Friday, October 30, 2009

History Quotations

It's been a while since I posted some new quotations.

Here's a great collection of quotes about history that I found via Winter Rabbit (whose discussion of rights, religion and law is quite provocative). Some good ones:

E. L. Doctorow:
History is the present. That's why every generation writes it anew. But what most people think of as history is its end product, myth.

Edward Gibbon:
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging of the future but by the past.

Etienne Gilson:
History is the only laboratory we have in which to test the consequences of thought.

Friedrich Von Schiller:
The history of the world is the world's court of justice.

George Bernard Shaw:
We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.

George Bernard Shaw:
We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
P.S. it's not exactly a history quote, but I just ran across Terry's posting of the full "We are the music makers / we are the dreamers of the dream" poem cited in Willy Wonka. The last line is one I might use in my history collection: "For each age is a dream that is dying, / Or one that is coming to birth."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Epicurus would not be an Epicurean, but I would

It's been a while since I did a life-defining online quiz. Thanks, Brandon:

Your recommended philosophy-guru is EPICURUS.

Key fact: Epicurus, founder of Epicureanism, is probably the most misunderstood philosopher of antiquity.

Must have: A delight in the countryside and gardens.

Key promise: Peace and tranquillity.

Key peril: Boredom.

Most likely to say: "The true hedonist can find as much pleasure in a glass of chilled water as in a feast for a king."

Least likely to say: "He who tires of the city, tires of life."

The quiz itself is short and, like so many of its ilk, contains either-or questions that really produce "depends on circumstances" answers. Of the six options, though, I'm reasonably satisfied with this.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Krugman's Rules

Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman's four rules for research [via]:

1. Listen to the Gentiles

2. Question the question

3. Dare to be silly

4. Simplify, simplify

Friday, October 09, 2009

Comment Elsewhere: Obama: Officially Not Bush

Over at Progressive Historians discussion of this morning's Nobel Peace Prize announcement I wrote
What's to be baffled? This is one case where my first reaction is almost certainly identical to the reaction from the right side of the US political spectrum: it's not about Obama, but about Bush. He's not Bush, and they are very, very happy about that.

Don't get me wrong: he's saying some great things, and has made some moves in the right direction. Some. But, as the NYtimes pointed out, the nominations for this year's prize closed just a few weeks after his inauguration.

Granted, pickings were slim this year -- though there's all kinds of humanitarian and civil rights organizations they could still pick from -- but I'm unpleasantly surprised by the shallowness of this choice. Not that Obama couldn't become that kind of President, but he hasn't yet.

On the flip side, the Little Anachronism has been reporting some anti-Obama comments from school -- "likely to be one of our ten worst presidents" -- and this was dramatic balance.