Thought-Provoking Quotes

Discussion in 'Verbal Art' started by Skald, 27 April 2014.

  1. Skald

    Skald Senior Member

    Let's use this thread to share quotes that make the reader think a bit.

    A good one to set the mood:

    "A witty saying proves nothing."
    ~ Voltaire

    A few I put in the Shoutbox a bit ago:

    "But Fascism is also a political and economic system. Why, then, cannot we have a clear and generally accepted definition of it? Alas! we shall not get one — not yet, anyway. To say why would take too long, but basically it is because it is impossible to define Fascism satisfactorily without making admissions which neither the Fascists themselves, nor the Conservatives, nor Socialists of any colour, are willing to make. All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword."
    ~ George Orwell

    "Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty."

    ~ Plato

    "When liberty is mentioned, we must always be careful to observe whether it is not really the assertion of private interests which is thereby designated."

    ~ Hegel
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  2. renownedwolf

    renownedwolf Heroic Member

    One of my all time favourites and very true..

    “Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.”

    ― Robert E. Howard
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  3. Olavsson

    Olavsson First Lieutenant Staff Member
    1. Lumine Boreali Gentlemen's Club
    2. Neoplatonism

    Good quote, but I think he's mistaken to make a distinction between "savagery" and "civilization" in this case. It's more a case of civilizations ruled by strong ideas of honour on the one side and civilizations that don't care about notions of honour and dishonour on the other. Take the medieval chivalric knight, for example, who was far more civilized than the vast majority of modern Westerners; who followed strict codes of conduct and proper behaviour combined with martial prowess. The idea of meeting disrespectful behaviour with challenging another man to a duel with possibly deadly outcome was widespread in the west even in the earlier stages of modernity, without this being a sign of savagery as opposed to civilization.
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  4. renownedwolf

    renownedwolf Heroic Member

    Controlled savagery and barbarism is the hallmark of a great civilisation basically, part of it's vitality.

    Here's another..

    'A man of honour should never forget what he is because he sees what others are.'
    Baltasar Gracian
  5. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Senior Member Sustaining Member

    "Walk only on the path of honour. Fight and never exhibit cowardice. Leave to lesser men the ways of infamy. Better to fall in battle, struggling on the path of honour, than to win the battle through the ways of infamy."
    C. Z. Codreanu

    "Today, I can say with joy that we no longer idealize the young fellow who can handle his beer and liquor, but the young man who can face any weather, the tough young man. For what matters is not how many glasses of beer he can drink, but how many blows he can withstand. Not how many nights he can spend doing the rounds of the bars and pubs, but how many kilometers he can march."
    Adolf Hitler

    "To exist is to defy all that threatens you. To be a rebel is not to accumulate a library of subversive books or to dream of fantastic conspiracies or of taking to the hills. It is to make yourself your own law. To find in yourself what counts. To make sure that you’re never “cured” of your youth. To prefer to put everyone up against the wall rather than to remain supine. To pillage whatever can be converted to your law, without concern for appearance."
    Dominique Venner
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  6. Elessar

    Elessar Senior Member
    1. Cascadians

    “If I tell you that there are powerful people who are oppressing you to defend their own interests, you’ll call me a progressive, a liberal, and a reformer.
    If I tell you who those people are, you’ll call me a Nazi.”
    — Gregory Hood

    ""Mankind" however has no aim, no idea, no plan, any more than the family of butterflies or orchids. "Mankind" is a zoological expression, or an empty word. But conjure away the phantom, break the magic circle, and at once there emerges an astonishing wealth of actual forms-the Living with all its immense fullness, depth and movement-hitherto veiled by a catchword, a dry-as-dust scheme and a set of personal "ideals". I see, in place of that empty figment of one liner history which can be kept only by shutting one’s eyes to the multitude of the facts, the drama of a number of mighty cultures, each springing with primitive strength from the soil of a Mother-region to which is remains firmly bound throughout its whole life-cycle, each stamping its material, its mankind, its own life will and feeling, its own death.[…] I see world history as a picture of endless formations and transformations of the marvelous waxing and waning of organic forms. The professional historian-on the other hand- sees it as a sort of tapeworm industriously adding on to itself one epoch after another."
    - Oswald Spengler, Decline of the West
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  7. Olavsson

    Olavsson First Lieutenant Staff Member
    1. Lumine Boreali Gentlemen's Club
    2. Neoplatonism

    "People display their true priorities when facing death.

    The true intellectual values truth more than life itself. Socrates is a hero to intellectuals because when forced to choose between giving up philosophy or death, he chose death. Most intellectuals do not face that choice, but if they do, they hope they are capable of heroism too, for nothing reveals fidelity to truth more clearly than a martyr’s death.

    The true warrior values honor more than life itself. Leonidas and the 300 are heroes to warriors because when faced with death or dishonor, they preferred death. Again, not every warrior faces the choice so starkly, but if he does, he hopes he will choose a glorious death, for nothing reveals fidelity to honor more clearly than a heroic death.

    Bourgeois man values nothing higher than life itself. He fears nothing more than a violent death. Therefore, there is no form of heroic death that demonstrates true fidelity to bourgeois values. The true intellectual dies a martyr. The true warrior dies on the battlefield. The true bourgeois looks forward to a comfortable retirement and dying in bed.

    Yes, countless American soldiers have died fighting for “freedom,” “democracy,” and college money. But they have been suckered out of their lives by men who think there is nothing worth dying for, so that the bourgeoisie can make money, play golf, and die in bed.

    You only have one death. Thus even people who would glory in heroic martyrdom have to choose their battles wisely and make their deaths count. Yes, you have to pace yourself. Yes, you have to save yourself. Yes, you can’t live as if every day were your last.

    But these truisms easily serve as rationalizations for cowardice. Because, at a certain point, you have to ask what you are saving yourself for. You can’t take it with you. And ultimately, accomplishments do not come from saving ourselves but from spending ourselves. What we do not give, will be taken by death in the end.

    Yet the whole bourgeois dream is premised on evading this simple, grim reality. Bourgeois man seeks eternal springtime and perpetual peace, a “happily ever after” on sunlit putting greens, free of tragic choices and tragic grandeur, free of ideals that can pierce his heart and shed his blood.

    But you can’t overthrow a system you are invested in. You can’t challenge the rulers of this world and count on reaching retirement age. You can’t do battle with Sauron while playing it safe. In the face of world-annihilating evil, we can no longer afford to be such men."​

    Greg Johnson, 'The Moral Factor'
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  8. renownedwolf

    renownedwolf Heroic Member

    Agis, the last of the kings of Sparta, was arrested as the result of treachery and condemned by the Ephors without a trial. As he was being led away to the halter he saw one of the officers weeping, and said, "Stop your weeping for me, man. For in spite of my being put to death in such defiance of law and justice, I am superior to those who are taking my life." With these words he willingly offered his neck for the noose.
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  9. Schopenhauer über Lesen und Bücher
    "Es ist in der Litteratur nicht anders, als im Leben: wohin auch man sich wende, trifft man sogleich auf den inkorrigibeln Pöbel der Menschheit, welcher überall legionenweise vorhanden ist, Alles erfüllt und Alles beschmutzt, wie die Fliegen im Sommer. Daher die Unzahl schlechter Bücher, dieses wuchernde Unkraut der Litteratur, welches dem Waizen die Nahrung entzieht, und ihn erstickt. Sie reißen nämlich Zeit, Geld und Aufmerksamkeit des Publikums, welche von Rechtswegen den guten Büchern und ihren edelen Zwecken gehören, an sich, während sie bloß in der Absicht, Geld einzutragen, oder Aemter zu verschaffen, geschrieben sind. Sie sind also nicht bloß unnütz, sondern positiv schädlich. Neun Zehntel unserer ganzen jetzigen Litteratur hat keinen anderen Zweck, als dem Publiko einige Taler aus der Tasche zu spielen. Dazu haben sich Autor, Verleger und Rezensent fest verschworen.

    Ein verschmitzter und schlimmer, aber erklecklicher Streich ist es, der den Litteraten, Brodschreibern und Vielschreibern gegen den guten Geschmack und die wahre Bildung des Zeitalters gelungen ist, daß sie es dahin gebracht haben, die gesammte elegante Welt am Leitseile zu führen, in der Art, daß diese abgerichtet worden, a tempo zu lesen, nämlich Alle stets das Selbe, nämlich das Neueste, um, in ihren Cirkeln einen Stoff zur Konversation daran zu haben. (…) Was aber kann elender seyn, als das Schicksal eines solchen belletristischen Publikums, welches sich verpflichtet hält, allezeit das neueste Geschreibe höchst gewöhnlicher Köpfe, die bloß des Geldes wegen schreiben, daher eben auch stets zahlreich vorhanden sind, zu lesen, und dafür die Werke der seltenen und überlegenen Geister aller Zeiten und Länder bloß dem Namen nach zu kennen! – Besonders ist die belletristische Tagespresse ein schlau ersonnenes Mittel, dem ästhetischen Publiko die Zeit, die es den ächten Produktionen der Art, zum Heil seiner Bildung, zuwenden sollte, zu rauben, damit sie den täglichen Stümpereien der Alltagsköpfe zufalle.

    Daher ist, in Hinsicht auf unsere Lektüre, die Kunst, nicht zu lesen, höchst wichtig. Sie besteht darin, dass man Das, was zu jeder Zeit so eben das größere Publikum beschäftigt, nicht deshalb auch in die Hand nehme, wie etwa politische oder kirchliche Pamphlete, Romane, Poesien u. dgl. m., die gerade eben Lärm machen, wohl gar zu mehreren Auflagen in ihrem ersten und letzten Lebensjahre anfangen: vielmehr denke man alsdann, daß wer für Narren schreibt allezeit ein großes Publikum findet, und wende die stets knapp gemessene, dem Lesen bestimmte Zeit ausschließlich den Werken der großen, die übrige Menschheit überragenden Geister aller Zeiten und Völker zu, welche die Stimme des Ruhmes als solche bezeichnet. Nur diese bilden und belehren wirklich.

    Vom Schlechten kann man nie zu wenig und das Gute nie zu oft lesen: schlechte Bücher sind intellektuelles Gift, sie verderben den Geist. – Weil die Leute, statt des Besten aller Zeiten, immer nur das Neueste lesen, bleiben die Schriftsteller im engen Kreise der cirkulirenden Ideen und das Zeitalter verschlammt immer tiefer in seinem eigenen Dreck."

    [Edit] Translation:

    "It is in literature as in life: wherever you turn, you stumble at once upon the incorrigible mob of humanity, swarming in all directions, crowding and soiling everything, like flies in summer. Hence the number, which no man can count, of bad books, those rank weeds of literature, which draw nourishment from the corn and choke it. The time, money and attention of the public, which rightfully belong to good books and their noble aims, they take for themselves: they are written for the mere purpose of making money or procuring places. So they are not only useless; they do positive mischief. Nine-tenths of the whole of our present literature has no other aim than to get a few shillings out of the pockets of the public; and to this end author, publisher and reviewer are in league.

    Let me mention a crafty and wicked trick, albeit a profitable and successful one, practised by littérateurs, hack writers, and voluminous authors. In complete disregard of good taste and the true culture of the period, they have succeeded in getting the whole of the world of fashion into leading strings, so that they are all trained to read in time, and all the same thing, viz., the newest books; and that for the purpose of getting food for conversation in the circles in which they move. This is the aim served by bad novels, produced by writers who were once celebrated, as Spindler, Bulwer Lytton, Eugene Sue. What can be more miserable than the lot of a reading public like this, always bound to peruse the latest works of extremely commonplace persons who write for money only, and who are therefore never few in number? and for this advantage they are content to know by name only the works of the few superior minds of all ages and all countries. Literary newspapers, too, are a singularly cunning device for robbing the reading public of the time which, if culture is to be attained, should be devoted to the genuine productions of literature, instead of being occupied by the daily bungling commonplace persons.

    Hence, in regard to reading, it is a very important thing to be able to refrain. Skill in doing so consists in not taking into one’s hands any book merely because at the time it happens to be extensively read; such as political or religious pamphlets, novels, poetry, and the like, which make a noise, and may even attain to several editions in the first and last year of their existence. Consider, rather, that the man who writes for fools is always sure of a large audience; be careful to limit your time for reading, and devote it exclusively to the works of those great minds of all times and countries, who o’ertop the rest of humanity, those whom the voice of fame points to as such. These alone really educate and instruct. You can never read bad literature too little, nor good literature too much. Bad books are intellectual poison; they destroy the mind. Because people always read what is new instead of the best of all ages, writers remain in the narrow circle of the ideas which happen to prevail in their time; and so the period sinks deeper and deeper into its own mire."
    Last edited: 29 April 2014
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  10. Sjoerd

    Sjoerd Senior Member Sustaining Member

    "For the Age has itself become vulgar, and most people have no idea to what extent they are themselves tainted. The bad manners of all parliaments, the general tendency to connive at a rather shady business transaction if it promises to bring in money without work, jazz and Negro dances as the spiritual outlet in all circles of society, women painted like prostitutes, the efforts of writers to win popularity by ridiculing in their novels and plays the correctness of well-bred people, and the bad taste shown even by the nobility and old princely families in throwing off every kind of social restraint and time-honoured custom: all of these go to prove that it is now the vulgar mob that gives the tone."
    Oswald Spengler - Hour of Decision (1933)
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