Monthly Archives: March 2008

William Shakespeare

…What you do
Still betters what is done. When you speak, sweet,
I’d have you do it ever. When you sing,
I’d have you buy and sell so, so give alms,
Pray so, and for the ord’ring you affairs,
To sing them too. When you do dance, I wish you
A wave o’th’sea, that you might ever do
Nothing but that, move still, still so,
And own no other function. Each your doing,
So singular in each particular,
Crowns what you are doing in the present deeds,
That all your acts are queens.
The Winter’s Tale, Act IV, Scene IV.

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N. Scott Momaday

Two Figures
by N. Scott Momaday

These figures moving in my rhyme,
Who are they? Death and Death’s dog, Time.

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Ivan Illich

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.
Tools for Conviviality (1973)

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Clarence Darrow

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.
Improving the Quality of Life for the Black Elderly: Challenges and Opportunities : Hearing before the Select Committee on Aging, House of Representatives, One Hundredth Congress, first session, September 25, 1987. This quote is often misattributed to Charles Darwin.

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Edna St. Vincent Millay

Recuerdo
by Edna St. Vincent Millay

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We went back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucket full of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry.
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept “God bless you!” for the apples and the pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

(thanks, med)

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Joe Kane

The boy who nearly won the Texaco Art Competition
by Joe Kane

he took a large sheet
of white paper and on this
he made the world an african world
of flat topped trees and dried grasses
and he painted an elephant in the middle
and a lion with a big mane and several giraffes
stood over the elephant and some small animals to fill
in the gaps he worked all day had a bath this was saturday

on sunday he put six jackals
in the world and a great big snake
and buzzards in the sky and tickbirds
on the elephants back he drew down blue
from the sky to make a river and got the elephants
legs all wet and smudged and one of the jackals got drowned
he put red flowers in the front of the picture and daffodils in the bottom corners
and his dog major chewing a bone and mrs murphys two cats tom and jerry
and milo the milkman with a cigarette in the corner of his mouth
and his merville dairy float pulled by his wonder horse trigger
that would walk when he said click click and the holy family
in the top right corner with the donkey and cow
and sheep and baby jesus and got the 40A bus
on monday morning in to abbey street to hand
it in and the man on the door said
thats a sure winner

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Stanley Fish

All I’m saying is that analyzing arguments is a different project than taking positions on ethical, moral or political issues. Neither is objective; both involve opinions; the opinions are, however, about different things, in one case about the best thing to do or think; in the other, about whether the case made for thinking or doing something hangs together. It would be quite possible for me, or anyone else, to fault the arguments made in behalf of a policy or agenda and still support it. I am insisting on the distinction, but no claim to objectivity is involved.
‘Think Again: Why I Write These Columns’, The New York Times, March 9, 2008
http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/why-i-write-these-columns/

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Filed under Quotes, Subjectivity

Richard C. Lewontin

There is hardly a chapter in the main body of The Richness of Life that does not repay a careful reading. Of all the essays in it the one that is most important to the public understanding of science is “Measuring Heads: Paul Broca and the Heyday of Craniology,” for it deals with an issue that is so discomfiting for scientists that they avoid it when they can. Despite the myth of detached objectivity that scientists propagate, their motivations are as messy as everyone else’s. In particular, they have political, social, and personal concerns that may influence what they do, how they do it, and what they say about it. Putting aside deliberate fraud, of which we have an embarrassment of examples, the gathering of data, their statistical representation, and their interpretation offer many opportunities for unconscious bias toward conclusions that we already “knew” to be true.
‘The Triumph of Stephen Jay Gould’ in The New York Review of Books, Volume 55, Number 2 · February 14, 2008.

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Abraham Lincoln

He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met.
Frederick Trevor Hill credits Lincoln with this in ‘Lincoln the Lawyer’ (1906), adding that ‘History has considerately sheltered the identity of the victim’.

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Aristotle

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.
This quote is often misattributed to Aristotle because the concepts behind the quote are his. Apparently some of the phrases in the quote come from Will Durant (The quoted phrases within Durants quotation are from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Book II, 4; Book I, 7. ): “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have these because we have acted rightly; ‘these virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions’; we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit: ‘the good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life… for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy.'” (p.76 in ‘Ch. II: Aristotle and Greek Science; part VII: Ethics and the Nature of Happiness’ in The Story of Philosophy: The Lives and Opinions of the World’s Greatest Philosophers, 1926, Simon & Schuster, 1991). The misattribution , therefore, seems to come from taking Durant’s summation of Aristotle’s ideas as being the words of Artistotle himself.

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William Faulkner

The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.
To UNESCO Commission (New York Times, October 3, 1959)

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Filed under Ephemeron, Quotes

Donald Rumsfeld

Now what is the message there? The message is that there are known “knowns.” There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say well that’s basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.
Press Conference at NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, June 6, 2002.

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Label Management

Expectancy – don’t have ’em
Ephemeron – we are nothing, life is nothing, haplessness
Subjectivity – myth of detached objectivity, social life of scientists, postmodern logic
Historiography – study things, know things; study thyself, know thyself
Bagatelle – life is in the details, sillinesses, trifles
Love – is what it is
Sureness – to be yourself
Kindheartedness – be it
Praxis – practice practice practice
—————————————-
Art
Etymology
Image
Plays
Poems
Quotes

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