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Quote for the Week

The bad poet is usually unconscious where he ought to be conscious, and conscious where he ought to be unconscious. Both errors tend to make him “personal.” Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.

–T. S. Eliot, Tradition and the Individual Talent; courtesy of Wikiquote.

Quote for the Week

I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of “Admin.” The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid “dens of crime” that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice. Hence, naturally enough, my symbol for Hell is something like the bureaucracy of a police state or the offices of a thoroughly nasty business con­cern.

–C. S. Lewis, from the Preface to the Paperback Edition of The Screwtape Letters

Quote for the Week

A man called, wanting to borrow a rope.
“You cannot have it,” said Nasrudin.
“Why not?”
“Because it is in use.”
“But I can see it just lying there, on the ground.”
“That’s right: that’s its use.”

–Idries Shah, The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin; courtesy of Wikiquote

Quote for the Week

li-bai

花間一壺酒。
獨酌無相親。
舉杯邀明月。
對影成三人。
月既不解飲。
影徒隨我身。
暫伴月將影。
行樂須及春。
我歌月徘徊。
我舞影零亂。
醒時同交歡。
醉後各分散。
永結無情遊。
相期邈雲漢。

  • A cup of wine, under the flowering trees;
    I drink alone, for no friend is near.
    Raising my cup I beckon the bright moon,
    For he, with my shadow, will make three men.
    The moon, alas, is no drinker of wine;
    Listless, my shadow creeps about at my side.
    Yet with the moon as friend and the shadow as slave
    I must make merry before the Spring is spent.
    To the songs I sing the moon flickers her beams;
    In the dance I weave my shadow tangles and breaks.
    While we were sober, three shared the fun;
    Now we are drunk, each goes his way.
    May we long share our odd, inanimate feast,
    And meet at last on the Cloudy River of the sky.
  • “Drinking Alone by Moonlight” (月下獨酌), translated by Arthur Waley (1919). Courtesy of Wikiquote.

Quote for the Week

24th_marines_wwii_iwo_jima

We thought we were done with these things but we were wrong.
We thought, because we had power, we had wisdom.
We thought the long train would run to the end of Time.
We thought the light would increase.
Now the long train stands derailed and the bandits loot it.
Now the boar and the asp have power in our time.
Now the night rolls back on the West and the night is solid.
Our fathers and ourselves sowed dragon’s teeth.
Our children know and suffer the armed men.

–Stephen Vincent Benét, “Litany for Dictatorships”; courtesy of Wikiquote

Quote for the Week

beautiful-dark-blue-abstraction

For although in a certain sense and for light-minded persons non-existent things can be more easily and irresponsibly represented in words than existing things, for the serious and conscientious historian it is just the reverse. Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born.

–Motto of the work written by Hesse, and attributed to an “Albertus Secundus”; The Glass Bead Game; courtesy of Wikiquote

Quote for the Week

Quantum

Most physicists use quantum mechanics every day in their working lives without needing to worry about the fundamental problem of its interpretation. Being sensible people with very little time to follow up all the ideas and data in their own specialties and not having to worry about this fundamental problem, they do not worry about it. A year or so ago, while Philip Candelas (of the physics department at Texas) and I were waiting for an elevator, our conversation turned to a young theorist who had been quite promising as a graduate student and who had then dropped out of sight. I asked Phil what had interfered with the ex-student’s research. Phil shook his head sadly and said, “He tried to understand quantum mechanics.”
So irrelevant is the philosophy of quantum mechanics to its use, that one begins to suspect that all the deep questions about the meaning of measurement are really empty, forced on us by our language, a language that evolved in a world governed very nearly by classical physics. But I admit to some discomfort in working all my life in a theoretical framework that no one fully understands. And we really do need to understand quantum mechanics better in quantum cosmology, the application of quantum mechanics to the whole universe, where no outside observer is even imaginable. The universe is much too large now for quantum mechanics to make much difference, but according to the big-bang theory there was a time in the past when the particles were so close together that quantum effects must have been important. No one today knows even the rules for applying quantum mechanics in this context.

–Steven Weinberg, Dreams of the Final Theory (2011), Ch. 4. Quantum Mechanics and Its Discontents

Quote for the Week

6877344

One of the fundamental points about religious humility is you say you don’t know about the ultimate judgment. It’s beyond your judgment. And if you equate God’s judgment with your judgment, you have a wrong religion.

–Reinhold Nibuhr, The Mike Wallace Interview, 1958; courtesy of Wikiquote.

Quote for the Week

Gu_hongming

The serene and blessed mood which enables us to see into the life of things: that is imaginative reason, that is the Spirit of the Chinese People.

–Gu Hongming, The Spirit of the Chinese People (1915), page 73; courtesy of Wikiquote

Quote for the Week

Oliver_Wendell_Holmes_Jr_circa_1930

The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience… The law embodies the story of a nation’s development through many centuries, and it cannot be dealt with as if it contained only the axioms and corollaries of a book of mathematics.

–Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., The Common Law (1881), p. 1; courtesy of Wikiquote