Quotations – Αποσπασματα

It’s my lunch hour, so I go
for a walk among the hum-colored
cabs. First, down the sidewalk
where laborers feed their dirty
glistening torsos sandwiches
and Coca-Cola, with yellow helmets

“A Step Away from Them” 

Frank O’Hara, American Poet

“Prior to falling well and truly over the edge, I had neither experience nor understanding of drug addicts and homeless people, and hence very little sympathy for them. Yet what I think many fail to realise is that every man and woman has a breaking point, somewhere, even if most will thankfully never have to meet with it.”

Homeless person in Britain

“But time slowly chips away at life. People don’t just die when their time comes. They gradually die away, from the inside.’

Haruki Murakami, Japanese Author, 1Q84 

“I spent the whole evening sitting before a mirror to keep myself company.”

Cesare Pavese, Italian poet and novelist

“I have to philosophize. When I run out of material about which to philosophize, it is best for me to die.”

Paul Ludwig Carl Heinrich Rée, German Philosopher

“By god, I’d rather be a slave on earth for another man /some dirt-poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive/than rule down here (Ades) over all the breathless dead.” (translated by Robert Fagles)

Achilles, Homer’s Odyssey, Book 11, 547-549

“God made food; the Devil cooks.”

James Joyce, Irish writer

“A nomad does not need to go anywhere, but has to be moving.”

Turkish proverb.

‘Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity (selbstverschuldeten Unmündigkeit).’

Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher

“In fact, the measure of an event’s or a person’s importance in the hurly-burly of history is the time they take to be forgotten.”

Fernand Braudel, French Historian

“in mathematics you don’t understand things, you just get used to them.”

John von Neumann, Hungarian-American polymath and scientist

“I may be a bastard, but I’m not a fucking bastard.”

Seth Gecko, Criminal (From Dusk till Dawn)

“Revelation is marked by mystery, eternal happiness by suffering, the certitude of faith by uncertainty, easiness by difficulty, truth by absurdity.” “

Soren Kierkegaard, Danish Philosopher

“No one shall expel us from the Paradise that Cantor has created.”

David Hilbert, German Mathematician

“It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.”

Mill, John Stuart. Utilitarianism (Kindle Locations 155-157). . Kindle Edition.

“The mind, knows not what the tongue wants.” Howard Moskowitz, American market researcher and psychophysicist.

“The smallest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge obtained of lesser.” St. Thomas Aquinas

“There is no place where one really feels at home anymore. So, the thing that one longs to get back to, before anything else, is whatever place there may be where one could feel at home, and that is because it is in that place – and in that place alone – where one would really like to feel at home. That place is the world of the Greeks.” Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power: Attempt at a Revaluation of All Values (1885)

«The great questions of the age, are not decided by speeches and majority decisions – that was the big mistake of 1848 and 1849 – but by blood and iron». Otto von Bismarck, 1st German Chancellor

“Turin is as he (Cesare Pavese) was: industrious, clenched in a feverish and stiff-necked preoccupation, and, at the same time, indolent and given to wandering and daydreaming. Wherever we go in the city that resembles him we find our friend starting back to life; in every angle, on every street corner we expect to meet his tall figure in its dark cloak, his face barricaded behind his collar and his cap pulled over his eyes.” Natalia Ginzburg, Italian Author

“I have always liked the concept of universities as they were in Ancient Greece, where folks who had something cool to say would just come and say it. It wasn’t about recognition; the impetus was the thought that you were resonating with ideas.” Donald Knuth, Stanford University

“It makes me wonder, if the next Albert Einstein is a little girl in Afghanistan who just needs [the opportunity to access quality education].” Andrew Ng, Coursera co-founder

“And life itself told me this secret: ‘Behold,’ it said, ‘I am that which must overcome itself again and again.”Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

“Love is to give something that you do not have, to someone who does not want it”. Jacques Lacan, French Psychoanalyst and Philosopher

“For, the existing crisis is advancing toward a point where, either we will be confronted with a natural or social catastrophe or, before or after this, human beings will react in one way or
another and try to establish new forms of social life making sense to them. We cannot do this for them, or in their place, any more than we can say how it could be done. What we can do is
destroy the myths which, more than money or weapons, constitute the most formidable obstacles in the way of the reconstruction of human society.” Cornelius Castoriadis, Greek Philosopher

“We have abolished the world as truth. This abolition of truth is the negative condition for the Dionysian affirmation.” Friedrich Nietzsche, German (anti)Philosopher

“Gazing at the absurd as at a hieroglyph, we try to decipher its reason for being, of which we know only that it is, that it exists … Art, therefore, also can and should upset reality, take it apart into elements, build illogical new worlds of it and in this arbitrariness is hidden a law, which in disturbing sense has it, so that the madness that destroys our external sense leads us into our internal meaning.”

Witold Gombrowicz, Polish writer

“We’re not done, until I say we’re done.”

Walter White, Breaking Bad.

“What’s the point of being an outlaw when you have responsibilities?”

Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad

“It is fear of great history which has killed great history”

Edmond Faral, French Historian

Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”

Mike Tyson, American Boxer

But the real question is still: will the whole world eventually be dominated by America, or is there to be a reshuffle, a new distribution of power?

Albert Memmi, Tunisian Writer

Philosophy can be debilitating. It demands a critical sensibility, and to try to apply that to everything can be a very disquieting thing – the disquiet is necessary, even if you are unmoored by it.

Michael Sandel, American Philosopher

The fact of progress is written plain and large on the page of history; but progress is not a law of nature. The ground gained by one generation may be lost by the next. The thoughts of men may flow into the channels which lead to disaster and barbarism.

H.A.L. Fisher, English Historian

Where did I lose you, my trampled fantasies?

André de Richaud, French poet and writer

Il viaggio finisce a questa spiaggia
che tentano gli assidui e lenti flussi. 

Here the journey ends, on this shore

probed by slow, assuiduous tides.

Casa sul mare, Eugenio Montale, Italian Poet and Writer

The paintings are moods, impressions of the life of the soul, and together they represent one aspect of the battle, between man and woman, that is called love.
Edvard Munch, Norwegian Painter

“It is futile to try to recall our past, all our rational attempts are meaningless. Our past is hidden outside the domain of Reason, beyond its reach, inside a material object that we do not suspect. It is a matter of luck whether we will stumble upon this object before we die or not.” Marcel Proust, French Novelist

“There is no such thing as a baby; there is a baby and someone” Donald Winnicott, Paediatrician and Psychologist

“prediction is very difficult—especially if it is about the future” Niels Bohr, Physicist and Nobel Laureate

“For the sake of historical truth I must verify that only the Greeks, of all the adversaries who confronted us, fought with bold courage and highest disregard of death.” Adolf Hitler, speech before the Reichstag, 4 May 1941

“We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves.” Francois de La Rochefoucauld, French Author

`A good thesis topic, like a good wife, should give you sleepless nights’. Karl Popper, Philosopher

“All theories are trials, they are tentative hypotheses, tried out to see whether they work; and all experimental corroboration is simply the result of tests undertaken in a critical spirit, in an attempt to find out where our theories err”. Karl Popper, Philosopher

“Cooking, is creating a big fucking problem and learning how to solve it.” Craig Thornton, Chef

“I’m not here to write, I’m here to be mad.” Robert Walser, Swiss writer.

“Hellenism was an Eagle with one wing on the East and another on the West. Since 1922, the Eagle has only one wing”. Nikos Psyroukis, Greek Historian

“The more benchmarking companies do, the more they look alike. The more that rivals outsource activities to efficient third parties, often the same ones, the more generic those activities become. As rivals imitate one another’s improvements in quality, cycle times, or supplier partnerships, strategies converge and competition becomes a series of races down identical paths that no one can win. Competition based on operational effectiveness alone is mutually destructive, leading to wars of attrition that can be arrested only by limiting competition.” Michael Porter, Harvard Business School

One who is a samurai must before all things keep in mind, by day, and by night, the fact that he has to die. That is his chief business. – The Bushido Code

“For the thinker, as for the artist, what counts in life is not the number of rare and exciting adventures he encounters, but the inner depth in that life, by which something great may be made out of even the paltriest and most banal of occurrences” William Barrett, American philosopher.

“The gods did not reveal, from the beginning,

All things to us; but in the course of time,

Through seeking we may learn, and know things better,

But as for certain truth, no man has known it,

Nor will he know it; neither of the gods,

Nor yet of all the things of which I speak,

And even if by chance he were to utter

The perfect truth, he would himself not know it;

For all is but a woven web of guesses.”


“And indeed it was not only Albertine, not only my grandmother, but many others still from whom I might well have assimilated a gesture or a word, but whom I could not even remember as distinct persons; a book is a vast graveyard whereon most of the tombstones one can read no more the faded names.” Marcel Proust, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu

“You can’t choose how you are born, but you can choose how you die” Haruki Murakami, Japanese writer.

“A horrible end is preferrable to unending horror”. German proverb.

“We live without feeling the country beneath our feet”, Epigram Against Stalin, Osip Mandelstam, Russian Poet

“Novelists usually talk about how they feel or what they think, but it is far more important for them to learn to observe what is happening around them.” Peter Carey, Australian novelist.

“For something to happen, something must begin. The first shape of hope is fear. the first appearance of the new is terror.” Heiner Mueller, German dramatist, poet, essayist, director.

Joseph Addison, the 18th-century essayist and poet, said:  “Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments.”

‘I’m always a beginner, and the most important thing is always the next piece. We artists never know if we can do it again. You have done something – and most of the time I hate what I have done a few years ago – and you don’t know if you can do something now. The good artists are usually the very young or the very old. The ones who are very young are so stupid that they have no fear. And when they are very old they aren’t afraid any more. In the meantime, you are always, always, afraid.’ Christian Boltanski

Sobre los gustos, no hai disputa (One can’t argue about tastes)

De gustibus et coloribus non est disputandum (It’s no use debating taste and colours.)

“Αρμονίη αφανής φανερής κρείτων” Ηρακλειτος

Hidden harmony is better than the apparent one” Heraclitus

“Burn out, like a short-lived candle! Life is nothing more than a shadow that moves, a bad actor who overacts for a while on the stage of life, and then is gone forever. Life is a story told by an idiot, with lots of drama, but which in the end has no meaning. (Or, perhaps, indicates that the state of not being, the state of nothingness, is the only true reality.)

Shakespeare, Macbeth

“You can’t think on purpose about somebody or something. Either you think about them naturally or you don’t think at all.”

Alberto Moravia, Boredom

“Today’s milestone is human madness. Politics is part of it, particularly in its lethal outbursts. Politics is not, as it was for  Hannah Arendt, the field where human freedom is unfurled. The modern world, the world of world wars, the Third World, the underground world of death that acts upon us, do not have the civilized splendor of the Greek city state. The modenr political domain is massively, in totalitarian fashion, social, leveling, exhausting. Hence madness is a space of antisocial, apolitical and paradoxically free individuation.”

Julia Kristeva, Black Sun: Depression and Melancholia

“Individuals predestined to gourmandism are generally of medium height; they have round or square faces, bright eyes, small foreheads, short noses, full lips, and well-rounded chins. The women are buxom, pretty rather than beautiful, with a tendency to run to fat. Those women whose gourmandism consists chiefly of love of sweet things have finer features, a more deliccate air, neater features, and above all, a very special way with their tongues”

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

“When around one everything has become silent, solemn as a clear, starlit night, when the soul comes to be alone in the whole world, then before one there appears, not an extraordinary human being, but the eternal power itself, then the heavens open, and the I chooses itself or, more correctly, receives itself. Then the personality receives the accolade of knighthood that ennobles it for an eternity.”

Soren Kierkegaard, Either/or, Part II

. . . and in the lowest deep a lower deep,
Still threatening to devour me, opens wide,
To which the hel l I suffer seems a heaven.”
John Milton, Paradise Lost

“In life there are no problems, that is, objective and external choices; there is only the life which we do not resolve as a problem but which we live as an experience, whatever the final result may be.” Alberto Moravia

“It is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that the being of man and the world are eternally justified.” Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy

“… a poor wretch woke up in Hell and shouted, “What tiime is it?” – whereupon the devil answered, “Eternity”!”

Soren Kierkeggard, Either/or, A Fragment of Life

“There, in front of us, where a broken row of houses stood between us and the harbor, and where the eye encountered all sorts of stratagems, such as pale-blue and pink underwear cakewalking on a clothesline, or a lady’s bicycle and a striped cat oddly sharing a rudimentary balcony of cast iron, it was most satisfying to make out among the jumbled angles of roofs and walls, a splendid ship’s funnel, showing from behind the clothesline as something in a scrambled picture—that the finder cannot unsee once it has been seen.” -Nabokov

“Litigation really is the sincerest form of flattery” Lex, Apple vs. Samsung, 19 April 2011, Financial Times

“… you should understand dear Teresa that things in life have solely the value attributed to them by our imagination… Therefore, if we accept that sensual pleasure is always dependent upon and regulated by the imagination, it should not be a surprise that there so many variations of pleasures, or the infinite types of different proclivities and passions in interplay with this imagination.”

Marquis de Sade, Justine (or the The Misfortunes of Virtue)

‘Mary Roach: I was talking to a physician reader, and he got to telling me about the anus, which is this amazing thing that nobody appreciates. Here’s this ring of muscle with nerves that has to discriminate between solid, liquid, and gas, and let it out accordingly. He’s like, “No engineer could design something as multifunctional and fine-tuned as an anus. To call someone an asshole is really bragging him up.”‘ (Mother Jones Interview, April 2, 2013)

“That was the period when Simone developed a mania for breaking eggs with her behind. She would do a headstand on an armchair in the parlor, her back against the chair’s back, her legs bent toward me, while I jerked off in order to come in her face.   I would put the egg right on the hole in her ass, and she would skillfully amuse herself by shaking it in the deep crack of her buttocks. The moment my come shot out and trickled down her eyes, her buttocks would squeeze together and sge would come while I smeared my face abundantly in her ass.”

Georges Bataille, The Story of the Eye