Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My Thirty-Five Favorite Quotes

These are my thirty-five favorite quotes, placed on this website because I am unwisely immodest about my addiction.

"In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd."
- Miguel de Cervantes (1605)

"Cogito ergo sum"
- Rene Descartes (1644)

"Neither despise, nor oppose, what thou dost not understand."
- William Penn (1693)

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."
- Thomas Jefferson (1776)

"... unmerited abuse wounds, while unmerited praise has not the power to heal."
- Thomas Jefferson (1796)

"To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so, is something worse."
- John Quincy Adams (1809)

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night."
- Edgar Allen Poe (1842)

"While we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else."
- Abraham Lincoln (1860)

"Probity, sincerity, candor, conviction, the sense of duty, are things which may become hideous when wrongly directed; but which, even when hideous, remain grand: their majesty, the majesty peculiar to the human conscience, clings to them in the midst of horror; they are virtues which have one vice - error."
- Victor Hugo (1862)

"The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty."
- Abraham Lincoln (1864)

"I would rather believe something and suffer for it, than to slide along into success without opinions."
- James Garfield (1871)

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1890)

"What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? That is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever."
- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1892)

"The work that is really a man's own work is play and not work at all. Cursed is the man who has found some other man's work and cannot lose it."
- Mark Twain (1905)

“Our Republican leaders tell us economic laws — sacred, inviolable, unchangeable — cause panics which no one could prevent. But while they prate of economic laws, men and women are starving. We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings.”
- Franklin Roosevelt (1932)

"My Jewishness is the dominant element in my life. From this has come my sympathy with the downtrodden masses which motivates all my work."
- Diego Rivera (1935)

"We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure."
- Franklin Roosevelt (1944)

"Man is by instinct a lover, a hunter, a fighter, and none of those instincts are given much play at the warehouse."
- Tennessee Williams (1944)

"Self-criticism is the secret weapon of democracy, and candor and confession are good for the political soul."
- Adlai Stevenson (1952)

"Much of nature's mystery has come under man's mastery. Heat, cold, wind and rain have lost their terrors, but the environment man has created for himself has yet to be brought under control. Nature's jungle has been conquered, but man still lives in the larger jungle of his fears."
- Adlai Stevenson (1952)

"The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal is the ultimate indignity to the democratic process."
- Adlai Stevenson (1956)

"Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good."
- Vince Lombardi (1959)

"Life is an unanswered question, but let's still believe in the dignity and importance of the question."
- Tennessee Williams (1960)

"We believe liberalism is more than intellectual capacity - intellectual liberalism must be buttressed with an understanding of people and a love of them that goes far beyond texts or documents. For if you can't cry a little bit in politics, the only other thing you'll have is hate."
- Hubert Humphrey (1960)

"Perhaps we could afford a Coolidge following Harding. And perhaps we could afford a Pierce following Fillmore. But after Buchanan this nation needed Lincoln; after Taft we needed Wilson; and after Hoover we needed Franklin Roosevelt."
- John Kennedy (1960)

"Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man - that state is obsolete."
- Rod Serling (1961)

"William Benteen, who had prerogatives; he could lead, he could direct, dictate, judge, legislate. It became a habit, then a pattern, and finally a necessity. William Benteen; once a god, now a population of one."
- Rod Serling (1963)

"Even great men... have to pee."
- Peter Stone (1974)

"I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad. You've got to say, 'I'm a human being, Goddamnit! My life has value!' "
- Paddy Chayefsky (1976)

"Fear doesn't travel well; just as it can warp judgment, its absence can diminish memory's truth. What terrifies one generation is likely to bring only a puzzled smile to the next."
- Arthur Miller (1996)

"The movies that last, the ones we return to, don't always have lofty themes or Byzantine complexities. Sometimes they last because they are arrows straight to the heart."
- Roger Ebert (2000)

"I believe in comedy more than I believe in dignity."
- Regina Teltser (2009)

"All of us share this world for but a brief moment in time. The question is whether we spend that time focused on what pushes us apart, or whether we commit ourselves to an effort – a sustained effort _ to find common ground, to focus on the future we seek for our children, and to respect the dignity of all human beings."
- Barack Obama (2009)

"History is littered with big moments that turned on the pettiness of small men."
- Jonathan Alter (2009)

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