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Quotes - November 2017

Writing

Quotes - November 2017

Alexei Muravsky

“One can only see what one observes, and one observes only things which are already in the mind.”

- Alphonse Bertillon, via Red Dragon by Thomas Harris


Master Zeng [Zengi] said, “Every day I examine myself on three points. When I worked to benefit someone else, did I do my best? In my relationship with my friends, did I fail to be trustworthy? Did I pass on any knowledge I myself had not put into practice?”

- Confucius, The Analects


“As an editor, she went far beyond the call of duty, putting me in mind of my not altogether literal translation of Goethe’s Faust:

The Eternal-Feminine

Lures to perfection."

- Walter Kaufmann, Acknowledgments in a translation of Nietzshe’s Beyond Good and Evil


"Stick to what’s in front of you – idea, action, utterance… This is what you deserve. You could be good today. But instead you choose tomorrow.”

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


“The greatest improvement in the productive powers of labour, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgement with which it is anywhere directed, or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labour.”

- Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations


“Master Ridley,” said Montag at last.

“What?” said Beatty.

“She said, ‘Master Ridley.’ She said some crazy thing when we came in the door. ‘Play the man,’ she said, ‘Master Ridley.’ Something, something, something.”

“‘We shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out,’” said Beatty. Stoneman glanced over at the captain, as did Montag, startled.

            Beatty rubbed his chin. “A man named Latimer said that to a man named Nicholas Ridley, as they were being burnt alive at Oxford, for heresy, on October 16, 1555.”

- Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


“She was a majestic figure in the age of monarchy; the only woman to equal her on a European throne was Elizabeth I of England. In the history of Russia, she and Peter the Great tower in ability and achievement over the other fourteen tsars and empresses of the three-hundred year Romanov dynasty. Catherine carried Peter’s legacy forward. He had given Russia a “window on the West” on the Baltic coast, building there a city that he made his capital. Catherine opened another window, this one on the Black Sea; Sebastopol and Odessa were its jewels. Peter imported technology and governing institutions to Russia; Catherine brought European moral, political, and judicial philosophy, literature, art, architecture, sculpture, medicine, and education. Peter created a Russian navy and organized an army that defeated one of the finest soldiers in Europe; Catherine assembled the greatest art gallery in Europe, hospitals, schools, and orphanages. Peter shaved off the beards and truncated the long robes of leading noblemen; Catherine persuaded them to be inoculated against smallpox. Peter made Russia a great power; Catherine magnified this power, and advanced the nation toward a culture that, during the century that followed, produced, among others, Derzhavin, Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Chekov, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Petipa, and Diaghilev. These artists and their work were part of Catherine’s legacy to Russia.”

- Robert K. Massie, Catherine The Great: Portrait of a Woman


“But Fate did not intend for the last Romanov tsar so serene an existence or so comfortable a niche in history. He was Russian, not English, and he became, not a constitutional monarch, but Emperor-Tsar-Autocrat over a vast region over a vast region of the earth. Nicholas stood at the pinnacle of a system that clearly had lived beyond its time, but Imperial Russia was not necessarily marked for total destruction. Indeed, in the years before the revolution, autocracy in Russia was in retreat. In 1905, the Russian people had a partial revolution. Absolute power was struck from the hand of the Tsar with the creation of a parliament, the Duma. In the era of Prime Minister Peter Stolypin and the Third Duma, cooperation between the throne and parliament reached a level of high promise. During the First World War, the nation asked not for revolution, but for reform, for a share of responsibility in fighting and winning the victory. Nicholas, however, fought doggedly against every attempt to further dilute his power. He did so because he was performing a duty assigned to him by God, a belief continually and fervently urged upon him by his wife. And here, precisely, lies the point. Alexandra, driven by the agonies of her son’s haemophilia had turned to Rasputin to save her son. When the ultimate political crisis came, Alexandra, goaded by Rasputin, passionately objected to any further sharing of the Imperial power that she saw as her son’s legacy. By giving way to her, by fighting to preserve the autocracy, by denying every plea for increased responsible government, Nicholas made revolution and the eventual triumph of Lenin inevitable.”

- Robert K. Massie, Nicholas and Alexandra: The Classic Account of the Fall of the Romanov Dynasty


“Listen to Common’s 2008 single Universal Mind Control and hear Afrika Bambaataa’s 1983 old school classic Looking for the Perfect Beat. Listen to Wale’s 2009 single Chillin and hear the Audio Two’s 1987 hit Top Billin’. Whether or not we are aware of it, examples abound in which the old school lives on in the new.

- Adam Bradley & Andrew DuBois, The Anthology of Rap


“Mongst Injuns,” Del Gue declares in the movie Jeremiah Johnson, “a tribe’s greatness is measured by how mighty its enemies be.”

- Steven Pressfield, The Villain Drives the Story via www.stevenpressfield.com


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