effort needed." Irony retorts: "Silly fellow! Haven't you been listening to hope all this time, and see where it has landed you." Optimism says: "While there is life there is hope." Pessimism growls: "While there is life there is pain." Does the exhausted climber make one more effort, or does he let himself sink into the abyss? In a few years those of us who are still alive will know the answer.
Last year, initially The Scotsman newspaper — being Scottish and J. K. Rowling being Scottish — and because of the English tendency to try and tear down their idols, they kept trying to build stories which said J. K. Rowling ripped off Neil Gaiman. They kept getting in touch with me and I kept declining to play because I thought it was silly. And then The Daily Mirror in England ran an article about that mad woman who was trying to sue J. K. Rowling over having stolen muggles from her. And they finished off with a line saying [something like]: And Neil Gaiman has accused her of stealing.
Luckily I found this online and I found it the night it came out by pure coincidence and the reporter's e-mail address was at the bottom of the thing so I fired off an e-mail saying: This is not true, I never said this. You are making this up. I got an apologetic e-mail back, but by the time I'd gotten the apologetic e-mail back it was already in The Daily Mail the following morning and it was very obvious that The Daily Mail‘s research [had] consisted of reading The Daily Mirror. And you're going: journalists are so lazy.
First, his style sucks you in right away. He's a very funny guy who talks fast and keeps the jokes coming, gets everyone liking him, gets them relaxed and laughing. And nodding. Then he takes examples of science questioning itself and calls that stupid. While you're still chuckling about how silly science is, he starts cherry-picking questions science doesn't even pretend to have an answer for, and he calls science stupid. Then he points out places where science made mistakes and says "stupid" again. What he doesn't say is what's really going on. Because what would really be stupid is if scientists didn't keep looking for better answers, and if they didn't admit when they made a mistake. But they do. That's how we know what the mistakes are. That's where Hovind gets them - from science itself. Hovind says the Bible answers questions that evolution is too stupid to know. What he won't say is that we're supposed to believe the Bible is true because the Bible says it's true. He picks on science because it questions itself, because it requires proof - even from itself. What I get is that the only proof Mr. Hovind requires is that the Bible's assertion that the Bible is correct.
It's kind of difficult to put into words why I don't like Bob Laytons's inking. This is going to sound really silly, but I actually feel physically ill when I look at Bob's stuff. I really do. It's like everything is greasy and slimy. You know those things you can buy that hang from your rear view mirror that are made out of rubber and you touch them and they feel greasy. That's how Bob's stuff looks to me. And all his men are queer. They have these bouffant hairdos and heavy eye make-up and an upper lip with a little shadow in the corner which to me says lipstick. Even the Hulk. I will never forgive him for what he did to the Hulk's face in the annual that we did together. A lot of the other stuff I liked, but the Hulk's face, the Angel's face, the Angel, God!I remember my father looking at the stats of the finished inks and there's a shot of the Angel standing there with his hands on his hips saying hello to somebody and my father said, "Well this guy's queer." No, he didn't look queer in the pencils Dad. (Comics Journal #57, interview). (no link to ACTUAL source... will delete soon)
Imagine that in some private business you own a small share which cost you $1,000. One of your partners, named Mr. Market, is very obliging indeed. Every day he tells you what he thinks your interest is worth and furthermore offers either to buy you out or to sell you an additional interest on that basis. Sometimes his idea of value appears plausible and justified by business developments and prospects as you know them. Often, on the other hand, Mr. Market lets his enthusiasm or his fears run away with him, and the value he proposes seems to you a little short of silly. If you are a prudent investor or a sensible businessman will you let Mr. Market's daily communication determine your view as the value of your $1,000 interest in the enterprise? Only in case you agree with him, or in case you want to trade with him. You may be happy to sell out to him when he quotes you a ridiculously high price, and equally happy to buy from him when his price is low. But the rest of the time you will be wiser to form your owing ideas of the value of your holdings, based on full reports from the company about its operations and financial position.
You must show that a man is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong. The modern method is to assume without discussion that he is wrong and then distract his attention from this (the only real issue) by busily explaining how he became so silly. In the course of the last fifteen years I have found this vice so common that I have had to invent a name for it. I call it “Bulverism”. Some day I am going to write the biography of its imaginary inventor, Ezekiel Bulver, whose destiny was determined at the age of five when he heard his mother say to his father—who had been maintaining that two sides of a triangle were together greater than a third—”Oh you say that because you are a man.” “At that moment”, E. Bulver assures us, “there flashed across my opening mind the great truth that refutation is no necessary part of argument. Assume that your opponent is wrong, and the world will be at your feet. Attempt to prove that he is wrong or (worse still) try to find out whether he is wrong or right, and the national dynamism of our age will thrust you to the wall.” That is how Bulver became one of the makers of the Twentieth Century.
So strong is the belief in life, in what is most fragile in life — real life, I mean — that in the end this belief is lost. Man, that inveterate dreamer, daily more discontent with his destiny, has trouble assessing the objects he has been led to use, objects that his nonchalance has brought his way, or that he has earned through his own efforts, almost always through his own efforts, for he has agreed to work, at least he has not refused to try his luck (or what he calls his luck!). At this point he feels extremely modest: he knows what women he has had, what silly affairs he has been involved in; he is unimpressed by his wealth or his poverty, in this respect he is still a new-born babe and, as for the approval of his conscience, I confess that he does very nicely without it. If he still retains a certain lucidity, all he can do is turn back toward his childhood which, however his guides and mentors may have botched it, still strikes him as somehow charming. There, the absence of any known restrictions allows him the perspective of several lives lived at once; this illusion becomes firmly rooted within him; now he is only interested in the fleeting, the extreme facility of everything.
I can fancy what you saw. Yes; it is horrible enough; but after all, it is an old story, an old mystery played in our day and in dim London streets instead of amidst the vineyards and the olive gardens. We know what happened to those who chanced to meet the Great God Pan, and those who are wise know that all symbols are symbols of something, not of nothing. It was, indeed, an exquisite symbol beneath which men long ago veiled their knowledge of the most awful, most secret forces which lie at the heart of all things; forces before which the souls of men must wither and die and blacken, as their bodies blacken under the electric current. Such forces cannot be named, cannot be spoken, cannot be imagined except under a veil and a symbol, a symbol to the most of us appearing a quaint, poetic fancy, to some a foolish, silly tale. But you and I, at all events, have known something of the terror that may dwell in the secret place of life, manifested under human flesh; that which is without form taking to itself a form. Oh, Austin, how can it be? How is it that the very sunlight does not turn to blackness before this thing, the hard earth melt and boil beneath such a burden?
We do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place. The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached — their fundamental faith in human progress — that must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey.
For if we lose that faith — if we dismiss it as silly or naïve; if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace — then we lose what's best about humanity. We lose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass.
Like generations have before us, we must reject that future. As Dr. King said at this occasion so many years ago, "I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the 'isness' of man's present condition makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal 'oughtness' that forever confronts him."
Let us reach for the world that ought to be — that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls.
Roberto’s carefree outlook on life began to change when the press started to misunderstand him when he talked about his injuries. When he was hurt he had trouble explaining himself because of the language problem and everyone thought he was jakin’. I don’t think he’s ever jaked. He just could do things when he was hurt as well as the rest of us could when we were healthy, and people would see this and decide he was dogging it. They thought he used the basket catch because Mays did and everything he did in the outfield was exciting, so right away to some writers he was a hot dog who jaked. Stories were written to that effect and he went through some years when he didn’t trust writers, and I don’t blame him. Some of them put words in your mouth and that’s what they did to him when he was younger. They tried to make him look like an ass by getting him to say controversial things and then they wrote how the Puerto Rican hot dog was popping off again. He was just learning to handle the language and he couldn’t express what he felt or thought and it frustrated him. Writers who couldn’t speak three words of Spanish tried to make him look silly, but he was an intelligent man who knows people and knows the game.
In 1989, during the heat and height of the Satanic Verses controversy, I was silly enough to accept appearing on a program called Hypotheticals which posed imaginary scenarios by a well-versed (what if…?) barrister, Geoffrey Robertson QC. I foolishly made light of certain provocative questions. When asked what I’d do if Salman Rushdie entered a restaurant in which I was eating, I said, “I would probably call up Ayatollah Khomeini”; and, rather than go to a demonstration to burn an effigy of the author, I jokingly said I would have preferred that it'd be the “real thing”.
Criticize me for my bad taste, in hindsight, I agree. But these comments were part of a well-known British national trait; a touch of dry humor on my part. Just watch British comedy programs like "Have I Got News For You" or “Extras”, they are full of occasionally grotesque and sardonic jokes if you want them! … Certainly I regret giving those sorts of responses now. However, it must be noted that the final edit of the program was made to look extremely serious; hardly any laughs were left in and much common sense was savagely cut out. Most of the Muslim participants in the program wrote in and complained about the narrow and selective use of their comments, surreptitiously selected out of the 3-hour long recording of the debate. But the edit was not in our hands. Balanced arguments were cut out and the most sensational quotes, preserved.
Perhaps I am a crank, Martin. There are many who hate me. There are plots against me — oh, you t'ink I imagine it, but you shall see! I make many mistakes. But one thing I keep always pure: the religion of a scientist.
To be a scientist — it is not just a different job, so that a man should choose between being a scientist and being an explorer or a bond-salesman or a physician or a king or a farmer. It is a tangle of ver-y obscure emotions, like mysticism, or wanting to write poetry; it makes its victim all different from the good normal man. The normal man, he does not care much what he does except that he should eat and sleep and make love. But the scientist is intensely religious — he is so religious that he will not accept quarter-truths, because they are an insult to his faith.
He wants that everything should be subject to inexorable laws. He is equal opposed to the capitalists who t'ink their silly money-grabbing is a system, and to liberals who t'ink man is not a fighting animal; he takes both the American booster and the European aristocrat, and he ignores all their blithering. Ignores it! All of it! He hates the preachers who talk their fables, but he iss not too kindly to the anthropologists and historians who can only make guesses, yet they have the nerf to call themselves scientists! Oh, yes, he is a man that all nice good-natured people should naturally hate!
~ Gottlieb, Ch. 26
Silly children grow into ordinary men. I know no generalisation more certain than this. It is the most difficult thing in the world to distinguish between genuine stupidity, and that apparent and deceitful stupidity which is the sign of a strong character. At first sight it seems strange that the two extremes should have the same outward signs; and yet it may well be so, for at an age when man has as yet no true ideas, the whole difference between the genius and the rest consists in this: the latter only take in false ideas, while the former, finding nothing but false ideas, receives no ideas at all. In this he resembles the fool; the one is fit for nothing, the other finds nothing fit for him. The only way of distinguishing between them depends upon chance, which may offer the genius some idea which he can understand, while the fool is always the same. As a child, the young Cato was taken for an idiot by his parents; he was obstinate and silent, and that was all they perceived in him; it was only in Sulla's ante-chamber that his uncle discovered what was in him. Had he never found his way there, he might have passed for a fool till he reached the age of reason. Had Caesar never lived, perhaps this same Cato, who discerned his fatal genius, and foretold his great schemes, would have passed for a dreamer all his days. Those who judge children hastily are apt to be mistaken; they are often more childish than the child himself.
[Thanksgiving is] my favorite holiday, I think. It's without a doubt my favorite American Holiday. I love Christmastime, Chanuka etc. But Thanksgiving is as close as we get to a nationalist holiday in America (a country where nationalism as a concept doesn't really fit). Thanksgiving's roots are pre-founding, which means its not a political holiday in any conventional sense. We are giving thanks for the soil, the land, for the gifts of providence which were bequeathed to us long before we figured out our political system. Moreover, because there are no gifts, the holiday isn't nearly so vulnerable to materialism and commercialism. It's about things -- primarily family and private accomplishments and blessings -- that don't overlap very much with politics of any kind. We are thankful for the truly important things: our children and their health, for our friends, for the things which make life rich and joyful. As for all the stuff about killing Indians and whatnot, I can certainly understand why Indians might have some ambivalence about the holiday (though I suspect many do not). The sad -- and fortunate -- truth is that the European conquest of North America was an unremarkable old world event (one tribe defeating another tribe and taking their land; happened all the time) which ushered in a gloriously hopeful new age for humanity. America remains the last best hope for mankind. Still, I think it would be silly to deny how America came to be, but the truth makes me no less grateful that America did come to be. Also, I really, really like the food.
“[Thanksgiving is] my favorite holiday, I think. It's without a doubt my favorite American Holiday. I love Christmastime, Chanuka etc. But Thanksgiving is as close as we get to a nationalist holiday in America (a country where nationalism as a concept doesn't really fit). Thanksgiving's roots are pre-founding, which means its not a political holiday in any conventional sense. We are giving thanks for the soil, the land, for the gifts of providence which were bequeathed to us long before we figured out our political system. Moreover, because there are no gifts, the holiday isn't nearly so vulnerable to materialism and commercialism. It's about things -- primarily family and private accomplishments and blessings -- that don't overlap very much with politics of any kind. We are thankful for the truly important things: our children and their health, for our friends, for the things which make life rich and joyful. As for all the stuff about killing Indians and whatnot, I can certainly understand why Indians might have some ambivalence about the holiday (though I suspect many do not). The sad -- and fortunate -- truth is that the European conquest of North America was an unremarkable old world event (one tribe defeating another tribe and taking their land; happened all the time) which ushered in a gloriously hopeful new age for humanity. America remains the last best hope for mankind. Still, I think it would be silly to deny how America came to be, but the truth makes me no less grateful that America did come to be. Also, I really, really like the food.” (
Iverson: If I can't practice, I can't practice man. If I'm hurt, I'm hurt. I mean … simple as that. It ain't about that... I mean it's... It's not about that... At all. You know what I'm saying I mean... But it''s easy … to, to talk about... It's easy to sum it up when you're just talking about practice. We're sitting in here, and I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we in here talking about practice. I mean, listen, we're talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, we talking about practice. Not a game. Not, not … Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it's my last. Not the game, but we're talking about practice, man. I mean, how silly is that? … And we talking about practice. I know I supposed to be there. I know I'm supposed to lead by example... I know that... And I'm not.. I'm not shoving it aside, you know, like it don't mean anything. I know it's important, I do. I honestly do... But we're talking about practice man. What are we talking about? Practice? We're talking about practice, man. [laughter from the media crowd] We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice. We ain't talking about the game. [more laughter] We're talking about practice, man. When you come to the arena, and you see me play, you see me play don't you? You've seen me give everything I've got, right? But we're talking about practice right now. We talking about pr... [Interrupted].
As for the piano, I was left to my own devices practically from the age of twelve. As is frequently the case in teachers' families, our parents were so busy with their pupils (literally from morning until late at night) that they hardly had any time for their own children. And that, in spite of the fact that with the favourable prejudice common to all parents, they had a very high opinion of my gifts. (I myself had a much more sober attitude. I was always aware of a great many faults although at times I felt that I had in me something "not quite usual".) But I won't speak of this. As a pianist, I am known. My good and bad points are known and nobody can be interested in my "prehistoric period". I will only say that because of this early "independence" I did a lot of silly things which I could have easily avoided if I had been under the vigilant eye of an experienced and intelligent teacher for another three or four years. I lacked what is known as a "school". I lacked discipline. But it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good; my enforced independence compelled me, though sometimes by very devious ways, to achieve a great deal on my own and even my failures and errors subsequently proved more than once to be useful and educational, and in an occupation such as learning to master an art, where if not all, then almost all depends on individuality, the only sound foundation will always be the knowledge gained as the result of personal effort and personal experience.
"I ask you only why you find the belief inconvenient. I'm quite sure you can find no reason. Since it can only be useful, why do you not let yourself be persuaded? If God exists and you don't believe in Him, you will have made a mistake and disobeyed the commandment to believe in Him. If there is no God, you won't be any better off than the rest of us."
"Oh yes I will be better off than you," he answered, "because if there is no God, the game is tied. But, on the contrary, if there is one, I can't have offended something I thought did not exist. Sin requires knowing or willing. Don't you see? Even the least wise would not take offense if some uncouth man insulted him as long as the man hadn't intended to, or had mistaken him for someone else, or wine had loosened his tongue. All the more reason then to ask: will God, who is all-imperturbable, get mad at us for not having recognized Him when He, himself, has denied us the means of knowing Him?
"But by all you believe, my little animal, if belief in God were so necessary and were of eternal importance to us, would God himself not infuse in everyone enlightenment as bright as the Sun, which hides from no one?
Do we pretend that God wants to play hide-and-seek with us, like children calling 'Peekaboo, I see you!'? Does God put on a mask and then take it off? Does He disguise himself to some and reveal himself to others? That would be a God who is either silly or malicious.
Some doubt may arise in the minds of Western men how they could be helped in their present problems by a doctrine of the far and foreign East. And others, even in the East, may ask how words spoken 2,500 years ago can have relevance to our ‘modern world’, except in a very general sense. Those who raise the objection of distance in space (meaning by it, properly, the difference of race), should ask themselves whether Benares is truly more foreign to a citizen of London than Nazareth from where a teaching has issued that to that very citizen has become a familiar and important part of his life and thought. They should further he willing to admit that mathematical laws, found out long ago in distant Greece, are of no less validity today, in Britain or elsewhere. But particularly these objectors should consider the numerous basic facts of life that are common to all humanity. It is about them that the Buddha preeminently speaks. Those who raise the objection of the distance in time, will certainly recall many golden words of long-dead sages and poets which strike such a deep and kindred chord in our own hearts that we very vividly feel a living and intimate contact with those great ones who have left this world long ago. Such experience contrasts with the "very much present" silly chatter of society, newspapers or radio, which, when compared with those ancient voices of wisdom and beauty, will appear to emanate from the mental level of stone-age man tricked out in modern trappings. True wisdom is always young, and always near to the grasp of an open mind.
As I was writing about Grace Marks, and about her interlude in the Asylum, I came to see her in context — the context of other people's opinions, both the popular images of madness and the scientific explanations for it available at the time. A lot of what was believed and said on the subject appears like sheer lunacy to us now. But we shouldn't be too arrogant — how many of our own theories will look silly when those who follow us have come up with something better? But whatever the scientists may come up with, writers and artists will continue to portray altered mental states, simply because few aspects of our nature fascinate people so much. The so-called mad person will always represent a possible future for every member of the audience — who knows when such a malady may strike? When "mad," at least in literature, you aren't yourself; you take on another self, a self that is either not you at all, or a truer, more elemental one than the person you're used to seeing in the mirror. You're in danger of becoming, in Shakespeare's works, a mere picture or beast, and in Susanna Moodie's words, a mere machine; or else you may become an inspired prophet, a truth-sayer, a shaman, one who oversteps the boundaries of the ordinarily visible and audible, and also, and especially, the ordinarily sayable. Portraying this process is deep power for the artist, partly because it's a little too close to the process of artistic creation itself, and partly because the prospect of losing our self and being taken over by another, unfamiliar self is one of our deepest human fears.
The second proposition admits and encourages the very practice we censure so justly, for which the saint [ Augustine of Hippo ] was so famous, and by which he contributed so much to promote contentions in his own days, and to perpetuate them to ours. The practice of deducing doctrines from the scriptures that are not evidently contained in them... Who does not see that the direct tendency of this practice is exactly the same as the event has proved it to be? It composes and propagates a religion, seemingly under the authority of God, but really under that of man. The principles of revelation are lost in theology, or disfigured by it: and whilst some men are impudent enough to pretend, others are silly enough to believe, that they adhere to the gospel, and maintain the cause of God against infidels and heretics, when they do nothing better, nor more, than espouse the conceits of men, whom enthusiasm, or the ambition of forming sects, or of making a great figure in them, has inspired. If you ask now what the practice of the christian fathers, and of other divines, should have been, in order to preserve the purity of faith, and to promote peace and charity, the answer is obvious... They should have adhered to the word of God: they should have paid no regard to heathen philosophy, jewish cabala, the sallies of enthusiasm, or the refinements of human ingenuity: they should have embraced, and held fast the articles of faith and doctrine, that were delivered in plain terms, or in unequivocal figures: they should not have been dogmatical where the sense was doubtful, nor have presumed even to guess where the Holy Ghost left the veil of mystery undrawn.
When my Grandson entered the room I carefully secured the door. Then, sitting down by his side and taking our mathematical tablets, — or, as you would call them, Lines — I told him we would resume the lesson of yesterday. I taught him once more how a Point by motion in One Dimension produces a Line, and how a straight Line in Two Dimensions produces a Square. After this, forcing a laugh, I said, "And now, you scamp, you wanted to make me believe that a Square may in the same way by motion 'Upward, not Northward' produce another figure, a sort of extra Square in Three Dimensions. Say that again, you young rascal." At this moment we heard once more the herald's "O yes! O yes!" outside in the street proclaiming the Resolution of the Council. Young though he was, my Grandson — who was unusually intelligent for his age, and bred up in perfect reverence for the authority of the Circles — took in the situation with an acuteness for which I was quite unprepared. He remained silent till the last words of the Proclamation had died away, and then, bursting into tears, "Dear Grandpapa," he said, "that was only my fun, and of course I meant nothing at all by it; and we did not know anything then about the new Law; and I don't think I said anything about the Third Dimension; and I am sure I did not say one word about 'Upward, not Northward', for that would be such nonsense, you know. How could a thing move Upward, and not Northward? Upward and not Northward! Even if I were a baby, I could not be so absurd as that. How silly it is! Ha! ha! ha!"
Edwin Abbott Abbott
• Chapter 21. How I Tried to Teach the Theory of Three Dimensions to My Grandson, and With What Success
• Source: Wikiquote: "Edwin Abbott Abbott" (Quotes, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884):
The Inhabitants of SPACE IN GENERAL

This Work is Dedicated
By a Humble Native of Flatland
In the Hope that
Even as he was Initiated into the Mysteries
Of THREE Dimensions
Having been previously conversant
So the Citizens of that Celestial Region
May aspire yet higher and higher
To the Secrets of FOUR FIVE OR EVEN SIX Dimensions
Thereby contributing
To the Enlargement of THE IMAGINATION
And the possible Development
Of that most rare and excellent Gift of MODESTY
Among the Superior Races
I must tell you a critical discovery of mine àpropos: in an old book of Venetian arms, there are two coats of Capello, who from their name bear a hat; on one of them is added a fleur-de-lis on a blue ball, which I am persuaded was given to the family by the Great Duke, in consideration of this alliance; the Medicis, you know, bore such a badge at the top of their own arms. This discovery I made by a talisman, which Mr. Chute calls the Sortes Walpolianæ, by which I find every thing I want, à pointe nommee, whenever I dip for it. This discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word, which, as I have nothing better to tell you, I shall endeavour to explain to you: you will understand it better by the derivation than by the definition. I once read a silly fairy tale, called "The Three Princes of Serendip;" as their Highnesses travelled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of: for instance, one of them discovered that a mule blind of the right eye had travelled the same road lately, because the grass was eaten only on the left side, where it was worse than on the right — now do you understand Serendipity? One of the most remarkable instances of this accidental sagacity, (for you must observe that no discovery of a thing you are looking for comes under this description,) was of my Lord Shaftsbury, who, happening to dine at Lord Chancellor Clarendon's, found out the marriage of the Duke of York and Mrs. Hyde, by the respect with which her mother treated her at table. I will send you the inscription in my next letter; you see I endeavour to grace your present as it deserves.
• Horace Walpole, in the first recorded use of the word Serendipity, in a letter he wrote to his friend Horace Mann (28 January 1754), published in The Letters of Horace Walpole : Earl of Orford, Vol. II (1842) edited by John Wright
• Source: Wikiquote: "Serendipity" (Quotes: [[File:Hoag's object.jpg|thumb|right|Serendipity is when you find things you weren't looking for because finding what you are looking for is so damned difficult. ~ Erin McKean ]])
It would be tedious to dwell upon every striking mark of national decline: some, however, will press themselves forward to particular notice; and amongst them are: that Italian-like effeminacy, which has, at last, descended to the yeomanry of the country, who are now found turning up their silly eyes in ecstacy at a music-meeting, while they should be cheering the hounds, or measuring their strength at the ring; the discouragement of all the athletic sports and modes of strife amongst the common people, and the consequent and fearful increase of those cuttings and stabbings, those assassin-like ways of taking vengeance, formerly heard of in England only as the vices of the most base and cowardly foreigners, but now become so frequent amongst ourselves as to render necessary a law to punish such practices with death; the prevalence and encouragement of a hypocritical religion, a canting morality, and an affected humanity; the daily increasing poverty of the national church, and the daily increasing disposition still to fleece the more than half-shorne clergy, who are compelled to be, in various ways, the mere dependants of the upstarts of trade; the almost entire extinction of the ancient country gentry, whose estates are swallowed up by loan-jobbers, contractors, and nabobs, who, for the far greater part not Englishmen themselves, exercise in England that sort of insolent sway, which, by the means of taxes raised from English labour, they have been enabled to exercise over the slaves of India or elsewhere; the bestowing of honours upon the mere possessors of wealth, without any regard to birth, character, or talents, or to the manner in which that wealth has been acquired; the familiar intercourse of but too many of the ancient nobility with persons of low birth and servile occupations, with exchange and insurance-brokers, loan and lottery contractors, agents and usurers, in short, with all the Jew-like race of money-changers.
Against our traditions we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war, a war against a helpless people, and for a base object — robbery. At first our citizens spoke out against this thing, by an impulse natural to their training. Today they have turned, and their voice is the other way. What caused the change? Merely a politician's trick — a high-sounding phrase, a blood-stirring phrase which turned their uncritical heads: Our Country, right or wrong! An empty phrase, a silly phrase. It was shouted by every newspaper, it was thundered from the pulpit, the Superintendent of Public Instruction placarded it in every schoolhouse in the land, the War Department inscribed it upon the flag. And every man who failed to shout it or who was silent, was proclaimed a traitor — none but those others were patriots. To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, "Our Country, right or wrong," and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation? For in a republic, who is "the Country"? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant — merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. Who, then, is "the country?" Is it the newspaper? Is it the pulpit? Is it the school-superintendent? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command. They are but one in the thousand; it is in the thousand that command is lodged; they must determine what is right and what is wrong; they must decide who is a patriot and who isn’t.
Mark Twain
• Part VI: "Two Fragments from a Suppressed Book Called 'Glances at History' or 'Outlines of History' ".
• Source: Wikiquote: "Mark Twain" (Quotes, Papers of the Adams Family (1939): In the posthumous Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings, ed. Bernard DeVoto, 1939. First published in 1962 when the author's daughter, Clara Clemens, withdrew her objection.[])
At times my spirit was too strong for me, and I gave vent to dangerous utterances. Already I was considered heterodox if not treasonable, and I was keenly alive to the danger of my position; nevertheless I could not at times refrain from bursting out into suspicious or half-seditious utterances, even among the highest Polygonal and Circular society. When, for example, the question arose about the treatment of those lunatics who said that they had received the power of seeing the insides of things, I would quote the saying of an ancient Circle, who declared that prophets and inspired people are always considered by the majority to be mad; and I could not help occasionally dropping such expressions as "the eye that discerns the interiors of things", and "the all-seeing land"; once or twice I even let fall the forbidden terms "the Third and Fourth Dimensions". At last, to complete a series of minor indiscretions, at a meeting of our Local Speculative Society held at the palace of the Prefect himself, — some extremely silly person having read an elaborate paper exhibiting the precise reasons why Providence has limited the number of Dimensions to Two, and why the attribute of omnividence is assigned to the Supreme alone — I so far forgot myself as to give an exact account of the whole of my voyage with the Sphere into Space, and to the Assembly Hall in our Metropolis, and then to Space again, and of my return home, and of everything that I had seen and heard in fact or vision. At first, indeed, I pretended that I was describing the imaginary experiences of a fictitious person; but my enthusiasm soon forced me to throw off all disguise, and finally, in a fervent peroration, I exhorted all my hearers to divest themselves of prejudice and to become believers in the Third Dimension. Need I say that I was at once arrested and taken before the Council?
Edwin Abbott Abbott
• Chapter 22. How I Then Tried to Diffuse the Theory of Three Dimensions by Other Means, and of the Result
• Source: Wikiquote: "Edwin Abbott Abbott" (Quotes, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884):
The Inhabitants of SPACE IN GENERAL

This Work is Dedicated
By a Humble Native of Flatland
In the Hope that
Even as he was Initiated into the Mysteries
Of THREE Dimensions
Having been previously conversant
So the Citizens of that Celestial Region
May aspire yet higher and higher
To the Secrets of FOUR FIVE OR EVEN SIX Dimensions
Thereby contributing
To the Enlargement of THE IMAGINATION
And the possible Development
Of that most rare and excellent Gift of MODESTY
Among the Superior Races
The extermination of what the exterminators call inferior races is as old as history. "Stone dead hath no fellow" said Cromwell when he tried to exterminate the Irish. "The only good nigger is a dead nigger" say the Americans of the Ku-Klux temperament. "Hates any man the thing he would not kill?" said Shylock naively. But we white men, as we absurdly call ourselves in spite of the testimony of our looking glasses, regard all differently colored folk as inferior species. Ladies and gentlemen class rebellious laborers with vermin. The Dominicans, the watchdogs of God, regarded the Albigenses as the enemies of God, just as Torquemada regarded the Jews as the murderers of God. All that is an old story: what we are confronted with now is a growing perception that if we desire a certain type of civilization and culture we must exterminate the sort of people who do not fit into it. There is a difference between the shooting at sight of aboriginal natives in the back blocks of Australia and the massacres of aristocrats in the terror which followed the foreign attacks on the French Revolution. The Australian gunman pots the aboriginal natives to satisfy his personal antipathy to a black man with uncut hair. But nobody in the French Republic had this feeling about Lavoisier, nor can any German Nazi have felt that way about Einstein. Yet Lavoisier was guillotined; and Einstein has had to fly for his life from Germany. It was silly to say that the Republic had no use for chemists; and no Nazi has stultified his party to the extent of saying that the new National Socialist Fascist State in Germany has no use for mathematician-physicists. The proposition is that aristocrats (Lavoisier's class) and Jews (Einstein's race) are unfit to enjoy the privilege of living in a modern society founded on definite principles of social welfare as distinguished from the old promiscuous aggregations crudely policed by chiefs who had no notion of social criticism and no time to invent it.
'Terrorism' is a word that has become a plague on our vocabulary,the excuse and reason and moral permit for state-sponsored violence - our violence - which is now used on the innocent of the Middle East ever more outrageously and promiscuously. Terrorism, terrorism, terrorism. It has become a full stop, a punctuation mark, a phrase, a speech, a sermon, the be-all and end-all of everything that we must hate in order to ignore injustice and occupation and murder on a mass scale. Terror, terror, terror, terror. It is a sonata, a symphony, an orchestra tuned to every television and radio station and news agency report, the soap-opera of the Devil, served up on prime-time or distilled in wearyingly dull and mendacious form by the right-wing 'commentators' of the America east coast or the Jerusalem Post or the intellectuals of Europe. Strike against Terror. Victory over Terror. War on Terror. Everlasting War on Terror. Rarely in history have soldiers and journalists and presidents and kings aligned themselves in such thoughtless, unquestioning ranks. In August 1914, the soldiers thought they would be home by Christmas. Today, we are fighting for ever. The war is eternal. The enemy is eternal, his face changing on our screens. Once he lived in Cairo and sported a moustache and nationalised the Suez Canal. Then he lived in Tripoli and wore a ridiculous military uniform and helped the IRA and bombed American bars in Berlin. Then he wore a Muslim Imam's gown and ate yoghurt in Tehran and planned Islamic revolution. Then he wore a white gown and lived in a cave in Afghanistan and then he wore another silly moustache and resided in a series of palaces around Baghdad. Terror, terror, terror. Finally, he wore a kuffiah headdress and outdated Soviet-style military fatigues, his name was Yassir Arafat, and he was the master of world terror and then a super-statesman and then again, a master of terror, linked by Israeli enemies to the terror-Meister of them all, the one who lived in the Afghan cave.
I do oppose the extension of slavery, because my judgment and feelings so prompt me; and I am under no obligation to the contrary. If for this you and I must differ, differ we must. You say if you were President, you would send an army and hang the leaders of the Missouri outrages upon the Kansas elections; still, if Kansas fairly votes herself a slave state, she must be admitted, or the Union must be dissolved. But how if she votes herself a slave State unfairly -- that is, by the very means for which you say you would hang men? Must she still be admitted, or the Union be dissolved? That will be the phase of the question when it first becomes a practical one. In your assumption that there may be a fair decision of the slavery question in Kansas, I plainly see you and I would differ about the Nebraska-law. I look upon that enactment not as a law, but as violence from the beginning. It was conceived in violence, passed in violence, is maintained in violence, and is being executed in violence. I say it was conceived in violence, because the destruction of the Missouri Compromise, under the circumstances, was nothing less than violence. It was passed in violence, because it could not have passed at all but for the votes of many members in violence of the known will of their constituents. It is maintained in violence because the elections since, clearly demand it's repeal, and this demand is openly disregarded. You say men ought to be hung for the way they are executing that law; and I say the way it is being executed is quite as good as any of its antecedents. It is being executed in the precise way which was intended from the first; else why does no Nebraska man express astonishment or condemnation? Poor Reeder is the only public man who has been silly enough to believe that any thing like fairness was ever intended; and he has been bravely undeceived.
(Pages 144 -145, 149 - 150) There are some silly canards that die hard and some that should have been buried long ago such as 'Those that can, do; those as cannot, teach," or the definition of a Professor as a man whose job is to tell students how to solve the problem of life, which he himself has tried to avoid by becoming a Professor; or the more hurtful one that a Professor is a text book wired for sound. This vocation is sometimes termed a harried one and it is said that the abuse of School-masters was scribbled on the Pyramids long before the Monument was complete and that the general hatred and contempt for the pedagogue dates back to the very beginning of recorded things. These and other similar foolish accusations are the additional burden this class of people have to bear. Consider the gibe of that arch-cynic G.B.S., "When a man teaches something he does not know to somebody else, who has no aptitude for it and gives him a certificate of proficiency, the latter has completed the education of a gentleman." It has also been said that your Education has been a failure no matter how much it has done for you, if it has failed to open your heart. Dr. Zakir Hussain, when Vice-Chancellor of the Aligarh University, said, that the aim of Education was that students should become responsible citizens and not merely bundles of styles and sophistication like articles in a furniture shop – the product now being churned out lacks even that saving grace..... The old system may have produced 'snobs' what is being spewed out now are 'slobs'. The young student in Indian Schools is being smothered under a dead weight of books and notes dealing with a host of subjects imaginable and unimaginable. Busy cramming from morning till night and repeating parrot-like that he does not understand, he is fast becoming a literate moron. Initiative, leadership and education in the real sense of the term are encouraged only in a few public Schools.
We Indians are notoriously good at being resigned to our lot. Our fatalism goes beyond, even if it springs from, the Hindu acceptance of the world as it is ordained to be. I must tell you a little story - a marvellous fable from our puranas that illustrates our resilience and self-absorption in the face of circumstances. A man is pursued by a tiger. He runs fast, but his panting heart tells him that he cannot run much longer. He sees a tree. Relief! He accelerates and gets to it in one last despairing stride. He climbs the tree. The tiger snarls below him, but he feels that he has at last escaped its snapping jaws. But no - what’s this? The branch on which he is sitting is weak. That is not all: wood-mice are gnawing away at it: before long they will eat through it and it will snap and fall. The branch sags down over a well. Aha! Escape! Perhaps our hero can swim ? But the well is dry and there are snakes writhing and hissing on its bed. As the branch bends lower, he perceives a solitary blade of grass on wall of well. On top of the blade of grass gleams a drop of honey. What is our hero to do? What action does our puranic man quintessential Indian, take in the situation? He bends with the branch and licks up the honey.... What did you expect? Some neat solution to the problem? The tiger changes its mind and goes away? Amitabh Bachchan leaps to the rescue? Don’t be silly. One strength of Indian mind is that it knows some problems cannot be resolved and it learns to make best of them. That is the Indian answer to the insuperable difficulty. One does not fight against that by which one is certain to be overwhelmed; but one finds the best way, for oneself, to live with it. This is our national aesthetic. Without it, india as we know it could not survive. Book by Shashi Tharoor: "The Great Indian Novel", ISBN 0140120491
[Engineering] is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings jobs and homes to men. Then it elevates the standards of living and adds to the comforts of life. That is the engineer’s high privilege. The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyers. He cannot, like the architects, cover his failures with trees and vines. He cannot, like the politicians, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope that the people will forget. The engineer simply cannot deny that he did it. If his works do not work, he is damned. That is the phantasmagoria that haunts his nights and dogs his days. He comes from the job at the end of the day resolved to calculate it again. He wakes in the night in a cold sweat and puts something on paper that looks silly in the morning. All day he shivers at the thought of the bugs which will inevitably appear to jolt its smooth consummation. On the other hand, unlike the doctor his is not a life among the weak. Unlike the soldier, destruction is not his purpose. Unlike the lawyer, quarrels are not his daily bread. To the engineer falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort, and hope. No doubt as years go by people forget which engineer did it, even if they ever knew. Or some politician puts his name on it. Or they credit it to some promoter who used other people’s money with which to finance it. But the engineer himself looks back at the unending stream of goodness which flows from his successes with satisfactions that few professions may know. And the verdict of his fellow professionals is all the accolades he wants.
It is just as ridiculous to get excited & hysterical over a coming cultural change as to get excited & hysterical over one's physical aging . . . There is legitimate pathos about both processes; but blame & rebellion are essentially cheap, because inappropriate, emotions . . . It is wholly appropriate to feel a deep sadness at the coming of unknown things & the departure of those around which all our symbolic associations are entwined. All life is fundamentally & inextricably sad, with the perpetual snatching away of all the chance combinations of image & vista & mood that we become attached to, & the perpetual encroachment of the shadow of decay upon illusions of expansion & liberation which buoyed us up & spurred us on in youth. That is why I consider all jauntiness, & many forms of carelessly generalised humour, as essentially cheap & mocking, & occasionally ghastly & corpselike. Jauntiness & non-ironic humour in this world of basic & inescapable sadness are like the hysterical dances that a madman might execute on the grave of all his hopes. But if, at one extreme, intellectual poses of spurious happiness be cheap & disgusting; so at the other extreme are all gestures & fist-clenchings of rebellion equally silly & inappropriate—if not quite so overtly repulsive. All these things are ridiculous & contemptible because they are not legitimately applicable . . . The sole sensible way to face the cosmos & its essential sadness (an adumbration of true tragedy which no destruction of values can touch) is with manly resignation—eyes open to the real facts of perpetual frustration, & mind & sense alert to catch what little pleasure there is to be caught during one's brief instant of existence. Once we know, as a matter of course, how nature inescapably sets our freedom-adventure-expansion desires, & our symbol-&-experience-affections, definitely beyond all zones of possible fulfilment, we are in a sense fortified in advance, & able to endure the ordeal of consciousness with considerable equanimity . . . Life, if well filled with distracting images & activities favourable to the ego's sense of expansion, freedom, & adventurous expectancy, can be very far from gloomy—& the best way to achieve this condition is to get rid of the unnatural conceptions which make conscious evils out of impersonal and inevitable limitations . . . get rid of these, & of those false & unattainable standards which breed misery & mockery through their beckoning emptiness.
Let me tell you about love, that silly word you believe is about whether you like somebody or whether somebody likes you or whether you can put up with somebody in order to get something or someplace you want or you believe it has to do with how your body responds to another body like robins or bison or maybe you believe love is how forces or nature or luck is benign to you in particular not maiming or killing you but if so doing it for your own good. Love is none of that. There is nothing in nature like it. Not in robins or bison or in the banging tails of your hunting dogs and not in blossoms or suckling foal. Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God. You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn - by practice and careful contemplations - the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it. Which is to say you have to earn God. You have to practice God. You have to think God-carefully. And if you are a good and diligent student you may secure the right to show love. Love is not a gift. It is a diploma. A diploma conferring certain privileges: the privilege of expressing love and the privilege of receiving it. How do you know you have graduated? You don't. What you do know is that you are human and therefore educable, and therefore capable of learning how to learn, and therefore interesting to God, who is interested only in Himself which is to say He is interested only in love. Do you understand me? God is not interested in you. He is interested in love and the bliss it brings to those who understand and share the interest. Couples that enter the sacrament of marriage and are not prepared to go the distance or are not willing to get right with the real love of God cannot thrive. They may cleave together like robins or gulls or anything else that mates for life. But if they eschew this mighty course, at the moment when all are judged for the disposition of their eternal lives, their cleaving won't mean a thing. God bless the pure and holy. Amen.
Some foolish men declare that creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill advised and should be rejected. If God created the world, where was he before the creation? If you say he was transcendent then and needed no support, where is he now? How could God have made this world without any raw material? If you say that he made this first, and then the world, you are faced with an endless regression. If you declare that this raw material arose naturally you fall into another fallacy, For the whole universe might thus have been its own creator, and have arisen quite naturally. If God created the world by an act of his own will, without any raw material, then it is just his will and nothing else — and who will believe this silly nonsense? If he is ever perfect and complete, how could the will to create have arisen in him? If, on the other hand, he is not perfect, he could no more create the universe than a potter could. If he is form-less, action-less and all-embracing, how could he have created the world? Such a soul, devoid of all morality, would have no desire to create anything. If he is perfect, he does not strive for the three aims of man, so what advantage would he gain by creating the universe? If you say that he created to no purpose because it was his nature to do so, then God is pointless. If he created in some kind of sport, it was the sport of a foolish child, leading to trouble. If he created because of the karma of embodied beings [acquired in a previous creation] He is not the Almighty Lord, but subordinate to something else. If out of love for living beings and need of them he made the world, why did he not take creation wholly blissful free from misfortune? If he were transcendent he would not create, for he would be free: Nor if involved in transmigration, for then he would not be almighty. Thus the doctrine that the world was created by God makes no sense at all, And God commits great sin in slaying the children whom he himself created. If you say that he slays only to destroy evil beings, why did he create such beings in the first place? Good men should combat the believer in divine creation, maddened by an evil doctrine. Know that the world is uncreated, as time itself is, without beginning or end, and is based on the principles, life and rest. Uncreated and indestructible, it endures under the compulsion of its own nature.
Jinasena (9th Century) in the Mahāpurāna, as translated in Primal Myths (1979) by Barbara Sproul
• Source: Wikiquote: "Creationism" (Quotes, ancient history: Quotes are arranged by time period and/or other thematic origin, and then chronologically by author, Eastern philosophy)
I'd always, you see, even in my early teens, had these problems — problems of suddenly waking up in the middle of the night and having this horrifying vision that life is completely meaningless. You know — just thinking about something like the depths of space, and realizing it's got to come to an end somewhere, but apparently it doesn't, and then suddenly getting this terrible feeling that maybe life is a total delusion. G. K. Chesterton once said that in his teens he saw hell, and I really think I did too. I went through extreme depressions, glooms. There was one occasion on which I decided actually to commit suicide. I'd got into this state — I was working as a lab assistant at the school, and what would happen was that I'd make tremendous efforts to push myself up to a level of optimism. I'd do it in the evenings by reading poetry, thinking, writing in my journals, then I'd go back to the school the next day and blaaahhh, right down to the bottom again. This was the feeling of The Mind Parasites — there's something that waits until you've got lots of energy and just sucks you dry like a vampire. This sudden feeling that God was making fun of me made me feel one day, "For God's sake, let's not have any more of this nonsense. I'm damned if I'll be played about with like this. Let me kill myself." And immediately I felt this, I felt a curious sense of inner strength. So I went off to night school quite determined that what I was going to do was to take down the bottle of potassium cyanide from the reagent shelves and drink it. I knew that cyanide burns a hole in the bottom of the stomach and kills you within seconds. Well, I went into the classroom quite determined. There was a group gathered around the professor at the desk. I went over to the reagent shelves, I took down the bottle of potassium cyanide, I uncorked it, and as I started raising this to my lips I suddenly had an extremely clear vision of myself in a few seconds' time with an agonizing pain in the pit of my stomach, and at the same time I suddenly turned into two people. I don't mean that literally, but I mean that there was I, and there beside me was this silly, bloody little idiot called Colin Wilson who was in a state of self-pity and about to kill himself, and I didn't give a damn whether the fool killed himself or not. The trouble was, if he killed himself he'd kill me too. And quite suddenly a terrific sense of overwhelming happiness came over me. I corked up the bottle, put it on the shelf, and for the next few days was in total control of my emotions and everything else. I realized suddenly that you can achieve these states of control, provided that you put yourself in a crisis situation. And that's why throughout The Outsider I keep saying the outsider's salvation lies in extremes.
As for your artificial conception of "splendid & traditional ways of life"—I feel quite confident that you are very largely constructing a mythological idealisation of something which never truly existed; a conventional picture based on the perusal of books which followed certain hackneyed lines in the matter of incidents, sentiments, & situations, & which never had a close relationship to the actual societies they professed to depict . . . In some ways the life of certain earlier periods had marked advantages over life today, but there were compensating disadvantages which would make many hesitate about a choice. Some of the most literarily attractive ages had a coarseness, stridency, & squalor which we would find insupportable . . . Modern neurotics, lolling in stuffed easy chairs, merely make a myth of these old periods & use them as the nuclei of escapist daydreams whose substance resembles but little the stern actualities of yesterday. That is undoubtedly the case with me—only I'm fully aware of it. Except in certain selected circles, I would undoubtedly find my own 18th century insufferably coarse, orthodox, arrogant, narrow, & artificial. What I look back upon nostalgically is a dream-world which I invented at the age of four from picture books & the Georgian hill streets of Old Providence. . . . There is something artificial & hollow & unconvincing about self-conscious intellectual traditionalism—this being, of course, the only valid objection against it. The best sort of traditionalism is that easy-going eclectic sort which indulges in no frenzied pulmotor stunts, but courses naturally down from generation to generation; bequeathing such elements as really are sound, losing such as have lost value, & adding any which new conditions may make necessary. . . . In short, young man, I have no quarrel with the principle of traditionalism as such, but I have a decided quarrel with everything that is insincere, inappropriate, & disproportionate; for these qualities mean ugliness & weakness in the most offensive degree. I object to the feigning of artificial moods on the part of literary moderns who cannot even begin to enter into the life & feelings of the past which they claim to represent . . . If there were any reality or depth of feeling involved, the case would be different; but almost invariably the neotraditionalists are sequestered persons remote from any real contacts or experience with life . . . For any person today to fancy he can truly enter into the life & feeling of another period is really nothing but a confession of ignorance of the depth & nature of life in its full sense. This is the case with myself. I feel I am living in the 18th century, though my objective judgment knows better, & realises the vast difference from the real thing. The one redeeming thing about my ignorance of life & remoteness from reality is that I am fully conscious of it, hence (in the last few years) make allowances for it, & do not pretend to an impossible ability to enter into the actual feelings of this or any other age. The emotions of the past were derived from experiences, beliefs, customs, living conditions, historic backgrounds, horizons, &c. &c. so different from our own, that it is simply silly to fancy we can duplicate them, or enter warmly & subjectively into all phases of their aesthetic expression.
Not all monotheisms are exactly the same, at the moment. They're all based on the same illusion, they're all plagiarisms of each other, but there is one in particular that at the moment is proposing a serious menace not just to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but to quite a lot of other freedoms too. And this is the religion that exhibits the horrible trio of self-hatred, self-righteousness and self-pity. I am talking about militant Islam. Globally it's a gigantic power. It controls an enormous amount of oil wealth, several countries and states, with an enormous fortune it's pumping the ideologies of wahhabism and salafism around the world, poisoning societies where it goes, ruining the minds of children, stultifying the young and its madrassas, training people in violence, making its culture death, suicide and murder. That's what it does globally, it's quite strong. In our societies it poses as a cringing minority, whose faith you might offend, who deserves all the protection that a small and vulnerable group might need. Now, it makes quite large claims for itself, doesn't it? It says it's the Final Revelation. It says that God spoke to one illiterate businessman – in the Arabian Peninsula – three times through an archangel, and that the resulted material – as you can see as you read it – is largely plagiarized from the Old … and The New Testament. It has to be accepted as the Final Revelation and as the final and unalterable one, and those who do not accept this revelation are fit to be treated as cattle infidels, potential chattel, slaves and victims. Well I tell you what, I don't think Muhammad ever heard those voices. I don't believe it. And the likelihood that I am right – as opposed to the likelihood that a businessman who couldn't read, had bits of the Old and The New Testament re dictated to him by an archangel, I think puts me much more near the position of being objectively correct. But who is the one under threat? The person who promulgates this and says I'd better listen because if I don't I'm in danger, or me who says "no, I think this is so silly you can even publish a cartoon about it"? And up go the placards and the yells and the howls and the screams – this is in London, this is in Toronto and this is in New York, it's right in our midst now – "Behead those who cartoon Islam". Do they get arrested for hate speech? No. Might I get in trouble for what I just said about the prophet Muhammad? Yes, I might. Where are your priorities ladies and gentlemen? You're giving away what is most precious in your own society, and you're giving it away without a fight, and you're even praising the people who want to deny you the right to resist it. Shame on you why you do this. Make the best use of the time you've got left. This is really serious. … Look anywhere you like in the world for slavery, for the subjection of women as chattel, for the burning and flogging of homosexuals, for ethnic cleansing, for antisemitism, for all of this, you look no further than a famous book that's on every pulpit in this city, and in every synagogue and in every mosque. And then just see whether you can square the fact that the force of the main source of hatred, is also the main caller for censorship.
The most curious social convention of the great age in which we live is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected. Its evil effects must be plain enough to everyone. All it accomplishes is (a) to throw a veil of sanctity about ideas that violate every intellectual decency, and (b) to make every theologian a sort of chartered libertine. No doubt it is mainly to blame for the appalling slowness with which really sound notions make their way in the world. The minute a new one is launched, in whatever field, some imbecile of a theologian is certain to fall upon it, seeking to put it down. The most effective way to defend it, of course, would be to fall upon the theologian, for the only really workable defense, in polemics as in war, is a vigorous offensive. But the convention that I have mentioned frowns upon that device as indecent, and so theologians continue their assault upon sense without much resistance, and the enlightenment is unpleasantly delayed.
There is, in fact, nothing about religious opinions that entitles them to any more respect than other opinions get. On the contrary, they tend to be noticeably silly. If you doubt it, then ask any pious fellow of your acquaintance to put what he believes into the form of an affidavit, and see how it reads… . “I, John Doe, being duly sworn, do say that I believe that, at death, I shall turn into a vertebrate without substance, having neither weight, extent nor mass, but with all the intellectual powers and bodily sensations of an ordinary mammal; . . . and that, for the high crime and misdemeanor of having kissed my sister-in-law behind the door, with evil intent, I shall be boiled in molten sulphur for one billion calendar years.” Or, “I, Mary Roe, having the fear of Hell before me, do solemnly affirm and declare that I believe it was right, just, lawful and decent for the Lord God Jehovah, seeing certain little children of Beth-el laugh at Elisha’s bald head, to send a she-bear from the wood, and to instruct, incite, induce and command it to tear forty-two of them to pieces.” Or, “I, the Right Rev._____ _________, Bishop of _________,D.D., LL.D., do honestly, faithfully and on my honor as a man and a priest, declare that I believe that Jonah swallowed the whale,” or vice versa, as the case may be. No, there is nothing notably dignified about religious ideas. They run, rather, to a peculiarly puerile and tedious kind of nonsense. At their best, they are borrowed from metaphysicians, which is to say, from men who devote their lives to proving that twice two is not always or necessarily four. At their worst, they smell of spiritualism and fortune telling. Nor is there any visible virtue in the men who merchant them professionally. Few theologians know anything that is worth knowing, even about theology, and not many of them are honest. One may forgive a Communist or a Single Taxer on the ground that there is something the matter with his ductless glands, and that a Winter in the south of France would relieve him. But the average theologian is a hearty, red-faced, well-fed fellow with no discernible excuse in pathology. He disseminates his blather, not innocently, like a philosopher, but maliciously, like a politician. In a well-organized world he would be on the stone-pile. But in the world as it exists we are asked to listen to him, not only politely, but even reverently, and with our mouths open.
I’m a good person but a shitty writer. You’re a shitty person but a good writer. We’d make a good team. I don’t want to ask you any favors, but if you have time – and from what I saw, you have plenty – I was wondering if you could write a eulogy for Hazel. I’ve got notes and everything, but if you could just make it into a coherent whole or whatever? Or even just tell me what I should say differently. Here’s the thing about Hazel: Almost everyone is obsessed with leaving a mark upon the world. Bequeathing a legacy. Outlasting death. We all want to be remembered. I do, too. That’s what bothers me most, is being another unremembered casualty in the ancient and inglorious war against disease. I want to leave a mark. But Van Houten: The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rock star and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion. (Okay, maybe I’m not such a shitty writer. But I can’t pull my ideas together, Van Houten. My thoughts are stars I can’t fathom into constellations.) We are like a bunch of dogs squirting on fire hydrants. We poison the groundwater with our toxic piss, marking everything MINE in a ridiculous attempt to survive our deaths. I can’t stop pissing on fire hydrants. I know it’s silly and useless – epically useless in my current state – but I am an animal like any other. Hazel is different. She walks lightly, old man. She walks lightly upon the earth. Hazel knows the truth: We’re as likely to hurt the universe as we are to help it, and we’re not likely to do either. People will say it’s sad that she leaves a lesser scar, that fewer remember her, that she was loved deeply but not widely. But it’s not sad, Van Houten. It’s triumphant. It’s heroic. Isn’t that the real heroism? Like the doctors say: First, do no harm. The real heroes anyway aren’t the people doing things; the real heroes are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn’t actually invent anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn’t get smallpox. After my PET scan lit up, I snuck into the ICU and saw her while she was unconscious. I just walked in behind a nurse with a badge and I got to sit next to her for like ten minutes before I got caught. I really thought she was going to die, too. It was brutal: the incessant mechanized haranguing of intensive care. She had this dark cancer water dripping out of her chest. Eyes closed. Intubated. But her hand was still her hand, still warm and the nails painted this almost black dark almost blue color, and I just held her hand and tried to imagine the world without us and for about one second I was a good enough person to hope she died so she would never know that I was going, too. But then I wanted more time so we could fall in love. I got my wish, I suppose. I left my scar. A nurse guy came in and told me I had to leave, that visitors weren’t allowed, and I asked if she was doing okay, and the guy said, “She’s still taking on water.” A desert blessing, an ocean curse. What else? She is so beautiful. You don’t get tired of looking at her. You never worry if she is smarter than you: You know she is. She is funny without ever being mean. I love her. I am so lucky to love her, Van Houten. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers."
Presidential Address to the Educational Science Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, September 12th, 1937 (pp. 97-130) I have been keenly interested for a number of years, and particularly since the War, in public thought and public reactions, in what people know and think and what they are ready to believe impresses me as remarkably poor stuff. A general ignorance -- even in respectable quarters -- of some of the most elementary realities of the political and social life of the world is, I believe, mainly accountable for much of the discomfort and menace of our times. The uninstructed public intelligence of our community is feeble and convulsive. It is still a herd intelligence. It tyrannizes here and yields to tyranny there. What is called elementary education throughout the world does not in fact educate, because it does not properly inform. I realized this very acutely during the later stages of the War and it has been plain in my mind ever since. It led to my taking an active part in the production of various outlines and summaries of contemporary knowledge. Necessaily they had the defects and limitations of a private adventure, but in making them I learnt a great deal about -- what shall I say? -- the contents of the minds our schools are turning out as taught. (pp. 98-9) I suggest [...] that we concentrate on the inquiry: What are we telling young people directly about the world in which they are to live? What is the world picture we are presenting to their minds? What is the framework of conceptions about reality and about obligation into which the rest of their mental existencies will have to be fitted? I am proposing in fact a review of the informative side of education, wholly and solely -- informative in relation to the needs of modern life. (p. 99) Every schoolmaster, every teacher, nearly every professor must, by the nature of his calling, be wary, diplomatic, compromising -- he has his governors to consider, his college to consider, his parents to consider, the local press to consider; he must not say too much nor say anything that might be misinterpreted and misunderstood. I can. And so I think I can best serve the purposes of [education reform] by taking every advantage of my irresponsibility, being as unorthodox and provocative as I can be, and so possibly saying a thing or two which you are not free to say but which some of you at any rate will be more or less willing to have said. (p. 100) As educators we are going to ask what is the subject-matter of a general education? What do we want known? And how do we want it known? What is the essential framework of knowledge that should be established in the normal citizen of our modern community? What is the irreducible minimum of knowledge for a responsible human being today? (p. 101) Under contemporary conditions our only prospect of securing a mental accord throughout the community is by laying a common foundation of knowledge and ideas in the school years. No one believes today, as our grandparents [...] believed, that education had an end somewhen about adolescence. Young people then left school or college under the imputation that no one could teach them any more. There has been a quiet but complete revolution in people's ideas in this respect and now it is recognized almost universally that people in a modern community must be learners to the end of their days. [...] Our modern ideas seem to be a continuation of learning not only for university graduages and practitioners in the so- called intellectual professions, but for the miner, the plough-boy, the taxi-cab driver, and the out-of-work, throughout life. Our ultimate aim is an entirely educated population. (pp. 101-2) [...] it is true that what I may call the beams and girders of the mental framework must be laid down, soundly or unsoundly, before the close of adolescence. [...] And even if we were free to carry on with unlimited time and unrestrained teaching resources, it would still be in those opening years that the framework of the mind would have to be made. (pp. 102-3) The maximum school hours we jave available [in the week] are something round about thirty, but out of this we have to take time for what I may call the non-informative teaching, teaching to read, teaching to write clearly, the native and foreign language teaching, basic mathematical work, drawing, various forms of manuel training, music and so forth. A certain amount of information may be mixed in with these subjects but not very much. They are not what I mean by informative subjects. (p. 103) If the teachers we have today are not equal to the task required of them, then we have to recondition our teachers or replace them. We live in an exacting world and a certain minimum of performance is required of us all. If children are not to be given at least this minimum of information about the world into which they have come -- through no fault of their own -- then I do think it would be better for them and the world if they were not born at all. [more...] And to make what I have to say as clear as possible I have had a diagram designed which I will unfold to you as my explanation unfolds. (p. 105) We are telling our young people about the real past, the majestic expansion of terrestrial events. In these events the little region of Palestine is no more than a part of the highway between Egypt and Mesopotamia. Is there any real reason nowadays for exaggerating its importance in the past? Nothing really began there, nothing was worked out there. All the historical part of the Bible abounds in wild exaggeration of the importance of this little strip of land. We were all brough up to believe in the magnificence of Solomon's temple and it is a startling thing for most of us to read the account of its decorations over again and turn its cubits into feet. It was smaller most barns. We all know the peculiar delight of devout people when, amidst the endless remains of the great empires of the past, some dubious fragment is found to confirm the existence of the Hebrews. Is it not time that we recognized the relative historical insignificance of the events recorded in Kings and Chronicles, and ceased to throw the historical imagination of our young people out of perspective by an over-emphasized magnification of the national history of Judea? To me this lack of proportion in our contemporary historical teaching seems largely responsible for the present troubles of the world. The political imagination of our times is a hunch-back imagination bent down under an exaggeration. It is becomeing a matter of life and death to the world to straighten that backbone and reduce that frightful nationalist hunch. (pp. 113-4) Look at our time-table and what we have to teach. [...] Even if we think it desirable to perplex another generation with the muths of the Creation, the Flodd, the Chosen People and so forth, even if we wnat to bias it politically with tales of battles and triumps and ancient grievances, we haven't got the time for it -- any more than we have the time for the really quite unedifying records of all the Kings and Queens of England and their claims on this and that. So far as the school time-table goes we are faced with a plain alternative. One thing or the other. Great history and hole-in-corner history? The story of mankind or the narrow, self- righteous, blinkered stories of the British Islands and the Jews? (p. 114-5) I admit we cannot have a modern education without a modernized type of teachers. A teacher enlarged and released. Many of our teachers [...] are shockingly illiterate and ignorant. Often they know nothing but school subjects; sometimes they scarecely know them. [...] Everything I am saying now implies a demand for more and better teachers -- better paid, with better equipment. And these teachers will have to be kept fresh. It is stipulated in most leases that we should paint our houses outside every three years and inside every even years, but nobidy ever thinks of doing up a school teacher. There are teachers at work in this country who haven't been painted inside for fifty years. They must be damp and rotten and very unhealthy for all who come in contact with them. Two thirds of the teaching profession now is in urgent need of being either reconditioned or super annuated. In this advancing world the reconditioning of [them] is becoming a very urgent problem indeed. (pp. 117-8) For the next five-and-twenty years now the ordinary man all over the earth will be continually confronted with these systems of ideas. That is, "the increasing importance of economic changes in history and the search for competent economic direction and also of the leading theories of individualsim, socialism, the corporate state, communism." They are complicated systems with many implications and applications. Indeed they are aspects of life rather than systems of ideas. But we send out our young people absolutely unprepared for the heated and biased interpretations they will encounter. We hush it up until they in the thick of it. And can we complain of the consequences? The most the poor silly young things seem able to make of it is to be violently and self-righteously Anti- something or other. Anti-Red, Anti- capitalist, Anti-Fascist. The more ignorant you are the easier it is to be an Anti. To hate something without having something substantial to put against it. Blame something else. (pp. 120-1) Clearly parallel to this history [of war] our young people need now a more detailed and explicit acquaintance with world geography, with the different types of population in the world and the developed and undeveloped resources of the globe. The devastation of the world's forest, the replacement of pasture by sand deserts through haphazard cultivation, the waste and exhaustion of natural resources, coal, petrol, water, that is now going on, the massacre of important anmals, whales, penguins, seals, food fish, should be matters of universal knowledge and concern. (p. 121) Then our new citizens have to understand something of the broad elements in our modern social structure. They should be given an account of the present phas of communication and trade, of production and invention and above all they need watever plain knowledge is available about the conventions of property and money. Upon these interelated concentions human society rests, and the efficiency of their working is entirely dependent upon the general state of mind throughout the world. We knownow that what used to be called the inexorable laws of political economy and the laws of monetary science, are really no more than rash generalizations about human behaviour, supported by a maximum of pompous verbiate and a minimum of scientific observation. Most of our young people come on to adult life, to employmentm business and the rest of ti, blankly ignorant even of the way in which money has changed slavery and serfdom into wages employment and of how its fluctuations in value make the industrial windmills spin or flag. They are not even warned of the significance of such works as inflation or deflation, and so the wage-earners are the helpless prey at every turn towards prosperity of the savings-snatching financier. Any plausible monetary charlatan can secure their ignorant votes. They know no better. They cannot help themselves. Yet the subject of property and money -- together they make one subject because money is only the fluid form of property -- is scarcely touched upon in any stage in the education of any class in our community. They know nothing about it; they are as innocent as young lambs and born like them for shearing. (pp. 122-3) A mean atmosphere makes mean people, a too competitive atmosphere makes greedy, self-glorifying people, a cruel atmosphere makes fierce people, but this issue of moral tone does not concern us now here. But it does concern us that by adolescence the time has arrived for general ideas about one's personal relationship to the universe to be faced. The primary propositions of the chief religious and philosophical interpretations of the world should be put as plainly and impartially as possible before our young people. They will be asking those perennial questions of adolescence -- whence and why and whither. They will have to face, almost at once, the heated and exciting propagandas of theological and sceptical partisans -- pro's and anti's. So far as possible we ought to provide a ring of clear knowledge for these inevitable fights. And also, as the more practical aspect of the question, What am I to do with my life? (pp. 123-4) It seems to me altogether preposterous tha nowadays our educational organization should turn out our new citizens who are blankly ignorant of the history of the world during the last twenty-five years, who know nothing of the causes and phases of the Great War and are left to the tender mercies of freakish news-paper proprietors and party organizers for their ideas about the world outlook, upon which their collective wills and actions must play a decisive part. (pp. 125-6) We are all agreed [...] that the general interest of the community should not be sacrificed to Private Profit. Yes -- beautiful, but what is not realized is that Socialism in itself is little more than a generalization about the undesirability of irresponsible wonership and that the major problem before the world is to devise come form of administrative organization that will work better than the scamole of irresponsible owners. That form of adminstrative organization has not yet been devised. You cannot expropriate the private adventurer until you have devised a competent receiver for the expropriated industry or service. This complex problem of the competent receiver is the underlying problem of most of our constructive politics. (pp. 126-7) [The stage of new knowledge and thought] accumulates, rectifies, changes human experience. [...] You see, indicated by these arrows, the rich results of the work of [this stage] flowing into a central world-encyclopaedic-organization, where it will be continually summarized, clarified, and whence it will be distributed through the general information channels of the world. (p. 128)
Disparage no book, for it is also a part of the world. JOY It is a great mitzvah to always be happy. (LM2 34) It is even good to do silly things in order to cheer oneself up. (ibid) It is good to set aside a specific time everyday to be heartbroken and to speak out all ones problems before God, but the rest of the day be only happy. (ibid) The essential joy comes from mitzvot. (LM 30:5) PRAYER Hisbodedus, personal prayer before God, is greater than anything else. That is, a person should set aside at least an hour or more everyday to seclude himself from others and speak to God in his own language. (LM2 25, see “outpouring of the soul” translated by Aryeh Kaplan) A person needs to scream to his father in heaven with a powerful voice from the depths of his heart. Then God will listen to his voice and turn to his outcry. And it could be that from this act itself, all doubts and obstacles that are keeping him back from true service of Hashem will fall from him and be completely nullified. (LM2 46) And know that it’s not enough to have yearnings [for God] in the heart alone, for a person needs to bring all his yearnings out into words. (LM 31) When a person has a yearning for something and he brings it out into words, a soul is created. This soul flies in the air and reaches another person thereby awakening in him too a yearning. (Ibid) Behold! Precious is the sigh (called ‘krechtz’) from a Jewish person (LM 8) When one prays with all his energy as in “my entire essence speaks…” (tehilim 35), the energy (co’ach) that he enters into the words are the 28 (co’ach) letters which the world was created with. The 10 sayings of creation receive their energy from these 28 letters. The words that come out of this persons’ mouth are then actually the words of Hashem, as in the verse “I will place my words in your mouth” (Isaiah 51). (LM 48) Prayer depends on the heart, A person should put all of his heart into it, so that it shouldn’t be in the aspect of “With their lips they honor me but their hearts are far from me.” (Isaiah 29) (LM 49) ENCOURAGEMENT AND TESHUVA When a person enters into service of Hashem and sees it is so hard for him, and it seems as if they are distancing him from above and not allowing him at all to enter, he should know that all this feeling of being “distanced” is truthfully only his being “drawn near”. He must remain very very strong not to be discouraged even if many years of hard work go by and he still feels that he is very far and that he didn’t even begin to enter into the gates of holiness, for he sees that he is full of materialism, evil thoughts and the like, and every time he tries to do something holy it is so hard for him and all his crying and pleading with God seems to be going to waste… On all this he needs great courage not to pay attention to these delusions at all. Because all this “distancing”, in truth, is only his “drawing near”, and all the great tzaddikim had to go through this kind of experience before they reached their level. (LM2 48) You need to have great stubbornness in the service of Hashem (ibid) And know! A person has to pass a very very narrow bridge, the main thing is to have no fear at all (ibid) There is no despair in the world! (LM2 78) If you believe that you can destroy, believe you can fix. (LM2 112) You need to greatly encourage yourself in His service as much as you can, even if you are the way you are, you should rely on His abundantly great mercy which is beyond limit, for certainly he will not forsake you, no matter how badly you’ve acted. The past doesn’t exist. The main thing is that from now on you honestly resolve not to do it again. (LM2 49) This is a great principal in Avodas Hashem – That a person has to begin everyday anew. (LM 261) When a person falls from his level he should know that it’s heaven-sent, because going down is needed in order to go up, therefore he fell, in order that he arouses himself more to come close to Hashem. Advice for him - Begin anew to enter into service of Hashem as if you have never yet even begun (Ibid) Whenever a person rises from one level to the next, it necessitates that he first has a descent before the ascent. Because the purpose of any descent is always in order to ascend. (LM 22) There is a lot to talk about here (in the above topic). Because each person who fell to the place where he fell thinks that these words weren’t spoken for him, for he imagines that these ideas are only for great people who are always climbing from one level to the next. But truthfully, you should know and believe, that all these words were also said concerning the smallest of the small and the worst of the worst, for Hashem is forever good to all. (Ibid as quoted in LE) It is a great thing for a person to still have an evil inclination because then he is able to serve Hashem with the evil inclination itself. That is, to take all of the fire in his heart and channel it towards service of Hashem. For example, to pray with fiery passion of the heart, etc. For, if there is no evil inclination in a person his service cannot be complete. (LM2 49) A person must know that “Gods glory fills the entire world” (Isiah 6), and “There is no place void of Him” (Tikunei Zohar), and “He fills all worlds and surrounds all worlds” (Zohar)… even in the most defiled places there is godliness, for He gives life to everything as it says, “And you give life to everything” (Nechemia 9). So even if a person is stuck in the lowest of places he cannot excuse himself and say “I cannot serve Hashem here because of all the thickness and materialism that attacks me always,” for even there you can find Him and cling to Him and do complete teshuva, “For it is not far from you” (devarim 30), only that in this place there are many garments.”(LM 33) This is the Tikun Haklali, the complete fixing. Whoever destroys his sexual impulse, it will be easy for him to get rid of his other evil desires. For all other impulses stem from this one. (LM 36) Anyone who wants to enter into the service of Hashem, the only way possible is to be like Avraham who considered himself to be the only one in the world. That is, he should not pay attention to anyone who is preventing him from coming close to Hashem, whether it be his father, mother, in-laws, wife, children, etc. or anyone else in the world who mocks him and tries to prevent him from serving Hashem. He should not pay attention to them at all, rather he should follow the verse “Avraham was one” (Yichezkel 32) As if he is the only one in the world. (LM2 inserted after intro) “Even when people are serving Idolatry, nevertheless, deep down, they are all submissive to G-d and serving Him, only it is taking place in a greatly concealed realm.” (LM 56) “There are two concealments. When Hashem is hidden in one concealment it is certainly very hard to find Him, but nevertheless, since it is only one concealment a person is able to exert himself and to dig until he finds Him, for at least he knows that Hashem is hidden. However, when Hashem is hidden in a concealment within a concealment, that is, the concealment itself is hidden from the person, in other words, he has no idea that Hashem is hidden from him, then it is completely impossible to find Him, for he doesn’t even know that Hashem is hidden.” (LM 56) “But truthfully, even in all the concealments, even in the concealment within a concealment, certainly even there Hashem is enclothed. For certainly there is absolutely nothing that doesn’t contain in it the life-force of Hashem, for without His life-force it would not have any existence at all. Therefore, certainly, in all things, all deeds, and all thoughts, Hashem is, so to speak, enclothed within. Even if, G-d forbid, a person sins and does something against the will of Hashem, nevertheless, there is certainly the life-force of Hashem within that thing, only it is greatly concealed and constricted. (LM 56) “You should know. The torah which is enclothed within the concealment within a concealment is a very high torah; the secrets of the torah. Since it needs to enclothe itself in these low places, by those who have sinned a lot until Hashem became concealed from them in a concealment within a concealment, Hashem decided not to place there simple torah, in order that the evil should not be able to draw strength from there too much, which will cause much defect. Therefore He concealed and enclothed within there specifically very high torah, the secrets of torah, which is Hashems Torah itself. This is as it says with regards to Egypt (Shemot 12) “I will pass through the land of Egypt, I and not an angel, I and not a messenger, I, Hashem and no other.” For in the land of Egypt, the place of much evil, specifically there, Hashem himself is hidden and enclothed, that is, Hashems Torah itself, the secrets of Torah. Therefore specifically in the concealment within a concealment, even though one cannot find Hashem, his knowledge and belief alone that Hashem is hidden there, turns the concealment around into a great revelation and the secrets of torah are revealed.” (LM 56) TEHILLIM Someone who wants to merit to do teshuva (repentance) should make it a practice to say tehillim (LM2 73) A person should find himself within the words of tehillim (LM2 125) Tehillim was written with Divine Inspiration and includes within it each individual’s personal struggle, whatever he may be going through at any given time. (Explanation of above from Hishtaqpchut Hanefesh 1) MIKVEH Immersion in a mikveh redeems a person from all hardships, and purifies from all impurities and from all sins, for the mikveh draws down extremely lofty awareness and supernal kindness and compassion. (LM 56) SIMPLICITY Philosophies and intellectual wisdoms are not needed at all. Only pure and simple faith. Because too much sophistication can greatly damage a person. (LM2 78, also see story of the Sophisticate and the Simpleton in Rebbe Nachman's Stories) Sometimes, when a person gets too caught up in philosophies and sophistication, he needs to purposely free himself of his mind and do things which make him seem silly, to ”Be crazy with love” (Proverbs 5). Meaning, in his love for Hashem he does things which make him seem crazy. (LM2 5) A person shouldn’t take upon himself added stringencies, as our Rabbis taught ‘The torah was not given to angels.’ This can make him fall from his service of Hashem. The greatest wisdom of all wisdoms is not to be wise at all, rather to be pure and honest with simplicity. (LM2 44) HOLY CHUTZPAH You need to know that just as evil arrogance is a very bad character trait, so too a person needs to have holy arrogance. Because it is impossible to come to the true tzaddikim or to draw near to holiness without arrogance as our rabbis taught, “Be bold as a leopard” (LM 22:11) A person needs holy arrogance, holy chutzpah. He should be bold as a leopard against the people who are preventing him and mocking him. He shouldn’t subjugate himself before them, and he shouldn’t be embarrassed in front of them at all. Even though it seems that they are tzaddikim and they are better than him, and even if it is true that they are better than him, even so, since his intentions are for heaven, and they want to confuse him, and block him from the path of life, he needs to strengthen himself with holy arrogance against them. And even against ones own Rabbi a person needs this boldness, in order to be strong to say whatever he needs to and not be embarrassed. On this it is said, “a timid person cannot be a learned person.” (LM 271) SHULCHAN ARUCH It is incumbent upon every single Jew to study Halacha (Jewish law) every day without allowing a single day to pass without it. Even if he is held back for he didn’t have time, he should study at least one section of “Shulchan Aruch” no matter which one, even if it is not in the place he is holding during his usual order of studies. For a Jew must learn at least some law in Shulchan Aruch every single day, all the days of his life. If he is not held back due to extraneous circumstances, he should have a set study in Shulchan Aruch each and every day in order, from the beginning to the end. When he finishes he should go back and do it again. So he should accustom himself his entire life. For it is a very very great fixing of the soul. (SH 29) SONG AND DANCE When there are harsh judgments on the Jewish people, God forbid, through dancing and clapping ones hands, the judgments are sweetened (LM 10:1) When one sings the words of prayer and the song resonates with great clarity and purity, he enclothes the shechina (divine presence) with luminous clothing (LM 42) When we clap our hands during prayer it awakens the 28 letters that the world was created with which parallel the 28 joints in the hands. Through this we have power to purify the air of the nations, to dispel the impure air and replace it with the pure air of the Land of Israel (LM 44) It is a great thing to hear music from a holy person playing on an instrument for the sake of heaven. Because through this, false fantasies are dismissed, the spirit of depression is dispelled, and the person merits happiness. Through this the memory is preserved, that is, the memory of the world to come, and a person is able to understand the hints that Hashem is constantly hinting to him everyday. Furthermore, through this a person can reach the level of the spirit of prophecy and divine inspiration, and he will be able to pour out his heart like water before Hashem. (LM 54) LOVE YOUR FELLOW LOVE YOURSELF Know! You need to judge every person favorably, even someone who is completely wicked, you need to search and find any little bit of good. By finding in him a little good and judging him favorably you actually bring him over to the side of merit and you can return him in teshuva (LM 282) A person also needs to find in himself a little bit of good. Because no matter how low a person is, how can it be that he didn’t do one good thing in his entire life? (ibid) Every single Jew has a point in them that is uniquely precious. And it is with this point that he bestows upon, enlightens, and arouses the heart of others. We all need to accept this arousal and this unique point from each other. As it says, “And they receive one from another” (Isaiah 3). (LM 34) Every single Jew has in him a portion of God above. (LM 35) PERSONAL REDEMPTION AND ENLIGHTENMENT When a person knows that everything that happens to him is for the best, this is a taste of the world to come. (LM 4) Know that the primary essence of exile is only our lack of belief. (LM 7) Gan Eiden and Geihinom are literally in this world. (Ibid 22) A Jewish person needs to always look at the wisdom within everything in order that it will enlighten him so that he can come close to God through each thing. Because this wisdom is a great light and it will enlighten all his ways. (Ibid 1) Whoever breaks free from the lust for food can become a miracle worker. But someone who is stuck in this desire it is a sign that he is a liar. Even a Tzaddik who already freed himself from all desires and then falls back into the desire for food, it must be that something false left his mouth. It also shows that there is Judgment upon him from above and it is a sign of poverty. (LM 47) Every single Jew is a portion of God above, and the essence of Godliness is in the heart. This godliness, which resides in the heart of a Jewish person, is infinite, for the light of its flame reaches infinity, that is, his yearnings and desires are without end or limit. (LM 49) Just as God constricted his infinite light in creating the world, for due to the greatness of the light there was no room for creation, so too a person needs to constrict the infinite light of his heart in order to serve God in measure and in steps, for if the light would remain unconstricted it would be impossible to serve Him. So it turns out, in both cases, that this “constriction” of the light actually makes room for its own “revelation.” (ibid) The Blessed Holy One constantly constricts his godliness from utmost infinity to the most finite center point of this physical world and he sends to each person thought, speech and deed according to the person and according to the time and place. He enclothes within the thought, speech and deed, hints, in order to bring the person close to his service. Therefore a person needs to delve his mind into this and expand his consciousness in order to understand what the hints are in their details which Hashem is sending to him in the thoughts, words, and deeds of this day according to the specific circumstances he finds himself in. In business or work and in everything that Hashem sends to him each day he needs to delve and expand his mind in it, in order to understand the hints of Hashem. (LM 54) THE TZADDIK “A chidush (novelty) like me never existed in the world.” (quoted in CM) “I am a river that purifies all stains.” (ibid) “I am a beautiful and wondrous tree with great awesome braches, but below I am set firmly in the ground.” (ibid) Rebbe Nachman would often tell his students about the great level that he reached in order to get them jealous and inspire them to serve Hashem like he does. One time someone responded to him, “Who can possibly reach the level of the Tzaddkim like yourself, certainly you were all created with really great souls.” Rebbe Nachman answered him in a stringent manner; “This is the main problem with you all, that you think the greatness of the Tzaddikim are due to their high level of soul, that is not true, every single person can reach my level and be exactly like me. It all depends on effort and honest work.” (sichos haran 165) The world says that a person doesn’t need to seek greatness. I say that you must certainly seek greatness. Investigate and seek out only the greatest Tzaddik. (SH 51) Conceptions of Godliness are only possible to grasp through many constrictions. Therefore a person should search very much for a proper teacher who is able to explain things and make these lofty concepts understandable, for this a person needs a tremendously great teacher who is able to explain such lofty concepts on a simple level enabling small-minded people to understand. The smaller a person is and the further away from Hashem he is, the greater teacher he must find, just as the sicker a person is the greater doctor he needs. Much prayer is needed to find a teacher like this, but one must never lose resolve and settle for mediocrity. (LM 30) “The whole world needs me. You (my students) already know how much you need me, however, even all the Tzaddikim need me, for they too need to be benefited. All the nations of the world need me as well.” (quoted in CM) Our Rabbi of blessed memory already assured us during his lifetime, and designated two kosher witnesses on this, that when he passes away, when [people] come to his grave and give a pennace to charity (*) and say these then tehilim/psalms that we have recorded for remedy for nocturnal emission, Heaven spare us, then our Rabbi himself will span the length and width [of the universe], and will surely save this person. And he said, that he will pull him out of Gehinom/hell by his peyot/sidelocks, even regardless of how that person be, and even regardless of what happened, only from now on he must accept on himself to not return to his wicked ways, Heaven forbid. And the night before he passed away he said: "What do you have to worry about, since I go before you; and if the souls who did not know me at all, look forward to my tikunim/remedies, all the more so [should] you" etc. (And likewise even those who were not priveleged to know our Rabbi of blessed memory during his lifetime, when they come to his holy grave and rely on him and learn his holy books and accustom themselves to walk in his holy ways that are mentioned in his holy books, surely they have on what to rely. Fortunate are they! Fortunate is their portion! "And none of them that take refuge in Him shall be desolate" [Ps. 34:23], for he already revealed his mind in several terms, explicitly and by hint, that all that he is involved in with us is not only for us, but with "those who are here...and with those who are not here" [Deut. 29:14], as explained further below (see Sichot Haran 209).) (*) Printer's comment [Rabbi Natan]: I heard from Rabi Naftali z"l, who was one of the two witnesses who Rabbeinu z"l designated on this matter, i.e. Morein Harav Aharon z"l and Harav Rabi Naftali as mentioned, that Rabeinu z"l said it then in these words: "When they come to my grave and give a pennance to charity for my sake (he means, for remembrance of his holy soul, as commonly practiced), ..." and in Yiddish: "in vet gebin apruta tzedaka fun maynit wegin etc"/and will give a pennace of charity for me." (Chayei Moharan 225) Rebbe Nachman said that all the teachings and sayings of his are not only for us. Rather, “for those who are here standing with us today and for those who are not here with us today” (devarim 29:14). In other words, it is for the generations that are yet to come. He spoke to us about this many times and he hinted to us in his words to make it known to the future generations… One time when he told us about passing on everything that happened with us and everything we heard from him to our children he said this verse with great passion like fiery coals, “You should make known to your children and your children’s children.” And he said, “Know and believe, if its possible to take one person out of the garbage dump, anyone who holds on to that person will come out as well.” (SH 209) “My fire will burn until Moshiach comes.” (CM) A Rav must have in him the two powers that there are in the torah, that is, “a drug of life and a drug of death” (Yoma 72), in order that it will be possible for those who come close to him to receive according to their own will, as in the Torah “the righteous will walk and the wicked will stumble” (Hosea 14). If he yearns for true service of Hashem he can receive from the Rav a straight path to serve Hashem, but if his heart isn’t pure, he can also find in the Rav something impure and be led completely astray. There are those who connect to the Tzaddik and become complete apostates. (LM 31) Every Tzaddik needs to be both well versed in Torah and full of good deeds, for if he is not learned, our sages say, “an unlearned person cannot be a Chassid.” But a learned person alone isn’t anything, for it is possible to be a very educated and studious person and remain completely wicked, for “If he is not worthy it will be a drug of death” (Talmud Yoma 42b). Torah without good deeds is not only insignificant - it is detrimental. (Ibid) “How could they not appose me, for I walk a new path, one that no man has ever walked before, nor any creature since the time the torah was received. Even though it is a very old path, nevertheless it is completely new.” (CM) “There are those who are against me yet they don’t even know me at all. This is as it says in the Zohar when the torah states that Pharaoh said to the Egyptians, “Let’s outsmart the Jews.” Could it be that he went to each and every citizen to personally relate this message? Rather he entered it into their hearts.” (CM) Since the evil forces see that the Jewish people are very very close to the end (to the messiah), and there are Jews nowadays who have tremendous yearning and passion for spirituality and godliness, such a thing that has never occurred in past generations, so the evil forces enter arguments between the tzaddikim, and they establish in the world many false leaders, and even between true tzaddikim the evil forces cause great arguments, until no one knows where truth can be found. Therefore, a person needs to plead very much from Hashem to merit to recognize and come close to the true Tzaddik. (LM2 44) Rebbe Nachman revealed these 10 psalms to say in order to rectify the damage caused by passed sins especially those related to sexual impurity: 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, 150

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