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Cool Quotes - S


The forces of safety are afoot in the land. I, for one, believe it is a conspiracy—a conspiracy of Safety Nazis shouting "Sieg Health" and seeking to trammel freedom, liberty, and large noisy parties. The Safety Nazis advocate gun control, vigorous exercise, and health foods. The result can only be a disarmed, exhausted, and half-starved population ready to acquiesce to dictatorship of some kind.
P. J. O'Rourke


Many of the insights of the saint stem from his experience as a sinner.
Eric Hoffer

Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited.
Ambrose Bierce


Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you. (Ave, Imperator, morituri te salutant).
Author unidentified, (reportedly said before a mock naval battle in AD 52)

Samuel Johnson

I observed he [Samuel Johnson] poured a large quantity of it [wine] into a glass, and swallowed it greedily. Everything about his character and manners was forcible and violent; there never was any moderation; many a day did he fast, many a year did he refrain from wine; but when he did eat, it was voraciously; when he did drink wine, it was copiously. He could practise abstinence, but not temperance.
James Boswell

[Samuel Johnson] was unsentimental about the past, disturbed by the present, and apprehensive for the future.
John Cannon

The vacuity of life had so struck upon the mind of Mr Johnson that it became by repeated impression his favourite hypothesis, and the general tenor of his reasonings commonly ended in that.
Hester Thrale

He has made a chasm, which not only nothing can fill up, but which nothing has a tendency to fill up. [Samuel] Johnson is dead. Let us go to the next best:—there is nobody; no man can be said to put you in mind of Johnson.
William Gerard Hamilton

His [Samuel Johnson's] person was large, robust, I may say approaching to the gigantic, and grown unwieldy from corpulency.
James Boswell

There is no arguing with Johnson: for if his pistol misses fire, he knocks you down with the butt end of it.
Oliver Goldsmith

[To Dr. Johnson:] If you were to make little fishes talk, they would talk like whales.
Oliver Goldsmith

The freedom with which Dr Johnson condemns whatever he disapproves is astonishing.
Fanny Burney

Pomposo, insolent and loud,
Vain idol of a scribbling crowd,
Whose cursory flattery is the tool
Of every fawning, flattering fool;
Who wit with jealous eye surveys,
And sickens at another's praise; …
Who to increase his native strength
Draws words six syllables in length,
With which, assisted with a frown,
By way of club, he knocks us down.
Charles Churchill

I can now look back upon threescore and four years, in which little has been done, and little has been enjoyed; a life diversified by misery, spent part in the sluggishness of penury, and part under the violence of pain, in gloomy discontent or importunate distress.
Samuel Johnson

Johnson deals so much in tribal tautology, or, the fault of repeating the same sense in three different phrases, that I believe it would be possible, taking the ground-work for all three, to make one of his Ramblers into three different papers, that should all have exactly the same purport and meaning, but in different phrases.
Horace Walpole

Here lies poor Johnson. Reader! have a care,
Tread light, lest you rouse a sleeping bear.
Religious, moral, gen'rous and humane,
He was, but self-conceited, rude, and vain:
Ill-bred, and overbearing in dispute,
A scholar and a Christian, yet a brute.
Soame Jenyns

All his [Johnson's] books are written in a learned language, in a language which nobody hears from his mother or his nurse, in a language in which nobody ever quarrels, or drives bargains, or makes love, in a language in which nobody ever thinks.
T. B. Macaulay

I have always considered him (Johnson) to be, by nature, one of our great English souls. A strong and noble man; so much left undeveloped in him to the last: in a kindlier element what might he not have been, —poet, priest, sovereign, ruler!
Thomas Carlyle

San Diego

San Diego didn't look like the kind of town where people get born.
Steve Ellman

San Francisco

The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.
Mark Twain

San Francisco is a mad city—inhabited for the most part by perfectly insane people, whose women are of a remarkable beauty.
Rudyard Kipling


Sanctions rarely work: they damage, infuriate and embitter but they do not deter or frustrate an act of aggression.
Paul Johnson


Sarcasm I now see to be, in general, the language of the Devil; for which reason I have long since as good as renounced it.
Thomas Carlyle


For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.
Isaac Watts


Satire should, like a polished razor keen,
Wound with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu


I die without remorse, as I have lived without guilt.
Julian, Emperor of Rome


Never find your delight in another's misfortune.

I am convinced that we have a degree of delight, and that no small one, in the real misfortunes and pains of others.
Edmund Burke


Thus the man of learning is often resigned, almost by his own consent, to languor and pain; and while in the prosecution of his studies he suffers the weariness of labour, is subject by his course of life to the maladies of idleness.
Samuel Johnson

We must distinguish between a man of polite learning and a mere scholar: the first is a gentleman and what a gentleman should be; the last is a mere book-case, a bundle of letters, a head stuffed with the jargon of languages, a man that understands every body but is understood by no body.
Daniel Defoe


But this interlude of school makes a sombre grey patch upon the chart of my journey. It was an unending spell of worries that did not then seem petty, of toil uncheered by fruition; a time of discomfort, restriction and purposeless monotony.
Winston Churchill

All my contemporaries and even younger boys seemed in every way better adapted to the conditions of our little world [in school]. They were far better both at the games and at the lessons. It is not pleasant to feel oneself so completely outclassed and left behind at the very beginning of the race.
Winston Churchill


An old Jewish man reads about Einstein's theory of relativity in the newspaper and asks his scientist grandson to explain it to him.

"Well, Zayda, it's sort of like this. Einstein says that if you're having your teeth drilled without Novocain, a minute seems like an hour. But if you're sitting with a beautiful woman on your lap, an hour seems like a minute."

The old man considers this profound bit of thinking for a moment and says, "And from this he makes a living?"

Arthur Naiman, "Every Goy's Guide to Yiddish"

Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won't work.
Thomas A. Edison

I can't believe that God plays dice with the universe.
Albert Einstein

If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German, and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German, and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.
Albert Einstein

When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it's only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it's two hours. That's relativity.
Albert Einstein

Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.
Albert Einstein

Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.
Albert Einstein

Science is built of facts the way a house is built of bricks; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a pile of bricks is a house.
Henri Poincaré

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Albert Einstein (Attributed)

There's a mighty big difference between good, sound reasons and reasons that sound good.
Burton Hillis

No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.
Albert Einstein

If I have been able to see farther than others, it was because I stood on the shoulders of giants.
Sir Isaac Newton

Perfection [in design] is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but rather when there is nothing more to take away.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it.
Donald Knuth

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
Mark Twain

The great tragedy of Science—the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.
Thomas H. Huxley

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.
Albert Einstein

The answer to unethical science is not to give up on ethics, but rather to pursue ethical science.
Author unidentified

Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths.
Bertrand Russell

Post-Normal Science is where facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent.
Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz

The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos.
Stephen Jay Gould

This isn't right. This isn't even wrong.
Wolfgang Pauli

[In] the post-Enlightenment world, science [has] taken the place of magic, miracles, and superstition.
Jonah Goldberg

Modern science and industry [can] turn the luxuries of one generation into the necessities of the next.
Paul Johnson

There is no democracy in physics. We can't say that some second-rate guy has as much right to opinion as Fermi.
Luis Walter Alvarez

Even those to whom Providence hath allotted greater strength of understanding, can expect only to improve a single science. In every other part of learning, they must be content to follow opinions, which they are not able to examine; and, even in that which they claim as peculiarly their own, can seldom add more than some small particle of knowledge, to the hereditary stock devolved to them from ancient times, the collective labour of a thousand intellects.
Samuel Johnson

The Dark Ages may return, the Stone Age may return on the gleaming wings of Science, and what might now shower immeasurable material blessings upon mankind, may even bring about its total destruction. Beware, I say; time may be short.
Winston Churchill

As soon as questions of will or decision or reason or choice of action arise, human science is at a loss.
Noam Chomsky

In science, we must be interested in things, not in persons.
Marie Curie

In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs.
Francis Darwin

When Columbus promised a new hemisphere, he was told that this hemisphere could not exist; & when he discovered it, it was claimed that it had been known for a long time. (Lorsque Colombo avait promis un nouvel hémisphère, on lui avait soutenu que cet hémisphère ne pouvait exister; & quand il l’eut découvert, on prétendit qu’il avait été connu depuis long-temps.)

Science is one thing, wisdom is another. Science is an edged tool, with which men play like children, and cut their own fingers.
Arthur Eddington

The grand aim of all science [is] to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest possible number of hypotheses or axioms.
Albert Einstein

With five free parameters, a theorist could fit the profile of an elephant.
George Gamow

Science has lost its virgin purity, has become dogmatic instead of seeking for enlightenment and has gradually fallen into the hands of the traders.
Robert Graves

Science Fiction

Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable, and although problems and catastrophes may be inevitable, solutions are not.
Isaac Asimov


Mark all mathematical heads which be only and wholly bent on these sciences, how solitary they be themselves, how unfit to live with others, and how unapt to serve the world.
Roger Ascham


A land of meanness, sophistry, and mist.
Lord Byron, of Scotland


The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
William Shakespeare

He had been earnestly exhorting them to come and listen to the Word of God: "Well," they said, "if you will tap a good barrel of beer for us, we'll come with all our hearts and hear you."
Martin Luther

I am so great an enemy to the second book of the Maccabees, and to Esther, that I wish they had not come to us at all, for they have too many heathen unnaturalities. The Jews much more esteemed the book of Esther than any of the prophets; though they were forbidden to read it before they had attained the age of thirty, by reason of the mystic matters it contains.
Martin Luther


There is nothing so desperately monotonous as the sea, and I no longer wonder at the cruelty of pirates.
James Russell Lowell


To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.
George Santayana

Spring is the season of gaiety, and winter of terrour.
Samuel Johnson

This distinction of seasons is produced only by imagination operating on luxury. To temperance every day is bright, and every hour is propitious to diligence. He that shall resolutely excite his faculties, or exert his virtues, will soon make himself superior to the seasons, and may set at defiance the morning mist, and the evening damp, the blasts of the east, and the clouds of the south.
Samuel Johnson

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land.
T. S. Eliot

If the parts of time were not variously coloured, we should never discern their departure or succession, but should live thoughtless of the past, and careless of the future, without will, and perhaps without power, to compute the periods of life, or to compare the time which is already lost with that which may probably remain.
Samuel Johnson


It is wise not to seek a Secret, and Honest not to reveal it.
Author unidentified

Three may keep a Secret, if two of them are dead.
Author unidentified

To tell our own secrets is generally folly, but that folly is without guilt; to communicate those with which we are intrusted is always treachery, and treachery for the most part combined with folly.
Samuel Johnson

Without this limitation [on keeping a secret] confidence must run on without end, the second person may tell the secret to the third, upon the same principle as he received it from the first, and a third may hand it forward to a fourth, till at last it is told in the round of friendship to them from whom it was the first intention to conceal it.
Samuel Johnson

The whole doctrine, as well as practice of secrecy, is so perplexing and dangerous, that next to him who is compelled to trust, I think him unhappy who is chosen to be trusted; for he is often involved in scruples without the liberty of calling in the help of any other understanding.
Samuel Johnson

As every one is pleased with imagining that he knows something not yet commonly divulged, secret history easily gains credit; but it is for the most part believed only while it circulates in whispers; and when once it is openly told, is openly confuted.
Samuel Johnson

I know that's a secret, for it's whispered every where.
William Congreve

Secrets with girls, like loaded guns with boys,
Are never valued till they make a noise.
George Crabbe

For secrets are edged tools,
And must be kept from children and from fools.
John Dryden


Security is mostly superstition. It does not exist in nature.
Helen Keller


But seduction … isn't making someone do what they don't want to do. Seduction is enticing someone into doing what they secretly want to do already.
Waiter Rant Weblog (2005-11-29)


There is nothing noble about being superior to some other men. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.
Hindustani proverb

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.
Aldous Huxley

To know oneself, one should assert oneself.
Albert Camus

There is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.

Only the shallow know themselves.
Oscar Wilde

There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.
Salvador Dali

We run fastest and farthest when we run from ourselves.
Eric Hoffer

The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbors as ourselves: we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We are tolerant of others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. We are prone to sacrifice others when we are ready to sacrifice ourselves.
Eric Hoffer

My life is one long escape from myself.
Samuel Johnson (Attributed)


There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good.
Samuel Johnson


Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.
Samuel Johnson


Every observer, however superficial, has remarked that in many men the love of pleasures is the Ruling Passion of their youth, and the love of money that of their advanced years. However this be, it is not proper to dwell too long on the resistless power and despotic authority of this tyrant of the soul, lest the reader should, as it is very natural, take the present inclination, however destructive to society or himself, for the Ruling Passion, and forbear to struggle when he despairs to conquer.
Samuel Johnson


There is another man within me that's angry with me, rebukes, commands, and dastards me.
Sir Thomas Browne


But, however we may labour for our own deception, truth, though unwelcome, will sometimes intrude upon the mind.
Samuel Johnson


When we have once obtained an acknowledged superiority over our acquaintances, imagination and desire easily extend it over the rest of mankind, and if no accident forces us into new emulations, we grow old, and die in admiration of ourselves.
Samuel Johnson


He that would govern others, first should be
The master of himself.
Philip Massinger

Great numbers who quarrel with their condition, have wanted not the power but the will to obtain a better state.
Samuel Johnson

Those who cannot govern themselves, must be governed.
Samuel Johnson

No man, whose appetites are his masters, can perform the duties of his nature with strictness and regularity; he that would be superior to external influences must first become superior to his own passions.
Samuel Johnson


The nearer we approach to the goal of life, the better we begin to understand the true value of our existence, and the real weight of our opinions.
Edmund Burke


I think high self-esteem is overrated. A little low self-esteem is actually quite good … Maybe you're not the best, so you should work a little harder.
Jay Leno


Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it—what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.
Carlos Castaneda


Be at war with your vices,
At peace with your neighbors,
And let every New Year,
find you a better man.
Benjamin Franklin

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. But I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my country. When I found I couldn't change my country, I began to focus on my town. However, I discovered that I couldn't change the town, and so as I grew older, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only one I can change is myself, but I've come to recognize that if long ago I had started with myself, then I could have made an impact on my family. And my family and I could have made an impact on our town. And that, in turn, could have changed the country and we could all, indeed, have changed the world.
Rabbi Israel Salanter

Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better.
Émile Coué


Look round the habitable world! how few
Know their own good; or knowing it, pursue.
John Dryden, translation of Juvenal


I do not know myself, and God forbid that I should.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

[Every] errour in human conduct must arise from ignorance in ourselves, either perpetual or temporary; and happen either because we do not know what is best and fittest, or because our knowledge is at the time of action not present to the mind.
Samuel Johnson

He knows the universe, and himself he does not know.
Jean de La Fontaine

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man.
Alexander Pope

This counsel [to know oneself] has been often given with serious dignity, and often received with appearance of conviction; but, as very few can search deep into their own minds without meeting what they wish to hide from themselves, scarcely any man persists in cultivating such disagreeable acquaintance, but draws the veil again between his eyes and his heart, leaves his passions and appetites as he found them, and advises others to look into themselves.
Samuel Johnson

I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well.
Henry David Thoreau


Self-love is the greatest of all flatterers.
La Rochefoucauld

Self-love is often rather arrogant than blind; it does not hide our faults from ourselves, but persuades us that they escape the notice of others, and disposes us to resent censures lest we should confess them to be just.
Samuel Johnson

He who begins by loving Christianity better than Truth will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity, and end by loving himself better than all.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge


I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
Sir Isaac Newton


Must I hold a candle to my shames?

For such is the inequality of our corporeal to our intellectual faculties, that we contrive in minutes what we execute in years, and the soul often stands an idle spectator of the labour of the hands, and expedition of the feet.
Samuel Johnson

It [self-reflection] is, indeed, of so great use, that without it we should always be to begin life, be seduced for ever by the same allurements, and misled by the same fallacies.
Samuel Johnson

Let not sleep fall upon thy eyes till thou hast thrice reviewed the transactions of the past day. Where have I turned aside from rectitude? What have I been doing? What have I left undone, which I ought to have done?


Goe not for every griefe to the physitian, nor for every quarrell to the lawyer, nor for every thirst to the pot.
George Herbert


No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect.
George Bernard Shaw


They [selfies] are this horrible thing where you are distorted. The chin is too big, the head is too small. No, this is electronic masturbation.
Karl Lagerfeld


Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
Oscar Wilde

I have been a selfish being all my life, in practice, though not in principle.
Jane Austen

Next to the very young, I suppose the very old are the most selfish.
William Makepeace Thackeray


Take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves.
Lewis Carroll

Where sense is wanting,
Everything is wanting.
Benjamin Franklin

We rarely find that people have good sense unless they agree with us.
La Rochefoucauld


A sentimentalist is simply one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.
Oscar Wilde


In every parting there is an image of death.
George Eliot


Better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait till it begins to abolish itself from below.
Alexander II


They that [are] serious in ridiculous matters [will] be ridiculous in serious affairs.
Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato)


I would not have preachers torment their hearers, and detain them with long and tedious preaching, for the delight of hearing vanishes therewith, and the preachers hurt themselves.
Martin Luther


It was precisely because the serpent, at that time, was the most beautiful of creatures, that Satan selected it for his work, for the devil likes beauty, knowing that beauty attracts men unto evil.
Martin Luther


The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.
Brendan Francis

There are three possible parts to a date, of which at least two must be offered: entertainment, food, and affection. It is customary to begin a series of dates with a great deal of entertainment, a moderate amount of food, and the merest suggestion of affection. As the amount of affection increases, the entertainment can be reduced proportionately. When the affection is the entertainment, we no longer call it dating. Under no circumstances can the food be omitted.
Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior

The daughter-in-law of Pythagoras said that a woman who goes to bed with a man ought to lay aside her modesty with her skirt, and put it on again with her petticoat.

Of all sexual aberrations, chastity is the strangest.
Anatole France

Marriage has many pains but celibacy has no pleasures.
Samuel Johnson

They made love as though they were an endangered species.
Peter De Vries

The physical union of the sexes … only intensifies man's sense of solitude.
Nicolas Berdyaev

As a child of eight Mr. Trout had once kissed a girl of six under the mistletoe at a Christmas party, but there his sex life had come to abrupt halt.
P. G. Wodehouse

Ducking for apples—change one letter and it's the story of my life.
Dorothy Parker

Women complain about sex more often than men. Their gripes fall into two major categories: (1) Not enough. (2) Too much.
Ann Landers

Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children. Life is the other way around.
David Lodge

Women can sleep with whoever they want;
Men have to sleep with whoever will let them.
Author unidentified

A man on a date wonders if he'll get lucky. The woman already knows.
Monica Piper

You don't get married to get sex. Getting married to get sex is like buying a 747 to get free peanuts.
Jeff Foxworthy

I know nothing about sex because I was always married.
Zsa Zsa Gabor

Golf and sex are about the only things you can enjoy without being good at.
Jimmy Demaret

Men want sex. If men ruled the world, they could get sex anywhere, anytime. Restaurants would give you sex instead of breath mints on the way out. Gas stations would give sex with every fill-up. Banks would give sex to anyone who opened a checking account.
Scott Adams

Lie back and think of England.
Author unidentified. There is an apocryphal story that Queen Victoria offered this advice on her daughter's wedding night.

After all, [female genital mutilation is] a key pillar of institutional misogyny in Islam: its entire purpose is to deny women sexual pleasure. True, a lot of us hapless western men find we deny women sexual pleasure without even trying, but we don't demand genital mutilation to guarantee it. On such slender distinctions does civilization rest.
Mark Steyn

I'll come and make love to you at five o'clock. If I'm late start without me.
Tallulah Bankhead

You'll have to ask somebody older than me.
Eubie Blake, when asked at the age of 97 at what age the sex drive goes

What men call gallantry, and gods adultery,
Is much more common where the climate's sultry.
Lord Byron

She broke her marriage vows; she tried to sleep with me.
Tom Driberg, a homosexual who had married a widow

He may be the best lover in the world, but what do you do the other twenty-two hours of the day?
Zsa Zsa Gabor, on her boyfriend Porfirio Rubirosa

Women need a reason to have sex, men just need a place.
Lowell Ganz

Men don't realize that if we're sleeping with them on the first date, we're probably not interested in seeing them again either.
Chelsea Handler

I regret to say that we of the FBI are powerless to act in cases of oral-genital intimacy, unless it has in some way obstructed interstate commerce.
J. Edgar Hoover

What's the worst thing about oral sex? The view.
Maureen Lipman

What's a promiscuous person? It's usually someone who is getting more sex than you are.
Victor Lownes

Many years ago I chased a woman for almost two years, only to discover that her tastes were exactly like mine: we both were crazy about girls.
Groucho Marx

It's so long since I've had sex I've forgotten who ties up whom.
Joan Rivers

Why don't you come up sometime, and see me?
Mae West

Is sex dirty? Only if it's done right.
Woody Allen

A fast word about oral contraception. I asked a girl to go to bed with me and she said 'no'.
Woody Allen

On bisexuality: It immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.
Woody Allen

Every creature is sad after coitus. (Post coitum omne animal triste.)
Author unidentified

Your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.

I could be content that we might procreate like trees, without conjunction, or that there were any way to perpetuate the World without this trivial and vulgar way of coition.
Sir Thomas Browne

The pleasure [of sex] is momentary, the position ridiculous, and the expense damnable.
Lord Chesterfield (Attributed)

I have never yet seen anyone whose desire to build up his moral power was as strong as sexual desire.
Confucius (K'ung Fu-tzu)


Shame, above any other passion, propagates itself.
Samuel Johnson


No man will be a sailor who has contrivance to get himself into a jail …. There is, in a gaol, better air, better company, better conveniency of every kind; and a ship has the additional disadvantage of being in danger …. Being in a ship is being in a jail with the chance of being drowned.
Samuel Johnson


Mad dogs and Englishmen
Go out in the midday sun.
The Japanese don't care to,
The Chinese wouldn't dare to,
The Hindus and Argentines
Sleep firmly from twelve to one,
But Englishmen detest a siesta.
Noël Coward


'Tis always better to see with one's own eyes than with those of other people.
Martin Luther


Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue.
Proverbs 17:28

I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he approaches nearest to gods who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right.
Cato the Elder (Marcus Porcius Cato)

Silence is the perfectest herald of joy:
I were but little happy, if I could say how much.

It is always observable that silence propagates itself, and that the longer talk has been suspended, the more difficult it is to find any thing to say.
Samuel Johnson

Silence is the virtue of fools. (Silentium, stultorum virtus.)
Francis Bacon

The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me.
Blaise Pascal

Under all speech that is good for anything there lies a silence that is better. Silence is deep as Eternity; speech is shallow as Time.
Thomas Carlyle

I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
Leonardo da Vinci

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.
Alan Perlis

All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: Freedom; Justice; Honour; Duty; Mercy; Hope.
Winston Churchill


Few love to hear the sins they love to act.

All sin tends to be addictive, and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation.
W. H. Auden

With love for mankind and hatred of sins. [Often quoted as 'Love the sinner but hate the sin.']

(Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum.)

St. Augustine

"Sins," he said. "Well, what did he say about sin?"

"He was against it."

Calvin Coolidge, perhaps apocryphal

As creeping ivy clings to wood or stone,
And hides the ruin that it feeds upon,
So sophistry, cleaves close to, and protects
Sin's rotten trunk, concealing its defects.
William Cowper

You think sin in the beginning full sweet,
Which in the end causeth the soul to weep,
When the body lieth in clay.


A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
Oscar Wilde


The singing of a man cast away on a desolate island, might be as appropriately considered an evidence of his contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave. Sorrow and desolation have their songs, as well as joy and peace. Slaves sing more to make themselves happy, than to express their happiness.
Frederick Douglass


Singularity is almost invariably a clue. The more featureless and commonplace a crime is, the more difficult is it to bring it home.
Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Isaac Newton

Nature and Nature’s laws lay hid in night: God said, Let Newton be! and all was light.
Alexander Pope


Never praise a sister to a sister, in the hope of your compliments reaching the proper ears, and so preparing the way for you later on. Sisters are women first, and sisters afterwards; and you will find that you do yourself harm.
Rudyard Kipling


Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily.
George Santayana


Whatever is done skilfully appears to be done with ease.
Samuel Johnson


The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


I am tired of ruling over slaves.
Frederick the Great


Slavery is such an atrocious debasement of human nature, that its very extirpation, if not performed with solicitous care, may sometimes open a source of serious evils.
Benjamin Franklin

When … you have succeeded in dehumanizing the Negro; when you have put him down and made it forever impossible for him to be but as the beasts of the field; when you have extinguished his soul and placed him where the ray of hope is blown out in darkness like that which broods over the spirits of the damned, are you quite sure that the demon you have roused will not turn and rend you?
Abraham Lincoln

Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows in every soil.
Edmund Burke

Slavery is now no where more patiently endured, than in countries once inhabited by the zealots of liberty.
Samuel Johnson

It must be agreed that in most ages many countries have had part of their inhabitants in a state of slavery; yet it may be doubted whether slavery can ever be supposed the natural condition of man. It is impossible not to conceive that men in their original state were equal; and very difficult to imagine how one would be subjected to another but by violent compulsion. An individual may, indeed, forfeit his liberty by a crime; but he cannot by that crime forfeit the liberty of his children.
Samuel Johnson

That execrable sum of all villainies, commonly called the Slave Trade.
John Wesley

I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly those who desire it for others. Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
Abraham Lincoln

No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.
Frederick Douglass


Shake off this downy sleep, death’s counterfeit.

Whilst Adam slept, Eve from his side arose:
Strange his first sleep should be his last repose.

You should make a point of trying every experience once, excepting incest and folk-dancing.

The world is full of fools, and he who would see none should live alone and smash his mirror. (Le monde est plein de fous, et qui n'en veut pas voir Doit se tenir tout seul, et casser son miroir.)

Sleep is sweet to the labouring man.
John Bunyan

He that would thrive
Must rise at five;
He that hath thriven
May lie till seven.
John Clarke

In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

Some say that gleams of a remoter world
Visit the soul in sleep—that death is slumber,
And that its shapes the busy thoughts outnumber
Of those who wake and live.
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Untroubled night they say gives counsell best.
Edmund Spencer


Diligence overcomes Difficulties, Sloth makes them.
Author unidentified

Almost every occupation, however inconvenient or formidable, is happier and safer than a life of sloth.
Samuel Johnson

I am overcome by my own amazing sloth … Can you please forgive me and believe that it is really because I want to do something well that I don't do it at all?
Elizabeth Bishop


I have made it a rule never to smoke more than one cigar at a time.
Mark Twain

To cease smoking is the easiest thing I ever did. I ought to know because I've done it a thousand times.
Mark Twain

A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the black, stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless.
James I


And he that will go to bed sober,
Falls with the leaf still in October.
John Fletcher

Social Darwinism

[Social Darwinism] is the most influential misconception in history, since it produced the Marxism of Capital, the imperialism of Joe Chamberlain, and the racialism of Adolf Hitler.
Paul Johnson

Darwin's notion of the survival of the fittest was a key element both in the Marxist concept of class warfare and of the racial philosophies which shaped Hitlerism.
Paul Johnson

Social Engineering

Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area—crime, education, housing, race relations—the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories were put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them.
Thomas Sowell

My point is that you cannot force social change at a speed that it cannot go. Social change is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Deep social change takes time.
Camille Paglia

Social engineering has been the salient delusion and the greatest curse of the modern age.
Paul Johnson

Social engineering is the creation of millenarian intellectuals who believe they can refashion the universe by the light of their unaided reason.
Paul Johnson

[The man of system] seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board.
Adam Smith

Social Justice

I am certain, however, that nothing has done so much to destroy the juridical safeguards of individual freedom as the striving after this mirage of social justice.
Friedrich von Hayek

Social Science

If any student of social science comes to appreciate the case of the Forgotten Man, he will become an unflinching advocate of strict scientific thinking in sociology, and a hard-hearted skeptic as regards any scheme of social amelioration. He will always want to know, Who and where is the Forgotten Man in this case, who will have to pay for it all?
William Graham Sumner

Social Security

I say we scrap the current [Social Security] system and replace it with a system wherein you add your name to the bottom of a list, and the you send some money to the person at the top of the list, and then you … Oh, wait that IS our current system.
Dave Barry


To cure the British disease with socialism was like trying to cure leukemia with leeches.
Margaret Thatcher

Marxian Socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of Opinion—how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and, through them, the events of history.
John Maynard Keynes

[In the Soviet Union,] they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.
Author unidentified

Give people plenty and security, and they will fall into spiritual torpor.
Charles Murray

The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other peoples' money.
Margaret Thatcher

[Socialists claim] that we reject fraternity, solidarity, organization, and association; and they brand us with the name of individualists. We can assure them that what we repudiate is not natural organization, but forced organization. It is not free association, but the forms of association that they would impose upon us. It is not spontaneous fraternity, but legal fraternity. It is not providential solidarity, but artificial solidarity, which is only an unjust displacement of responsibility. Socialism … confounds Government and society.
Frédéric Bastiat

Socialism is the anti-Semitism of intellectuals.
Paul Johnson

The chief difference between free capitalism and State socialism seems to be this: that under the former a man pursues his own advantage openly, frankly and honestly, whereas under the latter he does so hypocritically and under false pretenses.
H. L. Mencken

Let them [Socialists] abandon the utter fallacy, the grotesque, erroneous, fatal blunder of believing that by limiting the enterprise of man, by riveting the shackles of a false equality … they will increase the well-being of the world.
Winston Churchill

There can be no doubt that Socialism is inseparably interwoven with Totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State. It is not alone that property, in all its form, is struck at, but that liberty, in all its form, is challenged by the fundamental conceptions of Socialism.
Winston Churchill

You may try to destroy wealth, and find that all you have done is to increase poverty.
Winston Churchill

Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy.
Winston Churchill


Society in its full sense … is never an entity separable from the individuals who compose it.
Ruth Benedict

There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families.
Margaret Thatcher

But a society that has nothing to die for has nothing to live for.
Mark Steyn

To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father's has acquires too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily7 the first principle of association—'the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.'
Thomas Jefferson

The form was still the same, but the animating health and vigor were fled.
Edward Gibbon

Stop chasing [Facebook] likes and start doing more likable things.
Peter Shankman

Society cannot subsist but by the power, first of making laws, and then of enforcing them.
Samuel Johnson

'Tis in cells and corners that the wicked wretches, the monks and nuns, lead shameful lives. But openly, and among people, a man must live decently and honestly.
Martin Luther

Society is no comfort
To one not sociable.

He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.

Every state of society is as luxurious as it can be. Men always take the best they can get.
Samuel Johnson

There is One great society alone on earth:
The noble Living and the noble Dead.
William Wordsworth

The social state is at once so natural, so necessary, and so habitual to man, that … he never conceives himself otherwise than as a member of a body.
John Stuart Mill

The prosperity of a people is proportionate to the number of hands and minds usefully employed. To the community, sedition is a fever, corruption is a gangrene, and idleness an atrophy. Whatever body, and whatever society, wastes more than it acquires, must gradually decay; and every being that continues to be fed, and ceases to labour, takes away something from the publick stock.
Samuel Johnson

Socratic Method

The Socratic manner is not a game at which two can play.
Max Beerbohm


The patient and active virtues of a soldier are insensibly nursed in the habits and discipline of a pastoral life.
Edward Gibbon

For a soldier I listed [enlisted], to grow great in fame,
And be shot at for sixpence a-day.
Charles Dibdin

Old soldiers never die,
They simply fade away.
J. Foley


Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life's gall.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

How did you enjoy yourself with these people? Answer: very much, almost as much as I do when alone.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Man may indeed preserve his existence in solitude, but can enjoy it only in society.
Samuel Johnson

When Eve, in paradise, walked by herself, the devil deceived her. In solitary places are committed murders, robberies, adulteries, etc.; for in solitude the devil has place and occasion to mislead people.
Martin Luther

He forgot, in the vehemence of desire, that solitude and quiet owe their pleasures to those miseries (vexations), which he was so studious to obviate.
Samuel Johnson

I feel like one,
Who treads alone
Some banquet hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed.
Thomas Moore


Somalia is so bad that making a mess improves the place.
P. J. O'Rourke


He who causes his father's heart to bleed
Will one day have a son to avenge the deed.
Author unidentified

Beat your son every day; you may not know why, but he will.
Author unidentified


The most despairing songs are the loveliest of all, I know immortal ones composed only of tears.
Alfred de Musset


But for sorrow there is no remedy provided by nature; it is often occasioned by accidents irreparable, and dwells upon objects that have lost or changed their existence; it requires what it cannot hope, that the laws of the universe should be repealed; that the dead should return, or the past should be recalled.
Samuel Johnson

Sorrow is a kind of rust of the soul, which every new idea contributes in its passage to scour away. It is the putrefaction of stagnant life, and is remedied by exercise and motion.
Samuel Johnson

I have much need of entertainment, spiritless, infirm, sleepless, and solitary, looking back with sorrow and forward with terrour.
Samuel Johnson

There is no greater sorrow
Than to be mindful of the happy time
In misery.
Dante Alighieri

Sorrow is properly that state of the mind in which our desires are fixed upon the past, without looking forward to the future, an incessant wish that something were otherwise than it has been, a tormenting and harassing want of some enjoyment or possession which we have lost, and which no endeavours can possibly regain.
Samuel Johnson

An habitual sadness seizes upon the soul …
Samuel Johnson

The safe and general antidote against sorrow is employment.
Samuel Johnson

How oft in vain the son of Theseus said,
The stormy sorrows be with patience laid;
Nor are thy fortunes to be wept alone;
Weigh others’ woes, and learn to bear thy own.

(Quoties flenti Theseius heros
Siste modum, dixit, neque enim fortuna querenda
Sola tua est, similes aliorum respice casus,
Mitius ista feres.

Ovid, translation by Catcott, from Samuel Johnson's Rambler 52

One acquainted with pain understands how cruel a traveling companion sorrow is for someone with few friends at his side.
The Wanderer

Pleasure of love lasts only a moment, sorrow of love lasts all life long.
Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian

And if I laugh at any mortal thing,
'Tis that I may not weep.
Lord Byron

How small and selfish is sorrow. But it bangs one about until one is senseless.
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

O Sorrow, wilt thou live with me
No casual mistress, but a wife.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The truth is that it is not the sins of the fathers that descend unto the third generation, but the sorrows of the mothers.
Marilyn French


Coddle the body and you harm the soul.
Polish proverb

The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mold …. The same reason that makes us bicker with a neighbor creates a war between princes.
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Psalms 42:5


If there is but little water in the stream, it is the fault, not of the channel, but of the source.
Saint Jerome


Such was the unhappy condition of the Roman emperors, that, whatever might be their conduct, their fate was commonly the same. A life of pleasure or virtue, of severity or mildness, of indolence or glory, alike led to an untimely grave; and almost every reign is closed by the same disgusting repetition of treason and murder.
Edward Gibbon

Alas! the republic has lost a useful servant, and the rashness of an hour has destroyed the services of many years. You know not, the misery of sovereign power; a sword is perpetually suspended over our head. We dread our very guards, we distrust our companions. The choice of action or of repose is no longer in our disposition, nor is there any age, or character, or conduct, that can protect us from the censure of envy. In thus exalting me to the throne, you have doomed me to a life of cares, and to an untimely fate.
Saturninus, when his troops put him forward as a contender to the Roman Emperor.

[If] the exercise of justice is the most important duty, the indulgence of mercy is the most exquisite pleasure, of a sovereign.
Theodosius I

The usual disease of princes, grasping covetousness, had made them suspicious and quarrelsome neighbors.

Pyrrhus revived this image [of Alexander the Great] by the fire and vigor of his movements in the field of battle; the rest only mimicked the hero, whose title they assumed, in their demeanor, and in the trappings and state of royalty.

[The] day of his inauguration was the last day of his happiness.
Edward Gibbon

The Romans derided [Marius's] indolence; they soon bewailed his activity.
Edward Gibbon

For my own part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity, that the throne is a glorious sepulchre.

To maintain the harmony of authority and obedience, to chastise the proud, to protect the weak, to reward the deserving, to banish vice and idleness from his dominions, to secure the traveller and merchant, to restrain the depredations of the soldier, to cherish the labors of the husbandman, to encourage industry and learning, and, by an equal and moderate assessment, to increase the revenue, without increasing the taxes, are indeed the duties of a prince.
Edward Gibbon

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
William Shakespeare

To know nor faith, nor love nor law; to be
Omnipotent but friendless is to reign.
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Soviet Union

These were people who believed everything about the Soviet Union was perfect, but they were bringing their own toilet paper.
P. J. O'Rourke


Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards.
Fred Hoyle

Space … is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space.
Douglas Adams


Honor to a Spaniard, no matter how dishonest, is as real a thing as water, wine, or olive oil. There is honor among pickpockets and honor among whores. It is simply that the standards differ.
Ernest Hemingway


Once upon a time, there was a non-conforming sparrow who decided not to fly south for the winter. However, soon after the weather turned cold, the sparrow changed his mind and reluctantly started to fly south. After a short time, ice began to form his on his wings and he fell to earth in a barnyard almost frozen. A cow passed by and crapped on this little bird and the sparrow thought it was the end, but the manure warmed him and defrosted his wings. Warm and happy the little sparrow began to sing. Just then, a large Tom cat came by and, hearing the chirping, investigated the sounds. As Old Tom cleared away the manure, he found the chirping bird and promptly ate him.

There are three morals to this story:

  1. Everyone who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy.
  2. Everyone who gets you out of shit is not necessarily your friend.
  3. If you are warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth shut.
Author unidentified


When you have nothing to say, say nothing.
Charles Caleb Colton


It is the preservation of the species, not of individuals, which appears to be the design of Deity throughout the whole of nature.
Mary Wollstonecraft


It is a great misfortune neither to have enough wit to talk well nor enough judgment to be silent.
Jean de la Bruyere

10 persons who speak make more noise than 10,000 who are silent.
Napoleon Bonaparte

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
Ambrose Bierce

Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing.
Robert Benchley

The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.
George Bernard Shaw

I have often regretted my speech, never my silence.
Publilius Syrus

It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
Mark Twain.

Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.
Dionysus the Elder

[He] possessed that vehemence of speech, which seldom fails to impart the persuasion of the soul.
Edward Gibbon

Once a word has been allowed to escape, it cannot be recalled.

Most men with any convictions in a confused and complicated age have had the almost uncanny sensation of shouting at people that a mad dog is loose or the house is on fire, to be met merely with puzzled and painfully respectful expressions, as if the remark were a learned citation in Greek or Hebrew.
G. K. Chesterton

Do not praise anyone before he speaks, for this is the way people are tested.
Ecclesiasticus 27:7

More have repented speech then silence.
George Herbert

Surely human affairs would be far happier if the power in men to be silent were the same as that to speak. But experience more than sufficiently teaches that men govern nothing with more difficulty than their tongues.
John Locke

The true use of speech is not so much to express our wants as to conceal them.
Oliver Goldsmith


In squandering wealth was his peculiar art:
Nothing went unrewarded, but desert.
Beggared by fools, whom still he found too late:
He had his jest, and they had his estate.
John Dryden


Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call for them?


I am ignorant, sir, of your motives or provocations; I only know, that you have acted like a man who cuts off his right hand with his left.
Author unidentified


Some [soccer] players suffer four or five fatal injuries per game. That's how tough they are.
Dave Barry

Rockne wanted nothing but "bad losers." Good losers get into the habit of losing.
George E. Allen

It's never just a game when you're winning.
George Carlin


What I admire most in any man is a serene spirit, a steady freedom from moral indignation, and all-embracing tolerance—in brief, what is commonly called sportsmanship.
H. L. Mencken


Spouse, n. Someone who'll stand by you through all the trouble you wouldn't have had if you'd stayed single.
Author unidentified

I don't like those men who claim that their wife is their best friend. I think spouses should tolerate each other and occasionally have sex.
Adam Carolla (paraphrased)

I don't like those men who claim that their wife is their best friend. My wife doesn't even crack the top 25.
Adam Carolla (paraphrased)


The variegated verdure of the fields and woods, the succession of grateful odours, the voice of pleasure pouring out its notes on every side, with the gladness apparently conceived by every animal, from the growth of his food, and the clemency of the weather, throw over the whole earth an air of gaiety, significantly expressed by the smile of nature.
Samuel Johnson

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If winter comes, can spring be far behind?
Percy Bysshe Shelley

In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson

St. Jerom

The stories of Paul, Hilarion, and Malchus, by [St. Jerom], are admirably told: and the only defect of these pleasing compositions is the want of truth and common sense.
Edward Gibbon

St. Peter

It is a thing not to be believed that St Peter ever was at Rome.
Martin Luther


There is this special biologist word we use for 'stable'. It is 'dead'.
Jack Cohen


Arrest, try, shoot!
Central Committee's response to Stalin's mere mention of internal enemies

Stanley Baldwin

It was the voice of the new England: uncomfortable with greatness, wary of excellence, indifferent to challenges abroad … an appropriate debut for this evangelist of political mediocrity.
William Manchester, on Stanley Baldwin


I don't want to be a star—most of the ones I know are too unhappy.
Vivian Vance


A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.
Edmund Burke

For every state, from the smallest to the largest, the principle of enlargement is the fundamental law of life.
Frederick the Great

The body politic, like the human body, begins to die from its birth, and bears in itself the causes of its destruction.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau


The first requirement of a statesman is that he be dull.
Dean Acheson


The end-game for statists is very obvious. If you expand the bureaucratic class and you expand the dependent class, you can put together a permanent electoral majority.
Mark Steyn


There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.
Benjamin Disraeli

Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable.
Mark Twain


Noblesse oblige [Rank has its obligations].
Gaston Pierre Marc, Duc de Lévis


Never tell a story because it is true: tell it because it is a good story.
John Pentland Mahaffy


The separation of the Arabs from the rest of mankind has accustomed them to confound the ideas of stranger and enemy.
Edward Gibbon

Listen up, if someone is being nice to you, and you don't know them, run away. No one is nice to you just to be nice to you, and if they are, well, they can go take their pleasant ass somewhere else.
Samuel Halpern

We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know, because they have never deceived us.
Samuel Johnson


Short-term thinking drives out long-term strategy.
Herbert Simon


The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

Too often the strong, silent man is silent only because he does not know what to say, and is reputed strong only because he has remained silent.
Winston Churchill


The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle …. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
Frederick Douglass


This, she says, is the consequence of female study: girls grow too wise to be advised, and too stubborn to be commanded.
Samuel Johnson


Never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by stupidity.
Author unidentified

A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.
Bertrand Russell

Against stupidity the very gods
Themselves contend in vain.
Friedrich Schiller

Remember, when you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It is painful only for others. The same applies when you are stupid. (La mort, c'est un peu comme la connerie. Le mort, lui, il ne sait pas qu'il est mort. Ce sont les autres qui sont tristes. Le con, c'est pareil.)
Philippe Geluck (paraphrased)

Sherry is dull, naturally dull; but it must have taken him a great deal of pains to become what we now see him. Such an excess of stupidity, Sir, is not in Nature.
Samuel Johnson


From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.


Orders can be benign or malign, but the habit of obeying them can become ingrained.
Theodore Dalrymple


It is not enough to succeed, a friend must fail.
Francois De La Rochefoucauld

What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;
That is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lose as if you like it; win as if you were used to it.
Tommy Hitchcock

Success is a journey, not a destination.
Ben Sweetland

Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend's success.
Oscar Wilde

Eighty percent of success is showing up.
Woody Allen

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.
Bill Gates

It is sobering to consider that when Mozart was my age he had already been dead for a year.
Tom Lehrer

Be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet 'em on your way down.
Wilson Mizner

The world is divided into people who do things and people who get the credit. Try, if you can, to belong to the first class. There's far less competition.
Dwight Morrow

It is difficult to soar like an eagle when you are surrounded by turkeys.
Helen Osborne

It matters not whether you win or lose: what matters is whether I win or lose.
Darin Weinberg (Attributed)

There are two kinds of success: initial and ultimate. To act by half-measures, with a lack of conviction miscalled "caution," is to run the greatest risks and lose the prize.
Winston Churchill

In the real world, very smart people fail and mediocre people rise. Part of what makes people fail or succeed are skills that have nothing to do with IQ.
Camille Paglia

'Tis not in mortals to command success,
But we'll do more, Sempronius; we'll deserve it.
Joseph Addison

It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you're attempting can't be done.
Terry Pratchett

Success is counted sweetest
By those who ne'er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
Emily Dickinson

Success is relative: It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things.
T. S. Eliot

Success and Failure

The theory seems to be that so long as a man is a failure he is one of God's chillun, but that as soon as he has any luck he owes it to the Devil.
H. L. Mencken

It's a good habit to trumpet your failures and be quiet about your successes.
Charlie Munger


The sufferings that fate inflicts on us should be borne with patience, what enemies inflict with manly courage.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.
Author unidentified

Great souls suffer in silence.
Johann [Christoph] Friedrich von Schiller

Life isn't finished for us yet! We're going to live! … Maybe, if we wait a little longer, we shall find out why we live, why we suffer.
Anton Chekhov

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 Wadsworth Longfellow

Deep, unspeakable suffering may well be called a baptism, a regeneration, the initiation into a new state.
George Eliot


When we have lost everything, including hope, life becomes a disgrace and death a duty.
Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)

Unhappy men! If you are thus weary of your lives, is it so difficult for you to find ropes and precipices?
Antoninus Pius (Attributed), to zealous Christians who apparently provoked the authorities in order to become martyrs

The criminal penalties [for suicide] are the production of a later and darker age.
Edward Gibbon

Yet the civilians have always respected the natural right of a citizen to dispose of his life.
Edward Gibbon

If I had the use of my body I would throw it out of the window.
Samuel Beckett

The gallows in my garden, people say,
Is new and neat and adequately tall.
I tie the noose on in a knowing way
As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
But just as all the neighbours-on the wall—BR/> Are drawing a long breath to shout 'Hurray!'
The strangest whim has seized me … After all
I think I will not hang myself today.
G. K. Chesterton

Sumptuary Law

It is the highest impertinence and presumption in kings and ministers to pretend to watch over the economy of private people, and to restrain their expense, either by sumptuary laws or by prohibiting the importation of foreign luxuries. They are themselves always, and without any exception, the greatest spendthrifts in the society.
Adam Smith


[Sunday] should be different from another day. People may walk, but not throw stones at birds. There may be relaxation, but there should be no levity.
Samuel Johnson


The writers who have undertaken the task of reconciling mankind to their present state, … frequently remind us that we judge too hastily of good and evil, that we view only the superfices of life, and determine of the whole by a very small part; and that in the condition of men it frequently happens, that grief and anxiety lie hid under the golden robes of prosperity, and the gloom of calamity is cheered by secret radiations of hope and comfort; as in the works of nature the bog is sometimes covered with flowers, and the mine concealed in the barren crags.
Samuel Johnson


Whether we can afford it or no, we must have superfluities.
John Gay


The superfluous is very necessary.
Voltaire (François Marie Arouet)


A superstition is a premature explanation that overstays its time.
George Iles

Fear has been the original parent of superstition, and every new calamity urges trembling mortals to deprecate the wrath of their invisible enemies.
Edward Gibbon

Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.
Edmund Burke


For my part now, I consider supper as a turnpike through which one must pass, in order to get to bed.
Oliver Edwards


Everybody knows there is no fineness or accuracy of suppression; if you hold down one thing, you hold down the adjoining.
Saul Bellow


Zounds! I was never so bethump'd with words
Since I first call'd my brother's father dad.
William Shakespeare

Surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced, and the inconvenience is often considerable.
Jane Austen


There are animals that borrow their colour from the neighbouring body, and consequently vary their hue as they happen to change their place. In like manner it ought to be the endeavour of every man to derive his reflections from the objects about him; for it is to no purpose that he alters his position, if his attention continues fixed to the same point. The mind should be kept open to the access of every new idea, and so far disengaged from the predominance of particular thoughts, as easily to accommodate itself to occasional entertainment.
Samuel Johnson


The fox knows many things—the hedgehog one big one.


The suspense is terrible. I hope it will last.
Oscar Wilde


As it is necessary not to invite robbery by supineness, so it is our duty not to suppress tenderness by suspicion; it is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
Samuel Johnson

There is nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little.
Francis Bacon

Suspicion is not less an enemy to virtue than to happiness; he that is already corrupt is naturally suspicious, and he that becomes suspicious will quickly be corrupt.
Samuel Johnson

There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies against despots—suspicion.


The Swiss are not a people so much as a neat, clean, quiet solvent business.
William Faulkner


Switzerland is a small, steep country, much more up and down than sideways, and is all stuck over with large brown hotels built on the cuckoo clock style of architecture.
Ernest Hemingway


Our sympathy is cold to the relation of distant misery.
Edward Gibbon

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Last updated: May 23, 2024