Monday, February 2, 2009

Maxims for the undereducated / overeducated

So you're studying molecular biology? Advanced abstract mathematics? Rocket science? So you think you're smart, huh? Maybe you are... but are you wise?

All too often nowadays people forget that anything worth learning is rarely something that can be taught. Love, happiness, wealth, how to make the perfect scrambled eggs - you can't just put it down in a textbook, slap the theories on a blackboard and expect to teach it! Public education, private education, tutors, mentors, and even really smart professors are just useless when it comes down to it. Sorry, but the "important shit" is too complicatedly amazing for that.

Honestly, my firm belief is that "Life is a suicide mission" (OSC said that) and all we can do is strap the grenades - AKA our hopes & dreams - to our bodies, run through the fucking minefields of bills, work, broke-down relationships, family issues, and all those medical emergencies. Forget about trying to come out clean - you won't. Just accept the fact that you're going to lose a leg, an arm, maybe more. We learn best by doing, experiencing... living. So go out and get blown to pieces. Maybe you'll finally understand what it was you've really wanted for all these years.

Here's what I'm going to do. I am going to post a few quotes that every Saboteur Academic should have inside of themselves, guiding them as THEY choose what is what and all that other stuff. Remember that even these small pieces are not wisdom. They are tools for you to use in figuring things out for yourself. The wise cannot be instructed or shown. The wise live their life and simply know.

"So yeah, dreams are important. And I think there are more dreamers today than ever before in the history of anything…but…they're so afraid, so many of them. Afraid to lose all their 'manageable misery.' It's all just so…so…pathetic. Pathetic…and selfish. Are you seriously telling me…that you would deny the world an exquisite painting just because the cardboard firm from down the street is hiring? That you'd stay out of politics because your mates would think you a twat? That the greatest secrets of quantum physics would go forever unearthed…because Dad thinks girls are fit only for babymaking? Does that really sound good enough for you? Really? Maddening! And don't you dare tell me I'm unrealistic. I know a body's chance of sinking their claws into a dream are fairly grim. But…not to try? To settle into the gray doldrums with nary a peep?" — Serenity Rose, by Aaron A.

"Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it." — James Baldwin

"First, I tell them what I am going to tell them, then I tell them, then I tell them what I told them." — Hilaire Belloc

"A writer — and, I believe, generally all persons — must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art." — Jorge Luis Borges, from Twenty Conversations with Borges, Including a Selection of Poems: Interviews by Roberto Alifano

"An intellectual is a man who says a simple thing in a difficult way; an artist is a man who says a difficult thing in a simple way." — Notes From a Dirty Old Man, by Charles Bukowski

"Once you know what people really want, you can't hate them anymore. You can fear them, but you can't hate them, because you can always find the same desires in your own heart." — Speaker for the Dead, by Orson Scott Card

"Alas, too often, they are aided and abetted… with catch-phrases, dogma, and ready-made opinions so they gain information rather than understanding." — Tandia, by Bryce Courtenay

"ye!the godless are dull and the dull are damned." — proud of his scientific attitude, by E.E. Cummings

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less." — Marie Curie

"It's life that matters, nothing but life — the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all." — The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

"… People to whom nothing has ever happened cannot understand the unimportance of events." — The Family Reunion, by T.S. Eliot

"Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of the truth." — Mohandas Gandhi

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." — Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"On this point, the priest and the philosopher agree: We must die." — Les Misérables, Victor Hugo

"That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach." — Case of Voluntary Ignorance in Collected Essays, by Aldous Huxley

"I am simply in favor of intellectual hospitality — that is all." — Robert G. Ingersoll

"The bulk of the world's knowledge is an imaginary construction." — Helen Keller

"Rarely do we find [people] who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think." — Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.

"If you make people think they're thinking, they'll love you; but if you really make them think, they'll hate you." — Don Marquis

"Ours is a world where people don't know what they want and are willing to go through hell to get it." — Don Marquis

"Many are willing to suffer for their art. Few are willing to learn to draw." — Simon Munnery

"Separate the art from the artist." — Jasper Ostrom

"He who asks is a fool for five minutes. But he who does not ask remains a fool forever." — Chinese proverb

"Think less, live more." — Jodet Ghougassian

"I was never interested in the obvious, or in the details one takes for granted, and everybody seemed to be addicted to the obvious, being astonished by it, and forever harping about the details which I had long ago weighted, measured, and discarded as irrelevant and useless. If you can measure it, don't. If you can weigh it, it isn't worth the bother. It isn't what you're after. It isn't going to get it. My wisdom was visual and as swift as vision. I looked, I saw, I understood, I felt, 'That's that, where do we go from here?'" — William Saroyan

"The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas." — Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu

"The highest good, like water, benefits many things, yet occupies dark places men despise." — Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu

"History is the fiction we invent to persuade ourselves that events are knowable and that life has order and direction. That's why events are always reinterpreted when values change. We need new versions of history to allow for our current prejudices." — Calvin, from Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson

"Education is an admirable thing. But it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught." — A Few Maxims For The Instruction Of The Over-Educated, by Oscar Wilde

"One recognizes one's course by discovering the paths that stray from it." — The Myth of Sisyphus, by Albert Camus

"Two plus two equals five is not without its attractions." — Notes from the Underground, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

"It was not only that I could not become spiteful, I did not know how to become anything; neither spiteful nor kind, neither a rascal nor an honest man, neither a hero nor an insect. Now, I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything." — Notes from the Underground, by Fyodor Dostoevsky

"Merely corroborative detail, intended to give artistic verisimilitude to an otherwise bald and unconvincing narrative." — The Mikado, by Arthur Sullivan & W.S. Gilbert

"Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow." — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Blessed are those who forget, for thus they surmount even their mistakes." — Friedrich Nietzsche

And the most important one!

"Those quotations were really quite obscure. Anyone can see that he is a very well-read man." — Barbara Pym

***Author's Note*** Anyone seeking a copy of my ENTIRE quote collection may email me at I shall be happy to send it to you. (Don't claim it as yours though. I'll sue you - and I'll win, because I'm Jewish.)

6 footnotes:

TeenCreeps said...

this made me smile
---> :D

Zek J. Evets said...

hah, thanks

Anonymous said...

Steve, I really enjoy your blogs.
This one made me feel particularly hopeful about my current state of mind.
If anyone knows how to do anything, you know how to write.

Zek J. Evets said...

and you, m'dear, are such a flatterer!

but i guess it doesn't count if it's true =P

Anonymous said...

my personal favorite:


Zek J. Evets said...

i think you commented to the wrong post >_<

the lolcats one is above.

(but yes, a funny video.)