Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Top Ten Favorite Quotations

I forgot to post this last week, and decided to post it today instead of "Top Ten Favorite Book Couples", which I can't do as I don't know that many book couples.

I drew from the books I've read since May 2007, since I tend to share favorite passages in the weekly review posts. I realized too late that I only included  quotations that have a point to make, rather than just being amusing. I included one of those as a bonus.

1. "It's always easy to avoid other people's vices, isn't it?"
This comes from Star Wars: Yoda, Dark Rendezvous.

2. "But where are the gods to make an end to all these horrors, these wrongs, this inhumanity to man? No, not the gods, but MAN must rise in his mighty wrath. He, deceived by all the deities, betrayed by their emissaries, he, himself, must undertake to usher in justice upon the earth. [..] Atheism in its negation of the gods is at the same time the strongest affirmation of man, and through man, the eternal yea to life, purpose, and beauty."  (Red Emma Speaks, 245-248.)

3. "Many a doctrine is like a window pane. We see truth through it, but it divides us from truth." (Kahlil Gibran, Sand and Foam)

4. "Don't become disgusted with yourself, lose patience, or give up if you sometimes fail to act as your philosophy dictates, but after each setback, return to reason and be content if most of your acts are worthy of a good man. Love the philosophy to which you return, and go back to it, not as an unruly student to the rod of a schoolmaster but as a sore eye to a sponge and egg whites, or a wound to cleansing ointments and clean bandages. In this way you will obey the voice of reason not to parade a perfect record, but to secure an inner peace. Remember, philosophy desires only what pleases your nature while you wanted something at odds with nature." (The Emperor's Handbook: Book 5, passage 9. A modern English interpetation of Marcus Aurelius' Greek)

5.  "Is life worth living? Well, I can only answer for myself. I like to be alive, to breathe the air, to look at the landscape, the clouds, the stars, to repeat old poems, to look at pictures and statues, to hear music, the voices of the ones I love. I enjoy eating and smoking. I like good cold water. I like to talk with my wife, my girls, my grandchildren. I like to sleep and to dream. Yes, you can say that life, to me, is worth living." (The Best of Robert Ingersoll)

 6. "There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumblings of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, [and] kindness. If we remember those times and places -- and there are so many where people have behaved magnificently -- this gives us the energy to act. Hope is the energy for change. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live in defiance of the worst of everything around us is a marvelous victory." - Howard Zinn, The People's History of American Empire

7. "There is no need for temple or church, for mosque or synagogue, no need for complicated philosophy, doctrine, or dogma. Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, no matter what or who they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practiced these in our daily lives, [...] there is no doubt we will be happy." (Ethics for a New Millenium, Tenzin Gyatso)

8. "The art of life is to deal with problems as they arise, rather than to destroy one's spirit by worrying about them far in advance." - Cicero, as quoted in Imperium by Robert Harris.

9. "I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them." - Spinoza, from Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things.

10. “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.” - Thomas Paine, The Crisis, quoted in Robert Down's Books that Changed the World.

11. "But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them." (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J. Rowling.)

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