"Fancy what a game of chess would be if all the chessmen had passions and intellects, more or less small and cunning; if you were not only uncertain about your adversary's men, but a little uncertain also about your own...
You would be especially likely to be beaten, if you depended arrogantly on your mathematical imagination, and regarded your passionate pieces with contempt. Yet this imaginary chess is easy compared with a game a man has to play against his fellow-men with other fellow-men for instruments."
        - George Eliot, "Felix Holt, the Radical"

"Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality."
        - Ian McEwan

"Who am I?  I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all that I have been seen done, of everything done-to-me. I am everyone everything whose being-in-the-world affected was affected by mine. I am everything that happens after I've gone that would not have happened if I had not come.... to understand me you must swallow a world."
        - Salman Rushdie, "Midnight's Children"

"You're saying humans need fantasies to make life bearable."
"No. Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape... Show me one atom of justice. One molecule of mercy. And yet you act like there was some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged. You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"
        - Susan and Death, in Terry Pratchett's "Hogfather"

"There may be more poetry than justice in poetic justice."
        - George Will

"If only there were evil people somewhere, insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"
        - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

"Human life is everywhere a state in which much is to be endured, and little to be enjoyed."
        - Imlac, in Samuel Johnson's "Rasselas" (1759)

Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing can ever be made.
        - Immanuel Kant

I have found the world kinder than I expected, but less just.
        - Samuel Johnson, reflecting in old age

Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favour.
        - Robert Frost

The question of common sense is 'what is it good for?' A question which would abolish the rose and be answered triumphantly by the cabbage.
        - James Russell Lowell

There are books in which the footnotes, or the comments scrawled by some reader's hand in the margin, are more interesting than the text. The world is one of those books.

- George Santayana Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I become that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond to it. - Charles R. Swindoll The chess-board is the world; the pieces are the phenomena of the universe; the rules of the games are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always fair, just, and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance. - T.H. Huxley In life, unlike chess, the game continues after checkmate.

        - Isaac Asimov, "Foundation and Empire"

The ultimate evil is the weakness, cowardice, that is one of the constituents of so much human nature. When, rarely, unalloyed nobility does occur, its chances of prevailing are slim. Yet it exists, and its mere existence is reason enough for not wiping the name of mankind off the slate.

- John Simon What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.
        - Crowfoot of the Blackfoot tribe

Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humour was provided to console him for what he is.
        - Oscar Wilde

Solitude is as needful to the imagination as society is wholesome for the character.
        - James Russell Lowell

Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.
        - Saul Bellow

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.
        - Clive James

Art is a lie that tells the truth.
        - Picasso

Don’t wish me happiness - I don’t expect to be happy… it’s gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor - I will need them all.
        - Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster... when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you."
        - Friedrich Nietzsche, "Beyond Good and Evil"

"We're our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves."
        - Tom Robbins

"Ten percent of the human race are always going to be boors or horrors. You can't make everybody nice."
        - Maureen Charlton

"All the world's a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed."
        - Sean O'Casey

What we imagine is order is merely the prevailing form of chaos.

- Kerry Thornley, Principia Discordia, 5th edition If a man hasn't found anything worth dying for, he hasn't anything worth living for. - Dr. Martin Luther King There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.

        - Albert Camus, "The Myth of Sisyphus"

Love, friendship, respect, do not unite people as much as a common hatred of something.

In every age the wisest have passed the identical judgment on life: it is worthless... If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads. Although human life is priceless, we always act as if something had an even greater price than life. But what is that something? But if you are afraid of dying, you are afraid of living. A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it. Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is.
        - Oscar Wilde

"Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?"
        - Joni Mitchell, "Big Yellow Taxi"

The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. ~ Nelson Mandela Like all great travellers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.

        - Benjamin Disraeli

Two often mentioned motivations for travels are to see another world and to disappear. In that sense, a journey in the footsteps of someone who disappeared in search of another world was the perfect journey.

        - Nicholas Jubber, "The Prester Quest"

If we lived forever, if the dews of Adashino never vanished, if the crematory smoke on Toribeyama never faded, men would hardly feel the pity of things. The beauty of life is in its impermanence. Man lives the longest of all living things... and even one year lived peacefully seems very long. Yet for such as love the world, a thousand years would fade like the dream of one night.

- Kenko Yoshida, "Essays In Idlenes", (1332) Having seen a small part of life, swift to die,
Men rise and fly away like smoke,
Persuaded only of what each has met with,
Who then claims to find the whole? - Empedocles, "On Nature" "Oh would some power the giftee give us to see ourselves as others see us?"

        - Robert Burns

"I have ever hated all nations, professions and communities, and all my love is toward individuals... principally I hate and detest that animal called man, although I heartily love John, Peter, Thomas and so forth."
        - Jonathan Swift

The sympathies of a well-adjusted person can easily be aroused by the plight of strangers. Indeed, the skillful writer of a novel, a play, or an opera can engage our emotions on behalf of people who are not only strangers to us, but who do not even exist! And a person whose emotions cannot be so aroused is not behaving normally.
        - John Derbyshire

One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are when you don't come home at night.
        - Margaret Mead

"The people you care about you never really say goodbye to."
        - MTV's "The Real World"


Oh the tangled webs we weave when we practice to deceive

- Sir Walter Scott Please don't lie to me, unless you're absolutely sure I'll never find out the truth. - Ashleigh Brilliant A good lie will have travled half way around the world while the truth is putting on her boots.

        - Mark Twain

Always tell the truth; then you don't have to remember anything.

        - Mark Twain

No character, however upright, is a match for constantly reiterated attacks, however false.

        - Alexander Hamilton

It is double the pleasure to deceive the deceiver.

        - Jean de la Fontaine, "Fables"

Basically, I have this theory that there are five kinds of truth. There is the truth you tell to casual strangers and acquaintances. There is the truth you tell to your general circle of friends and family members. There is the truth you tell to only one or two people in your entire life. There is the truth you tell to yourself. And finally, there is the truth that you do not admit even to yourself.

- JMS's Theory Of The Five Truths # BOREDOM

Men seldom give pleasure where they are not pleased themselves.

- Samuel Johnson We often forgive those who bore us, but never those whom we bore. - François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims I drink to make other people interesting. - George Jean Nathan We are always bored by those whom we bore - Unknown Bore : A fellow who can change the subject back to his topic of conversation faster than you can change it back to yours. - Laurence Peter A person isn’t boring because they don’t party or don’t drink. A boring person is self-centered and only talks about themselves.

        - from Samantha Daniels's advice column for "Yahoo"

I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better

- Samuel Butler # GENERATIONS

There is no better antidote to snobbery and racism than genealogy.
        - Leader from "The Telegraph"

I've always thought that the most extraordinary special effect you could do is to buy a child at the moment of its birth, sit it on a little chair and say, "You'll have three score years and ten," and take a photograph every minute. "And we'll watch you and photograph you for ten years after you die, then we'll run the film." Wouldn't that be extraordinary? We'd watch this thing get bigger and bigger, and flower to become extraordinary and beautiful, then watch it crumble, decay, and rot.
        - Clive Barker

I acknowledge with truth that I am not so dotingly fond of very young infants, as some are... but when the dawn of reason begins to make its beautiful appearance... I think them the most engaging little creatures in the world.
        - Hannah Pemberton (1780)

From the earliest times the old have rubbed it into the young that they are wiser than they, and before the young had discovered what nonsense this was they were old too, and it profited them to carry on the imposture.
        ~ W. Somerset Maughan

The film argues to the young that the old were young once, too, and contain within them all that the young know, and more.
        ~ Roger Ebert, from his review of "The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp"

"We have heard the chimes at midnight."
"That we have, that we have, that we have... the days that we have seen!"
        - Falstaff and Shallow, reaching the end of their days, Shakespeare's "Henry IV Part II"

Families with babies and families without babies are sorry for each other.
        - EW Howe

Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your head.
        - Martin Mull

Don't have kids. It's your parents revenge on you.
        - Brendan Dempsey

By the time a man realises that his father was usually right, he has a son who thinks he's usually wrong.
        - Anonymous

Childhood: The time of life when one makes faces in a mirror. Middle age is when the mirror gets even.
        - Mickey Mansfield

Your son at five is your master, at ten your slave, at fifteen your double, and after that, your friend or foe, depending on his bringing up.
        - Hasdai Ibn Shaprut, (900AD)

It takes a child to teach an adult how to be a parent.
        - Unknown

A parent can only be as happy as their least happy child.
        - Anonymous

"The older you get the shorter the summer gets."
        - Anon

"To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."
        - Oscar Wilde, "The Importance of Being Earnest"

"My mother protected me from the world and my father threatened me with it."
        - Quentin Crisp

"The young always have the same problem — how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another."
        - Quentin Crisp

"Keep on your toes — no one likes a complacent parent."
        - Julian to his father at graduation, "Less Than Zero"

Thomas Gordon, founder of "P.E.T." (Parent Effectiveness Training), observed that when children are behaving in a way that "interferes with your ability to meet your needs," shouting direct orders to them doesn't work very well. So, he advised sending "I messages." That is, a better alternative to, "Your room is a disaster area—clean it up this minute," would be something like, "I get embarrassed when Mrs. Johnson is visiting and sees your room looking this messy, so I need you to clean it up."
        - Ben Yagoda, "Slate Magazine"

Let no one say that working in politics leaves you without useful skills when you leave it. At the weekend my five-year-old son looked at me earnestly and said: “Daddy, why is water wet?” Now I’ve since put this question to all manner of scientists and moral philosophers and, I have to say, their answers wouldn’t have helped. Fortunately, I was able to draw on years of political experience. I avoided the question. Well, what would you have said?
My youngest (3 years old) then asked me whether Tony Blair is a baddie or a superhero. Far more difficult, that one.
        - Daniel Finkelstein, "The Times"

I've just returned from my daughter's Halloween parade at grade school. She was supergirl — and she was perfect. And, even better, she still considers boys to be made of kryptonite.
        - Jonah Goldberg, "National Review"

In these days of high-tech video games, it's remarkable that kids once got incredibly thrilled while pushing little metal racing cars around a cardboard track: The toy car was yours, and you invested it with importance and enhanced it with fantasy and pitied it because it was small, like you were. Such games were weapons against the ennui of endless Saturdays.
        - Roger Ebert, from his review of "Zathura", "Chicago Sun Times"

Will Robinson was a character in the 1960s TV series "Lost in Space" and I utterly idolized him. Like any sensible 6-year-old boy, I wanted to live in a spaceship and hang out with a robot all day.
        - Sean Moncrief, interviewed in "The Irish Independent"

Given the choice, would you like to be able to fly, or to become invisible? Fly or invisible, invisible or fly? That was always the important question, the big debate - when I was a bit younger. There were only ever two choices. It was a really tough one. Flying would obviously be more enjoyable. But being invisible could be more useful, for finding out stuff. And for spying.
        - Sam Wollaston, "The Guardian"

I think I grew up with a belief that when I was older, while I might not be famous, I would be very well respected within my field or I might even be asked to become the king of a small country somewhere. The first time I realised that things might not be panning out as I expected was when Michael owen got into the Liverpool team. He was the first person to do something that I would like to, like being a professional footballer.
        - Evan Fanning, "The Irish Independent"

Every boy and girl goes through the phase where they want to solve a mystery, become embroiled in an adventure or build a rocket ship in the backyard shed. Mostly they just want something to happen, something that is bigger than they are, more interesting; something that matters. Everything is just so boring when you're ten. So here comes the exciting world of the girl detective (or boy detective). They gather the clues, tail the bad buys and figure out the mystery before anyone else catches on. They act, sometimes without thinking, sometimes a little foolishly, but at least they act. They aren't stuck in front of the television all summer, that's for sure.
        - Colleen Mondor

"Intelligent children understand the concept of history and can appreciate that the Famous Five stories are of a time and place. The time is the middle of the last century and the place is rural England. Will the stories be the same if Aunt Fanny drives a 4X4, Joanna the cook is replaced with an au pair and the children are always losing their mobile phones?"
        - Spokesman for a campaign opposing plans to update the Famous Five

In their Rethinking Schools article, teachers Ann Pelo and Kendra Pelojoaquin describe how the kids at Hilltop built “a massive series of Lego structures we named Legotown.” I sensed that something was rotten in the state of Legotown when I read this description of it: “a collection of homes, shops, public facilities, and community meeting places.” My children have spent a large portion of their young lives playing with Legos. They have never, to my knowledge, constructed “community meeting places.” Instead, they make monster trucks, space ships, and war machines. These little creations are usually loaded with ion guns, nuclear missiles, bunker-busting bombs, force-field projectors, and death-ray cannons. Alien empires have risen and fallen in epic conflicts waged in the upstairs bedrooms of my home.
        - John J. Miller, from an article on the banning of Lego in a US school, "National Review"

Some parents say it is toy guns that make boys warlike. But give a boy a rubber duck and he will seize its neck like the butt of a pistol and shout "Bang!"
        - George Will

This is a funny, perceptive book about men and their ineradicable love of war. In describing the male psyche so accurately, with its absurdly aggressive streak a mile wide, utterly redundant these days yet still demanding to be satisfied, Harry Pearson has you laughing throughout with guilty recognition. In Britain since 1945, males have largely satisfied their love of war by fantasy: toy soldiers, films and computer games... It’s no good banning boys from playing with toy guns in the hope that it will make them prefer dollies, since "an inventive lad can make a very passable one out of Lego in the time it takes to say 'phallocentric aggression'." Tellingly, Pearson reminds us of Saki’s cruelly truthful story, The Toys of Peace, in which a bien-pensant uncle tries to wean his nephews off toy soldiers with substitutes in the form of John Stuart Mill and Mrs Felicia Hemans, along with a scale model of the Young Women’s Christian Association. A while later he returns to see how his experiment is going. Not well. The YWCA has been violently stormed by Mill, and Hemans has stabbed him through the heart. "He bleeds dreadfully," exclaimed Bertie, splashing red ink liberally." The uncle creeps away disconsolate. "We have begun too late." It will always be too late.
        - Christopher Hart, reviewing "A Boy's Own Story", "The Times"

Conradin was ten years old, and the doctor had pronounced his professional opinion that the boy would not live another five years. The doctor was silky and effete, and counted for little, but his opinion was endorsed by Mrs. De Ropp, who counted for nearly everything. Mrs. De Ropp was Conradin's cousin and guardian, and in his eyes she represented those three-fifths of the world that are necessary and disagreeable and real; the other two-fifths, in perpetual antagonism to the foregoing, were summed up in himself and his imagination. One of these days Conradin supposed he would succumb to the mastering pressure of wearisome necessary things---such as illnesses and coddling restrictions and drawn-out dulness. Without his imagination, which was rampant under the spur of loneliness, he would have succumbed long ago. Mrs. De Ropp would never, in her honestest moments, have confessed to herself that she disliked Conradin, though she might have been dimly aware that thwarting him "for his good" was a duty which she did not find particularly irksome. Conradin hated her with a desperate sincerity which he was perfectly able to mask. Such few pleasures as he could contrive for himself gained an added relish from the likelihood that they would be displeasing to his guardian, and from the realm of his imagination she was locked out.
        - the opening of "Sredni Vashtar" by Saki

Apparently, men in their late thirties and early forties are the most miserable of all. This comes as pretty bad news to anyone who has had a pretty depressing time in their twenties, but according to new research, men who are, "struggling to cope with the demands of a job and young family, those aged 35-44 invariably hit a mid-life crisis when their happiness level plunges lower than at any other age." This sense of moody ennui is largely down to the fact that this is the age when men finally accept that they will never play professional football, will never get to sleep with a supermodel and when they finally accept that their kids are actually hugely disappointing and their career has gone down the toilet.
        - Ian O'Doherty, "The Irish Independent"

There used to be four common life phases: childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age. Now, there are at least six: childhood, adolescence, odyssey, adulthood, active retirement and old age. Of the new ones, the least understood is odyssey, the decade of wandering that frequently occurs between adolescence and adulthood. During this decade, 20-somethings go to school and take breaks from school. They live with friends and they live at home. They fall in and out of love. They try one career and then try another... Someday people will look back and wonder at the vast social changes wrought by the emerging social group that saw their situations first captured by “Friends” and later by “Knocked Up.”
        - David Brooks, "The Odyssey Years", "The New York Times"


It is well, when judging a friend, to remember that he is judging you with the same godlike and superior impartiality.
        - Arnold Bennett

True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable.
        - Dave Tyson Gentry

What is a friend? I will tell you . . . it is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.
        - Frank Crane

A friend is a second self.
        - Aristotle

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art...It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
        - C.S. Lewis

If you can't return a favor, pass it on.

- Louise Brown A friend is someone, who upon seeing another friend in immense pain, would rather be the one experiencing the pain than to have to watch their friend suffer. - Amanda Grier The proper office of a friend is to side with you when you are in the wrong. Nearly anybody will side with you when you are in the right.
       - Mark Twain

Contrary to general belief, I do not believe that friends are necessarily the people you like best, they are merely the people who got there first.
        - Peter Ustinov

Nine-tenths of the people were created so you would want to be with the other tenth.
        - Horace Walpole

"It is easy to know an enemy, but not as easy as it is to mistake a friend. An enemy can prove himself by a single deed. A friend must prove himself over and over again."
        - from "The Dragonlance Saga"

There's no avoiding it any longer. I don't like any of my friends. I've just flicked through my address book, a thin volume, and was filled with irritation, distaste and an overwhelming sense of boredom. One of the great boons of living in a city is that you don't need friends. There are 11 million people within walking distance, a thousand new people every day for the rest of my life and no need to repeat anyone.  Friends are only necessary in the ghastly country, where you have to have them. No, I like acquaintances: a wide circle of faintly familiar people who smile and wave but whose names escape me. An acquaintance has all the expectation, desire to please and vivacity of a first date. They flash wit and compliments and don't expect you to call or go to their children's weddings.
        - A.A. Gill,  "The Spectator"

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Any kiddie in school can love like a fool, But Hating, my boy, is an Art.

- Ogden Nash Let them hate me as long as they fear me - Gaius "Caligula" of Rome # SELF LOVE

How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes!

~ William Shakespeare, "As You Like It" : (5.1) Self-love seems so often unrequited. - Anthony Powell, A Dance to the Music of Time The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. - William James Admiration : Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to ourselves. - Anon It's far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help. ~ Judith S. Martin Self respect : The secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious.

        - HL Mencken

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