Wisdom From the Listserve

I’m part of the Listserve, an email list that allows one member everyday to deliver an email to the entire list. I don’t know how many people there are on the Listserve, but I’ve heard it’s  somewhere close to a million.

Anyway, I got a particularly good one today – filled with little nuggets of wisdom that make you look at bit differently at the world or at least nod your head in agreement and consideration:

A random selection:Never despise a drink because it is easy to make and/or uses commercial mixes. Unquestioning devotion to authenticity is, in any department of life, a mark of the naïve—or worse.

the great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas

Where men build on false grounds, the more they build, the greater is the ruin

What is the opposite of faith? Not disbelief. Too final, certain, closed. Itself a kind of belief. Doubt.

Names in common use quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth’s marvels, beneath the dust of habit.

In our age it is not sex that raises its ugly head, but love

The best composition and temperature, is to have openness in fame and opinion; secrecy in habit; dissimulation in seasonable use; and a power to feign, if there be no remedy.

People believe that imperialism explains European riches. Or that markets and greed arrived recently. Or that “capitalism” required a new class or a new self-consciousness about one’s class (as against a new rhetoric about what an old class did). Or that economic events must be explained “ultimately,” and every single time, by material interests. Or that it was trade unions and government protections that have elevated the working class. None of these is correct.

the philistine is not he who does not care to discriminate between the good and the bad, but he who discriminates and chooses the bad.

A dog lives as long as its teeth

The fall of Empire is…dictated by a rising bureaucracy, a receding initiative, a freezing of caste, a damming of curiosity—a hundred other factors. It has been going on, as I have said, for centuries, and it is too majestic and massive a movement to stop

To possess another language is to possess another soul

A sinner does evil not because he cannot do all things that he will but becaus he will not do all things that he can…ffor evil is folly & is always avoided by a perfect understanding.

Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world.

Englishmen, given a choice, would always prefer the faintly ridiculous over the painfully direct.


What is unforgivable? What if not the shivering nakedness of being wholly known to a person one does not trust?

The world is the place we prove real by dying in it.

There are five reasons we should drink; Good wine—a friend—or being dry— Or lest we should be by and by— Or any other reason why.

there is a freemasonry among those who live in large cities on small earnings.

Musical comedy is the Irish stew of the drama. Anything may be put into it, with the certainty that it will improve the general effect.

Only those who are capable of silliness can be called truly intelligent.

That art is prima facie and in itself a good cannot be doubted. It is a spontaneous activity, and that settles the question.

He’d told her she was his fate. Who wants to be somebody’s fate?

This is mortality: to move along a rectilinear line in a universe where everything, if it moves at all, moves in a cyclical order.

it is always the same thing that makes happiness happiness: the ability to forget

a pogo stick tester in a minefield

I was too green to know that all cynicism masks a failure to cope—an impotence, in short; and that to despise all effort is the greatest effort of all.

Chicago, IL


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