May 29, 2018


“Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.”  ~ Noam Chomsky

“The beauty of our system is that it isolates everybody. Each person is sitting alone in front of the tube, you know. It's very hard to have ideas or thoughts under those circumstances. You can't fight the world alone.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.”
~ Noam Chomsky

 “The whole educational and professional training system is a very elaborate filter, which just weeds out people who are too independent, and who think for themselves, and who don't know how to be submissive, and so on -- because they're dysfunctional to the institutions.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum...”
~ Noam Chomsky, The Common Good

“That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“The war is simply an obscenity, a depraved act by weak and miserable men, including all of us who have allowed it to go on and on with endless fury and destruction - all of us who would have remained silent, had stability and order been secured.”
~ Noam Chomsky,  American Power and the New Mandarins, 1969

“Personally I'm in favor of democracy, which means that the central institutions in the society have to be under popular control. Now, under capitalism we can't have democracy by definition. Capitalism is a system in which the central institutions of society are in principle under autocratic control. Thus, a corporation or an industry is, if we were to think of it in political terms, fascist; that is, it has tight control at the top and strict obedience has to be established at every level -- there's a little bargaining, a little give and take, but the line of authority is perfectly straightforward. Just as I'm opposed to political fascism, I'm opposed to economic fascism. I think that until major institutions of society are under the popular control of participants and communities, it's pointless to talk about democracy.”
~ Noam Chomsky, "One Man's View : Noam Chomsky interviewed by an anonymous interviewer," Business Today, May 1973.

“In the American Jewish community, there is little willingness to face the fact that the Palestinian Arabs have suffered a monstrous historical injustice, whatever one may think of the competing claims. Until this is recognized, discussion of the Middle East crisis cannot even begin.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Peace in the Middle East? Reflections on Justice and Nationhood, 1974, p. 54.

“The Cold War ideology and the international communist conspiracy function in an important way as essentially a propaganda device to mobilize support at a particular historical moment for this long-time imperial enterprise. In fact, I believe that this is probably the main function of the Cold War: it serves as a useful device for the managers of American society and their counterparts in the Soviet Union to control their own populations and their own respective imperial systems.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Government in the Future, 1970, P. 143

“We may usefully think of the language faculty, the number faculty, and others as 'mental organs,' analogous to the heart or the visual system or the system of motor coordination and planning. There appears to be no clear demarcation line between physical organs, perceptual and motor systems and cognitive faculties in the respects in question.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Rules and Representations (1980), P. 4

“That is what I have always understood to be the essence of anarchism: the conviction that the burden of proof has to be placed on authority, and that it should be dismantled if that burden cannot be met.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“It is quite possible--overwhelmingly probable, one might guess--that we will always learn more about human life and personality from novels than from scientific psychology”
~ Noam Chomsky

“Science is a bit like the joke about the drunk who is looking under a lamppost for a key that he has lost on the other side of the street, because that's where the light is. It has no other choice.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“Our ignorance can be divided into problems and mysteries. When we face a problem, we may not know its solution, but we have insight, increasing knowledge, and an inkling of what we are looking for. When we face a mystery, however, we can only stare in wonder and bewilderment, not knowing what an explanation would even look like.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“The death penalty can be tolerated only by extreme statist reactionaries who demand a state that is so powerful that it has the right to kill.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“The key element of social control is the strategy of distraction that is to divert public attention from important issues and changes decided by political and economic elites, through the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information.”
~ Noam Chomsky

“In summary, it is the diversity of human behavior, its appropriateness to new situations, and man’s capacity to innovate – the creative aspect of language use providing the principal indication of this –that leads Descartes to attribute possession of mind to other humans, since he regards this capacity as beyond the limitations of any imaginable mechanism.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Cartesian Linguistics (3rd ed., 2009)

“Cartesian linguistics was not concerned simply with descriptive grammar, in this sense, but rather with “grammaire générale,” that is, with the universal principles of language structure.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Cartesian Linguistics (3rd ed., 2009)

“Despite these shortcomings, the insights into the organization of grammar that were achieved in Cartesian linguistics remain quite impressive, and a careful study of this work can hardly fail to prove rewarding to a linguist who approaches it without prejudice or preconceptions as to the a priori limitations on permitted linguistic investigation.”
~ Noam Chomsky, Cartesian Linguistics (3rd ed., 2009)

Human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world.
~ Noam Chomsky

“Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.”
~ Noam Chomsky

May 20, 2018


11 best quotes by Alexander Pushkin: “Two fixed ideas can no more exist together in the moral world than two bodies can occupy one and the same place in the physical world.” ~ Alexander Pushkin, The Queen of Spades (1833)

“What grace could all your worldly power bring
To One whose crown of thorns has made him King,
The Christ who gave His body to the flails,
Who humbly bore the lance and piercing nails?
Or do you fear the rabble might disgrace The One.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Secular Power

“The heavy hanging chains shall fall,
The walls shall crumble at the word,
And Freedom greet you with the light
And brothers give you back the sword.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, The Decembrists

“Come purge my soul, Thou Master of my days,
Of vain and empty words, of idle ways,
Of base ambition and the urge to rule;
That hidden serpent that corrupts a fool;
and grant me, Lord, to see my sins alone.
That I not call my brother to atone;
Make chaste my heart and lend me from above
Thy fortitude, humility, and love.”
 ~ Alexander Pushkin, A Prayer

“‘Tis time, my friend, ‘tis time!
For rest the heart is aching;
Days follow days in flight, and every day is taking
Fragments of being, while together you and I
Make plans to live. Look, all is dust, and we shall die.”
~ Alexander Pushkin,  'Tis Time, My Friend, l. 1-5 (1834)

“Unforced, as conversation passed,
he had the talent of saluting
felicitously every theme,
of listening like a judge-supreme
while serious topics were disputing,
or, with an epigram-surprise,
of kindling smiles in ladies' eyes.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 1, st. 5.

“A man who's active and incisive
can yet keep nail-care much in mind:
why fight what's known to be decisive?
custom is despot of mankind.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 1, st. 25.

“The illness with which he'd been smitten
should have been analysed when caught,
something like spleen, that scourge of Britain,
or Russia's chondria, for short.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 1, st. 38.

“Love passed, the Muse appeared, the weather
of mind got clarity new-found;
now free, I once more weave together
emotion, thought, and magic sound.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 1, st. 59.

“The less we show our love to a woman,
Or please her less, and neglect our duty,
The more we trap and ruin her surely
In the flattering toils of philandery.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 4, st. 1.

“Sad that our finest aspiration
Our freshest dreams and meditations,
In swift succession should decay,
Like Autumn leaves that rot away.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1823), Ch. 8, st. 11.

“And thus He mused: "From here, indeed
Shall we strike terror in the Swede?
And here a city by our labor
Founded, shall gall our haughty neighbor;
"Here cut" - so Nature gives command -
Your window through on Europe; stand
Firm-footed by the sea, unchanging!”
~ Alexander Pushkin, The Bronze Horseman (1833).

“Two fixed ideas can no more exist together in the moral world than two bodies can occupy one and the same place in the physical world.”
~ Alexander Pushkin, The Queen of Spades (1833)

May 5, 2018


“Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.” ~Anton Chekhov, Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya (1897) act 1

If I were asked to chose between execution and life in prison I would, of course, chose the latter. It’s better to live somehow than not at all.

~Anton Chekhov, The Bet (1889)

 “By poeticizing love, we imagine in those we love virtues that they often do not possess; this then becomes the source of constant mistakes and constant distress.”
~Anton Chekhov, Ariadne (1895)

 “Only during hard times do people come to understand how difficult it is to be master of their feelings and thoughts.”
~Anton Chekhov, Misfortune (1886)

“Death can only be profitable: there’s no need to eat, drink, pay taxes, offend people, and since a person lies in a grave for hundreds or thousands of years, if you count it up the profit turns out to be enormous.”
~Anton Chekhov, Rothschild’s Fiddle (1894)

 “When a person is born, he can embark on only one of three roads of life: if you go right, the wolves will eat you; if you go left, you’ll eat the wolves; if you go straight, you’ll eat yourself.”
~Anton Chekhov, Fatherlessness or Platonov, Act I, sc. xiv (1878)

“By nature servile, people attempt at first glance to find signs of good breeding in the appearance of those who occupy more exalted stations.”
~Anton Chekhov, A Futile Occurrence or A Trivial Incident (1886)

“In two or three hundred years life on earth will be unimaginably beautiful, astounding. Man needs such a life and if it hasn’t yet appeared, he should begin to anticipate it, wait for it, dream about it, prepare for it. To achieve this, he has to see and know more than did his grandfather and father.”
~Anton Chekhov, The Three Sisters (1901)

“Once you’ve married, be strict but just with your wife, don’t allow her to forget herself, and when a misunderstanding arises, say: “Don’t forget that I made you happy.”
~Anton Chekhov, Guide for Those Wishing to Marry (1885)

“Probably nature itself gave man the ability to lie so that in difficult and tense moments he could protect his nest, just as do the vixen and wild duck.”

~Anton Chekhov, Difficult People (1886)

“Watching a woman make Russian pancakes, you might think that she was calling on the spirits or extracting from the batter the philosopher’s stone.”
~Anton Chekhov, Russian Pancakes or Bliny (1886)

“Silence accompanies the most significant expressions of happiness and unhappiness: those in love understand one another best when silent, while the most heated and impassioned speech at a graveside touches only outsiders, but seems cold and inconsequential to the widow and children of the deceased.”
~Anton Chekhov, Enemies (1887)

“Not everyone knows when to be silent and when to go. It not infrequently happens that even diplomatic persons of good worldly breeding fail to observe that their presence is arousing a feeling akin to hatred in their exhausted or busy host, and that this feeling is being concealed with an effort and disguised with a lie.”
~Anton Chekhov, The Letter (1887)

“No matter how corrupt and unjust a convict may be, he loves fairness more than anything else. If the people placed over him are unfair, from year to year he lapses into an embittered state characterized by an extreme lack of faith.”
~Anton Chekhov, A Journey to Sakhalin

“All of life and human relations have become so incomprehensibly complex that, when you think about it, it becomes terrifying and your heart stands still.”
~Anton Chekhov, In the Cart or A Journey by Cart or The Schoolmistress (1897)

“Do you know when you may concede your insignificance? Before God or, perhaps, before the intellect, beauty, or nature, but not before people. Among people, one must be conscious of one’s dignity.”
~Anton Chekhov, Letter to his brother, M.P. Chekhov (April 1879)

“An artist must pass judgment only on what he understands; his range is limited as that of any other specialist—that's what I keep repeating and insisting upon. Anyone who says that the artist's field is all answers and no questions has never done any writing or had any dealings with imagery. An artist observes, selects, guesses and synthesizes.”
~Anton Chekhov, Letter to A.S. Suvorin (October 27, 1888)

“A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees. Forests create climate, climate influences peoples’ character, and so on and so forth. There can be neither civilization nor happiness if forests crash down under the axe, if the climate is harsh and severe, if people are also harsh and severe.... What a terrible future!”
~Anton Chekhov, Letter to A.S. Suvorin (October 18, 1888)

“Although you may tell lies, people will believe you, if only you speak with authority.”
~Anton Chekhov, Note-Book of Anton Chekhov (1921)

Death is terrible, but still more terrible is the feeling that you might live for ever and never die.
~Anton Chekhov, Note-Book of Anton Chekhov (1921)

It is unfortunate that we try to solve the simplest questions cleverly, and therefore make them unusually complicated. We should seek a simple solution.
~Anton Chekhov, Note-Book of Anton Chekhov (1921)

“Man has been endowed with reason, with the power to create, so that he can add to what he's been given. But up to now he hasn't been a creator, only a destroyer. Forests keep disappearing, rivers dry up, wild life's become extinct, the climate's ruined and the land grows poorer and uglier every day.”
~Anton Chekhov, Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya (1897) act 1

May 1, 2018


“Quite often a man goes on for years imagining that the religious teaching that had been imparted to him since childhood is still intact, while all the time there is not a trace of it left in him.” ~ Leo Tolstoy, Confession (1882), Pt. I, ch. 1

 “Error is the force that welds men together; truth is communicated to men only by deeds of truth.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, My Religion (1884), Ch. 12

“The hero of my tale, whom I love with all the power of my soul, whom I have tried to portray in all his beauty, who has been, is, and will be beautiful, is Truth.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Sevastopol in May (1855), Ch. 16

“A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Writings on Civil Disobedience and Nonviolence (1886)

“All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do. “
~ Leo Tolstoy, The Law of Love and the Law of Violence (1908)

“We acknowledge God only when we are conscious of His manifestation in us. All conclusions and guidelines based on this consciousness should fully satisfy both our desire to know God as such as well as our desire to live a life based on this recognition.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Entry in Tolstoy's Diary (1 November 1910)

“Men think it right to eat animals, because they are led to believe that God sanctions it. This is untrue. No matter in what books it may be written that it is not sinful to slay animals and to eat them, it is more clearly written in the heart of man than in any books that animals are to be pitied and should not be slain any more than human beings. We all know this if we do not choke the voice of our conscience.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, The Pathway of Life: Teaching Love and Wisdom (posthumous), Part I, International Book Publishing Company, New York, 1919, p. 68

“Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869), Book IV, ch. 11

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869), Bk. X, ch. 16

“War is not a courtesy but the most horrible thing in life; and we ought to understand that, and not play at war. We ought to accept this terrible necessity sternly and seriously. It all lies in that: get rid of falsehood and let war be war and not a game. As it is now, war is the favourite pastime of the idle and frivolous.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869), Bk. X, ch. 25

“Love hinders death. Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869),  Thoughts of Prince Andrew Bk XII, Ch. 16

“To love life is to love God. Harder and more blessed than all else is to love this life in one's sufferings, in undeserved sufferings.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869), Bk. XIV, ch. 15

“History is the life of nations and of humanity. To seize and put into words, to describe directly the life of humanity or even of a single nation, appears impossible.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869),  Epilogue II, ch. 1

“The peculiar and amusing nature of those answers stems from the fact that modern history is like a deaf person who is in the habit of answering questions that no one has put to them.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1865–1867; 1869),  Vol 2, pt 5, p 236 — Selected Works, Moscow, 1869

“My reason will still not understand why I pray, but I shall still pray, and my life, my whole life, independently of anything that may happen to me, is every moment of it no longer meaningless as it was before, but has an unquestionable meaning of goodness with which I have the power to invest it.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1875–1877; 1878), Pt. VIII, ch. 19

“Go — take the mother's soul, and learn three truths: Learn What dwells in man, What is not given to man, and What men live by. When thou hast learnt these things, thou shalt return to heaven.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, What Men Live By (1881), Ch. IV

“Quite often a man goes on for years imagining that the religious teaching that had been imparted to him since childhood is still intact, while all the time there is not a trace of it left in him.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Confession (1882), Pt. I, ch. 1

“Science has adapted itself entirely to the wealthy classes and accordingly has set itself to heal those who can afford everything, and it prescribes the same methods for those who have nothing to spare.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, What then must we do? (1886)

“The only significance of life consists in helping to establish the kingdom of God; and this can be done only by means of the acknowledgment and profession of the truth by each one of us.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894)

“Art is a human activity having for its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, What is Art? (1897), Ch. 8

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