22 August, 2008

Friday Favorite Quotations

I'm apparently not a freak of nature for loving quotations so much. There's a plethora of websites and many hefty tomes devoted to nothing but the snappy sentences of other people. Which is good, because I need an assload o' quotes.

You see, I'm a quote junkie. Always have been. It's part of my writing. I'll spend the entire damned night looking for the right quote for a story or chapter. I've outlined stories using nothing but quotes from songs. A good part of my reading involves marking off things that will make pithy quotes later on.

Quotes are there when I need them. There's been many a day when a quote rescued me from becoming a sad pile of human wreckage hiding under the covers. They've been there to lend zip and zing to a whimsical day. They've been there to show me a new direction. And they've been there to say exactly what I want to say without having to take the blame.

Allow me to share with you some of my absolute favorites.

Profound and Perilous

There are some quotes that work like a punch to the gut. They may not be comfortable or comforting, but they do make you think.

It is true we have won all our wars, but we have paid for them. We don’t want victories anymore
-Golda Meir

The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives
-Albert Einstein

The very bones of those you talk about have turned to dust. All that remains of them is their words.
-Lao Tzu

You see this strong wall? Although it understands nothing, it too will disintegrate, it too will split. Disintegration has a logic of its own.
-Berl Katznelson

It is precisely because one act can balance ten thousand kind ones that we call it "evil."
-Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate

I found myself looking at the photos of combat, of wounded civillians, of people whose worlds had crumbled and fallen, without any sense of irony. These people were us. Whatever side they were on. They were us, and the images had a truth and an immediacy I couldn't have imagined until recently.
-Neil Gaiman, after viewing an exhibition of Robert Capa's war photographs after 9-11

A Stiff Shot of Encouragement

We could use some after the above, couldn't we?

Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier;
I have seen worse sights than this.
-Homer, The Iliad

We have to go into the despair and go beyond it, by working and doing for somebody else, by using it for something else.
-Elie Wiesel

Fall seven times, stand up eight.
-Japanese Proverb

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

Heroism, the Caucasion moutaineers say, is endurance for one moment more.
-George Keenan

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection.
-Thomas Paine

Sheer Beauty

There are some quotes that fill the mouth like wine, like honey, like life. They beg to be savored.

At poor peace I sing
to you strangers (though song
is a burning and crested act...)
-Dylan Thomas, Author’s Prologue

We do not regard what is before our feet; we all gaze at the stars.
-Quinas Ennius

It isn't "To be or not to be,"
Or "Cogito ergo sum" either;
The real business is to understand the inevitable:
The avalanche that cannot be stopped,
The stream that flows forever.
-Ahmed Arif

Thus should you think of all this fleeting world;
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud
A flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream.
-Diamond Sutra

Why don't you come
And help create the universe.
I can't do this all by myself.
-Nida Fazali

It is not from space that I must seek my dignity, but from the government of my thought. I shall have no more if I possess worlds. By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world.
-Blaise Pascal, Pensees

Wit and Whimsy

A sense of humor being essential to the full enjoyment of life, I think we should end this not with a bang, but a fullisade of whoopie cushions.

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
-E.B. White

It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.
-Muhammed Ali

Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.

...No scientist on Earth knows how a planet might blow itself up, which is probably just as well.
-Carl Sagan, Cosmos

The fox knows many tricks, the hedgehog only one. One good one.
-Archilochus, Iambi et Elgi Graeci

Wonderful theory. Wrong species.
-E.O. Wilson (verdict on Marxism)

Under controlled experimental conditions of temperature, time, lighting, feeding, and training, the organism will behave as it damn well pleases.
-The Harvard Law of Animal Behavior

The heavens above do not equal one half of me.... In my glory, I have passed beyond the sky and the great earth... I will pick up the earth, and put it here or put it there.... Have I been drinking soma?
-Rig Veda

Your turn, my darlings. What are the words that lodge in your head and refuse to be budged?


Montiaron said...

"The greatest enemy of truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived, and dishonest -- but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic."
- John F. Kennedy

"One finds one’s destiny on the path one takes to avoid it"
- C. G. Jung

"The gulf between how one should live and how one does live is so wide that a man who neglects what is actually done for what should be done paves the way to self-destruction rather than self-preservation."
- Machiavelli

"Extreme Christians discourage enjoyment of fiction because they want God to be your only imaginary friend."
- Critics wrong; Harry Potter not son of Satan, by Michael Duff

"The bait is the means to get the fish where you want it, catch the fish and you forget the bait.
The snare is the means to get the rabbit where you want it, catch the rabbit and forget the snare.
Words are the means to get the idea where you want it, catch on to the idea and you forget about the words.
Where shall I find a man who forgets about words, and have a word with him?"
- Chuang Tzu

Woozle said...

"You're on the right track when people complain that you're unqualified, or that you've done something inappropriate." – Paul Graham

"If we're going to be damned, let's be damned for what we really are." – Jean-Luc Picard

Chaos Lee said...

"It's like a finger pointing to the stars. Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory."

Bruce Lee "Enter the Dragon"

idahovic said...

Life breaks everyone and many are strong in the broken places.

-Ernest Hemingway-

Glynis said...

One can't see well except with the heart, the essential is invisible to the eye.

-Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Weemaryanne said...

"Of course truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense." (Mark Twain)

"Ring the bells that still can ring,
Forget your perfect offering,
There's a crack, a crack in everything --
That's how the light gets in." (Leonard Cohen)

Efrique said...

I could probably list a hundred that delight me. Here are five.

I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.
Mark Twain

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
Mark Twain

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
Bertrand Russell

If we can't think for ourselves, if we're unwilling to question authority, then we're just putty in the hands of those in power. But if the citizens are educated and form their own opinions, then those in power work for us.
Carl Sagan

We are made of star stuff.
Carl Sagan

If we include fictional characters, there are a few Firefly quotes that I'm quite fond of.

xonghile7 said...

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

- Benjamin Franklin