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Nature, to Be Commanded, Must Be Obeyed

Quotes I Like

“It is better to have 100 functions operate on one data structure than to have 10 functions operate on 10 data structures.”

—Alan J. Perlis

“You may think the grass is greener on the other side. But if you take the time to water your own grass, it would be just as green.”


“The man-worshipers, in my sense of the term, are those who see man’s highest potential and strive to actualize it. The man-haters are those who regard man as a helpless, depraved, contemptible creature–and struggle never to let him discover otherwise.”

—Ayn Rand

“Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.”

—Bill Gates

“You cannot teach beginners top-down programming, because they don’t know which end is up.”

—C. A. R. Hoare

“there are worse things
than being alone
but it often takes
decades to realize this
and most often when you do
it’s too late
and there’s nothing worse
than too late”

—Charles Bukowski

“The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.”

—Charles Bukowski

“beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average

but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody

not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own

not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world”

—Charles Bukowski

“Postmodernism, the school of ‘thought’ that proclaimed ‘There are no truths, only interpretations’ has largely played itself out in absurdity, but it has left behind a generation of academics in the humanities disabled by their distrust of the very idea of truth and their disrespect for evidence, settling for ‘conversations’ in which nobody is wrong and nothing can be confirmed, only asserted with whatever style you can muster.”

—Daniel Dennett

“Our brains are not built for truth. Our are built for survival.”

—Doug McGuff

“I’ll miss the sea, but a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.”

—Duke Leto Atreides

“I wasn’t high, I wasn’t wired. Just clear. I knew what I needed to do and how to do it.”

—Eddie Morra in Limitless

“If the plan is to see what happens, a team is guaranteed to succeed – at seeing what happens – but won’t necessarily gain validated learning – If you cannot fail, you cannot learn.”

—Eric Ries

“If we stopped wasting people’s time, what would they do with it?”

—Eric Ries

“Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.”

—Francis Bacon

“Don’t confuse my personality with my attitude. My personality is who I am, and my attitude depends on who you are.”

—Frank Ocean

“There is nothing very odd about lambs disliking birds of prey, but this is no reason for holding it against large birds of prey that they carry off lambs. And when the lambs whisper among themselves, “These birds of prey are evil, and does this not give us a right to say that whatever is the opposite of a bird of prey must be good,” there is nothing intrinsically wrong with such an argument–though the birds of prey will look somewhat quizzically and say, We have nothing against these good lambs; in fact, we love them; nothing tastes better than a tender lamb.”

—Friedrich Nietzsche

“Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.”

—Harold Abelson

“The price of being a sheep is BOREDOM. The price of being a Wolf is LONELINESS. Choose one or the other with great care.”

—Hugh MacLeod

“Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is not the same as not to be beaten, and to be burned is not the same as not to be burned.”

—Ibn Sina

“The world is divided into men who have wit and no religion and men who have religion and no wit.”

—Ibn Sina

Townswoman: “You’re the stranger, ain’tcha? Are you looking for a nice, clean place to stay?”

E. K. Hornbeck: “Madam, I had a nice clean place to stay… and I left it, to come here.”

—Inherit the Wind

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”

—Isaac Asimov

“There is trouble in my mind
There is dark, there’s dark and there is light
There is no order, and there is chaos, and there is crime
There is no one home tonight, in the empire of my mind”

—Jakob Dylan

“If you want good quality software, stop rewarding firefighters. Instead, reward fire safety”

—Jim Hawkins

“Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live.”

—John F. Woods

“Never abandon a theory that explains something until you have a theory that explains more.”

—John McCarthy

“He who can take no interest in what is small will take false interest in what is great.”

—John Ruskin

“Before you give advice, that is to say advice which you have not been asked to give, it is well to put to yourself two questions – namely, what is your motive for giving it, and what is it likely to be worth? If these questions were always asked, and honestly answered, there would be less advice given.”

—John William Mackail

Balian of Ibelin: “You go with the army?”

Hospitaller: “My order is with the army.”

Balian of Ibelin: “You go to certain death.”

Hospitaller: “All death is certain. I shall tell your father what I’ve seen you become.”

[rides away]

—Kingdom of Heaven

“Save me from hypocrisy, it makes me twitch more than stupidity does.”

—Larry Smith

“I will, in fact, claim that the difference between a bad programmer and a good one is whether he considers his code or his data structures more important. Bad programmers worry about the code. Good programmers worry about data structures and their relationships.”

—Linus Torvalds

“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

—Mark Twain

“There’s no such thing as simple. Simple is hard.”

—Martin Scorsese

“Change for me was really hard because I had built myself up to be a certain kind of man my whole life, as men are where I come from. I thought I got to handle things different that’s gonna make me feel like a real pussy. For me it was hard to turn the other cheek. Even though it’s a stronger choice. It was very hard to make the change, but I had to in order to survive. Otherwise they would have won.”

—Mickey Rourke

“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”

—Napoleon Bonaparte

“We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. … Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.”

—Paul Mazur

“An injury is much sooner forgotten than an insult.”

—Philip Stanhope

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.”

—Richard Dawkins

“The most powerful programming language is Lisp. If you don’t know Lisp (or its variant, Scheme), you don’t appreciate what a powerful language is. Once you learn Lisp you will see what is missing in most other languages.”

—Richard Stallman,

“There are those who see Objectivism as an intellectual map or compass to help them explore a world filled with wonders and challenges. But there are others who view Objectivism as a mental refuge or shield from a world filled with evils and perils. The former see Objectivism as a key to unlock all doors to a rewarding, exciting world; the latter, as a door to slam shut against a threatening, revolting world.”

—Robert Bidinotto

“Fortunately for those of us who own homes, the typical plumber is professionally conscientious, common-sense-oriented and ambitious – not a parasite or a predator. His focus is properly on his personal purpose and values; and thus he thinks only about these matters which seem to have some bearing on his own life. But no, he is not an intellectual – by capacity, inclination or any awareness that he ‘should’ be. In fact, most of his experience with ‘intellectuals’ has been that they are worthless babblers. He concludes that he has no use for their world. Given his context of experience, is that an ‘irrational’ conclusion?”

—Robert Bidinotto

“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

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

—Robert A. Heinlein

“The death rate is the same for us as for anybody … one person, one death, sooner or later.”

—Robert A. Heinlein

“Nothing of value is free. Even the breath of life is purchased at birth only through gasping effort and pain.”

—Robert A. Heinlein

“The definition of Power is not financial success, status or influence over others, but the degree to which we have control over our own lives.”

—Rollo Tomassi

“Using the Product Development Waterfall diagram for Customer Development activities is like using a clock to tell the temperature. They both measure something, but not the thing you wanted.”

—Steve Blank

“Life in general has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government.”

—Thomas Sowell

“Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on ‘income distribution’, the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.”

—Thomas Sowell

“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear.”

—Thomas Sowell

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

—Thomas Sowell

“It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.”

—Thomas Sowell

“One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.”

—Thomas Sowell

“The problem isn’t that Johnny can’t read. The problem isn’t even that Johnny can’t think. The problem is that Johnny doesn’t know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.”

—Thomas Sowell

“Books are not made to be believed, but to be subjected to inquiry. When we consider a book, we mustn’t ask ourselves what it says but what it means…”

—Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

“Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one.”

—Ursula Le Guin

“Being an incomplete female, the male spends his life attempting to complete himself, become female. He attempts to do this by constantly seeking out, fraternizing with and trying to live through and fuse with the female and by claiming as his own all female characteristics - emotional strength and independence, forcefulness, dynamism, decisiveness, coolness, objectivity, assertiveness, courage, integrity, vitality, intensity, depth of character, grooviness, etc. - and projecting onto women all male traits - vanity, frivolity, triviality, weakness, etc. It should be said, though, that the male has one glaring area of superiority over the female - public relations. He has done a brilliant job of convincing millions of women that men are women and women are men.”

—Valerie Solanas

“Life is the study of being useful and thoughtful at the same time in a school where every test is a Kobayashi Maru test. You have to learn to cheat in at least one of the two tests to survive indefinitely as a student of life. If you can figure out how to cheat on both, you can graduate. Then you can start the real work: trying to be effective and insightful at the same time. If you can’t see why useful!=effective and thoughtful!=insightful, you’re probably a useful and thoughtful person.”

—Venkatesh Rao

“If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.”

—Will Smith

“What is grand is necessarily obscure to weak men. That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.”

—William Blake

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

—William Butler Yeats

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

—Winston Churchill

“In this life, we cannot go back, only forward.”

—Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander

“People will believe a lie because they want it to be true, or because they’re afraid it might be true.”

—Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander

“Endure. In enduring, grow strong.”