This past weekend, I was discussing the nature of explanations with some relatives. I argued that to explain anything completely, one would have to explain absolutely everything, given the need for context in a complete explanation and given the inter-connectedness of all that we know. Many explanations falling short of explaining everything work, at least on a local level, because on a local/pragmatic level an explanation is merely a description that makes us feel good.
Today, I came across a quote by Carl Sagan that relates to the above:
As Christopher Hedges has written, war is exciting and carries its own meaning, regardless of the flimsy excuses that politicians bandy about.
The enduring attraction of war is this: Even with its destruction and carnage it can give us what we long for in life. It can give us purpose, meaning, a reason for living. Only when we are in the midst of conflict does the shallowness and vapidness of much of our lives become apparent. Trivia dominates our conversations and increasingly our airwaves. And war is an enticing elixir. It gives us resolve, a cause. It allows us to be noble. And those who have the least meaning in their lives, the impoverished refugees in Gaza, the disenfranchised North African immigrants in France, even the legions of young who live in the splendid indolence and safety of the industrialized world, are all susceptible to war’s appeal.
I’ve previously written about the power of how we frame war; how is it that human slaughter can be seen as glamorous? Oscar Wilde also touches on this issue of how we frame war:
As long as we uncritically bandy about horribly vague phrases like “Support the Troops,” we will not expose America’s needless wars for what they are.
I make a habit of sharing my favorite quotes at this site. Here is another batch:
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
“They’ll say we’re disturbing the peace, but there is no peace. What really bothers them is that we are disturbing the war.”
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”
“Activism is my rent for living on the planet.”
― Alice Walker
“Better to be slapped with the truth than kissed with a lie.”
“Thompson is equally vociferous on matters of faith. […] “I’m an atheist; I suppose you can call me a sort of libertarian anarchist. I regard religion with fear and suspicion. It’s not enough to say that I don’t believe in God. I actually regard the system as distressing: I am offended by some of the things said in the Bible and the Koran, and I refute them.” She knows she’s being controversial, but she believes passionately in what she says, and passionately believes it needs saying. “I think that the Bible as a system of moral guidance in the 21st century is insufficient, to put it mildly, she continues, frowning a little. I feel quite strongly that we need a new moral lodestone if we can’t rely on what is inside our own selves. Which I think, actually, is pretty reliable.” ”
“Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.”
― George Orwell
“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
“I want an avowed atheist in the White House. When time comes to push that button, I want whoever’s making the decision to understand that once it’s pushed, it’s over. Finito. They’re not gonna have lunch with Jesus. Won’t be deflowering 72 virgins on the great shag carpet of eternity, or reincarnated as a cow. I want someone making that decision who believes life on this Earth isn’t just a dress rehearsal for something better — but the only shot we get.”― Quentin R. Bufogle
“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
“I don’t even call it violence when it’s in self defense; I call it intelligence”
“The moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess SUCCESS. That – with the squalid cash interpretation put on the word ‘success’ – is our national disease.”
“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”
“I don’t want to believe. I want to know.”
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”
“It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
“When I give food o the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.”
Dom Helder Camara, Brazilian Archbishop
“I’d boycott everything Wall Street made if they actually made anything.”
“I was a loner as a child. I had an imaginary friend — I didn’t bother with him.”
This is part of my non-ending series of my favorite quotes. I’ll keep publishing them as long as I keep finding new ones. The entire series is here. Here are my new favorites:
“The mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality.”
Henry David Thoreau.
“Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.”
—Epictetus, Greek philosopher
“Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex.”
“It’s no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
“By Learning you will teach. By teaching you will learn.”
“In the Age of Information ignorance is a choice.”
Facebook – attributed to Danny Miller
“I have no problem paying taxes because roads don’t pave themselves.”
I have no problem paying taxes because I’m an adult and that’s part of the deal.”
Facebook photo of two demonstrators with signs
“We may have democracy in this country, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.” – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
“Morning is wonderful. Its only drawback is that it comes at such an inconvenient time of day.”
— Glen Cook (from Sweet Silver Blues…first in the Garrett P.I. series),
“Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals.”
“When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”
R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 – 1983)
“Don’t try to tell me a loving and caring god exists. How do you explain stillbirth? What was the loving and caring plan of your god there?”
Marina C (on Facebook).
“Every composer knows the anguish and despair occasioned by forgetting ideas which one had no time to write down.”
Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869)
“We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.”
Aesop (620 BC – 560 BC)
“If Beethoven had been killed in a plane crash at the age of 22, it would have changed the history of music… and of aviation.”
Tom Stoppard (1937 – )
“Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long.”
“The trouble is, you think you have time.”
I collect my quotes from many sources. When I have about a dozen favorites, I publish them at this website. This is where you’ll find hundreds more of my favorites.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” ~ Buddha
“The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses.”
And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.”
Thomas Jefferson – May 28 1816 Letter to john Taylor. http://www.snopes.com/quotes/jefferson/banks.asp
All contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law; directors should not be permitted to use stockholders’ money for such purposes; and, moreover, a prohibition of this kind would be, as far as it went, an effective method of stopping the evils aimed at in corrupt practices acts. Not only should both the National and the several State Legislatures forbid any officer of a corporation from using the money of the corporation in or about any election, but they should also forbid such use of money in connection with any legislation save by the employment of counsel in public manner for distinctly legal services.
“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”
“Apathy is the glove into which evil slips its hand.”
“Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte
“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.”
You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
“We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds, not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilization is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”
― Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
“Throw off your worries when you throw off your clothes at night.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte
Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity.
Unknown, Hanlon’s Razor
“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
― Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Libertarianism: (noun) One who believers that oppression is best handled by the private sector.
“When the white man came we had the land and they had the Bible. They taught us to pray with our eyes closed and when we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible.”
Jomo Kenyatta (1889 – 1978), prime minister of Kenya,
“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte
“In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane.”
– Oscar Wild
Science is arranging experience in the most economical way.