It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.
— Samuel Adams
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
— Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom
I have always loved to collect intangible things. One of my favorites collections consists of opening lines of great novels. Who can forget “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . ” Other greats include “Who is John Galt?” Or “Howard Rork laughed.” My all-time favorite opening line comes from Pat Conroy’s Prince of Tides: “My wound is geography.”
But lo, I digress. By far my largest stash of immaterial things are the countless quotes, words of wisdom, poems, and pithy sayings I have collected over the years. I have a library card catalog filled with hand written 3×5 cards with quotes accumulated from the days before computers had entered my life. In the intervening years I have made several vain attempts to catalog my precious to no avail. The first installment came and went in a HyperCard stack that is long gone. A Microsoft Access database of pearls of wisdom sits unused on an old Windows machine somewhere in the house. …
The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling.
— Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
I actually sent this quote to an internal recruiter once. I had been through several interviews with the company and it seemed that I was progressing towards a job offer. I was excited about the company and it looked to me to be a very good fit.
And then came that one final interview with one of the partners. Within the first fifteen seconds of our conversation I knew that an offer would not be forthcoming. It was clear that she had already made up her mind before the call even began. When the recruiter called a few days later to say that the firm had decided to not move forward I was deeply puzzled.
Too bad all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.
— George Burns