Monday, 30 August 2010

Dutiful Pursuits

Duty largely consists of pretending that the trivial is critical.
— John Fowles 'The Magus'

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Sensitive Dependence On Initial Cultural Conditions

Just as an initial “choice” in the biological evolution of a species can be binding upon its entire future, so the choice of scientific practice, an unconscious choice in the beginning, has launched the evolution of culture on a one-way path…
— Jacques Monod 'Chance And Necessity'

Monday, 23 August 2010

Viscous Circles

Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.
— Kurt Vonnegut

Why Are We Here?

I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
— Kurt Vonnegut 'A Man Without a Country'

Sunday, 22 August 2010


Alliance - in international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted in each other's pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third.
— Ambrose Bierce

"Let ME buy you!" spruiked the politician.

"Buy me!"
"Buy me!" yelled the products,
but he couldn't hear them anymore.

"Watch me!" cried the television.
"Read me!" cried the magazines
but he couldn't hear them anymore.

"Drive me!" screamed the car.
"Notice me!" shrieked the celebrity
but he couldn't hear them anymore.

— Michæl Leunig 'The Old, Old Dog'

Mid–Life Crisis

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.
— Kurt Vonnegut

Electile Dysfunction

By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more.
— Albert Camus


Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
— HL Mencken

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The Use Of A Book

"and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"
— Lewis Carroll 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland'

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Evolutionary Horizon

In a vivid insight, a flash of black lightning, he saw that all life was parallel: that evolution was not vertical, ascending to a perfection, but horizontal.
— John Fowles 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Dam Anagram


The strangest thing that human speech and human writing can do is create a metaphor.
That is an amazing leap, is it not?
— Dennis Potter

Friday, 13 August 2010


The fear of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia, frigga, meaning "Friday" and triskaidekaphobia, or paraskevidekatriaphobia, a word derived from the concatenation of the Greek words Paraskeví (Παρασκευή, meaning "Friday"), and dekatreís (δεκατρείς, meaning "thirteen"), attached to phobía (φοβία, from phóbos, φόβος, meaning "fear"). The word was derived in 1911 and first appeared in a mainstream source in 1953.

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Be careful what you pretend to be
because you are what you pretend to be.
— Kurt Vonnegut 'Mother Night'

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

For Life Is Quite Absurd, And Death's The Final Word

Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true,
You'll see it's all a show,
Keep 'em laughing as you go.
Just remember that the last laugh is on you!
— Monty Python 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life'

Friday, 6 August 2010


Potter = shaper of clay;
Abrahamic Mythology: God as shaper of man from clay.

Tom Riddle (cryptic crossword clue) = mot (French) = word;
Abrahamic Mythology: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Tom Riddle — an anagram of 'mi toddler' — represents Harry Potter’s accompanying childish self, the self to be transcended through the maturation rituals symbolised in each of the seven volumes.

One Academic Technique

Find a proposition, invert it, then look around for proofs.
— Alan Bennett 'The History Boys'

This is the technique used, for example, by the philosopher David Chalmers, who inverts what neuroscientists see as the "easy" and "hard" problems of consciousness. It has gained him a lot of attention, not least because he offers hope to those who need to believe in 'life after death' (which is itself an inversion).

Herbivore Anagram


History is an angel
being blown
into the future.
— Laurie Anderson 'The Dream Before'

History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
— James Joyce 'Ulysses'

History nowadays is not a matter of conviction, it's a performance, it's entertainment …
— Alan Bennett 'The History Boys'

… arguing for effect; not believing what you say; that is not history, it's journalism.
— Alan Bennett 'The History Boys'

History is a commentary on the varying and continuing incapabilities of men.
— Alan Bennett 'The History Boys'

History is women following behind with the bucket.
— Alan Bennett 'The History Boys'

History is one fucking thing after another.
— Alan Bennett 'The History Boys'

The history of the world is the history of the triumph of the heartless over the mindless.
— Sir Humphrey Appleby

Biographical history, as taught in our public schools, is still largely a history of boneheads: ridiculous kings and queens, paranoid political leaders, compulsive voyagers, ignorant generals — the flotsam and jetsam of historical currents. The men who radically altered history, the great scientists and mathematicians, are seldom mentioned, if at all.
— Martin Gardner

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Political Economy

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
— Leonard Cohen 'Everybody Knows'

Now, you can say that I've grown bitter but of this you may be sure:
The rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor
— Leonard Cohen 'Tower Of Song'

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


A belligerent state permits itself every such misdeed, every such act of violence, as would disgrace the individual.
— Sigmund Freud

Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.
— Ambrose Bierce

Tuesday, 3 August 2010


I sometimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated his ability.
— Oscar Wilde

The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.
— Oscar Wilde

I wonder who it was defined man as a rational animal. It was the most premature definition ever given. Man is many things, but he is not rational.
— Oscar Wilde

Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Soul Proprietor

This mental space is occupied and everything is mine.
— Leonard Cohen 'Death Of A Ladies' Man'