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A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not be endured with patient resignation.

Bertrand Russell – Conquest of Happiness

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“To trace something unknown back to something known is alleviating, soothing, gratifying and gives moreover a feeling of power. Danger, disquiet, anxiety attend the unknown — the first instinct is to eliminate these distressing states. First principle: any explanation is better than none…”

Frederick Neitzche quoted in Blog of Satyajit Das – 23 May 2010

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The sylvan setting, however, is at sharp odds with the reason Jordan is there: he has come to blow up a bridge on behalf of the antifascist guerrilla forces. He hopes he’ll be able to rely on their local leader, Pablo, to help carry out the mission, but upon meeting him, Jordan has his doubts: “I don’t like that sadness, he thought. That sadness is bad. That’s the sadness they get before they quit or before they betray. That is the sadness that comes before the sell-out.” For Pablo, it seems, has had enough of the war. He has amassed for himself a small herd of horses and wants only to stay quietly in the hills and attract as little attention as possible.

-Review of “For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway” on Amazon.com

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The 1925 psychiatrist’s reports claimed Heramann Göring to be weak of character, a hysteric and unstable personality, sentimental yet callous, violent when afraid and a person whose bravado hid a basic lack of moral courage. “Like many men capable of great acts of physical courage which verge quite often on desperation, he lacked the finer kind of courage in the conduct of his life which was needed when serious difficulties overcame him.”

-Wikipedia

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You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him to discover it in himself.

-Galileo Galilei

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“At times we can lose sight of the ultimate purpose of the models when their mathematics become too interesting. The mathematics of models can be applied precisely, but the models are not at all precise in their application to the complex real world. Their accuracy as useful approximations to that world varies significantly across time and place. The models should be applied in practice only tentatively, with careful assessment of their limitations in each approximation.”

Robert Merton quoted in Blog of Satyajit Das – 19 Jan 2010

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Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken

Warren Buffett

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Morality is conservative, aims to preserve what is valuable in life. Meaning, therefore, must be antecedent to morality. For meaning establishes value. If life is without meaning, there is nothing worth preserving: All is equal, anything goes.

The Way We Are – Allen Wheelis

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It is glory – to have been tested, to have had our little quality and cast our little spell….A second chance – that’s the delusion. There never was to be but one. We work in the dark – we do what we can – we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.

Henry James quoted by Allen Wheelis in “The Quest for Identity”

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Nothing guarantees our freedom. Deny it often enough and one day it will be gone, and we’ll not know how or when.

How People Change – Allen Wheelis

Chapter III

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“The mad rule of money, and materialism as the measure of all things — in short, the free market, released from all rules and governed only by the greed of the most powerful — fatally corrodes our souls.” But  “The communist or the fascist corruption through the negation of the market is significantly deeper, deadlier, and more irreparable than the first.”

Bernard Henri Levy quoted by AV Rajwade in Business Standard

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“Competition in the market puts people under greater pressure to break the ordinary rules of decent conduct and then to produce good reasons for doing so. It is these rationalisations — the endless self-deception necessary to meet the bottom line and still feel okay about it — that corrode moral character.”

Michael Walzer quoted by AV Rajwade in Business Standard

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What to the contemporary observer appears as the battle of conflicting interests has indeed often been decided long before in a clash of ideas confined to narrow circles

The Intellectuals and Socialism – Friedrich A Hayek

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“There’s some notion of control, it seems to me, that you can derive in a world full of confusion if you at least understand how things get put together.  Even if you can’t understand every little part, how infernal machines get put together.”

The Soul of a New Machine – Tracy Kidder
Chapter 9 – A Workshop

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THE KNOWING MIND begins to know itself and to perceive, along with the freedom to do this or that, a horror about which it has no freedom at all. As soon as we become able, floating down the river of life, really to see the remarkable scenery and to enjoy the newly acquired freedom to move this way or that in the current, at just that moment we hear the roar of cataract ahead. Amidst the luscious fruits, we see the coiled asp.  We become, at one stroke, gods and food for worms.

The Listener: A Psychoanalyst Examines His Life – Allen Wheelis
Chapter IV

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There was only one flaw in it and this, I suppose, he could not have foreseen. It had never occurred to him that after twenty-five years of complete happiness, in this quiet backwater, with nothing in the world to disturb his serenity, his character would gradually lose its strength. The will needs obstacles in order to exercise its power; when it is never thwarted, when no effort is needed to achieve one’s desires, because one has placed one’s desires only in the things that can be obtained by stretching out hand, the will grows impotent. If you walk on a level all the time the muscles you need to climb a mountain will atrophy.

The Lotus Eater – Somerset Maugham

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“In the practice of every way of life and every kind of work, there is a state of mind called that of the deviant. Even if you strive diligently on your chosen path day after day, if your heart is not in accord with it, then even if you think you are on a good path, from the point of view of the straight and true, this is not a genuine path. If you do not pursue a genuine path to its consummation, then a little bit of crookedness in the mind will later turn into a major warp. Reflect on this.”

The Book of Five Rings – Miyamoto Musashi

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The more amiable the esprit de corps among the members of a policy-making in-group, the greater is the danger that independent critical thinking will be replaced by group-think, which is likely to result in irrational…actions.

Irving Janis quoted in “Vital Lies, Simple Truths” by Daniel Goleman

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The importance of a correct understanding of eco­nomic relations in general and of monetary matters in particular is vividly brought out by a statement made two centuries ago by Pierre S. du Pont, a deputy from Nemours to the French National Assembly. Speaking on a proposal to issue additional assignats-the fiat money of the French Revolution-he said: “Gentlemen, it is a disagreeable cus­tom to which one is too easily led by the harshness of the discussions, to assume evil intentions. It is necessary to be gracious as to intentions; one should believe them good, and apparently they are; but we do not have to be gracious at all to inconsistent logic or to absurd reasoning. Bad logicians have committed more involuntary crimes than bad men have done intentionally [September 25, 1790].”

Capitalideasonline.com – 17 Oct 2008 quoting from Money Mischief: Episodes in Monetary History by Milton Friedman

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It is that the social formation of capitalism, like that of all others save only primitive society, is at bottom a system of class domi­nation and mass acquiescence. That which distinguishes capitalism from other social formations is not the fact of its hierarchical character but its unique form, in which the drive for power and domination becomes sublimated into the desire to accumulate capital, and in which the expres­sion of subordinate status is manifested through the ac­ceptance of market and property relations.

Schumpeter quoted in “The Nature and Logic of Capitalism” by Robert L. Heilbroner
Capitalideasonline.com – 11 Oct 2008
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The world is what it is: men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.

A Bend in the River
V.S. Naipaul

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scientists are often circumspect in their formal, academic-­journal utterances. The most famous understatement in science may be Watson and Crick’s one-sentence observation, in their origi­nal 1953 Nature report on the structure of DNA, that “it has not escaped our notice that the specific pairing we have postulated immediately suggests a possible copying mechanism for the genetic material.”

The (Mis)behavior of Markets: A Fractal View of Risk, Ruin & Reward – Benoit Mandelbrot, Richard L. Hudson
Chapter VIII

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Study is of no use in gaining true knowledge, it is rather an obstacle. All that we learn in that way is vain. In fact, one only knows one’s own ideas and one’s own visions. As for the real causes that have generated these ideas, they remain inaccessible to us. When we try to grasp them we only seize the ideas that we ourselves have elaborated about these causes.

Sakyong gomchen quoted in “Magic & Mystery in Tibet” by Alexandra David-Neel
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‘Forget the past, and don’t dwell on the thoughts of the wrongs you have done. Remorse is a form of presumption. To indulge in it is to attribute to oneself and to one’s actions an importance which they do not possess. Everything which is, everything which comes about, is the result of many causes interwoven in a thousand ways. However far one may go back into the mists of time, it is impossible to discover an origin of these causes, to conceive a cause without a cause. Thus you and your actions are but links in this eternal chain, links attached to other links to which yet further links will become attached. Turn your thougts to the sufferings of beings during their pilgrimage through this chain of existence.’


Dordji Migyur quoted in “Tibetan Tale of Love and Magic” by Alexandra David-Neel

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Contrary to everything that modern psy­chologists tell you, I am convinced that one can acquire knowledge, one can acquire skills, but one cannot change his personality

Peter Drucker quoted in “Peter Drucker Shaping the Managerial Mind” by John Flaherty

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But it is only early in life that one believes fate to be identical with chance. Later one knows that the actual course of one’s life was determined from within; however confusedly and meaninglessly our way may deviate from our desires, after all it does lead us inevitably to our invisible goal.

It is a thousand times easier to reconstruct the facts of an era than its spiritual atmosphere. Its traces are not to be found in official events, but rather in small, personal episodes…

Trials challenge, persecution strengthens, and isolation exalts, provided they do not break one. Like all important things in life one never derives such knowledge from other peoples’ experience but only from ones’ own fate.

The World of Yesterday – Stefan Zweig
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Art can bring us consolation as individuals but it is powerless against reality.

Romain Rolland – Quoted in “The World of Yesterday” by Stefan Zweig
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Emigration is for a young man with no memories

Ernst Lothar – Quoted in Introduction of “The World of Yesterday” by Stefan Zweig

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Like all of life’s rich emotional experiences, the full flavor of losing important money cannot be conveyed by literature.

Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? – Fred Schwed, Jr.

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The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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But as particularly applies to reading minds, be careful what you wish for, or you just might get it.

Stealing the Network:How to Own the Box – Ryan Russell et al – Jul 2003 Indian Edition
Chapter 19

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In the end, it is impossible not to become what others believe you are.

The Ides of March – Julius Caesar

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Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Helen Keller – The Open Door

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In his wild optimism Leibniz overlooked a law which is as fundamental for human nature as the second law of thermodynamics is for the physical universe-indeed it is of the same kind: all creeds tend to split into two, each of which in turn splits into two more, and so on, until after a certain finite number of generations (which can be easily calculated by logarithms) there are fewer human beings in any given region, no matter how large, than there are creeds, and further attenuations of the original dogma embodied in the first creed dilute it to a transparent gas too subtle to sustain faith in any human being, no matter how small.

Men of Mathematics – E.T. Bell
Chapter 7

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“The great judge of the world,” wrote Adam Smith in his Theory of Moral Sentiments, “has, for the wisest reasons, thought proper to interpose, between the weak eye of human reason, and the throne of his eternal justice, a degree of obscurity and darkness. . . [which] . . . renders the im­pression of it faint and feeble in comparison of what might be expected from the grandeur and importance of so mighty an object.”

Capitalideasonline.com – 21 Jul 2006 quoting from “Financial Reckoning Day” by William Bonner, Addison Wiggin

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“There is more than a germ of truth in the suggestion that, in a soci­ety where statisticians thrive, liberty and individuality are likely to be emasculated,” wrote M. J. Moroney in Fact from Figures. “Historically, sta­tistics is no more than ‘State Arithmetic,’ a system by which differences between individuals are eliminated by the taking of an average. It has been used-indeed, still is used-to enable rulers to know just how far they may safely go in picking the pockets of their subjects.”

Capitalideasonline.com – 21 Jul 2006 quoting from “Financial Reckoning Day” by William Bonner, Addison Wiggin

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“In the complex society of organizations in which we live, the organizations – and that means the “professionals” who manage them – must surely take responsibility for the common weal. There is no one else around who can do it. All history teaches that a pluralist society cannot depend on the conflict and confluence of particular “interests” to produce the common good and to serve the public interest.”

“Authority without responsibility is illegitimate; but so is responsibility without authority. Both lead to tyranny.”

Adventures of a Bystander – Peter F. Drucker

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“Philosophy in any case always comes on the scene too late to give it… When philosophy paints its gray in gray, then has a shape of life grown old. By philosophy’s gray in gray it cannot be rejuvenated but only understood. The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.”

Philosophy of Right – Hegel

Wisdom comes from suffering and error, and when the passions die down and observation begins.

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“They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Milton’s words by Eleonore Rickover at launch of USS H.G. Rickover

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” Semantics can have real consequences for how people experience their world….in a sense, a people’s language creates their reality: We may be blind to phenomena or concepts for which we have no words.”

Destructive Emotions – Daniel Goleman
Chapter 3

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“The mental picture we hold of someone we are attracted to, for instance, will be an idealized version of the actual person. That image, a projection of the mind, is innately afflicted, since it invariably distorts the reality. This distortion pertains not just in fantasies and daydreams but also during ordinary thinking.”

Destructive Emotions – Daniel Goleman
Chapter 5

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The power to hurt-to destroy things that somebody treasures, to inflict pain and grief-is a kind of bargaining power, not easy to use but used often. In the un­derworld it is the basis for blackmail, extortion, and kidnapping, in the commercial world, for boycotts, strikes, and lockouts. . . it underlies the humane as well as the corporal punishments that society uses to deter crime and delinquency. . . It is often the basis for discipline, civilian and military

Capitalideasonline.com – 10 Jul 2007 quoting from Arms and Influence by ThomasSchelling

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The almighty dollar is not almighty. It is always hostage to the power of the gun.
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People who live in delightful well-mannered suburbs, who never have to physically contest for their lives and property, often fail to grasp the subtle logic of violence. It is a mistake seldom made by hardened criminals. Criminals are normally connoisseurs of power’s subtleties. They understand, as law-abiding people sometimes do not, that laws are merely wishes on a piece of paper unless there is sufficient power to enforce them. The ultimate law is the law of the jungle. The law of the desert. The law of the dark alley in the inner city. It is the law that says that what is yours by right and justice is yours only so long as you -or someone- ­can protect it.
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Much of what we need to learn from the past depends upon contemporary understandings. When we journey into history we are all “Connecticut Yankees in King Arthur’s Court.” What we can see depends in pan on what type of flashlight we take in our pocket. If we could be magically transported back five, ten, or fifteen centuries ago, much less to the Anatolia of 10,000 B.C., we could learn something about the political economies of those periods. But most of what we could learn would not depend upon what people living then could tell us. In many cases, they would have understood little of what was happening themselves. The most interesting insights from the past are not discoverable in the past but in the present. The record of the past is like Pharaoh’s dream in the Book of Genesis, a jumble of largely unintelligible details-seven lean cattle-that mean little without interpretation. Our purpose is to interpret.

Capitalideasonline.com – 10 Jul 2007 quoting from “The Great Reckoning – How the world will change before the year 2000” by James Dale Davidson and William Rees-Mogg

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It always demands a far greater degree of courage for an individual to oppose an organized movement than to let himself be carried along with the stream – individual courage, that is, a variety of courage that is dying out in these times of progressive organization and mechanization.

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Courage is often nothing but inverted weakness.
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It is only on the young that the tragic and dangerous exerts so curious an attraction.

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It is only the immeasureable, the limitless that terrifies us. That which is set within defined, fixed limits is a challenge to our powers, comes to be the measure of our strength.
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There is no need to be ashamed of being taken in by life now and again; it is, if anything, a blessing not yet to have acquired that over-keen, diagnostic, misanthropic eye, and to be able to look at people and things trustfully when one first sees them.
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Anyone who made a single person happy had fulfilled the purpose of his existence; it was really worth while to devote oneself to others to the very limit of one’s strength, and even beyond.
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Our decisions are to a much greater extent dependent on our desire to conform to the standards of our class and environment than we are inclined to admit. A considerable proportion of our reasoning is merely an automatic function, so to speak, of influences and impressions which have become part of us.
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No, it was not the healthy, the confident, the proud, the joyous, the happy that one must love – they had no need of one’s love! Arrogant and indifferent, they accepted love only as homage that was theirs to command, as their due. The devotion of another was to them a mere embellishment, an ornament for the hair, a bracelet on the arm, not the whole meaning and bliss of their lives. Only those with whom life had dealt hardly, the wretched, the slighted, the uncertain, the unlovely, the humiliated, could really be helped by love. He who devoted his life to them atoned to them for what life had taken from them. They alone knew how to love and be loved as one should love and be loved – gratefully and humbly.

Beware of Pity – Stefan Zweig

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The self-assured intellectual male looks foolish next to the instinctive female, who, with one simple gesture, can upset his entire value system.
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What is the good of winning the whole world if one loses one’s own soul?
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Ideologies are in a sense also social adaptations, and the better they function the less is required of the individual to differentiate himself from the others in the crowd. The process of individuation begins with the awareness of the “other,” who usually seems to the beholder much better adapted than himself.
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Just as the correlations between interacting quantal systems lead to many different kinds of mutations in the behavior of individual systems, which, for want of a better term, we call quantum jumps, so does the person integrated in a group produce spontaneous insights which would have been inaccessible to him in isolation.

Are Quanta Real?: A Galilean Dialogue – J.M. Jauch

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Sigmund Freud once remarked that if a little child had the physical strength to do so, it would smash everything in its path that aroused its displeasure.
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…Pain or tragedy …is the source of empathy. …Intelligence alone, without wisdom and empathy for suffering, is hollow.
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Myths are heady stuff and will not be easily dispelled by even the most conscientious historians. These legends tend to develop a life of their own and those who pass them on from one generation to another stubbornly refuse to be confused by historical facts.
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It does appear, however, that people abandon their bad habits only when catastrophe is close at hand. The intellect alone is not enough. We must be shaken, almost shattered, before we change.
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Leaders on all sides typically harbor self-delusions on the eve of war. Only the war itself then provides the stinging ice of reality and ultimately helps to restore a measure of perspective in the leadership. The price for this recapture of reality is high indeed. It is unlikely that there ever was a war that fulfilled the initial hopes and expectations of both sides.
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There is no such thing as collective guilt, and that, in dark times, there are always men and women who will confront evil, even in its most absolute form, and reaffirm our humanity. In the depths of the abyss, moral courage still survives, and at times even prevails.
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Why Nations Go to War – John G. Stoessinger

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A country that depended entirely upon the formal letter of its laws might well find itself defenseless against a crisis that had not, and could not, have been forseen in its legal code. The analogue of incompleteness theorem, applied to law, would guarantee that for any legal code, even if intended to be fully explicit and complete, there would always be judgements “undecided” by the letter of the law.

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A World Without Time – Palle Yourgrau
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All revolutions, shake men out of their customary routine tracks and release their hidden ferocious instincts. Brutality and cruelty and bloodshed are characteristics of every revolution, regardless of its causes, nature and direction. The forces of destruction are as evil as they are blind.

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The True cause, the only possible cause, of a revolution is a fundamental and radical change in the order of values, especially in that most important sphere, man’s conception of his own nature and of his place in the universe and society.
The End of Economic Man – Peter F. Drucker
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Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: Integrity, intelligence and energy. And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.- Warren Buffett
Business World – 08 Oct 2007 – Case Study Analysis 1
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…the mob is never the sole reason for moral panics or manias. It takes much more than a credulous peasant to set off an avalanche that careens down the slope to general panic. What you really need is a half-baked pedant armed with damp formulas and moldy sayings out of a dog-eared textbook; you need catchy phrases that spray around and lodge themselves like bird shot in the fuzzy neocortexes of the masses.

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It was not illiterate fools who drove the persecution of the witches. It was the bigger semi-literate fools. It was not what people did not know that proved their undoing; it was what they thought they knew that wasn’t so. And what the devil did was one of those things that wasn’t so.
Capitalideasonline.com – 04 Oct 2007 quoting from “Mobs, Messiahs and Markets” by William Bonner

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