Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Twitter—that device helpfully enabling people to write faster than they can think.

 Geoffrey Wheatcroft, How the Murdoch Gang Got Away (New York Review, Jan 8, 2015)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.

 Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

Monday, December 01, 2014

It was as if he had left home to climb a mountain and was now stuck on top of it, bivouacked above the tree line, free, but freezing, with no way forward.

Tim Parks, The New Yorker (Reverend)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The smartphone-bearing zombies plodding blindly down our sidewalks still inhabit the real world even if their souls have gone elsewhere.

James Gleick, The New York Review of Dec. 18, 2014.

Monday, November 24, 2014

When did ever self-righteousness know the sentiment of pity?

Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

Saturday, November 15, 2014

My moment-by-moment happiness is pretty low, but my life satisfaction is great.

From The New York Review of Dec 4, 2014.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

When you don't know where you're going, any road can get you lost.

A riff on Lewis Carroll

Friday, October 10, 2014

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.

Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The entitlement to believe what on careful reflection seems to be the case, where there is no reason to doubt it, is the necessary condition for being able to form any justified beliefs at all. ... The only way to pursue the truth is to consider what seems true, after careful reflection of a kind appropriate to the subject matter, in light of all the relevant data, principles, and circumstances.

Thomas Nagel, Listening to Reason (New York Review, October 9, 2014)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility…. The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.

Albert Einstein, as quoted in the New York Review.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

What we look for does not happen;
what we least expect is fashioned by the gods.

Euripides, Bacchae (as quoted from Robin Robertson in the Sept. 25, 2014 New York Review)

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The earth, the water, the fire, the air, and the void -- these indeed are the five principles by which the entire universe is pervaded.

Abhinavagupta, as quoted by Diana L. Eck in India: a Sacred Geography

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Every technology will alienate you from some part of your life.  That is its job.  Your job is to notice.

Michael Harris, as quoted by The Economist (August 16, 2014)

Friday, August 08, 2014

Mammalian minds evolved to track external dangers and opportunities.... Only humans acquired an ability to focus solely on internal thoughts.... [But] people go to surprisingly great lengths to avoid being stranded with their own thoughts.

Science News, People Find Solitude Distressing

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Today’s news is always old news. The innocent get slaughtered and someone makes up excuses.

Charles Simic, Portable Hell (NYR)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Shiva, they say, is twofold…. utterly transcendent and … “without parts”.… the source and essence of all…. But Shiva is also “with parts” [and] shows himself visibly in many forms…. The divine expands, evolving as if from seed, and stretching into the immense, indeed infinite reality of the cosmos, which lives and breathes.

From India: A Sacred Geography (Ch 5) by Diana L. Eck

Friday, April 25, 2014

There is no shore on the other side

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Saturday, April 05, 2014

I cannot help thinking that liberal civilization—the rule of laws, not men, of argument in place of force, of compromise in place of violence—runs deeply against the human grain and is achieved and sustained only by the most unremitting struggle against human nature. The liberal virtues—tolerance, compromise, reason—remain as valuable as ever, but they cannot be preached to those who are mad with fear or mad with vengeance. In any case, preaching always rings hollow. We must be prepared to defend them by force, and the failure of the sated, cosmopolitan nations to do so has left the hungry nations sick with contempt for us.

Michael Ignatieff

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Monday, March 10, 2014

It doesn't have to be understood to be real.

Peter Lanza

Monday, March 03, 2014

When the enemy is making a false movement we must take good care not to interrupt him.

Attributed to Napoleon

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Consciousness was indeed real.  It had observable energy.  That energy translated into movement, into work.  That energy ordered information, the stuff of the world, the matter, and recycled that order back into itself, lifting itself to ever higher ground.

Kathleen Ann Goonan, Light Music 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Consciousness was firmly embedded in the fabric of space and time, a material part of its vibrational energy.  Consciousness, or mind, was not split off from matter, hovering outside it.... Instead, consciousness was within matter, of matter.  It was matter looking at itself and being astonished.  It was the point seeing the wave, or the wave seeing the point.  Consciousness was quantum electrodynamism.  Time turned back upon itself.  Time splintering.  Time strutting loose among the energy levels, only slightly stilled, slightly caught, in that glance called consciousness, the observer, the energy that made it into this and not-this, live cat and dead cat.

Kathleen Ann Goonan, Light Music

Friday, February 14, 2014

Empowering friends, picking your battles, always checking principle with prudence, never overestimating American capacities, but never overestimating the enemy’s strength: this is best seen not as a strategy for all contingencies but as a disposition, a habit of mind, a temperament.

Michael Ignatieff on George Kennan's approach to US foreign policy, America's Melancholic Hero (The New York Review of Books, March 6, 2014).

Monday, February 03, 2014

Whenever there is a withering of the law
and an uprising of lawlessness on all sides,
then I manifest Myself.

For the salvation of the righteous
and the destruction of such as do evil,
for the firm establishing of the Law,
I come to birth, age after age.

 Bhagavad Gita, Book IV, Sutra 5, 7, 8

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ullrich told me about a small boy who was dying of neuroblastoma. “His mother made it very clear to him that she would see him again in Heaven someday. ... But he was worried about how he would find her. So they made a plan to meet in the front left corner of Heaven."

Jerome Groopman in The New Yorker, "Lives Less Ordinary" (January 20, 2014)