Wednesday, April 30, 2003

There lurks, perhaps, in every human heart a desire of distinction, which inclines every man first to hope, and then to believe, that nature has given him something peculiar to himself.

Samuel Johnson, as quoted by James Boswell

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Idleness is a disease which must be combated; but I would not advise a rigid adherence to a particular plan of study. I myself have never persisted in any plan for two days together.

Samuel Johnson, as quoted by James Boswell

Sunday, April 13, 2003

The ancient Greeks, it has been said, were too reasonable to ignore the intoxicating power of the unreasonable. They worshiped Dionysus, the god of excess and ecstasy, and they admired tragedy -- an art form that shows that human feelings are far too intense and varied to be contained by the narrow strictures of rational self-interest. Explosions of passion -- romantic and destructive, cruel and self-sacrificing, among nations as among individuals -- not only are to be expected but are central to the human spirit.

Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly (May 2003)

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

If the abuse be enormous, Nature will rise up, and claiming her original rights, overturn a corrupt political system.

Samuel Johnson, as quoted by James Boswell

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Democracy and the free market have proven enduringly compatible only under historically unusual conditions of prosperity, or else in protected domestic settings and typically at the expense of third parties somewhere else.

Tony Judt in "America and the World", The New York Review (April 30, 2003)