||Quotes that have touched me (page 3 of 16)
|Disclaimer: Citation of a quote,
below, does not necessarily imply that I agree with what it asserts
(under whatever interpretation); it does mean I feel the text says something
seriously worth thinking about.
|"Every sentence that I utter
should be regarded by you not as an assertion
but as a question." --Niels Bohr|
|"There is more to the surface
than meets the eye." --Aaron Beck|
|| Go to
more recent entries
|"Take away the risk and you
can do anything."
Advertising slogan of The Ace Group of Companies, "one of the world's leading providers of
insurance and reinsurance". Ed. note: This slogan captures Winnicott's idea of the "holding environment": the
infant can be creative when he or she is confident that mother is being watchful but not intrusive.
When one does not have to keep anxiously looking back over one's shoulder (when one feels safe...), then
one is free to look around and look ahead (to be creative...). (See, e.g.: Quote #102.)
institution is more sacred than the individuals it serves."
Hugh Burns, Dominican priest, NPR Morning Edition, 25Jan02 06:30AM EST. Father Burns was
referring to sexual abuse of children by relatives and priests. (Ed. note: See Freud's
Civilization and its Discontents.)
"The Rich Are Different. They Know When To Leave."
|Louis Uchitelle, "Exit Strategies", NYT Week in Review, 20Jan02, p.W1: "In a trend not only limited to
executives are walking away with money in their pockets while their employees have
watched their savings disappear."|
|Note: Historically, this has not always been true, as Vittorio De Sica's
film "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" shows.|
Not long ago, the Enron Corporation's name was part of the
lexicon of corporate and political power.... But in a matter of weeks, Enron has been
transformed into shorthand for a corporate scandal....
"The woods were filled with smart people at Enron, but there were really no
wise people, or people who could say 'this is enough,'" said John Olson, a
veteran energy industry analyst with the investment firm Sanders Morris
Harris. "Given an adrenaline-driven culture, given an obsession with 15
percent a year or better earnings growth, you had this situation develop
where Enron was set to metastasize....
Enron decided to transform itself. No longer would it simply be in the
business of moving and selling gas; instead, it would become part of the
commodities-trading world, buying and selling electricity and natural gas as if
they were pork belly futures.... Jeffrey K.
Skilling... brought a new dynamic to the once-staid business. Mr. Skilling was able to
understand how the markets could be used to liberate Enron
from its reliance on the old world of hard assets."
|Kurt Eichenwald, "Audacious Climb to Success Ended in a
Dizzying Plunge", NYT, 13Jan02, p.A1,26. / From
The Guardian Unlimited (30Nov01; "The Crash of the cult:
Enron tools the bell for deregulation"): "Until a few weeks ago,
a huge banner was strung across the headquarters of Enron in Houston, emblazoned 'The world's
leading company'.... The accolades from analysts, management consultants and internet
gurus poured in: as recently as last June, the Economist
praised Enron for creating what might be the 'most successful
internet venture of any company in any industry anywhere'.... All the political manoeuvring served the company's ideological
vision of the primacy of free markets, deregulation and
privatisation. Enron was described as an "evangelical cult" for
the fervent advocacy of this vision by Enron founder and
chairman, Kenneth Lay...." John Schwartz, "Complex Web of Relationships in Boom and Bust"
(NYT on the Web, 13Jan02):
"Mr. Lay --
'Kenny Boy' to his friend George W. Bush...."|
|Question: If everybody is going to make money off of trading instead
of hard assets, who is going to be left to make and maintain the hard assets they
need to make their profits from
|"[Treasury Secretary Paul] O'Neill said he was not surprised by
the sudden collapse of Enron. 'Companies come and go.... It's part of the genius of
capitalism.' [/] Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, the Connecticut Democrat, called that
comment 'cold-blooded.' Senator Jon Corzine, the New Jersey Democrat,
said the remarks were 'unfortunate' and showed 'an insensitivity to those
who have lost so much [due to their pensions being in Enron stock which
Enron management prevented them from selling as the stock went from
$80 per share down to $1
(Don Van Natta Jr., "Aides Deny Any Duty to Tell Bush of Enron
Calls", NYT on the Web, 14Jan00)|
|At a House committee hearing,
Joseph F. Berardino, [Arthur] Andersen's
[Enron's auditor'...] chief executive,
repeated earlier statements that important information about
Enron's finances had been withheld from his firm....
"Maybe it's better to be dumb than culpable, but we want some answers,"
said Representative Gary L. Ackerman, Democrat of New York. "Your not
knowing what was going on, if that's the case, is basically saying that you
have squandered the integrity of your company." (Steven Greenhouse & Stephen Labaton,
"Enron Executives Say They Debated Freeze on Pension", NYT on the Web, 06Feb02)|
"I've been wondering lately what multiculturalism was.... I remember all the talk
about overthrowing the 'dead white males' of the old canon
and opening it up to the 'subaltern' and the 'displaced' and the 'other.'... [/]
Meanwhile, disciplines that might once have sponsored in-depth study of other cultures
-- political science, for example -- were taken over by scholars who eschewed
fieldwork in favor of computer models and game theory.... [/] Multiculturalism
may not have prodded us to study cultures fundamentally different from our own; the war on
terrorism will have to."
Margaret Talbot, "Other Woes: Multiculturalism's triumph,
tied to weak foreign-language skills, has deafened us to many of the
world's dangers", NYT Magazine, 18Nov01, pp.23,24.
The long age of imperialism bequeathed to this century a world full of questions of who
wronged whom, and who stole whose land, and what should be done. Absent the relative stability imposed by...
the half-peace of the Cold War..., the grievances... have much more room to grow.... [/]
There are two great problems. The first is that, in the end, the whole world was
stolen from somebody, most of it repeatedly; there are claims and counterclaims and counter-counterclaims....
The second is that people (and the governments they
form) do not like to give back what they have acquired, whether that acquisition is of dubious morality or not. [/]
So, those with territorial claims turn to force. But here arises a third problem: By and large, the aggrieved do not
possess the force necessary to win their way in open battle. Given this, a common response has been the use of
terror: attacks by the aggrieved not on the soldiers of the enemy, but on the people of the enemy -- on innocent
victims, chosen at random, the more innocent and the more random, the better, tactically speaking...
a philosophy that accepts the murder of innocents as a legitimate expression of a
legitimate struggle. [/]
Given that this is murder, you would think that terrorism would have a hard time finding adherents.
But tribalism is a powerful corrupting force,
and so is ideology, and an awful quality of modern times has been the degree to which
terror by various movements has been accepted as legitimate by those who support
the goals of those movements.
|"When Innocents Are the Enemy", by Michael Kelly, The Washington Post, 12Sep01, p.A29.
Kelley's Op Ed piece was written the day after terrorists destroyed the
New york World Trade Center towers. Kelley continued: "Communism found no difficulty
persuading generations on the left that
terror on the most massive scale was justified by the need to free the
world from the yoke of capitalist imperialism. Irish Americans have almost monolithically
supported the IRA in its decades of bombings and
killings aimed at scaring the British out of Northern Ireland. And so it goes,
case by tribal or ideological case, around the world. [/] Of all the uses of terror,
none in the past several decades has ben more faddishly popular (at least on the
left), and none has been accorded more respectful media coverage, than that of the
Palestinians. Yes, Palestinian terrorists and terrorists
on behalf of the Palestinian cause murdered innocents -- but that was understandable, the argument went.
The Palestinians had been wronged. They were oppressed. They were weak. What else could they do?"|
|Ed. note: Somewhere (ref. lost), I seem to remember somebody saying:
"One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist."|
|Compare images of the fireballs where terrorists' planes struck
the World Trade Center (Click here), with picture of building where,
a couple months earlier, an Israeli rocket
"cleanly" entered thru a
window of a Palestinian militant leader's office and killed him inside
had come to Egypt great ruptures in the... 1970's and 1980's... when
[Mohamed] Atta came into his own. A drab, austere society
had suddenly been plunged into a more competitive, glamorized
world.... The old pieties were at war with new temptations. There must have been
great yearning and repression in Mohamed Atta's life; it is the torment of Atta's
generation. They were placed perilously close to modernity, but they could not
partake of it.... [/ In] a country that
had little if any room for them, little if any hope -- there emerged an
anxious, belligerent piety.... [/] The modern world unsettled
Atta. He exalted in the traditional, but it could no longer give him a home....
The magnetic power of the American imperium had fallen across his country. He arrived here
with a presumption and a claim. We had intruded into his world; he would
shatter the peace of ours. The glamorized world couldn't be
fully had; it might as well be humbled and taken down.... [/] A hybrid
kind has been forged across the seam between the civilization of Islam and the
more emancipated culture of the West. Behold the children, the issue,
of this encounter as they flail about and rail against the world in
Fouad Ajami, "Nowhere Man: Islam alone didn't produce Mohamed Atta [the Egyptian
who may have been at the controls of the jet that
crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center]. He was
born of his country's struggle to reconcile modernity with tradition",
NYT Sunday Magazine, 07Oct01, pp.19,20
(emphasis added). [See also: Quote #65, #209.]|
|NYT on the Web, 07Oct01, Reuters, "Text of bin Laden Video Statement":
"I swear to God that America will
not live in peace before peace reigns in
and before all the army of infidels depart the land of
Mohammad, peace be upon him." (BBC version, in "Taleban
refuse to bow to US", Monday, 08Oct01, 13:45GMT 14:45UK: "[Bin Laden]
did not claim responsibility for the 11
September attacks but warned US citizens
they should fear further attacks. 'To America I say I swear by God the great...
America will never taste security and safety
unless we feel security and safety in our lands
and in Palestine. [/] They will not feel safe until the troops of the
United States of America withdraw from the
Muslim holy places.'")|
|"[O]fficials complained today that Al
Jazeera, the Arabic network, had obeyed Mr. bin Laden's instructions to delay broadcasting the speech until
after the start of the American bombing of Afghanistan. [/]
This use of modern media to make his pitch fits neatly with what has by now become a familiar bin Laden tactic:
turning the West's own modern technology against it."
(Judith Muller, "News Analysis: Bin Laden's Media Savvy: Expert Timing of Threats",
NYT on the Web, 09Oct01, emphasis added)
|Learn about: Mr. Atta's interview with a U.S. Dept of Agriculture
official, May 2000!|
Even as we assert [the] distinction... between those advantages which are
natural or earned and those which come out of a vial... on the
playing field, though, we defy it in our own lives. We have come to
prefer a world where the distractable take
Ritilin, the depressed take Prozac, and the unattractive
get cosmetic surgery to a world
ruled by those fortunate few who were born focused, happy, and beautiful.
Cosmetic surgery is not "earned" beauty, but then natural beauty isn't earned,
either. One of the principal contributions
of the late twentieth century was the moral deregulation
of social competition -- the insistence that
advantages derived from artificial and extraordinary
intervention are no less legitimate than the advantages of
Malcolm Gladwell, "Drugstore Athlete: To beat the competition,
first you have to beat the drug test", The New Yorker, 10Sep01, pp.52-9.
The article quotes an East German "former top official... [who]
at the beginning of his trial, shrugged and quoted [Bertolt]
Brecht: 'Competitive sport begins where healthy
Dr. Rebecca Gomperts... whose activist roots stem from a stint as the resident doctor on
Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior II boat [is trying to make abortions available to women
in places where abortion is illegal and/or unavailable]....
The fact, however, that many of the countries Gomperts has
targeted -- indeed, the majority of places where abortion is illegal --
happen to be developing nations or countries heavily influenced by
religion makes her vulnerable to charges of cultural imperialism. "We've
been accused of being a neocolonialist organization," Gomperts says.
"And that's weird to me. We're not out to show the world
how good we are. We are intervening to show a breach of human rights for women
who are being violated."
Sara Corbet, "The Pro-Choice Extremist: Rebecca Gomperts had the idea to
lease a boat, sail it to Ireland and perform abortions at sea. It
failed spectacularly -- or did it?",
NYT Sunday Magazine, 26Aug01, pp.22,26. The article says further: "Joke van
Kampen, a former employee of the World
Population Fund... heads off the imperialist charge
more brashly: 'When Amnesty International goes to a country
to protest torture, nobody says: 'Hold a minute, torture
is part of our culture.'" (p.26) Ed. note: This is not quite true. Amnesty International
does not, to my knowlege, go to countries that practice male and the far more
destructive female circumcisions
and try to stop that torture -- which, of course,
the cultures that practice it do not call torture but rather
"initiation rites", and even: "perfecting what nature left not quite finished."
"Human rights" are a Western idea, and when the individuals in a society begin to stand up for their
rights, the traditional religious form of life cannot survive, because
then each individual becomes a value in himself (or herself) rather than
just another servant of their society's Supra-Personal Valuable,
be It G-d or "the ancestors" or What/Whoever.... [See also: Quote #65.]|
The way President Bush... had it figured, passing a big tax cut would do
more than score political points and boost the weakened economy. It would also take
much of the projected budget surplus off the table, [thus]... depriving the Democrats of
the oxygen that sustains them in the battles over the size of government.... [But]
Mr. Bush might have trouble paying the tab [for, e.g., increased defense spending he wants]....
At the same time, he has left himself open to accusations from
Democrats that the tax cut will plunge the government back into budget
deficits of a sort.... [T]he senior
Democrat on the House Budget Committe [said:]...
"There may be very conservative elements within the Bush administration
who are content to have a tight budget so they have an answer to everyone
who has an idea that costs money.... But there's a big risk that a lot
of this will come back to haunt him, and will limit his freedom of action."
Richard W. Stevenson, "Squeeze Play: A New Threat to the President's Agenda:
The Tax Cut", NYT Week in Review, 12Aug01, Sec.4, pp.1,5. Note: The first thing
George W Bush did on becoming 43rd President of The United States was to
ram a $1 billion+ federal income tax cut through the Congress.
"The buffer left in the surplus following his tax cut appears to be eroding
rapidly because of the flagging economy..... It is
possible... new figures will show the budget in the current fiscal year
dipping into money that Democrats and most Republicans had considered off
limits -- the excess revenues being generated by Medicare....
Already, Democrats have settled on the line of argument they intend to stress
as they head toward next year's midterm elections: Mr. Bush squandered the
surplus, endangered the pillars of the social welfare system and blew an
opportunity to address a host of pressing national problems -- all in order to
pay for a tax cut for the rich." (loc.cit.)
The huge Federal tax surpluses in recent years, which arguably permitted
a large tax cut without returning to deficit spending, seem largely to have been due to the
"Internet Dot Com" stock market bubble, which collapsed shortly after George W Bush
"[The United States] delights in keeping even its more comfortable citizens
insecure -- 'motivated,' the economists say.... I'm delighted if [the recent drop in 401(k)
retirement plan values] foils the plot to securitize Social Security,
which strikes me as yet another instance of our becoming
like post-Soviet Russia -- tearing apart our common wealth to enrich
our corporate oligarchs and liberating the rest of us... to go sleep under a bridge....
But the worst part of my vanishing retirement, I see now, is that my work
always had quotation marks around it, invisible to me. It somehow
feels different to imagine that I won't be taken care of, that I
work because I have to, not just because I want to."
Nelson W. Aldrich, Jr., "Out of Retirement: Nothing like a drop in
401(k) values to make you rethink your feelings about work", "The Way We Live Now",
NYT Sunday Magazine, 05Aug01, pp.11-12.|
"The long-term goal is stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the
atmosphere," a senior [George W Bush administration]
White House official said recently. "But our approach
must be measured, flexible and consistent with economic growth and prosperity."
Andrew C. Revkin, "White House In No Hurry With Options to Kyoto Pact", The New York Times on the Web, 25Jul01.
Ed. Note: Compare with the Captain of the Lusitania, William Turner's action
in response to being warned of the threat of German U-boat attack:
"At 8.00am speed was reduced to 18 knots to secure the ship's arrival at the bar outside Liverpool at 4.00am the
following day, in order to catch the high tide." (ref. lost)
[T]he Maya... court scribes... came from the noble class.... Their duty was to prepare art and text for
elaborate public displays glorifying the king's triumphs....
When times were good, scribes lived well.... When their king met defeat in battle, though,
the scribes were among the first to suffer a cruel fate.... [M]urals depicted in vivid red
paint captives that... "suffered two indignities: their fingers have been broken
and are bleeding copiously, and their fingernails have been torn out."...
[A]n entry in a 16th-century dictionary of Mayan languages... suggests
a recognition... of the relationship between writing and royal power. For the
word "fingernails" the dictionary provides as the single entry a formal lament[:]...
"I have no fingernails; I am no longer the person I used to be. I no
longer have power or authority or money; I am no one."
John Noble Wilford, "Live by the Pen, Die by the Sword", NYT, 17Jul01.
(Ed. Note: I (BMcC) find this quote interesting because I have always worn my
fingernails long, and people have often criticized this and suggested that
I would feel better and more
comfortable, by which I think they more urgently mean they feel less uncomfortable if I cut them short
like normal people (no, I am not homosexual; no I do not play the guitar).
While I do not generally write paeans to persons in power, I do feel
"exposed" when a fingernail breaks and I have to cut it short, and having
my fingernails cut, just like having my hair cut feels to me a humiliated condition, in which
I am deprived of simple enjoyment of my own body.)
"What is important is not to affirm the power and identity of groups,
but to increase the freedom of individuals.... To assume a group identity is a dead end." (--Julia Kristeva)
Alan Riding, "Correcting Her Idea of Politically Correct: Feeling
misunderstood, a French thinker [Julia Kristeva] tries
an individualistic path", NYT, 14Jul01, p.B9,11.
"[Princess] Diana [who died August 1997 in a Paris car crash] in death has had an even
greater impact than Diana in life.... Licensing schemes have extended to such questionable
items as scratch-off lottery tickets (ultimately rejected) and Flora margarine
tubs (now available in grocery stores nationwide). The Royal Automobile Club
came across as more tactless than caring when it suggested using Diana in a seat-belt
Susan Taylor Martin, St. Petersburg (Florida) Times, "The Selling of Princess Diana", 02May98,distributed
by Scripps Howard News Service. Stephen Dann,
School of Marketing, Griffith University, presented a paper at a conference
in London titled "An Era of Celebrity and Spectacle: The Global Rhetorical Phenomenon of
Diana, Princess of Wales": The appropriateness of using Princess
Diana's Image in road safety seat belt campaigns: "The car accident [that] killed Diana... was
severe but survivable.
Speculation since the accident as to why Diana died and Trevor Rhees-Jones
survived has centered on the fact that he was the only occupant of the
car wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Although clearly the thought
that [Diana's] death was avoidable is distressing to those people close to her, could the greater good
be served by using her death as an example of the vulnerability of all people to
had a field day last spring, for example,
when the princess' signature appeared on tubs of margarine manufactured by a company that also sponsored the London Marathon.
Flora, the manufacturer, announced that the princess' fund would receive some of the proceeds from the promotion....
(CNN.com In Depth Special "the Death of Princess Diana":
"The commercialization of a princess",
By CNN Interactive Writer John Christensen, no date)|
|Mr Major spoke out after it was revealed that Flora
margarine will carry the Princess' signature -
the official logo of the memorial fund - in a special deal to raise ?250,000 for charity....
The tubs will carry Diana's signature alongside the word 'Thanks', used instead of the brand name.
("Call for care over use of Diana's name",
BBC News, Wednesday, 25 March, 1998, 06:08 GMT)|
Looking back in the wisdom of hindsight, it seems as if
doctors, the public, journalists and governments were shockingly slow to recognize an
epidemic in the making and take steps to try to contain it. [/] Most
doctors overlooked a basic fact of biology, that a new infectious disease could
appear at any time.
Lawrence K. Altman, M.D., "The Doctor's World: 'The Cause of the Outbreak Is Unknown", NYT,
03Jul01, p.F1. Altman continues:
"Twenty years ago today, my first article about these illnesses appeared
in The New York Times. [It was only one column long, on Page 20]:
"Rare Cancer Seen in 41 Homosexuals"....
My 1981 article was instantly ridiculed. One columnist in The Village Voice called it
'the despicable attempt of The New York Times to wreck the July 4 holiday break for
every homosexual in the Northeast,' and there was a barrage of criticism from many
quarters accusing me and my Times colleagues of creating a panic about AIDS....
[/] We [doctors] had been taught, quite
arrogantly, that virtually all diseases were known; it was just that many things
were unknown about them."
It was clear that Saad Eddin had crossed
a "red line," but what was it? And what had so provoked the
73-year-old [Egyptian President] Mubarak that he would
risk international censure... to teach a lesson to one
influential but essentially powerless intellectual? Although it is
apparent that the professor's trial was meant to
serve as a warning to others, it is less clear what the president's
real targets were and why he was
seemingly so determined to make a point.
"Egypt on Trial", by Mary Anne Weaver,
NYT Sunday Magazine, 17Jun01, p.47 [Please
substitute persons of interest to yourself, for the parts of the quote I have
greyed-out. Thank you].
Ed. note: We know that 3 minutes privation of oxygen to a person can render all the
accomplishments of high culture irrelevant for them, and that, far short of this,
making life hard for a person can spoil their pleasure in anything (including, for
what it matters or does not matter, what the spoilers seek to enjoy).
Loc. cit. p.50: "'[Saad Eddin's] relationship
with the first lady was always close,' one of Mubarak's advisors said. 'But
he became too bold with the president. He actually told him that it was time to
open the country up: to hold elections, bring in democracy.... That was the end of Saad.'"
(See also: Quote #227)
While women can write programs just as nimbly as men,
other skills can become evident, [Carole Fennelly, 39, a Unix programmer
since 1980] said. "Social engineering is a big deal in the
computer field -- manipulating people to do things,"
she said. "Women can understand
that pretty well. Men are supposed to be better at cognitive thinking. You need that
J.D. Biersdforfer, "Among Code Warriors, Women, Too, Can Fight", NYT,
07Jun01 (hiliting added).
Ed. Note: Compare this with Marx's definition of the communist utopia
as a social order in which the government [i.e., manipulation] of men is
replaced by the administration of things -- i.e., a society in which
only things and no longer persons get manipulated.
||If you've read this far, and it has brought to your
mind some quote which is significant to you, I'd appreciate if you'd share it with me: