Mark's Quotes Pages


 Mark's Home

 Quote Links
  The Quotations Archive


These are quotes I found over the years. If you know who said any of the ones that are unattributed, please let me know. Send to Thanks!

 On writing:

Trying to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate -- but there is no competition--
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

-- T.S. Eliot, from East Coker, part V

Clarity is not everything, but there is little without it.

-- Edward R. Tufte, Envisioning Information, p. 62

Information consists of differences that make a difference.

-- Edward R. Tufte, Envisioning Information, p. 65

 On reading:

Wear the old coat and buy the new book.

-- Austin Phelps

 On design:

If you are going to design for yourself, then you have to make sure you design deeply for yourself. Otherwise you are just designing for your eccentricities, and that can never be satisfying for anyone else.

--Charles Eames, quoted in The Elements of Friendly Software Design, by Paul Heckel

 On reorganizing:

We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization."

-- Petronius Arbiter, 210 BC
(Note: I've been told this quote is bogus by someone who seems to have researched the matter rather thoroughly. I'm leaving it here, with this disclaimer, because I still like it.)

 On walking and thinking:

Solvitur ambulando
(or Sulvitus ambulando or Sulvitu ambulando)
It is solved by walking.

-- Augustine (?)

 On climbing:

Climbing would be a great, truly wonderful thing if it weren't for all that damn climbing."

-- John Ohrenschall

 Sermon margin note:

Logic is weak here -- pound pulpit.

-- Unknown

 On Freedom of Speech:

I abhor your principles, Sir, but I will die for your right to express them."

-- Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet)

 On honesty:

Lie to no one. If they're somebody close to you, you're going to ruin it with a lie. If they're a stranger, who the fuck are they you gotta lie to?

-- Willie Nelson to James Caan in the movie Thief

On happiness:

To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition.

-- Samuel Johnson

 Back to Mark's home page.