Quotable #89: Abstraction

“What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms – in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what […]

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Possible Origins of “God Is Always on the Side of the Heaviest Battalion”

The quotation “God is always on the side of the heaviest battalion” has mainly been attributed to Napoleon (1769 – 1821). Another form of the same quotation you may recognize is “Providence is always on the side of the big battalions”. Nonetheless, this saying has been around long before the time of Napoleon. One of […]

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Quotable #88: Free Will

“Man, what are you talking about? Me in chains? You may fetter my leg but my will, not even Zeus himself can overpower.”  — Epictetus, The Discourses of Epictetus, with the Encheridion and Fragments (1877 edition), tr. by George Long, c. 2nd century “A horse that is hitched with others to a wagon is not free not […]

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Quotable #79: Poverty

“Poverty, in large cities, has very different appearances. It is often concealed in splendor, and often in extravagance. It is the care of a great part of mankind to conceal their indigence from the rest. They support themselves by temporary expedients, and every day is lost in contriving for to-morrow.” — Samuel Johnson, Rasselas, 1759 […]

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Quotable #43: Words

“If a mean person uses a wise maxim, I bethink me how it can be interpreted so as to commend itself to his meanness; but if a wise man makes a commonplace remark, I consider what wider construction it will admit.” — Henry David Thoreau, from his journal dated July 11, 1840, cited in The Works of Henry David Thoreau, […]

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Quotable #42: Greatest Fool

“A man who knows he is a fool is not a great fool.” — Master Zhuang, Zhuangzi, c. 300 BC “The greatest fool is he who thinks he is not one and all others are.” — Baltasar Gracián (1601-1658), The Art of Worldly Wisdom (Trans. by Christopher Maurer, 1992)

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Quotable #36: Agree

“About the only thing people in every walk of life will agree about is that they are underpaid and overcharged.” — Bill Vaughan, Bell-McClure Syndicate, quoted in The Reader’s Digest, Vol. 101, 1972

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Quotable #35: Gossips

“We call talking about other people’s personal lives ‘gossip’ only if we aren’t or weren’t part of the conversation.” — Mokokoma Mokhonoana

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