September 4

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Quotes of the day from previous years:

2003
Every man desires to live long, but no man would be old. ~ Jonathan Swift
2004
The silence often of pure innocence persuades when speaking fails. ~ William Shakespeare in The Winter's Tale
2005
I think television has betrayed the meaning of democratic speech, adding visual chaos to the confusion of voices. What role does silence have in all this noise? ~ Federico Fellini
  • proposed by MosheZadka for the anniversary of the first transatlantic television broadcast (4 September 1951)
2006
A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both. ~ L. P. Jacks (originally attributed to François-René de Chateaubriand, born 4 September 1768, because of a widespread misattribution.)
2007
Perfect works are rare, because they must be produced at the happy moment when taste and genius unite; and this rare conjuncture, like that of certain planets, appears to occur only after the revolution of several cycles, and only lasts for an instant. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand
2008
An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand
2009
As soon as a true thought has entered our mind, it gives a light which makes us see a crowd of other objects which we have never perceived before. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand
2010
In hatred as in love, we grow like the thing we brood upon. What we loathe, we graft into our very soul. ~ Mary Renault (born 4 September 1905)
2011
A degree of silence envelops Washington’s actions; he moved slowly; one might say that he felt charged with future liberty, and that he feared to compromise it. It was not his own destiny that inspired this new species of hero: it was that of his country; he did not allow himself to enjoy what did not belong to him; but from that profound humility what glory emerged! Search the woods where Washington’s sword gleamed: what do you find? Tombs? No; a world! Washington has left the United States behind for a monument on the field of battle. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand
2012
Machines which ape people are tending to encroach on every aspect of people's lives, and that such machines force people to behave like machines. The new electronic devices do indeed have the power to force people to "communicate" with them and with each other on the terms of the machine. Whatever structurally does not fit the logic of machines is effectively filtered from a culture dominated by their use.
The machine-like behaviour of people chained to electronics constitutes a degradation of their well-being and of their dignity which, for most people in the long run, becomes intolerable. Observations of the sickening effect of programmed environments show that people in them become indolent, impotent, narcissistic and apolitical. The political process breaks down, because people cease to be able to govern themselves; they demand to be managed.
~ Ivan Illich ~
2013
Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting.
~ Ivan Illich ~
2014
Washington acted as the representative of the needs, the ideas, the enlightened men, the opinions of his age; he supported, not thwarted, the stirrings of intellect; he desired only what he had to desire, the very thing to which he had been called: from which derives the coherence and longevity of his work. That man who struck few blows because he kept things in proportion has merged his existence with that of his country: his glory is the heritage of civilisation; his fame has risen like one of those public sanctuaries where a fecund and inexhaustible spring flows.
~ François-René de Chateaubriand ~
2015
Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep. They're born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know — all mysticsCatholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion — are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.
~ Anthony de Mello ~
2016
I see God in every human being. When I wash the leper's wounds, I feel I am nursing the Lord himself. Is it not a beautiful experience?
~ Saint Teresa of Calcutta ~
2017 
Rank or add further suggestions…

Quotes by people born this day, already used as QOTD:

  • I do not believe that friendship today can flower out — can come out — of political life. I do believe that if there is something like a political life-to-be — to remain for us, in this world of technology — then it begins with friendship. ~ Ivan Illich
  • The current search for new educational funnels must be reversed into the search for their institutional inverse: educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring. ~ Ivan Illich
  • Learned and leisurely hospitality is the only antidote to the stance of deadly cleverness that is acquired in the professional pursuit of objectively secured knowledge. I remain certain that the quest for truth cannot thrive outside the nourishment of mutual trust flowering into a commitment to friendship. ~ Ivan Illich
  • I do think that if I had to choose one word to which hope can be tied it is hospitality. A practice of hospitality— recovering threshold, table, patience, listening, and from there generating seedbeds for virtue and friendship on the one hand — on the other hand radiating out for possible community, for rebirth of community. ~ Ivan Illich

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]

Memory is often the attribute of stupidity; it generally belongs to heavy spirits whom it makes even heavier by the baggage it loads them down with. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand

  • 3 because memories truly are a heavy burden to carry. Zarbon 15:57, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 00:55, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 22:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

One does not learn how to die by killing others. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand

  • 3 because even after killing others, one will find death surprising when it comes for them. Zarbon 15:57, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 00:30, 1 September 2009 (UTC) 3 Kalki 00:55, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 3 InvisibleSun 22:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Aristocracy has three successive ages, — the age of superiorities, the age of privileges, and the age of vanities; having passed out of the first, it degenerates in the second, and dies away in the third. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand

  • 2 because the process of degeneration is well described here, ending magnificently with vanities. Zarbon 15:57, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 00:55, 1 September 2008 (UTC) with a lean toward 3.
  • 3 InvisibleSun 22:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Political criticism is our enemies' best friend. ~ Bernard Kerik

  • 2 Zarbon 05:20, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 00:55, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 InvisibleSun 22:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Never tire yourself more than necessary, even if you have to found a culture on the fatigue of your bones. ~ Antonin Artaud

  • 2 Zarbon 05:20, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 00:55, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 22:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

I myself spent nine years in an insane asylum and I never had the obsession of suicide, but I know that each conversation with a psychiatrist, every morning at the time of his visit, made me want to hang myself, realizing that I would not be able to cut his throat. ~ Antonin Artaud

  • 2 Zarbon 05:20, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 00:55, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 22:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

With society and its public, there is no longer any other language than that of bombs, barricades, and all that follows. ~ Antonin Artaud

  • 3 Zarbon 05:20, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 00:55, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 22:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Tragedy on the stage is no longer enough for me, I shall bring it into my own life. ~ Antonin Artaud

  • 2 Zarbon 05:20, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • 1 Kalki 00:55, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 22:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

There is in every madman a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him. ~ Antonin Artaud

  • 3 Zarbon 05:20, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 00:55, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 22:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

Man, machine and nature should function in artistic harmony. ~ Fritz Todt

  • 3 Zarbon 05:20, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 00:55, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
  • 2 InvisibleSun 22:13, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

And now you know — the rest of the story. ~ Paul Harvey (born 4 September 1918)

  • 2 Kalki 23:42, 1 March 2009 (UTC) but might rank this a 3 or even a 4 eventually.
  • 1 this lacks context for those who are unfamiliar. - Zarbon 17:49, 21 August 2009 (UTC)

In times like these, it's helpful to remember that there have always been times like these. ~ Paul Harvey (DoB)

  • 3 Ningauble 18:25, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • This was already used, on 2 March 2009. ~ Kalki 19:31, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 Zarbon 04:16, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

It's difficult to be rigorous about whether a machine really 'knows', 'thinks', etc., because we're hard put to define these things. We understand human mental processes only slightly better than a fish understands swimming. ~ John McCarthy (DoB)

  • 2.5 Ningauble 18:25, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • 2 Kalki 19:31, 3 September 2009 (UTC) with a lean toward 3.
  • 2 Zarbon 04:16, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Whenever we write an axiom, a critic can say that the axiom is true only in a certain context. With a little ingenuity the critic can usually devise a more general context in which the precise form of the axiom doesn't hold.... There simply isn't a most general context. ~ John McCarthy (DoB)

  • 2 Ningauble 18:25, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 19:31, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • 1 Zarbon 04:16, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Silence, according to western and eastern tradition alike, is necessary for the emergence of persons. It is taken from us by machines that ape people. We could easily be made increasingly dependent on machines for speaking and for thinking, as we are already dependent on machines for moving. ~ Ivan Illich (DoB)

  • 2.5 Ningauble 18:25, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
  • 3 Kalki 19:31, 3 September 2009 (UTC) with a strong lean toward 4.
  • 2 Zarbon 04:16, 8 September 2009 (UTC)

Schooling, which we engage in and which supposedly creates equal opportunities, has become the unique, never-before-attempted way of dividing the whole society into classes. Everybody knows at which level of his twelve or sixteen years of schooling he has dropped out, and in addition knows what price tag is attached to the higher schooling he has gotten. It's a history of degrading the majority of people. ~ Ivan Illich


In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy. ~ Ivan Illich


People need new tools to work with rather than new tools that work for them. ~ Ivan Illich


The impending loss of spirit, of soul, of what I call atmosphere, could go unnoticed.
Only persons who face one another in trust can allow its emergence. The bouquet of friendship varies with each breath, but when it is there it needs no name. ~ Ivan Illich


Achilles exists only through Homer. Take away the art of writing from this world, and you will probably take away its glory. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand


Memory is often the attribute of stupidity; it generally belongs to heavy spirits whom it makes even heavier by the baggage it loads them down with. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand


I am Bourbon as a matter of honour, royalist according to reason and conviction, and republican by taste and character. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand


I have been present at sieges, congresses, conclaves, at the restoration and demolition of thrones. I have made history, and been able to write it. … Within and alongside my age, perhaps without wishing or seeking to, I have exerted upon it a triple influence, religious, political and literary. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand


Washington and Bonaparte emerged from the womb of democracy: both of them born to liberty, the former remained faithful to her, the latter betrayed her. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand

  • 3 Kalki (talk · contributions) 18:14, 1 September 2010 (UTC) with a lean toward 4, though might also be used on dates associated with either Washington or Napoleon.

New storms will arise; one can believe in calamities to come which will surpass the afflictions we have been overwhelmed by in the past; already, men are thinking of bandaging their old wounds to return to the battlefield. … No doubt there will be painful moments: the face of the world cannot change without suffering. But, once again, there will be no separate revolutions; simply the great revolution approaching its end. The scenes of tomorrow no longer concern me; they call for other artists: your turn, gentlemen! ~ François-René de Chateaubriand


How small man is on this little atom where he dies! But how great his intelligence! He knows when the face of the stars must be masked in darkness, when the comets will return after thousands of years, he who lasts only an instant! A microscopic insect lost in a fold of the heavenly robe, the orbs cannot hide from him a single one of their movements in the depth of space. What destinies will those stars, new to us, light? Is their revelation bound up with some new phase of humanity? You will know, race to be born; I know not, and I am departing. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand


One might say that the old world was ending, and the new beginning. I behold the light of a dawn whose sunrise I shall never see. It only remains for me to sit down at the edge of my grave; then I shall descend boldly, crucifix in hand, into eternity. ~ François-René de Chateaubriand


This business of saving souls had not ethics; every human relationship was shamelessly exploited. In essence, the tribe was asking us whether we shared its feelings; if we refused to join the church, it was equivalent to saying no, to placing ourselves in the position of moral monsters. ~ Richard Wright (dob)


I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. ~ Richard Wright


Wisdom can be learned. But it cannot be taught.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

Look for competence not claims.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

The law is a necessary evil and as such must be cut down to the barest minimum. Show me a lover of the law and I will show you a muttonheaded tyrant.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

The Master was allergic to ideologies.
"In a war of ideas," he said, "it is people who are the casualties." Later he elaborated: "People kill for money or for power. But the most ruthless murderers are those who kill for their ideas."
~ Anthony de Mello ~

Those who make no mistakes are making the biggest mistakes of all — they are attempting nothing new.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

The atheist makes the mistake of denying that of which nothing may be said... and the theist makes the mistake of affirming it.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

My commitment is not to consistency but to the Truth.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

The master enjoined not austerity, but moderation. If we truly enjoyed things, he claimed, we would be spontaneously moderate. Asked why he was so opposed to ascetical practices, he replied, "Because they produce pleasure-haters who always become people-haters — rigid and cruel."
~ Anthony de Mello ~

There were rules in the monastery, but the Master always warned against the tyranny of the law.
"Obedience keeps the rules," he would say. "Love knows when to break them."
~ Anthony de Mello ~

"You are only a disciple because your eyes are closed. The day you open them you will see there is nothing you can learn from me or anyone."
"What then is a Master for?"
"To make you see the uselessness of having one."
~ Anthony de Mello ~

Is there life before death? — that is the question!
~ Anthony de Mello ~

Can one talk about the ocean to a frog in a well or about the divine to people who are restricted by their concepts?
~ Anthony de Mello ~

Every word, every image used for God is a distortion more than a description.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

The Master would frequently assert that holiness was less a matter of what one did than of what one allowed to happen.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

I'm going to write a book someday and the title will be I'm an Ass, You're an Ass. That's the most liberating, wonderful thing in the world, when you openly admit you're an ass. It's wonderful. When people tell me, "You're wrong" I say, "What can you expect of an ass?"
~ Anthony de Mello ~

These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness and worship without awareness.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

A writer arrived at the monastery to write a book about the Master.
"People say you are a genius. Are you?" he asked.
"You might say so." said the Master, none too modestly.
"And what makes one a genius?" "The ability to recognize." "Recognize what?"
"The butterfly in a caterpillar: the eagle in an egg; the saint in a selfish human being."
~ Anthony de Mello ~

Do you know what eternal life is? You think it's everlasting life. But your own theologians will tell you that that is crazy, because everlasting is still within time. It is time perduring forever. Eternal means timeless — no time. The human mind cannot understand that. The human mind can understand time and can deny time. What is timeless is beyond our comprehension. Yet the mystics tell us that eternity is right now. How's that for good news? It is right now. People are so distressed when I tell them to forget their past. They're crazy! Just drop it! When you hear "Repent for your past," realize it's a great religious distraction from waking up. Wake up! That's what repent means. Not "weep for your sins.": Wake up! understand, stop all the crying. Understand! Wake up!
~ Anthony de Mello ~

The important thing is not to know who "I" is or what "I" is. You'll never succeed. There are no words for it. The important thing is to drop the labels.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

Happiness is our natural state. Happiness is the natural state of little children, to whom the kingdom belongs until they have been polluted and contaminated by the stupidity of society and culture. To acquire happiness you don't have to do anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why? Because we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have? Then why don't you experience it? Because you've got to drop something. You've got to drop illusions. You don't have to add anything in order to be happy; you've got to drop something. Life is easy, life is delightful. It's only hard on your illusions, your ambitions, your greed, your cravings. Do you know where these things come from? From having identified with all kinds of labels!
~ Anthony de Mello ~

It's only when you become love — in other words, when you have dropped your illusions and attachments — that you will "know." As you identify less and less with the "me," you will be more at ease with everybody and with everything. Do you know why? Because you are no longer afraid of being hurt or not liked. You no longer desire to impress anyone. Can you imagine the relief when you don't have to impress anybody anymore? Oh, what a relief. Happiness at last! You no longer feel the need or the compulsion to explain things anymore. It's all right. What is there to be explained? And you don't feel the need or compulsion to apologize anymore. I'd much rather hear you say, "I've come awake," than hear you say, "I'm sorry." I'd much rather hear you say to me, "I've come awake since we last met; what I did to you won't happen again," than to hear you say, "I'm so sorry for what I did to you."
~ Anthony de Mello ~

As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life. But life has no meaning; it cannot have meaning because meaning is a formula; meaning is something that makes sense to the mind. Every time you make sense out of reality, you bump into something that destroys the sense you made. Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

Death is resurrection. We're talking not about some resurrection that will happen but about one that is happening right now. If you would die to the past, if you would die to every minute, you would be the person who is fully alive, because a fully alive person is one who is full of death. We're always dying to things. We're always shedding everything in order to be fully alive and resurrected at every moment. The mystics, saints, and others make great efforts to wake people up. If they don't wake up, they're always going to have these other minor ills like hunger, wars, and violence. The greatest evil is sleeping people, ignorant people.
~ Anthony de Mello ~


Before creation Love was. After creation love is made. When love is consummated, creation will cease to be, and Love will be forever.
~ Anthony de Mello ~


The master never let a statement about God go unchallenged. All God statements were poetic or symbolic expressions of the Unknowable; people, however, foolishly took them as literal descriptions of the divine.
~ Anthony de Mello ~


A disciple, in his reverence for the Master, looked upon him as God incarnate.
"Tell me, O Master," he said, "why you have come into this world."
"To teach fools like you to stop wasting their time worshiping Masters."
~ Anthony de Mello ~

A religious belief… is not a statement about Reality, but a hint, a clue about something that is a mystery, beyond the grasp of human thought. In short, a religious belief is only a finger pointing to the moon. Some religious people never get beyond the study of the finger. Others are engaged in sucking it. Others yet use the finger to gouge their eyes out. These are the bigots whom religion has made blind. Rare indeed is the religionist who is sufficiently detached from the finger to see what it is indicating — these are those who, having gone beyond belief, are taken for blasphemers.
~ Anthony de Mello ~


One always treads with a joyful step when one has dropped the burden called the ego.
~ Anthony de Mello ~


If you want to know what it means to be happy, look at a flower, a bird, a child; they are perfect images of the kingdom. For they live from moment to moment in the eternal now with no past and no future. So they are spared the guilt and anxiety that so torment human beings and they are full of the sheer joy of living, taking delight not so much in persons or things as in life itself. As long as your happiness is caused or sustained by something or someone outside of you, you are still in the land of the dead. The day you are happy for no reason whatsoever, the day you find yourself taking delight in everything and in nothing, you will know that you have found the land of unending joy called the kingdom.
~ Anthony de Mello ~


The shortest distance between a human being and truth is a story.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

All I did was sit on the riverbank handing out river water. After I'm gone, I trust you will notice the river.
~ Anthony de Mello ~

The genius of a composer is found in the notes of his music; but analyzing the notes will not reveal his genius. The poet's greatness is contained in his words; yet the study of his words will not disclose his inspiration. God reveals himself in creation; but scrutinize creation as minutely as you wish, you will not find God, any more than you will find the soul through careful examination of your body.
~ Anthony de Mello ~