F quotations.


Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.

F. Scott Fitzgerald


A man's idea in a card game is war—cruel, devastating and pitiless. A lady's idea of it is a combination of larceny, embezzlement and burglary.

-U.S. journalist, humorist. "On the Game of Cards," Mr. Dooley on Making a Will (1919).

Finley Peter Dunne (1867/1936).


Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about things, and small people talk about wine.

All God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.

Fran Lebowitz


Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.

Francis Bacon (1561-01-22/1626-04-09). English philosopher, science philosopher, statesman, and essayist.


All this stuff you heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans, traditionally, love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.... Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost—and will never lose—a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.

-The opening speech of the movie Patton (1970), where General George S. Patton Jr. (played by George C. Scott) addresses the audience as though they were his troops.

Francis Ford Coppola (b. 1939) U.S. filmmaker, Edmund H. North, screenwriter, and Franklin J. Schaffner.


I won't undertake war until I have tried all the arts and means of peace.

François Rabelais (1494/1553). French author.


To make a film is to improve on life, to arrange it to suit oneself... to construct something which is at once a new toy and a vase in which one can arrange in a permanent way the ideas one feels in the morning.

François Truffaut (1932-02-06/1984-10-21). French writer, director, actor and producer.


Kindness makes a fellow feel good, whether it's being done to him or by him.

Frank A. Clark


The truth is more important than the facts.

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-06-08/1959-04-09). American architect.


We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.

Frank Tibolt


This nation will remain a neutral nation, but I cannot ask that every American remain neutral in thought as well. Even a neutral has a right to take account of facts, even a neutral cannot be asked to close his mind or close his conscience. I have said not once but many times that I have seen war and that I hate war; I say that again and again. I hope the United States will keep out of this war, I believe that it will. And I give you assurance and reassurance that every effort of your government will be directed toward that end. As long as it remains within my power to prevent there will be no blackout of peace in the United States.

-FDR Speaks, authorized edition of speeches, 1933-1945 (recordings of Franklin Roosevelt's public addresses),,\ ed. Henry Steele Commager, Introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt, Washington Records, Inc. (1960),  side 5, Fireside Chat on war in Europe (Sept. 3, 1939). FDR did not wish to make Woodrow Wilson's mistake of asking Americans to remain neutral in thought and deed. He believed that they needed to be prepared to take sides as the Axis powers threatened the very existence of democratic institutions around the world and provided a threat to U.S. security.

If civilization is to survive, the principles of the Prince of Peace must be restored. Shattered trust between nations must be revived. Most important of all the will for peace on the part of peace loving nations must express itself to the end that nations that may be tempted to violate their agreements and the rights of others will desist from such a course. There must be positive endeavors to preserve peace. America hates war, America hopes for peace. Therefore, America actively engages in the search for peace.

-ibid., side 4, bridge dedication speech—"Quarantine" Speech at Chicago, Illinois (Oct. 5, 1937). This was part of a campaign on the part of the President to prepare Americans for the realities of an impending world conflict and the need to counteract the acts of aggression which were possibly headed toward another world war.

Responsibility for political conditions thousands of miles away can no longer be avoided, I think, by this great Nation. Certainly I don't want to live to see another war. As I have said, the world is smaller, smaller every year. The United States now exerts a tremendous influence in the cause of peace. What we people over here are thinking and talking about is in the interest of peace because it is known all over the world. The slightest remark in either House of Congress is known all over the world the following day. We will continue to exert that influence only if we are willing to share in the responsibility of keeping the peace.

-ibid., side 12, address to Congress on Yalta Conference (March 1, 1945). FDR tried to make sure by this address that the sort of return to isolationism which followed World War I would not occur. He believed, and so informed the Congress, that carping criticism of the Allies and the peace agreements would only lead to recriminations and suspicions which could bring another war.

More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars. Yes, an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of settling the differences between Governments. The once powerful malignant Nazi state is crumbling; the Japanese warlords are receiving in their homelands the retribution for which they asked when they attacked Pearl Harbor. But the mere conquest of our enemies is not enough; we must go on to do all in our power to conquer the doubts and the fears, the ignorance and the greed, which made this horror possible.

-ibid., side 12, undelivered address, Jefferson Day, given here by FDR, Jr. (April 13, 1945). In this last speech he planned to deliver (the day after his fatal stroke), FDR appealed to Americans to enter into the United Nations with the intent of never allowing the conditions which brought on two world wars to occur again. This was a ringing challenge to ignore the siren songs of neo-isolationists and to work whole heartedly in the international arena to settle disputes amicably.

I don't want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882/1945). Aka FDR. U.S. President.


If you like to make things out of wood, or sew, or dance, or style people's hair, or dream up stories and act them out, or play the trumpet, or jump rope, or whatever you really love to do, and you love that in front of your children, that's going to be a far more important gift than anything you could ever give them wrapped up in a box with ribbons.

Most childhood problems don't result from 'bad' parenting, but are the inevitable result of the growing that parents and children do together. The point isn't to head off these problems or find ways around them, but rather to work through them together and in doing so to develop a relationship of mutual trust to rely on when the next problem comes along.

I like to compare the holiday season with the way a child listens to a favorite story. The pleasure is in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending.

I think of discipline as the continual everyday process of helping a child learn self-discipline.

When we choose to be parents, we accept another human being as part of ourselves, and a large part of our emotional selves will stay with that person as long as we live. From that time on, there will be another person on this earth whose orbit around us will affect us as surely as the moon affects the tides, and affect us in some ways more deeply than anyone else can. Our children are extensions of ourselves in ways our parents are not, nor our brothers and sisters, nor our spouses.

There is a universal truth that I have found in my work. Everybody longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is let somebody know that they are loved and capable of loving.

Fred Rogers (1928-03-20/2003-02-27). Frederick McFeely Rogers. American host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968/2001) and Presbyterian minister.


The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple. A good example of a simple technology with profound historical consequences is hay. Nobody knows who invented hay, the idea of cutting grass in the autumn and storing it in large enough quantities to keep horses and cows alive through the winter. All we know is that the technology of hay was unknown to the Roman Empire but was known to every village of medieval Europe. Like many other crucially important technologies, hay emerged anonymously during the so-called Dark Ages. According to the Hay Theory of History, the invention of hay was the decisive event which moved the center of gravity of urban civilization from the Mediterranean basin to Northern and Western Europe. The Roman Empire did not need hay because in a Mediterranean climate the grass grows well enough in winter for animals to graze. North of the Alps, great cities dependent on horses and oxen for motive power could not exist without hay. So it was hay that allowed populations to grow and civilizations to flourish among the forests of Northern Europe. Hay moved the greatness of Rome to Paris and London, and later to Berlin and Moscow and New York.

-Infinite in All Directions, Harper and Row, New York, 1988, p 135.

Freeman Dyson (1923-12-15). English-born American physicist and mathematician.


Great and fine things can never be common property: pulchrum est paucorum hominum (beauty is for the few).

Once and for all, there is a great deal I do not want to know. - Wisdom sets bounds even to knowledge.

Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity. For the crowd believes that if it cannot see to the bottom of something it must be profound. It is so timid and dislikes going into the water.

-The Gay Science (1882).

For believe me!—the secret to harvesting the greatest abundance and the greatest enjoyment from existence is this—living dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors, so long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you knowing ones! The time will soon be past when you could be content to live hidden in the forests like timid deer.

-ibid.

The conditions under which I am understood, and then of necessity-I know them only too well. One must be honest in matters of the spirit to the point of hardness before one can even endure my seriousness and my passion. One must be skilled in living on mountains-seeing the wretched ephemeral babble of politics and national self-seeking beneath oneself. One must have become indifferent; one must never ask if the truth is useful or if it may prove our undoing. The predilection of strength for questions for which no one today has the courage; the courage for the forbidden...a new conscience for truths that have so far remained mute... reverence for oneself; love of oneself; unconditional freedom before oneself!

-The Antichrist.

Beggars should be abolished. It annoys one to give to them, and it annoys one not to give to them.

A man's maturity -- consists in having found again the seriousness one had as a child, at play.

And perhaps a great day will come, when a people distinguished by war and victory, by the highest development of military organization and intelligence, and accustomed to making the gravest sacrifices to these things, will voluntarily exclaim, "We will break the sword into pieces"—and will demolish its entire military machine down to its deepest foundations. To disarm while being the best armed, as an expression of elevated feelings—that is the means to real peace, which must always rest on a disposition toward peace: whereas so-called "armed peace," such as the one that parades around in every country nowadays, is a disposition toward hostility which trusts neither itself nor its neighbor and, partly out of hatred, partly out of fear, refuses to put down its weapons.

-Friedrich Nietzsche, Sämtliche Werke: Kritische Studienausgabe, vol. 2, pp. 678-679, eds. Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, Berlin, de Gruyter (1980). The Wanderer and His Shadow, aphorism 284 (1880).

Against war one might say that it makes the victor stupid and the vanquished malicious. In its favor, that in producing these two effects it barbarizes, and so makes the combatants more natural. For culture it is a sleep or a wintertime, and man emerges from it stronger for good and for evil.

The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-10-15/1900-08-25). Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. German philosopher, classical scholar, critic of culture.


Beauty alone makes all the world happy, and every being forgets its limitations as long as it experiences her enchantment.

Friedrich Schiller (1759-11-10/1805-05-09). Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller. German poet, philosopher, historian, and dramatist.


If you like a man's laugh before you know anything of him, you may say with confidence that he is a good man.

Fyodor Dostoevsky


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