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Quotes - May 2017

Writing

Quotes - May 2017

Alexei Muravsky

"The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools."

- Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War


“Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.”

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


"Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic Socialism… It seems to me nonsense, in a period like our own, to think that one can avoid writing of such subjects. Everyone writes of them in one guise or another. It is simply a question of which side one takes and what approach one follows. And the more one is conscious of one’s political bias, the more chance one has of acting politically without sacrificing one’s aesthetic and intellectual integrity."

- George Orwell, Why I Write


On really hot days in the tropics you can pour tepid water down your throat till you taste it at the back of your mouth, and you are just as thirsty. It is not liquid the body needs then, but curiously enough, salt. The special rations we had on board included salt tablets to be taken regularly on particularly hot days, because perspiration drains the body of salt.

- Thor Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki


There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.

- Ernest Hemingway


The Leopard and The Fox

The Leopard one day, in hearing of the Fox, was very loud in the praise of his own beautifully spotted skin. The Fox thereupon told him that, handsome as he might be, he considered that he himself was yet a great deal handsomer. “Your beauty is of the body,” said the Fox; “mine is of the mind.”

Beauty is skin deep.

- Aesop, Aesop’s Fables with Illustrations by Ernest Griset


“Gradually, he fell into that deep tranquil sleep which ease from recent suffering alone imparts; that calm and peaceful rest which it is pain to wake from. Who if this were death, would be roused again to all the struggles and turmoils of life; to all its cares for the present; its anxieties for the future; more than all, its weary recollections of the past!”

- Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist


“The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one’s aim is to die a dog’s death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one’s aim. We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaining one’s aim is a dog’s death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.”

- Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure


“Don’t be ashamed to need help. Like a soldier storming a wall, you have a mission to accomplish. And if you’ve been wounded and you need a comrade to help you up? So what?”

- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


“Since about 1815, Canadians have had to go abroad to fight. With trifling exceptions – the Fenian raids and the U-boats in the St. Lawrence during World War II are the most conspicuous – war has not come to Canada. The distinction is enormously significant. Canadians remember wars fought in France, Italy, or Korea, not in the Richelieu Valley or along the Niagara Peninsula. Canadians have come to consider war as an aberration beyond their control and, happily, beyond their shores. A leading military historian has called Canadians ‘an unmilitary people,’ a description most Canadians regard as flattering. Being ‘military’ implies a cast of mind unnecessary in a country whose myth of war emphasizes voluntarism and the prowess of amateurs. War has shaped Canadians more than most of them realize. Without European conquest, there would be no Canada. Without wars that stretched over seventy years, the bulk of North America might well have remained a French and Spanish possession. The separate existence of Canada was determined by the American Revolutionary War and confirmed by the War of 1812. These wars not only made modern Canada possible; they helped shape the myths and memories of a divided national identity.”

- Desmond Morton, A Military History of Canada: From Champlain to the Gulf War 3rd Edition


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