Thoughts & Quotes of
Blupete

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M HOME
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

BAND OF MEN
¶ In old English Law (King Ine), a group of men beyond seven are a "band" of thieves but beyond 35 they are an army.
BATTLE
¶ As John Keegan observed, there is one great mistake that has been repeated down through the centuries. The failure of the general to recognize that a weaker enemy can overcome the odds by defeating his foe's army by taking on only a part of the forces and after its defeat to take on the next part. Russia in War World One allowed the Germans to divide them and then experienced defeat as the Germans defeated them in detail, in successive parts. The same mistake was made by the Spartans at Leuctra and by Darius at Gaugamela. I think the best approach is that if you have a superior force that it should not be split but kept whole.
BEAUTY
¶ "An air of robustness and strength is very prejudicial to beauty. An appearance of delicacy and even of fragility, is almost essential to it." (Edmund Burke)
¶ "Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them." (David Hume)
BELIEF
§ "Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known." (Montaigne)
BIAS
¶ "The superior man does not set his mind either for anything, or against anything; what is right he will follow." (Confucius.)
BLUPETE, WHO IS?
Up as part of the general introduction to these pages.
BOOKS
¶ "So perishable is genius, so swift is time, so fluctuating is knowledge, and so far is it from being true that men perpetually accumulate the means of improvement and refinement. On the contrary, living knowledge is the tomb of the dead, and while light and worthless materials float on the surface, the solid and sterling as often sink to the bottom, and are swallowed up for ever in weeds and quicksands!" (William Hazlitt, "On Coffee-House Politicians.")
¶ Publishers are not interested in producing classics or books for the mind (history, philosophy, law, economics) -- no money in it. They produce books that they can sell and they promote them like so much soap. Tocqueville wrote of the buying public as early as 1831:
"They prefer books which may be easily procured, quickly read, and which require no learned researches to be understood. They ask for beauties self-proffered and easily enjoyed; above all, they must have what is unexpected and new. Accustomed to the struggle, the crosses, and the monotony of practical life, they require strong and rapid emotions, startling passages, truths or errors brilliant enough to rouse them up and to plunge them at once, as if by violence, into the midst of the subject."
¶ "The danger of being too thoroughly educated in your reading is that education becomes with you a vice, you dare not read anything by chance lest you should be wasting your time over a poor book that you ought to be giving to a good one."
¶ "'See a person's books and you know what kind of person that is.' Very true; see a man's library and you know where his heart is, if he has a heart. See a man's library ..."
¶ "Books have been the saving of me. They've been a sure refuge from the men of action who go round making a mess of the world. Yes, I know; I would have liked to be a big man of action myself -- a political reformer, a general, an orator, but I wasn't made for it. [But books,] They're always alive, always with you, so that you have friendships with famous men and women whom most people foolishly think to be dead, some of them hundreds of years ago." [W. P. Crozier (1879-1944), ed. of the The Manchester Guardian (1932-1944).]
§ "Books (such as are worthy the name of books) ought to have no patrons but truth and reason." (Francis Bacon)
§ See blupete's essay -- "On Books."
BORES AND BORED
§ "Society is now one polished horde,
Formed of two mighty tribes, the Bores and Bored." (Lord Byron)
BRAIN
"... the number of cells in our brain -- is about seven times the total population of the world [c.1950], and their organization is of a scarcely conceivable complexity." (Julian Huxley.)
BUREAUCRACY
§ See blupete's commentary of -- November 10th, 1997.
BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS
"My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends --
It gives a lovely light!
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950): A Few Figs from Thistles, 1920)


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2013

Peter Landry