Saturday 19 September 2020

This morning's quotations

"I give my mind the liberty to follow the first wise or foolish idea that presents itself, just as in the avenue de Foy our dissolute youths follow close on the heels of some strumpet, then leave her to pursue another, attacking all of them and attaching themselves to none. My thoughts are my strumpets."
Denis Diderot

"Nevertheless, she was painfully shy in public and is credited with inventing the phrase “gender inequality” because she could not bring herself to say the word “sex” in public."
The Times obituary for Ruth Ginsberg, the American Supreme Court judge who died today.

"I'm the last of my guy friends to have never gotten married, and their wives—they don't want them playing with me. I'm like the escaped slave—I bring news of freedom." 
Bill Maher

"We have forgotten how to respond to the poetry of life. The hollow, tinkling facade of life put up by noisy and trivial people stands between us and our deepest wealth." 
Llewellyn Powys, 1913.

“In the shortest time horizon I’m most worried about civil war.”
Tim Kendall, former Facebook executive, speaking in Netflix documentary 'The Social Dilemma'

1 comment:

  1. Basically, the conversation should have been almost a repeat of the one with Thatcher, plus introductory provisos—that I was aware that the British crown has virtually no constitutional rights of state, although it has great moral authority, and that, as a result, the prince might be able, in his own country, to command a strong spiritual movement, even if not a political one.

    Then, as with Thatcher: there was no need to fight or be ill-disposed towards Russians as such (it was unbearable to see during those days that all the English newspapers were using “Russia” whenever they meant the USSR). The fact that Russians had been handed over to Stalin in 1945 should be loudly and definitively condemned. Prince Charles listened, absorbing what was said and throwing in the occasional question.

    I’m no confirmed monarchist, to sympathize wholeheartedly with each and every crown, and, in addition, I gravely reproach the British throne: frightened of public opinion, George V refused to offer basic shelter to his deposed cousin, Nikolai II. None of the past was forgotten, yet there prevailed in me that bittersweet sympathy for this amiable young couple in the stifling calm before the storm.

    I wrote Prince Charles a letter of thanks from Vermont but with an undertone of a recurring sentiment Alya and I had shared since our visit: “My wife and I took a very warm feeling away from our meeting with you, and we are genuinely moved by your fate. I would like to hope that the darkest of my predictions when talking to you do not come true.”

    Out of the blue, Prince Philip sent me a copy of his book 'A Question of Balance'; a lecture to an engineering symposium on modern technologies; and a letter: he’d been deeply impressed and had taken to heart what I’d said at Buckingham Palace and the Guildhall. “You still have allies in the West.” Now that certainly went beyond the duty he had undertaken to present the prizes! We were touched. I wrote to Prince Philip: “I have deep respect for the difficult task your family performs: to preserve and bear aloft the commendable ideas and qualities necessary to your people—as they are to all mankind—but which, in its blindness, mankind is increasingly losing.”

    'Gray mists & ancient stones' by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    An excerpt from Book Two of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s forthcoming memoir 'Between Two Millstones'.