Quotes of the day: Ellen Key

Published Friday, April 24, 2015 @ 2:41 PM EDT
Apr 24 2015

Ellen Karolina Sofia Key (December 11, 1849 – April 25, 1926) was a Swedish difference feminist writer on many subjects in the fields of family life, ethics and education and was an important figure in the Modern Breakthrough movement. She was an early advocate of a child-centered approach to education and parenting, and was also a suffragist. She is best known for her book on education, Barnets århundrade (1900), which was translated in English in 1909 as The Century of the Child. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Anyone who would attempt the task of felling a virgin forest with a penknife would probably feel the same paralysis of despair that the reformer feels when confronted with existing school systems.

Art, that great undogmatized church.

At every step the child should be allowed to meet the real experience of life; the thorns should never be plucked from his roses.

Corporal punishment is as humiliating for him who gives it as for him who receives it; it is ineffective besides. Neither shame nor physical pain have any other effect than a hardening one.

Education can give you a skill, but a liberal education can give you dignity.

Everything, everything in war is barbaric... But the worst barbarity of war is that it forces men collectively to commit acts against which individually they would revolt with their whole being.

Love is moral even without legal marriage, but marriage is immoral without love.

Not observation of a duty but liberty itself is the pledge that assures fidelity.

Side by side with the class war, the culture war must ceaselessly be waged by the young and among the young upon whom rests the responsibility of making the new society better for all than the old could be.

The educator must above all understand how to wait; to reckon all effects in the light of the future, not of the present.

The more horrifying this world becomes, the more art becomes abstract.

When one paints an ideal, one does not need to limit one's imagination.

Why is the heart that is broken considered so much more valuable than the one or the two who must cause the pain lest they themselves perish?

The mother is the most precious possessions of the nation, so precious that society advances its highest well-being when it protects the functions of the mother.

The genius of happiness is still so rare. To possess it means to approach life with the humility of a beggar, but to treat it with the proud generosity of a prince; to bring to its totality the deep understanding of a great poet and to each of its moments the abandonment and ingenuousness of a child.

The belief that we some day shall be able to prevent war is to me one with the belief in the possibility of making humanity really human.

All philanthropy ... is only a savory fumigation burning at the mouth of a sewer. This incense offering makes the air more endurable to passers-by, but it does not hinder the infection in the sewer from spreading.


(April 25 is also the birthday of Edward R. Murrow and William J. Brennan, Jr.)

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Quotes of the day: Sue Grafton

Published Thursday, April 23, 2015 @ 4:46 PM EDT
Apr 23 2015

Sue Taylor Grafton (born April 24, 1940) is a contemporary American author of detective novels. She is best known as the author of the 'alphabet series' ("A" Is for Alibi, etc.) featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. The daughter of detective novelist C.W. Grafton, she has said the strongest influence on her crime novels is author Ross Macdonald. Prior to success with this series, she wrote screenplays for television movies. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


All of us are subjected to somebody else's power at some point. So once in a while you kiss ass. So what? Either you make your peace with that early, or you end up living your life as a crank and a misfit.

Beware the dark pool at the bottom of our hearts. In its icy, black depths dwell strange and twisted creatures it is best not to disturb.

Everything happens for a reason, but that doesn't mean there's a point.

Except for cases that clearly involve a homicidal maniac, the police like to believe murders are committed by those we know and love, and most of the time they're right--a chilling thought when you sit down to dinner with a family of five. All those potential killers passing their plates.

Ghosts don't haunt us. That's not how it works. They're present among us because we won't let go of them.

I know there are people who believe you should forgive and forget. For the record, I'd like to say I'm a big fan of forgiveness as long as I'm given the opportunity to get even first.

Ideas are easy. It's the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.

If high heels were so wonderful, men would be wearing them.

If you're unhappy, change something.

It's disconcerting to realize how little you have to say to someone who once occupied such a prominent place in your bed.

Lucky is the spouse who dies first, who never has to know what survivors endure.

Nature is composed entirely of sticks, dirt, fall-down places, biting and stinging things, and savageries too numerous to list. And I'm not the only one who feels this way. Man has been building cities since the year oughty-ought, just to get away from this stuff.

No one with a happy childhood ever amounts to much in this world. They are so well adjusted, they never are driven to achieve anything.

Our family histories are like fairy tales we're told from a very early age. In the tale, we're cast as hero or victim, as the infant rescued or abandoned, discounted or deified. From this we form an image of ourselves and our relationship to the world. Often it's a story we act out over and over again, trying to make the ending come out right instead of the way it did.

People get careless when they're feeling safe.

Perhaps when we're forced to forfeit what we own, we lose any sentimental associations. Perhaps pawning our valuables frees us in the same way a house fire destroys not only our worldly goods, but our attachment to what's gone.

Pretending to be 'normal' is a lot harder than you think.

Some people can't see the color red. That doesn't mean it isn't there.

The hard thing about death is that nothing ever changes. The hard thing about life is that nothing stays the same.

The memory is like twin orbiting stars, one visible, one dark, the trajectory of what's evident forever affected by the gravity of what's concealed.

There are days when none of us can bear it, but the good comes around again. Happiness is seasonal, like anything else. Wait it out.

There's a certain class of people who will do you in and then remain completely mystified by the depth of your pain.

There's always something else. That's what makes life so much fun.

Thinking is hard work, which is why you don't see many people doing it.

Too many women mistake a man's hostility for wit and his silence for depth.

We all need to look into the dark side of our nature- that's where the energy is, the passion. People are afraid of that because it holds pieces of us we're busy denying.

What could smell better than supper being cooked by someone else?

You can't save others from themselves because those who make a perpetual muddle of their lives don't appreciate your interfering with the drama they've created. They want your poor-sweet-baby sympathy, but they don't want to change.

You never know which people will affect your life.

You try to keep life simple but it never works, and in the end all you have left is yourself.


(April 24 is also the birthday of Anthony Trollope and Robert Penn Warren.)

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Quotes of the day: Shirley Temple

Published Wednesday, April 22, 2015 @ 2:39 PM EDT
Apr 22 2015

Shirley Temple Black (April 23, 1928 – February 10, 2014) was an American film and television actress, singer, dancer and public servant, most famous as Hollywood's number one box-office star from 1935 through 1938. As an adult, she entered politics and became a diplomat, serving as United States Ambassador to Ghana and later to Czechoslovakia, and as Chief of Protocol of the United States. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Any star can be devoured by human adoration, sparkle by sparkle.

At the end of the Depression, people were perhaps looking for something to cheer themselves up. They fell in love with a dog and a little girl. It won't happen again.

Don't forget to tell your favorite people that you love them.

Dr. Kissinger was a former child. Jerry Ford was a former child. Even F.D.R. was a former child. I retired from the movies in 1949, and I'm still a former child.

Good luck needs no explanation.

I don’t like to do negatives. There are always pluses to things.

I have one piece of advice for those of you who want to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award: Start early!

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.

I've always been bossy.

Long ago, I became more interested in the real world than in make- believe.

Nothing crushes freedom as substantially as a tank.

Our whole way of life today is dedicated to the removal of risk. Cradle to grave we are supported, insulated, and isolated from the risks of life - and if we fail, our government stands ready with Bandaids of every size.

Politicians are actors, too, don't you think? Usually, if you like people and you're outgoing, not a shy little thing, you can do pretty well in politics.

Sunnybrook Farm is now a parking lot; the petticoats are in the garbage can, where they belong in the modern world; and I detest censorship.

Time is money. Wasted time means wasted money means trouble.

We would have to invent the U.N. if we did not have it, which is not an original thought.

When I was 14, I was the oldest I ever was. I've been getting younger ever since.

When you're a performer, you have to please a large audience. And when you're in politics, you have to please a large audience, too.


(April 23 is also the birthday of J.P. Donleavy.)

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Quotes of the day: Immanuel Kant

Published Tuesday, April 21, 2015 @ 3:04 PM EDT
Apr 21 2015

Immanuel Kant (April 22, 1724 - February 12, 1804) was a German philosopher who is widely considered to be a central figure of modern philosophy. He argued that fundamental concepts structure human experience, and that reason is the source of morality. His thought continues to have a major influence in contemporary thought, especially the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)



A man who acts without settled principles, with no uniformity, has no character.

A public can only arrive at enlightenment slowly. Through revolution, the abandonment of personal despotism may be engendered and the end of profit-seeking and domineering oppression may occur, but never a true reform of the state of mind. Instead, new prejudices, just like the old ones, will serve as the guiding reins of the great, unthinking mass.

All human knowledge begins with intuitions, proceeds from thence to concepts, and ends with ideas.

All our knowledge falls with the bounds of experience.

All that is required for this enlightenment is freedom; and particularly the least harmful of all that may be called freedom, namely, the freedom for man to make public use of his reason in all matters. But I hear people clamor on all sides: Don't argue! The officer says: Don't argue, drill! The tax collector: Don't argue, pay! The pastor: Don't argue, believe!

Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly.

Beneficence is a duty.

By a lie a man throws away and, as it were, annihilates his dignity as a man. A man who himself does not believe what he tells another... has even less worth than if he were a mere thing.... makes himself a mere deceptive appearance of man, not man himself.

Character is the common ruling principle in man in the use of his talents and attributes.

Character means that the person derives his rules of conduct from himself and from the dignity of humanity.

Enlightenment is man's leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence without the guidance of another.

Enlightenment is man's leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if it is not caused by lack of intelligence, but by lack of determination and courage to use one's intelligence without being guided by another. Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own intelligence! is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.

Even philosophers will praise war as ennobling mankind, forgetting the Greek who said: War is bad in that it begets more evil than it kills.

Everything good that is not based on a morally good disposition, however, is nothing but pretense and glittering misery.

Firmness and unity of principle are essential to character.

Freedom is the alone unoriginated birthright of man, and belongs to him by force of his humanity; and is independence on the will and co- action of every other in so far as this consists with every other person's freedom.

From such crooked wood as that which man is made of, nothing straight can be fashioned

Happiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination.

Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.

Human reason has this peculiar fate that in one species of its knowledge it is burdened by questions which, as prescribed by the very nature of reason itself, it is not able to ignore, but which, as transcending all its powers, it is also not able to answer.

Human reason is by nature architectonic.

I have no knowledge of myself as I am, but merely as I appear to myself.

In the end, one does not know what to think of the human race, so conceited in its gifts.

Live your life as though your every act were to become a universal law.

Man's greatest concern is to know how he shall properly fill his place in the universe and correctly understand what he must be in order to be a man.

Men will not understand... that when they fulfil their duties to men, they fulfil thereby God's commandments...

Morality is not properly the doctrine of how we may make ourselves happy, but how we may make ourselves worthy of happiness.

Nature does nothing in vain, and in the use of means to her goals she is not prodigal. Her giving to man reason and the freedom of the will which depends upon it is clear indication of her purpose. Man accordingly was not to be guided by instinct, not nurtured and instructed with ready-made knowledge; rather, he should bring forth everything out of his own resources.

Only the descent into the hell of self-knowledge can pave the way to godliness.

Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.

Psychologists have hitherto failed to realize that imagination is a necessary ingredient of perception itself.

Religion is too important a matter to its devotees to be a subject of ridicule. If they indulge in absurdities, they are to be pitied rather than ridiculed.

The death of dogma is the birth of morality.

The greatest problem for the human race, to the solution of which Nature drives man, is the achievement of a universal civic society which administers law among men.

The ideal of morality belongs to culture; its use for some simulacrum of morality in the love of honor and outward decorum constitutes mere civilization.

The inscrutable wisdom through which we exist is not less worthy of veneration in respect to what it denies us than in respect to what it has granted.

The means employed by Nature to bring about the development of all the capacities of men is their antagonism in society, so far as this is, in the end, the cause of a lawful order among men.

The public use of a man's reason must be free at all times, and this alone can bring enlightenment among men...

The wish to talk to God is absurd. We cannot talk to one we cannot comprehend- and we cannot comprehend God; we can only believe in Him.

There must be a seed of every good thing in the character of men, otherwise no one can bring it out.

There will always be some people who think for themselves, even among the self-appointed guardians of the great mass who, after having thrown off the yoke of immaturity themselves, will spread about them the spirit of a reasonable estimate of their own value and of the need for every man to think for himself.

Through laziness and cowardice a large part of mankind, even after nature has freed them from alien guidance, gladly remain immature. It is because of laziness and cowardice that it is so easy for others to usurp the role of guardians. It is so comfortable to be a minor!

To a high degree we are, through art and science, cultured. We are civilized- perhaps too much for our own good- in all sorts of social grace and decorum. But to consider ourselves as having reached morality- for that, much is lacking.

Variant translations: Out of timber so crooked as that from which man is made nothing entirely straight can be built.


(April 22 is also the birthday of Henry Fielding, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Jack Nicholson.)

Categories: Immanuel Kant; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Max Weber

Published Monday, April 20, 2015 @ 3:54 PM EDT
Apr 20 2015

Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber (April 21, 1864 - June 14, 1920) was a German sociologist, philosopher, and political economist whose ideas profoundly influenced social theory and social research. Weber is often cited, with Émile Durkheim and Karl Marx, as among the three founders of sociology. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world.

Power is the chance to impose your will within a social context, even when opposed and regardless of the integrity of that chance.

'Culture' is a finite segment of the meaningless infinity of the world process, a segment on which human beings confer meaning and significance.

All the analysis of infinite reality which the finite human mind can conduct rests on the tacit assumption that only a finite portion of this reality constitutes the object of scientific investigation, and that only it is 'important' in the sense of being 'worthy of being known.'

All knowledge of cultural reality, as may be seen, is always knowledge from particular points of view.

Social economic problems do not exist everywhere that an economic event plays a role as cause or effect- since problems arise only where the significance of those factors is problematical and can be precisely determined only through the application of methods of social-economics.

The modern view of criminal justice, broadly, is that public concern with morality or expediency decrees expiation for the violation of a norm; this concern finds expression in the infliction of punishment on the evil doer by agents of the state, the evil doer, however, enjoying the protection of a regular procedure.

It is not true that good can only follow from good and evil only from evil, but that often the opposite is true.

Within the confines of the lecture hall, no other virtue exists but plain intellectual integrity.

The career of politics grants a feeling of power. The knowledge of influencing men, of participating in power over them, and above all, the feeling of holding in one's hands a nerve fiber of historically important events can elevate the professional politician above everyday routine even when he is placed in formally modest positions.

Certainly all historical experience confirms the truth- that man would not have attained the possible unless time and again he had reached out for the impossible.

The ethic of conviction and the ethic of responsibility are not opposites. They are complementary to one another.

Not everyone realizes that to write a really good piece of journalism is at least as demanding intellectually as the achievement of any scholar.

Causal analysis provides absolutely no value judgment, and a value judgment is absolutely not a causal explanation.

Only by strict specialization can the scientific worker become fully conscious, for once and perhaps never again in his lifetime, that he has achieved something that will endure. A really definitive and good accomplishment is today always a specialized act.

The primary task of a useful teacher is to teach his students to recognize 'inconvenient' facts- I mean facts that are inconvenient for their party opinions.

Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards.

Either one lives 'for' politics or one lives 'off' politics.

Politics means striving to share power or striving to influence the distribution of power, either among states or among groups within a state.

Whenever known and sufficient causes are available, it is anti- scientific to discard them in favour of a hypothesis that can never be verified.

Laws are important and valuable in the exact natural sciences, in the measure that those sciences are universally valid.

One cannot prescribe to anyone whether he should follow an ethic of absolute ends or an ethic of responsibility.

It is not astonishing that there are many journalists who have become human failures and worthless men. Rather, it is astonishing that, despite all this, this very stratum includes such a great number of valuable and quite genuine men, a fact that outsiders would not so easily guess.

In a democracy the people choose a leader in whom they trust. Then the chosen leader says, 'Now shut up and obey me.' People and party are then no longer free to interfere in his business.

The ultimately possible attitudes toward life are irreconcilable, and hence their struggle can never be brought to a final conclusion.

Under the technical and social conditions of rational culture, an imitation of the life of Buddha, Jesus, or Francis seems condemned to failure for purely external reasons.


(April 21 is also the birthday of Rollo May.)

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Quotes of the day: George Takei

Published Sunday, April 19, 2015 @ 3:43 PM EDT
Apr 19 2015

George Hosato Takei (b April 20, 1937) is an American actor, director, author, and activist, probably most widely known for his role as Hikaru Sulu, helmsman of the USS Enterprise in the television series Star Trek. He also portrayed the character in six Star Trek feature films and in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager. Takei's involvement in social media has brought him new fame. His Facebook page currently has over 8 million likes since he joined in 2011, frequently sharing photos with original humorous commentary. He is a proponent of LGBT rights and active in state and local politics apart from his continued acting career. He has won several awards and accolades in his work on human rights and Japanese- American relations, including his work with the Japanese American National Museum. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


And anyway, as they will say in the distant future, 'Replication is the sincerest form of flattery.'

As my father once explained to me, our 'rights' are only as strong as the democracy that protects them. Because we are a people's democracy here in America, as great as the people of this country can be, but also as fallible, we must stay ever vigilant in the face of any 'tyranny' of the majority, no matter the stated objective.

Being human means learning to see the common humanity in us all.

Both the strength and the weakness of American democracy is in the fact that it's a true people's democracy, and it can be as great as the people can be, but it's also as fallible as the people are.

Cultural icons help people define who they are today because they shaped who they were as children.

Good grief. If we can't laugh at ourselves, and at one another, in good spirit and without malice, then what fun can be left? If we must withhold all ribbing in the name of protecting everyone's feelings, then we truly are a toothless society. We will reach what I call the lowest common denominator of butthurt.

Governments, churches, and educational institutes, once the keepers of order and social enlightenment, are now scrambling to remain relevant as our collective consciousness and connectivity grows.

Humans are frail in our eyes today, and we secretly wonder whether those with poise and stiff upper lips are merely ticking time bombs. The freak-out allows us to feel we're not alone in our inner panic.

I appreciate failure. Failure means that an attempt was made, and a lesson can be learned. As long as we're alive after the effort, there is a chance for success the next time around.

I began to wonder, what accounts for our collective affinity for the apocalypse? What is it about 'the end' that makes it always seem just around the corner? And why do lawns in post-apocalyptic always appear freshly mowed if there's no one around to do it but the zombies?

I can't help but postulate that there is something oddly comforting in imagining an end we share together, rather than alone, and that this feeds our mutual obsession with Doomsday. The apocalypse that wipes out 99.99% of us doesn't discriminate by race, class, or geography. As it turns out, everyone's brains do in fact taste the same.

I've sometimes imagined that if sin had a flavor, it might very well be bacon. It even tastes smoky, as if it emerged piping hot out of the fiery pans of hell.

If a mistake occurs with regularity, it might well become the norm. If enough people believe and propagate the error, it could become gospel.

If leadership requires a fired-up sense of purpose and imagination, it also demands a profound connection to the society to be led. Like it or not, this is our culture, and we should embrace and celebrate it, even while we strive to refine and shape it.

If you don't know who Eleanor Rigby is, you probably were born after 1985 and need to listen to some real music.

Indeed, the pun is considered by many to be more distasteful than the common expletive. You might even say the pun is mightier than the s-word.

It seems to me important for a country, for a nation to certainly know about its glorious achievements but also to know where its ideals failed, in order to keep that from happening again.

It's really hard to hate someone for being different when you're too busy laughing together.

Life is too short not to order the bacon dessert.

Life starts to feel mighty long when all you eat is turkey bacon and egg whites and a side of arugula.

Our world is full of amazing phenomena: a stunningly rapturous sunrise, a night sky spangled with stardust, the fiery beauty of a volcanic lava flow. They all merit a 'Oh my!' Humankind's imagination and innovation is truly breathtaking.

People forget that stereotypes aren't bad because they are always untrue. Stereotypes are bad because they are not always true. If we allow ourselves to judge another based on a stereotype, we have allowed a gross generalization to replace our own thinking.

Pioneering is never done in front of cheerleaders urging on a roaring grandstand of popular approval.

Sharing is an act of trust, for ridicule is an ever-present risk on the Internet today.

The Internet is a place where ideas compete, and bad ideas in particular get shared.

Turkey Bacon. It's like saying 'shoot' instead of 'shit.' It just doesn't quite carry the moment.

Unfriending me when I didn't even know we were friends? It's like breaking wind when you're home alone. If I can't smell you, knock yourself out.

We should indeed keep calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.

we will face a day, not long from now, when all of our information comes from digital sources, meaning that rumors and untruths can spread even more quickly than before.

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Quotes of the day: Dudley Moore

Published Saturday, April 18, 2015 @ 6:36 PM EDT
Apr 18 2015

Dudley Stuart John Moore, CBE (April 19, 1935 – March 27, 2002) was an English actor, comedian, musician and composer. Moore first came to prominence in the UK as one of the four writer-performers in the comedy revue Beyond the Fringe from 1960, and with one member of that team, Peter Cook, collaborated on the television series Not Only... But Also. The double act worked on other projects until the mid-1970s, by which time Moore had settled in Los Angeles to concentrate on his movie acting. His solo career as a comedy film actor was heightened by the success of hit Hollywood films, particularly Foul Play, 10 and Arthur. He received an Oscar nomination for the latter role. He was frequently referred to in the media as "Cuddly Dudley" or "The Sex Thimble", a reference to both his short stature and his reputation as a ladies' man. On September 30, 1999, Moore announced that he was suffering from the terminal degenerative brain disorder progressive supranuclear palsy, some of whose early symptoms were so similar to intoxication that he had been reported as being drunk, and that the illness had been diagnosed earlier in the year. He died on March 27, 2002, as a result of pneumonia, secondary to immobility caused by the palsy, in Plainfield, New Jersey. Rena Fruchter was holding his hand when he died, and she reported his final words were, 'I can hear the music all around me.' (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Hollywood is just really a term. It doesn't exist as it did in the old days, and I think California gets rather maligned in the process.

I am trapped in this body, and there is nothing I can do about it.

I can't imagine not having music in my life, playing for myself or for other people. If I was asked, 'Which would you give up?' I'd have to say acting.

I certainly did feel inferior. Because of class. Because of strength. Because of height. I guess if I'd been able to hit somebody in the nose, I wouldn't have been a comic.

I haven't had that many women- only as many as I could lay my hands on.

I wish I had a dime for every dime I have.

I'm always looking for meaningful one-night stands.

Not everyone who drinks is a poet. Some of us drink because we're no poets.

Protocol does tend to trickle down one's leg at a certain age.

Sometimes life is a big mystery to me. But the music and humour give me the answers, and they are the threads woven through everything I do.

The best car safety device is a rear view mirror with a cop in it.

Dudley Moore: "Beethoven's Colonel Bogey"

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Quotes of the day: Thor Heyerdahl

Published Friday, April 17, 2015 @ 4:39 PM EDT
Apr 17 2015

Thor Heyerdahl (October 6, 1914 – April 18, 2002) was a Norwegian adventurer and ethnographer with a background in zoology, botany, and geography. He became notable for his Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947, in which he sailed 8,000 km (5,000 mi) across the Pacific Ocean in a hand-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands. The expedition was designed to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between separate cultures. This was linked to a diffusionist model of cultural development. Heyerdahl subsequently made other voyages designed to demonstrate the possibility of contact between widely separated ancient people. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A civilized nation can have no enemies, and one cannot draw a line across a map, a line that doesn't even exist in nature and say that the ugly enemy lives on the one side, and good friends live on the other.

Any political picture can be changed to suit the needs of the powers that be.

Borders I have never seen one. But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.

But if we begin thinking about the world being over 100 million years old, then it's absolutely by chance that you and I are sitting here alive today, while all the others are dead or have never been born.

Circumstances cause us to act the way we do. We should always bear this in mind before judging the actions of others.

Civilization grew in the beginning from the minute that we had communication- particularly communication by sea that enabled people to get inspiration and ideas from each other and to exchange basic raw materials.

For every minute, the future is becoming the past.

I also believe that when one dies, one may wake up to the reality that proves that time does not exist.

I don't believe in war as a solution to any kind of conflict, nor do I believe in heroism on the battlefield because I have never seen any.

I have never been able to grasp the meaning of time. I don't believe it exists. I've felt this again and again, when alone and out in nature. On such occasions, time does not exist. Nor does the future exist.

I was in uniform for four years, and I know that heroism doesn't occur from taking orders, but rather from people who through their own willpower and strength are willing to sacrifice their lives for an idea.

In fighting nature, man can win every battle except the last. If he should win that too, he will perish, like an embryo cutting its own umbilical cord.

In my experience, it is rarer to find a really happy person in a circle of millionaires than among vagabonds.

It is also rarer to find happiness in a man surrounded by the miracles of technology than among people living in the desert of the jungle and who by the standards set by our society would be considered destitute and out of touch.

It is progress when a centuries-old oak is cut down to give space for a road sign.

It is progress when weapons are improved to kill more people at a longer range.

Man invents the most inhuman armaments to assault others so like himself that uniforms are needed to distinguish between friend and foe.

Once in a while you find yourself in an odd situation. You get into it by degrees and in the most natural way but, when you are right in the midst of it, you are suddenly astonished and ask yourself how in the world it all came about.

One learns more from listening than speaking. And both the wind and the people who continue to live close to nature still have much to tell us which we cannot hear within university walls.

Progress is man's ability to complicate simplicity.

The Kon-Tiki expedition opened my eyes to what the ocean really is. It is a conveyor and not an isolator. The ocean has been man's highway from the days he built the first buoyant ships, long before he tamed the horse, invented wheels, and cut roads through the virgin jungles.

The most important thing we can learn from the past is that no earlier civilization has survived.

Those who have experienced the most, have suffered so much that they have ceased to hate. Hate is more for those with a slightly guilty conscience, and who by chewing on old hate in times of peace wish to demonstrate how great they were during the war.

We have always been taught that navigation is the result of civilization, but modern archeology has demonstrated very clearly that this is not so.

We must wake up to the insane reality of our time. We are all irresponsible, unless we demand from the responsible decision makers that modern armaments must no longer be made available to people whose former battle axes and swords our ancestors condemned.


(April 18 is also the birthday of Clarence Darrow and Conan O'Brien.)

Categories: Quotes of the day; Thor Heyerdahl

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Quotes of the day: Thornton Wilder

Published Thursday, April 16, 2015 @ 6:12 PM EDT
Apr 16 2015

Thornton Niven Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and for the two plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth- and a U.S. National Book Award for the novel The Eighth Day. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Hope, like faith, is nothing if it is not courageous; it is nothing if it is not ridiculous.

I am convinced that, except in a few extraordinary cases, one form or another of an unhappy childhood is essential to the formation of exceptional gifts.

I am not interested in the ephemeral- such subjects as the adulteries of dentists. I am interested in those things that repeat and repeat and repeat in the lives of the millions.

I hold that we cannot be said to be aware of our minds save under responsibility.

I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for.

I not only bow to the inevitable, I am fortified by it.

I think that it can be assumed that no adults are ever really 'shocked'- that being shocked is always a pose.

I would love to be the poet laureate of Coney Island.

I've never forgotten for long at a time that living is struggle. I know that every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for- whether it's a field, or a home, or a country.

If there were any plan in the universe at all, if there were any pattern in human life, surely it could be discovered mysteriously latent in those lives so suddenly cut off. Either we live by accident and die by accident, or we live by plan and die by plan.

Imprisonment of the body is bitter; imprisonment of the mind is worse.

In love's service, only the wounded soldier can serve.

It is only dogs that never bite their masters.

It is only in appearance that time is a river. It is rather a vast landscape and it is the eye of the beholder that moves.

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

Like all the rich he could not bring himself to believe that the poor (look at their houses, look at their clothes!) could really suffer. Like all the cultivated he believed that only the widely read could be said to know that they were unhappy.

Literature is the orchestration of platitudes.

Love is an energy which exists of itself. It is its own value.

Love, though it expends itself in generosity and thoughtfulness, though it gives birth to visions and to great poetry, remains among the sharpest expressions of self-interest. Not until it has passed through a long servitude, through its own self-hatred, through mockery, through great doubts, can it take its place among the loyalties.

Man is not an end but a beginning. We are at the beginning of the second week. We are children of the eighth day.

Many who have spent a lifetime can tell us less of love than the child that lost a dog yesterday.

Marriage is a bribe to make a housekeeper think she's a householder.

Money is like manure; it's not worth a thing unless it's spread around encouraging young things to grow.

My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it is on your plate.

Nature reserves the right to inflict upon her children the most terrifying jests.

Never support two weaknesses at the same time. It's your combination sinners- your lecherous liars and your miserly drunkards- who dishonor the vices and bring them into bad repute.

Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion.

Nurse one vice in your bosom. Give it the attention it deserves and let your virtues spring up modestly around it. Then you'll have the miser who's no liar; and the drunkard who's the benefactor of the whole city.

People are meant to go through life two by two. 'Tain't natural to be lonesome.

Style is but the faintly contemptible vessel in which the bitter liquid is recommended to the world.

The comic spirit is given to us in order that we may analyze, weigh, and clarify things in us which nettle us, or which we are outgrowing, or trying to reshape.

The difference between a little money and no money at all is enormous...and the difference between a little money and an enormous amount of money is very slight.

The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.

The planting of trees is the least self-centered of all that we do. It is a purer act of faith than the procreation of children.

The public for which masterpieces are intended is not of this earth.

The test of an adventure is that when you're in the middle of it, you say to yourself, 'Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home.' And the sign that something's wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure.

There is no drunkenness equal to that of remembering whispered words in the night.'

There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head.

Those who are silent, self-effacing and attentive become the recipients of confidences.

When God loves a creature he wants the creature to know the highest happiness and the deepest misery... He wants him to know all that being alive can bring. That is his best gift... There is no happiness save in understanding the whole.

Wherever you come near the human race there's layers and layers of nonsense.

Winning children (who appear so guileless) are children who have discovered how effective charm and modesty and a delicately calculated spontaneity are in winning what they want.


(April 17 is also the birthday of Isak Dinesen.)

Categories: Quotes of the day; Thornton Wilder

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Quotes of the day: Anatole France

Published Wednesday, April 15, 2015 @ 4:23 PM EDT
Apr 15 2015

Anatole France (born François-Anatole Thibault, April 16 1844 – October 12, 1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the 1921 Nobel Prize for Literature "in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A person is never happy except at the price of some ignorance.

A tale without love is like beef without mustard: insipid.

A woman without breasts is like a bed without pillows.

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.

All the historical books which contain no lies are extremely tedious.

America, where thanks to Congress, there are forty million laws to enforce the Ten Commandments.

Christianity has done a great deal for love by making it a sin.

He who undertakes to guide men must never lose sight of the fact that they are malicious monkeys.... The folly of the revolution was in aiming to establish virtue on the earth. When you want to make men good and wise, free, moderate, generous, you are led inevitably to the desire of killing them all.

I cling to my imperfection, as the very essence of my being.

I prefer the folly of enthusiasm to the wisdom of indifference.

If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

If it were absolutely necessary to choose, I would rather be guilty of an immoral act than of a cruel one.

Ignorance and error are necessary to life, like bread and water.

In art as in love, instinct is enough.

In every well governed state, wealth is a sacred thing; in democracies it is the only sacred thing.

In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.

Innocence most often is a good fortune and not a virtue.

Intelligent women always marry fools.

Irony is the gaiety of reflection and the joy of wisdom.

It is by acts, and not by ideas that people live.

It is human nature to think wisely and to act in an absurd fashion.

It is in the ability to deceive oneself that one shows the greatest talent.

It is only the poor who pay cash, and that not from virtue, but because they are refused credit.

It is well for the heart to be naive and for the mind not to be.

Lovers who love truly do not write down their happiness.

Man is a rational animal. He can think up a reason for anything he wants to believe.

Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another.

Nature has no principles. She furnishes us with no reason to believe that human life is to be respected. Nature, in her indifference, makes no distinction between good and evil.

Of all the ways of defining man, the worst is the one which makes him out to be a rational animal.

Only men who are not interested in women are interested in women's clothes. Men who like women never notice what they wear.

People who have no weaknesses are terrible; there is no way of taking advantage of them.

That man is prudent who neither hopes nor fears anything from the uncertain events of the future.

The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will be endless.

The finest words in the world are only vain sounds, if you cannot comprehend them.

The gods conform scrupulously to the sentiments of their worshippers: they have reasons for so doing.

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.

Time deals gently only with those who take it gently.

To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.

To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.

We reproach people for talking about themselves but it is the subject they treat best.

When a thing has been said and said well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.

You think you are dying for your country; you die for the industrialists.


(April 16 is also the birthday of Charlie Chaplin.)

Categories: Anatole France; Quotes of the day

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