Mottos Collected by fervvac

Table of Contents


The best way to lose tranquility is to get close to a computer with an
internet connection. True peacefulness comes from within yourself.

    -- AcuteChaos



    -- spirit1@FreeOZ


If You Are Unhappy

Once upon a time, there was a nonconforming sparrow who decided not to
fly south for winter. However, soon the weather turned so cold that he
reluctantly started to fly south.

In a short time ice hagan to form on his wings and he fell to earth
in a barnyard, almost frozen. A cow passed by and crapped on the
little sparrow. The sparrow thought it was the end, but the manure
warmed him and defrosted his wings. Warm and happy, able to breathe,
he started to sing. Just then a large cat came by and hearing the
chirping, investigated the sounds. The cat cleared away the manure,
found the chirping bird and promply ate him.

The moral of the story:
1. anyone who shits on you is not necessarily your enemy.
2. anyone who gets you out of the shit is not necessarily your friend.
3. and, if you are warm and happy in a pile of shit, keep your mouth

    -- Anonymous





    -- 伊壁鸠鲁

Quotes from a book on Probablistic Theory

What you need is that your brain is open.

    -- Paul Erd\'{o}s

The search for truth is more precious than its procession.

    -- Albert Einstein

Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for
ugly mathematics.

    -- G. H. Hardy

You don't have to believe in God but you should believe in The Book.

    -- Paul Erd\'{o}s

It's a thing that non-mathematicians don't realize. Mathematics is
actually an esthetic subject almost entirely.

    -- John Conway

You just keep right on thinking there, Butch, that's what you're good at.

    -- Robert Redford to Paul Newman in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"

Mathematics seems much more real to me than business - in the sense
that, well, what's the reality in a McDonald's stand? It's here today
and gone tomorrow. Now, the integers - that's reality. When you prove
a theorem, you've really done something that has substance to it, to
which no business venture can compare for reality.
    -- Jim Simons

One of the things that attracks us most when we apply ourselves to a
methematical problem is precisely that within us we always hear the
call: here is the problem, search for the solution, you can find it by
pure thought, for in mathmatics here is no "ignorabimus".

    -- David Hilbert

'A knot!', said Alice, already to make herself useful, and looking
anxiously about here. 'Oh, do let me help to undo it!'

    -- from "Alice in Wonderland", by Lewis Carroll

It is six in the morning. The house is asleep. Nice music is
playing. I prove and conjecture.

    -- Paul Erd\'{o}s, in a letter to Vera S\'{o}s

It is not knowledge, but the act of learning, not possession but the
act of getting there, which grants the greatest enjoyment. When I have
clarified and exhausted a subject, then I turn away from it, in order
to go into darkness again; the never-satisfied man is so strange - if
he has completed a structure then it is not in order to dwell in it
peacefully, but in order to begin another. I imagine that world
conqueror must feel thus, who, after one kingdom is scarely conquered,
stretches out his arm for another.

    -- Karl Friedrich Gauss

The mystery, as well as the glory, of mathematics lies not so much in
the fact that abstract theories do turn out to be useful in solving
problems but in that wonder of wonders, the fact that a theory meant
for solving one type of problems is often the only way of solving
problems of entirely different kinds, problems for which the theory
was not intended. These coincidences occur so frequently that they
must belong to the essence of mathematics.

    -- Gian-Carlo Rota

Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an
international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.

    -- George Bernard Shaw

Why did you come to Casablanca anyway, Rick?
        I came for the waters.
Waters, what waters? Casablanca is in the desert.
        I was misinformed.

    -- Claude Rains to Humphrey Bogart in "Casablanca"

Math is natural. Nobody could have invented the mathematics
universe. It was there, waiting to be discovered, and it's crazy; it's

    -- John Conway


The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of
success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you
feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future

    -- Gustave Flaubert, Christophers New Notes, May '85


    -- Anonymous

Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but
rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man
is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for
his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.

    -- Man's Search for Meaning, p.172, Viktor Frankl

Happiness is like a kiss, you have to share it to have it.

    -- Anonymous

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still
exist, but you have ceased to live.

    -- Anonymous

To see a world in a grain of sand 
And a heaven in a wild flower 
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand 
And eternity in an hour 

    -- Anonymous






    -- [德]阿○叔本华/著 韦启昌/译

The Right Attitudes

After a while he says, "Can I have a motorcycle when I get old enough?"

"If you take care of it."

"What do you have to do?"

"Lots of things. You've been watching me."

"Will you show me all of them?"


"Is it hard?"

"Not if you have the right attitudes. It's having the right attitudes
that's hard."


After a while I see he is sitting down again. Then he says, "Dad?"


"Will I have the right attitudes?"

"I think so," I say. "I don't think that will be any problem at all."

And so we ride on and on, down through Ukiah, and Hopland, and
Cloverdale, down into the wine country...

    -- From "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"

Voice of Love

"The Apache don't have a word for love," he said. "Know what they both
say at the marriage? The squaw-taking ceremony?"  

"Tell me."

"Varlebena. It means forever. That's all they say."  

Angie put her hand on his sleeve. "Forever," she said quietly.

    -- L'Amour - Hondo


    -- Anonymous

Love is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. 

    -- H. L. Mencken

Would you fight to the death, for that which you love?
    In a cause surely hopeless ... for that which you love?

    -- Dennis McKiernan,  Dragon Doom

大千万变, 人生一游. 
忆昔日夸夸读尽天下书, 叹今时倦倦恋极塌上枕. 
张生梦醒参荣辱, 自身未悟逐情欲. 
曾随性遨然自在, 现忻盼结伴同行. 
笑笑人生一纸荒唐, 悠悠时空万段风流; 
落霞晖映长河, 清水流淌苔石. 
志不比高, 踏实可也; 
情不必多, 专一足矣. 
明明此心, 缕缕清音. 

    -- "时空一游" @ DragonSurf

May the road rise to meet you; 
May the wind be always at your back. 
May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields. 
And, until we meet, may God hold your in the palm of his hands. 

    -- "If you are looking for someone special. . ." @ DragonSurf

Expressing passion

Passion is not something to be found. It is something to be
expressed. You cannot find your passion by searching for some person,
place, interest or activity outside of yourself. Rather, you express
your passion within the context of your own life and the world in
which you live.  Certain things can ignite your passion and help you
to more fully express it. Yet the passion itself exists within you and
is always there, no matter what happens on the outside.

Instead of going in search of your passion, seek to put your passion
into everything you do. Even the most mundane task can be spectacularly
fulfilling when you approach it with passion. Rather than searching to
find the right job, the right moment, the right place or circumstance,
put your passion into whatever you have right now.

You'll experience true passion the moment you stop looking for it and
start living it.

    -- Ralph Marston


There are gains for all our losses,
There are balms for all our pain;   
But when youth, the dream, departs,   
It takes something from our hearts,   
And it never comes again.
We are stronger, and are better,   
Under manhood's sterner reign;   
Still we feel that something sweet   
Followed youth, with flying feet,   
And will never come again.
Something beautiful is vanished,   
And we sigh for it in vain;
We behold it everywhere ---   
On the earth, and in the air ---   
But it never comes again. 

    -- R. H. Stoddard, 1861


I have never done anything `useful'. No discovery of mine has made, or
is likely to make, directly or indirectly, for good or ill, the least
difference to the amenity of the world. [...]  Judged by all practical
standards, the value of my mathematical life is nil.

    -- G.H. Hardy

Time changes both parties, that's why it is so effective, damn it. 

    -- Anonymous


    -- Anonymous

Time and Tide

While we are postponing, life speeds by.

    -- Seneca (3BC - 65AD)

The question is not how busy we are, but what are we busy about.

    -- Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

In Silicon Valley, if you stop for lunch, you will be lunch ! 

    -- Anonymous


Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close 
they were to success when they gave up.

    -- Thomas Edison

The only way to fail, is to fail to try.

    -- Anonymous

He who aims for nothing is sure to hit his mark.

    -- Anonymous

Often we can achieve an even better result when we stumble yet are
willing to start over, when we don't give up after a mistake, when
something doesn't come easily but we throw ourselves into trying, when
we're not afraid to appear less than perfectly polished.

    -- Anonymous

Both diamond and granite are made of carbon atoms. In diamond we have
the hardest known material, in graphite we have one of the softest.
The only difference is that diamond is created deep underground under
conditions of extreme pressure and temperature. Graphite is not.

    -- fervvac


    -- Thomas Edison