Grandfather Frog Speaks

An interesting speech from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare:

LORENZO:

The reason is your spirits are attentive,
For do but note a wild and wanton herd
Or race of youthful and unhandled colts,
Fetching mad bounds, bellowing and neighing loud,
Which is the hot condition of their blood,
If they but hear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turned to a modest gaze
By the sweet power of music. Therefore the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and floods,
Since naught so stockish, hard, and full of rage
But music for the time doth change his nature.
The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

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Are You Informed?

images.jpgThe moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie—a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days—but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.

— Hannah Arendt

Ulam Paradox

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The famous mathematician Stanislaw Ulam thought of the following paradox, which is now known as the Ulam Paradox: When President Richard Nixon was appointed to office, on the first day he met his cabinet he said to them: ‘None of you are yes-men, are you?’ And they all said, ‘NO!’

— Raymond Smullyan, A Mixed Bag, 2016

[Reblogged from The Futility Closet]

Feebleminded Cuckolds

34887611I am convinced that pistols, guns, rifles and all things resembling the above are more interesting to the feebleminded, the weekend cuckolds or those who want to kill themselves. …

I don’t know who invented the pistol. Probably a coward who had nothing between his legs and feared face-to-face confrontation. Pistols are for chickens. One should be ashamed to use them. …

In contrast to the knife, with which you can at least cut up meat that’s on the table, as soon as you see a firearm, my God, you know it’s meant to kill in the most expeditious manner possible.

And one more terrifying passage:

For people in uniform, guys like us are wild animals, rabid beasts to be shot without warning.

— Alain Mabanckou, African Psycho