March 8

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Quotes of the day from previous years:

2004
An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's. ~ J. D. Salinger
2005
We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (born 8 March 1841)
2006
The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (born 8 March 1841)
2007
Animals arrived, liked the look of the place, took up their quarters, settled down, spread, and flourished. They didn't bother themselves about the past — they never do; they're too busy. ~ Kenneth Grahame (born March 8, 1859)
2008
We do not ask for what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens. The diversity of the phenomena of nature is so great and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh enrichment. ~ Johannes Kepler
2009
We no longer have a coherent conception of ourselves, and our universe, and our relation to one another and our world. We no longer know, as the Middle Ages did, where we come from, and where we are going, or why. That is, we don't know what information is relevant, and what information is irrelevant to our lives. ~ Neil Postman
2010
I think it not improbable that man, like the grub that prepares a chamber for the winged thing it never has seen but is to be — that man may have cosmic destinies that he does not understand. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
2011
You cannot avoid making judgements but you can become more conscious of the way in which you make them. This is critically important because once we judge someone or something we tend to stop thinking about them or it. Which means, among other things, that we behave in response to our judgements rather than to that to which is being judged. People and things are processes. Judgements convert them into fixed states. This is one reason that judgements are often self-fulfilling. ~ Neil Postman
2012
As a rule, indeed, grown-up people are fairly correct on matters of fact; it is in the higher gift of imagination that they are so sadly to seek. ~ Kenneth Grahame
2013
Eloquence may set fire to reason.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. ~
2014
Technology always has unforeseen consequences, and it is not always clear, at the beginning, who or what will win, and who or what will lose.
~ Neil Postman ~
2015
A page of history is worth a volume of logic.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. ~
2016
Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. ~
2017
The computer and its information cannot answer any of the fundamental questions we need to address to make our lives more meaningful and humane. The computer cannot provide an organizing moral framework. It cannot tell us what questions are worth asking. It cannot provide a means of understanding why we are here or why we fight each other or why decency eludes us so often, especially when we need it the most. The computer is... a magnificent toy that distracts us from facing what we most need to confront — spiritual emptiness, knowledge of ourselves, usable conceptions of the past and future.
~ Neil Postman ~
2018 
Rank or add further suggestions…

Ranking system:

4 : Excellent - should definitely be used. (This is the utmost ranking and should be used only for one quote at a time, per person, for each date.)
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]

The whole thing's nonsense, and conventionality, and popular thick-headedness. There's absolutely nothing to fight about, from beginning to end. And anyhow I'm not going to, so that settles it! ~ The Dragon in "The Reluctant Dragon" by Kenneth Grahame


Nature uses as little as possible of anything. ~ Johannes Kepler (first discovered his third law of planetary motion on this day)

  • 3 Kalki 23:55, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 04:11, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 UDScott 15:41, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 InvisibleSun 22:53, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 bystander (talk) 22:16, 3 March 2012 (UTC) Possibly best reserved for another day.

The greater the emotional intensity, the greater the simplicity. ~ Alan Hovhaness


It's gotten worse and worse, somehow, because physical science has given us more and more terrible deadly weapons, and the human spirit has been destroyed in so many cases, so what's the use of having the most powerful country in the world if we have killed the soul. It's of no use. ~ Alan Hovhaness

  • 3 Zarbon 05:09, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 UDScott 15:41, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 07:29, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 22:53, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 1 bystander (talk) 22:16, 3 March 2012 (UTC) While the advancement of science may have provided the means for the weapons, it is man who made them. The argument against science is misplaced.

A musician cannot move others unless he too is moved. He must of necessity feel all of the affects that he hopes to arouse in his audience, for the revealing of his own humour will stimulate a like humour in the listener. ~ Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

  • 3 Zarbon 05:09, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 UDScott 15:41, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 07:29, 7 March 2009 (UTC) with a lean toward 4, but would prefer an extended version which has been sourced:
A musician cannot move others unless he too is moved. He must of necessity feel all of the affects that he hopes to arouse in his audience, for the revealing of his own humour will stimulate a like humour in the listener. … constantly varying the passions, he will barely quiet one before he rouses another. ~ Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach
  • – (un-sourced) Ningauble 21:49, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  • 3 Zarbon 05:09, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 UDScott 15:41, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 07:29, 7 March 2009 (UTC) with a lean toward 3.
  • 3 Ningauble 21:49, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 InvisibleSun 22:53, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

  • 2 Zarbon 05:09, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 UDScott 15:41, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 07:29, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 1 InvisibleSun 22:53, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 0 bystander (talk) 22:16, 3 March 2012 (UTC) Eugenics is possibly one of the darkest sciences man has ever created. Heed should be paid to the quotes that bracket this one.

Of writing that is filled with mechanical and grammatical error, as compared with writing that conforms to the rules of standard edited English. Surely, we do not want to say that there is a necessary correlation between mechanical and editorial accuracy and intellectual substance. There are many books that are mechanically faultless but which contain untrue, unclear, or even nonsensical ideas. Carefully edited writing tells us, not that the writer speaks truly, but that he or she grasps... the manner in which knowledge is usually expressed. The most devastating argument against a paper that is marred by grammatical and rhetorical error is that the writer does not understand the subject. ~ Neil Postman

  • 2 but rather long. Zarbon 05:09, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 UDScott 15:41, 4 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 07:29, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 2. Would start at "There are many..." InvisibleSun 22:53, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

A definition is the start of an argument, not the end of one. ~ Neil Postman

  • 3 Kalki 07:44, 7 March 2009 (UTC) with a strong lean toward 4.
  • 3 Zarbon 15:17, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 InvisibleSun 22:53, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 bystander (talk) 22:16, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

People come — they stay for a while, they flourish, they build — and they go. It is their way. But we remain. There were badgers here, I've been told, long before that same city ever came to be. And now there are badgers here again. We are an enduring lot, and we may move out for a time, but we wait, and are patient, and back we come. And so it will ever be. ~ Kenneth Grahame


I feel as if I had been through something very exciting and rather terrible, and it was just over; and yet nothing particular has happened. ~ Kenneth Grahame


The most modest and retiring dragon in the world, if he's as big as four cart-horses and covered with blue scales, cannot keep altogether out of the public view. ~ Kenneth Grahame


Don't, for goodness' sake, keep on saying 'Don't;' I hear so much of it, and it's monotonous, and makes me tired. ~ Kenneth Grahame


This is an evil world, and sometimes I begin to think that all the wickedness in it is not entirely bottled up inside the dragons... ~ Kenneth Grahame


There's a misunderstanding somewhere, and I want to put it right. ~ Kenneth Grahame


The Wild Wood is pretty well populated by now; with all the usual lot, good, bad, and indifferent — I name no names. It takes all sorts to make a world. ~ Kenneth Grahame


According to my principles, every master has his true and certain value. Praise and criticism cannot change any of that. Only the work itself praises and criticizes the master, and therefore I leave to everyone his own value. ~ Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach


The idea of "full time administrators" is palpably a bad one — especially in schools — and we say to hell with it. Most of the "administration" of the school should be a student responsibility. If schools functioned according to the democratic ideals they pay verbal allegience to, the students would long since have played a major role in developing policies and procedures guiding its operation. One of the insidious facts about totalitarianism is its seeming "efficiency." …Democracy — with all of its inefficiency — is still the best system we have so far for enhancing the prospects of our mutual survival. The schools should begin to act as if this were so.
~ Neil Postman ~

Survival in a stable environment depends almost entirely on remembering the strategies for survival that have been developed in the past, and so the conservation and transmission of these becomes the primary mission of education. But, a paradoxical situation develops when change becomes the primary characteristic of the environment. Then the task turns inside out — survival in a rapidly changing environment depends almost entirely upon being able to identify which of the old concepts are relevant to the demands imposed by the new threats to survival, and which are not.
~ Neil Postman ~

Definitions, like questions and metaphors, are instruments for thinking. Their authority rests entirely on their usefulness, not their correctness. We use definitions in order to delineate problems we wish to investigate, or to further interests we wish to promote. In other words, we invent definitions and discard them as suits our purposes. And yet, one gets the impression that... God has provided us with definitions from which we depart at the risk of losing our immortal souls. This is the belief that I have elsewhere called "definition tyranny," which may be defined... as the process of accepting without criticism someone else's definition of a word or a problem or a situation. I can think of no better method of freeing students from this obstruction of the mind than to provide them with alternative definitions of every concept and term with which they must deal in a subject. Whether it be "molecule," "fact," "law," "art," "wealth," "gene," or whatever, it is essential that students understand that definitions are hypotheses, and that embedded in them is a particular philosophical, sociological, or epistemological point of view.
~ Neil Postman ~

A new technology sometimes creates more than it destroys. Sometimes, it destroys more than it creates. But it is never one-sided. The invention of the printing press is an excellent example. Printing fostered the modern idea of individuality but it destroyed the medieval sense of community and social integration. Printing created prose but made poetry into an exotic and elitist form of expression. Printing made modern science possible but transformed religious sensibility into an exercise in superstition. Printing assisted in the growth of the nation-state but, in so doing, made patriotism into a sordid if not a murderous emotion.
~ Neil Postman ~

In a world populated by people who believe that through more and more information, paradise is attainable, the computer scientist is king. But I maintain that all of this is a monumental and dangerous waste of human talent and energy. Imagine what might be accomplished if this talent and energy were turned to philosophy, to theology, to the arts, to imaginative literature or to education? Who knows what we could learn from such people — perhaps why there are wars, and hunger, and homelessness and mental illness and anger.
~ Neil Postman ~