Many of the quotes below are from Stanislaw Jerzy Lec’s book Unkempt Thoughts.

i. “Aristotle’s remark about wit in general, that it is “educated insolence,” frequently applies to the aphorism in particular. […] Dozens of the greater ones dispense life’s bitter rather than its sweet. They are moralists whose barbs do not spur us on to the higher morality. We read them not to improve ourselves but to feel the pleasure that comes of recognizing how unimproved (or, still more gratifying, how unimprovable) are all the other fellows.” (Clifton Fadiman)

ii. “If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.” (W. Somerset Maugham)

iii. “The solar system has no anxiety about its reputation.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

iv. “In love, as in war, a fortress that parleys is half taken.” (Marguerite de Valois)

v. “He that leaveth nothing to chance will do few things ill, but he will do very few things.” (George Savile).

vi. “You will always find some Eskimos ready to instruct the Congolese on how to cope with heat waves.” (Stanislaw Jerzy Lec)

vii. “Some hide truth because they fear it, others hide truth because they want to save it for the right occasion. Both truths are exactly the same.” (-ll-)

viii. “You have to climb to reach a deep thought.” (-ll-)

ix. “Never open the door to those who open them even without your permission.” (-ll-)

x. “In some lands exile is the greatest punishment; in others, the greatest humanitarians should fight for it.” (-ll-)

xi. “He who has a good memory can forget more, more easily.” (-ll-)

xii. “Some people’s thoughts are so shallow they don’t even reach their heads.” (-ll-)

xiii. “When gossip grows old it becomes myth.” (-ll-)

xiv. “It is unhealthy to live. He who lives, dies.” (-ll-)

xv. “If Newton’s Principia were published today, it would have 4 stars on Amazon. There would be one cluster of 5 star reviews by people saying it had revolutionized their thinking, and another cluster of 1 star reviews by people complaining it was pointless and hard to read.” (Paul Graham)

xvi. “I find I have a splendid appetite for the kindness of those I respect.” (Patrick O’Brian. The Thirteen Gun Salute)

xvii. “Man may sympathize with the underdog, but he wants to side with the winner.” (Erle Stanley Gardner. The Case of the Sulky Girl)

xviii. “Everyone is so proud of their own insignificant little boundaries. Scrupulously they vow, I would never do that! And perhaps they wouldn’t. More likely, they’ll never have to.” (John O’Brien, Leaving Las Vegas)

xix. “In this bundle, he said, I have a very powerful magical object. […] if you know how to use it, it will take you anywhere you wish to go in the twinkling of an eye; it will carry you from Spain to India in a heartbeat, or show you the heart of Asia or the deserts of Africa. It can even take you to where you can see the dead and listen to them talking to you.’ […] As it happens,’ he went on, ‘I have with me just such an object. Look.’ And he dived about inside the sleeve of his robe and pulled out a bronze tube about the size of a cucumber. ‘That’s remarkable,’ I said, wondering what he was looking to achieve. Obviously whatever the thing in the tube was, it couldn’t do all those things he’d said; he’d offer to give me a demonstration, it wouldn’t work, and we’d have a major loss of face and a serious diplomatic incident on our hands. Why me, I thought? But the ambassador just smiled and said, ‘Would you like to see it?’ Well, I couldn’t say no; so he pulled off the lid and started fishing about inside the tube with his fingers. […] ‘Here we are,’ the ambassador said, and he pulled out the contents of the tube; and of course you’re way ahead of me, and you guessed quite some time ago that what he’d got in there wasn’t some scrap of magical cloth but a plain, ordinary book.” (Tom Holt, Meadowland)

xx. “You will meet someone that will make you laugh, will put your stomach in knots every time they talk to you, will make you smile every time their name pops up on your phone, and whose smile you’ll see every night as you fall asleep and every morning as you wake up because it has such a calming and comforting effect on you.

All they’ll have met is someone they kinda like to talk to and see every now and again.” (‘Closer67’, here)

February 3, 2019 - Posted by | Books, Quotes/aphorisms

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