August 24

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Quotes of the day from previous years:

2004
Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain. ~ Friedrich Schiller
2005
Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. ~ Jorge Luis Borges (born 24 August 1899)
2006
If those in charge of our society — politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television — can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves. ~ Howard Zinn (born August 24, 1922)
2007
It is clear that there is no classification of the Universe that is not arbitrary and full of conjectures. The reason for this is very simple: we do not know what kind of thing the universe is. ~ Jorge Luis Borges (date of birth)
2008
A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art. ~ Jorge Luis Borges
2009
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.

~ Robert Herrick (DoB)
2010
Do you want to see what human eyes have never seen? Look at the moon. Do you want to hear what ears have never heard? Listen to the bird's cry. Do you want to touch what hands have never touched? Touch the earth. Verily I say that God is about to create the world. ~ Jorge Luis Borges
2011
Gibbon observes that in the Arabian book par excellence, in the Koran, there are no camels; I believe if there were any doubt as to the authenticity of the Koran, this absence of camels would be sufficient to prove it is an Arabian work. ~ Jorge Luis Borges
2012
One thinker no less brilliant than the heresiarch himself, but in the orthodox tradition, advanced a most daring hypothesis. This felicitous supposition declared that there is only one Individual, and that this indivisible Individual is every one of the separate beings in the universe, and that those beings are the instruments and masks of divinity itself.
~ Jorge Luis Borges ~
2013
Dictatorships foster oppression, dictatorships foster servitude, dictatorships foster cruelty; more abominable is the fact that they foster idiocy.
~ Jorge Luis Borges ~
2014
The term "just war" contains an internal contradiction. War is inherently unjust, and the great challenge of our time is how to deal with evil, tyranny, and oppression without killing huge numbers of people.
~ Howard Zinn ~
2015 
Rank or add further suggestions…

Ranking system:

4 : Excellent - should definitely be used.
3 : Very Good - strong desire to see it used.
2 : Good - some desire to see it used.
1 : Acceptable - but with no particular desire to see it used.
0 : Not acceptable - not appropriate for use as a quote of the day.


Suggestions[edit]

I come bearing an olive branch in one hand, and the freedom fighter's gun in the other. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. ~ Yasser Arafat (b. August 24. 1929 according to Egyptian birth certificate)

  • 3 ~ MosheZadka (Talk) 07:17, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 23:44, 20 August 2008 (UTC) * 2 Kalki 02:22, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
  • 4 because it's very brilliant. A hint at the "you won't like me when I'm angry" bit as well as the levels of rage which are best kept intact. I knew Arafat said something brilliant like this, it's a good thing it was located. It's also reminiscent of the "carry a big stick" bit which I adore. Zarbon 16:05, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 InvisibleSun 20:56, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Ningauble 17:14, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 (I think) allixpeeke (talk) 02:24, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

Welcome to the human race. Nobody controls his own life, Ender. The best you can do is choose to be controlled by good people, by people who love you. ~ Orson Scott Card (born August 24, 1951)

—This unsigned comment is by None (talkcontribs) .
  • 2 Kalki 02:22, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 16:05, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 20:56, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Ningauble 17:14, 23 August 2009 (UTC) Card has done much better. I may work on his article.
  • 1 allixpeeke (talk) 02:24, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

No one is anyone, one single immortal man is all men. Like Cornelius Agrippa, I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist. ~ Jorge Luis Borges (date of birth)

  • 3 Kalki 16:09, 23 August 2005 (UTC) with a very strong lean toward 4.
  • 2 InvisibleSun 03:53, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 16:05, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  • 2.5 Ningauble 17:14, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
  • 4 allixpeeke (talk) 02:24, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

The dullard's envy of brilliant men is always assuaged by the suspicion that they will come to a bad end. ~ Max Beerbohm (born August 24, 1872)

  • 3 InvisibleSun 06:28, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 02:22, 23 August 2007 (UTC) with a slight lean toward 4.
  • 1 Zarbon 16:05, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 Ningauble 17:14, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

I am a Tory Anarchist. I should like every one to go about doing just as he pleased — short of altering any of the things to which I have grown accustomed. ~ Max Beerbohm

  • 3 InvisibleSun 06:28, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 00:16, 27 August 2007 (UTC) 2 Kalki 02:22, 23 August 2007 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 16:05, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  • 2.5 Ningauble 17:14, 23 August 2009 (UTC)

Strange, when you come to think of it, that of all the countless folk who have lived before our time on this planet not one is known in history or in legend as having died of laughter. ~ Max Beerbohm


Man never falls so low that he can see nothing higher than himself. ~ Theodore Parker


Truth stood on one side and Ease on the other; it has often been so. ~ Theodore Parker

  • 3 because although the easy way may not be the way of truth, it is the course which many have taken. Zarbon 05:43, 29 May 2008 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 23:44, 20 August 2008 (UTC) with a strong lean toward 4.
  • 3 InvisibleSun 20:56, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
  • 2.5 Ningauble 17:14, 23 August 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 (strongly leaning toward 4) allixpeeke (talk) 06:14, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't there more happy people in the world? ~ Stephen Fry


The truth is that 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. ~ Jorge Luis Borges (DoB)


A Chinese prose writer has observed that the unicorn, because of its own anomaly, will pass unnoticed. Our eyes see what they are accustomed to seeing. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


The impossibility of penetrating the divine pattern of the universe cannot stop us from planning human patterns, even though we are conscious they are not definitive. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


He believed in an infinite series of times, in a growing, dizzying net of divergent, convergent and parallel times. This network of times which approached one another, forked, broke off, or were unaware of one another for centuries, embraces all possibilities of time. We do not exist in the majority of these times; in some you exist, and not I; in others I, and not you; in others, both of us. … Time forks perpetually toward innumerable futures. In one of them I am your enemy. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Any time something is written against me, I not only share the sentiment but feel I could do the job far better myself. Perhaps I should advise would-be enemies to send me their grievances beforehand, with full assurance that they will receive my every aid and support. I have even secretly longed to write, under a pen name, a merciless tirade against myself. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


The flattery of posterity is not worth much more than contemporary flattery, which is worth nothing. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


I thought of a labyrinth of labyrinths, of one sinuous spreading labyrinth that would encompass the past and the future and in some way involve the stars. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Myth is at the beginning of literature, and also at its end. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Every writer creates his own precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


I have always imagined Paradise as a kind of library. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


The future is inevitable and precise, but it may not occur. God lurks in the gaps. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


There is no act that is not the coronation of an infinite series of causes and the source of an infinite series of effects. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


To fall in love is to create a religion that has a fallible god. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


The time for your labor has been granted. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


It seemed incredible to me that day without premonitions or symbols should be the one of my inexorable death. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


I leave to the various futures (not to all) my garden of forking paths. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Writing long books is a laborious and impoverishing act of foolishness: expanding in five hundred pages an idea that could be perfectly explained in a few minutes. A better procedure is to pretend that those books already exist and to offer a summary, a commentary. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


What one man does is something done, in some measure, by all men. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


I owe the discovery of Uqbar to the conjunction of a mirror and an encyclopedia. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


The possibilities of the art of combination are not infinite, but they tend to be frightful. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


The slightest event presupposes the inconceivable universe and, conversely, that the universe needs even the slightest of events. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


I will pause to consider this eternity from which the subsequent ones derive. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Reality is not always probable, or likely. But if you're writing a story, you have to make it as plausible as you can, because if not, the reader's imagination will reject it. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


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. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


The author of an atrocious undertaking ought to imagine that he has already accomplished it, ought to impose upon himself a future as irrevocable as the past. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


My undertaking is not difficult, essentially... I should only have to be immortal to carry it out. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


As I think of the many myths, there is one that is very harmful, and that is the myth of countries. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Saxo Grammaticus wrote with justification in his Gesta Danorum: "The men of Thule are very fond of learning and of recording the history of all peoples and they are equally pleased to reveal the excellences of others or of themselves."
Not the day when the Saxon said the words, but the day when an enemy perpetuated them, was the historic date. A date that is a prophecy of something still in the future: the day when races and nations will be cast into oblivion, and the solidarity of all mankind will be established. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Time can't be measured in days the way money is measured in pesos and centavos, because all pesos are equal, while every day, perhaps every hour, is different. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Poetry is not the books in the library . . . Poetry is the encounter of the reader with the book, the discovery of the book. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


A poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Writing is nothing more than a guided dream. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Universal history is the history of a few metaphors. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Life itself is a quotation. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Your unforgivable sins do not allow you to see my splendor. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


It is venturesome to think that a coordination of words (philosophies are nothing more than that) can resemble the universe very much. It is also venturesome to think that of all these illustrious coordinations, one of them — at least in an infinitesimal way — does not resemble the universe a bit more than the others. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Our nothingness differs little; it is a trivial and chance circumstance that you should be the reader of these exercises and I their author. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


When one confesses to an act, one ceases to be an actor in it and becomes its witness, becomes a man that observes and narrates it and no longer the man that performed it. ~ Jorge Luis Borges

  • 3 Kalki (talk · contributions) 23:17, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
  • 1 (leaning toward 2) allixpeeke (talk) 21:42, 24 August 2014 (UTC) (It would seem that at moment of confession, the actor becomes both actor and witness.  Why ought the two be mutually exclusive?)

That one individual should awaken in another memories that belong to still a third is an obvious paradox. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


There's no need to build a labyrinth when the entire universe is one. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


One of the schools of Tlön goes so far as to negate time; it reasons that the present is indefinite, that the future has no reality other than as a present hope, that the past has no reality other than as a present memory. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


Any life, however long and complicated it may be, actually consists of a single moment — the moment when a man knows forever more who he is. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


All men, in the climactic instant of coitus, are the same man. All men who repeat one line of Shakespeare are William Shakespeare. ~ Jorge Luis Borges


One certain effect of war is to diminish freedom of expression. Patriotism becomes the order of the day, and those who question the war are seen as traitors, to be silenced and imprisoned.
~ Howard Zinn ~

Scholars, who pride themselves on speaking their minds, often engage in a form of self-censorship which is called "realism." To be "realistic" in dealing with a problem is to work only among the alternatives which the most powerful in society put forth. It is as if we are all confined to a, b, c, or d in the multiple choice test, when we know there is another possible answer. American society, although it has more freedom of expression than most societies in the world, thus sets limits beyond which respectable people are not supposed to think or speak.
~ Howard Zinn ~

There is the past and its continuing horrors: violence, war, prejudices against those who are different, outrageous monopolization of the good earth's wealth by a few, political power in the hands of liars and murderers, the building of prisons instead of schools, the poisoning of the press and the entire culture by money. It is easy to become discouraged observing this, especially since this is what the press and television insist that we look at, and nothing more.
But there is also the bubbling of change under the surface of obedience: the growing revulsion against endless wars, the insistence of women all over the world that they will no longer tolerate abuse and subordination… There is civil disobedience against the military machine, protest against police brutality directed especially at people of color.
~ Howard Zinn ~

Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.
~ Howard Zinn ~

Why should we accept that the "talent" of someone who writes jingles for an advertising agency advertising dog food and gets $100,000 a year is superior to the talent of an auto mechanic who makes $40,000 a year? … Talent and hard work are qualitative factors which cannot be measured quantitatively.
~ Howard Zinn ~

Surely, we want to be objective if that means telling the truth as we see it, not concealing information that may be embarrassing to our point of view. But we don’t want to be objective if it means pretending that ideas don’t play a part in the social struggles of our time, that we don’t take sides in those struggles.
Indeed, it is impossible to be neutral. In a world already moving in certain directions, where wealth and power are already distributed in certain ways, neutrality means accepting the way things are now. It is a world of clashing interests — war against peace, nationalism against internationalism, equality against greed, and democracy against elitism — and it seems to me both impossible and undesirable to be neutral in those conflicts.
~ Howard Zinn ~

I don't believe it's possible to be neutral. The world is already moving in certain directions, and to be neutral, to be passive in a situation like that, is to collaborate with whatever is going on. And I, as a teacher, do not want to be a collaborator with whatever is happening in the world. I want myself, as a teacher, and I want you, as students, to intercede with whatever is happening in the world.
~ Howard Zinn ~

Capitalism has always been a failure for the lower classes. It is now beginning to fail for the middle classes.
~ Howard Zinn ~

One percent of the nation owns a third of the wealth. The rest of the wealth is distributed in such a way as to turn those in the 99 percent against one another: small property owners against the propertyless, black against white, native-born against foreign-born, intellectuals and professionals against the uneducated and the unskilled. These groups have resented one another and warred against one another with such vehemence and violence as to obscure their common position as sharers of leftovers in a very wealthy country.
~ Howard Zinn ~

I am not an absolute pacifist, because I can't rule out the possibility that under some, carefully defined circumstances, some degree of violence may be justified, if it is focused directly at a great evil. … Each situation has to be evaluated separately, for all are different. In general, I believe in non-violent direct action, which involve organizing large numbers of people, whereas too often violent uprisings are the product of a small group. If enough people are organized, violence can be minimized in bringing about social change.
~ Howard Zinn ~

I would encourage people to look around them in their community and find an organization that is doing something that they believe in, even if that organization has only five people, or ten people, or twenty people, or a hundred people. And to look at history and understand that when change takes place it takes place as a result of large, large numbers of people doing little things unbeknownst to one another. And that history is very important for people to not get discouraged. … History is instructive. And what it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, if they walk on the picket line, if they join a vigil, if they write a letter to their local newspaper. Anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much, much larger sort of flow of energy. And when enough people do enough things, however small they are, then change takes place.
~ Howard Zinn ~

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
~ Howard Zinn ~