Words of Wisdom - Quotes
How much truth is contained in something can be best determined by making it thoroughly laughable and then watching to see how much joking around it can take. For truth is a matter that can withstand mockery, that is freshened by any ironic gesture directed at it. Whatever cannot withstand satire is false.
Critique of Cynical Reason
When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That's the message he is sending.
We're all gonna die, so we should have a laugh. Because if you can laugh in the face of adversity, you're bullet-proof. If you think of something funny, you've got to say it. It might go well, it might go badly. But you've gotta say it.
You can't keep blaming yourself. Just blame yourself once and move on.
A Millhouse Divided
Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.
Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind
True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.
If you're lonely when you're alone, you're in bad company.
A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.
Schools, especially good ones…that so emphasize student voice, teach us to value opinion. This is a great deception. Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge; it requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge, according to George Eliot, is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound, purpose‐larger‐than‐the‐self kind of understanding.
Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
A press—a free press—has always been vital to a democracy. Not just when they serve the bottom line, but perhaps especially when it doesn’t.
Boston Legal, Oral Contracts
Treat everyone like a gentleman, not because they are, but because you are.
Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning to do afterward.
Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for.
Courage is not a man with a gun in his hands. It's knowing your licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes, you do.
Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
The usefulness of the cup is it's emptiness.
Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.
When students cheat on exams, it's because our school system values grades more than students value learning.
It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas … If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you … On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish the useful ideas from the worthless ones.
The Burden of Skepticism
The time to buy stocks is consistently over time. You should never buy your investments with the idea, 'I have to get a certain return.' You should look at the best return possible and learn to live with that. But you should not try to make your investments earn what you feel you need. It doesn't work that way. The stock doesn't know you own it.
The phrase I use all the time is, "the kids are alright," from the Who. It's amazing to me, you know, I'm 54 years old, and it's amazing to me watching my peers turn into these cartoons. They say, shit like, "well you know, when we were kids we weren't this rude, and we wouldn’t say this stuff. I would have never done this." And it's absolute fucking bullshit, and we certainly have records going back thousands of years that adults always hate the younger generation. Adults always find a reason to hate people that are 20-years-old, and I don't know why it is. Clearly and provably every generation gets better. Every generation gets healthier, smarter, more sophisticated, and that's always been true. Twenty-year-olds are just better than us. Old people just can't seem to get it through their heads that things are getting better and that's wonderful. Not only do young people not have polio, not only are young people less racist, less homophobic, and less violent – not only is all that true, but they also have some really really cool art, and some of that art we don't understand. The problem is a question of time.
You know, when I was 15, 16, 17-years-old, I spent five hours a day juggling, and I probably spent six hours a day seriously listening to music. And if I were 16 now, I would put that time into playing video games. The thing that old people don't understand is – you know if you've never heard Bob Dylan, and someone listened to him for 15 minutes, you're not going to get it. You are just not going to understand. You have to put in hours and hours to start to understand the form, and the same thing is true for gaming. You're not going to just look at a first-person shooter where you are killing zombies and understand the nuances. There is this tremendous amount of arrogance and hubris, where somebody can look at something for five minutes and dismiss it. Whether you talk about gaming or 20th century classical music, you can't do it in five minutes. You can't listen to The Rite of Spring once and understand what Stravinsky was all about. It seems like you should at least have the grace to say you don't know, instead of saying that what other people are doing is wrong. The cliché of the nerdy kid who doesn't go outside and just plays games is completely untrue. And it's also true for the nerdy kid who studies comic books and turns into this genius, and it is also true for the nerdy kid who listens to every nerdy thing that Led Zeppelin put out. That kind of obsession in a 16-year-old is not ugly. It's beautiful. That kind of obsession is going to lead to a sophisticated 30-year-old who has a background in that artform. It just seems so simple, and yet I'm constantly in these big arguments with people on the computer who are talking about, "I would never let my kid do this and this in a video game." And these are adults who when they were children were dropping acid and going to see the Grateful Dead. I mean, the Grateful Dead is provably shitty music. It's impossible – it's theoretically impossible to make a video game as bad as the Grateful Dead. I throw that out there as a challenge.
Death is nothing to us, since when we are, death has not come, and when death has come, we are not.
I have concluded through careful empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me, keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less than I ought, giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I'm capable of. I believe they know everything that I do and think, and they still love me, and I've concluded, after careful consideration, that this person keeping score is me.
He says, you have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you can’t make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.
No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good.
Children are not colouring books. You don't get to fill them with your favourite colours.
Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal rather than religion-specific values... it requires that their proposals be subject to argument and amenable to reason.
Now, I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, to take one example, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.
If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
We judge others by their actions, but we judge ourselves by our intentions.
Never cheat. If you must, cheat death.
Never tell anybody that you're good. If you're good, they'll tell you.
If you plan to lead a life of honest, hard work, you'll be successful because there won't be any competition.
Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don't need little changes, we need gigantic, monumental changes. Schools should be palaces. The competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be making six-figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens, just like national defense.
The West Wing
No man ever got very high by pulling other people down. The intelligent merchant does not knock his competitors. The sensible worker does not work those who work with him. Don't knock your friends. Don't knock your enemies. Don't knock yourself.
The house doesn't beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, then will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you've got to be kind.
What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.
The flaw in our character is our insistence on separating blue-collar jobs from white-collar jobs, and encouraging one form of education over another.
You’ve got to be able to hold a lot of contradictory ideas in your mind without going nuts. I feel like to do my job right, when I walk out on stage I’ve got to feel like it’s the most important thing in the world. Also I’ve got to feel like, well, it’s only rock and roll. Somehow you’ve got to believe both of those things.
Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you. But someday, not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it’s quite true. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary... Stay hungry, stay foolish.
You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end... You’re not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You’re going to advance in life by what you’re going to learn after you leave here.
Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
If someone does offer you a job, say 'yes.' You can always quit later. Then at least you'll be one of the unemployed as opposed to one of the never-employed. Nothing looks worse on a resume than nothing.
I saw something in the paper last week about Kermit the Frog giving a commencement address somewhere. One of the students was complaining, 'I worked my ass off for four years to be addressed by a sock?' You have worked your ass off for this. For four years you've been buying, trading, and selling, everything you've got in this marketplace of ideas. The intellectual hustle. Your pockets are full, even if your parents' are empty, and now you've got to figure out what to spend it on... So, my question I suppose is: What's the big idea? What's your big idea? What are you willing to spend your moral capital, your intellectual capital, your cash, your sweat equity in pursuing outside of the walls of the University of Pennsylvania? My point is that the world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape.
As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own… Don’t spend so much time trying to choose the perfect opportunity, that you miss the right opportunity. Recognize that there will be failures, and acknowledge that there will be obstacles. But you will learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others, for there is very little learning in success.
I'm not a master, I'm a student-master, meaning that I have the knowledge of a master and the expertise of a master, but I'm still learning, So I'm a student-master. I don't believe in the word master, I consider the master as such when they close the casket.
A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.