Well, I’ve worried some about, you know, why write books … why are we teaching people to write books when presidents and senators do not read them, and generals do not read them. And it’s been the university experience that taught me that there is a very good reason, that you catch people before they become generals and presidents and so forth and you poison their minds with … humanity, and however you want to poison their minds, it’s presumably to encourage them to make a better world.
–“A Talk with Kurt Vonnegut. Jr.” by Robert Scholes in The Vonnegut Statement (1973) edited by Jerome Klinkowitz and John Somer October 1966), later published in Conversations With Kurt Vonnegut (1988), p. 123; courtesy of Wikiquote
To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.
–Pope Benedict XVI, in Milestones: Memoirs, 1927-1977 (1998), p. 6.; courtesy of Wikiquote
Every man alive in the world is a beggar of one sort or another, every last one of them, great and small. The priest begs God for grace, and the king begs something for something. Sometimes he begs the people for loyalty, sometimes he begs God to forgive him. No man in the world can have endured ten years without having begged God to forgive him.
–William Saroyan, “The Beggars” in The William Saroyan Reader (1958); courtesy of Wikiquote
There is no reason why the profoundest thoughts should not make easy and exciting reading. A profound thought is an exciting thing — as exciting as a detective’s deductions or hunches. The simpler the words in which a thought is expressed the more stimulating its effect.
“Eric Hoffer and the Art of the Notebook”, Entry (1950); courtesy of Wikiquote. Since I was a few days late with last week’s Quote for the Week, I put an extra in for this week. Enjoy!
What we will be seeking … for the rest of our lives will be large, stable communities of like-minded people, which is to say relatives. They no longer exist. The lack of them is not only the main cause, but probably the only cause of our shapeless discontent in the midst of such prosperity.
–Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Palm Sunday, “Thoughts of a Free Thinker”, commencement address, Hobart and William Smith Colleges (26 May 1974)
Musik höhere Offenbarung ist als alle Weisheit und Philosophie. (“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.”)
–Ludwig van Beethoven, as reported by Bettina von Arnim in a letter to Goethe, 28 May 1810, Goethe’s Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde: Seinem Denkmal, Volume 2, Dümmler, 1835, p. 193; courtesy of Wikiquote
The costs of specialization: architects build to impress other architects; models are thin to impress other models; academics write to impress other academics; filmmakers try to impress other filmmakers; painters impress art dealers; but authors who write to impress book editors tend to fail.
–Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Prcrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms
When feudal lords love one another there will be no more war; when heads of houses love one another there will be no more mutual usurpation; when individuals love one another there will be no more mutual injury. When ruler and ruled love each other they will be gracious and loyal; when father and son love each other they will be affectionate and filial; when older and younger brothers love each other they will be harmonious. When all the people in the world love one another, then the strong will not overpower the weak, the many will not oppress the few, the wealthy will not mock the poor, the honoured will not disdain the humble, and the cunning will not deceive the simple. And it is all due to mutual love that calamities, strife, complaints, and hatred are prevented from arising. Therefore the benevolent exalt it.
Book 4; Universal Love II
All states in the world, large or small, are cities of Heaven, and all people, young or old, honourable or humble, are its subjects; for they all graze oxen and sheep, feed dogs and pigs, and prepare clean wine and cakes to sacrifice to Heaven. Does this not mean that Heaven claims all and accepts offerings from all? Since Heaven does claim all and accepts offerings from all, what then can make us say that it does not desire men to love and benefit one another? Hence those who love and benefit others Heaven will bless. Those who hate and harm others Heaven will curse, for it is said that he who murders the innocent will be visited by misfortune. How else can we explain the fact that men, murdering each other, will be cursed by Heaven? Thus we are certain that Heaven desires to have men love and benefit one another and abominates to have them hate and harm one another