Food For Thought

A Collection of Heretical Notions and Wretched Adages
compiled by Jack Tourette

author index




The faith that stands on authority is not faith.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
"The Over-Soul"
Essays: First Series, 1841

You call for faith:
I show you doubt, to prove that faith exists.
The more of doubt, the stronger faith, I say,
If faith o'ercomes doubt.

Robert Browning (1812-1889)
Bishop Blougram's Apology, 1855
Line 601

Without risk there is no faith. Faith is precisely the contradiction between the infinite passion of the individual's inwardness and the objective uncertainty. If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. If I wish to preserve myself in faith, I must constantly be intent upon holding fast the objective uncertainty, so as to remain out upon the deep over seventy thousand fathoms of water, still preserving my faith.

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
(writing as Johannes Climacus)
"Subjective Truth, Inwardness; Truth is Subjectivity"
Concluding Unscientific Postscript, 1846, Chapter 2

"Faith" means the will to avoid knowing what is true.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)
The Anti-Christ, 1888
Aphorism 52
translated by H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)

Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.

Khalil Gibran (1883-1931)
The Prophet, 1923

If faith is understood as belief that something is true, doubt is incompatible with the act of faith. If faith is understood as being ultimately concerned, doubt is a necessary element in it. It is a consequence of the risk of faith. Doubt isn't the opposite of faith; it is an element of faith.

Paul Johannes Tillich (1886-1965)
The Dynamics of Faith, 1957
Chapter I "What Faith Is"
Section 5 "Faith and Doubt"

1. An illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.
2. The basis of three great enterprises: love, democracy, and hash.
3. The boast of the man who is too lazy to investigate.
4. Believing what you know to be untrue.
5. You can't do much with faith and you can't do much without it.
6. If men had no faith in one another, all of us would have to live within our incomes.

Evan Esar (1899-1995)
Esar's Comic Dictionary, 1943

Idiosyncratic belief systems which are shared by only a few adherents are likely to be regarded as delusional. Belief systems which may be just as irrational but which are shared by millions are called world religions.

Anthony Storr (1920-2001)
Feet of Clay: Saints, Sinners, and Madmen : A Study of Gurus, 1997
Chapter X "Delusions and Faith"

"Faith" can be defined as "any man's hope that the human spirit is capable of understanding"; that anything actually matters in the larger universe; and that understanding anything could be important outside of our own selfish whims and desire to survive....and somehow, because it is important, understanding can go on without us, waiting only to be rediscovered by the future, or at worst, pissed away, in spite of all our prayers, and work, and suffering.

Every expression of the human spirit is an act of faith.

Ellyn Mustard


[see also: ADMIRATION]

"I have heard...that in Ch'u there is a sacred tortoise which has been dead now for some three thousand years; and that the Prince keeps this tortoise carefully enclosed in a chest on the altar of his ancestral temple. Now would this tortoise rather be dead and have its remains venerated, or would it rather be alive and wagging its tail in the mud?"

"It would rather be alive...and wagging its tail in the mud."

"Begone!" cried Chuang-tzu. "I too will wag my tail in the mud."

Chuang-tzu (c.369-c.286 BC)
A Chinese Biographical Dictionary, 1898
by Herbert Allen Giles

I would much rather have men ask why I have no statue, than why I have one.

Marcus Porcius Cato (234-149 BC)
Parallel Lives, "Marcus Cato"
Chapter 19, section 4
by Plutarch (AD c.46-c.119)

Exemplum de simia, quae, quanto plus ascendit, tanto plus apparent posteriora eius.
(An example from the monkey: The higher it climbs, the more you see of its behind.)

Saint Bonaventure (c.1217-1274)
Conferences on the Gospel of John, 47, 6
Quaracchi edition, 1893

Glory is like a circle in the water,
Which never ceaseth to enlarge itself,
Till by broad spreading it disperse to nought.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
King Henry VI: The First Part, c.1591
Act I, scene vi

In my stars I am above thee, but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Twelfth-Night, 1601-1602
Act II, scene iii, line 46

Applause is the spur of noble minds, the end and aim of weak ones.

C.C. Colton (1780-1832)
Lacon, 1820
Volume 1, number 324

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. -- `Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' -- Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Essays: First Series, 1841

Fame is proof that people are gullible.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty oblivion.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Mark Twain, A Biography, 1912
by Albert Bigelow Paine (1861-1937)
Chapter 69, "A Lecture Tour"

Prizes are badges of mediocrity. Prizes are for boys. I'm grown up.

Charles Edward Ives (1874-1954)
Refusing the Pulitzer prize for his Symphony No. 3, 1947

Let us never forget that the greatest man is never more than an animal disguised as a god.

Francis Picabia (1878-1953)
"Jesus dit a ces Juifs"
La Vie Moderne
Paris, 25 February 1923

To want fame is to prefer dying scorned than forgotten.

E.M. Cioran (1911-1995)
"Strangled Thoughts"
The New Gods, 1969, Section 1

Celebrity-worship and hero-worship should not be confused. Yet we confuse them every day, and by doing so we come dangerously close to depriving ourselves of all real models. We lose sight of the men and women who do not simply seem great because they are famous but who are famous because they are great. We come closer and closer to degrading all fame into notoriety.

Daniel J. Boorstin (1914-2004)
The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, 1961
Chapter 2 "From Hero to Celebrity: The Human Pseudo-Event"

Anyone can be great with money.

With money greatness is not a talent but an obligation.

The trick is to be great without money.

Robert Crichton (1925-1993)
The Secret of Santa Vittoria, 1966
Part 2, "Italo Bombolini"

In the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.

Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Catalogue of his photo exhibition in Stockholm, 1968

The admiring fascination exerted on the people by "the figure of the 'great' criminal (die Gestalt des 'grossen' Verbrechers)' can be explained as follows: it is not someone who has committed this or that crime for which one feels a secret admiration; it is someone who, in defying the law, lays bare the violence of the juridical order itself.

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004)
"Force of Law: The 'Mystical Foundation of Authority'", 1990
Acts of Religion, 2002
Edited by Gil Anidjar


The most dangerous madmen are those created by religion, and...people whose aim is to disrupt society know how to make good use of them on occasion.

Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
Conversations with a Christian Lady, 1777

From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.

Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
Essai sur le Merite de la Vertu

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
New York Times, 05 July 1954

Defined in psychological terms, a fanatic is a man who consciously over-compensates a secret doubt.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
"The Substitutes for Religion"
Proper Studies, 1927

A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
Contact, 1985
Part II "The Machine"
Chapter 14 "Harmonic Oscillator"


[see also: SHIT]

Every man's ordure well
To his own sense doth smell.

Terence (c.185-159 BC)
Andria, Act IV, scene ii

Qui s'excuse, s'accuse.
(He who excuses himself accuses himself.)

Gabriel Meurier (1530-1601)
Tresor des Sentences

That which Pythagoras said to his scholars of old, may be forever applied to melancholy men, A fabis abstinete, eat no beans.

Robert Burton (1577-1640)
The Anatomy of Melancholy, 1621-1651
Part I, section 2, member 2, subsec. 1

A woman who farts cannot be dead.

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
Confessions, 2000
Translated by Angela Scholar

...she who breaks wind is not dead.

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau
Volume 1, 1923

Farts are -- I just refuse to be snobbish about certain shit with comedy. You know, farts come out of your ass and they make a fucking trumpet sound. That shit smelling gas comes out of your ass and it makes a toot sound. What the fuck is not funny about that? It's perfect, it's a perfect joke. It has all the elements. [Time, 2011]

Louis C.K. (b.1967)
Louis CK Interview, Part 2: Money and Mortality
By James Poniewozik
23 June 2011

Every man likes the smell of his own farts.

Icelandic Proverb
The Viking Book of Aphorisms, 1962
Collected by W.H. Auden and Louis Kronenberger

Letting rip a fart --
It doesn't make you laugh
When you live alone.

The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse, 1964
Senryu, page 130
Translated by Geoffrey Bownas and Anthony Thwaite


The profit system is crumbling before our eyes, and there are only two alternatives - social ownership and operation of the industrial plant, or else Fascism, which I have defined as "capitalism plus murder."

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)
I, Candidate for Governor and How I Got Licked, 1934, 1935

Embryo American fascism is trying to direct the disillusionment and discontent of these masses into reactionary fascist channels. It is a peculiarity of the development of American fascism that at the present stage it comes forward principally in the guise of an opposition to fascism, which it accuses of being an "un-American" trend imported from abroad. In contradistinction to German fascism, which acts under anti-constitutional slogans, American fascism tries to portray itself as the custodian of the Constitution and "American democracy." It does not as yet represent a directly menacing force.

Georgi Dimitrov (1882-1949)
"The Fascist Offensive and the Tasks of the Communist International
in the Struggle of the Working Class against Fascism"
Main Report delivered at the Seventh World Congress of the Communist International
02 August 1935

Fascism in America will attempt to advance under the banner of Americanism and anti-Fascism.

Georgi Dimitrov (1882-1949)
Paraphrase of previous quotation?

Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity, quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace.

Benito Mussolini (1883-1945)
The Political and Social Doctrine of Fascism, 1932

Fascism was Big Business armed with bayonets.

George Seldes (1890-1995)
In Fact, Volume VII, Number 6
17 May 1943

Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims, but by the way it kills them.

Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
"On the Execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg"
Liberation, Paris
22 June 1953

Fascism is government by the few and for the few. The objective is seizure and control of the economic, political, social and cultural life of the state.

Army Talk: Orientation Fact Sheet 64
24 March 1945

Any fascist attempt to gain power in America would not use the exact Hitler pattern. It would work under the guise of "superpatriotism" and "super-Americanism." Fascist leaders are neither stupid nor naive. They know that they must hand out a line that "sells." Huey Long is said to have remarked that if fascism came to America, it would be on a program of "Americanism."

Army Talk: Orientation Fact Sheet 64
24 March 1945


Art produces ugly things which frequently become beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.

Jean Cocteau (1889-1963)
New York World-Telegram & Sun
21 August 1960


[see also: LUCK]

I returned, and I saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Bible, Ecclesiastes 9:11

Fate, then, is a name for facts not yet passed under the fire of thought; for causes which are unpenetrated.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
"Fate", The Conduct of Life, 1860


If we had no faults we should not take so much pleasure in noting those of others.

La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
Sentences and Moral Maxims, 1678
Maxim 31
Translated from 1678 and 1827 editions by
J.W. Willis Bund and J. Hain Friswell, 1871

A man's personal defects will commonly have with the rest of the world precisely that importance which they have to himself. If he makes light of them, so will other men.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
English Traits, 1856


I have gained this by philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.

Aristotle (384-322 BC)
from Lives of Eminent Philosophers
Book V, section 21
by Diogenes Laertius (fl. 2nd century)

Whom they fear they hate (Quem metuunt, oderunt).

Quintus Ennius (239-169 BC)
from De Officiis, Book II, Chapter 7
by Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Bible, Psalms 111:10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Bible, Proverbs 1:7

Modeste tamen, et circumspecto judicio, de tantis viris pronunciandum est, ne, quod plerisque accidit, damnent, quae non intelligunt. (In judging however of those great men, we ought to be diffident of ourselves and circumspect, for it often happens that we condemn what we do not understand.)

Quintilian (AD c.35-c.100)
Quintilian's Institutes of Eloquence, 1805
Volume I, Book X, Chapter I "Concerning the Benefit of Reading"
Translated by W. Guthrie

Since fear and love can hardly exist together, if we must chose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)
The Prince, 1532
Chapter 17

Coleridge says, "In politics what begins in fear usually ends in folly."

He might have gone farther, and added: In morals what begins in fear usually ends in wickedness. In religion what begins in fear usually ends in fanaticism. Fear, either as a principle or a motive, is the beginning of all evil.

Mrs. Anna Brownell Murphy Jameson (1794-1860)
A Commonplace Book of Thoughts, Memories, and Fancies, 1855
Part I "Ethics and Character"
Ethical Fragments "Tieck. Coleridge"
Number 80

Fear is the parent of cruelty.

James Anthony Froude (1818-1894)
"Party Politics"
Short Studies on Great Subjects, 1877

That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject.

George Santayana (1863-1952)
The Life of Reason, 1905-1906
Chapter 3 "Reason in Religion"

Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945)
First Inaugural Address
04 March 1933

I am not one of the desk-pounding type that likes to stick out his jaw and look like he is bossing the show. I would far rather get behind and, recognizing the frailties and requirements of human nature, I would rather try to persuade a man to go along, because once I have persuaded him, he will stick. If I scare him, he will stay just as long as he is scared, and then he is gone.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
News conference, 14 November 1956

Love casts out fear; but conversely fear casts out love. And not only love. Fear also casts out intelligence, casts out goodness, casts out all thought of beauty and truth. What remains in the dumb or studiedly jocular desperation of one who is aware of the obscene Presence in the corner of the room and knows that the door is locked, there aren't any windows. And now the thing bears down on him. He feels a hand on his sleeve, smells a stinking breath, as the executioner's assistant leans almost amorously toward him. "Your turn next, brother. Kindly step this way." And in an instant his quiet terror is transmuted into a frenzy as violent as it is futile. There is no longer a man among his fellow men, no longer a rational being speaking articulately to other rational beings; there is only a lacerated animal, screaming and struggling in the trap. For in the end fear casts out even a man's humanity. And fear, my good friends, fear is the very basis and foundation of modern life. Fear of the much touted technology which, while it raises our standard of living, increases the probability of our violently dying. Fear of the science which takes away with one hand even more than what it so profusely gives with the other. Fear of the demonstrably fatal institutions for which, in our suicidal loyalty, we are ready to kill and die. Fear of the Great Men whom we have raised, by popular acclaim, to a power which they use, inevitably, to murder and enslave us. Fear of the War we don't want and yet do everything we can to bring about.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
Ape and Essence, 1948
Chapter II

The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don't ask for their love; only for their fear.

Heinrich Himmler (1900-1945)

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983)
The Passionate State of Mind, 1955
Aphorism 222

I think most people would agree that there is no hate without fear. Hate is crystallized fear, fear's dividend, fear objectivized. We hate what we fear and so where hate is, fear is lurking. Thus we hate what threatens our person, our liberty, our privacy, our income, popularity, vanity and our dreams and plans for ourselves. If we can isolate this element in what we hate we may learn to cease from hating. Analyse in this way the hatred of ideas, or of the type of person whom one has once loved and whose face in preserved in Spirits of Anger. Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate it; a child who fears noises becomes a man who hates noise.

Cyril Vernon Connolly (1903-1974)
The Unquiet Grave, 1945

Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear. And, from this point of view, death is no more worthy of respect than Nero or the inspector at my local police station.

Albert Camus (1913-1960)
Notebooks 1935-1951
Notebook III, April 1939-February 1942

We have reason to be afraid. This is a terrible place, but we have to exert our wills. I wake up every morning terrified.

John Berryman (1914-1972)
"Whisky and ink, whisky and ink"
by Jane Howard
Life, 21 July 1967

Fear not your enemies,
for they can only
kill you.
Fear not your friends,
for they can only
betray you.
Fear only
the indifferent,
who permit the killers
and betrayers to walk
safely on earth.

Edward Yashinsky


[see also: MANKIND]

In great cities men are brought together by the desire of gain. They are not in a state of co-operation, but of isolation, as to the making of fortunes; and for all the rest they are careless of neighbours. Christianity teaches us to love our neighbour as ourself; modern society acknowledges no neighbour.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)
Sybil; or, The Two Nations, 1845
Book II, Chapter 5

What men call social virtues, good fellowship, is commonly but the virtue of pigs in a litter, which lie close together to keep each other warm.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Journal, 23 October 1852

Sometimes a neighbor whom we have disliked a lifetime for his arrogance and conceit lets fall a single commonplace remark that shows us another side, another man, really: a man uncertain, and puzzled, and in the dark like ourselves.

Willa Cather (1873-1947)
Shadows on the Rock, 1931

The brotherhood of man is evoked by particular men according to their circumstances. But it seldom extends to all men. In the name of our freedom and our brotherhood we are prepared to blow up the other half of mankind and to be blown up in our turn.

R.D. Laing (1927-1989)
The Politics of Experience, 1967
Chapter 4


[see also: MEN] women can't have as much rights [sic] as man, cause Christ wasn't a woman. Where did your Christ come from? ...From God and a woman. Man had nothing to do with him.

Sojourner Truth (c.1797-1883)
Speech at Women's Rights Convention
Akron Ohio, 1851

The true Republic: men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)
Revolution newspaper motto

You say that the women of our society live for a different interest from that which actuates fallen women. And I say no, and I am going to prove it to you. If beings differ from one another according to the purpose of their life, according to their INNER LIFE, this will necessarily be reflected also in their OUTER LIFE, and their exterior will be very different. Well, then, compare the wretched, the despised, with the women of the highest society: the same dresses, the same fashions, the same perfumeries, the same passion for jewelry, for brilliant and very expensive articles, the same amusements, dances, music, and songs. The former attract by all possible means; so do the latter. No difference, none whatever!

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
The Kreutzer Sonata, 1889
Chapter VI
Translated by Benjamin R. Tucker

It is the fashion nowadays to talk about some new system of female education, but all that is arrant nonsense. Women are actually trained and educated in perfect harmony with the views really and truly held in modern society respecting the mission of their sex, and female education will always be regulated in strict accordance with man's conception of woman. Now no one ignores what men's views of women are. Wine, women, and song -- so say the poets in verse. Read the poetry of all ages and countries, examine all the productions of painting and sculpture, commencing with erotic poems and Venuses and Phrynes, and you can not fail to perceive that in the highest society, as well as in the lowest, woman is merely an instrument of pleasure.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
The Kreutzer Sonata, 1889
Chapter XIV "The Devil's Cunning"
Edited by Stanley Appelbaum

A woman who thinks she is intelligent demands the same rights as man. An intelligent woman gives up.

Colette (1873-1954)
Earthly Paradise: Colette's Autobiography
Drawn From Her Lifetime Writings
, 1966
Edited by Robert Phelps

Eine Frau muff ein niedliches, molliges, Tschapperl sein: weich, süß und dumm.
(A woman must be a cute, cuddly, naive little thing -- tender, sweet, and stupid.)

Adolf Hitler (1889-1945)
Quoted in Quick (Munich), 03 May 1964

Because I am a woman, I must make unusual efforts to succeed. If I fail, no one will say, 'She doesn't have what it takes.' They will say, 'Women don't have what it takes.'

Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987)

It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal; that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth but to that which kills.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986)
The Second Sex, 1949-1950
Part II, Chapter 4

Women were for recreation. On a job, they got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings and all the emotional baggage they carried around. One had to look out for them and take care of them.

Ian Fleming (1908-1964)
Casino Royale, 1953
Chapter 4, "L'Ennemi Ecoute"

Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.

Timothy Leary (1920-1996)

Wondrous hole! Magical hole! Dazzlingly influential hole! Noble and effulgent hole! From this hole everything follows logically: first the baby, then the placenta, then, for years and years and years until death, a way of life. It is all logic, and she who lives by the hole will live also by its logic. It is, appropriately, logic with a hole in it.

Cynthia Ozick (b.1928)
"The Hole/Birth Catalog"
in The First Ms. Reader, 1972
Edited by Francine Klagsbrun

(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.

Pat Robertson (b.1930)
Washington Post, 23 August 1993

I listen to feminists and all these radical gals -- most of them are failures. They've blown it. Some of them have been married, but they married some Casper Milquetoast who asked permission to go to the bathroom. These women just need a man in the house. That's all they need. Most of the feminists need a man to tell them what time of day it is and to lead them home. And they blew it and they're mad at all men. Feminists hate men. They're sexist. They hate men -- that's their problem.

Jerry L. Falwell (1933-2007)

There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody.

Florynce Kennedy (1916-2000)
Quoted in "Freelancer with No Time to Write"
by John Brady
Writer's Digest
Cincinnati, February 1974


We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind -- mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality.

J.G. Ballard (b.1930)
Crash, 1973
From the introduction to 1974 French edition



Bad men live that they may eat and drink, whereas good men eat and drink that they may live.

Socrates (c.470-399 BC)
How a Young Man Ought to Hear Poems
by Plutarch (AD c.46-c.119)

One should eat to live, not live to eat.

Moliere (1622-1673)
The Miser, 1668
Act III, scene i

I believe I have omitted mentioning, that in my first voyage from Boston to Philadelphia, being becalmed off Block Island, our crew employed themselves in catching cod, and hauled up a great number. Till then I had stuck to my resolution to eat nothing that had had life; and on this occasion I considered, according to my master Tryon, the taking every fish as a kind of unprovoked murder, since none of them had nor could do us any injury that might justify this massacre. All this seemed very reasonable. But I had been formerly a great lover of fish, and when it came out of the frying-pan it smelt admirably well. I balanced some time between principle and inclination, till recollecting that when fish were opened I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then thought I, "If you eat one another, I don't see why we may not eat you." So I dined upon cod very heartily, and have since continued to eat as other people; returning only now and then occasionally to a vegetable diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for every thing one has a mind to do.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Memoirs of the life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, 1818

...what is commonly called love, namely the desire of satisfying a voracious appetite with a certain quantity of delicate white human flesh, is by no means that passion for which I here contend. This is indeed more properly hunger; and as no glutton is ashamed to apply the word love to his appetite, and to say he LOVES such and such dishes, so may the lover of this kind, with equal propriety, say he HUNGERS after such and such women.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
Tom Jones, 1749
Book VI, chapter 1

To speak out boldly at once, she was in love, according to the present universally received sense of that phrase, by which love is applied indiscriminately to the desirable objects of all our passions, appetites, and senses, and is understood to be that preference which we give to one kind of food rather than to another.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
Tom Jones, 1749
Book IX, chapter 5

LOVE: A word properly applied to our delight in particular kinds of food; sometimes metaphorically spoken of the favorite objects of all our appetites.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754)
"A Modern Glossary"
The Covent-Garden Journal
Number 4, Tuesday, 14 January 1752

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Man and Superman, 1903
Act I

...economics has done a much greater disservice to agriculture than the collection of useless data. Farming has come to be looked at as if it were a factory. Agriculture is regarded as a commercial enterprise; far too much emphasis has been laid on profit. But the purpose of agriculture is quite different from that of a factory. It has to provide food in order that the race may flourish and persist. The best results are obtained if the food is fresh and the soil is fertile. Quality is more important than weight of produce. Farming is therefore a vital matter for the population and ranks with the supply of drinking water, fresh air, and protection from the weather. Our water supplies do not always pay their way; the provision of green belts and open spaces does not yield a profit; our housing schemes are frequently uneconomic. Why, then, should the quality of the food on which still more depends than water, oxygen, or warmth be looked at in a different way? The people must be fed whatever happens. Why not, then, make a supreme effort to see that they are properly fed? Why neglect the very foundation-stone of our efficiency as a nation? The nation's food in the nature of things must always take the first place. The financial system, after all, is but a secondary matter. Economics therefore, in failing to insist on these elementary truths, has been guilty of a grave error of judgement.

Albert Howard (1873-1947)
An Agricultural Testament, 1943
Chapter 13 "A Criticism of Present-day Agricultural Research"

What ails our victualry, principally, is the depressing standardization that ails everything else American. There was a time when every American eating-house had its specialties, and many of them were excellent. One did not expect to find the same things everywhere. One went to one place for roast goose, and to another for broiled soft crabs, and to another for oysters, and to yet another for mutton chops. Rolls made the old Parker House in Boston famous, and terrapin a la Maryland did the same for Barnum's and Guy's Hotels in Baltimore. This specialization still prevails in Europe. The best restaurants in Paris -- that is, the best in the epicurean, not in the fashionable sense -- do not profess to offer the whole range of the French cuisine. Each has its specialty, and upon that specialty the art of the chef is lavished, aided by prayer and fasting. His rivals in other places do not try to meet and best him on his own ground. They let him have his masterpiece, and devote themselves to perfecting masterpieces of their own. Thus victualing in France continues to show a great variety, and a never-failing charm. One may eat superbly every day, and never encounter a dish that is merely eatable. The Parisians look forward to dinner as a Mississippian looks forward to his evening necking of the Scriptures. But in America the public cooks have all abandoned specialization, and every one of them seems bent upon cooking as nearly as possible like all the rest. The American hotel meal is as rigidly standardized as the parts of a Ford, and so is the American restaurant meal. The local dishes, in all eating-houses pretending to any tone, are banned as low. So one hunts in vain in Boston for a decent plate of beans, and in Baltimore for a decent mess of steamed hard crabs, and in St. Louis for a decent rasher of catfish. They are obtainable, perhaps, but only along the wharves. One One must take a squad of police along to enjoy them in safety.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
Prejudices: Sixth Series, 1927
VI "Five Little Excursions"
4. "Victualry As A Fine Art"

Biotech companies love to talk about feeding the world, but their products must pay off in a market that measures dollar demand, not human need. By far the greatest effort has gone into the potato that makes fast-food fries, not the yam grown by folks with no cash. The corn that feeds America's pigs and chickens, not the dryland millet that feeds Africa's children. The diseases of the rich, not the plagues of the poor. There is some public funding and corporate charity directed toward gene manipulations that might conceivably help feed the world, but the vast majority of minds and bucks are working on caffeine-free coffee beans, designer tomatoes, seedless watermelons. They always will, if the market is the guide.

Donella Meadows (1941-2001)
"Are Bioengineered Potatoes Organic?"
Whole Earth, Summer 1999

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Michael Pollan (b.1955)
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, 2008
Introduction, "An Eater's Manifesto"

Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.

Avoid food products containing ingredients that are a) unfamiliar, b) unpronounceable, c) more than five in number, or that include d) high-fructose corn syrup.

Avoid food products that make health claims.

Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.

Get out of the supermarket whenever possible.

Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.

You are what what you eat eats too.

If you have the space, buy a freezer.

Eat like an omnivore.

Eat well-grown food from healthy soils.

Eat wild foods when you can.

Be the kind of person who takes supplements.

Eat more like the French. Or the Italians. Or the Japanese. Or the Indians. Or the Greeks.

Regard nontraditional foods with skepticism.

Don't look for the magic bullet in the traditional diet.

Have a glass of wine with dinner.

Pay more, eat less.

Eat meals.

Do all your eating at a table.

Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does.

Try not to eat alone.

Consult your gut.

Eat slowly.

Cook and, if you can, plant a garden.

Michael Pollan (b.1955)
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, 2008
Part III "Getting Over Nutritionism"
Chapter Two "Eat Food: Food Defined", and
Chapter Three "Mostly Plants: What to Eat", and
Chapter Four "Not too Much: How to Eat"


[see also: WISDOM]

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.

Chinese saying

Fools when they do hear are like the deaf: of them does the saying bear witness that they are absent when present.

Heraclitus (c.540-c.480 BC)
Translated by John Burnet, 1908

As empty vessels make the loudest sound, so they that have the least wit are the greatest blabbers.

Plato (c.428-348 BC)

What fools these mortals be.

Seneca (4 BC - AD 65)
Epistles, 1, 3

Let a fool hold his tongue and he will pass for a sage.

Publilius Syrus (1st century BC)
The Moral Sayings of Publius Syrus, A Roman Slave
Maxim 914
Translated by Darius Lyman, 1856

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent and discerning if he holds his tongue.

Bible, Proverbs 17:28 (NIV Bible)

As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit?

Bible, Proverbs 26:11

No man is free from saying silly things; but the misfortune is when we endeavour to give them an air of importance....

Montaigne (1533-1592)
Essays, Book III, 1588
Chapter I "Of Profit and Honesty"
Edited by William Hazlitt, 1845

Who are a little wise, the best fools be.

John Donne (1572-1631)
The Triple Fool, stanza 1

A learned fool is more foolish than an ignorant one.

Moliere (1622-1673)
Les Femmes Savantes, 1672
Act IV, scene iii

However big the fool, there is always a bigger fool to admire him.

Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux (1636-1711)
L'Art Poetique, 1674, Canto 1

Modesty, if it were to be recommended for nothing else, this were enough, that the pretending to little, leaves a man at ease; whereas boasting requires perpetual labour to appear what he is not. If we have sense, modesty best proves it to others: if we have none, it best hides our want of it. For, as blushing will sometimes make a whore pass for a virtuous woman, so modesty may make a fool seem a man of sense.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
"Thoughts on Various Subjects, by Mr. Pope"
The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, 1813
Volume XXIII
Arranged by Thomas Sheridan
Corrected and Revised by John Nichols

As ceremony is the invention of wise men to keep fools at a distance, so good breeding is an expedient to make fools and wise men equals.

Sir Richard Steele (1672-1729)
Isaac Bickerstaff: Physician and astrologer, 1709
Chapter XXVII "Mr. Bickerstaff's Nephews"

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
An Essay on Criticism
Part III, Line 66 (1711)

All ceremonies are in themselves very silly things; but yet, a man of the world should know them. They are the outworks of manners and decency, which would be too often broken in upon, if it were not for that defence, which would be too often broken in upon, if it were not for that defence, which keeps the enemy at a proper distance. It is for that reason that I always treat fools and coxcombs with great ceremony; true good breeding not being a sufficient barrier against them.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773)
March 1752
The Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield
Volume II "Letters to his Son, On Education"

The learned fool writes his nonsense in better language than the unlearned, but still 'tis nonsense.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Poor Richard Improved, 1754

...almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
The Rambler
Number 135: Tuesday, 2 July 1751 [Rustic Seclusion]

Every man is a dam fool for at least ten minutes a day. Wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.

Elbert Green Hubbard (1856-1915)
Philistine - A Periodical of Protest
Volume 29, June 1909 to November 1909

We're all fools...all the time. It's just we're a different kind each day. We think, I'm not a fool today. I've learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we're not perfect and live accordingly.

Ray Bradbury (b.1920)
"No Particular Night or Morning"
The Illustrated Man, 1951

Although a wise man might urge that one should suffer fools gladly, this should not be construed as license for any fool to demand that one do so.

Frederic William Kantor (b.1942)

Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.

Misattributed to Mark Twain
"Many of Mark Twain's Famed Humorous Sayings Are
Found to Have Been Misattributed to Him"
by Kim A. McDonald
Chronicle of Higher Education
04 September 1991
See caveat


Hell is paved with good intentions.

Psychics will lead dogs to your grave.


[see also: LIBERTY]

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)
Speech, Annual Convention of the
National Association of Evangelicals
Orlando, Florida, 08 March 1983
Speaking My Mind, 1989



Who can protest and does not, is an accomplice in the act.

Talmud (compiled c.6th century AD)
Sabbath, 54 b.

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
Life of Johnson, 1791
Volume 4, p.12
by James Boswell (1740-1795)

Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Letter to Dr. James Currie (1745-1807)
28 January 1786

In a free country, the suffering is small and the outcry great, while, on the contrary, under a tyrannical government, the sufferings are great and the complaints are slender.

Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot (1753-1823)
Reply of L.N.M. Carnot, 1799
Page 179

We come now to another cause, alas! all too fruitful of the deplorable ills which today afflict the Church. We mean indifferentism, or that widespread and dangerous opinion sown by the perfidy of the wicked, according to which it is possible, by the profession of some sort of faith, to procure the soul’s salvation, provided that one’s morals conform to the norms of justice and probity. From this poisoned source of indifferentism springs that false and absurd maxim, better termed the insanity (deliramentum), that liberty of conscience must be obtained and guaranteed for everyone. This is the most contagious of errors, which prepares the way for that absolute and totally unrestrained liberty of opinions which, for the ruin of Church and State, is spreading everywhere and which certain men, through an excess of impudence, do not fear to put forward as advantageous to religion. Ah, "what more disastrous death for souls than the liberty of error," said St. Augustine.

Gregory XVI (1765-1846)
"Mirari Vos"
15 August 1832

If these remarks be just, nothing ought to excite greater indignation and alarm than the attempts which have lately been made to destroy the freedom of the press. We have lived to hear the strange doctrine, that to expose the measures of rulers is treason; and we have lived to see this doctrine carried into practice. We have seen a savage populace excited and let loose on men whose crime consisted in bearing testimony against the present war; and let loose riot merely to waste their property, but to tear them from the refuge which the magistrate had afforded, and to shed their blood. In this, and in other events, there have been symptoms of a purpose to terrify into silence those who disapprove the calamitous war under which we suffer; to deprive us of the only method which is left of obtaining a wiser and better government. The cry has been that war is declared, and all opposition should therefore be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country can hardly be propagated. If this doctrine be admitted, rulers have only to declare war, and they are screened at once from scrutiny. At the very time when they have armies at command, when their patronage is most extended, and their power most formidable, not a word of warning, of censure, of alarm must be heard. The press, which is to expose inferior abuses, must not utter one rebuke, one indignant complaint, although our best interests and most valuable rights are put to hazard by an unnecessary war! Admit this doctrine, let rulers once know that, by placing the country in a state of war, they place themselves beyond the only power they dread, - the power of free discussion, - and we may expect war without end. Our peace and all our interests require that a different sentiment should prevail. We should teach our present and all future rulers that there is no measure for which they must render so solemn an account to their constituents as for a declaration of war; that no measure will be so freely, so fully discussed; and that no administration can succeed in persuading this people to exhaust their treasure and blood in supporting war, unless it be palpably necessary and just. In war, then, as in peace, assert the freedom of speech and of the press. Cling to this as the bulwark of all your rights and privileges.

William Ellery Channing (1780-1842)
"Duties of the Citizen in Times of Trial or Danger", c.1812
The Works of William E. Channing, 1903
(Extracts from Sermons preached on Days of Humiliation and Prayer,
appointed in consequence of the Declaration of War against Great
Britain. War was declared 18 June 1812.)

In order to enjoy the inestimable benefits that the liberty of the press ensures, it is necessary to submit to the inevitable evils that it creates.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859)
Democracy in America
Part I, 1835, Chapter 9

So, too, the liberty of thinking, and of publishing, whatsoever each one likes, without any hindrance, is not in itself an advantage over which society can wisely rejoice. On the contrary, it is the fountain-head and origin of many evils. Liberty is a power perfecting man, and hence should have truth and goodness for its object. But the character of goodness and truth cannot be changed at option. These remain ever one and the same, and are no less unchangeable than nature itself. If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption. Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law. A well-spent life is the only way to heaven, whither all are bound, and on this account the State is acting against the laws and dictates of nature whenever it permits the license of opinion and of action to lead minds astray from truth and souls away from the practice of virtue. To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from life, from laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known of the nature and tendency of the so-called civil philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ is the true and sole teacher of virtue and guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and, by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they be not carried out in action.

Leo XIII (1810-1903)
Immortale Dei
On the Christian Constitution of States, number 32
01 November 1885

How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
Either/Or, 1843, Volume 1

You have not converted a man, because you have silenced him.

John Morley (1838-1923)
On Compromise, 1874
Chapter 5 "The Realisation of Opinion"

The character of every act depends on the circumstances in which it is done. The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.... The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935)
Schenck vs. United States
249 U.S. 47, 1919

When men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas -- that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935)
Abrams vs. United States
250 U.S. 616, 1919

If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought -- not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935)
United States vs. Schwimmer
279 U.S. 644, 653, 1928

Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burned women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.

Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1856-1941)
Whitney vs. California
274 U.S. 376, 1927

Anarchism says, Make no laws whatever concerning speech, and speech will be free; so soon as you make a declaration on paper that speech shall be free, you will have a hundred lawyers proving that "freedom does not mean abuse, nor liberty license"; and they will define and define freedom out of existence. Let the guarantee of free speech be in every man's determination to use it, and we shall have no need of paper declarations. On the other hand, so long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men.

Voltarine de Cleyre (1866-1912)
"Anarchism and American Traditions", 1908

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Evelyn Beatrice Hall (1868-1919)
The Friends of Voltaire, 1906
Written as Stephen G. Tallentyre, paraphrasing Voltaire's
attitude regarding a book censorship case in 1798
See caveat

First as to speech. That privilege rests upon the premise that there is no proposition so uniformly acknowledged that it may not be lawfully challenged, questioned, and debated. It needs to rest upon the further premise that there are no propositions that are not open to doubt; it is enough, even if there are, that in the end it is worse to suppress dissent than to run the risk of heresy. Hence it has been again and again unconditionally proclaimed that there are no limits to the privilege so far as words seek to affect only the hearers' beliefs and not their conduct. The trouble is that conduct is almost always based upon some belief, and that to change the hearer's belief will generally to some extent change his conduct, and may even evoke conduct that the law forbids.

Learned Hand (1872-1961)
"The Spirit of Liberty", 1952

It is clear that thought is not free if the profession of certain opinions makes it impossible to earn a living. It is clear also that thought is not free if all the arguments on one side of a controversy are perpetually presented as attractively as possible, while the arguments on the other side can only be discovered by diligent search.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1967)
Free Thought and Official Propaganda, 1922

Freedom of opinion can only exist when the government thinks itself secure.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1967)
A Fresh Look at Empiricism: Collected Papers of
Bertrand Russell
, 1996
"Freedom and Government", 1940

We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is safely tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.

E.M. Forster (1879-1970)
"The Tercentenary of the Areopagitica"
Two Cheers For Democracy, 1951

The real value of freedom is not to the minority that wants to talk, but to the majority that does not want to listen.

Zechariah Chafee (1885-1957)
The Blessings of Liberty, 1956

Government should be concerned with anti-social conduct, not with utterances. Thus, if the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and press is to mean anything in this field, it must allow protests even against the moral code that the standard of the day sets for the community. In other words, literature should not be suppressed merely because it offends the moral code of the censor.

William Orville Douglas (1898-1980)
Roth vs. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 1957
dissenting opinion

With all respect, the price of liberty in a Church as much as in a State is eternal vigilance.... As a Roman Catholic I thank God for the heretics. Heresy is only another word for freedom of thought.

Graham Greene (1904-1991)
Speech upon being awarded the
Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society
Jerusalem International Book Fair, 1981

Take away the right to say "fuck" and you take away the right to say "fuck the government."

Lenny Bruce (1925-1966)

The primary function of a university is to discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research and teaching. To fulfill this function a free interchange of ideas is necessary not only within its walls but with the world beyond as well. It follows that the university must do everything possible to ensure within it the fullest degree of intellectual freedom. The history of intellectual growth and discovery clearly demonstrates the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable. To curtail free expression strikes twice at intellectual freedom, for whoever deprives another of the right to state unpopular views necessarily also deprives others of the right to listen to those views.

The Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale University
08 January 1975
Erroneously credited to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 1841-1935

Free speech is a barrier to the tyranny of authoritarian or even majority opinion as to the rightness or wrongness of particular doctrines or thoughts.

The Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale University
08 January 1975
Misattributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 1841-1935
See caveat

Shock, hurt, and anger are not consequences to be weighed lightly. No member of the community with a decent respect for others should use, or encourage others to use, slurs and epithets intended to discredit another's race, ethnic group, religion, or sex. It may sometimes be necessary in a university for civility and mutual respect to be superseded by the need to guarantee free expression. The values superseded are nevertheless important, and every member of the university community should consider them in exercising the fundamental right to free expression.

The Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale University
08 January 1975
Misattributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. 1841-1935
See caveat


My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.

William James (1842-1910)
Diary entry, 30 April 1870
The Letters of William James, 1920
Volume 1, Section VI "1869-1872 Invalidism in Cambridge"
Edited by Henry James


[see also: LOVE, SOLITUDE]

There are friendships to one who lives in society; this (our present) grief arises from having friendships; observing the evils resulting from friendship, let one walk alone like a rhinoceros.

Buddha (c.563-c.483 BC)
Sutta Nipáta, or, Dialogues and Discourses of Gotama Buddha, 1874
Part I "Uraga Vagga"
Sutta III "Khaggavisana Sutta", number 2
Translated by Sir M. Coomara Swamy

One finds many companions for food and drink, but in a serious business a man's companions are very few.

Theognis (fl. c.545 BC)
Elegies, line 115

What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.

Aristotle (384-322 BC)
from Lives of Eminent Philosophers
Book V, section 20, "Aristotle"
by Diogenes Laertius (fl. 2nd century)

He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,
And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere.

Ali ibn-Abi-Talib (c.602-661)
A Hundred Sayings

I do desire we may be better strangers.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
As You Like It, 1599-1600
Act III, scene ii, line 276

I set it down as a fact that if all men knew what each said of the other, there would not be four friends in the world. This is apparent from the quarrels which arise from the indiscreet tales told from time to time.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
Pensees, 1670, number 101

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he soon will find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
Life of Johnson, 1791
Volume II, Chapter 2
by James Boswell (1740-1795)

The only way to have a friend is to be one.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Essays: First Series, 1841

The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
Paraphrase of Andrew Jackson Davis quotation?
See caveat

The most I can do for my friend is simply to be his friend. I have no wealth to bestow on him. If he knows that I am happy in loving him, he will want no other reward. Is not Friendship divine in this?

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Journal, 07 February 1841

Do you wish to make of your enemy a friend? Then become a friend to your enemy.

Andrew Jackson Davis (1826-1910)
The History & Philosophy of Evil, 1858
Chapter IX "The Harmonial Cure of Evil"

One friend in a lifetime is much; two are many; three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.

Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918)
The Education of Henry Adams, 1907
Chapter XX "Failure (1871)"

It is in the thirties that we want friends. In the forties we know they won't save us any more than love did.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940)
"Notebook O"
The Crack-up, 1945
Edited by Edmund Wilson

Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate - and quickly.

Robert Anson Heinlein (1907-1988)
Time Enough For Love, 1973
Intermission "Excerpts from the Notebooks of Lazarus Long"

Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.

Thomas F. Jones, Jr. (1916-1981)
The Wall Street Journal, 1975

Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend -- or a meaningful day.

Dalai Lama (b.1935)
Time, 11 April 1988

There is a scarcity of Friendship, but not of Friends.

Gnomologia: Adagies and Proverbs, 1732
Number 4880
Collected by Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)



My mother remembers summer evenings in her girlhood when they would drive his old car five or six miles out in the country to a railroad section pond, where as it grew dark they would sit and listen for a certain bullfrog to croak -- and when the frog croaked at last they would drive back to Port Royal. He did that, of course, partly for the entertainment of his young niece; but partly, too, he was entertaining himself. Given the same niece and the same need for entertainment, another man would not have thought of that. It must have been meaningful to him -- a sort of ritual observance. Hard as it may be to know the needs and feelings of a man who said little about himself, dead now more than twenty years, that jaunting to hear the bullfrog does suggest how far his life escaped the categories. It was a life a man could hardly have carried in his wallet, or joined comfortably to the usual organizations.

Wendell Berry (b.1934)
"The Long-Legged House", Part I
The Long-Legged House, 1969


The frontiers are not east or west, north or south, but wherever a man fronts a fact.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers, 1849

I like to see what are the furthest limits of any field of thought. What's the strangest thing that's been found in psychology? What's the most exotic language? One doesn't feel he's made the richness of the world his own until he's been in touch with all these strangenesses.

John Archibald Wheeler (1911-2008)
Messenger at the Gate of Time
Science 81, June 1981


[see also: SEX]

It is said that the Limbic system of the brain controls the four F's: Feeding, Fighting, Fleeing, and Reproduction.

Karl H. Pribram (b.1919)
Plans and the Structure of Behavior, 1970
By George Armitage Miller

God built a compelling sex drive into every creature, no matter what style of fucking it practiced. He made sex irresistibly pleasurable, wildly joyous, free from fears. He made it innocent merriment.

Needless to say, fucking was an immediate smash hit. Everyone agreed, from aardvarks to zebras. All the jolly animals -- lions and lambs, rhinoceroses and gazelles, skylarks and lobsters, even insects, though most of them fuck only once in a lifetime -- fucked along innocently and merrily for hundreds of millions of years. Maybe they were dumb animals, but they knew a good thing when they had one.

Allan Sherman (1924-1973)
The Rape of the APE (American Puritan Ethic), 1973

Take away the right to say "fuck" and you take away the right to say "fuck the government."

Lenny Bruce (1925-1966)

The only difference between graffiti and philosophy is the word fuck.

Men's room, Limelight Restaurant, New York
Encyclopedia of Graffiti, 1974
Robert George Reisner, Lorraine Wechsler

It is said that the Limbic system of the brain controls the four F's: Feeding, Fighting, Fleeing, and Reproduction.



[see also: HAPPINESS]

Lusus animo debent aliquando dari,
Ad cogitandum melior ut redeat sibi. (The mind ought sometimes to be amused,
that it may the better return to thought, and to itself.)

Phaedrus (c.15 BC-AD c.50)
Fabulae, c. AD 40
Book III, xiv "De lusu et severitate"

Amusement is the happiness of those who cannot think.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
"Thoughts on Various Subjects, by Mr. Pope"
The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, 1813
Volume XXIII
Arranged by Thomas Sheridan
Corrected and Revised by John Nichols

Amusement to an observing mind is study.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)
Contarini Fleming: A Psychological Romance, 1870

Life would be tolerable, were it not for its amusements.

George Cornewall Lewis (1806-1863)
Times (London)
18 September 1872

All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it - and they do enjoy it as much as man and other circumstances will allow.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902)
The Way of All Flesh, 1903
Chapter XIX

© 1999 by MonkeyPants Press, an imprint of Bonobo Books, a division of Consolidated Trout, Ltd.
Last update: 03-July-2015
updates |  caveat |  surf