“In 1897, it was fired at the president of Uruguay by a young man from Montevideo, Avelino Arredondo, who had spent long weeks without seeing anyone so that the world might know that he acted alone. Thirty years earlier, Lincoln had been murdered by that same ball, by the criminal or magical hand of an actor transformed by the words of Shakespeare into Marcus Brutus, Caesar’s murderer. In the mid-seventeenth century, vengeance had employed it for the assassination of Sweden’s Gustavus Adolphus in the midst of the public hecatomb of battle.
“In earlier times, the bullet had been other things, because Pythagorean metempsychosis is not reserved for humankind alone. It was the silken cord given to viziers in the East, the rifles and bayonets that cut down the defenders of the Alamo, the triangular blade that slit a queen’s throat, the wood of the Cross and the dark nails that pierced the flesh of the Redeemer, the poison kept by the Carthaginian chief in an iron ring on his finger, the serene goblet that Socarates drank down one evening.
“In the dawn of time it was the stone that Cain hurled at Abel, and in the future it shall be many things that we cannot even imagine today, but that will be able to put an end to men and their wondrous, fragile life.”
Borges, In Memorian JFK
Like last year, like next year, this year. A poem to lost life.
"We are each a world in ourselves, and the pleasantest world is of our own creation. To be domiciled in a ready-made world which may be a misfit may cause you to carry it as a burden instead of living happily in it. Then there is the beaten path—the one that the millions travel and along which the opportunities have to be divided into such minute parts that to the many who must share them they are invisible. Strike out for a new road, and travel on it and help build it into a great highway, and share in the benefits that follow. Take your ambition and abilities to a suitable field of activity. Go there with a fixed purpose, a determination to succeed; acquaint yourself with its tradition and past experience, so as not to be surprised or discouraged by obstructions that may only be blocking the way to a great treasure, placed there that the timid, the faint-hearted, the indolent, the undeserving may not secure it."
"For what are you preparing yourself—the newspaper of yesterday, the newspaper of today or the newspaper of tomorrow? If you are being taught in terms of yesterday or today, I wish to say to you that tomorrow is something more than another day. It is another world. We are on the eve of new ideas and new methods. The inventive genius of man is rapidly extending the use of Nature’s powers and resources. Tomorrow is truly a new world, and not more so in anything else than in the profession of journalism. What is of interest on the morrow is what makes the live, interesting newspaper. Tomorrow is where the newspaper man lives and views the multifarious activities of mankind."
"It does not require much stretch of imagination to expect that reporters will in the near future carry with them some kind of portable wireless telephone and thus keep in touch with their offices. So, again I say, prepare for the morrow!"
"Do not live in the past. Be up and doing. Be alive. It is said that an undertaker in Philadelphia displays a sign which reads, ‘Why go around half dead when I will bury you for $37.50?’"
"The best a man takes to his grave is that which he wisely gave away."
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”—
“… studies show that people with the best self-control are the ones who structure their lives so as to conserve willpower. They don’t schedule endless back-to-back meetings. They avoid temptations like all-you-can-eat buffets, and they establish habits that eliminate the mental effort of making choices. Instead of deciding every morning whether or not to force themselves to exercise, they set up regular appointments to work out with a friend. Instead of counting on willpower to remain robust all day, they conserve it so that it’s available for emergencies and important decisions.”—
“A small nation,resembles a big family and likes to describe itself that way… Thus in the big family that is a small country, the artist is bound in multiple ways, by multiple cords. When Nietzsche noisily savaged the German character, when Stendhal announced that he preferred Italy to his homeland, no German or Frenchman took offence; if a Greek or a Czech dared to say the same thing, his family would curse him as a detestable traitor.”—
Useful for those times when we wonder about roots.
“A kind of British Spring is under way, now that the News Corporation’s tidy system of punishment and reward has crumbled. Members of Parliament, no longer fearful of retribution in Mr. Murdoch’s tabloids, are speaking their minds and giving voice to the anger of their constituents. Meanwhile, social media has roamed wild and free across the story, punching a hole in the tiny clubhouse that had been running the country. Democracy, aided by sunlight, has broken out in Britain.”—David Carr
You can assemble factual truth brick by brick. But there’s also emotional truth. How people feel may not be rooted in fact, but it can be true to them, and it guides their actions. The first one’s hard, but it’s a lot easier than the second.
A second and more chilling explanation of why elites proved so incompetent at governing the Greek economy — as well as the larger, global one — is related to what Mr. Manolopoulos calls the “Washington consensus,” a faith in deregulation, free trade, mobile capital flows and fiscal responsibility that he considers elitist.
Two elements of this consensus — market deregulation and the liberalization of capital flows — helped create enormous pools of global credit, making it “easier for short-termist governments to abandon the principle of fiscal responsibility,” since spending not financed through tax hikes could be financed by foreign loans, he says.
Last but not least, all this free-flowing capital has prompted bubbles — in housing, finance and other areas — that add volatility to national economies and impose harsh costs, particularly on the poor and middle classes.
We have become information narcissists, so uninterested in anything outside ourselves and our friendship circles or in any tidbit we cannot share with those friends that if a Marx or a Nietzsche were suddenly to appear, blasting his ideas, no one would pay the slightest attention, certainly not the general media, which have learned to service our narcissism.
What the future portends is more and more information — Everests of it. There won’t be anything we won’t know. But there will be no one thinking about it.
“Our politicians have chosen to narrow their imaginations, but they can’t narrow ours. Even if we can’t control how Washington responds to our problems, we still have control over how we respond to them.”—Arianna Huffington
Many great American fortunes are monuments to the ability of the generality of mankind to prefer a good product to a bad one when the prices are approximately the same. Yet from Plato down the philosophers who have dreaded democracy have feared it because they believed it incapable of appreciating excellence…. As between soaps selling at the same price, yes, buyers eventually will prefer the better; but as between ideas, oh, no!
Adolph Ochs denied this. He held that the discrimination of the American public is not confined to material things. He was no perfectionist. He never believed for a moment that all people, or even that most people, are really intelligent; but he did believe profoundly that intelligence runs in roughly the same proportion at all economic levels. He believed that in a population consisting of a hundred rich, a thousand fairly well-off, and ten-thousand poor, if you find ten intelligent among the rich, you will find about a hundred among the well-off and about a thousand among the poor….
No social philosopher, monarchist, aristocrat or proletarian, has maintained seriously that all people are equally endowed mentally. Where American democracy diverges from other theories is in its insistence that neither heredity nor fortune is of much effect in determining worth; which means that the bulk of human value is to be found in the bulk of the population.
”—Gerald W. Johnson, An Honorable Titan: A Biographical Study of Adolph S. Ochs
“The new nation [the United States] was largely populated by people torn from, fleeing from, or in revolt against their own histories. This also helped take the republic out of the movement and motive of secular history…. Today, for all the preservation of landmarks and the show biz of bicentennials, we have become, so far as interest and knowledge are concerned, an essentially historyless people.”—Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., The Cycles of American History