Monday, March 13, 2006

Quotations #080 - In honor of the Bad History Carnival

"History is a set of lies agreed upon." -- Napoleon Bonaparte

"The only people who remain misunderstood are those who either do not know what they want or are not worth understanding." -- Ivan Turgenev, Rudin (1856)

"So long as men worship the Caesars and Napoleons, Caesars and Napoleons will duly arise and make them miserable." -- Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means (1937)

"Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors." T. H. Huxley, "The Coming of Age of the Origin of Species" (1881)

"What beastly incidents our memories insist on cherishing! ... the ugly and disgusting ... the beautiful things we have to keep diaries to remember!" -- Eugene O'Neill, Strange Interludes (1928)

"Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on." -- Samuel Butler, 27 February 1895

"If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by a spectacular error." -- John Kenneth Galbraith, attributed.

"Generally speaking, contemporary historians do not look favorably on the idea of historical accident. Like most modern people, they like to think they live in a world in which the reasons for things are discoverable by reason. Everything, we say, can be explained by something; we just have to find out what. As comforting and useful as this opinion is, it is false. In the course of human events, sometimes things happen just by accident. There is no way to explain them other than by the sheer operation of unpredictable fate. --Marshall Poe, The Russian Moment in World History, 38

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