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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

Quote for the Week

werthers_tod

The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the ambition thicksighted: thence proceeds mawkishness, and the thousand bitters which those men I speak of must necessarily taste in going over the following pages.

–John Keats, Endymion, Preface; courtesy of Wikiquote

Quote for the Week

Tolkien

My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) … the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

–J. R. R. Tolkien, Letter to his son Christopher Tolkien (29 November, 1943); courtesy of Wikiquote

Quote for the Week

Sagrada_Familia_01

For the first time since I had been in Barcelona I went to have a look at the cathedral–a modern cathedral, and one of the most hideous buildings in the world. It has four crenellated spires exactly the shape of hock bottles. Unlike most of the churches in Barcelona it was not damaged during the revolution–it was spared because of its ‘artistic value’, people said. I think the Anarchists showed bad taste in not blowing it up when they had the chance, though they did hang a red and black banner between its spires.

–George Orwell on [Antoni Gaudí’s Cathedral] Sagrada Familia, Homage to Catalonia, 1938; courtesy of Wikiquote

For what it’s worth, while Sagrada Família is indeed a bit Surrealist and—well, out there–I do not agree with Orwell’s assessment of it.  Then again, I’m somewhat sympathetic to Surrealism.  In any case, the picture’s here–draw your own conclusions.