When you go out looking for quotes you suddenly start finding them everywhere. I’m breaking this monthly post in two this month because I already have so many.
“The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.”―William Blake
I didn’t look further into this quote but it struck me as a poetic (albeit, slippery) way of conveying the truism that the act of destruction is easier than creation. It’s slippery because to be more ‘wise’, at least in the way we use the word today, does not mean more able. It means smarter, and that throws my whole interpretation off.
“Much of what we call wisdom consists in balancing the conflicting desires within ourselves, and much of what we call morality and politics consists in balancing the conflicting desire among people.” — Steven Pinker
This quote reinforces my long-standing inkling that political opinions are nothing more than a belief in how other people should behave. As always, it’s simpler and more effective to mind your own behavior first, and that’s where wisdom comes from.
“All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.”―Gabriel García Márquez
Sophisticated network computing dissolves the public, private, and the secret with each passing decade. In this post-privacy age, our three lives are blurring in such a haphazard manner that it’s tough to say we can ever take this idea for granted again. Our children may very well shrug at this notion and find it hopelessly simplistic.
“With social media extending your Radius of Envy out to every celebrity, and forcing even co-equal members of your cohort into self-promotional envy-production overdrive, comparisons to historical peasants or the advances of the Asian working class, will mean very little.”―Antonio García Martínez (https://twitter.com/antoniogm/status/1013815000253648897)
Careful what you pay attention to. It just might ruin your life. You’re not Kanye West but social media makes it easy to think that you could be, if only your Lotto ticket is scratched this week.
“A liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.”—Robert Frost
I’ve been guilty in being so caught up with sympathy for others that I neglect myself. This can be an admirable position but also untenable because if you don’t care for yourself then who is going to?
“To understand all may indeed be to forgive all, but no civilization can survive when the capacity for understanding is allowed to supersede the capacity for judgement. Otherwise, at the end of the line lies a pile of garbage: Hitler wasn’t evil, just insane.”—Stephen Carter
To be understanding while still knowing how and when to disagree with something or stand up for yourself. That middle ground is always so hard to find.
“You’re basically who you are from the start.”—David Lynch
Another vague inkling that I’ve had for a long time is bluntly clarified here: that personality is maddeningly consistent over time and so changing our bad habits and living up to our idealized self is tougher than we’d expect.
“With quitting anything, you have to have that gut feeling that turns into, you know, like a physical epiphany where you’re just like, ‘Oof, this is not good.’”―Dave Grohl
Personal change is always possible, but your emotions often have to lead the way. Rational decision making always sounds good but doesn’t necessarily stick without a deep visceral feeling to attach to it.
“Life teaches you really how to live it if you live long enough.”—Tony Bennett (reminiscing on what he wishes he had told Amy Winehouse)
This is from the documentary Amy, which is an inspiring but heartbreaking look at the life of Amy Winehouse. Her talent is obvious but no one in her day-to-day life treated her well. Only Tony Bennett comes out looking admirable—a man whom she admired greatly but unfortunately didn’t spend much time with—and his wise words close out the movie.