Saturday 14 October 2023

Things I read recently


"A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials." Seneca

"You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think." Marcus Aurelius

"And the money's only important because it's like the tennis. You don't earn it to have it, but to read the financial score at the end of the financial year. You do it to win." Victor Kiam, who owned the Remington electric razor company and advertised its products on TV. ("I liked them so much I bought the company.")

'Today’s migrations are no longer made by compact displacements but by successive infiltrations: little by little, individuals insinuate themselves among the “natives,” too anemic and too distinguished to stoop to the notion of a “territory.” After a thousand years of vigilance, we open the gates . . . When one thinks of the long rivalries between the French and the English, then between the French and the Germans, it seems as if each nation, by weakening one another, had as its task to speed the hour of the common downfall so that other specimens of humanity may relay them.
'Like its predecessor, the new Völkerwanderung will provoke an ethnic confusion whose phases cannot be distinctly foreseen. Confronted with these disparate profiles, the notion of a community homogeneous to whatever degree is inconceivable. The very possibility of so heteroclite a crowd suggests that in the space it occupies there no longer existed, among the indigenous, any desire to safeguard even the shadow of an identity.' Emil Cioran

'Towards the end of his life the Prof. made a remark on more than one occasion with such an air of seriousness that he seemed to regard it as his testament of wisdom, and I accordingly feel it incumbent upon me to record it here, although not in perfect sympathy with it. He asked:
‘Do you know what the future historians will regard as the most important event of this age?’
“Well, what is it?
‘It will not be Hitler and the Second World War, it will not be the release of nuclear energy, it will not be the menace of Communism.’
“These negatives seemed very comprehensive. He put on an expression of extreme severity and turned down the corners of his lips.
‘It will be the abdication of the White man.’
“Then he nodded his head up and down several times to drive home his proposition.” 'The Prof', R.F Harrod, 1959, p261. The Prof was Professor Frederick Lindemann, later Viscount Cherwell, Churchill's scientific advisor in the 1930s and during the war.


  1. I can't help but remember that Cioran was Romanian by birth and upbringing, but found it preferable to live in Paris and publish in French.

  2. "Never Again!"*

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