My favorite quotes of the year
Every year, I review everything I read, listened to, and watched and find my favorite quotes/mini-stories of the year.
Sharing in case you like some of these too.
Hippocleides doesn’t care
There was once a wealthy tyrant named Cleisthenes who wanted to marry his daughter to the best man in all of Greece.
There were a series of competitions to determine who was the best man in Greece. Eventually, one of the men named Hippocleides came out in front. He was good looking, wealthy, witty, and manly.
Cleisthenes threw a banquet in his honor to celebrate him and Hippocleides got very drunk. Soon, Hippocleides started dancing like crazy on tables.
After a while, Cleisthenes couldn’t take it anymore. He cried, “Hippocleides, you have danced away your marriage!”.
To which Hippocleides replied, “Hippocleides doesn’t care!”
According to the historian Herodotus, this became a common phrase in the Greek World.
The Romans famously did not give in to defeat. In ancient warfare, if you thoroughly routed your enemy’s armies, the assumption was that you won.
But of course, the Romans wouldn’t concede defeat even in the most dire of circumstances.
This attitude led to the quote from the Roman writer Ennius:
“The victor is not victorious if the vanquished does not consider himself so.”
Anytime you fall in love, you'll notice nobody else sees why your lover is as beautiful as you think they are. The reason why is they are looking at the body and you are looking at their soul. - Michael Sugrue talking about Plato's symposium
Each time you happen to me all over again. — The Age of Innocence.
Of all the things that drive men to sea, the most common disaster, I’ve come to learn, is women. — Middle Passage.
Writer Gk Chesterton's girth gave rise to an anecdote during the First World War: When a lady in London asked why he was not "out at the Front)"; he replied, "If you go round to the side, you will see that I am."
Led Zeppelin’s manager Peter Grant infamously approached Bob Dylan in 1974 backstage at a Los Angeles show and with an extended hand announced, “Hello Bob, I’m Peter Grant, I manage Led Zeppelin.” Dylan then proceeded to dismiss the handshake and utter with unerring wit and disdain, “Do I come to you with my problems?”
The downsides of being a computer person
[When Kurt Vonnegut tells his wife he’s going out to buy an envelope]:
“Oh, she says, well, you’re not a poor man. You know, why don’t you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I’m going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And see some great looking babies. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And I’ll ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don’t know. The moral of the story is — we’re here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And what the computer people don’t realize, or they don’t care, is we’re dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And it’s like we’re not supposed to dance at all anymore.”
“It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion--its message becomes meaningless.” - Abraham Heschel, God in Search of Man
“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” - Soren Kierkegaard
A story from Joseph Cambell:
When asked about their theology, Japanese monks replied:
“We do not have theology, we dance.”