Here are some quotes I’ve read or heard this month that I found especially thought-provoking, along with some additional commentary/context.
“Wars are a beacon to idealists and adventurers and thugs, but also to a kind of tourist, who is drawn to conflict for obscure personal reasons. Experienced reporters usually keep their distance from such people, because their naivete not only gets them in trouble; it can get others killed.”—Lawrence Wright
Amateur war reporters and vigilante humanitarians rarely consider the burden of stress they put on their family and the people who are responsible for saving them if they get captured by the enemy. Lawrence Wright’s long-read ‘Five Hostages’ brilliantly illustrated this.
“Stability breeds instability.”—Hyman Minsky
We get comfortable. Then we get lazy. Then the safety we’ve been taking for granted begins to crumble.
“Bitterness is really just amplified self-pity.” —Marc Maron
“The sun doesn’t measure it’s light by the shadows it casts.” —Aubrey Marcus
Our self-worth cannot purely be determined by the amount of influence that we carry.
“The purpose of thinking is so that our thoughts die instead of us.” —Alfred North Whitehead
Alone in the animal kingdom we are allowed to change our minds. Where would we be without the ability to formulate ideas and test them out?
“Human beings are very clever but they’re not wise.” —Dennis McKenna
“Secrecy, or rather the possibility of secrecy, is not the enemy but the precondition of frankness.” —Theodore Dalrymple
If we cannot feel like we can voice our true thoughts anyplace then we will begin to self-censor. Censorship doesn’t have to be explicitly codified.
“Revenge is like politics: one thing always leads to another until bad has become worse, and worse has become the worst.” —Jonas Jonasson
You see this going on nationally today. I’ve heard that the Republican tax bill is punitive to blue territories and that Canada’s retaliatory tariffs target Trump-voting locales. The politics of resentment will only continue to get worse.
“Perhaps one reason revenge tends to run riot is that it is not framed by a recognition of some alternative. Revenge attaches to no scale of political concepts, values, or virtues.”—Jean Bethke Elshtain