There are serious problems with a culture of unbridled individualism, in which the breaking of rules becomes, in a sense, the only remaining rule. The first has to do with the fact that moral values and social rules are not simply arbitrary constraints on individual choice but the precondition for any kind of cooperative enterprise. Indeed, social scientists have recently begun to refer to a society’s stock of shared values as “social capital.”

Latmag

April 2010

Evelyn Waugh, Black Mischief, Chapter 5

Azanian Propaganda

“ It was from the least expected quarter, the tribesmen and villagers, that the real support for Seth’s Birth Control policy suddenly appeared.

January 2010

Leon R. Kass, The Beginning of Wisdom, Pp. 406-7.

Jacob’s Summary

“ The biblical counterpart of Odysseus, Jacob must solve the fundamental human difficulties illustrated in the pre-Abrahamic chapters of Genesis.

September 2009

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, A Dangerous Place, Chapter 1: A Half-Life, p8-9

An Act of Courage and of Daring

“ In that I was a member of the Cabinet, protocol provided that I step out of Air Force One behind the President and ahead of Kissinger, who was also on the journey. Somehow Kissinger invariably reached the ground ahead of me.

Philip Roth, The Plot Against America (paperback edition), p210-1

A Well-Scrubbed, Cute Little Boy

“ I couldn’t manage to be anywhere near a nun, let alone a pair of them, without a mind awash in my none-too-pure Jewish thoughts.

Ian Fleming, Diamonds are Forever

Rue de la Pay

“ It was natural to bring out the small change and jerk the handles and watch the lemons and the oranges and the cherries and the bell fruits whirl round to their final click-pause-ting, followed by a soft mechanical sigh. Five cents, ten cents, a quarter. Bond gave them all a try…

May 2005

David Pryce-Jones, “Jews, Arabs, and French Diplomacy: A Special Report”

The Zionists Must Understand

“ The Zionists must understand once and for all that there can be no question of constituting an independent Jewish state in Palestine, or even forming some sovereign Jewish body.

September 2003

Charles Darwin, The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals, Chapter 1, General Principles of Expression

Purposeless Remnants of Habitual Movements

“ It is well known that cats dislike wetting their feet, owing, it is probable, to their having aboriginally inhabited the dry country of Egypt; and when they wet their feet they shake them violently. My daughter poured some water into a glass close to the head of a kitten; and it immediately shook its feet in the usual manner; so that here we have an habitual movement falsely excited by an associated sound instead of by the sense of touch.

Edward Lear, Journals of a Landscape Painter in the Balkans

Were it Not for this Protector

“ Not the least annoyance was that given me by the persevering attentions of a mad or fanatic dervish, of most singular appearance as well as conduct. His note of ‘Shaitán‘ was frequently sounded; and as he twirled about, and performed many curious antics, he frequently advanced to me, shaking a long hooked stick, covered with jingling ornaments, in my very face, pointing to the Kawas with menacing looks, as though he would say, “Were it not for this protector you should he annihilated, you infidel!”

August 2003

Robert Graves, I, Claudius

Ask Me Anything

“ The drink was as remarkable as the food, and Caligula became so lively as the meal went on that, deprecating his own generosity to Herod in the past as something hardly worth mentioning, he now promised to give him whatever it lay in his power to grant. “Ask me anything, my dearest Herod,” he said, “And it shall be yours.” He repeated: “Absolutely anything. I swear by my own Divinity that I will grant it.”

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Get fed up with me:

Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic; it is a learned ability.

Steve Jobs

“You should” is the rudest.

ASK

The difference is psychological tricks.

ASK

At least things aren’t going so well that I need fear, “From good fortune, disaster.”

ASK

Go out of the house to see the moon, and ‘tis mere tinsel; it will not please as when its light shines upon your necessary journey.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

In a modern, liberal society, religious observance does not “take away” choice. It is a choice.

Virginia Postrel

It’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time.

Clayton M. Christensen

The trick is acquiring humility without having become wretched.

ASK

You only have to discipline yourself long enough to change your standards.

David Allen

Please don’t shouldify every entertainment.

ASK

The most dangerous way to lose time is not to spend it having fun, but to spend it doing fake work.

Paul Graham

Do I not know what to do?

ASK

To be pro-Israel is to be pro-hope.

Walter Russell Mead

He took his work for granted and so he succeeded at it.

Norman Mailer

Spontaneity requires the trampoline of a plan.

ASK

Like many rationalists, I’m a Pisces.

Robin Ince

Be not weary in well doing, for in due time you will reap, if you faint not.

Gal.6:9

Give me health and a day, and I will make the pomp of emperors ridiculous. The dawn is my Assyria; the sun-set and moon-rise my Paphos, and unimaginable realms of faerie; broad noon shall be my England of the senses and the understanding; the night shall be my Germany of mystic philosophy and dreams.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Always carry treats.

ASK

How much social capital America gains by its religion of enfranchisement; how stupid can peoples be to ignore this?

ASK

Sauna: drug-free altered-state pod.

ASK

I’m not passing the buck; this is someone else’s decision.

David Brent

Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.

Frank Lloyd Wright

The more routine I can make the basic practical aspects of my life, the more I am able to be energetic—and spontaneous—about intellectual and other things.

Stephen Wolfram

You’re diminutive, for sure.

Brian Greben, to me

The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage.

Thucydides

To joy, via habituated glee. Or to glee, via habituated joy?

ASK

Keep the cave.

ASK

All orthodoxies believe that if you do the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, you will probably end up in possession of the right frame of mind.

Irving Kristol

Entertainment is denial.

ASK

Success is due generally to discipline, which is merely action leavened with order.

ASK

Long before Israel resembled America, America resembled Israel.

David Gelernter

When the need arises—and it does—you must be able to shoot your own dog.

Robert A. Heinlein

Without all the frills, the human body is quite economical to operate.

Ray Jardine

Once we’ve spoken the spell is broken.

ASK

We need only live enough to write the rest convincingly.

ASK

The most permanent, secure, and durable thing we can possess is a foolproof way to deal with impermanence, insecurity, and surprise.

David Allen

I help people as a work on myself and I work on myself to help people.

Ram Dass

Lettuce become thy pita; spinach thy mince; cucumber thy cracker.

ASK

Be free, belong, believe!

ASK

My biggest expense? Not billing.

ASK

I shun father and mother and wife and brother when my genius calls me.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Instead of doing the right thing, I will try to say it.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

We like to do things together even though I think she’s a stupid cunt.

Aaron Livingstone

Invert, always invert.

Charlie Munger

The great secret of education is to use exercise of mind and body as relaxation one to the other.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The daily activities most associated with happiness are having sex, socializing after work and having dinner. The daily activity most injurious to happiness is commuting.

David Brooks

I don’t build a house without predicting the end of the present social order.

Frank Lloyd Wright

Trust your own maps with your life—or else what?

ASK

Life is not a burden, but we make it one when we refuse to accept things as they are.

Baba Hari Dass

The quickest way to still the mind is to move the body.

ASK

Anyone who goes to [Beethoven’s] Ninth Symphony then sits down and designs a wallpaper pattern is either a confidence trickster or a degenerate.

Adolf Loos

Let the day end.

ASK

Order means delight.

ASK

If I’m facing a choice, I always know I’m standing in the wrong place.

Ram Dass

A man commonly saunters a little in turning from one sort of employment to another.

Adam Smith

It’s easier to modify appetites than to curtail them.

ASK

It’s hard to do a really good job on anything you don’t think about in the shower.

Paul Graham

Hubris. Is it believing one is exempt, or knowing one isn’t and proceeding nonetheless?

ASK

Only artists, and especially those of the theater, have… taught us the art of viewing ourselves as heroes… Perhaps one should concede a similar merit to the religion that made men see the sinfulness of every single individual through a magnifying glass.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Five minutes ahead of schedule. Right on schedule.

Dwight Schrute

The key characteristic of the logic of strategy is that it’s paradoxical and contradictory right through.

Edward Luttwak

I did nothing. I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.

Peter Gibbons

Our admiration of the antique is not admiration of the old, but of the natural.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The very expression ‘scientifically proven’ is a contradiction in terms.

Carlo Rovelli

If you foolishly ignore beauty, you’ll soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you wisely invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.

Frank Lloyd Wright