Home | CV | Publications | Research | Quotes | Misc

Here are some quotations that I find personally meaningful. Some are humorous, others are inspirational, all are insightful. 

"It is good that war is such hell, lest we grow too fond of it"
-Robert E. Lee

"Two things in life are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
-Albert Einstein

"The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them."
-Albert Einstein

"I tan I epi tas"
("With it or on it", Come back carrying your shield in victory or be carried back on it, dead.)
-Old Greek saying, printed on the flag of Hydra,
spoken by Spartan mothers to their sons before they went off to war.

"There are no atheists in a foxhole"
-Old soldiers' adage

"They've got us surrounded again, the poor bastards."
-Creighton Abrams
(The Abrams tank is named after him)

"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
-Napoleon Bonaparte

"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
-Napoleon Bonaparte

"I'd rather have a German division in front of me than a French one behind me"
-George S. Patton

"Men think themselves free because they are conscious of their volitions and desires, but are ignorant of the causes by which they are led to wish and desire."

"The endeavor to understand is the first and only basis of virtue."

"Men are a thousand times more intent on becoming rich than on acquiring culture, though it is quite certain that what a man IS contributes more to his happiness than what he HAS."

"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."
-Albert Camus

"You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn't reserve a plot for weeds."
-Dag Hammarskjold

"Our acts our angels are, or good or ill, Our fatal shadows that walk by us still."
-John Fletcher, An Honest Man's Fortune.

"Mankind led on by gods err all too easily."
-Artemis, Euripides' Hippolytus

"A high civilization is a pyramid; it can stand only upon a broad base; its prerequisite is a strongly and soundly consolidated mediocrity."

"...Pac Man is a Japo-Germanic metaphor for the repetitive and numbing culture of American capitalism. Consume, consume, consume - always pursued by the specters of failure. And the brief flashes of success you achieve over the specters are progressively less enduring."
-from Hello World, by
Joey Fortuna

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The unexamined life is not worth living."

"We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time."
-T. S. Eliot

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
-Arthur C. Clarke
(Clarke's third law of science)

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the--if he--if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement....Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true."
-Bill Clinton
(Grand Jury Testimony during the Lewinsky scandal)

"Science gives us knowledge but only philosophy can give us wisdom."
-Will Durant

"If you knew how much work went into it, you wouldn't call it genius."

"If I always appear prepared, it is because before entering an undertaking, I have meditated long and have foreseen what might occur. It is not genius where reveals to me suddenly and secretly what I should do in circumstances unexpected by others; it is thought and preparation."
-Napoleon Bonaparte

"The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him."

"When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary."
-William Wrigley Jr.

"Leaders can't hide what they do: that's why you must carefully decide how to act. You're always on display. If you want to instill values in others, you must internalize and demonstrate them yourself...when you hold yourself and your subordinates to the highest standards, you reinforce the values those standards embody."
-U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual

"As a leader, you can't just give orders: you must make clear the intent of those orders, the final goal of the mission. When enemy actions derail the original plan, well-trained soldiers who understand the commander's intent will apply disciplined initiative to accomplish the mission."
-U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual

"Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears."
-Marcus Aurelius

"If I had time and anything like your ability to study war, I think I should concentrate almost entirely on the 'actualities of war' -- the effects of tiredness, hunger, fear, lack of sleep, weather.... The principles of strategy and tactics, and the logistics of war are really absurdly simple: it is the actualities that make war so complicated and so difficult, and are usually so neglected by historians."
-Field Marshall Lord Wavell, in a letter of Liddell Hart

"Only those who would be called upon to risk their lives for their country should have the privilege of voting to determine whether the nation should go to war. "
-Major General Smedley Butler
(Recipient of two separate Medals of Honor)

"We are too much accustomed to attribute to a single cause that which is the product of several, and the majority of our controversies come from that."
-Marcus Aurelius

"The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious."
-Marcus Aurelius

"Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present."
-Marcus Aurelius

"...voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
-Hermann Wilhelm Göring
(At the Nuremberg trials, 1946)

"Success comes from the ability to view each arising problem as an opportunity for self improvement."
-Stephen Covey

"He, therefore, who desires peace, should prepare for war. And he who hopes for success, should fight on principle, not chance."

"All theory is against freedom of the will; all experience for it."
-Samuel Johnson

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
-Thomas Edison

"As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities."

"Common sense is not so common."

"God is always on the side of the heaviest battalions."

"Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers."

"A man can make up his mind quickly when he has only a little to make up."

"He bares the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of his circumstances, like a skillful general who marshals his limited forces with all the strategy of war."
(excerpt from his description of the ideal man)

"Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts."
-Winston Churchill

"It occurred to me if I could invent a machine--a gun-- which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a great extent, supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease be greatly diminished."
-Dr. Richard J. Gatling

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those others that have been tried."
-Winston Churchill

"Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve."
-George Bernard Shaw

"A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push."

"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win."
-Sun Tzu

"Ambition without knowledge is like a boat on dry land"
-Mr. Miyagi, The Next Karate Kid

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
-Henry David Thoreau

"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."

"Fortune favors the bold."

"Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box."
-Latin proverb

"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."
-Vince Lombardi

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
-Oscar Wilde

"Either you create your future or you become the victim of the future someone creates for you."
- Vice Admiral Arthur K. Cebrowski

"Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men."
-Miyamoto Musashi, Book of Five Rings

"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself."
-D.H. Lawrence

"If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down."
-Mary Pickford

"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six of them sharpening my axe."
-Abraham Lincoln

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
-Benjamin Franklin

"Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal."
-Pamela Vaull Starr

"How a person masters his fate is more important than what his fate is."
-Wilhelm von Humboldt

"Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination."
- Carl von Clausewitz

"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content."
-Helen Keller

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."

And finally:

"A witty saying proves nothing."