"In order that the mind may not be taxed, moreover, by the manifold and confused reading of so many such things, and in order to prevent the escape of something valuable that we have read, heard, or discovered through the process of thinking itself, it will be found very useful to entrust to notebooks ... those things which seem noteworthy and striking."

[Commonplace books: Thomas Farnaby, 17th-century]

In the West, allegiance to the concept of the nation is the bedrock on which society is built. But for Israelis, for Palestinians, and for Lebanese as well - even for the nouveau hippies among them , the family is the cornerstone of society. It is the strength and primary allegiance of all segments of the population, to an extent that cannot be comprehended in the West. Anchor of the young and buoy of the old, the family is the primary forge of political orientation. The family itself is the court of public opinion.

[family: Bradley Burston, Haaretz]

Posted by Daniel on 07.17.2008

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hysterical fugue: an affliction not known to have struck any Baroque composer, but first diagnosed in the late nineteenth century.

"Ambulatory automatism, by whatever name--dromomanie, poriomenie, Wandertrieb, determinismo ambulatorio, psychogenic fugue, or, in the parlance of the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, dissociative fugue--is exemplary for, even a caricature of, late century madness. It is also a distorting mirror of one of the middle class obsessions of the modern world, the world of Thomas Cook and Son, the world of the comfortable traveller. For les alienés voyageurs--to use the title of the first medical thesis about these men--were compulsive travellers, solid artisans or honest men of the laboring classes, who on hearing the name of a distant place would set out, on foot, or by fourth class carriage, not knowing why they went. So far as casual passers-by could tell, they behaved, en route, quite sensibly, yet they knew not what they were doing, or, in some cases, who they were."

[madness: Ian Hacking, Modernism, Modernity 3:2]

Posted by Daniel on 07.13.2008

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"Indefinite visions of ambition are weak against the ease of doing what is habitual or beguilingly agreeable; and we all know the difficulty of carrying out a resolve when we secretly long that it may turn out to be unnecessary. In such states of mind the most incredulous person has a private leaning towards miracle: impossible to conceive how our wish could be fulfilled, still--very wonderful things have happened!

[ambition: Elliott, Middlemarch]

Posted by Daniel on 07.12.2008

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"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small parcel."

[self-absorption: John Ruskin, aphorism]

Posted by Daniel on 07.11.2008

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"Strive on diligently"—the reputed last words of the Buddha.

[religion: Buddha, The New Yorker]

Posted by Daniel on 07.11.2008

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"Stupidity carried beyond a certain point becomes a public menace."

[stupidity: Ezra Pound, NYRB]

Posted by Daniel on 07.11.2008

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"Unscientific man is beset by a deplorable desire to have been right. The scientist is distinguished by a desire to be right."

[science: William Quine, Quiddities]

Posted by Daniel on 07.11.2008

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Our levels are a little bit different ... To beat Federer you need to be Nadal and run around like a rabbit and hit winners from all over the place.

[tennis, Federer: Marat Safin, Wimbledon TV interview]

Posted by Daniel on 07.04.2008

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All miniatures seem to have an intrinsic aesthetic quality...

[miniatures: Claude Levi Strauss, The Savage Mind]

Posted by Daniel on 07.02.2008

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"What secular avocation on earth was there for a young man (whose friends could not get him an 'appointment') which was at once gentlemanly, lucrative, and to be followed without special knowledge?"

[vocations: George Eliot, Middlemarch]

Posted by Daniel on 07.02.2008

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"'You must be sure of two things: you must love your work, and not be always looking over the edge of it, wanting your play to begin. And the other is, you must not be ashamed of your work, and think it would be more honourable to you to be doing something else. You must have a pride in your work and in learning to do it well, and not be always saying, There's this and there's that--if I had this or that to do, I might make something of it. No matter what a man is--I wouldn't give two pence for him...whether he was the prime minister or the rick-thatcher, if he didn't do well what he undertook to do.'" Mr. Caleb Garth's Polonius moment to the young and idle Fred Vincy.

[work: George Eliot, Middlemarch]

Posted by Daniel on 07.01.2008

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"The language of any war in the world is killing. I mean the language of war is victims. I don't like to kill people. I feel sorry they have been killed -- kids in 9/11. What will I do? This is the language."

[war: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, The New York Times]

Posted by Daniel on 06.29.2008

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"Dive-bomber pilots were subject to a phenomenon called target fixation. Obsessed with keeping the target centered in their bombsight, they sometimes flew straight down and became one with their target."

[obsession: Brandt & White, Intrepid]

Posted by Daniel on 06.29.2008

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"It is precisely the random moment which is comparatively independent of the controversial and unstable orders over which men fight and despair; it passes unaffected by them, as daily life. The more it is exploited, the more the elementary things which our lives have in common come to light. The more numerous, varied, and simple the people are who appear as subjects of such random moments, the more effectively must what they have in common shine forth."

[commonality: Erich Auerbach, Mimesis]

Posted by Daniel on 06.29.2008

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Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

[committment: Murrary, The Scottish Himalaya Expedition]

Posted by Daniel on 06.29.2008

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