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Some of Armando’s favorite quotes

Disclaimer: In some cases I found the quote not in the book in which it originally appears, but in another book that quotes the original source. I’ve noted where that occurs, so you don’t think I claim to read more than I do.


The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.  —Mark Twain, quoted in Harry Lewis, The Hong Kong Lectures


He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. For when you look deep into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.  —Frierich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil


In England and the United States, in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, in Switzerland and Canada, democracy is today sounder than ever before.  It has defended itself with courage and energy against the assaults of foreign dictatorship, and has not yielded to dictatorship at home. But if war continues to absorb and dominate it, or if the itch to rule the world requires a large military establishment and appropriate, the freedoms of democracy may one by one succumb to the discipline of arms and strife. If race or class war divides us into hostile camps, changing political argument into blind hate, one side or the other may overturn the hustings with the rule of the sword. If our economy of freedom fails to distribute wealth as ably as it has created it, the road to dictatorship will be open to any man who can persuasively promise security for all; and a martial government, under whatever charming phrases, will engulf the democratic world.  —Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History, chapter X "History and Government"


Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. —Winston Churchill


"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world" —John Muir


You may be better than [your undergrad students] are at what you do, but you have something to learn from every one of them. —UC Berkeley CS prof Manuel Blum, to Dick Karp


When one hears about acts of extraordinary bravery in combat, it is usually a sign that the battle has not been going terribly well. For when wars unfold according to plan and one's own side is winning, acts of exceptional individual heroism are rarely called for. Bravery is required mostly by the desperate side. —from Through the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher


“Only a Christian would think of our Buddha as ‘just a man’. Our Buddha is a being which all men can become—something greater than himself—if he can overcome all his illusions. You cling to your illusions—and call them faith.”   —from Martin Scorsese’s Silence, based on the novel of the same name by Shūsaku Endō


“Civilization is a stream with banks. The stream is sometimes filled with blood from people killing, stealing, shouting and doing things historians usually record; while on the banks, unnoticed, people build homes, make love, raise children, sing songs, write poetry and even whittle statues. The story of civilization is the story of what happened on the banks. Historians are pessimists because they ignore the banks of the river.”   —Will and Ariel Durant, The Story of Civilization


The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.  -Dr.  Martin Luther King Jr.


Where a great proportion of the people are suffered to languish in helpless misery, that country must be ill-policed and wretchedly governed. — Gentlemen of education, he observed, were pretty much the same in all countries; the condition of the lower orders, the poor especially, was the true mark of national discrimination. —Boswell, Life of Johnson, quoted in Paul Theroux, The Old Patagonian Express

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