R quotations.

First a person should put his house together, then his town, then the world.

Rabbi Israel Salanter

Avoid the crowd. Do your own thinking independently. Be the chess player, not the chess piece.

Ralph Charell

What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it—would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have.

Ralph Marston

In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed.

How do you measure success? To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is the meaning of success.

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day.

Do that which you fear to do, and the fear will die.

The two parties which divide the state, the party of Conservatism and that of Innovation, are very old, and have disputed the possession of the world ever since it was made.

Don't say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.

Is not every man sometimes a radical in politics? Men are conservatives when they are least vigorous, or when they are most luxurious. They are conservatives after dinner, or before taking their rest; when they are sick, or aged. In the morning, or when their intellect or their conscience has been aroused; when they hear music, or when they read poetry, they are radicals.

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.


To the philosopher, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine.

The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.

-"Worship," The Conduct of Life (1860).

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-05-25/1882-04-27). American essayist, poet, philosopher.

Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.

Ray Kroc (1902-10-05/1984-01-14). Founder of McDonald's Corporation in 1955. Note that the restaurant chain itself was started by Dick and Mac McDonald in 1940.

For some reason a nation feels as shy about admitting that it ever went forth to war for the sake of more wealth as a man would about admitting that he had accepted an invitation just for the sake of the food. This is one of humanity's most profound imbecilities, as perhaps the only justification for asking one's fellowmen to endure the horrors of war would be the knowledge that if they did not fight they would starve.

-The Strange Necessity. 1928. Ch. 10.

Rebecca West (1892/1983). British author.

It's just so strange to me that anyone would ever think that a work of art shouldn't be disturbing, or shouldn't be invasive. I mean, that's the property of a work of art, that's the arena of a work of art - it's to disturb, it's to make you think, it's to make you feel. If my work didn't disturb people from time to time, it would be a failure in my eyes - it's meant to disturb, in a positive way.

Richard Avedon.

Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.

The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.

Richard Bach.

Science is belief in the ignorance of experts.

I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.

I was born not knowing and have had only a little time to change that here and there.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself --and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.

There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it's only a hundred billion. It's less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers.

We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.

In general we look for a new law by the following process. First we guess it. Then we compare the consequences of the guess to see what would be implied if this law that we guessed is right. Then we compare the result of the computation to nature, with experiment or experience, compare it directly with observation, to see if it works. If it disagrees with experiment it is wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It does not make any difference how beautiful your guess is. It does not make any difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is--if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong

-On the scientific principle.

Your old-fashioned ideas are no damn good!

Physics is to math what sex is to masturbation.

But I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose —which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn't frighten me.

To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature ... If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.

Richard Feynman (1918/1988). U.S. educator & physicist.

We have had a lot of dishonest newspaperman in this town. I could spit on some from here.

Richard J. Daley (1902-05-15/1976-12-20). Richard Joseph Daley. American politician. Mayor of Chicago (1955/1976). Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee (1953/1976). Father of Richard M. Daley who became the Mayor of Chicago in 1989.

I meant to do my work today
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand...

So what could I do but laugh and go?

Richard le Gallienne

Many of the writers who worship at the shrine of the free market would be lost if any of them were ever forced to earn their living working for it."

Richard Mellon Scaife

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-07-07/1988-05-12). Science Fiction author.

I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.

Robert Brault

The commonwealth of Venice in their armoury have this inscription: "Happy is that city which in time of peace thinks of war."

-Anatomy of Melancholy. Part ii. Sect. 2, Memb. 6.

Robert Burton (1577/1640). 

It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.

Robert E. Lee

To err is human, to not, animal.

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be a boss and work twelve hours a day.

Nothing gold can stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in length.

Robert Frost.

Don't worry that children never listen to you. Worry that they are always watching you.

Robert Fulghum

Some men see things as they are and say 'Why?' I dream things that never were and say 'Why not?'

Robert Kennedy.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Robert Schuller, M.D.

We've heard that a million monkeys at a million keyboards could produce the complete works of Shakespeare; now, thanks to the Internet, we know that is not true.

Robert Wilensky

Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them.

Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.

Robertson Davies

The heart, like the grape, is prone to delivering its harvest in the same moment it appears to be crushed.

Roger Houseden

Terrorists often claim to be fighting wars, and to be doing no more than is necessary in war. This is nonsense. War is certainly the natural expression of collective resentment; but it occurs between organised groups and is fought openly, against a collective enemy. It is possible to fight a war with undiminished respect for the rights of the enemy individual. Indeed, that is the duty of every soldier. But the terrorist must disregard this duty and disobey the law of war. His feelings towards the individual are abolished by his loathing of the group, and it is this—rather than his cowardice, cruelty, or intemporate hate—that constitutes his true moral corruption.

-"Waging War on the Individual." Untimely Tracts, St. Martin's (1987).

Roger Scruton (1944/). British philosopher, author.

The founders [of the United Nations] sought to replace a world at war with a world of civilized order. They hoped that a world of relentless conflict would give way to a new era, one where freedom from violence prevailed…. But the awful truth is that the use of violence for political gain has become more, not less, widespread in the last decade.

-To General Assembly following the Soviet downing of a Korean passenger plane, 1983-09-26.

Ronald Reagan. 40th U.S. President.


If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream-- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think-- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat these two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And also hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings-- nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run--
Yours is the Earth and everything in it,
    And-- which is more-- you'll be a Man, my son!

Our hearts where they rocked our cradle,
Our love where we spent our toil,
And our faith, and our hope, and our honor,
We pledge to our native soil.
God gave all men all earth to love,
But since our hearts are small,
Ordained for each one spot should prove
Beloved over all.

For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Let it be clearly understood that the Russian is a delightful person till he tucks in his shirt. As an Oriental he is charming. It is only when he insists on being treated as the most easterly of western peoples instead of the most westerly of easterns that he becomes a racial anomaly extremely difficult to handle.

Take up the White Man's burden—
Send forth the best ye breed—
Go, bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need.

-Poem first published (1899). "The White Man's Burden", The Five Nations (1903). Addressed to the American people on the occasion of their occupation of the Philippines at the end of the Spanish-American War of 1898. The poem's title has become a euphemism for the kind of patriarchal imperialism then current.

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle an' blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

Rudyard Kipling (1865/1936). British author, poet.

I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.


The art of acceptance is the art of making someone who has just done you a small favor wish that he might have done you a greater one.

Russell Lynes

... it is a commonplace that men like war. For peace, in our society, with the feeling we have then that it is feeble-minded to strive except for one's own private profit, is a lonely thing and a hazardous business. Over and over men have proved that they prefer the hazards of war with all its suffering. It has its compensations.

-An Anthropologist at Work. 1959. Part 4.

Ruth Benedict (1887/1948). U.S. anthropologist. 

My topic for Army reunions ... this summer: How to prepare for war in time of peace. Not by fortifications, by navies, or by standing armies. But by policies which will add to the happiness and the comfort of all our people and which will tend to the distribution of intelligence [and] wealth equally among all. Our strength is a contented and intelligent community.

-Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes: Nineteenth President of the United States, vol. IV, p. 329, ed. Charles Richard Williams, The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, 5 vols. (1922-1926), Diary (June 25, 1887). The policies included military training in schools and colleges, education of the brain, hands, and eyes, and "national aid in the South for education".

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822/1893). U.S. president.

A man sometimes devotes his life to a desire which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life.

Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

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