It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.
Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth.
—1 John 3:18-24
Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.
Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.
It took thousands of years of human civilization before we got relatively benign governments. Power structures are not inherently benign; they must constantly be pressured to prevent malignant people from using them to leverage their actions.
A non-authoritarian government is a historical anomaly. It's a ball balanced on top of a hill, pushed there by the deaths of millions, and kept there by the vigilance of those who care.
Please start caring.
—barrkel [via Hacker News]
There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.
Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say.
And then, last but the reverse of least, there plunged in all the people who think they can solve a problem they cannot understand by abolishing everything that has contributed to it. We all know these people. If a barber has cut his customer's throat because the girl has changed her partner for a dance or donkey ride on Hampstead Heath, there are always people to protest against the mere institutions that led up to it. This would not have happened if barbers were abolished, or if cutlery were abolished, or if the objection felt by girls to imperfectly grown beards were abolished, or if the girls were abolished, or if heaths and open spaces were abolished, or if dancing were abolished, or if donkeys were abolished. But donkeys, I fear, will never be abolished.
What is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.
Humanitarians go to look for humanity in remote places and in huge statistics. ... But humanitarians of the highest type ... do not go to look for humanity at all. For them ... the nearest drawing-room is full of humanity, and even their own families are human.
Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove that they are insured..., but not everyone must prove they are a citizen.
And now, any of those who refuse, or unable to prove they are citizens will receive free insurance paid for by those who are forced to buy insurance because they are citizens.
Of all tyrannies, a tyrany sincerely exercised for the good of its own victims may be the most oppressive.
The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong my days. I shall use my time.
—Josh Lee (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/2018731)
You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.
—Malcom S. Forbes
The Seven Deadly Sins
Wealth without work Pleasure without consience Science without humanity Knowledge without character Politics without principle Commerce without morality Worship without sacrifice
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.
When you find a man you wish to marry, Tessa, remember this: You will know what kind of man he is not by the things he says, but by the things he does.
—Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel
I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.
How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.
Excess and defect are characteristic of vice, and the mean of virtue.
Now virtue is concerned with passions and actions, in which excess is a form of failure, and so is defect, while the intermediate is praised and is a form of success; and being praised and being successful are both characteristics of virtue. Therefore virtue is a kind of mean, since, as we have seen, it aims at what is intermediate.
With regard to truth, then, the intermediate is a truthful sort of person and the mean may be called truthfulness, while the pretence which exaggerates is boastfulness and the person characterized by it a boaster, and that which understates is mock modesty and the person characterized by it mock-modest.
—Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
—Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love
One of the main causes of the fall of the Roman Empire was that, lacking zero, they had no way to indicate successful termination of their C programs.
Man cannot remake himself without suffering for he is both the marble and the sculptor.
I'm not upset that you lied to me. I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.
Do not mistake me for my mask. You see light dappling on the water and forget the deep, cold dark beneath.
Do not mistake my kindness for weakness.
Regarding the war on terrorism:
"... you accept that you are in a war ... and you name the enemy: Islamist terrorists. You go whereever in the world the terroists are and you kill them. You do your best to exterminate them, and then you leave, and you leave behind smoking runs and crying widows."
"[If necessary] you go back and the the same thing [again]. You never never send American troops into a war you don't mean to win. ... be as merciless as the enemy, if you're not willing to do that, they will win."
"We have 2,000 years of recorded history of religious insurgencies, the only thing that has worked in 2,000 years is killing them. ... The jihadis will do anything to win, and we’re worried about our table manners."
—Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, USA Ret.
The injury therefore that you do to a man should be such that you need not fear his revenge.
The last of human freedoms -- the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances.
There are only two conceptions of human ethics, and they are at opposite poles. One of them is Christian and humane, declares the individual to be sacrosanct, and asserts that the rules of arithmetic are not to be applied to human units. The other starts from the basic principle that a collective aim justifies all means, and not only allows, but demands, that the individual should in every way be subordinated and sacrificed to the community… Humbugs and dilettantes have always tried to mix the two conceptions; in practice, it is impossible.
—Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon
My point is this: Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak. When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it. So it always has been. So it always will be. And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God.
—Charles Chaput (2012)
A gentleman holds my hand. A man pulls my hair. A soulmate will do both.
Love is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it. We had roots that grew toward each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.
—Louis de Bernieres, Corelli's Mandolin
[He] knew that it was not precisely a body that one loved. One loved the woman who shone out through the eyes and used its mouth to smile and speak.
—Louis de Bernieres, Corelli's Mandolin (Paraphrased)
No more words. The goddess threw her snow-white arms around him as he held back, caressing him here and there, and suddenly he caught fire -- the same old story, the flame he knew by heart went running through him, melting him to the marrow of his bones. As thunder at times will split the sky and a trail of fire goes rippling through the clouds, flashing, blinding light -- and his wife sensed it all, delighting in her bewitching ways, she knew her beauty's power.
—Publius Vergilius Maro The Aeneid (Fagles translation) 8.454-462 (Venus entreats Vulcan to make armor for Aeneas)
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
—Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
Rage -- Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles, murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses, hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls, great fighters' souls, but made their bodies carrion, feasts for the dogs and birds, and the will of Zeus was moving towards its end. Begin, Muse, when the two first broke and clashed, Agamemnon lord of men and brilliant Achilles.
—Homer The Illiad (Fagles translation) 1.1-8
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.
—Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true.
—Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
—Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
I should say "having been" is the surest kind of being.
The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day.
On the other hand, the [optimist] person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back.
He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest.
What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old?
Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him?
"No, thank you," he will think.
"Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy."
—Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
There is no calamity greater than lightly engaging in war. To do that is to risk losing all that is precious. Thus it is that when opposing weapons clash, he who deplores it conquers.
If you could go back and live the life of anyone, who's life would you choose? ... I would go back and live the life of the man that I could have been, but never was.
There is no safety in men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.
True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.
If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you're the asshole.
The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues. When a religious scheme is shattered…it is not merely the vices that are let loose. The vices are, indeed, let loose, and they wander and do damage. But the virtues are let loose also; and the virtues wander more wildly, and the virtues do more terrible damage. The modern world is full of the old Christian virtues gone mad. The virtues have gone mad because they have been isolated from each other and are wandering alone. Thus some scientists care for truth; and their truth is pitiless. Thus some humanitarians only care for pity; and their pity (I am sorry to say) is often untruthful.
—G.K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy” (1908)
Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent — which attitude certainly has a great deal to support it. On the other hand, it is only because the world looks on his talent with such frightening indifference that the artist is compelled to make his talent important.
—James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son” (1955)
Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
No war is over until the enemy says it’s over. We may think it over, we may declare it over, but in fact, the enemy gets a vote.
Now from a distance, I look back on what the Corps taught me: to think like men of action, and to act like men of thought!
I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.
—General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis, USMC Retired
If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged.
— Cardinal Richelieu in 1641
Never say anything in an electronic message that you wouldn’t want appearing, and attributed to you, in tomorrow morning’s front-page headline in the New York Times.
—Colonel David Russell, former head of DARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office
Those who are willing to surrender their freedom for security have always demanded that if they give up their full freedom it should also be taken from those not prepared to do so.
The sole cause of man's unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quitely in his room.
The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life.
In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas — he’s the controller — and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes landed.
Bene vixit, bene qui latuit.
(To live well is to live concealed.)
—Ovid, The Tristia of Ovid
As there are many of our generals, and by far the greatest number of field officers, who never saw a shot fired in anger in their lives; both for the satisfaction of the common soldier, and for the honour and interest of my country, I propose that every general and field officer, who has not seen active service before they be permitted to take upon them the command of a brigade or regiment, shall be commanded to walk backwards and forwards for one quarter of an hour behind a canvas screen, about eight feet high, placed in front of a battalion of infantry, the men firing all the time as quick as possible at the cloth.
—The Life, Adventures, and Opinions of Col. George Hanger (autobiography)
For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them, e.g. men become builders by building and lyreplayers by playing the lyre; so too we become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.
This is confirmed by what happens in states; for legislators make the citizens good by forming habits in them, and this is the wish of every legislator, and those who do not effect it miss their mark, and it is in this that a good constitution differs from a bad one.
—Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics)
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
—Erasmus of Rotterdam