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."
"The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them."
"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
"There are no atheists in a foxhole"
-Old soldiers' adage
"They've got us surrounded again, the poor bastards."
(The Abrams tank is named
"Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence."
"Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
"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."
"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."
"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
civilization is a pyramid; it can stand only upon a broad base;
its prerequisite is a strongly and soundly consolidated
"...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
"What lies behind
us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
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
-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
(Grand Jury Testimony during
the Lewinsky scandal)
"Science gives us
knowledge but only philosophy can give us wisdom."
"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
"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.
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
-U.S. Army Leadership Field Manual
"Reject your sense
of injury and the injury itself disappears."
"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
"The secret of all
victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious."
"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."
"...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,
from the ability to view each arising problem as an opportunity
for self improvement."
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."
"Many of life's
failures are people who did not realize how close they were to
success when they gave up."
"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."
"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
"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
warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go
to war first and then seek to win."
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."
"Once the game is
over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box."
between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength,
not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will."
"To live is the
rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
"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."
"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
"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first six of them sharpening my axe."
"The definition of
insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting
"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
- Carl von Clausewitz
"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and
silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be
"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."
"A witty saying