Good quotes from various people

Stuff I agree with, expressed much better than I ever could.

  • To know what you do not know is half the knowledge itself. – Ancient Arabic saying
  • The beginning of wisdom is in calling all things by their right name. – Confucius
  • To attain knowledge, add things everyday. To attain wisdom, remove things everyday. – Lao Tse
  • Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. – Rumi
  • We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are. – Rabbi Shemuel ben Nachmani, as quoted in the Talmudic tractate Berakhot (55b.)
  • Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself… You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow… – Khalil Gibran
  • Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – Albert Einstein?
  • As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it. – Albert Einstein
  • The study of history does this. It recognises that children are not empty vessels to be filled with patriotic myths. History isn’t a myth-making discipline, it’s a myth-busting discipline, and it needs to be taught as such in our schools – Professor Evans (writing about British education)


  • The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution. – Bertrand Russell
  • Be conservative in what you send, and liberal in what you accept. – Postel’s Law
  • If imagination is not set to the task of building a creative life, it busies itself with weaving a web of inner fears and doubts, blame and excuse. – Laurence G. Boldt
  • Dream is not what you see in sleep, Dream is which does not let you sleep. – Abdul Kalam (former President of India)


  • Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward. – Kurt Vonnegut
  • Grief is the price we pay for love. – Queen Elizabeth II
  • Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy. The amount of work is the same. – Francesca Reigler
  • If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company. – Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Bad luck doesn’t have the option of being consistent. – Scott Adams (I am paraphrasing from his book “How to fail at almost everything”)


  • You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. – Harvey Dent (“The Dark Knight”)
  • If you’re good at something, never do it for free. – The Joker (“The Dark Knight”)
  • Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up. – Alfred (“Batman Begins”)
  • When you play the game of thrones you win or you die. There is no middle ground. – Cersei Lannister (“Game of Thrones”)
  • To exist is to survive unfair choices. – Khatun (“The OA”)
  • Si vis pacem, para bellum (If you want peace, prepare for war) – Winston (“John Wick: Chapter 3”)
  • If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared. Severities should be dealt out all at once, so that their suddenness may give less offense; benefits ought to be handed ought drop by drop, so that they may be relished the more. – Niccolo Machiavelli
  • It was my fate to be the antagonist of a man for whom, even then, I had the highest respect – Jan Smuts, about Gandhi


Stuff I liked

Zen Navigation (from Dirk Gently – The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul)

“… A few turnings later and I was thoroughly lost. There is a school of thought which says that you should consult a map on these occasions, but to such people I merely say, ‘Ha! What if you have no map to consult? What if you have a map but it’s of the Dordogne?’ My own strategy is to find a car, or the nearest equivalent, which looks as if it knows where it is going and follow it. I rarely end up where I was intending to go, but often I end up somewhere that I needed to be. So what do you say to that?”


“A robust response. I salute you.”

Excerpt from a William Blake poem I came across the Agatha Christie book “Endless Night”

Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know,
Through the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

Law of the Quantum of Solace (yes, that James Bond book!)

Quantum of Solace – the amount of comfort. Yes, I suppose you could say that all love and friendship is based in the end on that. Human beings are very insecure. When the other person not only makes you feel insecure but actually seems to want to destroy you, it’s obviously the end. The Quantum of Solace stands at zero. You’ve got to get away to save yourself.

From “Fearless” (Jet-Li movie from 2006):

Anno Tanaka: Since there’s no superiority or inferiority in Wushu, why still have competition?

Huo Yuan Jia: I believe that there’s no superiority or inferiority in Wushu. Just the distinction of practitioners with different levels of ability. Through the competition we can discover this and meet the true self. Because indeed the antagonist is namely ourself. Only through competition, can one recognise one’s true self.

From “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (book):

What she had realised was that love was that moment when your heart was about to burst.

Then she sat as if paralysed, thinking. She had never in her life felt such a longing. She wanted Mikael Blomkvist to ring the doorbell and… what then? Lift her off the ground, hold her in his arms? Passionately take her into the bedroom and tear off her clothes? No, she really just wanted his company. She wanted to hear him say that he liked her for who she was. That she was someone special in his world and in his life. She wanted him to give her some gesture of love, not just of friendship and companionship. I’m flipping out, she thought.

She had no faith in herself. Blomkvist lived in a world populated by people with respectable jobs, people with orderly lives and lots of grown-up points. His friends did things, went on TV, and shaped the headlines. What do you need me for? Salander’s greatest fear, which was so huge and so black that it was of phobic proportions, was that people would laugh at her feelings. And all of a sudden all her carefully constructed self-confidence seemed to crumble.

From “Love, Actually” (movie):

[on sheets of poster board]

Mark: With any luck, by next year – I’ll be going out with one of these girls.
[shows pictures of beautiful supermodels]

Mark: But for now, let me say – Without hope or agenda – Just because it’s Christmas – And at Christmas you tell the truth – To me, you are perfect – And my wasted heart will love you – Until you look like this.
[picture of a mummy]

Mark: Merry Christmas.

From “Chef” (movie):

I may not do everything great in my life, but I’m good at this. I manage to touch people’s lives with what I do and I want to share this with you.

From “Troy” (movie):

Briseis: Why did you choose this life?
Achilles: What life?
Briseis: To be a great warrior.
Achilles: I chose nothing. I was born and this is what I am.

From “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (movie):

Logan: I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do best isn’t very nice. I’m the Wolverine.