Favorite Quotes

I used to have these hidden on my Facebook account somewhere, but I decided that they should live in a different walled garden instead, one that I'll presumably break out of sometime soon. Please consider this your trigger warning.

"It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies. This, at least, may seem enough of a truism to pass over without comment. Not so, however. For the modern intellectual, it is not at all obvious." - Noam Chomsky

"A good designer must rely on experience, on precise, logic thinking; and on pedantic exactness. No magic will do." - Niklaus Wirth

"All lovers do well to leave the doors of their love wide open. When love can go and come without fear of meeting a watch­dog, jealousy will rarely take root because it will soon learn that where there are no locks and keys there is no place for suspicion and distrust, two elements upon which jealousy thrives and prospers." - Emma Goldman

"The first rule of Operating Systems is: there are no operating systems!" - Peter Fr
öhlich (shameless plug)

"If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don't like. Stalin and Hitler, for example, were dictators in favor of freedom of speech for views they liked only. If you're in favor of freedom of speech, that means you're in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise." - Noam Chomsky

"Compile time is over! Run time has just begun..." - Peter Fr
öhlich (more shameless plug)

"But the truth is, I *am* doing this for the first time, just like they are. I hope. If that stops, I will stop, because then what's the point? You know? Then it's a job..." - Al Pacino

"A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everybody is as taut as a drum and as red as a beet." - Alan Watts

"I wept because I had lost my pain and I was not yet accustomed to its absence." - Anais Nin

"Immature love says: I love you because I need you. Mature love says: I need you because I love you." - Erich Fromm

"It's all explained in the ancient codex of parsing, handed down from the depths of time by the master sages who live in Reduction on Turing Lake." - Peter Fr
öhlich (commenting on the movie "Tremors" of all things)

"The great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in this, that man and maid, freed of all false feelings and reluctances, will seek each other not as opposites, but as brother and sister, as neighbors, and will come together as human beings." - Rainer Maria Rilke

"But of bliss and glad life there is little to be said, before it ends; as works fair and wonderful, while still they endure for eyes to see, are their own record, and only when they are in peril or broken for ever do they pass into song." - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

"Sure God created man before woman, but then again you always make a rough draft before creating the final masterpiece." - Anonymous

"Von allen Formen der Vorsicht ist kleinliche Vorsicht in der Liebe vielleicht am verh
ängnisvollsten fuer das wahre Glück." - Bertrand Russell

"Suppose a man can convince me of error and bring home to me that I am mistaken in thought or deed; I shall be glad to alter, for the truth is what I pursue, and no one was ever injured by the truth, whereas he is injured who continues in his own self-deception and ignorance." - Marcus Aurelius

"We always deceive ourselves twice about the people we love - first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage." - Albert Camus

"The serene man who has ordered his life stands above menacing fate and unflinchingly faces good and bad fortune. This virtuous man can hold up his head unconquered. The threatening and raging ocean storms which churn the waves cannot shake him; nor can the bursting furnace of Vesuvius, aimlessly throwing out its smoky fire; nor the fiery bolts of lightening which can topple the highest towers. Why then are we wretched, frightened by fierce tyrants who rage without the power to harm us? He who hopes for nothing and fears nothing can disarm the fury of these impotent men; but he who is burdened by fears and desires is not master of himself. He throws away his shield and retreats; he fastens the chain by which he will be drawn." - Boethius

"A man who has committed a mistake and does not correct it is committing another mistake." - Confucius

"What are we going to cover this semester?" "It doesn't matter what we cover; it matters what we discover." - Victor Weisskopf

"If you try to change it, you will ruin it. If you try to hold it, you will lose it." - Lao Tzu


"Life is amazing. It's made even better by virtue of being finite, a widely dreaded fact that should encourage determined action more so than quiet contemplation. Although the latter is also of use. You better make sure you enjoy everything you do for there might not be another day to do it on!" - Peter Fröhlich (from my old Facebook "About me" section)

"I do not, and I stress NOT, believe that role-playing games are 'storytelling' in the way that is usually presented. If there is a story to be told, it comes from the interaction of all participants, not merely the Game Master
who should not a 'Storyteller' but a narrator and co-player! The players are not acting out roles designed for them by the GM, they are acting in character to create the story, and that tale is told as the game unfolds, and as directed by their actions, with random factors that even the GM can't predict possibly altering the course of things. Storytelling is what novelists, screenwriters, and playwrights do. It has little or no connection to role-playing games, which differ in all aspects from the entertainment forms such authors create for." - Gary Gygax

"Whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very being, but still remains alien to his true nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness." - Wilhelm von Humboldt

"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either." - Mark Twain

"Durch die Abgabe meiner Stimme verzichte ich darauf, während der Legislaturperiode mit zu bestimmen. Der Wähler legalisiert die Handlungen, die später gegen ihn unternommen werden." - Herbert Wehner

"Das Gegenteil einer richtigen Behauptung ist eine falsche Behauptung. Aber das Gegenteil einer tiefen Wahrheit kann wieder eine tiefe Wahrheit sein." - Werner Heisenberg

"As soon as we started programming, we found to our surprise that it wasn't as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. I can remember the exact instant when I realized that a large part of my life from then on was going to be spent in finding mistakes in my own programs." - Maurice Wilkes, 1949

"We can view the program as what turns the general-purpose computer into a special-purpose symbol manipulator, and does so without the need to change a single wire ... I prefer to describe it the other way round: the program is an abstract symbol manipulator, which can be turned into a concrete one by supplying a computer to it. After all, it is no longer the purpose of programs to instruct our machines; these days, it is the purpose of machines to execute our programs." - Edsger W. Dijkstra, EWD 1036

"If the hallmark of a good idea is that many people make use of it, then the hallmark of an excellent idea is that most people are no longer even aware of it." - Peter Fr
öhlich (a shameless plug once again)

"All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage—torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians—which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by “our” side." - George Orwell, 1945

"You can’t just place a LISP book on top of an x86 chip and hope that the hardware learns about lambda calculus by osmosis." - James Mickens


"It goes against the grain of modern education to teach children to program. What fun is there in making plans, acquiring discipline in organizing thoughts, devoting attention to detail and learning to be self-critical?" - Alan J. Perlis, 1982

"Let's face it, Tiamat is going to work out better for us than Asmodeus would. And that's in part because she's allied more closely with the Githyanki. Because those oppose the Illithids. And that's what will help us keep our brains in our skulls. Right?" - Peter Fröhlich (commenting on a "Clinton is awesome!" post)

"Understand that college will not prepare you for your career. College is an opportunity for you to prepare yourself for your career. You will get out of it what you put in." - Robert Fisher

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