Quote Collection

"Is it a fact--or have I dreamed it--that, by means of electricity, the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time? Rather, the round globe is a vast head, a brain, instinct with intelligence!"

Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1851

"We reject kings, presidents, and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code."

David Clark, on the design philosophy of the Internet

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation. The government may not through the CDA [Communications Decency Act] interrupt the conversation. As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from government intrusion."

ALA vs. U.S. DoJ, 1996

Robert Wilensky, University of California

"The complexity of component costs has increased at a rate of roughly a factor of two per year. Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain constant for at least 10 years."

Gordon E. Moore, "Cramming More Components Onto Integrated Circuits," Electronics Magazine, April 19, 1965, pp. 114-117.

[This projection, later named Moore's Law, was later refined to a factor of two per 18 months.]

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy, if possible; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up the pursuit so long as your men have strength to follow; for an army routed, if hotly pursued, becomes panic-stricken and can then be destroyed by half their number. The other rule is, never fight against heavy odds, if by any possible maneuvering you can hurl your own force on only a part, and that the weakest part, of your enemy and crush it. Such tactics will win every time and a small army may thus destroy a large one in detail and repeated victory will make it invincible."

Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, quoted by Brigadier General John D. Imboden

"...my heart kept getting higher and higher until it felt to me as though it was in my throat. I would have given anything then to have been back in Illinois, but I had not the moral courage to halt and consider what to do; I kept right on. When we reached a point from which the valley below was in full view I halted...the troops were gone. My heart resumed its place. It occurred to me at once that Harris had been as much afraid of me as I had been of him. This was a view of the question I had never taken before; but it was one I never forgot afterwards. From that event to the close of the war, I never experienced trepidation upon confronting an enemy, though I always felt more or less anxiety. I never forgot that he had as much reason to fear my forces as I had his. The lesson was valuable."

Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs, Chapter 18

"Yet, even after forty years, after fifty transatlantic crossing, after uncountable transcontinental journeys, the sense of the American mystery remains strong with me.  Canada I think I begin to understand, a bit of the European world implanted south of the icecap, alien in geography, familiar in custom and culture.  The United States continues to elude me.  If I understand it at all, it is through the strange profession that has shaped my life, the study of war.  War is repugnant to the people of the United States; yet it is war that has made their nation and it is through the power to wage war that they dominate the world.  Americans are proficient at war in the same way that they are proficient at work.  It is a task, sometimes a duty.  Americans have worked at war since the seventeenth century, to protect themselves from the Indians, to win their independence from George III, to make themselves one country, to win the whole of their continent, to extinguish autocracy and dictatorship in the world outside.  It is not their favored form of work.  Left to themselves, Americans build, cultivate, bridge, dam, canalise, invent, teach, manufacture, think, write, lock themselves in struggle with the eternal challenges that man has chosen to confront, and with an intensity not known elsewhere on the globe.  Bidden to make war their work, American shoulder the burden with intimidating purpose.  There is, I have said, an American mystery, the nature of which I only begin to perceive.  If I were obliged to define it, I would say it is the ethos—masculine, pervasive, unrelenting—of work as an end in itself.  War is a form of work, and America makes war, however reluctantly, however unwillingly, in a particularly workmanlike way.  I do not love war; but I love America."

John Keegan, Fields of Battle: The Wars for North America

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson

"I came to the conclusion that there were only three options: depart California, take up religion, or learn to live and enjoy one day at a time. For various reasons, I ruled out the first two alternatives. I am working on the last. We are criticized by outsiders for living this way, but I see it as environmental adaptation."

Philip L. Fradkin, The Seven States of California: A Human and Natural History, 1995

"When I get a little money, I buy books; and, if any is left, I buy food and clothes."


Collected by Larry Lang