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Lines from the Road: 2012-13

"The rain it raineth on the just and also on the unjust fella, but mostly on the just because the unjust hath the just’s umbrella."

"When a feeling was there, they felt as if it would never go; When it was gone, they felt as if it had never been; When it returned, they felt as if it had never gone." - George Macdonald, What's Mine's Mine, 1886

“ONCE you start thinking about growth”, said Robert Lucas, a Nobel prize-winning economist, “it's hard to think about anything else.”

Conservatives tend to be economic individualists ("don't tax or regulate me") and moral collectivists ("legislate against immorality"). Liberals tend to be the opposite: economic collectivists (support national health care), and moral individualists ("keep your laws off my body").

A Handful of Summers

"Go back down the years
And recall if you can
All the warm temperate times;
You may find with surprise
That they're all squeezed in
To a headful of thoughts
And a handful of summers."

- Graham Forbes, 1968

"Les grands esprits se rencontrent." - Paris Summer Love 2013

Like Philippe-Alexandre, one of our lecturers in Paris said on the eve of our final lecture: "Paris is like a capricious woman. Every time I’m fed up with her and convinced I want to leave, she stops me in my tracks." - Our Shiny City


"I can't stand people that do not take food seriously." - Oscar Wilde, via Celine

"Mon coeur est saturé de plaisir quand j'ai du pain et de l'eau." - Epicure

"De toutes les passions, la seule vraiment respectable me parait être la gourmandise." - Guy de Maupassant, extrait du Amoreux et primeurs


"Writing is not a serious business. It’s a joy and a celebration. You should be having fun with it. Ignore the authors who say ‘Oh, my God, what word? Oh, Jesus Christ…’, you know. Now, to hell with that. It’s not work. If it’s work, stop and do something else." - George Orwell, via Malik on facebook

The novelist Chaim Potok recalls being urged by his mother to forgo writing: "Be a brain surgeon; you'll make a lot more money." Potok's response: "Mama, I don't want to keep people from dying; I want to show them how to live."


"Wherever you go, there you are."

Bruine ("brown") cafés are to Amsterdam what pubs are to London. That is, they are casual, neighborhood gathering spots located all around the city, featuring dark wood and people looking for a drink, a snack and friendly conversation (unlike British pubs, most Dutch brown cafés stay open until 1 or 2 a.m.). The term "brown" comes from the dark wood and stained walls that supposedly owe their hue to years of smoking patrons. Amsterdam's brown cafés are as much a part of the city's charm as its canals and architecture. Most of them epitomize the Dutch term gezelligheid (pronounced "khuh ZEL ikh hide"), a word quite difficult to translate into English; coziness or a feeling of friendly welcome best describes it.

"I travel for travel's sake." - Robert Louis Stevenson

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour." - Stevenson again, at the Writers' Museum, Edinburgh

"Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey." - Tad Williams


"Man's greatest tragedy is that he thinks he has plenty of time." - The Yoga Institute

As I Walked Out One Evening

'I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

'The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

'In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.



WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

- W.H.Davies

"Live life while you are alive and do what you mean to do while you're able to do it." - Rebekka

"Man surprises me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” - Dalai Lama XIV

"BERTRAND RUSSELL, the English philosopher, was not a fan of work. In his 1932 essay, “In Praise of Idleness”, he reckoned that if society were better managed the average person would only need to work four hours a day. Such a small working day would “entitle a man to the necessities and elementary comforts of life.” The rest of the day could be devoted to the pursuit of science, painting and writing." - Get a Life, The Economist


"Know thyself" - an ancient Greek oracle

"You cannot create experience. You must undergo it." - Albert Camus, via Guru Greg

"There are three things extremely hard, steel, a diamond, and to know one's self." - Benjamin Franklin

"He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is enlightened." - Lao-tzu


"Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you're living?" - Bob Marley

"What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now." - The Buddha

"The strength of your character is the strength of your future."

"Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied; men of power are feared, but only men of character are trusted." - @sherryontop, on Rahul Dravid

"Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them." - Albert Einstein

"You are faster than this. Don't think you are, know you are. Come on! Stop trying to hit me, and hit me!" - Morpheus to Neo

"There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self." - Indian proverb


I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

- Robert Frost

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." - Harold R. McAlindon

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain

"Fitting in is a short-term strategy that gets you nowhere. Standing out is a long-term strategy that takes guts and produces results." - Seth Godin

"Jean Piaget: Education, for most people, means trying to lead the child to resemble the typical adult of his society.
Bringuier: To be like the men it needs.
Jean Piaget: That's right. But for me, education means making creators, even if there aren't many of them, even if the creations of one are limited by comparison with those of another. But you have to make inventors, innovators, not conformists." - Sharika

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Howard Thurman

"In the afternoon of your life, you don’t do life. You do what resonates with the callings of your soul."

"Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good." - Alan Cohen


"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful." -
Albert Schweitzer

"You get out of life what you put into it. You have to keep on practicing, keep on rehearsing…and believe. Never give up believing in your dreams." - Sean "Puffy" Combs

"A sportsman in the zone, like an artist, has both a wider and a narrower focus. He has the ability to be in the game and yet stand above it, seeing it clearly." - The Zone and the Importance of Imagination - Ed Smith on Cricinfo

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle


"Having perfected our disguise, we spend our lives searching for someone we don't fool." - Robert Brault, via Zach

"Le désir d’amitié vient assez promptement, mais l’amitié est un fruit qui mûrit lentement." - Aristote

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful." - Lord Henry, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could."- Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum, via Sanal on the Dead Readers' Society


"Un joyau ne peut être poli sans friction."

"Soyez patient. Toute chose est difficile avant de devenir facile."
- Saadi

"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." - Psalm 30:5


"Je ne vois pas pourquoi les gens attendent d'une oeuvre d'art qu'elle veuille dire quelque chose alors qu'ils acceptent que leur vie à eux ne rime à rien." - David Lynch

"I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive." - Joseph Campbell

"How would you define a good life? It’s a bafflingly tough question. An even tougher one: does the economy we have today value such a life? Does it help us create one?" - Is a Well-Lived Life Worth Anything? - Umair Haque, on the HBR Blog

"Happiness is not the same as a sense of meaning. How do we go about finding a meaningful life, not just a happy one?" - The Meanings of Life - Roy F Baumesteir, in aeon magazine


Hey there, if you got down all this way. I started putting together Quotes that I came across and liked into one annual blog-post two years ago. Here's that one, and here is the one from last year. It has been a great way for me to collect and organise thoughts of wise men and women that have been of some significance to me. I hope you find these lines interesting, thought-provoking, and maybe even useful.

Until the next time, wish you a good life!

Il faut choisir: vivre ou raconter.” - Sartre


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