Friday, July 3, 2015

Quotes for the Weekend

It's  Friday and that means Quotes for the Weekend.  Jefferson and Kafka's quotes are worthy of careful reflection and thought. I see both as visionary advice reaching out to us from the past, to help us craft a better future.  It is the guidance we all wish we had when making tough decisions, it is comforting to know they exist.  Jefferson should never be rushed.  His words should be savored delicately like fine wine or gourmet food. Kafka as always shoots straight to the heart of the matter, it is a sledgehammer of possibilities pounding on hard set cement.  Nevertheless, just because it is a short line, it still carries a ton of wisdom. Here we go:

Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched.  They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment.  I knew that age well; I belonged to it, and labored with it.  It deserved of its country.  It was like the present, but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves, were they to rise from the dead.  I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions.  I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects.  But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.  As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
~ Thomas Jefferson

A book must be an axe for the frozen sea inside of us.
~  Franz  Kafka 
It is almost impossible to carry the torch of truth through a crowd without singeing somebody's beard.
~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg 
Life is a jest, and all things show it, / I thought so once, and now I know it.
~ John Gay 
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  
All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind.
~ Kahlil Gibran 
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
~Blaise Pascal

Pascal's quote is troublesome because it speaks a mighty truth.  I have often wondered why Men do such terrible acts in the name of religion.  And yet, most religions I know, preach love, kindness, forgiveness, and understanding.  If so, is religion the impetus for evil, or is religion the flag flourished by some men to justify their need for evil deeds?

With that thought in mind, I will add another in counterpoint:

 The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
~ Edmund Burke

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