"Rest of the World 2013-14" story # 59

Analyzing the World           October 21, 2014

Boy! Philosophy was a fascinating thing. Wasn't it?
     In addition to writing philosophical essays sometimes, I also enjoyed recording quotes - as well as my own thoughts - in tiny journals I called "Books of Philosophy".
     Over the years, I'd filled up three of these journals. I'd recorded thousands of quotes.
     I frequently thought of some of these quotes, my favorites. Some had greatly influenced my own thinking. Here were twenty-five of my favorites ...
     (An asterisk * beside a quote meant that it had been translated into English by me, from its original Spanish, Russian, French, or Czech. I hoped I'd done a good job of translating them, because I didn't want to be responsible for causing Fyodor Dostoyevsky to roll around in his grave.)

"What advantage is there in multiplying need?" - Jack Kerouac, an anti-technology quote

"It isn't time that dulls the edge of the blade, it's things." - Kerouac, talking about an ice skate but using it as a metaphor for human life

"Part of man's ignorance is, he doesn't go on playing when he 'grows up' --- If he did the world would be wild and Heavenly!" - Kerouac

"It's worse than death not to know that 'God' is the same thing as yourself" - Kerouac

"As far as I've always been concerned, it doesn't make sense to play at being small. We deny ourselves our destiny in doing so." - Braam Malherbe

"I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream - I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of mediaevalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal - to something finer, richer, than the Hellenic ideal, it may be." - an Oscar Wilde character

"Freedom, my friend, is one of the most precious gifts the heavens have given us men; it cannot be equaled by the treasures hidden by the earth nor those covered by the sea; for one's freedom, as for one's honor, one can and should risk his life." - a Miguel de Cervantes character *

"Why can't we all just speak like brothers? Why is it that even the best men always seem to hide things from each other and keep secrets? Why don't we just now, immediately, say what's on our hearts when we know that our words won't be wasted? Instead, we all appear crueler than we actually are, as if we're afraid of having our feelings hurt, even though we will soon show these feelings anyways ..." - a Fyodor Dostoyevsky character *

"Poverty and misfortune cause an artist to mature." - a Dostoyevsky character *

"What harmony is there, if there's hell: I want to forgive and to hug, I don't want that they suffer more." - a Dostoyevsky character *

"Yeah, we'll make them work, but in their free time from work we'll create a life for them like a child's game, with children's songs and choirs, with innocent dances. Sure, we'll let them sin, they're weak and powerless, and they'll love us like children because we let them sin." - a Dostoyevsky character, representing one of the powerful leaders of the Church *

"Why is the poor mother standing there, why the poor people, why the poor "babey", why the naked steppe, why don't they hug, don't they kiss, why don't they sing happy songs, why have they blackened so much from black poverty, why don't they feed the 'babey'?" - a Dostoyevsky character, sadly interpreting a dream *

"It's a spiritual problem, psychological. In order for the world to change, the people themselves must psychologically turn down a new road." - a Dostoyevsky character *

"There's nothing better than a 'poor knight'." - a Dostoyevsky character *

"A scholar who is in love with living comforts is not worthy to be called a scholar." - Confucius

"If the whole world flattered (the sage), he would not be affected thereby, nor if the whole world blamed him would he be dissuaded from what he was doing." - Laotse

CYRANO DE BERGERAC: "Impossible, Sir; my blood coagulates
"at the thought that they'd change a single comma.
DE GUICHE: "But if he likes a verse,
"on the other hand, my dear, he'll pay you well.
CYRANO DE BERGERAC: "He won't pay me as well as I'll pay myself
"because once I've written a verse and I like it
"I pay myself by singing it to myself!"
- an Edmond Rostand character, refusing to sell his poetry *

"The evening bell rings, and the merchant quickly makes the sign of the cross! - as if he's scared to miss something. Why all these churches, that ringing, and the lies? They exist precisely to hide the fact that we all hate each other, like the carrier-drivers who curse at each other so angrily. Yashvin the Gambler says: 'They want to take the clothes off my back, and I'd do the same to them.' And it's true!" - Anna Karenina, a Leo Tolstoy character *

"The whole world is shit
"and people enemies."
- a Russian poem graffitied onto a roadside bus stop in Israel's Negev Desert, certainly written by frustrated hitchhikers *

"Don't be offended by others' actions." - a Russian guy, Pavel, telling me I shouldn't get mad at people no matter what they do

"We don't exactly need to understand the things people do. It's enough just to accept them, no?" - a Czech film, Medvidek *

"So think carefully, my dear one, which stick to pinch and which to miss. Fight only the fights that are worthy; let all others pass you. And even when the stick hits hard, remember not to pinch back." - a Miroslav Pinkov character, giving his grandson advice after they've caught crayfish by poking the crayfish with sticks and waiting for the crayfish to pinch the sticks so they could then lift the sticks and drop the crayfish into their bags

"A man's ambition is 'Archimedes' Lever', with which the world can be moved from its place, but nowadays the only one who deserves to be called 'human' is he who can control his ambition, like a driver of horses, he who offers himself as a sacrifice to the greater good ..." - an Ivan Turgenev character *

"Every soul has lodged countless times in both men and in women. There are no new souls in Heaven. A soul is cleansed in a caldron, like dishes before Passover. It is purified and sent back to earth. ... Everything is kneaded of the same dough - cat and mouse, bear hunter and bear, old man and infant." - an Isaac Bashevis Singer character

"To see thousands of things for the first and last time, how sad and how profound! To be a traveler is to be born and die at every moment. Perhaps, in the vaguest part of the traveler's spirit, he saw comparisons between those changing horizons and human existence. All things in life are in perpetual flight before us ... every happening is a turning of the wheel; and all of the sudden, we're old." - Victor Hugo *

peace and wisdom,
Modern O.

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