quotes, verse, doggerel
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?
- Hillel, Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14
All other trades are contained in that of war.
Is that why war endures?
No. It endures because young men love it and old men love it in them. Those that fought, those that did not.
That's your notion.
The judge smiled. Men are born for games. Nothing else. Every child knows that play is nobler than work. He knows too that the worth or merit of a game is not inherent in the game itself but rather in the value of that which is put at hazard. Games of chance require a wager to have meaning at all. Games of sport involve the skill and strength of the opponents and the humiliation of defeat and the pride of victory are in themselves sufficient stake because they inhere in the worth of the principals and define them. But trial of chance or trial of worth all games aspire to the condition of war for here that which is wagered swallows up game, player, all.
- Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
Let's not confuse genius with bull market.
Any serious effort to increase productivity growth, or to restructure our labor markets to get closer to true full employment, would take a degree of boldness that is rare in economic policy. Attempts to change the economic system in a fundamental way, like Franklin Roosevelt's (or Ronald Reagan's), occur only in the face of economic crisis.
- Paul Krugman, The Age of Diminished Expectations
By some pre-temporal assignment, which I have never been able to figure out, I am appointed 'to negate,' whereas I am sincerely kind and totally unable to negate. No, they say, go and negate, without negation there will be no criticism, and what sort of journal has no 'criticism section'? Without criticism, there would be nothing but 'Hosannah.' But 'Hosannah' alone is not enough for life, it is necessary that this 'Hossanah' pass through the crucible of doubt, and so on, in the same vein. I don't meddle with any of that, by the way, I didn't create it, and I can't answer for it. So they chose themselves a scapegoat, they made me write for the criticism section, and life came about. We understand this comedy: I, for instance, demand simply and directly that I be destroyed. No, they say, live, because without you there would be nothing. If everything on earth were sensible, nothing would happen. Without you there would be no events, and there must be events. And so I serve grudgingly, for the sake of events, and I do the unreasonable on orders. People take this whole comedy for something serious, despite all their undeniable intelligence. That is their tragedy. Well, they suffer, of course, but…still they live, they live really, not in fantasy; for suffering is life. Without suffering, what pleasure would there be in it---everything would turn into an endless prayer service: holy, but a bit dull. And me? I suffer, and still I do not live. I am an x in an indeterminate equation. I am some sort of ghost of life who has lost all ends and beginnings, and I've finally even forgotten what to call myself. You're laughing…no, you're not laughing, you're angry again. You're eternally angry, you want reason only, but I will repeat to you once more that I would give all of that life beyond the stars, all ranks and honors, only to be incarnated in the soul of a two-hundred-and-fifty-pound merchant's wife and light candles to God.
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov