Beware of thinkers whose minds function only when fuelled by a quotation. 1
— Emil Cioran




I won’t get around to systematically stating a worldview. (It’s maybe bad for you, anyway.) But I like aphorisms, so here’s a molecular version of a worldview:



reason

epistemology


  • Don't just read it; fight it!
    ― Paul Halmos


  • all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong can they be before they are not useful.
    ― George Box


  • ...the reason human beings could not reject ideas because they were bad: Ideas on Earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content did not matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity.
    ― Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


  • If someone does not believe in fairies, he need not teach his children 'There are no fairies'; he can omit to teach them the word 'fairy'. 2307
    ― Ludwig Wittgenstein



  • Virtue the only nobility, reason the only authority.


  • Much of the wisdom of the world is not wisdom, and the most illuminated class of men are no doubt superior to literary fame, and are not writers.
    ― Emerson


  • ...however true [your claim] may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth... Truth, thus held, is but one superstition the more, accidentally clinging to the words which enunciate a truth. 113
    ― JS Mill



  • I believe there is no philosophical high-road in science, with epistemological signposts. No, we are in a jungle and find our way by trial and error, building our road behind us as we proceed.
    ― Max Born, or


  • If error is corrected whenever it is recognised, the path of error is the path of truth.
    ― Hans Reichenbach, or


  • There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.
    ― Leonard Cohen


  • If falsehood had only one face, as the truth does, we'd know where we were: we could take the opposite of what a liar said to be the truth. But the opposite of the truth has a hundred thousand shapes and a limitless field. 101
    ― Montaigne


  • There are no subject matters; no branches of learning - or, rather, of inquiry: there are only problems, and the urge to solve them. A science such as botany or chemistry is, I contend, merely an administrative unit... even serious students are misled by the myth of the subject. And I should be reluctant to call anything that misleads a person a convenience to that person.
    ― Karl Popper



  • Doctors bury their mistakes, architects cover them with vines, teachers send theirs into politics.
    Frank Lloyd Wright, plus


  • You'll soon find a stick if you set out to beat a dog. 112
    Proverb


  • Everything's already been said, but since nobody was listening, we have to start again. 100
    ― André Gide


  • If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think they'll hate you.
    ― Don Marquis


  • Litany: If I think up what seems like an obvious objection, I will resist assuming that I have found an [absurdly vitiating flaw] in the experts' logic. Instead I may ask politely whether my argument is a valid one, and if not, where the flaw lies.
    ― shminux


  • Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.
    ― Donald Knuth


  • The history of science, like the history of all human ideas, is a history of irresponsible dreams, of obstinacy, and of error.
    ― Karl Popper


  • 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


  • Plato says in 'Phaedo', that our imaginary ideas arise from the pre-existence of the soul, are not derivable from experience. Read 'monkeys' for 'pre-existence'!
    ― Darwin


  • If any man can show me I do not think or act right, I will gladly change; for I seek the truth, by which no man was ever injured. He is injured who abides in error and ignorance. 102
    ― Marcus Aurelius


  • Reading and experience train your model of the world. And even if you forget the experience or what you read, its effect on your model of the world persists. Your mind is like a compiled program you’ve lost the source of. It works, but you don’t know why.
    ― Paul Graham


  • The man scarce lives who is not more credulous than he ought to be... The natural disposition is always to believe. It is acquired wisdom and experience only that teach incredulity, and they very seldom teach it enough.
    ― Adam Smith


  • Fear not known but unknown propaganda; I have the utmost respect for Pravdas - how else will you know what to not believe?
    ― Gwern


  • Discovery consists in seeing what everyone has seen and thinking what no–one has thought. 103
    Schopenhauer


  • In science, if you know what you are doing, you should not be doing it. In engineering, if you do not know what you are doing, you should not be doing it.
    ― Richard Hamming


  • Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves.
    ― George Gordon Byron


  • A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.
    ― George Bernard Shaw


  • It is a profoundly erroneous truism... that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them.
    ― Alfred North Whitehead


  • Convictions are greater enemies of truth than lies. 104
    ― Nietzsche


  • Faced with a choice between changing one's mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.
    ― John Kenneth Galbraith


  • Everything that can be said, can be said clearly. 127
    ― Ludwig Wittgenstein


  • In the conquest of space, two problems must be solved: gravity and paperwork. If it had just been gravity, we would be done already. 105
    ― Werner von Braun


  • Consider: Magnitude? Probability? Tractability?


  • Then Prevalence, sensitivity, specificity, precision, deprecision, accuracy.


  • Penye wengi, pana mengi. 124
    ― Swahili proverb


  • The more you know, the more you see; the more you see... 125
    ― probably John Hitchcock


  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
    ― Benjamin? Felson


  • a special use of language, often over the heads of untrained readers, that seeks to express truths concisely & with precision, that allows us to understand otherwise inaccessible things, changing our experience in the process.
    ― Robert Creasey, on equations / poetry


  • Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise. 106
    ― the Lankavatara Sutra, or


  • ...when told by his pupil, Elizabeth Anscombe, that it was easy to understand why people thought the sun went round the earth, Wittgenstein asked, "Why would they think that?" "Well," said Anscombe, "it looks that way." To which Wittgenstein replied, "And how would it look if the earth went round the sun?


  • You will object to me: what good are classes, genera, systems!
    I answer you: Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject — the actual, terrible enemy is the unknown. 120
    ― Thomas Mann


  • If there were a verb meaning "to believe falsely," it would not have any significant first person, present indicative. 107
    ― Ludwig Wittgenstein


  • Books must follow science, and not science books.
    ― Francis Bacon


  • Einstein: God doesn't play dice!
    Bohr: It's not for us to dictate to God how to rule the world. 122


  • But in our enthusiasm, we could not resist a radical overhaul of the system, in which all of its major weaknesses have been exposed, analyzed, and replaced with new weaknesses.
    ― Bruce Leverett


  • You think you know when you can learn, are more sure when you can write, even more when you can teach, but certain when you can program.
    ― Alan Perlis


  • A conclusion is simply the place where someone got tired of thinking.
    ― Arthur Bloch?


  • Reasoning and logic are to each other as health is to medicine, or — better — as conduct is to morality. Reasoning refers to a gamut of natural thought processes in the everyday world. Logic is how we ought to think if objective truth is our goal — and the everyday world is very little concerned with objective truth... The very reason we need logic at all is because most reasoning is not conscious at all.
    ― Julian Jaynes


  • Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him. It is a gift for dealing with the accidents of existence, not the accidents themselves.
    ― Aldous Huxley


  • But the need to get things done does not always leave us the leisure time for careful inquiry, one must believe that the life of a man is vulnerable to errors regarding particular things, and we must acknowledge the infirmity of our nature.
    ― Rene Descartes


  • Once Da'an asked Master Baizhang, "This student yearns to understand enlightenment. What is it?"

    The Master said, “You are like someone searching for an ox while riding that ox.” 109
    ― after Baizhang Huaihai


  • True and False are attributes of speech, not of things. And where speech is not, there is neither Truth nor Falsehood. 117
    ― Thomas Hobbes


  • Never get so attached to a poem you forget truth that lacks lyricism.
    ― Joanna Newsom


  • I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken
    ― Oliver Cromwell


  • Time burns, but leaves no ashes. 110
    ― Elsa Triolet


  • However unwillingly a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that however true it may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth.

    Where [dogmatists'] influence prevails, they make it nearly impossible for the received opinion to be rejected wisely and considerately, though it may still be rejected rashly and ignorantly; for to shut out discussion entirely is seldom possible, and when it once gets in, beliefs not grounded on conviction are apt to give way before the slightest semblance of an argument.

    This is not knowing the truth. Truth, thus held, is but one superstition the more, accidentally clinging to the words which enunciate a truth.
    ― JS Mill


  • A theory is a machine for answering a class of questions.
    ― Judea Pearl


  • If the cultivation of the understanding consists in one thing more than in another, it is surely in learning the grounds of one's own opinions. Whatever people believe, on subjects on which it is of the first importance to believe rightly, they ought to be able to defend against at least the common objections.
    ― JS Mill


  • All silencing of discussion is an assumption of infallibility. Its condemnation may be allowed to rest on this common argument, not the worse for being common.
    ― Mill


  • When will we realise that the fact that we can become accustomed to anything... makes it necessary to examine everything we are accustomed to?
    ― GB Shaw


  • We feel an affinity with a certain thinker because we agree with him; or because he shows us what we were already thinking; or because he shows us in a more articulate form what we were already thinking; or because he shows us what we were on the point of thinking; or what we would sooner or later have thought; or what we would have thought much later if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have been likely to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now; or what we would have liked to think but never would have thought if we hadn’t read it now.
    ― Lydia Davis


  • The effort to understand the world is one of the few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.
    ― Steven Weinberg


  • ...from the time it learns to talk, every child makes a dreadful nuisance of itself by asking 'Why?'. To stop this nuisance, society has invented a marvellous system called 'education' which brings to an end their desire to ask that question. The few failures of this system are known as scientists.
    ― Hermann Bondi


  • Book learning certainly increases knowledge, but it does not broaden one's insight if not accompanied by reason. 115
    ― Immanuel Kant


  • Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
    ― Einstein, but also


  • Beware the man of one book. 126
    ― attrb. Thomas Aquinas


  • ... if we laugh with derision, we will never understand. Human intellectual capacity has not altered for thousands of years. If intelligent people invested intense energy in issues that now seem foolish to us, then the failure lies in our understanding of their world, not in their distorted perceptions. Even the standard example of ancient nonsense - the debate about angels on pinheads - makes sense once you realize that theologians were not discussing whether five or eighteen would fit, but whether a pin could house a finite or an infinite number.
    ― Stephen Jay Gould


  • the things people believe are usually just what they instinctively feel is right; the justifications, the things you're supposed to argue about, come later. They're the least important part of the belief. That's why you can destroy them, win an argument, prove the other person wrong, and still they believe what they did in the first place. You've attacked the wrong thing.
    ― a nihilist by Iain Banks


  • The essence of Christianity is told to us in the Garden of Eden history. The fruit that was forbidden was on the Tree of Knowledge. The subtext is, "All the suffering you have is because you wanted to find out what was going on. You could be in the Garden of Eden if you had just kept your fucking mouth shut and hadn't asked any questions."
    ― Frank Zappa


  • …the contradictory opposite of a copulative proposition is a disjunctive proposition composed of the contradictory opposites of its parts… the contradictory opposite of a disjunctive proposition is a copulative proposition composed of the contradictories of the parts of the disjunctive proposition.
    ― William of Ockham (1355), or:


  • ~(P Λ Q) -> (~P v ~Q)
    ~(P v Q) -> (~P Λ ~Q)
    De Morgan (1860)


  • A good stack of examples, as large as possible, is indispensable for a thorough understanding of any concept, and when I want to learn something new, I make it my first job to build one.
    ― Paul Halmos


  • You must hasten - not only because you are daily nearer to death, but also because your intellect, which enables you to know the true nature of things and to order all your actions by that knowledge decays too, and may cease first. 111
    ― Marcus


  • We will know. 118
    ― David Hilbert


  1. Tout a déjà été dit, mais comme personne n'écoute, il faut sans cesse recommencer.
  2. Si, comme la vérité, le mensonge n'avait qu'un visage, nous serions en meilleure situation, car nous prendrions pour certain le contraire de ce que dirait le menteur. Mais l'envers de la vérité à cent mille formes et un champ sans limites.
  3. Εἴ τίς με ἐλέγξαι καὶ παραστῆσαί μοι, ὅτι οὐκ ὀρθῶς ὑπολαμβάνω ἢ πράσσω, δύναται, χαίρων μεταθήσομαι: ζητῶ γὰρ τὴν ἀλήθειαν, ὑφ̓ ἧς οὐδεὶς πώποτε ἐβλάβη, βλάπτεται δὲ ὁ ἐπιμένων ἐπὶ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ ἀπάτης καὶ ἀγνοίας.
  4. Daher ist die Aufgabe nicht sowohl zu sehen was noch keiner gesehen hat, als bei Dem was Jeder sieht, zu denken was noch Keiner gedacht hat.
  5. überzeugungen sind gefährlichere Feinde der Wahrheit, als Lügen.
  6. Bei der Eroberung des Weltraums sind zwei Probleme zu lösen: die Schwerkraft und der Papierkrieg. Mit der Schwerkraft wären wir fertig geworden.
  7. न ते तथा यथा दृष्टा न च ते वै न सन्ति च   
  8. Gäbe es ein Verbum mit der Bedeutung "fälschlich glauben", so hätte das keine sinnvolle erste Person im Indikativ Präsens...
  9. ἦθος, πάθος, λόγος
  10. 長慶大安禪師前去參謁百丈懷海禪師,問說:"學人欲求識佛,何者即是?"
    百丈禪師譬喻說:"類似騎牛覓牛."


    See also:
    People can stand what is true, for they are already enduring it.

    - Eugene Gendlin
  11. Le Temps... brûle sans laisser de cendres.
    The most beautiful statement of the key problem of causal inference, historical science: entropy.
  12. χρὴ οὖν ἐπείγεσθαι οὐ μόνον τῷ ἐγγυτέρω τοῦ θανάτου ἑκάστοτε γίνεσθαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ τὸ τὴν ἐννόησιν τῶν πραγμάτων καὶ τὴν παρακολούθησιν προαπολήγειν.
  13. Man findet bald einen Stecken, wenn man einen Hund schlagen will.
  14. or also
    He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.
    - Edmund Burke
  15. Büchergelehrsamkeit vermehrt zwar die Kenntnisse, aber erweitert nicht den Begriff und die Einsicht, wo nicht Vernunft dazukommt.
  16. Verum et falsum in oratione, non in rebus esse.
  17. Wir werden wissen.
  18. Sie werden mir einwenden: was nützen Klassen, Gattungen, Systeme!

    Ich antworte Ihnen: Ordnung und Sichtung sind der Anfang der Beherrschung, und der eigentlich furchtbare Feind ist der unbekannte.
  19. Einstein: Gott würfelt nicht!

    Bohr: Aber es kann doch nicht unsere Aufgabe sein, Gott vorzuschreiben, wie Er die Welt regieren soll.

    >
    (The latter line attributed by Heisenberg, who was there.)
  20. Roughly:
    Opinions are like assholes...
  21. Often attributed to Aldous Huxley, and it is a lot like him in his sensible mood.
  22. Hominem unius libri timeo.
  23. Was sich überhaupt sagen lässt, lässt sich klar sagen.

ethics



  • Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.
    ― Jerry Garcia


  • Every day I think, countless times, that my outer and inner life rests on the labours of others, the living and the dead; so I must strive, to give back, in the same measure, what I received and still receive. 311
    ― Einstein


  • Schneier's mantra for an intervention I*:

    1. What is I* trying to change?
    2. How much will doing I* help (= B)?
    3. What new problems will I* induce (= P)?
    4. What does I cost (= C)?
    If (C + P) > B, don't intervene.


  • MacAskill's rubric for an altruist act A:

    1. How many people does A affect, and by how much? (Magnitude)
    2. Is A the best thing to do? (Relative magnitude / opportunity cost)
    3. What's the difference my doing A makes? (Effect minus effect in the counterfactual)
    4. What's the difference one more A makes, on the margin? (Marginal benefit)
    5. How sure is A to help? What harms could A cause? (Risk)


  • Human affairs are not serious, but they have to be taken seriously.
    Iris Murdoch


  • In a sense people are our proper occupation. Our job is to put up with them and do them good. 300
    ― Marcus Aurelius


  • Be nice, be provocable, be forgiving, and be clear.
    Robert Axelrod


  • 'Do you believe it’s more important that poor people have basic necessities of life than that you have lots of luxury goods?'
      'Yeah'
      'And do you believe that the money you’re currently spending on luxury goods right now could instead be spent on charity that would help poor people get life necessities?'
      'Yeah.'
      'Then shouldn’t you stop buying luxury goods and instead give all your extra money beyond what you need to live to charity?'
      'Hey, what? Nobody does that! That would be a lot of work and make me look really weird!'
    ― Scott Alexander


  • It is vain to do with more what can be done with less. 312
    ― William of Ockham


  • 'Man is weak - he must receive a task which accords to his strength,' people say. This amounts to: 'My hands are weak; I cannot draw a straight line, and therefore, in order to make it easier for myself, though I wish to draw a straight line, I will take a curved or a broken line as my guide.' The weaker my hand is, the more perfect must my guide be. 301
    ― Lev Tolstoy


  • For evil to triumph, all that is required is for good men to respond rationally to incentives.
    Misha Gurevich


  • 'Effective altruism': caring about stuff, plus science.


  • 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? 302
    ― Alexander Solzhenitsyn


  • For the sake of one word a man is judged wise or foolish. Take care in choosing your words. 307
    ― Confucius


  • Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it.
    ― Bertrand Russell


  • Justice does not exist in itself; instead, it is always a compact to not harm or be harmed, which is agreed upon by those who gather together at some time and place. 310
    ― Epicurus


  • Bad is worse than good is good. 303
    Titus Livius


  • Nothing that grieves us can be called little.
    ― Mark Twain


  • Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. Never ascribe to stupidity that which can be explained by laziness. Never ascribe to laziness that which can be explained by people knowing their own lives better than you do.
    ― Robert Heinlein & Buck Shlegeris


  • We can make a ladder out of our vices by trampling them underfoot.
    ― attrbd Augustine of Hippo


  • Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
    ― attbd. Plato but really 'Rev John Watson'


  • Solas nobilitas virtus. (Virtue is the only nobility.)
    ― various


  • Down with categorical imperatives!


  • All punishment is mischief: all punishment in itself is evil.
    ― Jeremy Bentham


  • Egotist (n.): A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me.
    ― Ambrose Bierce


  • Justice is when you get what you deserve; mercy is when you don't get what you deserve; grace is when you get what you don't deserve.
    ― Proverbial


  • Freedom in an unfree world is merely licence to exploit. (Total liberty for the wolves is death for the lambs.)
    ― Germaine Greer (Isaiah Berlin)


  • It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail.
    ― Gore Vidal


  • Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?
    ― attbd. Lincoln


  • If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.
    ― Henry Longfellow


  • Enliven morality with wit, but temper wit with morality.
    ― Joseph Addison


  • The wiser course might often be to do nothing, but it will seldom be without moral cost.
    ― Clive James


  • I am as desirous of being a good neighbour as I am of being a bad subject.
    ― Henry David Thoreau


  • At least I'm fucking trying.
    ― Ian MacKaye


  • Tip: It's illegal and immoral to slay your enemies, but if you eat nutritious food and outlive them, you can still dance on their graves. There's nothing illegal or immoral about dancing.
    ― Scott Adams


  • Conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking.
    ― HL Mencken


  • Concern for people and their fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavors. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations. 304
    Albert Einstein


  • One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.
    ― Jane Austen


  • [He] encourages newer staff to think of people they’d like to bludgeon to death as valuable teachers of patience, tolerance, self-discipline, restraint/
    ― a character of David Foster Wallace's


  • It is the good fortune of many to live distant from the scene of present sorrow; the evil is not sufficiently brought to their doors to make them feel the precariousness with which all [property] is possessed.
    ― Thomas Paine


  • A note don't care who plays it. (Nil ad hominem.)
    ― Clark Terry


  • as long as you have rigorously analysed the purpose of saying something, there is nothing that cannot be said.
    after Chris Morris, because


  • Laughter corrects customs. 306
    ― Jean–Baptiste de Santeul, but


  • We must laugh at our anger and still be angry.
    ― Carl Hancock Rux


  • Evil comes from excess of virtue.
    ― after Mary Midgley, thus


  • I tried to live for God. 305
    ― Hernán Cortés de Monroy


  1. Καθ ἕτερον μὲν λόγον ἡμῖν ἐστιν οἰκειότατον ἄνθρωπος, καθ ὅσον εὖ ποιητέον αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀνεκτέον· καθ ὅσον δὲ ἐνίστανταί τινες εἰς τὰ οἰκεῖα ἔργα...
  2. «Человек слаб, надо дать ему задачу по силам», говорят люди. Это все равно, что сказать: «руки мои слабы, и я не могу провести линию, которая была бы прямая, то есть кратчайшая между двумя точками, и потому, чтоб облегчить себя, я, желая проводить прямую, возьму за образец себе кривую или ломаную». Чем слабее моя рука, тем нужнее мне совершенный образец."
  3. «Если б это было так просто! что где-то есть черные люди, злокозненно творящие черные дела, и надо только отличить их от остальных и уничтожить. Но линия, разделяющая добро и зло, пересекает сердце каждого человека. И кто уничтожит кусок своего сердца? ...»
    "
  4. Segnius homines bona quam mala sentiunt.


    very loose translation
  5. Die Sorge um den Menschen selbst und sein Schicksal muß immer das wichtigste Interesse aller technischen Unternehmungen sein. Das sollte man mitten unter seinen Diagrammen und Gleichungen nie vergessen.
  6. Vive Dios que lo intenté.
  7. Castigat ridendo mores.
  8. 君子一言以爲知、
    一言以爲不知。
    言不可不愼也
  9. οὐκ ἦν τι καθʼ ἑαυτὸ δικαιοσύνη, ἀλλʼ ἐν ταῖς μετʼ ἀλλήλων συστροφαῖς καθʼ ὁπηλίκους δήποτε ἀεὶ τόπους συνθήκη τις ὑπὲρ τοῦ μὴ βλάπτειν ἢ βλάπτεσθαι.
  10. Jeden Tag denke ich unzählige Male daran, daß mein äußeres und inneres Leben auf der Arbeit der jetzigen und der schon verstorbenen Menschen beruht, daß ich mich anstrengen muß, um zu geben im gleichen Ausmaß, wie ich empfangen habe und noch empfange.
  11. Frustra fit per plura, quod fieri potest per pauciora.

maths


  • If, stranger, you're able to find out these things and gather them in your mind, giving all relations, then you'll depart crowned with glory, knowing that you're perfect in this species of wisdom. 509
    ― Archimedes


  • If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is. 508
    ― John von Neumann


  • It was pretty far into my mathematics education that I realised: one of the reasons mathematics always seems to have all the answers was that the teachers were the ones choosing the questions.
    ― Ben Millwood


  • 道生一;一生二; 二生三; 三生萬物. 507
    ― Laozi


  • even then you will have need of the all-encompassing heavens, with their bright, malicious spirituality, to allow you to survey this swarm of dangerous and painful experiences, order them, and force them into formulae. 501
    ― Nietzsche


  • Physics is the science of determining which subset of mathematics the universe respects.
    ― John Schilling


  • Abstractness, sometimes hurled as a reproach at mathematics, is its chief glory and its surest title to practical usefulness. It is also the source of such beauty as may spring from mathematics.
    ― Eric Temple Bell


  • The shortest path between two truths in the real domain passes through the complex domain.
    ― Jacques Hadamard


  • ...mathematics is distinguished from all other sciences except only ethics, in standing in no need of ethics. Every other science, even logic, especially in its early stages in danger of evaporating into airy nothingness... spun from the stuff that dreams are made of. There is no such danger for pure mathematics; for that is precisely what mathematics ought to be.
    ― Charles Peirce


  • Mathematics is purely hypothetical: it produces nothing but conditional propositions.
    ― Charles Peirce


  • The study of mathematics is apt to commence in disappointment....We are told that by its aid the stars are weighed and the billions of molecules in a drop of water are counted. Yet, like the ghost of Hamlet's father, this greatest science eludes the efforts of our mental weapons to grasp it.
    ― Alfred North Whitehead


  • Any impatient student of mathematics or science or engineering who is irked by having algebraic symbolism thrust upon him should try to get along without it for a week.
    ― Eric Temple Bell


  • Mathematics is a hard thing to love. It has the unfortunate habit, like a rude dog, of turning its most unfavourable side towards you when you first make contact with it: arithmetic... It is the best wilderness in which to retreat, to fast, to search for enlightenment. It is, paradoxically, about the only place where you can really take refuge from the modern world’s unrelenting barrage of numbers. But only mathematicians, and the various subspecies and half-breeds thereof, go there...
    ― David Whiteland


  • ...perhaps research in its purest form is more like chasing squirrels. As soon as you spot one and leap towards it, it darts away, zigging and zagging, always just out of reach. If you’re a little lucky, you might stick with it long enough to see it climb a tree. You’ll never catch the damned squirrel, but chasing it will lead you to a tree.

    In mathematics, the trees are called theorems. The squirrels are those nagging little mysteries we write at the top of many sheets of paper. We never know where our question will take us, but if we stick with it, it’ll lead us to a theorem. That I think is what research ideally is like.
    ― Terry Gannon


  • I used to love mathematics for its own sake, and I still do, because it allows for no hypocrisy and no vagueness, my two bêtes noires. 503
    ― Stendhal


  • [skipping passages]... should be done whenever a proof seems too hard, or whenever a theorem or a whole paragraph does not appeal to the reader. In most cases he will be able to go on, and later he may return to the parts which he skipped.
    ― Emil Artin


  • Outside observers often assume that the more complicated a piece of mathematics is, the more mathematicians admire it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mathematicians admire elegance and simplicity above all else, and the ultimate goal in solving a problem is to find the method that does the job in the most efficient manner...
    ― Keith Devlin


  • When a student works on a mathematical problem, he comes to a stage beyond which he does not know how to proceed, and where he is in doubt or perplexity. As long as he has this doubt, he cannot proceed. If he wants to proceed, he must resolve this doubt. And there are ways of resolving that doubt. Just to say “I believe”, or “I do not doubt”, will certainly not solve the problem. To force oneself to believe and to accept a thing without understanding is political, and not spiritual or intellectual.
    ― Walpola Rahula


  • Compare mathematics and the political sciences — it’s quite striking. In mathematics, in physics, people are concerned with what you say, not with your certification. But in order to speak about social reality, you must have the proper credentials, particularly if you depart from the accepted framework of thinking. Generally speaking, it seems fair to say that the richer the intellectual substance of a field, the less there is a concern for credentials, and the greater is the concern for content.
    ― Noam Chomsky


  • I never came across one of Laplace's Thus it plainly appears without feeling sure that I have hours of hard work before me to fill up the chasm and find out and show how it plainly appears.
    ― Nathaniel Bowditch


  • People who know math understand what other mortals understand, but other mortals do not understand them. This asymmetry gives them a presumption of superior ability.
    ― Daniel Kahneman


  • It is no exaggeration to say that the vast business of calculus made possible most of the practical triumphs of postmedieval science, or to say that it stands as one of the most ingenious creations of humans trying to model the world around them.
    ― James Gleick


  • It is remarkable that a science which began with the consideration of games of chance should have become the most important object of human knowledge.
    ― Pierre-Simon Laplace


  • They find the language richer than its bare content; what is translated comes to mean less to them than the logic and style of saying it; and from these overtones grows mathematics as a literature in its own right.

    Pure mathematics is a form of poetry which has the same relation to the prose of practical mathematics as poetry has to prose in any other language. The delight of exploring the medium for its own sake.
    ― Jacob Bronowski


  • It is insufficient to protect ourselves with laws; we need to protect ourselves with mathematics.
    ― Bruce Schneier


  • I can best describe my experience of doing mathematics in terms of a journey through a dark unexplored mansion. You enter the first room of the mansion and it's completely dark. You stumble around bumping into the furniture but gradually you learn where each piece of furniture is. Finally, after six months or so, you find the light switch, you turn it on, and suddenly it's all illuminated. You can see exactly where you were. Then you move into the next room and spend another six months in the dark. So each of these breakthroughs, while sometimes they're momentary, sometimes over a period of a day or two, they are the culmination of , and couldn't exist without, the many months of stumbling around in the dark that proceed them.
    ― Andrew Wiles


  • We must remember that, strictly speaking, 'formal' does not mean merely 'rigorous', but 'according to form'. Meaning need be ascribed only to the result of a formal process. It is not needed to guide the process itself. We ascribe meaning to intermediate formal states primarily, nay solely, to reassure ourselves.
    ― Guy Steele


  • Mathematics, however, is, as it were, its own explanation; this, although it may seem hard to accept, is nevertheless true, for the recognition that a fact is so is the cause upon which we base the proof.
    ― Girolamo Cardano


  • The proof [of the existence of an infinity of prime numbers] is by reductio ad absurdum, and reductio ad absurdum, which Euclid loved so much, is one of a mathematician’s favourite weapons. It is a far finer gambit than any chess gambit: a chess player may offer the sacrifice of a pawn or even a piece, but a mathematician offers the game.
    ― GH Hardy


  • Poincaré concluded that the axioms of geometry are conventions, our choice among all possible conventions is guided by experimental facts, but it remains free and is limited only by the necessity of avoiding all contradiction. Thus it is that the postulates can remain rigorously true even though the experimental laws that have determined their adoption are only approximative. The axioms of geometry, in other words, are merely disguised definitions.
    ― Robert Pirsig


  • Maxwell’s talk of a large number of systems, instead of a continuous one, was a characteristic way of expression of a physicist who tends to see the infinite as an approximation to the sufficiently large finite. (A mathematician might think exactly the other way around.)
    ― John von Plato


  • What could be more general than 2, which can represent two galaxies or two pickles, or one galaxy plus one pickle (the mind doth boggle), or just 2 gently bobbing — where? It, like God, is an “I am” and many have thought that it must be a precipitate of ultimate reality.
    ― Alfred W. Crosby


  • “I count a lot of things that there’s no need to count,” Cameron said. “Just because that’s the way I am. But I count all the things that need to be counted.”
    ― Richard Brautigan


  • More and more I’m aware that the permutations are not unlimited.
    ― Russell Hoban


  • Still more recently has it been found that the good Bishop Berkeley’s logical jibes against the Newtonian ideas of fluxions and limiting ratios cannot be adequately appeased in the rigorous mathematical conscience, until our apparent continuities are resolved mentally into discrete aggregates which we only partally apprehend. The irresistible impulse to atomize everything thus proves to be not only a disease of the physicist; a deeper origin, in the nature of knowledge itself, is suggested.
    ― J. Larmor


  • The object of mathematical rigor is to sanction and legitimate the conquests of intuition, and there never was any other object for it.
    ― Jacques Hadamard


  • A set is a Many that allows itself to be thought of as a One. 504
    ― Georg Cantor


  • Set theory has a dual role in mathematics. In pure mathematics, it is the place where questions about infinity are studied. Although this is a fascinating study of permanent interest, it does not account for the importance of set theory in applied areas. There the importance stems from the fact that set theory provides an incredibly versatile toolbox for building mathematical models of various phenomena.
    ― Jon Barwise and Lawrence Moss


  • Mathematics... is concerned with a wider domain than that domain which it is the object of the natural sciences to describe and categorize. The natural sciences are concerned with the actual world. Mathematics is concerned with “all possible worlds”.
    ― David Malet Armstrong


  • Nowadays, one of the most interesting points in mathematics is that, although all categorical reasonings are formally contradictory, we use them and we never make a mistake. Grothendieck provided a partial foundation in terms of universes but a revolution of the foundations similar to what Cauchy and Weierstrass did for analysis is still to arrive. In this respect, he was pragmatic: categories are useful and they give results so we do not have to look at subtle set-theoretic questions if there is no need. Is today the moment to think about these problems? Maybe …
    ― Pierre Cartier


  • To be is to be the value of a variable.
    ― WVO Quine


  • Groups are important and beautiful objects.
    ― Princeton Math Club


  • Whatever you have to do with a structure-endowed entity Σ try to determine its group of automorphisms … You can expect to gain a deep insight into the constitution of Σ in this way.
    ― Hermann Weyl


  • “… I think in a line — but there is the potentiality of the plane.” This perhaps was what great art was — a momentary apprehension of the plane at a point in the line.
    ― Charles Williams


  • When a pattern shows itself in tiles or in your mind and says, ‘This is the mode of my repetition; in this manner I extend myself to infinity’, it has already done so: it has already been infinite; the potentiality and the actuality are one thing. If two and two can be four then they actually are four, you can only perceive it, you have no part in making it happen by writing it down in numbers or telling it out in pebbles.
    ― Russell Hoban


  • As are the crests on the heads of peacocks,
    as are the gems on hoods of cobras,
    so is mathematics at the top of all sciences. 506
    ― Vedāṅga Jyotiṣa


  • In mathematics, deception as to whether real understanding is present or not, is least possible.
    ― Felix Klein


  • Wherefore in all great works are Clerks so much desired?
    Wherefore are Auditors so well-fed?
    what causeth Geometricians so highly to be enhaunsed?
    Why are Astronomers so greatly advanced?
    Because that by number such things they find,
    which else would farre excell mans minde.
    ― Robert Recorde


  • By keenly confronting the enigmas that surround us, and by considering and analyzing the observations I had made, I ended up in the domain of mathematics. 500
    ― Maurits Escher


  • Mathematics never reveals man to the degree, never expresses him in the way, that any other field of human endeavour does: the extent of the negation of man’s corporeal self that mathematics achieves cannot be compared with anything... Here I will say only that the world injected its patterns into human language at the very inception of that language; mathematics sleeps in every utterance, and can only be discovered, never invented. 502
    ― Stanislaw Lem


  • Everybody who reasons carefully about anything is making a contribution … and if you abstract it away and send it to the Department of Mathematics they put it in books...
    ― Richard Feynman


  • On sighting mathematicians [poetry] should unhook the algebra from their minds and replace it with poetry; on sighting poets it should unhook poetry from their minds and replace it with algebra.
    ― Brian Patten


  • Of the properties of mathematics, as a language, the most peculiar one is that by playing formal games with an input mathematical text, one can get an output text which seemingly carries new knowledge. The basic examples are furnished by scientific or technological calculations: general laws plus initial conditions produce predictions, often only after time-consuming and computer-aided work. One can say that the input contains an implicit knowledge which is thereby made explicit. One could try to find a parallel in the humanities by comparing this to hermeneutics: the art of finding hidden meanings of sacred texts. Legal discourse, too, has some common traits with scientific discourse. In the course of history, the modern language of science slowly emerged from these two archaic activities, and it still owes a lot to them, especially in the more descriptive and less mathematicised domains.
    ― Yuri Manin


  • “The study of mental objects with reproducible properties is called mathematics.” I love this definition because it doesn’t try to limit mathematics to what has been called mathematics in the past but really attempts to say why certain communications are classified as math, others as science, others as art, others as gossip. Thus reproducible properties of the physical world are science whereas reproducible mental objects are math.

    Art lives on the mental plane (the real painting is not the set of dry pigments on the canvas nor is a symphony the sequence of sound waves that convey it to our ear) but, as the post-modernists insist, is reinterpreted in new contexts by each appreciator. As for gossip, which includes the vast majority of our thoughts, its essence is its relation to a unique local part of time and space.
    ― David Mumford


  • One can say that the input mathematical text contains implicit knowledge, which is made explicit [by formal games]. One could try to find a parallel in the humanities by comparing this to hermeneutics: the art of finding the hidden meaning of sacred texts. Legal discourse, too, has some common traits with scientific discourse. In the course of history, the modern language of science slowly emerged from these two archaic activities, and it still owes a lot to them, especially in the more descriptive and less mathematicised domains.
    ― Yuri Manin


  • The goal of a definition is to introduce a mathematical object. The goal of a theorem is to state some of its properties, or interrelations between various objects. The goal of a proof is to make such a statement convincing by presenting a reasoning subdivided into small steps, each of which is an 'elementary' convincing argument. To put it simply, we first explain what we are talking about, and then explain why what we are saying is true.
    ― Yuri Manin


  • the ocean of mathematical understanding just keeps monotonically rising, and we’ve seen it reach peaks like Fermat’s Last Theorem that had once been synonyms for hopelessness. I see absolutely no reason why the same ocean can’t someday swallow P vs. NP, provided our civilization lasts long enough. In fact, whether our civilization will last long enough is by far my biggest uncertainty.
    ― Scott Aaronson


  • To exist (in mathematics), said Henri Poincaré, is to be free from contradiction. But mere existence does not guarantee survival. To survive in mathematics requires a kind of vitality that cannot be described in purely logical terms.
    ― Mark Kac and Stanislaw Ulam


  • a Fields Medal indicates two things about the recipient: that he was capable of accomplishing something important, and that he didn’t.
    ― anonymous colleague of Bostrom


  • In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them
    ― John von Neumann


  • For scholars and laymen alike it is not philosophy but active experience in mathematics itself that can alone answer the question: What is mathematics?
    ― Richard Courant


  1. door zintuiglijk open te staan voor raadsels die ons omringen en door mijn gewaarwordingen te overdenken en analyseren, kom ik in de buurt van het domein van de wiskunde.
  2. ...und dann bedürfte es immer noch jenes ausgespannten Himmels von heller, boshafter Geistigkeit, welcher von Oben herab dies Gewimmel von gefährlichen und schmerzlichen Erlebnissen zu übersehn, zu ordnen, in Formeln zu zwingen vermöchte.
  3. ...Tu mogę powiedzieć tylko, że świat porządki swoje wstrzyknął w język ludzki, ledwie ów język zaczął powstawać; matematyka śpi w każdej mowie i jest do odnalezienia tylko, lecz nie do wymyślenia.
  4. J'aimais et j'aime encore les mathématiques pour elles-mêmes comme n'admettant pas l'hypocrisie et le vague, mes deux bêtes d'aversion.
  5. Eine Menge ist ein Vieles, das sich selbst als Eins denken läßt.
  6. È solo attraverso il faticoso percorso dell'analisi che l'uomo di genio raggiunge la verita; ma non può perseguire questo scopo se non viene guidato dai numeri. Senza i numeri non ci e data la possibilita di sollevare il velo che raccoglie i misteri della natura.
  7. यथा शिखा मयूराणाम नागानां मणयो यथा तथा वेदांगशास्त्राणाम गणितं मूर्धिन स्थितं.
  8. The Way begets one; one begets two; two begets three; three begets all things.
  9. [von Neumann] mentioned the 'new programming method' for ENIAC and explained that its seemingly small vocabulary was in fact ample: that future computers, then in the design stage, would get along on a dozen instruction types, and this was known to be adequate for expressing all of mathematics...

    Von Neumann went on to say that one need not be surprised at this small number, since about 1,000 words were known to be adequate for most situations in real life, and mathematics was only a small part of life, and a very simple part at that. This caused some hilarity in the audience, which provoked von Neumann to say: 'If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is.

  10. ταύτα συνεξευρὼν καὶ ἐνὶ πραπίδεσσιν ἀθροίσας
         καὶ πληθέων ἀποδοὺς, ὦ ξένε, πὰντα μέτρα
         ἔρχεο κυδιόων νικηφόρος, ἴσθι τε πάντως
         κεκριμένος ταύτῃ ὄμπνιος ἐν σοφἰῃ.

stats


  • It is easy to lie with statistics, but it is easier to lie without them.
    ― Frederick Mosteller


  • all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong can they be before they are not useful.
    ― George Box


  • Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than the exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.
    ― John Tukey


  • Statistics is applied philosophy of science.
    Philip Dawid


  • A model is an artifice for helping you convince yourself that you understand more about a system than you do.
    ― techie proverb


  • Yet it is by the laborious route of analysis that [a genius] must reach truth; but he cannot pursue this unless guided by numbers; for without numbers it is not given to us to raise the veil which envelopes the mysteries of nature. 505
    ― Luigi Menabrea


  • the rules of right reason... ought to be contained in Logic; but the actual science of Logic is conversant at present only with things either certain, impossible, or entirely doubtful, none of which (fortunately) we have [available] to reason on. Therefore the true Logic for this world is the Calculus of Probabilities, which takes account of the magnitude of the probability (which is, or which ought to be, in a reasonable man's mind).
    ― James Clerk Maxwell


  • A golem is a robot constructed from dust and fire and water. It is brought to life by inscribing emet, Hebrew for “truth”, on its brow... Scientists also make golems. Our golems rarely have physical form, but they too are often made of clay, living in silicon as computer code. These golems are scientific models. But these golems have real effects on the world, through the predictions they make and the intuitions they challenge or inspire. A concern with “truth” enlivens these models, but... scientific models are neither true nor false, neither prophets nor charlatans. Rather they are constructs engineered for some purpose.
    ― Richard McElreath


  • The [central limit theorem] would have been personified by the Greeks and deified, if they had known of it. It reigns with serenity and in complete self-effacement, amidst the wildest confusion. The huger the mob, and the greater the apparent anarchy, the more perfect is its sway. It is the supreme law of Unreason. Whenever a large sample of chaotic elements are taken in hand and marshaled in the order of their magnitude, an unsuspected and most beautiful form of regularity proves to have been latent all along.
    ― Francis Galton, but


  • The danger is that the present measure-theory notation presupposes the infinite limit already accomplished, but contains no symbol indicating which limiting process was used... When there is no well-behaved limit, any attempt to go directly to it can result in nonsense, the cause of which cannot be seen as long as one looks only at the limit, and not at the limiting process.
    ― Ed Jaynes


  • Entire classes of scalable distributions converge to the Gaussian too slowly to be of any significance... [e.g.] the presasymptotics of fractal distributions are such that the effect of the Central Limit Theorem is exceedingly slow in the tails - in fact, the effect is irrelevant.
    ― Taleb


  • Bad data is worse than no data, because it deceives us.
    ― various


  • The best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone's backyard.
    ― John Tukey


  • Through and through the world is infested with quantity: To talk sense is to talk quantities. It is not use saying the nation is large .. How large? It is no use saying the radium is scarce... How scarce? You cannot evade quantity. You may fly to poetry and music, and quantity and number will face you in your rhythms and your octaves.
    ― Alfred North Whitehead


  • The theory of probabilities and the theory of errors [are] not only a commendable element in a liberal education, but some knowledge of them is essential to a correct understanding of daily events.
    ― Robert Woodward


  • Measurement does not necessarily mean progress... the lust for measurement may, for example, merely result in your measuring something else - and perhaps forgetting the difference - or in your ignoring some things because they cannot be measured.
    ― George Udny Yule


  • Suppose you were exposed to a subject as a sub-cabalistic ritual of manipulating sums of squares and magical tables according to rules justified (if at all) only by a transparently false origin myth — that is to say, you had to endure an intro. stats. class — or, perhaps worse, a 'research methods' class whose content had fossilized before you were born.
    ― Cosma Shalizi


  • Machine learning is statistics minus any checking of models and assumptions.
    ― Brian Ripley


  • If you give people a linear model function you give them something dangerous.
    ― John Fox


  • In statistics, context always matters; this is in direct contrast to mathematics, which is the study of objects independent of context. Mathematics is about moving from the general to the specific (deduction), while statistics is about moving from the specific to the general (induction), and that is impossible to do without understanding the natures of both.
    ― Jeffrey Simonof


  • Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.
    ― William Bruce Cameron


  • Their effect size is tiny and their measurement error is huge. My best analogy is that they are trying to use a bathroom scale to weigh a feather—and the feather is resting loosely in the pouch of a kangaroo that is vigorously jumping up and down.

    At some point, a set of measurements is so noisy that biases in selection and interpretation overwhelm any signal and, indeed, nothing useful can be learned from them.
    ― Andrew Gelman


code


  • when you don't create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. your tastes only narrow & exclude people. so create.
    ― Why The Lucky Stiff


  • When you become frustrated with computers, please remember they are only cleverly-arranged sand. (When you become frustrated with people...)
    ― Gwern


  • The programmer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, by exertion of the imagination...

    Yet the program construct, unlike the poet's words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separate from the construct itself. It prints results, draws pictures, produces sounds, moves arms. The magic of myth and legend has come true in our time.
    ― Fred Brooks


  • Computer literacy is a contact... deep enough to make the computational equivalent of reading and writing fluent and enjoyable. As in all the arts, a romance with the material must be well under way. If we value the lifelong learning of arts and letters as a springboard for personal and societal growth, should any less effort be spent to make computing a part of our lives?
    ― Alan Kay


  • 'Programmers’ chairs and keyboards cause RSIs of the body; but what RSIs of the mind?'
    ― Gwern


  • The computers are never large enough or fast enough. Each breakthrough in hardware technology leads to more massive programming enterprises, new organizational principles, and an enrichment of abstract models. Every reader should ask himself periodically "Toward what end, toward what end?"

    -- but do not ask it too often lest you pass up the fun of programming for the constipation of bittersweet philosophy.
    ― the Susskinds


  • By any objective standard, the theory of computational complexity ranks as one of the greatest intellectual achievements of humankind -- along with fire, the wheel, and computability theory.
    ― Scott Aaronson


  • The source of every error which is blamed on the computer is at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.
    fortune


  • [programming or wizardry]: how to arrange the words of power to cause invisible forces to do things the average person cannot see or understand...
    ― Raymond Arnold


  • there are lovely gems and brilliant coups
    hidden from human view and admiration, sometimes forever,
    by the very nature of the process.
    You can learn a lot about an individual
    just by reading through his code,
    even in hexadecimal.
    ― Ed Nather


  • every line of code you write yourself is an opportunity to inject defects.
    ― Paul Mineiro


  • If we can't fix it, it ain't broke.
    ― the Maintainer's Motto


  • A programmer is a person who passes as an exacting expert on the basis of being able to turn out, after innumerable punching, an infinite series of incomprehensive answers calculated with micrometric precisions from vague assumptions based on debatable figures taken from inconclusive documents and carried out on instruments of problematical accuracy by persons of dubious reliability and questionable mentality for the avowed purpose of annoying and confounding a hopelessly defenseless department that was unfortunate enough to ask for the information in the first place.
    ― IEEE Grid newsmagazine


  • Most of mathematics is stateless... your job is to find the numbers you can use in place of x that satisfy that constraint... You may use an algorithm for solving the constraint, but nothing about the constraint is changing as you are solving it, even if you're changing its visible form...

    Much of programming, on the other hand, is about state, and expressing a precise order of changing states is what most programmers do for a living.
    ― Steven Abell


  • Any code of your own that you haven't looked at for six or more months might as well have been written by someone else.
    ― Eagleson's Law


  • If it has syntax, it isn't user friendly.


  • HOW DOES PROGRAMMING TAKE SO LONG? YOU LITERALLY JUST TYPE WHAT YOU WANT IT TO DO THIS SHOULD BE EASY
    Jessie Newman impersonating the outsider


  • Windows is a manifestation of commerce; Unix is a manifestation of culture.
    ― Rich Simons


  • UNIX is user friendly. It's just selective about who its friends are.


  • How can you tell if a hack is okay? Because it’s one line long. Because it’s simpler. Because it works perfectly. Because you know the right way, but there is a good reason for choosing the wrong way. Because you leave a warning for other developers - Dragons Be Here.

    Conversely, how can you tell if a hack is bad? Because it is several times longer than The Right Way. Because complicated. Because breakable. Because reading the code makes you wonder if they know the right way. Because no reason to prefer a hack. Because no comment on the intent.
    ― John Morrice


  • We like to think we spend most of our time power-typing. "I'm being productive, I'm writing programs!" But, we don't. We spend most of our time looking into the abyss, saying, "My God, what have I done?"

    I used to think everyone should learn programming. When I first starting programming... I thought, "Wow, this is such an amazing way to organize information! Everybody should learn to do this!" I don't think that any more. I think there has to be something seriously wrong with you, in order to do this work. A normal person, once they've looked into the abyss, will say, "I'm done. This is stupid. I'm going to go to something else." But not us, 'cause there's something really wrong with us.
    ― Douglas Crockford


  • Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.
    ― Edsger Dijkstra


  • ...I think my favorite part of writing code is the vertiginous terror of manifesting machinery out of pure ideas, summoning thought-engines from the underworld with unknown lives and dollars hanging in the balance and protected only by the clarity of one's understanding, and the clarity of understanding of the ones who wrote the tools built on tools built on tools extending thirty layers deep into the underworld on which the fictive ontology of our existence carefully rests, praying that the test suite is comprehensive, knowing that it isn't, hoping that the fullness of your thought in its obvious righteousness doesn't need it and that the customers and investors and hypothetical ascended children's children's children would smile on this moment, judging that you have brought honor to this endeavor, the last human profession.
    Zack M Davis


  • This life is not to last and it awaits apotheosis
    And the passerby all sipping on their Monday coffee know this
    Their stumbling through their week
    Contrasts the path by which I seek
    A practical ambition
    For a special type of girl
    I want to be the one who writes the code
    That writes the code
    That writes the code
    That ends the world
    Zack M Davis


  • Heuristics are bug ridden by definition. If they didn't have bugs, then they'd be algorithms.


  • People always define computers as 'data-processing machines' - which they are not and cannot be, because data are mental events. Machines process representations - and all this is is us using the physical world to help us with the mental world we have such limited range within (usually to help us with the physical world we have such limited control over). (This is also why the infinite cannot be properly represented, because there is nothing usably physical for the purpose.) In the reified field that gets called 'Computing', we happen to use voltages to represent mental events, but I seriously encourage you to consider computing less narrowly; you will never be right, otherwise.

    Human language being what it is, the category error of 'data' as data representation has by now been thoroughly inscribed. The truth lost. So you'll hear me say that 'the system is processing data'. But I don't mean it.
    ― Lewis Mackenzie


  • We write programs (target application) with a program (editor) whose output feeds a program (compiler) that produces the usable program (executable) - and all of these are running on a program that is a metaphor for a machine (OS).
    ― Lewis Mackenzie


  • Transmission is strictly limited by each component, of course. If you send a message faster than either the transmitter can pulse, than the channel can discretely convey, or the receiver-decoder can parse, it will be lost, or useless, or worse. (Faulty data is worse than no data because it deceives us.)
    ― Lewis Mackenzie


  • If you have a procedure with 10 parameters, you probably missed some.


  • If you put garbage in a computer nothing comes out but garbage. But this garbage, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and none dare criticize it.


  • In enabling mechanism to combine together general symbols, in successions of unlimited variety and extent, a uniting link is established between the operations of matter and the abstract mental processes of the most abstract branch of mathematical science. A new, a vast, and a powerful language is developed for the future use of analysis, in which to wield its truths so that these may become of more speedy and accurate practical application for the purposes of mankind than the means hitherto in our possession have rendered possible.
    ― Ada Lovelace


  • Worse is better: UNIX, Bitcoin, Dynamic typing, Big data with linear models...


  • The best programs are written so that computing machines can perform them quickly and so that human beings can understand them clearly. A programmer is ideally an essayist who works with traditional aesthetic and literary forms as well as mathematical concepts, to communicate the way that an algorithm works and to convince a reader that the results will be correct.
    ― Donald Knuth


  • SOLID, IDEAL CHALK.


  • The three chief virtues of a programmer are: Laziness, Impatience and Hubris.
    ― Larry Wall


  • Programmers’ chairs and keyboards cause RSIs of the body; but what RSIs of the mind?
    ― Gwern


  • Premature optimization is the root of all evil.
    ― Knuth


  • There are two ways of constructing a software design; one way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies; the other way is to make it so complicated that there are no obvious deficiencies. The first method is far more difficult.
    ― CAR Hoare


  • It actually takes about 10 years to become an actually competent programmer. What we're doing in this one-year degree is making you basically able to learn.
    Ciaran McCreesh


  • Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.
    ― Alan Kay


  • All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection, except of course for the problem of too many indirections.
    ― David Wheeler


  • Compatibility means deliberately repeating other people's mistakes.
    ― David Wheeler




  • Epigrams parameterize auras. Epigrams are macros, since they are executed at read time. Epigrams crystallize incongruities. Epigrams retrieve deep semantics from a data base that is all procedure. Epigrams scorn detail and make a point: They are a superb high-level documentation. Epigrams are more like vitamins than protein. Epigrams have extremely low entropy. The last epigram? Neither eat nor drink them, snuff epigrams.

economics


  • If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?
    ― Proverbial


  • If you're so rich, why ain't you smart?
    ― Deirdre McCloskey


  • Economic activity is... at the same time a means of want-satisfaction, a field of creative expression, and a competitive sport.
    ― Frank Knight


  • Inflation is the one form of taxation that can be imposed without legislation.
    ― Milton Friedman


  • If it's free, you're the product.
    ― after Richard Serra


metaphilosophy


  • When enlightened men go on arguing for a long time, there is a distinct possibility that the question is not clear.
    Voltaire


  • Human reason is besiged by questions it cannot ignore - for they are presented by the nature of reason itself - but which it cannot answer, for they surpass every faculty of the human reason. 124
    ― Immanuel Kant


  • What you can imagine depends on what you know. Philosophers who know only philosophy consign themselves to a janitorial role in the great enterprises of exploration that are illuminating the mysteries of our lives.
    ― Daniel Dennett, but


  • The penalty for not doing philosophy isn't to transcend it, but simply to give bad philosophical arguments a free pass.
    ― David Pearce


  • If we take in our hand any volume; of divinity or school metaphysics, for instance; let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion.
    ― David Hume


  • Philosopher's Syndrome: mistaking a failure of the imagination for an insight into necessity.
    ― Daniel Dennett


  • It is philosopher’s arrogance to suppose mere reflection the source of all intellectual virtue.
    ― Ernest Sosa


  • The most ordinary things are to philosophy a source of insoluble puzzles. With infinite ingenuity it constructs a concept of space or time and then finds it absolutely impossible that there be objects in this space or that processes occur during this time... the source of this kind of logic lies in excessive confidence in the so-called laws of thought. 123
    ― Ludwig Boltzmann


  • Opposing one species of superstition to another, set them a-quarrelling; while we ourselves, during their fury and contention, happily make our escape into the calm, though obscure, regions of philosophy.
    ― David Hume


  • Philosophy has a way of being at home with itself that consists in not being at home with itself.
    ― Derrida


  • The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.
    ― Bertrand Russell


  • Philosophy: the systematic abuse of a terminology specially invented for that purpose.
    ― Arthur Koestler


  • The [scholastic] logic now in use serves to fix and stabilise the errors of received notions, rather than to help search for truth. 1260
    ― Francis Bacon


  • To mock philosophy is to be a true philosopher. 116
    ― Blaise Pascal


  • You know what I think about Mach’s little horse [his dogmatic scepticism about unobservables]. It cannot give birth to anything living. It can only exterminate harmful vermin. 121
    ― Einstein


  • Questioning presuppositions will not be effective unless one can show that there exist genuine alternatives. This takes time. 114
    ― after Richard Rorty.


  • Impartial, adj.: Unable to perceive any promise of personal advantage from espousing either side of a controversy or adopting either of two conflicting opinions.
    ― Ambrose Bierce


  • I am too good for philosophy and not good enough for physics. Mathematics is in between.
    George Pólya


  1. Se moquer de la philosophie, c'est vraiment philosopher.
  2. Über das Mach’sche Röss - lein schimpf ich nicht; Du weisst doch, wie ich darüber denke. Aber es kann nicht Lebendig es gebären, sondern nur schädliches Gewürm ausrotten.
  3. or
    <a href='http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing_comes_from_nothing">You can't beat a horse with no horse
  4. This seems to have been delivered in English, at the St Louis World's Fair, 1904.
  5. Die menschliche Vernunft ...durch Fragen belaestigt wird, die sie nicht abweisen kann, denn sie sind ihr durch die Natur der Vernunft selbst aufgegeben, die sie aber auch nicht beantworten kann, denn sie uebersteigen alles Vermoegen der menschlichen Vernunft.
  6. Logica, quae in usu est, ad errores (qui in notionibus vulgaribus fundantur) stabiliendos et figendos valet, potius quam ad inquisitionem veritatis; ut magis damnosa sit, quam utilis.

humility


  • Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.


  • What are you, in love with your problems?
    ― David Byrne


  • Adventure is just bad planning. 711
    ― Roald Amundsen


  • Remember! Most strings are incompressible, most reals uncomputable, most theorems unprovable, most programs undecidable.
    ― Gwern


  • It isn't that the aesthete is too serious about the artistic: he isn't serious enough about what gives rise to it.
    ― Clive James


  • Man is a noble animal; splendid in ashes and pompous in the grave.
    ― Thomas Browne


  • Expecting someone to retain everything they've ever read is like expecting them to retain everything they've ever eaten. 712
    ― Arthur Schopenhauer


  • Economics: It is prohibitively hard to change people. It always depends. Things fall apart, but sometimes into place too. People aren't stupid. Most things fail. Sometimes there is no right answer. You are the system.


  • over time amateurs blow their lead by focusing less and relying on easier, more direct methods. They rely more on informal conversation as analysis method, they prefer personal connections over open competitions in choosing people, and they rely more on a perceived consensus among a smaller group of fellow enthusiasts. As a result, their contributions just don’t appeal as widely or as long.
    ― Robin Hanson


  • A principal rule for... those who want to describe their own sensations, is not to believe that their doing so indicates they possess a special disposition of nature in this respect. Others can perhaps do it just as well as you can. Only they do not make a business of it, because it seems to them silly to publicize such things. 710
    ― Georg Lichtenberg


  • What I cannot create, I do not understand.
    Richard Feynman



  1. Eine Hauptregel für... solche, die ihre eigenen Empfindungen beschreiben wollen, ist: ja nicht zu glauben, daß, weil sie solches tun, dieses bei ihnen eine besondere Anlage der Natur dazu anzeige. Andere können dieses vielleicht ebenso gut als du. Sie machen nur keine Geschäfte daraus, weil es ihnen einfältig vorkommt, solche Dinge bekanntzumachen.
  2. ...er eventyr bare en følge av dårlig planleggelse
  3. Zu verlangen, daß einer alles, was er je gelesen, behalten hätte, ist wie verlangen, daß er alles, was er je gegessen hat.

ultimately


  • (First, see "happiness".)



  • Beauty is hard. 800
    ― Plato


  • If 'nothing matters' then that doesn't matter either.
    ― Thomas Nagel


  • the universe [is] the ultimate free lunch.
    ― Alan Guth


  • I am a pessimist of the intellect, but an optimist of the will. 802
    ― Antonio Gramsci, or


  • The best way to complain is to make things.
    ― attrbd. James Murphy, or


  • Wisdom: to the crowd this seems to be a sort of escape, a means of pulling out of a bad game; but the true philosopher lives 'unphilosophically' and 'unwisely', and feels the burden and duty of the hundred trials and temptations of life - he constantly rises; he plays this bad game. 824
    ― Nietzsche


  • Willy Wonka: “But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted.”
    Charlie: “What’s that?”
    Willy Wonka: “He lived happily ever after.”


  • the great artisan... made man a creature of indeterminate and indifferent nature, and, placing him in the middle of the world, said to him

    'Adam, we give you no fixed place to live, no form that is peculiar to you, nor any function that is yours alone. According to your desires and judgment, you will have and possess whatever place to live, whatever form, and whatever functions you yourself choose. All other things have a limited and fixed nature prescribed and bounded by our laws. You, with no limit or no bound, may choose for yourself the limits and bounds of your nature. We have placed you at the world's center so that you may survey everything else in the world. We have made you neither of heavenly nor of earthly stuff, neither mortal nor immortal, so that with free choice and dignity, you may fashion yourself into whatever form you choose. To you is granted the power of degrading yourself into the lower forms of life, the beasts, and to you is granted the power, contained in your intellect and judgment, to be reborn into the higher forms, the divine.'

    ... Man is allowed to be whatever he chooses to be! 815
    ― Giovanni Pico della Mirandola


  • Before, the highest thing he could aspire to was dying gloriously for something; he now aspires higher, to live for something humble. 827
    ― Otto Ludwig


  • Once we are destined to live out our lives in the prison of our mind, our one duty is to furnish it well.
    ― Peter Ustinov


  • Solitude punctuates life, makes it a little more musical. It restores us to ourselves. 825
    ― Dumitru Tsepeneag


  • The sun shines on the one who praises it. 805
    ― Swahili proverb, or


  • Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile... Life, too, is forever turning an infinitely vacant side towards man, on which nothing appears, no more than it does on a blank canvas. But no matter how vacant and vain, how dead life may appear to be, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, who knows something, will not be put off so easily. He wades in and does something... 822
    ― van Gogh


  • People do not need to be religious, but they must be philosophical. When you are philosophical, you have the best of religion. 823
    ― Feng Youlan (馮友蘭)


  • Three key questions for intellectuals:
    1. What are the most important problems in your field?
    2. Are you working on one of them?
    3. Why not?
    ― Richard Hamming


  • There’s too much abstract willing, purposing,
    In this poor world. We talk by aggregates
    And think by systems and being used to face
    Our evils in statistics, are inclined
    To cap them with unreal remedies
    Drawn out in haste on the other side.
    ― Elizabeth Barrett Browning


  • Proceed til apprehended.
    ― Proverbial


  • Ludibrium est nihil metuit. 804
    ― Adam Ant


  • Some groups increase, others diminish, and in a short time the generations of living things pass, and like runners hand on the torch of life. 821
    ― Titus Lucretius Carus


  • Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work. 806
    ― Gustave Flaubert


  • m = pV / iD.


  • We are on this earth to fart around. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
    ― Vonnegut. Or perhaps:


  • I don't know why we are here, but I'm quite sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.
    spuriously attrb. Wittgenstein


  • 'And did you get what // you wanted from this life, even so?'
    'I did.'
    'And what did you want?''
    'To call myself beloved, to feel myself / beloved on the earth.'
    ― Raymond Carver


  • Surroundings form his mind, as food forms his body. 818
    ― Mengzi


  • I live sweat, but I dream light–years.
    ― Mike Watt


  • If they think you're crude, go technical; if they think you're technical, go crude... These days, though, you have to be pretty technical before you can even aspire to crudeness.
    ― William Gibson


  • Everyone believes that tomorrow they'll truly start living. 826
    ― or


  • In the long run we are always in the short run. 807
    ― Abba Lerner


  • [we] never become anything without pretending to be it first.
    ― after Auden


  • In aesthetics the present is the only tense there is.
    ― Clive James


  • People say 'one day I will be good at X'. They don't realise that there is no way to 'be' anything: there are no plateaus to rest on. Instead, skill consists in doing. It's not like an RPG, where you level up and that's you on a higher level for good. Nor is it like riding a bicycle, an innate matter of balance that can be permanently wired into you. Instead, all you can hope for is to continually focus on supplying quality X.

    'One day I will be good.' they say. I'm like 'No; why are you coding that class badly?' They don't want to do any given thing better: that is boring and progress is imperceptible. Instead, they hope they will be able to do that automatically one day, when they are 'better at it'.

    It will never suddenly become effortless, not at any damn point.
    ― John Morrice


  • Aude. Vide. Tace. 808
    ― the Masons


  • If you can't say anything good don't say anything. 809
    ― Salvator Rosa


  • All is vanity. 810
    ― Ecc 1:2. Or


  • The effort to understand the world is one of the few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.
    ― Steven Weinberg


  • People suffer their failure to optimise the first–order problem (of allocating a tight budget of existence) and the second–order problem (of allocating attention to the first–order problem).
    John Quiggin


  • You have a real life if and only if you do not compete with anyone in any of your pursuits.
    ― Nassim Taleb


  • No book's so bad as to have no good in it. 811
    ― Pliny the Younger


  • The point of reading a great many books is to become aware of a great number of alternative purposes; the point of that is to become an autonomous self.
    ― Rorty, or


  • In multos libros libertas. 812


  • [Lord], make me chaste – but not yet. 813
    ― Augustine of Hippo


  • A man who sets out to justify his existence and his activities has to distinguish two different questions. The first is whether the work which he does is worth doing; and the second is why he does it... The first question is often very difficult, and the answer very discouraging... It is a tiny minority who can do something really well, and the number of men who can do two things well is negligible. If a man has any genuine talent he should be ready to make almost any sacrifice in order to cultivate it to the full.
    ― GH Hardy


  • there's nothing problematic about going out to shop for some soap or a car and purchasing the best that happens to be available... But some things, like the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with, or the work you'll spend it doing, don't seem like this. We want to believe in having a calling and a soulmate.

    ...here, in the gap between what we think we want and what we think we can get, the phenomenon occurs. It goes by many names: evil; marketing, sales, recruitment, courtship... Whatever one calls it, it would be advisable to think at least twice before concluding that one is better off ignoring it, the whole impetuous fearful flurry of flowing down gradients: to wonder, to inquire, to guess, to experiment, to tell and to listen... To offer, and reject, and reject, and reject; to seek, and be rejected, and rejected, and rejected.

    ...who among us can be said to have lived the most plausible facsimile of the chimerical 'good life'? ...lovers cradling one another on the beach, murmuring the three words that are the highest expression of what they mean to each other: 'Markets in everything.'
    ― Zack Davis


  • There are always some human beings who live to be a hundred. More do so today than ever before, but there have always been some... It comes as a shock to realise that the whole of civilisation has occurred within the successive lifetimes of sixty people—which is the number of friends I squeeze into my living room when I have a drinks party. Twenty people take us back to Jesus, twenty-one to Julius Caesar.
    ― Bryan Magee


  • I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them. 820
    ― Benedict Spinoza


  • Assume breach.


  • Dear Posterity,
         If you have not become more just, more peaceful, and generally more rational than we are - why then, the Devil take you. 803
    ― Albert Einstein


  • There are surely worse things than being wrong, and being dull and pedantic are surely among them.
    ― Mark Kac


  • How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it's just words.
    ― David Foster Wallace


  • I can't go on. I'll go on. 814
    ― Beckett


  • Always leave them wanting more.
    ― attrb. Theolonius Monk, attrb. Aristotle


  1. χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά.
  2. Selbst die Welt untergeht, so würde ich gleich heute noch einen Apfelbaum pflanzen.
  3. Sono pessimista con l'intelligenza, ma ottimista per la volontà.
  4. Liebe Nachwelt!
        Wenn Ihr nicht gerechter, friedlicher und überhaupt vernünftiger sein werdet, als wir sind, bezw. gewesen sind, so soll euch der Teufel holen.
  5. Ridicule is nothing to be scared of.
  6. Alisifuyejua, limemwangaza.
  7. Soyez réglé dans votre vie et ordinaire, afin d'être violent et original dans vos œuvres.
  8. В долгосрочной перспективе мы просто в другой краткосрочной перспективе.
  9. Dare. See. Hush.
  10. Aut tace aut loquere meliora silentio.
  11. .הֲבֵל הֲבָלִים הַכֹּל הָבֶל
  12. Nullum esse librum tam malum, ut non in aliqua parte prodesset.
  13. In many books, freedom.
  14. Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo.
  15. je ne peux pas continuer, je vais donc continuer.
  16. Igitur hominem accepit indiscretae opus imaginis atque in mundi positum meditullio sic est alloquutus:

    "Nec certam sedem, nec propriam faciem, nec munus ullum peculiare tibi dedimus, o Adam, ut quam sedem, quam faciem, quae munera tute optaveris, ea, pro voto, pro tua sententia, habeas et possideas.

    Definita caeteris natura intra praescriptas a nobis leges cohercetur. Tu, nullis angustiis cohercitus, pro tuo arbitrio, in cuius manu te posui, tibi illam prefinies. Medium te mundi posui, ut circumspiceres inde comodius quicquid est in mundo.

    Nec te celestem neque terrenum, neque mortalem neque immortalem fecimus, ut tui ipsius quasi arbitrarius honorariusque plastes et fictor, in quam malueris tute formam effingas. Poteris in inferiora quae sunt bruta degenerare; poteris in superiora quae sunt divina ex tui animi sententia regenerari."

    Cui datum id habere quod optat, id esse quod velit.
  17. 居移氣,養移體
  18. Numquam se minus otiosum esse quam cum otiosus, nec minus solum quam cum solus esset.
  19. Sedula curavi, humanas actiones non ridere, non lugere, neque detestare, sed intelligere.
  20. Augescunt aliae gentes, aliae minuuntur, inque brevi spatio mutantur saecla animantum et quasi cursores vitai lampada tradunt.
  21. Smeer maar er iets op als ge een blank doek U aan ziet staren met een zekere imbeciliteit...

    Het leven op zich zelf keert aan een mensch altijd ook een oneindig niets zeggende, ontmoedigenden, hopeloos makenden blanken kant toe waar niets op staat, evenmin als op een blank schilderdoek.–

    Maar hoe nietszeggend en ijdel, hoe dood het leven zich voor doe, de man van geloof, van energie, van warmte, en die iets weet, laat zich niet daardoor met een kluitje in ’t riet sturen. Hij grijpt er in en doet iets en knoopt daar aan vast, enfin breekt, “schendt”. Laat ze praten die koude theologen.
  22. 将来的世界里,哲学将取代宗教的地位,这是合乎中国哲学传统的 。人不需要宗教化,但是人必须哲学化 。当人哲学化了,他也就得到了宗教所提供的最高福分 。
  23. Weisheit: das scheint dem Pöbel eine Art Flucht zu sein, ein Mittel und Kunststück, sich gut aus einem schlimmen Spiele herauszuziehn; aber der rechte Philosoph — so scheint es uns, meine Freunde? — lebt „unphilosophisch“ und „unweise“, vor Allem unklug, und fühlt die Last und Pflicht zu hundert Versuchen und Versuchungen des Lebens: — er risquirt sich beständig, er spielt das schlimme Spiel.....
  24. La solitude rythme notre vie, la rend un peu plus musicale. Elle nous restitute a nous-memes.
  25. I think this was derived from this, by Emerson:
    We are always getting ready to live, but never living.
  26. Das Höchste, wozu er sich erheben konnte, war, für etwas rühmlich zu sterben; jetzt erhebt er sich zu dem Größern, für etwas ruhmlos zu leben.

happiness


  • Youth: 'Is it better to marry or not to marry?'

    Socrates: 'Whichever you do, you'll regret it.'
    990


  • I cannot forbear having a curiosity to be acquainted with the principles of moral good and evil, the nature and foundation of government, and the cause of those several passions and inclinations, which actuate and govern me ... These sentiments spring up naturally in my present disposition; and should I endeavour to banish them, by attaching myself to any other business or diversion, I feel I should be a loser in point of pleasure; and this is the origin of my philosophy.
    ― Hume


  • To make something interesting, just look at it a long time. 993
    ― Gustave Flaubert


  • A danger sign... is the tendency to regard the happiest moments of your life as those that occur when someone who has an appointment to see you is prevented from coming.
    ― Peter Medawar


  • Happiness is having a large, loving, close-knit family in another city.
    ― George Burns


  • ...every pleasure is a good thing: its nature is favorable to us; yet not every pleasure is to be chosen — just as all pains are bad, yet not every pain is always to be shunned. 991
    ― Epicurus


  • An oversharpened blade will soon blunt... Withdraw when the work is done. 994
    ― Laozi


  • Free vinegar is sweeter than honey. 992
    ― Proverbial


  • Without some vulgarity, there is no complete man.
    ― Raymond Chandler


  • Self-pity lasted seconds in the open; then the bird of prey fell on it... dispatched by his conscience, the angry voice of all the people in the world worse off than he was...
    ― Iain Banks


  • Economists are often accused of believing that everything - health, happiness, life itself - can be measured in money. What we actually believe is even odder. We believe that everything can be measured in anything.
    ― David Friedman


  • What one wants is to be able to talk with a diverse club of smart people, arrange to do short one-off research projects and simulations, publish papers or capture intellectual property quickly and easily, and move on to another conversation. Quickly. Easily. For a living. Can't do that in industry. Can't do that in the Academy. Yet in my experience, scientists and engineers all want it. Maybe even a few mathematicians and social scientists do, too.
    ― Bill Tozier


  1. πότερον γῆμαι ἢ μή, ἔφη,
    "ὃ ἂν αὐτῶν ποιήσῃς, μεταγνώσῃ."



    (via Diogenes Laertius)
  2. πᾶσα οὖν ἡδονὴ διὰ τὸ φύσιν ἔχειν οἰκείαν ἀγαθὸν, οὐ πᾶσα μέντοι αἱρετή· καθάπερ καὶ ἀλγηδὼν πᾶσα κακόν, οὐ πᾶσα δὲ ἀεὶ φευκτὴ πεφυκυῖα.
  3. Bedava sirke baldan tatlıdır.
  4. Pour qu’une chose soit intéressante, il suffit de la regarder longtemps.
  5. 瑞而梲之、不可長保
    ... 功遂身退

work


  • [Beware] the death of the spirit which threatens every man unless he is conscious of the danger and has a real purpose which can keep it alive and enable it to thrust its way through the choking weeds and thorns to the air and to the sun
    ― Hugh Trevor-Roper


  • O Laziness, have pity on our long misery! O Laziness, mother of the arts and noble virtues, be thou the balm of human anguish! 601
    ― Paul Lafargue


  • Mold your life so that the path of least resistance is the path of maximum productivity... Erect and enforce barriers to using technology to procrastinate.
    ― Matt Might


  • Learning for its own sake is crucial and here's why: on a daily basis at work, you operate at <50% of your intellectual peak. Did an amazing PhD in machine learning? Now you shuffle numbers - competently - at UltraCorp. Taught yourself computer science from a young age? Now you get to - competently - write basic apps for commerce. Invented Unix and C? Well, now you - competently - manage a team working on a small compiler. Every new thing you learn or invent translates into a minor increase in the average interest of your resulting jobs. And interest is what you want, right?
    John Morrice


  • Work holds off three great evils: boredom, vice and want. 600
    ― Voltaire


  • Think of a 'discovery' as an act that moves the arrival of information from a later point in time to an earlier time. The value does not equal the value of the information discovered but rather the value of having the information available earlier than it otherwise would have been. A scientist or a mathematician may show great skill by being the first to find a solution that has eluded many others; yet if the problem would soon have been solved anyway, then the work probably has not much benefited the world. There are cases in which having a solution even slightly sooner is immensely valuable, but this is most plausible when the solution is immediately put to use, either being deployed for some practical end or serving as a foundation to further theoretical work.
    ― Nick Bostrom


  • It was true that I didn’t have much ambition, but there ought to be a place for people without ambition, I mean a better place than the one usually reserved. How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 6:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so?
    ― Bukowski


  • The work that is really a man's own work is play and not work at all. Cursed is the man who has found some other man's work and cannot lose it. When we talk about the great workers of the world we really mean the great players of the world. The fellows who groan and sweat under the weary load of toil that they bear never can hope to do anything great. How can they when their souls are in a ferment of revolt against the employment of their hands and brains?
    ― Mark Twain


  • The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.
    ― Tversky


  • The sons of Hermes love to play,
    And only do their best when they
    Are told they oughtn't;
    Apollo's children never shrink
    From boring jobs but have to think
    Their work important.
    ― Auden


  • When you go too far up, abstraction-wise, you run out of oxygen. Sometimes smart thinkers just don't know when to stop, and they create these absurd, all-encompassing, high-level pictures of the universe that are all good and fine, but don't actually mean anything at all.

    ...It's very hard to get them to write code or design programs, because they won't stop thinking about Architecture. They're astronauts because they are above the oxygen level, I don't know how they're breathing. They tend to work for really big companies that can afford to have lots of unproductive people with really advanced degrees that don't contribute to the bottom line.
    ― Joel Spolsky


  • I’m a modern man, a man for the millennium. Digital and smoke free. A diversified multi-cultural, post-modern deconstruction that is anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I’ve been up linked and downloaded, I’ve been inputted and outsourced, I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech low-life. A cutting edge, state-of-the-art bi-coastal multi-tasker and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond! I’m new wave, but I’m old school and my inner child is outward bound. I’m a hot-wired, heat seeking, warm-hearted cool customer, voice activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database, my database is in cyberspace, so I’m interactive, I’m hyperactive and from time to time I’m radioactive.

    Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin the wave, dodgin the bullet and pushin the envelope. I’m on-point, on-task, on-message and off drugs. I’ve got no need for coke and speed. I've got no urge to binge and purge. I’m in-the-moment, on-the-edge, over-the-top and under-the-radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps and run victory laps. I’m a totally ongoing big-foot, slam-dunk, rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic. A working rageaholic. Out of rehab and in denial!

    I’ve got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant and a personal agenda. You can’t shut me up. You can’t dumb me down because I’m tireless and I’m wireless, I’m an alpha male on beta-blockers.

    I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever, laid-back but fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home, low-rent, high-maintenance. Super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built-to-last! I’m a hands-on, foot-loose, knee-jerk head case pretty maturely post-traumatic and I’ve got a love-child that sends me hate mail.

    But, I’m feeling, I’m caring, I’m healing, I’m sharing-- a supportive, bonding, nurturing primary care-giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I took a short position on the long bond and my revenue stream has its own cash-flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds and I watch trash sports! I’m gender specific, capital intensive, user-friendly and lactose intolerant.

    I like rough sex. I like tough love. I use the “F” word in my emails and the software on my hard-drive is hardcore--no soft porn.

    I bought a microwave at a mini-mall; I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast-food in the slow lane. I’m toll-free, bite-sized, ready-to-wear and I come in all sizes. A fully-equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically-proven, scientifically- formulated medical miracle. I’ve been pre-wash, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped, vacuum-packed and, I have an unlimited broadband capacity.
    ― George Carlin


  1. le travail éloigne de nous trois grands maux, l'ennui, le vice, et le besoin.
  2. Ô Paresse, prends pitié de notre longue misère! Ô Paresse, mère des arts et des nobles vertus, sois le baume des angoisses humaines!

politics


  • Don't you know, my son, with how little wisdom the world is governed? 201
    ― Axel Oxenstierna


  • The danger is not that a particular class is unfit to govern. Every class is unfit to govern.
    ― John Emerich Acton


  • The main penalty for refusing to participate in politics is that you are governed by your inferiors. 207
    ― Plato, or


  • The absent are wrong. 208
    ― Philippe Destouches


  • Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
    ― Groucho Marx


  • Political causes want every spare minute and dollar. They want to choose your friends, words and thoughts. If given power, they seize state and nation for their purposes. Then they take those purposes further. One cannot simply give any political movement what it wants. That way lies ruin and madness. Yes, that means your cause, too.
    ― Zvi Mowshowitz, or


  • while mankind are imperfect, there should be different opinions; so is it that there should be different experiments of living... that the worth of different modes of life should be proved practically... Where, not the person's own character, but the traditions or customs of other people are the rule, there is wanting one of the principal ingredients of human happiness, and quite the chief ingredient of individual and social progress.
    ― Mill


  • The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.
    ― Paul Ehrlich


  • Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.
    ― Oscar Ameringer


  • Politics – which cannot be moral – is what must make morality triumph. 202
    ― Napoleon Bonaparte


  • Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.
    ― Thoreau


  • If you are the sort of man whose stomach revolts against treating shams reverentially, you will be well advised to stay out of politics altogether and set up as a prophet; your prophecies may perhaps sow good seed for some future harvest. But as a politician you would be impotent.

    For at any given time the bulk of your countrymen believe firmly and devoutly, not only in various things that are worthy of belief, but also in illusions of one kind and another; and they will never submit to have their affairs managed for them by one who appears not to share in their credulity…
    ― Frederick Scott Oliver


  • Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness.
    ― George Santayana


  • Ethos, pathos and logos.. 108
    ― Aristotle


  • The goal of the future is full unemployment
    ― Arthur C Clarke


  • Evils which are patiently endured when they seem inevitable, become intolerable when once the idea of escape from them is suggested. 203
    Alexis de Tocqueville


  • Conservative (n.): One who admires radicals centuries after they're dead.
    ― Leo Rosten


  • You'll soon find a stick if you set out to beat a dog. 204
    ― Proverb


  • Even hatred of squalor makes the brow stern.
    Even anger at injustice makes the voice harsh.
    Alas we, wanting to lay the foundations of kindness
    Could not ourselves be kind. 205
    ― Brecht


  • The word 'revolution' is a word for which you kill, for which you die, for which you send the labouring masses to their death, but which does not possess any content. 206
    ― Simone Weil


  • nothing was ever yet done which someone was not the first to do... all good things which exist are the fruits of originality, let them be modest enough to believe that there is something still left for it to accomplish.
    ― Mill


  • Anonymous asked: 'you have the most hilariously naive politics i've ever seen, it's milquetoast pacifist liberalism meets autistic rationalism. grow a fucking backbone you fuck.'

    Unitofcaring: certain subbubbles of the Left have constructed this environment in which it is inherently pathetic, inherently contemptible, to say “mass murder is a really awful thing and if we can achieve our goals without it that’s worth striving for” or even “no matter what, I won’t endorse or participate in mass murder”.

    I can imagine how I’d be a Marxist. 30,000 kids die preventable deaths every day and that makes me angrier and sadder than you can possibly imagine and if I’d gotten ensnared in an ideology that claimed the only way for that to end was to kill all of the rich people, I’d probably also go around saying “kill all the rich people!” But I hope I’d never, ever equate “willingness to call for murder” with “moral strength” or “strength of character”.

    Valuing life is moral strength. Protecting people is strength of character. Calling for mass murder from your keyboard is cowardice. And the communities that deny those things, that circle the wagons around their conviction that willingness to kill people is equivalent to having a backbone, that claiming “the rich all deserve to die” is moral strength, that caring about human life is hilariously naive -

    - well, first of all, you’ll never get anything done. My friends and I will end those deaths, eradicate malaria, fix global inequality, hunt down every source of human suffering and watch it take its last breath while you’ll sit there going “milquetoast pacifists! hilariously naive! the rich are not innocent!”. But second of all, you’ll spend your not-accomplishing-anything time in a bubble where caring about all human life is a weakness, where not wanting to murder people is disgusting and contemptible, and I know people are different psychologically but I can’t imagine anything worse than that.

    ...come join us, we milquetoast autistic rationalist liberals, because you don’t have to rant on the internet about killing people to earn our esteem, you just have to fix stuff.


  • Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time.
    ― E.B. White


  • Democracy is the theory that the common man knows what he wants and deserves to get it good and hard.
    ― HL Mencken


  1. An nescis, mi fili, quantilla prudentia mundus regatur?
  2. La politique - qui ne peut être morale - est celle qui doit faire triompher la morale.


    (according to Balzac)
  3. Le mal qu'on souffrait patiemment comme inévitable semble insupportable dès qu'on conçoit l'idée de s'y soustraire.
  4. Man findet bald einen Stecken, wenn man einen Hund schlagen will.
  5. Auch der Hass gegen die Niedrigkeit / Verzerrt die Züge.
    Auch der Zorn über das Unrecht / Macht die Stimme heiser. Ach, wir
    Die wir den Boden bereiten wollten für Freundlichkeit
    Konnten selber nicht freundlich sein.
  6. Le mot 'révolution' est un mot pour lequel on tue, pour lequel on meurt, pour lequel on envoie les masses populaires à la mort, mais qui n'a aucun contenu.
  7. He was actually a little more specific, encouraging decent political candidates despite the paradox that the best people for it are the ones who don't want it:
    if a man will not himself hold office and rule, the main penalty is to be governed by someone worse.
    τῆς δὲ ζημίας μεγίστη τὸ ὑπὸ πονηροτέρου ἄρχεσθαι, ἐὰν μὴ αὐτὸς ἐθέλῃ ἄρχειν...

    My apolitical colleague notes "Yes, but that will happen either way."
  8. L'absent a tort.
    or
    Les absents ont toujours tort.

art


  • Praise the humanities, my boy. That'll make them think you're broadminded!
    ― Churchill


  • It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.
    ― Thoreau


  • Art is the imposing of a pattern on experience, and our aesthetic enjoyment is recognition of the pattern.
    ― AN Whitehead


  • The artist talks to himself out loud.
    ― Edmund Snow Carpenter


  • Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is the ash.
    ― Leonard Cohen


  • To those who do not know mathematics, it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature... If you want... to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.
    ― Richard Feynman


  • In aesthetics the present tense is the only one there is.
    ― Dave Hickey


  • Physics becomes in those years [1897 - 1930] the greatest collective work of... art of the twentieth century.
    ― Jacob Bronowski


  • We don't always have to be this. There can be something else. We can stop doing the thing that we're doing. Moms Mabley had a great line in some movie or other -- she said, 'You keep on doing what you been doing and you're gonna keep on gettin' what you been gettin.' And we don't have to keep on doing what we've been doing. We can do something else if we don't like what we're gettin'. I think a lot of the purpose of fiction ought to be to tell people that.
    ― Gene Wolfe


  • In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite.
    ― Paul Dirac


  • An artist can be diminished by his virtues, [for instance] clarity. However much the reader welcomes clarity, some of the most memorable moments in poetry occur when it isn't exactly clear what the poet is talking about... Betjeman never [has such moments] because he always is sure, and that's the penalty of being lucid.
    ― Alan Bennett


  • The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.
    ― Banksy


  • [Academic, revisionist] literary criticism, I think, is not empiricism: it’s not trying to make predictions about what features stories will have or what characteristics will make readers like stories or whatever. It’s art. It’s a very unusual kind of art that takes other art as its raw material. It’s the task of the reader taken to its highest form. This kind is about making interpretations that are more interesting than most people’s, that make it more interesting than it previously was. Asking whether or not it’s ‘true’ is like asking whether or not a painting is ‘true’.
    ― Ozy Frantz


  • A copy of the universe is not what is required of art; one of the damned things is ample.
    ― Rebecca West


  • Music fueled me, although I was just dimly realizing that I was at core a verbal child. In the shower I wailed and whammed at imaginary keyboards, drums, later guitars, but most especially saxes, emulating my heroes with twenty-minute atonal ragas that soared to their stormiest climaxes when the hot water ended.
    ― Lester Bangs


  • Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation.
    ― Mark Twain


  • My guess is that well over eighty per cent of the human race goes through life without ever having a single original thought. That is to say, they never think anything that has not been thought before, and by thousands. A society made up of individuals who were all capable of original thought would probably be unendurable. The pressure of ideas would simply drive it frantic.
    ― HL Mencken


  • Ways of writing: Narrative, epic, satiric, devotional, comic, meditative, didactic, elegiac, epigrammatic, erotic, lyric-confessional. Most recent writing uses just the latter, and badly.


  • Literature is news that stays news.
    ― Ezra Pound


  • Music, the knife without a hilt...
    ― Dorothy Dunnett


  • If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0


  • Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them.
    ― Flannery O’Connor


  • ...the writer's life is a lonely life; you think it's just you; but as the years go by, if your stars are propitious, you discover you are at the center of a vast circle of invisible friends - friends you will never know but who love you and this is more than enough reward. 1200
    ― Jorge Luis Borges


  • It isn't that the aesthete is too serious about the artistic: he isn't serious enough about what gives rise to it.
    ― Clive James


  1. « ... la vida del escritor es una vida solitaria, uno cree estar solo y al cabo de los años, si los astros son propicios, uno descubre que uno está al centro de una especie de vasto círculo de amigos invisibles, de amigos que uno no conocerá nunca físicamente pero que lo quieren a uno y eso es una recompensa más que suficiente.»


    in the flesh.

deaths

RIP Alastair Reid (1926-2014)

It was a day peculiar to this piece of the planet,
when larks rose on long thin strings of singing
and the air shifted with the shimmer of actual angels.
Greenness entered the body. The grasses
shivered with presences, and sunlight
stayed like a halo on hair and heather and hills.
Walking into town, I saw, in a radiant raincoat,
the woman from the fish-shop. 'What a day it is!'
cried I, like a sunstruck madman.
And what did she have to say for it?
Her brow grew bleak, her ancestors raged in their graves
as she spoke with their ancient misery:
'We'll pay for it, we'll pay for it, we'll pay for it!'"

RIP Terry Pratchett (1948-2015)

...
ACTUALLY, NO. I AM IMPRESSED AND INTRIGUED, said Death. THE CONCEPT YOU PUT BEFORE ME PROVES THE EXISTENCE OF TWO HITHERTO MYTHICAL PLACES. SOMEWHERE, THERE IS A WORLD WHERE EVERYONE MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE, THE MORAL CHOICE, THE CHOICE THAT MAXIMISED THE HAPPINESS OF THEIR FELLOW CREATURES, OF COURSE, THAT ALSO MEANS THAT SOMEWHERE ELSE IS THE SMOKING REMNANT OF THE WORLD WHERE THEY DID NOT ...

"Oh, come on! I know what you're implying, and I've never believed in any of that Heaven and Hell nonsense!"

The room was growing darker. The blue gleam along the edge of the reaper's scythe was becoming more obvious.

ASTONISHING, said Death. REALLY ASTONISHING. LET ME PUT FORWARD ANOTHER SUGGESTION: THAT YOU ARE NOTHING MORE THAN A LUCKY SPECIES OF APE THAT IS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITIES OF CREATION VIA A LANGUAGE THAT EVOLVED IN ORDER TO TELL ONE ANOTHER WHERE THE RIPE FRUIT WAS?

Fighting for breath, the philosopher managed to say: "Don't be silly."

THE REMARK WAS NOT INTENDED AS DEROGATORY, said Death. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU HAVE ACHIEVED A GREAT DEAL.

"We've certainly escaped from outmoded superstitions!"

WELL DONE, said Death. ACTUALLY, NO. I AM IMPRESSED AND INTRIGUED, said Death. THE CONCEPT YOU PUT BEFORE ME PROVES THE EXISTENCE OF TWO HITHERTO MYTHICAL PLACES. SOMEWHERE, THERE IS A WORLD WHERE EVERYONE MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE, THE MORAL CHOICE, THE CHOICE THAT MAXIMISED THE HAPPINESS OF THEIR FELLOW CREATURES, OF COURSE, THAT ALSO MEANS THAT SOMEWHERE ELSE IS THE SMOKING REMNANT OF THE WORLD WHERE THEY DID NOT ...

"Oh, come on! I know what you're implying, and I've never believed in any of that Heaven and Hell nonsense!"

The room was growing darker. The blue gleam along the edge of the reaper's scythe was becoming more obvious.

ASTONISHING, said Death. REALLY ASTONISHING. LET ME PUT FORWARD ANOTHER SUGGESTION: THAT YOU ARE NOTHING MORE THAN A LUCKY SPECIES OF APE THAT IS TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THE COMPLEXITIES OF CREATION VIA A LANGUAGE THAT EVOLVED IN ORDER TO TELL ONE ANOTHER WHERE THE RIPE FRUIT WAS?

Fighting for breath, the philosopher managed to say: "Don't be silly."

THE REMARK WAS NOT INTENDED AS DEROGATORY, said Death. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU HAVE ACHIEVED A GREAT DEAL.

"We've certainly escaped from outmoded superstitions!"

WELL DONE, said Death. THAT'S THE SPIRIT. I JUST WANTED TO CHECK.
He leaned forward.

AND ARE YOU AWARE OF THE THEORY THAT THE STATE OF SOME TINY PARTICLES IS INDETERMINATE UNTIL THE MOMENT THEY ARE OBSERVED? A CAT IN A BOX IS OFTEN MENTIONED.

"Oh, yes," said the philosopher.

GOOD, said Death. He got to his feet as the last of the light died, and smiled. I SEE YOU...'

RIP Ornette Coleman (1930-2015)

RIP Oliver Sacks (1933-2015)

now, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life - achieving a sense of peace. I find my thoughts drifting to the day of rest, the seventh day of one's life, when one can feel that one's work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest."

RIP Leonard Cohen (1934-2016)

If it be your will / that I speak no more
that my voice be still / as it was before
I will speak no more

RIP Hilary Putnam (1926-2016)

I propose that each philosopher ought to leave it more problematic what is left for philosophy to do - but philosophy should go on. If I agree with Derrida on anything, it is on this: that philosophy... must learn to be a writing whose authority is always to be won anew, not inherited or awarded because it is philosophy.

Philosophers inherit a field, not authority, and that is enough. It is, after all, a field which fascinates a great many people. If we have not entirely destroyed that fascination by our rigidities or by our posturings, that is something for which we should be truly grateful.

Temporary RIP Marvin Minsky (1927 - ?)

I was surprised to find that the idea of extending one's lifetime to thousands of years was often seen as a dismal suggestion. The response to my several informal polls included such objections as these: "Why would anyone want to live for a thousand hundred years? What if you outlived all your friends? What would you do with all that time? Wouldn't one's life become terribly boring?"

What can one conclude from this? Perhaps some of those persons lived with a sense that they did not deserve to live so long. Perhaps others did not regard themselves as having worthy long term goals. In any case, I find it worrisome that so many of our citizens are resigned to die. A planetful of people who feel that they do not have much to lose: surely this could be dangerous."

RIP David Mackay (1967-2016)

RIP Thomas Schelling (1927-2017)

Who loses if a death occurs? First, the person who dies. Exactly what he loses we do not know. But, before it happens, people do not want to die and will go to some expense to avoid it...

Death is a comparatively private event. Society may be concerned but is not much affected. There is a social interest in schools and delinquency, discrimination and unrest, infection and pollution, noise and beauty, obscenity and corruption, justice and fair practice, and the examples that men set; but death is a very local event...

Society's interest, moreover, may be in whether reasonable efforts were made to conserve life than in whether those efforts succeed. A missing man has to be searched for, but whether or not he is found is usually of interest to only a very few.

RIP Derek Parfit (1942-2017)

Is the truth depressing? Some may find it so. But I find it liberating, and consoling. When I believed that [nonreductionist personal identity was critical], I seemed imprisoned in myself. My life seemed like a glass tunnel, through which I was moving faster every year, and at the end of which there was darkness. When I changed my view, the walls of my glass tunnel disappeared. I now live in the open air. There is still a difference between my life and the lives of other people. But the difference is less. I am less concerned about the rest of my own life, and more concerned about the lives of others...

Instead of saying ‘I shall be dead’, I should say, ‘There will be no future experiences that will be related, in certain ways, to these present experiences’. Because it reminds me what this fact involves, this redescription makes this fact less depressing.

My death will break the more direct relations between my present experiences and future experiences, but it will not break various other relations. This is all there is to the fact that there will be no one living who will be me. Now that I have seen this, my death seems to me less bad.

RIP Hans Rosling (1948-2017)

'The Mozambican government assigned Rosling to a northern part of the country, where he would be the only doctor serving 300,000 people. Because of the scarcity of health care, patients were often in excruciating pain by the time he saw them. Rosling recalls performing emergency surgery to extract dead fetuses from women on the verge of death. He watched helplessly as children perished from diseases that should have been simple to prevent...

“Extreme poverty produces diseases. Evil forces hide there. It is where Ebola starts. It’s where Boko Haram hides girls. It’s where konzo disease occurs.” '

RIP Tom Regan (1938-2017)

Harms viewed as deprivations need not cause or involve pain or suffering... [welfarists] assume that the only harm we can do to animals is to cause them to suffer; they completely overlook the other type of harm we may visit upon them - namely, the harm done by deprivation. And an untimely death is a deprivation of a fundamental and irreversible kind...

Death for them is a misfortune, a harm, when death for them is a deprivation, a loss, and it is the latter when their death is contrary to their welfare-interests, even assuming that they themselves have no preference-interest in remaining alive or in avoiding death...


De mortuis nil dicendum est, quod de adhuc viventibus dicere non audeas.

aphorists

nietzsche


  • ...a curiosity of my type remains the most enjoyable of sins - Pardon! I ought to say: 'the love of truth has its reward in heaven and even on earth'. 1900


  • The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold those who think alike in higher esteem than those who think differently. 1901


  • Error has made man so deep, delicate, inventive as to bring forth such blossoms as religion and arts. Pure knowledge would never have been capable of it. 1902


  • We must think of men who are cruel today as stages of earlier cultures, which have been left over ... They show us what we all were, and frighten us. But they themselves are as little responsible as a piece of granite for being granite. 1903


  • An artist cannot endure reality; he turns away, back: his earnest opinion is that the worth of a thing consists in that nebulous residue of it which one derives from color, form, sound, and thought; he believes that the more subtle, at tenuated, and volatile, a thing or a man becomes, the more valuable he becomes: the less real, the greater the worth. This is Platonism... 1904


  • Most men are much too concerned with themselves to be malicious. 1913


  • 'I did that', says my memory. 'I cannot have done that' says my pride, and remains adamant. At last — memory yields. 1905


  • What we do in dreams we also do when we are awake: we invent and fabricate the person with whom we associate — and immediately forget we have done so. 1914


  • Our vanity would have just that which we do best count as that which is hardest for us. The origin of many a morality. 1906


  • With regard to what 'truthfulness' is, perhaps nobody has ever been sufficiently truthful. 1907


  • The philosopher believes that the value of his philosophy lies in the whole, in the building: posterity discovers it in the bricks with which he built and which are then often used again for better building.


  • What really fills one with indignation about suffering is not the suffering itself, but the pointlessness of suffering. 1920


  • We often contradict an opinion for no other reason than that we do not like the tone in which it is expressed. 1908


  • The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness. 1909


  • Enemies of truth. Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. 1910


  • The first opinion that occurs to us when we are suddenly asked about a matter is usually not our own, but only the customary one, appropriate to our caste, position, or parentage; our own opinions seldom swim near the surface. 1911


  • Generally we strive to acquire one emotional stance, one viewpoint for all life situations and events: we usually call that being of a philosophical frame of mind. But rather than making oneself uniform, we may find greater value for the enrichment of knowledge by listening to the soft voice of different life situations; each brings its own views with it. Thus we acknowledge and share the life and nature of many by not treating ourselves like rigid, invariable, single individuals. 1912


  • Insects sting, not from malice, but because they want to live. It is the same with critics - they desire our blood, not our pain. 1915


  1. ...eine Neugierde meiner Art bleibt nun einmal das angenehmste aller Laster,—Verzeihung! ich wollte sagen: die Liebe zur Wahrheit hat ihren Lohn im Himmel und schon auf Erden.
  2. Man verdirbt einen Jüngling am sichersten, wenn man ihn anleitet, den Gleichdenkenden höher zu achten, als den Andersdenkenden.
  3. Der Irrthum hat den Menschen so tief, zart, erfinderisch gemacht, eine solche Bluethe, wie Religionen und Kuenste, herauszutreiben. Das reine Erkennen waere dazu ausser Stande gewesen.
  4. Die Menschen, welche jetzt grausam sind, muessen uns als Stufen frueherer Culturen gelten, welche uebrig geblieben sind: das Gebirge der Menschheit zeigt hier einmal die tieferen Formationen, welche sonst versteckt liegen, offen. ... Sie zeigen uns, was wir Alle waren, und machen uns erschrecken: aber sie selber sind so wenig verantwortlich, wie ein Stueck Granit dafuer, dass es Granit ist.
  5. Ein Künstler hält keine Wirklichkeit aus, er blickt weg, zurück, seine ernsthafte Meinung ist, daß was ein Ding werth ist, jener schattengleiche Rest ist, den man aus Farben, Gestalt, Klang, Gedanken gewinnt, er glaubt daran, daß, je mehr subtilisirt verdünnt verflüchtigt ein Ding, ein Mensch wird, um so mehr sein Werth zunimmt: je weniger real, um so mehr Werth. Dies ist Platonismus...
  6. "Das habe ich getan" sagt mein Gedächtnis. Das kann ich nicht getan haben — sagt mein Stolz und bleibt unerbittlich. Endlich — gibt das Gedächtnis nach.
  7. Was wir am besten thun, von dem möchte unsre Eitelkeit, dass es grade als Das gelte, was uns am schwersten werde. Zum Ursprung mancher Moral.
  8. Ober Das, was "Wahrhaftigkeit" ist, war vielleicht noch Niemand wahrhaftig genug.
  9. Man widerspricht oft einer Meinung, während uns eigentlich nur der Ton, mit dem sie vorgetragen wurde, unsympathisch ist.
  10. Die mutter der Ausschweifung ist nicht die Freude, sondern die Freudlosigkeit.
  11. Überzeugungen sind gefährlichere Feinde der Wahrheit, als Lügen.
  12. Die erste Meinung, welche uns einfällt, wenn wir plötzlich über eine Sache befragt werden, ist gewöhnlich nicht unsere eigene, sondern nur die landläufige, unserer Kaste, Stellung, Abkunft zugehörige; die eigenen Meinungen schwimmen selten oben auf.
  13. Gewöhnlich strebt man darnach, für alle Lebenslagen und Ereignisse eine Haltung des Gemüthes, eine Gattung von Ansichten zu erwerben, - das nennt man vornehmlich philosophisch gesinnt sein. Aber für die Bereicherung der Erkenntniss mag es höheren Werth haben, nicht in dieser Weise sich zu uniformiren, sondern auf die leise Stimme der verschiedenen Lebenslagen zu hören; diese bringen ihre eigenen Ansichten mit sich. So nimmt man erkennenden Antheil am Leben und Wesen Vieler, indem man sich selber nicht als starres, beständiges, Eines Individuum behandelt.
  14. Die meisten Menschen sind viel zu sehr mit sich beschaeftigt, um boshaft zu sein.
  15. Wir machen es auch im Wachen wie im Traume: wir erfinden und erdichten erst den Menschen, mit dem wir verkehren — und vergessen es sofort.
  16. Die Insekten stechen, nicht aus Bosheit, sondern weil sie auch leben wollen: Ebenso unsere Kritiker; sie wollen unser Blut, nicht unser Schmerz.
  17. Was eigentlich gegen das Leiden empört, ist nicht das Leiden an sich, sondern das Sinnlose des Leidens.

pessoa

  • My soul is a hidden orchestra; I know not what instruments, what fiddlestrings and harps, drums and tamboura I sound and clash inside myself. All I hear is the symphony. 1301


  • Since we can't extract beauty from life, let's at least try to extract beauty from not being able to extract beauty from life. 1302


  • I often wonder what kind of person I would be if I had been protected from the cold wind of fate by the screen of wealth... to reach the tawdry heights of being a good assistant book-keeper in a job that is about as demanding as an afternoon nap and offers a salary that gives me just enough to live on.

    I know that, had that non-existent past existed, I would not now be capable of writing these pages, which, though few, I would have undoubtedly have only day-dreamed about given more comfortable circumstances. For banality is a form of intelligence, and reality, especially if it is brutish and rough, forms a natural complement to the soul. Much of what I feel and think I owe to my work as a book-keeper since the former exists as a negation of and flight from the latter.


  • Caesar gave the ultimate definition of ambition when he said: ‘Better to be the chief of a village than a subaltern in Rome!' 1312


  • In these random impressions, with no desire to be other than random, I indifferently narrate my factless autobiography, my lifeless history. These are my confessions, and if in them I say nothing, it's because I have nothing to say. 1303


  • And at this table in my absurd room, I, a pathetic and anonymous office clerk, write words as if they were the soul's salvation, and I gild myself with the impossible sunset of high and vast hills in the distance, with the statue I received in exchange for life's pleasures, and with the ring of renunciation on my evangelical finger, the stagnant jewel of my ecstatic disdain. 1313


  • Happy the creators of pessimistic systems! Besides taking refuge in the fact of having made something, they can exult in their explanation of universal suffering, and include themselves in it.

    I don't complain about the world. I don't protest in the name of the universe. I'm not a pessimist. I suffer and complain, but I don't know if suffering is the norm, nor do I know if it's human to suffer. Why should I care to know? I'm not a pessimist. I'm sad.


  • Civilisation consists in giving something a name that doesn't belong to it and then dreaming over the result. And the false name joined to the true dream does create a new reality. The object does change into something else, because we make it change. We manufacture realities. 1309


  • I belong to a generation that inherited disbelief in the Christian faith and created in itself a disbelief in all other faiths. Our fathers still had the believing impulse, which they transferred from Christianity to other forms of illusion. Some were champions of social equality, others were wholly enamoured of beauty, still others had faith in science and its achievements, and there were some who became even more Christian, resorting to various Easts and Wests in search of new religious forms to entertain their otherwise hollow consciousness of merely living. 1306


  • Every gesture, however simple, violates an inner secret. Every gesture is a revolutionary act; an exile, perhaps, from the true ... of our intentions. Action is a disease of thought, a cancer of imagination. Action is self-exile. Every action is incomplete and flawed.


  • To attain the satisfaction of the mystic state without having to endure its rigours; to be the ecstatic followers of no god, the mystic or epopt with no initiation; to pass the days meditating on a paradise you don't believe in - all of this tastes good to the soul that knows it knows nothing.


  • Life is an experimental journey undertaken involuntarily. It is a journey of the spirit through the material world and, since it is the spirit that travels, it is the spirit that is experienced. That is why there exist contemplative souls who have lived more intensely, more widely, more tumultuously than others who have lived their lives purely externally.


  • I asked for very little from life, and even this little was denied me. A nearby field, a ray of sunlight, a little bit of calm along with a bit of bread, not to feel oppressed by the knowledge that I exist, not to demand anything from others, and not to have others demand anything from me - this was denied me, like the spare change we might deny a beggar not because we're mean-hearted but because we don't feel like unbuttoning our coat.


  • There are ships sailing to many ports, but not a single one goes to where life is not painful; nor is there a port of call where it is possible to forget.


  • I read and am liberated. I acquire objectivity. I cease being myself and so scattered. And what I read, instead of being like a nearly invisible suit that sometimes oppresses me, is the external world’s tremendous and remarkable clarity, the sun that sees everyone, the moon that splotches the still earth with shadows, the wide expanses that end in the sea, the blackly solid trees whose tops greenly wave, the steady peace of ponds on farms, the terraced slopes with their paths overgrown by grape-vines.


  • Each of us is several, is many,is a profusion of selves. So that the self who disdains his surroundings is not the same as the self who suffers or takes joy in them. In the vast colony of our being there are many species of people who think and feel in different ways.


  • I never had anyone I could call “Master”. No Christ died for me. No Buddha showed me the right path. In the depths of my dreams no Apollo or Athena appeared to me to enlighten my soul. 1311


  • I imagined myself forever freed from Rua dos Douradores, Vasques, Guarda, Moreira, all the employees, the boy and the cat... but I would be sorry... I could not leave all this without crying, not understanding that, as bad as it seemed to me, it was part of me that was with them all, that to separate myself from them was halfway and a resemblance to death.

    In fact, if I were to leave them all tomorrow and take off from this address in the Rua dos Douradores, what would it give me? What would I wear? - why would I wear it?

    We all have a Boss Vasques - for some he is visible, for others invisible. For me, he is really called Vasques, and he is a healthy man, pleasant, occasionally brutish, selfish but at the very bottom, with a justice that many great geniuses lack and the many human wonders of civilization, right and left. For others it will be vanity, the yearning for greater wealth, glory, immortality ... I prefer Vasques, my master, more tractable at times than all the abstract bosses in the world.

    I love all of this, perhaps because I have nothing else to love... even though nothing truly merits the love of any soul, if, out of sentiment, we must give it, I might as well lavish it on the smallness of an inkwell as on the grand indifference of the stars. 1310


  • Let's buy books so as not to read them; let's go to concerts without caring to hear the music or see who's there; let's take long walks because we're sick of walking; and let's spend whole days in the country, just because it bores us.


  • When one of my Japanese teacups is broken, I imagine that the real cause was not the careless hand of a maid but the anxieties of the figures inhabiting the curves of that porcelain. Their grim decision to commit suicide doesn't shock me: they used the maid as one of us might use a gun. 1308


  • I go forward slowly, dead, and my vision is no longer mine, it’s nothing: it’s only the vision of the human animal who, without wanting, inherited Greek culture, Roman order, Christian morality, and all the other illusions that constitute the civilization in which I feel. Where can the living be? 1305


  • Freedom is the possibility of isolation. You are free if you can withdraw from people, not having to seek them out for the sake of money, company, love, glory or curiosity, none of which can thrive in silence and solitude. If you can't live alone, you were born a slave. You may have all the splendours of the mind and the soul, in which case you're a noble slave, or an intelligent servant, but you're not free. And you can't hold this up as your own tragedy, for your birth is a tragedy of Fate alone. Hapless you are, however, if life itself so oppresses you that you're forced to become a slave. Hapless you are if, having been born free, with the capacity to be isolated and self-sufficient, poverty should force you to live with others.


  • I rise from the chair where, absentminded at table, I tell myself these irregular impressions. I rise, I raise my body in myself, and go to the window high above the rooftops, where I can see the city fall asleep, a slow prelude to silence. The moon, large and white, white, sadly illuminates the differing differences of the houses. The moon seems too to illuminate the entire mystery of the world. It seems to show everything - everything is shadow with mixtures of evil light, false intervals, uneven absurdity, inconsistent visibility. There is no breeze, and it seems that the mystery is greater. I'm made nauseous by abstract thinking. I will never write a page that reveals or reveals anything to me. A very light cloud hangs vague above the moon, like a hideout. I am ignorant, like these roofs. I have failed, like all of nature. 1307


  • One of my constant preoccupations is trying to understand how it is that other people exist, how it is that there are souls other than mine and consciousnesses not my own, which, because it is a consciousness, seems to me unique. I understand perfectly that the man before me uttering words similar to mine and making the same gestures I make, or could make, is in some way my fellow creature. However, I feel just the same about the people in illustrations I dream up, about the characters I see in novels or the dramatis personae on the stage who speak through the actors representing them.

    I suppose no one truly admits the existence of another person. One might concede that the other person is alive and feels and thinks like oneself, but there will always be an element of difference, a perceptible discrepancy, that one cannot quite put one's finger on. There are figures from times past, fantasy-images in books that seem more real to us than these specimens of indifference-made-flesh who speak to us across the counters of bars, or catch our eye in trams, or brush past us in the empty randomness of the streets. The others are just part of the landscape for us, usually the invisible landscape of the familiar.

    I feel closer ties and more intimate bonds with certain characters in books, with certain images I've seen in engravings, that with many supposedly real people, with that metaphysical absurdity known as 'flesh and blood'. In fact 'flesh and blood' describes them very well: they resemble cuts of meat laid on the butcher's marble slab, dead creatures bleeding as though still alive, the sirloin steaks and cutlets of Fate.

    I'm not ashamed to feel this way because I know it's how everyone feels. The lack of respect between men, the indifference that allows them to kill others without compunction (as murderers do) or without thinking (as soldiers do), comes from the fact that no one pays due attention to the apparently abstruse idea that other people have souls too.


  • I have a very simple morality: not to do good or evil to anyone. Not to do evil, because it seems only fair that others enjoy the same right I demand for myself – not to be disturbed – and also because I think that the world doesn’t need more than the natural evils it already has. All of us in this world are living on board a ship that is sailing from one unknown port to another, and we should treat each other with a traveller’s cordiality.

    Not to do good, because I don’t know what good is, nor even if I do it when I think I do. How do I know what evils I generate if I give a beggar money? How do I know what evils I produce if I teach or instruct? Not knowing, I refrain. And besides, I think that to help or clarify is, in a certain way, to commit the evil of interfering in the lives of others. Kindness depends on a whim of our mood, and we have no right to make others the victims of our whims, however humane or kind-hearted they may be. Good deeds are impositions; that’s why I categorically abhor them.


  • Perhaps it's my destiny to remain a book-keeper for ever and for poetry and literature to remain simply butterflies that alight on my head and merely underline my own ridiculousness by their very beauty.


  • I feel as if I'm always on the verge of waking up.


  1. Minha alma é uma orquestra oculta; não sei que instrumentos tange e range, cordas e harpas, tímbales e tambores, dentro de mim. Só me conheço como sinfonia.
  2. Já que não podemos extrair beleza da vida, busquemos ao menos extrair beleza de não poder extrair beleza da vida.
  3. Invejo – mas não sei se invejo – aqueles de quem se pode escrever uma biografia, ou que podem escrever a própria. Nestas impressões sem nexo, nem desejo de nexo, narro indiferentemente a minha autobiografia sem fatos, a minha história sem vida. São as minhas Confissões, e, se nelas nada digo, é que nada tenho que dizer.
  4. Avanço lentamente, morto, e a minha visão já não é minha, já não é nada: é só a do animal humano que herdou, sem querer, a cultura grega, a ordem romana, a moral cristã e todas as mais ilusões que formam a civilização em que sinto.

    Onde estarão os vivos?
  5. Pertenço a uma geração que herdou a descrença na fé cristã e que criou em si uma descrença em todas as outras fés. Os nossos pais tinham ainda o impulso credor, que transferiam do cristianismo para outras formas de ilusão. Uns eram entusiastas da igualdade social, outros eram enamorados só da beleza, outros tinham a fé na ciência e nos seus proveitos, e havia outros que, mais cristãos ainda iam buscar a Orientes e Ocidentes outras formas religiosas, com que entretivessem a consciência, sem elas oca, de meramente viver.
  6. Ergo-me da cadeira de onde, fincado distraidamente contra a mesa, me entretive a narrar para mim estas impressões irregulares. Ergo-me, ergo o corpo nele mesmo, e vou até à janela, alta acima dos telhados, de onde posso ver a cidade ir a dormir num começo lento de silêncio. A lua, grande e de um branco branco, elucida tristemente as diferenças socalcadas da casaria. E o luar parece iluminar algidamente todo o mistério do mundo. Parece mostrar tudo, e tudo é sombras com misturas de luz má, intervalos falsos, desniveladamente absurdos, incoerências do visível. Não há brisa, e parece que o mistério é maior. Tenho náuseas no pensamento abstracto. Nunca escreverei uma página que me revele ou que revele alguma coisa. Uma nuvem muito leve paira vaga acima da lua, como um esconderijo. Ignoro como estes telhados. Falhei, como a natureza inteira.
  7. Quando se quebra uma chávena da minha colecção japonesa eu sonho que mais de que um descuido das mãos de uma criada tinha sido a causa, ou tinham estado os anseios das figuras que habitam as curvas daquela (...) de louça; a resolução tenebrosa de suicídio que as toma não me causa espanto: Serviu-se da criada, como eu me sirvo de um revólver. Saber isto é estar além […] e com que precisão eu sei isto!
  8. A civilização consiste em dar a qualquer coisa um nome que não lhe compete, e depois sonhar sobre o resultado. E realmente o nome falso e o sonho verdadeiro criam uma nova realidade. O objecto torna-se realmente outro, porque o tornámos outro. Manufacturamos realidades.
  9. imaginei-me liberto para sempre da Rua dos Douradores, do patrão Vasques, do guarda-livros Moreira, dos empregados todos, do moço, do garoto e do gato. Senti em sonho a minha libertação, como se mares do Sul me houvessem oferecido ilhas maravilhosas por descobrir. Seria então o repouso, a arte conseguida, o cumprimento intelectual do meu ser.

    Mas de repente, e no próprio imaginar, que fazia num café no feriado modesto do meio-dia, uma impressão de desagrado me assaltou o sonho: senti que teria pena. Sim, digo-o como se o dissesse, circunstaciadamente: teria pena. O patrão Vasques, o guarda-livros Moreira, o caixa Borges, os bons rapazes todos, o garoto alegre que leva as cartas ao correio, o moço de todos os fretes, o gato meigo — tudo isso se tornou parte da minha vida; não poderia deixar tudo isso sem chorar, sem compreender que, por mau que me parecesse, era parte de mim que ficava com eles todos, que o separar-me deles era uma metade e semelhança da morte.

    Aliás, se amanhã me apartasse deles todos, e despisse este trajo da Rua dos Douradores, a que outra coisa me chegaria — porque a outra me haveria de chegar?, de que outro trajo me vestiria — porque de outro me haveria de vestir?

    Todos temos o patrão Vasques, para uns visível, para outros invisível. Para mim chama-se realmente Vasques, e é um homem sadio, agradável, de vez em quando brusco mas sem lado de dentro, interesseiro mas no fundo justo, com uma justiça que falta a muitos grandes génios e a muitas maravilhas humanas da civilização, direita e esquerda. Para outros será a vaidade, a ânsia de maior riqueza, a glória, a imortalidade... Prefiro o Vasques homem meu patrão, que é mais tratável, nas horas difíceis, que todos os patrões abstractos do mundo.

    Considerando que eu ganhava pouco, disse-me o outro dia um amigo, sócio de uma firma que é próspera por negócios com todo o Estado: «você é explorado, Borges». Recordou-me isso de que o sou; mas como na vida temos todos que ser explorados, pergunto se valerá menos a pena ser explorado pelo Vasques das fazendas do que pela vaidade, pela glória, pelo despeito, pela inveja ou pelo impossível.

    Há os que Deus mesmo explora, e são profetas e santos na vacuidade do mundo.

    E recolho-me, como ao lar que os outros têm, à casa alheia, escritório amplo, da Rua dos Douradores. Achego-me à minha secretária como a um baluarte contra a vida. Tenho ternura, ternura até às lágrimas, pelos meus livros de outros em que escrituro, pelo tinteiro velho de que me sirvo, pelas costas dobradas do Sérgio, que faz guias de remessa um pouco para além de mim. Tenho amor a isto, talvez porque não tenha mais nada que amar — ou talvez, também, porque nada valha o amor de uma alma, e, se temos por sentimento que o dar, tanto vale dá-lo ao pequeno aspecto do meu tinteiro como a grande indiferença das estrelas.
  10. Nunca tive ninguém a quem pudesse chamar «Mestre». Não morreu por mim nenhum Cristo. Nenhum Buda me indicou um caminho. No alto dos meus sonhos nenhum Apoio ou Atena me apareceu, para que me iluminasse a alma.
  11. Definiu César toda a figura da ambição quando disse aquelas palavras: «Antes o primeiro na aldeia do que o segundo em Roma!»
  12. E na mesa do meu quarto sou menos reles, empregado e anónimo, escrevo palavras como a salvação da alma e douro-me do poente impossível de montes altos vastos e longínquos da […] estranha recebida por anel de renúncia em meu dedo evangélico, jóia parada do meu desdém estático.

wittgenstein

  • Words are deeds. 2300


  • What makes a subject difficult to understand... is not that some special knowledge of abstruse things is necessary to understand it. Rather, it is the contrast between understanding of the subject and what most people want to see. Because of this, the very things that are most obvious can become the most difficult to understand. What has to be overcome is not difficulty of the intellect but of the will...

    A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push it. 2301


  • If someone does not believe in fairies, he does not need to teach his children 'There are no fairies'; he can omit to teach them the word 'fairy'. 2307


  • My difficulty is only an — enormous — difficulty of expression. 2302


  • Logic takes care of itself; all we have to do is to look and see how it does it.


  • I wanted to write that my work consists of two parts: of the one which is here, and of everything which I have not written. And precisely this second part is the important one.
    ― omitted from the Tractatus foreword


  • Our only task is to be just. That is, we must only point out and resolve the injustices of philosophy, and not posit new parties – and creeds... All that philosophy can do is destroy idols. And that means not making any new ones – say, out of the 'absence of idols'.


  • What is sayable at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent...

    The aim of the book is to set a limit to thought, or rather... to the expression of thoughts: for in order to be able to set a limit to thought, we should have to find both sides of the limit thinkable (i.e. we should have to be able to think what cannot be thought). It will thus only be in language that the limit can be set, and what lies on the other side of the limit will simply be nonsense. 2303


  • Don’t think, but look! 2304


  • Mathematical propositions express no thoughts. In life it is never a mathematical proposition which we need, but we use mathematical propositions only in order to infer from propositions which do not belong to mathematics to others which, equally, do not belong to mathematics.


  • We could present spatially an atomic fact which contradicted the laws of physics, but not one which contradicted the laws of geometry. 2306


  • [What is your aim in philosophy?]
    To shew the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.


  • What kind of investigation are we carrying out? Am I investigating the probability of cases that I give as examples, or am I investigating their actuality? No, I’m just citing what is possible and am therefore giving grammatical examples.


  • Is scientific progress useful for philosophy? Certainly. The realities that are discovered lighten the philosopher’s task: imagining possibilities.


  • What happens is not that this symbol cannot be further interpreted, but: I do no interpreting. I do not interpret, because I feel at home in the present picture. When I interpret, I step from one level of thought to another.


  • I think now that the right thing to do would be to begin my book with remarks about metaphysics as a kind of magic. But in doing this I must neither speak in defence of magic nor ridicule it. In this context, in fact, excluding magic has the character of magic.


  • The aim of [my] philosophy is to erect a wall at the point where language stops anyway.


  • The symbolism of Christianity is wonderful beyond words, but when people try to make a philosophical system out of it I find it disgusting.


  • There are indeed unspeakable things. This shows itself, that's the mystical thing. 2305


  • The idea that in order to get clear about the meaning of a general term one had to find the common element in all its applications has shackled philosophical investigation; for it has not only led to no result, but also made the philosopher dismiss as irrelevant the concrete cases, which alone could have helped him understand the usage of the general term.

    For remember that in general we don't use language according to strict rules — it hasn't been taught us by means of strict rules, either...

    What should we gain by a definition, as it can only lead us to other undefined terms?


  • The fact that I use the word 'hand' and all the other words in my sentence without a second thought, indeed that I should stand before the abyss if I wanted so much as to try doubting their meanings — shows that absence of doubt belongs to the essence of the language-game, that the question 'How do I know...' drags out the language-game, or else does away with it.


  • I believe it might interest a philosopher, one who can think himself, to read my notes. For even if I have hit the mark only rarely, he would recognize what targets I had been ceaselessly aiming at.


  • I am sitting with a philosopher in the garden; he says again and again 'I know that that's a tree', pointing to a tree that is near us. Someone else arrives and hears this, and I tell them: 'This fellow isn't insane. We are only doing philosophy.'


  • So in the end when one is doing philosophy one gets to the point where one would like just to emit an inarticulate sound.


  1. Worte sind Taten.
  2. Nicht eine Schwierigkeit des Verstandes, sondern des Willens ist zu überwinden...

    Ein Mann wird eingesperrt werden, in einem Raum mit einer Tür, die hat entriegelt und öffnet nach innen; solange es nicht, zu ihm Auftritt zu ziehen statt drücken


    (This was in English originally but I like the fictitious German more.)
  3. Meine Schwierigkeit ist nur eine - enorme - Schwierigkeit des Ausdrucks.
  4. Was sich überhaupt sagen lässt, lässt sich klar sagen; und wovon man nicht reden kann, darüber muss man schweigen... Die Grenze wird also nur in der Sprache gezogen werden koennen, und was jenseits der Grenze liegt, wird einfach Unsinn sein.
  5. ...denk nicht, sondern schau!
  6. Es gibt allerdings Unaussprechliches. Dies zeigt sich, es ist das Mystische.
  7. Wohl können wir einen Sachverhalt räumlich darstellen, welcher den Gesetzen der Physik, aber keinen, der den Gesetzen der Geometrie zuwiderliefe.
  8. Wenn einer an Feen nicht glaubt, so braucht er seine Kinder nicht lehren "Es gibt keine Feen", sondern er kann es unterlassen, sie das Wort "Fee" zu lehren

gide


  • Throw away my book: you must understand that it represents only one of a thousand attitudes. You must find your own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings. 2301


  • Please do not understand me too quickly.


  • Know that joy is rarer, more difficult, and more beautiful than sadness. Once you make this all-important discovery, you must embrace joy as a moral obligation.


  • We prefer to go deformed and distorted all our lives rather than not resemble the portrait of ourselves which we ourselves have first drawn. It’s absurd. We run the risk of warping what’s best in us.


  • There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.


  • I prefer granting with a good grace what I know I shan't be able to prevent.


  • Most people believe it is only by constraint they can get any good out of themselves, and so they live in a state of psychological distortion. It is his own self that each of them is most afraid of resembling. Each of them sets up a pattern and imitates it; he doesn't even choose the pattern he imitates: he accepts a pattern that has been chosen for him. And yet I verily believe there are other things to be read in man. But people don't dare to - they don't dare to turn the page. Laws of imitation! Laws of fear, I call them. The fear of finding oneself alone - that is what they suffer from - and so they don't find themselves at all.


  • When I was younger, I used to make resolutions which imagined were virtuous. I was less anxious to be what I was, than to become what I wished to be. Now, I am not far from thinking that in irresolution lies the secret of not growing old.


  • I have always thought that great artists were those who dared to confer the right of beauty on things so natural that people say on seeing them, 'Why did I never realize before that that was beautiful too?'


cioran


  • No longer ask me for my program: isn't breathing one? 2000


  • We say of space, of time, and of suffering that they are infinite; but 'infinite' has no more bearing than 'beautiful', 'sublime', 'harmonious', 'ugly'... Suppose we force ourselves to see to the bottom of words? We see nothing — each of them, detached from the expansive and fertile soul, are null and void. The intelligence functions by projecting a certain lustre upon them, polishing them and making them glitter; this power, erected into a system, is called 'culture' — pyrotechnics against a night sky of nothingness.


  • Ideas should be neutral. But man animates them with his passions and folly. Impure and turned into beliefs, they take on the appearance of reality. The passage from logic is consummated. Thus are born ideologies, doctrines, and bloody farce.


  • To tell the truth, I couldn't care less about the relativity of knowledge; the world does not deserve to be known.


  • My mission is to see things as they are. Exactly the contrary of a mission.


  • Read day and night, devour books— these sleeping pills— not to know but to forget! Through books you can retrace your way back to the origins of spleen, discarding history and its illusions.


  • The poor, by thinking unceasingly of money, reach the point of losing the spiritual advantages of non-possession, thereby sinking as low as the rich.


  • Basis of society: anonymous sweat.


  • Each time I fail to think about death, I have the impression of cheating, of deceiving someone in me.


  • Lord, give me the capacity of never praying, spare me the insanity of all worship, let this temptation of love pass from me which would deliver me forever unto You. Let the void spread between my heart and heaven! I have no desire to people my deserts by Your presence, to tyrannize my nights by Your light, to dissolve my Siberias beneath Your sun.


  • In every man sleeps a prophet, and when he wakes there is a little more evil in the world. 2001


  • Losing love is so rich a philosophical ordeal that it makes a hairdresser into a rival of Socrates.


  • Is it possible that existence is our exile, and nothingness our home?


  • When we know what words are worth, the amazing thing is that we try to say anything at all, and that we manage to do so. This requires, it is true, a supernatural nerve.


  1. Ne me demandez plus mon programme: respirer, n'en est-ce pas un?
  2. Dans chaque homme dort un prophète, et quand il se réveille il y a un peu plus de mal dans le monde.

perlis

  • A picture is worth 10,000 words - but only those used to describe the picture. Hardly any sets of 10,000 words can be adequately described with pictures


  • Every program is a part of some other program and rarely fits.


  • Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.


  • In programming, as in everything else, to be in error is to be reborn.


  • Giving up on assembly language was the apple in our Garden of Eden: Languages whose use squanders machine cycles are sinful. The LISP machine now permits LISP programmers to abandon bra and fig-leaf.


  • The best book on programming for the layman is 'Alice in Wonderland'; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.


  • If you have a procedure with ten parameters, you probably missed some.


  • Every program has (at least) two purposes: the one for which it was written, and another for which it wasn't.


  • Wherever there is modularity there is the potential for misunderstanding: Hiding information implies a need to check communication.


  • To understand a program you must become both the machine and the program


  • One can only display complex information in the mind. Like seeing, movement or flow or alteration of view is more important than the static picture, no matter how lovely.


  • Once you understand how to write a program get someone else to write it.


  • Some cathedrals took a century to complete. Can you imagine the grandeur and scope of a program that would take as long?


  • The goal of computation is the emulation of our synthetic abilities, not the understanding of our analytic ones.


  • Because of its vitality, the computing field is always in desperate need of new cliches: Banality soothes our nerves.


  • In computing, turning the obvious into the useful is a living definition of the word 'frustration'.


  • Computation has made the tree flower.


  • One can't proceed from the informal to the formal by formal means.


  • Within a computer, natural language is unnatural.


borges


  • Few things have happened to me, but I've read of many. Or simply: few things have happened to me more worth remembering than Schopenhauer's thought or the verbal music of England. 11000


  • Heaven and hell seem out of proportion to me: the actions of men do not deserve so much. 11001


  • It is adventurous to think that a mere coordination of words (and philosophies are nothing but that) may resemble the universe very much. It is also adventurous to think that, of all these illustrious coordinations, one of them does not — at least infinitesimally — resemble the universe a bit more than the others. 11008


  • A man sets out to draw the world. As the years go by, he peoples a space with images of provinces, kingdoms, mountains, bays, ships, islands, fishes, rooms, instruments, stars, horses, and individuals. A short time before he dies, he discovers that the patient labyrinth of lines traces the lineaments of his own face. 11002


  • the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, like memory does. 11003


  • There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite. 11009


  • They seek neither truth nor likelihood; they seek astonishment. They think metaphysics is a branch of the literature of fantasy. 11005


  • Famously, when Whistler was asked how long it took him to paint one of his nocturnes, he answered: 'All of my life'.

    With the same rigor he could have said that all the centuries preceding were necessary. From that correct application of the law of causality it follows that the slightest event presupposes all the inconceivable universe and, conversely, that the universe needs even the slightest of events. 11011


  • [God to the leopard]: 'a man I know will look at you at a certain number of times and will not forget and will put your figure and symbol in a poem, which poem has a precise place in the plot of the universe. You have been captive, but you thus have given a word to this poem.' God, in the leopard's dream, illuminated the animal's vulgarity, and so the leopard understood and accepted his fate; but when he awoke, there was only in him a dark resignation, a courageous ignorance; for the machinery of the world is too complex for the simplicity of a beast...

    In a dream, God declared to Dante the secret purpose of his life and work; Dante, in wonderment, knew at last who and what he was, and blessed all the bitterness of his life... upon waking, he felt that he had received and lost an infinite thing, something he would not recover or even glimpse, for the machinery of the world is too complex for the simplicity of a man. 11004


  • ...the writer's life is a solitary one; you think it's just you; but, as the years go by, if your stars are propitious, you discover you are at the center of a vast circle of invisible friends - friends you will never know, but who love you, and this is more than enough reward. 11006


  • we live out our lives putting off all that can be put off; perhaps we all know deep down that we are immortal and that sooner or later all men will do and know all things. 11010


  • There is a line in Verlaine I won't recall again,
    There's a street close by, forbidden to my feet,
    There's a mirror that's seen me for the last time,
    There's a door I have locked til the end of the world.
    Of the books in my library (all before me)
    There are some I'll never open.
    This summer I complete my fiftieth year;
    Death gnaws at me ceaselessly.
    11007


  1. Pocas cosas me han ocurrido y muchas he leído, mejor dicho, pocas cosas me han ocurrido más dignas de memoria que el pensamiento de Schopenhauer o la música verbal de Inglaterra.
  2. El infierno y el paraíso me parecen desproporcionados. Los actos de los hombres no merecen tanto.
  3. Un hombre se propone la tarea de dibujar el mundo. A lo largo de los años puebla un espacio con imágenes de provincias, de reinos, de montañas, de bahías, de naves, de islas, de peces, de habitaciones, de instrumentos, de astros, de caballos y de personas. Poco antes de morir, descubre que ese paciente laberinto de líneas traza la imagen de su cara.
  4. No puedo caminar por los arrabales en la soledad de la noche, sin pensar que ésta nos agrada porque suprime los ociosos detalles, como el recuerdo.
  5. un leopardo... que anhelaba amor y crueldad y el caliente placer de despedazar y el viento con olor a venado, pero algo en él se ahogaba y se rebelaba y Dios le habló en un sueño: “Vives y morirás en esta prisión, para que un hombre que yo sé te mire un número determinado de veces y no te olvide y ponga tu figura y tu símbolo en un poema, que tiene su preciso lugar en la trama del universo. Padeces cautiverio, pero habrás dado una palabra al poema.” Dios, en el sueño, iluminó la rudeza del animal y éste comprendió las razones y aceptó ese destino, pero sólo hubo en él, cuando despertó, una oscura resignación, una valerosa ignorancia, porque la máquina del mundo es harto compleja para la simplicidad de una fiera.

    Años después, Dante se moría en Ravena, tan injustificado y tan solo como cualquier otro hombre. En un sueño, Dios le declaró el secreto propósito de su vida y de su labor; Dante, maravillado, supo al fin quién era y qué era y bendijo sus amarguras. La tradición refiere que, al despertar, sintió que había recibido y perdido una cosa infinita, algo que no podría recuperar, ni vislumbrar siquiera, porque la máquina del mundo es harto compleja para la simplicidad de los hombres.
  6. no buscan la verdad ni siquiera la verosimilitud: buscan el asombro. Juzgan que la metafísica es una rama de la literatura fantástica.


    ("Likelihood" is a pathetic gloss on "verisimilitude": the former is relative probability, while the latter is absolute empirical adequacy.)
  7. La vida del escritor es una vida solitaria. Uno cree estar solo y al cabo de los años, si los astros son propicios, uno descubre que uno está al centro de una especie de vasto círculo de amigos invisibles, de amigos que uno no conocerá nunca físicamente pero que lo quieren a uno. Y eso es una recompensa más que suficiente.
  8. Hay una línea de Verlaine que no volveré a recordar.
    Hay una calle próxima que está vedada a mis pasos,
    hay un espejo que me ha visto por última vez,
    hay una puerta que he cerrado hasta el fin del mundo.
    Entre los libros de mi biblioteca (estoy viéndolos)
    hay alguno que ya nunca abriré.
    Este verano cumpliré cincuenta años;
    La muerte me desgasta, incesante.

  9. Es aventurado pensar que una coordinación de palabras (otra cosa no son las filosofías) pueda parecerse mucho al universo. También es aventurado pensar que de esas coordinaciones ilustres, alguna - siquiera de modo infinitesimal - no se parezca un poco más que otras
  10. Hay un concepto — que es el corruptor y el desatinador de los otros. No hablo del Mal cuyo limitado imperio es la ética; hablo del infinito.
  11. Vivimos postergando todo lo postergable; tal vez todos sabemos profundamente que somos inmortales.
  12. Es fama que le preguntaron a Whistler cuánto tiempo había requerido para pintar uno de sus nocturnos y que respondió: "Toda mi vida." Con igual rigor pudo haber dicho que había requerido todos los siglos que precedieron al momento en que lo pintó. De esa correcta aplicación de la ley de causalidad se sigue que el menor de los hechos presupone el inconcebible universo e, inversamente, que el universo necesita del menor de los hechos. Investigar las causas de un fenómeno... es proceder en infinito.

gwern


  • When you become frustrated with computers, please remember they are only cleverly-arranged sand. (When you become frustrated with people...)


  • An aphorism is an algorithm, of we know not what input, to we know not what output.


  • 'Often, I must calculate otherwise than I think. That is called diplomacy.'


  • Surprising linear models work at all, when they are the worst functional language ever: only operator *, n variables, n assignments, & output=sum.


  • When critiquing a paper, go for the jugular: any part with the words 'presumably', 'obviously', 'past research', or 'studies show'.


  • We can sleep soundly because rough men stand ready with blogs willing to do violence to papers on our behalf.


  • The use of confidence intervals rather than p-values is a clear improvement; it makes our difficulties vanish like smoke in a fog.


  • p-value testing is pretty weird, but with multiple correction, it gets even weirder: the more you measure & model, the less you know.


  • Every normal man must be tempted now & then to sharpen knives, hoist a black flag, and run amok, shouting 'No causation without randomization!'


  • If you consider them in terms of QALYs lost, school is at least as harmful to your health as smoking, and far more expensive.


  • Some ask if behavioral genetics has made me nihilistic and feeling all is futile. But I have to believe in free will - my whole family does.


  • Programmers’ chairs and keyboards cause RSIs of the body; but what RSIs of the mind?


  • Backups are confronting one’s fallibility & the transience of the world; we should not be surprised so few can do it.


  • A pause on my keyboard for thought - and how peaceful it must be in the CPU, as the nanoseconds slowly tick by…


  • 'Helping newbies requires an active memory - of all the times we ourselves failed to read the fucking manual.'


  • How can we fear machines will separate humans when even in their source code, we can read the stamp of personality & style?


  • 'Data, and the formats by which data are communicated, inevitably create a system permeated by illusions.'


  • 'Anyone satisfied by last year’s code is not learning enough.'


  • 'I do not like this algorithm/language/tool.' 'Why?' 'I am not up to it.' - anyone, ever?


  • To test whether a language despises its users, merely see whether if (a = 1) {...} is valid.


  • 'Haskellers knows the type of everything & the value of nothing.' Unless they’ve turned on extensions, then neither


  • If you find yourself surprised by man or market, remember you have learned as much about your own thinking as them: revelation comes in twos.


  • At times, tolerance can be the most radical of positions to take; just watch when a weak group gains power.


  • An aphorism is an algorithm, of we know not what input, we know not what output.


  • Voltaire’s Third Law: for every aphorism, there is an equal and opposite anti-aphorism


  • The epigram is a compressed, golfed, idea, with all the virtues - and sins - of golfed code.


  • Remember! Most strings are incompressible, most reals uncomputable, most theorems unprovable, most programs undecidable.


  • Fear not known but unknown propaganda; I have the utmost respect for _Pravda_s - how else will you know what to not believe?


  • What sort of writing could you create if you worked on it (be it ever so rarely) for the next 60 years? What could you do if you started now?




(Tweet apotheosis.)

me


  • Mantra: One, what are they saying? Two, are they telling the truth? Three, does their reasoning follow? Four, what are they missing out? Five, or, zero: why are they writing about this at all?


  • To be right, be vague. To be productively wrong, be precise.


  • Annoying people are opportunities to practice patience; chores and commutes are free exercise; failure is an invitation to humility, and to sympathy with most people; impostor syndrome is a critical talent: it is the ability to foreground what you do you not know, the better to strike at it.


  • Cynicism is a remarkably good substitute for knowledge.


  • Efficiency is constructive laziness.


  • You don't 'put' yourself into your writing; you're found there.


  • Everyone believes that tomorrow they'll truly start living.
    ― after Samuel Johnson



  • Economics: It is prohibitively hard to change people. It always depends. Things fall apart, but sometimes into place too. People aren't stupid. Most things fail. Sometimes there is no right answer. You are the system.


  • The quantitative omits most of the lived world; the qualitative includes all of its blinding bullshit.


  • Yes, you are a fake. But most others are faker.


  • Treat fools differently to assholes – and almost everyone is more fool than asshole.


  • Lord, let me care more to be skilled than distinguished.


  • Trust criticism in proportion to the direct quotation in it.


  • Folk morality: It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it. (And don't care bout results.)


  • The biggest, or anyway the first questions are: 'Do what? Where? With whom?'


  • I don't love economics; I hate bad economics.


  • Pure logic cannot tell you how the world is. But it can say what it is impossible for the world to be.


  • Talk is cheap; that's what's good about it!


  • I pine for rigour but always choose slack.


  • The distinctive virtues of computers are their patience, rationality, flow, speed, honesty and obedience. They possess each of these in degrees beyond the human. However, they compensate for these, to the point of cancellation, with a perfect absence of independence, charity, sympathy, and fun.


  • What is above us? Causality; the absurd; the lives of others.


  • Be Epicurus against Plato and Thrasymachus both; George Eliot against Church and nihilist; liberal against fascist and anarchist.


  • I hate a lot of liberal democratic things: journalism, trial by jury, party politics, direct democracy, credentialism. But unlike revolutionaries, I know how fucked we were without them.


  • Most writing, most thoughts, are a stale read of reality.


  • I'm against anything that says you're either for it or against it. Queering the with us/against us binary.


  • The thought is not the thing; the pointer's not the string; the name is not the nominee.
    ― after Alfred Korzybski


  • In multos libros libertas. (In many books, freedom.)


  • A devious child, I was good at accents and pretence, which is what nationalities are.


  • I read to forget the impotence of reason.


  • You can't expect much of people. You must demand more from people.


  • Let my gravestone be the stack trace of an IndexOutOfBoundsException.


  • Aphorisms talk as if they were final: molecular philosophy. Actually they are alchemical.


epigram for this page


Someone might say I have only made a bouquet of other people's flowers, supplying nothing of my own but the thread to bind them... 3

But, if you embrace the opinions of [others] through reason, they will no longer be their opinions, they will be yours too... Truths are held in common by all, and no more belong to those that uttered them first than to him that repeats them later. It's no more 'according to Plato...' than 'according to me...', since he and I both understand it.

Bees plunder flowers, but they do so after honey, which is afterwards all theirs; it is no longer thyme or marjoram. So too with parts borrowed from others: you transform and mingle them, and so make a work entirely yours - namely, your judgment. 4
— Montaigne





  1. Se méfier des penseurs dont l'esprit ne fonctionne qu'à partir d'une citation
  2. Comme quelqu'un pourrait dire de moi que j'ai seulement fait gelé des amas de fleurs érodées, n'ayant plus de mien que le fichier à la lier.
  3. Car s'il embrasse les opinions de Xénophon et de Platon par son propre discours, ce ne seront plus les leurs, ce seront les siennes. Qui suit un autre, il ne suit rien. Il ne trouve rien, voire il ne cherche rien.

    Non sumus sub rege; sibi quisque se vindicet.

    Qu'il sache qu'il sait, au moins. Il faut qu'il emboive leurs humeurs, non qu'il apprenne leurs préceptes.

    Et qu'il oublie hardiment, s'il veut, d'où il les tient, mais qu'il se les sache approprier. La vérité et la raison sont communes à un chacun et ne sont non plus à qui les a dites premièrement, qu'à qui les dit après. Ce n'est non plus selon Platon que selon moi, puisque lui et moi l'entendons et voyons de même. Les abeilles pillottent deçà delà les fleurs, mais elles en font après le miel, qui est tout leur ; ce n'est plus thym ni marjolaine : ainsi les pièces empruntées d'autrui, il les transformera et confondra, pour en faire un ouvrage tout sien, à savoir son jugement.