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Quotes #14: All Too Human Frailty:
......Famous Quotes on Communication, Language, and Society

When One or More Are Gathered...

Whenever more than one person is present, society instantly exists. The moment that one person wants something of the other, language or some other means of communication is born. And so the interactive effect of society on language and communication and vice versa begins.

Out of the struggle to understand and live together, civilization is born as people start coping with their all too human frailty.

Humans are Social Animals That Sometimes Act That Way:

The Common Human Tragedy: The Natural State of Chaos
The Implied Social Contract: The Attempt to Bring Order to Chaos
An Organized Society Requires Us All to Play Language Games
Language Confines, Defines, and Describes Experience
Language Divides and Conquers in the Struggle to Communicate

Luckily There are Civilizing Influences to Tame, Educate, and Uplift
The Court of Public Opinion, the Laws of Etiquette, the Moral of Manners
The Cycle of Life and The Evolution of Consciousness
At the End of All Our Wanderings, We Find Ourselves for the First Time

The Common Human Tragedy: The Natural State of Chaos

"Most human beings have to spend their lives in utter vulnerability. All are murderable and torturable, and survive only through the restraint shown by more powerful neighbors. All are born unequal, in terms of capacity or strength. All are born in the inherent frailty of the human condition, naked and helpless, vulnerable all through life to the will of others, limited by ignorance, limited by physical weakness, limited by fear, limited by the phobias that fear engenders."
......"For nearly three thousand years now, the political and social genius of what we can permissibly call 'Western man' has struggled with these brute facts of our unsatisfactory existence. Ever since the Hebrews discovered personal moral responsibility and the Greeks discovered the autonomy of the citizen, the effort has been made. With setbacks and defeats, with dark ages and interregnums and any number of irrelevant adventures on the side - to create a social order in which weak, fallible, obstinate, silly, magnificent man can maintain his dignity and exercise his free and responsible choice."
   -
Adlai Stevenson

"...during the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition that is called war, as is of every man, against every man... Man in a state of nature is a brutish beast."
   -
Thomas Hobbes ("Leviathan")

"Two people cannot be alone together for upwards of half an hour without one emerging as the superior."
   -
Earl of Chesterfield

"Our lives are suspended like our planet in gimbals of duality, half sunlight and half shadow. If we plead with nature, it is in vain; she is wonderfully indifferent to our fate, and it is her custom to try everything and to be ruthless with incompetence. Ninety-nine percent of all the species that have lived on Earth have died away, and no stars will wink out in tribute if we in our folly soon join them."
   -
Timothy Ferris ("Coming of Age in the Milky Way")

"In a culture of electronic violence, images that once caused us to empathize with the pain and trauma of another human being, excite a momentary adrenaline rush. To be numb to another's pain - to be acculturated to violence - is one of the worst consequences our technological advances. That indifference transfers from the screen, TV, film, Internet, and electronic games to our everyday lives."
   -
John Naisbitt ("Technology & Our Search for Meaning")

"Reason is a biological product: a tool whose power is inherently and substantially restricted. It has improved how we do things; it has not changed why we do things. Reason has generated knowledge enabling us to fly around the world in less than two days. Yet we still travel for the same purposes that drove our ancient ancestors -- commerce, conquest, religion, romance, curiosity, or escape from overcrowding, poverty, and persecution.
......To deny that reason has a role in setting our goals seems, at first, rather odd. A personal decision to go on a diet or take more exercise appears to be based upon reason. The same might be said for a government decision to raise taxes or sign a treaty. But reason is only contributing to the 'how' portion of these decisions.
......The more fundamental and essential 'why' element, for all of these examples, is driven by instinctive self-preservation, emotional needs, and cultural attitudes. We are usually reluctant to admit the extent to which these forces govern our behavior, and accordingly
we often recruit reason to explain and justify our actions."
   - Donald B. Calne

The Implied Social Contract: The Attempt to Bring Order to Chaos

"Society is indeed a contract. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born."
   -
Edmund Burke

"'Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs."
   -
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Some of my unhappiest moments have been in organizations. Somehow it seems to be quite respectable to do things in organizations that you would never do in private life. I have had people insult me to my face in front of colleagues. I have had my feelings rammed down my throat on the pretext that it would do me good. I have been required to do things which I didn't agree with because the organization wished it... In my worst moments I have thought organizations were places designed to be run by sadists and staffed by masochists."
   -
Charles Handy ("Waiting for the Mountain to Move: Reflections on Work")

"Go light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social life ain't restful. Avoid running at all times. Don't look back. Something may be gaining on you."
   -
Leroy "Satchel" Paige ("How To Stay Young")

"What has crippled our political discourse is a long-indurated habit of demanding from government qualities that should be sought, primarily, in other aspects of our social life. Government plays a limited role in human activity, and it should have the aspects suited to its limits. It cannot be the family, the church, the local club, the private intellectual circle - all of which show the anti-governmental qualities some seek to impose on the state. When government does not show all the human virtues, it is rejected as contributing to none of them. That asks too much of government, as a preliminary to expecting nothing of it."
   -
Garry Wills ("Necessary Evil: History of American Distrust of Government")

"Any law that takes hold of a man's daily life cannot prevail in a community, unless the vast majority of the community are actively in favor of it. The laws that are the most operative are the laws which protect life."
   -
Henry Ward Beecher

"Any relations in a social order will endure, if there is infused into them some of that spirit of human sympathy which qualifies life for immortality."
   -
George W. Russell

"Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Society."
   -
John Oliver Hobbes

"Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit."
   -
Henry Adams

"There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it."
   -
Dale Carnegie

"The art of communication is the language of leadership."
   -
James Humes

An Organized Society Requires Us All to Play Language Games

"Language is the armory of the human mind, and at once contains the trophies of its past and the weapons of its future conquests."
   -
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

"In the game known as Broken Telephone (or Chinese Whispers) a child whispers a phrase into the ear of a second child, who whispers it into the ear of a third child, and so one. Distortions accumulate, and when the last child announces the phrase, it is comically different from the original. The game works because each child does not merely degrade the phrase, which would culminate in a mumble, but reanalyzes it, making a best guess about the words the preceding child had in mind."
....."All languages change through the centuries. Today we do not speak like Shakespeare (1564-1616), who did not speak like Chaucer (1343-1400), who did not speak like the author of Beowulf (around 750-800). As the changes take place, people feel the ground eroding under their feet and in every era have predicted the imminent demise of the language. Yet the twelve hundred years of changes since Beowulf have not left us grunting like Tarzan, and that is because language change is a game of Broken Telephone."
....."A generation of speakers uses their lexicon and grammar to produce sentences. The younger generation listens to the sentences and tries to infer the lexicon and grammar, the remarkable feat we call language acquisition. The transmission of a lexicon and grammar in language acquisition is fairly high in fidelity - you probably can communicate well with your parents and your children - but it is never perfect."
....."Words rise and fall in popularity, as the needs of daily life change, and also as the hip try to sound different from the dweebs and graybeards. Speakers swallow or warp some sounds to save effort, and enunciate or shift others to make themselves understood. Immigrants or conquerors with regional or foreign accents may swamp the locals and change the pool of speech available to children."
....."Children, for their part, do not mimic sentences like parrots but try to make sense of them in terms of underlying words and rules. They may hear a mumbled consonant as no consonant at all, or a drawn-out or mispronounced vowel as a different vowel. They may fail to discern the rationale for a rule and simply memorize its outputs as a list. Or they may latch on to some habitual way of ordering words and hypothesize a new rule to make sense of it."
....."The language of their generation will have changed, though it need not have deteriorated. Then the process is repeated with their children. Each change may be small, but as changes accumulate over centuries they reshape the language just as erosion and sedimentation imperceptibly sculpt the earth."
   -
Steven Pinker

"The fun of Pinker's game (see above) is forever destroyed by simply changing the rules so that instead of whispering the sentence to the next person we write it on a slip of paper (or a computer screen) and hand it along. Now there is no room for interpretation or creativity. Yet that may be the direction we are heading."
....."Since the invention of the printing press, and the rise of the "scientific" mindset, there has been an increased valuing of precision and repetition. A world that once valued the teller-of-tales who was free to reformulate and personalize the narrative he or she received from another, is becoming a world that values the quoter of quotes, and we better be exact, and include the proper citation, too."
....."Related to that general movement from an oral to a mathematical base for communication are two other dynamics. As Pinker notes, the forces of generations and physical distance and cultural identity were instrumental in fomenting the very brokenness which made language live. These forces also are increasingly limited in their impact as it becomes more difficult to "recognize to old folks" so we can rebel against them, or lay claim to a certain place or group in order to adopt and develop our own unique language."
....."When we can converse instantly around the world, with little sense of who is on the other end of the conversation, the push toward one, systematic, universally understood language becomes very strong. We seem to be in danger of destroying the very forces that make for a living language. What will that do to the patterns of thought and imagination that depend upon that flexibility and variability for their existence? Perhaps precision kills language after all."
   -
Alan Selig

Language Confines, Defines, and Describes Experience

"The individual's whole experience is built upon the plan of his language."
   -
Henri Delacroix

"Language which makes communication possible is also the construct which prevent us from having a pure experience with the Source. Language serves as an intermediary between the pure 'bubble of information' that floats down to us from the source and the finite minds at various levels of consciousness which struggle to interpret and comprehend that information."
......"In fact, there is a direct correlation between the degree of structure in the language and the degree of structure in the society which speaks it. The words of language, as they are written or spoken, play a defining role in the mechanism of thought. They become another 'filter of consciousness' interposed between the purity of the message and it's interpretation. The physical representations of the elements of thought as expressed by language become the attempts of a finite mind to make sense out of infinite images."
   -
Ellen Mogensen (reversing Albert Einstein's quote to the contrary)

"Intuition is the clear conception of the whole at once."
   -
Johann Lavater

"Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we can think about."
   -
Benjamin Lee Whorf

"If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world."
   -
Ludwig Wittgenstein

"Even now as you are speaking to me, are the words you are thinking in our language or in theirs?"
   -
Kret to Jet-Laya ("Star Trek: Voyager") Jet-Laya was his Kobali daughter previously known as Ensign Lyndsay Ballard. This demonstrates the well known phenomena that the language of thought is the primary language of the person -EM)

"To have another language is to possess a second soul."
   -
Charlemagne

"Language is the inventory of human experience."
   -
L. W. Lockhart

"Words are the leaves of the tree of language, of which, if some fall away, a new succession takes their place."
   -
John French

"Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation."
   -
Noam Chomsky

"Those who know nothing of foreign languages, knows nothing of their own."
   -
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

"Language is the blood of the soul
into which thoughts run and out of which they grow."
   -
Oliver Wendell Holmes

"Language furnishes the best proof that a law accepted by a community is a thing that is tolerated and not a rule to which all freely consent."
   -
Ferdinand De Saussure

Language Divides and Conquers in the Struggle to Communicate

"Britain and America: two great countries divided by a common language."
   -
Winston Churchill

"Look at the... deterioration which our Queen's English has undergone at the hands of the Americans! Look at those phrases which so annoy us in their books and speeches, at their reckless exaggeration and contempt for congruity!"
   -
Henry Alford, Dean of Canterbury (1863)

"The American language is in a state of flux based upon survival of the unfittest."
   -
Cyril Connolly

"The problems of society will also be the problems of the predominant language of that society. It is the carrier of its perceptions, its attitudes, and its goals, for through it, the speakers absorb entrenched attitudes."
   -
Njabulo Ndebele

"'The fact that any alien race communicates with another is quite remarkable' Troi says as she lifts Picard's clear glass cup filled with coffee from his desk. 'We are stranded on a planet. No language in common but I want to teach you mine.' Troi points to the cup and says 'S'smarith... what did I just say?' Picard answers 'Cup? Glass?' Troi asks 'Are you sure? I might have meant liquid, clear, brown, hot. And we conceptualize the universe in the same way.'"
(Communication is much harder when the two parties do not - EM)
   -
Troi to Picard ("Star Trek: Next Generation")

"Legal language enshrouds the law, hiding it from the public it exists to serve. The idiom of the lawyer leads to public ignorance of the content of the law (which paradoxically refuses to recognize that ignorance of the law should be a defence), to uninformed criticism and to unmerited praise. It provokes the indifference of too many laymen towards the law and the contempt of litigants for a system they do not understand."
(See what it mean to conceptualize the universe the same way? - EM)
   -
David Pannick

"The future business of businesses that have a future will be about subtle differences, not wholesale conformity. About diversity, not homogeneity; about breaking rules, not enforcing them. About pushing the envelope, not punching the clock; about invitation, not protection; about doing it first, not doing it "right". About making it better, not making it perfect; about telling the truth, not spinning bigger lies; about turning people on, not 'packaging' them. Perhaps above all, about building convivial communities and knowledge ecologies, not leveraging demographic sectors."
   -
Rick Levine ("The End of Business as Usual")

"Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true."
   -
Charles Dickens

"Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone."
   -
Ralph Waldo Emerson

"To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others."
   -
Anthony Robbins

"How many languages are there in the world? How about 5 billion! Each of us talks, listens, and thinks in his/her own special language that has been shaped by our culture, experiences, profession, personality, mores and attitudes. The chances of us meeting someone else who talks the exact same language is pretty remote."
   -
Anonymous

Luckily There are Civilizing Influences to Tame, Educate, and Uplift

"There can be no be no better instruction... than that every man who is to deal with his neighbor to follow these commandments. 'Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye also unto them,' and 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.' If these were always followed, then everything would instruct and arrange itself; then no law books nor courts nor judicial actions would be required. All things would quietly and simply be set to rights, for everyone's heart and conscience would guide them."
   -
Martin Luther

"Eighteenth-century Americans were eager for good advice, especially advice concerning their conduct. Children who wanted to be more grown up and adults who wanted to be smarter, shrewder, or more couth, consumed manuals of advice and instruction, written here or abroad."
......"The all-American dispenser of good advice was Benjamin Franklin in his Poor Richard's Almanac (
'God helps them that help themselves,' 'Have you something to do tomorrow, do it today'). And also in his Autobiography ('Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation,' 'Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve')."
......"[Yet] Franklin wryly suggests that these exertions of his fellow countrymen were wasted. He describes a crowd gathered for a sale, asking an old man to tell them how they should live when times are hard. The old man gives them a fistful of maxims about frugality and temperance, drawn from Poor Richard."
......"'Thus the old gentleman ended his harangue. The people heard it, and approved the doctrine, and immediately practiced the contrary, just as if it had been a common sermon; for the [sale] opened, and they began to buy extravagantly, notwithstanding all his cautions...'"
......"But, years later, Franklin gave a more hopeful judgment, '...on the whole, though I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell short of it. Yet I was, by the endeavor, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been had I not attempted it.'"
   -
George Brookhiser

"There are men who would quickly love each other if once they were speak to each other; for when they spoke they would discover that their souls had only separated by phantoms and delusions."
   -
Ernest Hello

"A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all. It is civilization that marries thought with action in a way which benefits everyone."
   -
Georges Bernanos

"Man's chief purpose... is the creation and preservation of values. That is what gives meaning to our civilization and the participation in this is what gives significance, ultimately, to the individual human life."
   -
Lewis Mumford ("Faith for Living")

"Be the master of your will and the slave of your conscience."
   -
Jewish Hasidic Proverb

"Don't point a finger: lend a hand.
For it's better to fix the problem, then fix the blame."
   -
Anonymous

"It is a myth, not a mandate, a fable not a logic, and symbol rather than a reason by which men are moved."
   -
Irwin Edman

"The progress of civilization is the degree to which intelligence has prevailed over wealth and brute force."
   -
George Bancroft

"Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty, and dies with chaos."
   -
Will Durant

The Court of Public Opinion, the Laws of Etiquette, the Moral of Manners

"Things being understood, knowledge became complete.
Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere.
Their thoughts being rectified, their persons were cultivated.
Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated.
Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed.
Their states being rightly governed, their whole empire was made happy.
From the Emperor to the masses, all must consider the cultivation of the person, the root of everything."
   -
Confucius

"Manners or etiquette ('accessibility, affability, politeness, refinement, propriety, courtesy, and ingratiating and captivating behavior') call for no large measure of moral determination and cannot, therefore, be reckoned as virtues. Even though manners are no virtues, they are a means of developing virtue.... The more we refine the crude elements in our nature, the more we improve our humanity and the more capable it grows of feeling the driving force of virtuous principles."
   -
Immanuel Kant

"Manners are of more importance than laws. Upon them, in a great measure the laws depend. The law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and colour to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them, or they totally destroy them."
   -
Edmund Burke

"Manners must adorn knowledge, and smooth its way through the world. Like a great rough diamond, it may do very well in a closet by way of curiosity, and also for its intrinsic value."
   -
Earl of Chesterfield

"As any student of civility would, I find it a fascinating notion: that there are professions for which incivility is a requirement... I am skeptical of their morality, because they fail to convey a message that we are, all of us, not lone drivers but fellow passengers.It may be that law and politics seem so dismally rude because their principal ethic is merely one of victory, an ethic materially enriching and emotionally satisfying, but morally unimportant."
......"If lawyers are paid to be rude and political consultants to be nasty, and if their incivility is linked to the fact that they are also paid to win... We should scarcely be surprised that professional athletes find it comfortable to brawl with fans, spit on umpires, take bites out of ears, and, in one unfortunate case nicknamed 'Assassin,' specialize in injuring fellow football players. After all, the athletes want to win too."
   -
Stephen L. Carter ("Civility")

"Empathy and fellow feeling form the very basis of morality. The capacities for empathy, for feeling responsibility toward others and for reaching out to help them can be stunted or undermined early on, depending on a child's experiences in the home and neighborhood. It becomes too easy to turn our backs on fellow human beings... to have 'compassion fatigue.' Technology, we are learning, is not neutral."
   -
Sissela Bok ("Mayhem")

"Seek to purge yourself from "'idols' or tendencies to error. These come from human nature ("idols of the tribe"), from individual temperament and experience ("idols of the cave"), from language ("idols of the marketplace"), and from false philosophies ("idols of the theater")."
   -
Francis Bacon

"When men are pure, laws are useless. When men are corrupt, laws are broken."
   -
Benjamin Disraeli ("Contarini Fleming")

The Cycle of Life and The Evolution of Consciousness

"Author John Vernon had this unexpected reading experience when he opened the pages of the tattered 1911 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica handed down to him by his father-in-law:
......"The 1911 Britannica is said to be especially reliable in its literary and historical entries but outdated in its science and technology. I found both assessments to be off the mark. The literary and historical entries often turned out to be Western imperial ethnocentrism at its worst--the white man's burden."
......"Whereas the science and technology were a cabinet of wonders, a window into the ingenuity of the human mind when its information is insufficient and it must therefore chew more than it can bite off."
......"I read about Ludwig's stromuhr for measuring blood flow; about hatters who separated the finer fibers of furs by striking with a pin the string on a huge bow suspended above a worktable. About the alternatives to oral administration of mercury for syphilis patients--fumigation of the naked unfortunate huddled beneath a blanket while seated on a cane-bottomed chair, or injection of the mercury directly into his buttock. About abiogenesis, the belief that animals and insects can be spontaneously generated from dew, piles of old clothes, slime in wells and mud."
......"I read about the English 'Jury of Annoyance,' appointed by an act of 1754 to report on highway obstructions. About the Chorizontes, those ancients who believed that two different people wrote 'The Odyssey' and 'The Iliad'. About heart burial, defined with impeccable deadpan as "the burial of the heart apart from the body," an honor accorded to, among others, Louis XIV, Robert the Bruce, and Shelley."
......"Often the entries revealed a past quite different from that in history books, with their organized landscapes of dates, political alliances, and anonymous armies. The difference was like that between seeing the world from an airplane and walking around in a hallucination of close-ups, hideous and fascinating. It was the past through a microscope rather than a telescope."
   -
John Vernon

"In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking. But now, God knows, anything goes. Good authors too who once knew better words now only use four-letter words writing prose, Anything goes. The world has gone mad today and good's bad today, and black's white today, and day's night today."
   -
Cole Porter ("Anything Goes")

"Today, when man seems to have reached the beginning of a new, richer, happier human era, his existence and that of the generations to follow is more threatened than ever. How is this possible?"
......"Man had won his freedom from clerical and secular authorities, he stood alone with his reason and his conscience as his only judges, but he was afraid of the newly won freedom. He had achieved 'freedom from' -- without yet having achieved 'freedom to' -- to be himself, to be productive, to be fully awake."
......"Thus he tried to escape from freedom. His very achievement, the mastery over nature, opened up the avenue for his escape. In building the new industrial machine, men became so absorbed in the new task that it became the paramount goal of his life. His energies, which once were devoted to the search for God and salvation, were now directed toward the domination of nature and ever-increasing material comfort."
......"He ceased to use production as a means for a better life, but made it instead to an end in itself, an end to which life was subordinated. In the process of an ever-increasing size of social organizations, man himself became a part of the machine, rather than its master. He experienced himself as a commodity, as an investment; his aim became to be a success, that is, to sell himself as profitably as possible on the market."
......"His value as a person lies in his salability, not in his human qualities of love, reason or in his artistic capacities. Happiness becomes identical with consumption of newer and better commodities, the drinking in of music, screen plays, fun, sex, liquor and cigarettes. Not having a sense of self except the one which conformity with the majority can give, he is insecure, anxious, depending on approval.
......"He is alienated from himself, worships the product of his own hands, the leaders of his own making, as if they were above him, rather than made by him. He is in a sense back where he was before the great human evolution began in the second millennium BC."
   -
Erich Fromm (So have we evolved or haven't we?... the answer is up to you - EM)

At the End of All Our Wanderings, We Find Ourselves for the First Time

"The life of every individual, if we survey it as a whole and in general, and only lay stress upon its most significant features, is really always a tragedy, but gone through in detail, it has the character of a comedy. For the deeds and vexations of the day, the restless irritation of the moment, the desires and fears of the week, the mishaps of every hour, are all through chance, which is ever bent upon some jest, scenes of a comedy."
......"But the never-satisfied wishes, the frustrated efforts, the hopes unmercifully crushed by fate, the unfortunate errors of the whole life, with increasing suffering and death at the end, are always a tragedy. Thus, as if fate would add derision to the misery of our existence, our life must contain all the woes of tragedy, and yet we cannot even assert the dignity of tragic characters, but in the broad detail of life must inevitably be the foolish characters of a comedy."
   -
Arthur Schopenhauer

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children. To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of friends. To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others. To leave the world a little better place than we found it, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition. To know even one life breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded." (This is to have lived. -EM)
   -
Bessie Anderson Stanley

"For more and more people the world is coming to resemble a diaspora, filled with new kinds of beings -- Gastarbeiters and boat people and Marielitos -- as well as new kinds of realities: Rwandans in Auckland and Moroccans in Iceland.
......"One reason why Melbourne looks ever more like Houston is that both of them are filling up with Vietnamese pho cafs; and computer technology further encourages us to believe that the remotest point is just a click away."
......"Everywhere is so made up of everywhere else -- a polycentric anagram -- that I hardly notice I'm sitting in a Parisian cafe just outside Chinatown (in San Francisco). I'm talking to a Mexican-American friend about biculturalism while a Haitian woman stops off to congratulate him on a piece he's just delivered on TV on St. Patrick's Day.
...... 'I know all about those Irish nuns,' she says, in a thick patois, as we sip our Earl Grey tea near signs that say City of Hong Kong, Empress of China."
   -
Pico Iyer ("The Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, Search for Home")

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
   -
Martin Luther King Jr.

"We have met the enemy and he is us."
   -
Walt Kelly (speaking as "Pogo")

"No nation should take its good luck for granted, no society should become complacent about its harmony, no community should deny the power of the unexpected to upend settled lives. But equally no nation should forget to salute its citizens, celebrate its achievements and build an identity based on a mature understanding of its history."
   -
Australia Day 2011

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. It was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair'..."
   -
Charles Dickens ("Tale of Two Cities")

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
   -
Martin Luther King Jr.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
   -
Chinese Proverb

"One can begin to reshape the landscape with a single flower."
   -
Spock to Picard ("Star Trek Next Generation": on the impossible task of reuniting the Vulcans and Romulans)


 

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