Sunday 16 October 2011

"If Jesus Christ were to come today people would not even crucify him."

Thomas Carlyle said,
"If Jesus Christ were to come today people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he has to say, and make fun of it" 
Today what would the Guardian or the Economist make of Him?

He would shock by his views on divorce, Hell, his lack of interest in Middle Eastern or any other politics, or in fighting poverty, or in dialogue with other religions. His celibacy would be the subject of ribaldry and innuendo, likewise his dislike of family values or respectability and his predilection for the company of rich crooks. His preaching the imminent end of the world would be greeted by laughter and if he condemned homosexual sex he would probably be arrested and put in the cells. The Church of England hierarchy in particular would find him quite outrageous. But perhaps so would most except the poor and badly educated.

Every ages creates Jesus in its own image. Gandhi, indirectly responsible for the Partition of India and perhaps half a million, perhaps a million deaths, and Malcolm Luther King the serial adulterer are two fashionable messiahs who are seen as Christ-like. Malcom Muggeridge was acute comparing Gandhi  with Jesus:

Professing non-violence, he indirectly stirred up much violence, before, during and after the achievement of Indian self-government, and he died by an assassin's hand deeply disillusioned with the results of the independence he had been largely instrumental in achieving. If Jesus had been lured into similarly associating himself with the Zealots, or Jewish nationalists, he would have found himself in the same case as Gandhi, who has now lost all the glory of being a great moral teacher, and become merely the symbol of a dying and deeply corrupt political movement. 
Jesus' subsequent followers have been less careful. They have sent him on Crusades, made him a freedom-fighter, involved him in civil wars and conspiracies, sent him picketing and striking and leading cavalry charges, and finally made him a paid-up member of the British Labour Party, with the strong expectation that in due course he will be given a life peerage and take his place in the House of Lords. In the light of these aberrations I have sometimes asked myself how Jesus would have fared if he had been born into one of the points of conflict in our world as Galilee was in his - in South Africa, say. As a white South African he would assuredly have been killed by his fellow 
whites for insisting that they should love and serve their black fellow citizens; as a black South African, he would likewise have been killed by his fellow blacks for telling them they must love and serve their white oppressors. In neither case, it is safe to assume, would he have been a beneficiary under the World Council of Churches' munificence in providing financial support for African guerrillas aiming to achieve national independence by means of terrorism.

"If Jesus Christ were to come today people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he has to say, and make fun of it" (Thomas Carlyle). Today what would the Guardian or the Economist make of Him?
 ·  · Yesterday at 14:12
    • Paul Wood He would shock by his views on divorce, Hell, his lack of interest in Middle Eastern or any other politics, or in fighting poverty, or in dialogue with other religions. His celibacy would be the subject of ribaldry and innuendo, likewise his dislike of family values or respectability and his predilection for the company of rich crooks. The Church of England hierarchy in particular would find him quite outrageous.
      21 hours ago ·  ·  1 person
    • Paul Wood As perhaps would most except the poor and badly educated

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Romanian companies and enlightenment values

This article first appeared in Vivid magazine in 2003 and the world it describes has changed enormously, but not completely beyond recognition. 

Romanians have spent thirteen difficult years of transition “encamped like bewildered travellers in a garish  and unrestful hotel” in the phrase of Joseph Conrad describing another period of change. In these years, the most hopeful development has been the work not of politicians but of foreign companies. The great achievement of the multinationals that have entered the Romanian market since 1990, and more especially since the pivotal elections of 1996 when the ex-Communists left office, is their role in educating a large section of the Romanian generation in their 20s and early 30s.

But every foreign firm (and its foreign managers) rightly adapt themselves to the Romanian way of life. Romanian human resources are products of today’s Romania and every firm here whether local or international has a Romanian way of doing business. What does this mean?

Because Romania had the good fortune to escape the Reformation and the Eighteenth Century enlightenment and because it was industrialised only at the diktat of Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej in the 1950s, it retains an essentially pre-industrial social structure. The family is the essential element of Romanian society and as a kind of extension of the family the Romanian in his childhood, teens and early adulthood takes his or her place in a clan of friends who support each other. Beyond this, skeins of relationships make up client systems a little like those in ancient Rome. Outside the family and the network of friends, outsiders tend often to be viewed with distrust and suspicion. Dr Johnson’s aphorism referring to another conservative, agrarian society applies equally to the Romanians. ‘The Irish are a very fair people, sir. They never speak well of one another.’ The profoundly religious Romanians have in common with the Irish an acute awareness of original sin.

In the office, copies of these clan systems are reproduced in miniature. Relations in business and at work are always about human relationships, which is one of the things that make doing business and living in Romania so delightful to foreigners used to more impersonal environments. It is also, incidentally, why politics in this country, as in eighteenth-century England, is about factions rather than political principles. The distinction between work and leisure, between private life and business life, is less clear-cut than in the West, beyond ‘the Iron Curtain of the mind’. The corollary is that if Romanian colleagues do not strike up friendships with each other (in a few cases, it has been rumoured, even love affairs) either spontaneously or for motives of self-interest, they very often get on badly with each other. Not for nothing are many training companies earning good incomes from providing team-building exercises. Unfortunately, the best training often has only limited effectiveness because it is based on Western models that transpose badly to Balkans. Romania is in many respects the Orient  dreaming that it is France.

Managers in the modern sense of the word were few before Communism, society was semi-feudal and positions in the civil service, the law and the armed forces were much more prestigious than going into trade.  Many business leaders were Jews, Germans, Hungarians or expatriates. Management came in with Communism and managers expected to be obeyed unthinkingly. Today Romania, like other post-Communist societies, remains a hierarchical and deferential society that would gladden the heart of Edmund Burke and present-day Romanian management style still owes very much to the 1980s model, despite valiant efforts to introduce new ways of working. Managers are expected by their subordinates to make the decisions and take the responsibility when those decisions turn out to be wrong. When a subordinate makes mistakes he can expect to be bawled out by his chief but too often will not be shown how to avoid similar mistakes in the future. Sometimes this can be for the good and sufficient reason that the manager himself does not know how to do so. The idea that all are working together in a common enterprise and that the boss has the comfortable chair and the big desk simply because he has more experience to share with his colleagues is one that is gaining acceptance only slowly.

Before starting doing business in Romania five years ago I thought connections were things plugs went into. I quickly learnt better. Before the Revolution jobs were filled by personal connections, pile. In very many companies, both Romanian and foreign-owned, they still are. Rather like in nineteenth century English novels or indeed like in England forty years ago before the classless meritocracy challenged the old boy networks. Jobs are also kept by personal connections. A well-qualified candidate who enters a firm without personal connections, as the result of answering a job advert or being sourced by a recruiter, is vulnerable unless or until he builds his own connections. His weaknesses will be immediately identified by his peers and ruthlessly used against him. On the other hand, the more capable he is the less popular he may be with weaker colleagues. One jaundiced foreign businessman with very long experience in Romania told me, unfairly, ‘In business, Romanians show no gratitude and no mercy.’

The wiser foreign manager has a very clear idea of the office politics that make many Romanian workplaces soap-operas comparable with the Latin American serials that are the staple of Acasa, complete with intrigue, passion and betrayal. The less well-informed foreign manager can sometimes be a kind of roi fainéant manipulated by Romanian colleagues.

The cohort of Romanians born after 1965 that is being educated within the good multinationals is the great source of hope for Romania. However, while the majority is learning the values of transparency and the work ethic along with technical expertise and western know-how, some young professionals have a philosophical outlook than can best be described as baroque. Baroque in the sense that they observe the forms they learn at work but ignore the spirit, absorb the technical expertise and up-to-the-minute management-speak but continue to do business in the old ways. Whether the future holds more FNIs and Bancorexes or the long-awaited economic upturn finally rewrites the script of Romanian history depends in part on which of these two schools of thought wins out.

Friday 7 October 2011

My commonplace book

"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." - Pablo Picasso

So, as I was saying, the rule is don't think what to write, write what you are thinking and then develop and expand the thought.  Ronnie Smith

Ah best to just get something down however ghastly it is then work on it. Writing is rewriting.
Nick Cohen

"Never mistake motion for action."
Ernest Hemingway

"Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on"
Alan Watts

‎'She was good, quiet, dull, and amiable, and young only because she was twenty-three.'
E.M Forster

For writers it is always said that the first twenty years contain the whole of experience - the rest is observation - but I think this is equally true of us all.
Graham Greene

I think that most books are written in a language thirty years out of date, a generation out of date. The rhythms of thought that are actually out there don't correspond. We write in a kind of pedagogic code. Maybe writing does lag behind the times. I wanted to suggest the new rhythms of thought which change all the time. I think that the modern consciousness gets more and more to be an ungodly mix. 
Martin Amis

"A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril."Sir Winston Churchill

The Victorians liked sex. If they hadn't there would have been no Edwardians. Me

You can't sit around thinking. You have to sit around writing.
~ David Long

There always comes a time when you have to choose between thinking and acting. It's called growing up.
~ Albert Camus

Everything comes and goes; marked by lovers and styles of clothes.
~ Joni Mitchell

Toryism has always been a form of paternal socialism.  

Harold Macmillan

“There’s four sorts of people tryin’ to get to be rulers. They all want to make things better, but they want to make ’em better in different ways. There’s Conservatives an’ they want to make things better by keepin’ ’em jus’ like what they are now. An’ there’s Lib’rals an’ they want to make things better by alterin’ them jus’ a bit, but not so’s anyone’d notice, an’ there’s Socialists, an’ they want to make things better by takin’ everyone’s money off ’em, an’ there’s Communists an’ they want to make things better by killin’ everyone but themselves.”

Henry in “William, Prime Minister” (1929)

"Practice only impossibilities." 
John Lyly

“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. We are for the most part more lonely when we go abroad among men than when we stay in our chambers.” 
Henry David Thoreau

"Aristocracy may have its faults but ratocracy, which is what in practice a meritocratic system produces, is proving even worse."
Peregrine Worsthorne

The Sexual Revolution is a complete rebellion against authority, natural and supernatural, even against the body and its needs, its natural functions of child bearing. This is not reverence for life, it is a great denial and more resembles Nihilism than the revolution that they think they are furthering.
Dorothy Day

“These memories, which are my life — for we possess nothing certainly except the past — were always with me. Like the pigeons of St. Mark’s, they were everywhere, under my feet, singly, in pairs, in little honey-voiced congregations, nodding, strutting, winking, rolling the tender feathers of their necks, perching sometimes, if I stood still, on my shoulder or pecking a broken biscuit from between my lips; until, suddenly, the noon gun boomed and in a moment, with a flutter and sweep of wings, the pavement was bare and the whole sky above dark with a tumult of fowl.” 

The narrator in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited

And even now, when opinion across Europe is unanimous that immigration must be controlled, and that Muslims must be integrated into the secular culture, liberal politicians are refusing to admit to a problem or to confess that they are the cause of it. They still preach “multiculturalism” as the sign of our “vibrant” future; they still condemn “racism and xenophobia” as the enemy; they still try to state and solve the problem by the promiscuous multiplication of “human rights.” Their Enlightenment creed makes it all but impossible for them to acknowledge the fundamental truth, which is that indigenous communities have legitimate expectations which take precedence over the demands of strangers. True, indigenous communities may also have duties of charity towards those strangers—or towards some of them. But charity is a gift, and there is no right to receive it, still less to force it from those reluctant to give.

The fact is that the people of Europe are losing their homelands, and therefore losing their place in the world. I don’t envisage the Tiber one day foaming with much blood, nor do I see it blushing as the voice of the muezzin sounds from the former cathedral of St. Peter. But the city through which the Tiber flows will one day cease to be Italian, and all the expectations of its former residents, whether political, social, cultural, or personal, will suffer a violent upheaval, with results every bit as interesting as those that Powell prophesied.

Roger Scuton

All this need not be a total disaster. It is possible, though hard, to forge a United Kingdom made up of many ethnicities. Leaders like Mr Cameron are right to try to insist on common standards and better rules, rather than to despair. But whatever it is, and however well it turns out, it cannot be England. Perhaps when I am very old, my grandchildren will ask me what England was. It will be a hard question to answer, but I think I shall tell them that it seemed like a good idea while it lasted, and that it lasted for about 1,000 years.
Charles Moore

“I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity.” 

"A problem cannot be solved by the same mind set that created it."

Albert Einstein

‘The past is attractive because it is drained of fear’ (Carlyle)

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.
Friedrich Nietzsche
... the devouring aspect of the unconscious, which suffocates life and prevents the human being from developing. It is the swallowing or the regressive aspect of the unconscious, the looking-backward tendency, which grips when one is overcome by the unconscious. ....pull towards death. is the infantile shadow must be sacrificed  - that which always pulls us back into being dependent, lazy, playful, escaping problems and responsibility and life.

"If a man devotes himself to the instructions of his own unconscious, it can bestow this gift [of renewal], so that suddenly life, which has been stale and dull, turns into a rich unending inner adventure, full of creative possibilities."

“You have to be lonely so that the unconscious becomes stronger."

" The ego must be able to listen attentively and to give itself, without any further design or purpose, to that inner urge toward growth. ... People living in cultures more securely rooted than our own have less trouble in understanding that it is necessary to give up the utilitarian attitude of conscious planning in order to make way for the inner growth of the personality." 

Marie Louise von Frank

"The criminal aberrations of the Catholic clergy threaten the physical and moral health of our young people."  Joseph Goebbels May 30, 1937

‎"The limits of my language are the limits of my world." 


People are of immense importance but the relations between them are not. 
EM Forster

"The stupid person's idea of a clever person." 
Elizabeth Bowen on Aldous Huxley

Whatever happens around you, don't take it personally... Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves." 
Don Miguel Ruiz 

Always start at the end and work backwards. 

If you don't have faith in yourself, you don't have enough faith in God. 

‎"Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on" (Alan Watts) 

The drunkenness of things being various - Louis MacNeice

It's only work if somebody makes you do it.
Calvin and Hobbes

There is one thing one has to have: either a soul that is cheerful by nature, or a soul made cheerful by work, love, art, and knowledge.
Friedrich Nietzsche

The way you see yourself will determine how people see you
Paulo Coelho

"Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is"  
Carl Jung

“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it," 
Mark Twain 

‎"Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it." 
William Durant

Friendship without the everyday becomes an allegory. 
Jules Romains

 Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth. 
Mike Tyson

Jowett’s words, as quoted in Geoffrey Madan’s Notebooks: ‘We have sought truth and sometimes perhaps found it. But have we had any fun?’

“What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.” 
Sigmund Freud.

"If you can't say anything good about someone, sit right here by me." 
Alice Roosevelt Longworth

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

"They all laughed when I said I wanted to be a comedian. Well, they're not laughing now" 

Bob Monkhouse

"Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight, but Roaring Bill (who killed him) thought it right." 

Hillaire Belloc

A woman asked a barman for a double entendre, so
the barman gave her one.

To speak another language is to possess another soul
Charlemagne (?)

 The idea is to die young as late as possible.
Ashley Montagu

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
- Albert Einstein

'For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.' Earnest Hemingway (when challenged to write a short story in six words)

"The habit of ignoring nature is deeply implanted in our times. I had to find some special occupation, some kind of work that would not force me to turn away from the sky and the stars, that would allow me to discover the meaning of life." 

Marc Chagall

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
-- Maya Angelou

reculer pour mieux sauter ....
anonymous - Napoleon?

"I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book."
-- Groucho Marx

‎"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils ... "- Louis Hector Berlioz

Bowmen bend their bows when they wish to shoot: unbrace them when the shooting is over. Were they kept always strung they would break and fail the archer in time of need. So it is with men. If they give themselves constantly to serious work, and never indulge awhile in pastime or sport, they lose their senses and become mad." -- Herodotus

"At the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends" -Martin Luther King

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." Plato

"Anyone can sympathize with the suffering of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success"- Oscar Wilde.

We read to know that we are not alone.
~C.S. Lewis

No one has it who isn't capable of genuinely liking others... Charm is always genuine; it may be superficial but it isn't false. ~P. D. James

Those whom the gods love grow young. ~ Oscar Wilde

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
- Einstein

"The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes" - Marcel Proust

"If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind" - John Stuart Mill

A smooth sea never a skilled mariner made.
- English proverb

“... We get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”

Paul Bowles

"Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain." Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

"I like deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." -- Douglas Adams

"Ficition is obliged to possibilities. Truth isn't." -- Mark Twain

"Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops." -- Kurt Vonnegut

‎"Even awake I was sleeping. Dumped in a foreign city, where I ain’t known hardly a soul, the language a constant door in my face. It weighed on me, the
loneliness, the jealousy."
HALF BLOOD BLUES by Esi Edugyan 

"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion." George Washington

If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again.
-Groucho Marx

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process
he does not become a monster. And when you look long into an abyss,
the abyss also looks into you.
Friedrich Nietzsche 1844

Novelist Bob Leuci:
“There’s an invisible link that connects all people who perceive themselves as writers.”

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, And a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

It is the same everywhere. The Athenians look on this constant change with a mixture of abstract pride and private bewilderment. Much of this architectural restlessness may spring from the sudden boom in tourism. One's first reaction to this new windfall is delight: Greek economy needs these revenues; one's second is sorrow. Economists rejoice, but many an old Athenian, aware of the havoc that tourism has spread in Spain and France and Italy, lament that this gregarious passion, which destroys the object of its love, should have chosen Greece as its most recent, most beautiful, perhaps its most fragile victim. They know that in a few years it has turned dignified islands and serene coasts into pullulating hells. In Athens itself, many a delightful old tavern has become an alien nightmare of bastard folklore and bad wine. Docile flocks converge on them, herded by button-eyed guides, Mentors and Stentors too, with all Manchester, all Lyons, all Cologne and half the Middle-West at heel. The Athenians who ate there for generations have long since fled. (Fortunately, many inns survive unpolluted; but for how long? The works of writers mentioning these places by name should be publicly burnt by the common hangman.) Greece is suffering its most dangerous invasion since the time of Xerxes.

..In dark moments I see bay after lonely bay and island after island as they are today and as they may become … The shore is enlivened with fifty jukeboxes and a thousand transistor wirelesses. Each house is now an artistic bar, a boutique or a curio shop; new hotels tower and concrete villas multiply. 
Patrick Leigh Fermor

Anxiety is fear of one's self.

Fervid atheism is usually a screen for repressed religion.

Love is only a seeking for love in return, 'Do, ut des' (I give, that thou shalt give). If the patient notices that love is not given in return or that it has not reached that degree which he expected, defiance enters in place of the love, which in turn manifests itself as active resistance.

People who do not understand themselves have a craving for understanding.

Wilhelm Stekel:

Paul Theroux's 3 rules of travel: 'Travel on the ground — avoiding air travel. Travel alone when possible. Keep notes. That’s it.'

“enjoy each moment. appreciate what is. be completely here and now. that is where eternity is found.”
Peter McWilliams

I am always prepared to recognize that there can be two points of view- mine, and one that is probably wrong.
J.G. Gorton

"Those who have some means think that the most important thing in the world is love. The poor know that it is money." -- Gerald Brenan

What you think of yourself is much more important than what others think of you. Seneca.

One of the good things about getting older is that you find you're more interesting than most of the people you meet. – Lee Marvin 

‎"The measure of a man is his unflappability - but this comes not from hardening and defending against painful thoughts, emotions and experiences but by being willing to experience it all" ~ (Ken Wilber)

Every major question in history is a religious question. Hilaire Belloc

"To have laughed often and much; won the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; earned the appreciation of honest critics and endured the betrayal of false friends; appreciated beauty; found the best in others; left the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

'The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.' Vladimir Ilyich Lenin 

 “Well, then, eliminate the people, curtail them, force them to be silent, because the European enlightenment is more important than people.” Dostoevsky

Growing up, all I wanted to be was a pilot  and when I left the RAF in my early twenties all I wanted to do was travel, which is what motivated me to go into journalism. I just saw writing a novel – stupidly – as a way of making a bit of money. A means to get me out of a jam. Frederick Forsythe

Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. ~ William James

"One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory."

- Houari Boumediene, President of Algeria, at the United Nations, 1974

The Euro was an archetypal modernist project, maybe the last modernist
political project,  in which an elite group decided it had a solution,
and resolved to impose it by any means necessary regardless of whether
the public wanted it or not. In this limited sense only, the Euro is
comparable to the Leninist doctrine that the vanguard communist party
could act in the interests of the working class without ever asking
the permission of the working class.

Nick Cohen

.....the top five things that made me happy. It went like this: (1) my marriage, (2) my faith, (3) getting trashed, (4) going on holiday, (5) my friends
Julie Burchill

When I look at Istanbul, which becomes a little more complex and cosmopolitan with every passing year, and which now attracts immigrants from all over Asia and Africa, I have no trouble reaching this conclusion: the poor, unemployed and undefended of Asia and Africa who are looking for new places to live and work cannot be kept out of Europe indefinitely.
Orhan Pamuk

There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming. 
Soren Kierkegaard

"As I never tire of pointing out, Winston Churchill presided over the war effort from 1940-45 with great distinction without always being entirely sober." 
Michael White.

'A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.' -- Ecclesiastes 10:19

'The eurocrats deluded themselves in particular about the nature of Greece, which has not thrown off its Ottoman legacy and where government is regarded as a source of favours rather than a provider of taxpayer-financed services.' Sir Samuel Brittan

 “Youth – nothing else worth having in the world… and I had youth, the transitory, the fugitive, now, completely and abundantly. Yet what was I going to do with it?
Certainly not squander its gold on the commonplace quest for riches and respectability, and then secretly lament the price that had to be paid for these futile ideals. Let those who wish have their respectability —I wanted freedom, freedom to indulge in whatever caprice struck my fancy, freedom to search in the farthermost corners of the Earth for the beautiful, the joyous and the romantic.”  Richard Halliburton (1900–1939)

Men are those creatures with two legs and eight hands. Jayne Mansfield

Nadia Comaneci: Do not pray to have an easy life; pray to be a strong person!

‎‎"Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music-the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself."
Henry Miller

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
- W.B. Yeats

Rodney Dangerfield: My mother didn't breast feed me. She said she only liked me as a friend.

"The people's voice is odd.
It is and it is not the voice of God."
Alexander Pope

Am I alone in wishing Osama spends the afterlife queuing in airport security? Amanda Craig

The most luxurious thing in the world has nothing to do with aristocracy or attractiveness. It's time. Being able to take a nap on a Sunday or having the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine in a beautiful setting at 1600 are luxuries well beyond any palace poshness. Barry Kolodkin

“I have wandered all my life, and I have also travelled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfilment.”  Hilaire Belloc

"The amount of violations of human rights in a country is always an inverse function of the amount of complaints about human rights violations heard from there." 
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, former US Ambassador to the United Nations.

 “Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there, love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other.” Carl Jung

"'Federally funded cowboy poetry.' That phrase has never existed in any language in the entire course of human history. That's an innovation of our time and the fact that that combination of words can be used with all seriousness by the Senate majority leader of the world’s superpower is an indication of the depths we're in." -Mark Steyn

I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. (R.L. Stevenson)

A precondition for reading good books is not reading bad ones: for life is short.
--Arthur Schopenhauer

“According to a new study, thinking too hard about a problem leads to poor choices - difficult decisions are best handled by our unconscious minds.”

Oddly enough, I am reminded of an exchange my wife once witnessed between Francis Bacon and the columnist Jeffrey Bernard in a Soho restaurant. Bacon asked Bernard whom in the world he would most like to bed. Bernard said Cyd Charisse and Monica Vitti, then asked the great painter about his ultimate fantasy.
"I'd like to get into bed with Colonel Gaddafi," replied Bacon after some thought. It turns out that all these governments and the previously revered LSE have a lot in common with Francis Bacon.

The Observer, Sunday 13 March 2011

Antichrist is not a demonic figure typified in our own century by the person of a fascist or communist dictator or one of his henchmen....Antichrist reveals himself much more subtly and plausibly than this. He appears as an outwardly enlightened man of apparent good nature and well-disposed to his fellows, who takes charge of the world and usurps the place of God. He organises the world into the form of an advanced welfare state and makes everyone happy provided they bow down and worship him. All who co-operate with him live pleasant, uneventful lives, have plenty of possessions, and strive for the maintenance of their present status. Their inner eye is no longer lifted up to the Figure on the cross, who is the way, the truth and the life in God. Therefore they are not themselves transformed. They remain comfortable, complacent people, selfish and blind to the greater world, living like intelligent animals. They do not respond to the existential problems of life until they disappear, like the followers of Korah, swallowed up by the earth that splits and opens to receive their mortal bodies (Numbers 16:31). This is the way of Antichrist, that great deceiver, who promises us all the kingdoms of the world in their glory if we will only fall down and do him homage (Matthew 4:9).

Be where you are and look forward. That is where contentment and happiness live. 
Ronnie Smith

"Where there is an ebullient sense of humour, the holy spirit cannot be far away."

Of one thing I have no doubt: until we can love ourselves there is no possibility of our loving anyone else, even a person as close to us in physical relationship as a parent, spouse or child. Only when we love ourselves with the intensity of charity that will accept all aspects of ourselves as infinitely treasurable, even when they are palpably immature if not frankly perverse, can we be still and flow out in charity to all around us.
If, on the other hand, I acknowledge the darkness that is mine and lift it up to God in prayer, He will, through His healing grace, effect an inner transformation of my psyche, so that I will be driven by love and compassion for others and not by motives of self-improvement. The paradox about self-awareness is that once we have achieved it we should let it go. It is far removed from the self consciousness of the selfish man grasping for material or spiritual gifts to boost the self that he really hates, or that of the neurotic person enslaved by the imagined contempt of others for the self that he despises.
....every relationship is sacred. This applies especially to the most intimate of all relationships, the sexual one. It is a sacrament, and is defiled to the detriment of all participating in it. It is worth remembering that in the properly consummated sexual act, an act in which both parties have lost themselves in love for each other, each experiences a new reality, one that transcends the narrow isolation of personal gratification. Such an experience is the glimpse of mystical union destined for Everyman - by which I mean the person who does not aspire to great spiritual understanding but lives in a useful mundane way - by God's grace. I believe that this is the primary purpose of sexual union; the other two, growth into a full person and the procreation of the race, are secondary to it. It follows from this that sexual intercourse is a holy action, and should not be contemplated except in a spirit of awe and gratitude. How far man has fallen from this understanding is a measure of his distance from the divine nature implanted in him. I should add at the same time, that those exceptional people called to the state of celibacy in the cause of a greater love for all mankind, may also experience mystical union in their unceasing self-giving to others.
The wise person delays marriage until he has attained sufficient intellectual and emotional balance to judge clearly how he wishes to order his life. The practice of self-control, which is the last fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.z2), should govern all physical explorations of sex until there is a deep love for the other person.
Martin Israel
Skill to do comes of doing.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is short. Kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly.

Loneliness, when accepted, becomes a gift that will lead us to find a purpose in life.
Paulo Coelho

Mr. Kremlin was distinguished for ignorance for he had only one idea and that was wrong. Disraeli.

No man is forgotten when it is convenient to remember him. Disraeli.

"The human being needs a ruthless father, writes [the psychoanalyst] Fromm. It's difficult to be free and entirely independent, to make decisions about your life. ... To put it clearly, we [in Romania] don't live in a traditional civilian democracy but in post-communism, a society with its own special rules where the flight from freedom becomes nostalgia for the slavery of the past. Many console themselves however they can: Some have more courage, ... others live like unhappy orphans lost in their 'nostalgia for the father' whose commands ensured that you - the eternal child - never had to make decisions. ... The fact that the number of 'orphans' who long for an authoritative force in their lives is growing shows that the current system is not stabilising. On the contrary, fewer and fewer people will trust it as long as it fails to provide solutions." Ion Vianu 

" Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking of them."
Alfred North Whitehead  

Silence is the language of God;
It is also the language of the heart.
Dag Hammarskjöld

In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.
Yogi Berra

..some frighteningly destructive people seem to have had all the social ingredients for a happy, constructive life. They are called psychopaths, but this categorization does nothing to explain their character. It is they who are especially powerful mediums of destructive cosmic forces, and their power is related to their intelligence and their ability to communicate on a psychic level with other people. The murderous type of dictator, so common in our century, typifies this trend to its most devastating extent.

In order to escape the terrible impact of truth that impinges on the naked soul, the person flees from one source of social activity to another, if he is what is generally called a "normal" individual. He strives desperately to sustain the status quo by shallow conviviality or by interesting himself in some group activity, which may be educational, artistic or political. The end of this is not so much the education of the mind as the establishment of new associations that will be able to fill the threatening vacuum and allow the even flow of life to proceed. It is a fearful thing to fall into the void that is one's unfulfilled inner life, almost as terrible as falling into the hands of the living God that the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews describes. Indeed the two experiences touch each other; I will never know God until I know the inner hell of my unredeemed nature and the darkness that lies outside the cosy calm of intellectual assurance which I have until now identified with the whole of my life.

The most exalted knowledge is of spiritual origin. It speaks of a morality that is native to the human soul, that may well be inculcated by a religious tradition but is affirmed rather than initiated by it. This natural morality is a quality that categorically separates the human being from other animals. If it is completely absent the person becomes a dangerous criminal devoid of a conscience, and is diagnosed as a psychopath.

The light of the demon-possessed individual with a yearning for absolute power consuming their soul is alluring and scintillating, its strength magnifying itself and deceiving its object so that its source lies unrevealed except to those of spiritual sight who can discern the emptiness of the chalice from which it emanates. This falsified light also comes primarily from God, who is the source of all life, power and light, but it is shown to be perverted by the corrupted will of the creature who has grasped at a divine status.

Martin  Israel

I find television to be very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go in the other room and read a book.

- Groucho Marx

The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast. Oscar Wilde

‎"Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories", Roger C. Schank - cognitive scientist.

That in woman which inspires respect and fundamentally fear is her nature, which is more ‘natural’ than that of man, her genuine, cunning, beast-of-prey suppleness, the tiger’s claws beneath the glove, the naivety of her egoism, her ineducability and inner savagery, and how incomprehensible, capacious and prowling her desires and virtues are .. Nietzsche

People are called to believe in Jesus, and to trust in God’s providence – not in their own efforts. Edward Norman

Spiritual formation is progressive. With each step those who try to love Jesus will discover how great is his love for them. Edward Norman

‎"I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their good intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies." Anthony Haden-Guest.

Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't. Margaret Thatcher
People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls.
Carl Jung, Dreams

IWhatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. (Goethe)

Live, work, act. Don't sit here and brood and grope among insoluble enigmas. (Ibsen)

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. - William James

 have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do. Leonardo da Vinci

‎"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world." George Bernard Shaw

When the famous actor David Garrick asked what was the greatest pleasure in life, Johnson “answered fucking and second was drinking. And therefore he wondered why there were not more drunkards, for all could drink though all could not fuck”

All philosophy is disguised psychology

"If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts." 

Camille Paglia:

The age is described by welfare: it occupies the space for sacral values once filled by the churches. Indeed the neo-Puritanism of the times promotes welfare considerations as exclusively important.
Extraordinarily enough, the leaders of the Church manage to identify the present welfare idealism - which is based in Humanist materialism - as fundamental Christianity, an application of the love of neighbour enjoined by Christ. But preoccupation with material welfare, whatever higher considerations may become attached to it, cultivates worldliness, and is an enemy of authentic faith.

Through contact with liberal and Christian values the other world religions were sanitised and made acceptable to Western sensibilities: widows were no longer incinerated alive on their husbands' funeral pyres, and the way was opened for that late-20th-century phenomenon, the Western idealising of Oriental religiosity, beads and mantras in Californian condominiums.

The Churches themselves, in fact, have rushed to acclaim the new humanism - the `caring society' - as the very essence of Christianity. But it is actually quite pagan, concentrating as it does on the merely worldly needs of people in a way which is plainly contrary to the renunciations indicated in the teachings of Christ. This is not an academic matter. For when Christians identify the present secular enthusiasm for humanity as basic Christianity - the love of neighbour - they are in reality acclaiming and legitimising their own replacement.

Edward Norman

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams

Millions of modern people of the white civilization that is, the civilization of Europe and America have forgotten all about Islam. They have never come in contact with it. they take for granted that it is decaying, and that, anyway, it is just a foreign religion which will not concern them. It is, as a fact, the most formidable and persistent enemy which our civilization has had, and may at any moment become as large a menace in the future as it has been in the past.


In 1938 Czechoslovakia was betrayed. In 1939 Poland was saved. Less than one hundred thousand Czechs died during the war. Six and a half million Poles were killed. Which was better—to be a betrayed Czech or a saved Pole?
A.J.P Taylor:

"What made me who I am now is the sum of all the humiliations suffered during childhood"

Seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand. ~ Saint Augustine

"People are fully alive to the danger of superstition in course of time they may find out that professors may be just as bad." Lord Salisbury

‎"I believe that inequalities of wealth and position are inevitable and therefore it is meaningless to discuss the advantages of their elimination." Evelyn Waugh

‘They say I am against reform. I am not against reform. There is a time for everything. And the time for reform is when it can no longer be resisted.’ Duke of Cambridge

The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best. ~ Epictetus

At any given moment, there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas, which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that, or the other, but it is ‘not done' to say it . . . [And] anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, whether in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals. 
George Orwell

Knowledge which is divorced from justice, may be called cunning rather than wisdom. 

Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods. Aristotle

‎"Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual." 
Angela Carter

‎'I’m talking nonsense, I know, but I would rather babble away and at least partially express something difficult than reproduce impeccable clichés.' 
Thomas Mann - Magic Mountain

Personally the last person I want to know about is myself.

It’s a dry quality that you get with English eccentricity at its best; Irish eccentricity is much more outlandish. Crazier. English eccentricity is something you hardly notice until all of a sudden you realize that you’re in the presence of an eccentric mind. It’s not like that at all with an Irish eccentric; you know about it all very easily and quickly. English eccentricity has a suburban quality—it’s like a very neatly trimmed garden in which you suddenly realize that the flower beds aren’t what they seem to be. There’s a kind of well-turned-out quality about English eccentricity, whereas the Irish equivalent is higgledy-piggledy, and sometimes even noisy. The marvel of the English version is that it’s almost secretive. I’ve never quite believed in the obvious English eccentric, the man who comes into the pub every night and is known to be a dear old eccentric. I always suspect that that is probably self-invention. What I do believe in is the person who scarcely knows he’s eccentric at all. Then he says something so extraordinary and you realize he perhaps lives in a world that is untouched by the world you share with him.

I don’t like the Church of England. I feel much more drawn towards Catholicism when I’m in England—not that I’d do anything about it. I always feel that Protestantism in England is strangely connected with the military. All the cathedrals here are full of military honors. It’s part of an establishment with the armed forces; tombs, rolls of honor, that sort of thing.

William Trevor

From the crooked timbers of humanity no straight thing was ever made. 

"Veşnicia s-a născut la sat"
Lucian Blaga