Category Archives: Quotable Quotes

Gadgetry

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     “No gadget, however ingenious, will enable humanity to discover the meaning of life (and notwithstanding certain brilliant philosophers, we cannot live if our life has no meaning).  Nor can a gadget enable us to recover a relationship of communion with other men and women (and we cannot live if we are hopelessly misunderstood) …

     “Computers are sometimes useful in their narrow domain (very narrow, despite their many possible applications).  We must be iconoclastic with respect to computers, which are pretentious devices that arrogantly substitute themselves for the word and for reason.”  

                                — Jacques Ellul, The Humiliation of the Word

On Old Books

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“There is no luck in literary reputation. They who make up the final verdict upon every book, are not the partial and noisy readers of the hour when it appears; but a court as of angels, a public not to be bribed, not to be entreated, and not to be overawed, decides upon every man’s title to fame. Only those books come down which deserve to last. All the gilt edges and vellum and morocco, all the presentation-copies to all the libraries will not preserve a book in circulation beyond its intrinsic date. It must go with all Walpole’s Noble and Royal Authors to its fate. Blackmore, Kotzebue, or Pollock may endure for a night, but Moses and Homer stand forever.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Spiritual Laws”

A Stranger Upon Earth

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“The city of Christ, which, although as yet a stranger upon earth, had countless hosts of citizens, did not make war upon its godless persecutors for the sake of temporal security, but preferred to win eternal salvation by abstaining from war.  They were bound, imprisoned, beaten, tortured, burned, torn in pieces, massacred, and yet they multiplied.  It was not given to them to fight for their eternal salvation except by despising their temporal salvation for their Savior’s sake.”

— Augustine, The City of God, XXII.6

Practical Politics

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When the business man rebukes the idealism of his office-boy, it is commonly in some such speech as this:  “Ah, yes, when one is young, one has these ideals in the abstract and these castles in the air; but in middle age they all break up like clouds, and one comes down to a belief in practical politics, to using the machinery one has and getting on with the world as it is.”  Thus, at least, venerable and philanthropic old men now in their honoured graves used to talk to me when I was a boy.  But since then I have grown up and have discovered that these philanthropic old men were telling lies.  What has really happened is exactly the opposite of what they said would happen.  They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians.  Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was.  What I have lost is my old childlike faith in practical politics.  I am still as much concerned as ever about the Battle of Armageddon; but I am not so much concerned about the General Election.  As a babe I leapt up on my mother’s knee at the mere mention of it.  No; the vision is always solid and reliable.  The vision is always a fact.  It is the reality that is often a fraud …

                                                 G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Voting

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“Voting, we might even say, is the next to last refuge of the politically impotent.  The last refuge is, of course, giving your opinion to a pollster, who will get a version of it through a desiccated question, and then will submerge it in a Niagara of similar opinions, and convert them into – what else? – another piece of news.  Thus, we have here a great loop of impotence:  the news elicits from you a variety of opinions about which you can do nothing except to offer them as more news, about which you can do nothing.”

—  Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

 

“Politics is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.”

— Frank Zappa

 

Melodrama

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Today we launch a new category of posts on Pilgrimagination:  Quotable Quotes.  Here is the first of what will hopefully prove to be many more to come:

 

     Human life, I have come to feel, in all its public or collective manifestations, is only theater, and mostly cheap melodrama at that … There is nothing serious under the sun except love; of fellow mortals and of God.

                                                 Malcolm Muggeridge