mediocrity

Do not leave yourself to despair; it stands between you and the dialogue with your heart. Do not try to explain feelings. Live everything intensely and treasure what you feel as a gift from God… Do not try to walk in all the roads at the same time! Don’t allow your wounds to transform you into someone you are not. Don’t be afraid. The only way to avoid that suffering is to refuse love. Don’t be intimidated by other people’s opinions. Only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risks and do what you really want to do… Don’t bother trying to explain your emotions. Live everything as intensely as you can and keep whatever you felt as a gift from God. The best way to destroy the bridge between the visible and invisible is by trying to explain your emotions.

If I had to give you one piece of advice it would be this: Don’t be intimidated by other people’s opinions. Only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risks and do what you really want to do. Seek out people who aren’t afraid of making mistakes and who, therefore, do make mistakes. Because of that, their work often isn’t recognized, but they are precisely the kind of people who change the world and, after many mistakes, do something that will transform their own community completely… If I must be faithful to someone or something, I have, first of all, have to be faithful to myself… If I must fall, may it be from a high place… If it's still in your mind, it is still in your heart.

We all have a vast number of areas in which we have no talent or skill and little chance of becoming even mediocre. In those areas a knowledge workers should not take on work, jobs and assignments. It takes far more energy to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.

A common danger tends to concord. Communism is the exploitation of the strong by the weak. In Communism, inequality comes from placing mediocrity on a level with excellence.

Communism is the exploitation of the strong by the weak. In property, inequality of conditions is the result of force, under whatever name it be disguised: physical and mental force; force of events, chance, fortune; force of accumulated property… In communism, inequality springs from placing mediocrity on a level with excellence. This damaging equation is repellent to the conscience, and causes merit to complain; for, although it may be the duty of the strong to aid the weak, they prefer to do it out of generosity, — they never will endure a comparison. Give them equal opportunities of labor, and equal wages, but never allow their jealousy to be awakened by mutual suspicion of unfaithfulness in the performance of the common task.

It is better to excel in any single art than to arrive only at mediocrity in several, so moderate skill in several is to be preferred where one cannot attain to perfection in any.

The present reeks of mediocrity and the atom bomb.

Millions for defence, but not one cent for tribute.

And, in this case, science could learn an important lesson from the literati — who love contingency for the same basic reason that scientists tend to regard the theme with suspicion. Because, in contingency lies the power of each person, to make a difference in an unconstrained world bristling with possibilities, and nudgeable by the smallest of unpredictable inputs into markedly different channels spelling either vast improvement or potential disaster.

Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no worth at all, if not perhaps, results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you will start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.

We will never have Fascism in England; no Englishman will dress up, not even for a revolution.

Pascal told only half the story. He said man was a thinking reed. What man is, is a thinking reed and a walking genital.

My angel, oh my angel, perhaps our whole earthly existence is now but a pun to you, or a grotesque rhyme, something like dental and transcendental (remember?), and the true meaning of reality, of that piercing term, purged of all our strange, dreamy, masquerade interpretations, now sounds so pure and sweet that you, angel, find it amusing that we could have taken the dream so seriously (although you and I did have an inkling of why everything disintegrated at one furtive touch-- words, conventions of everyday life, systems, persons-- so, you know, I think laughter is some chance little ape of truth astray in our world.

There is a way of falling into error while on the way to truth.

It is a pity that men cannot usually possess no talent without any desire to put others down.

This is a great sign of mediocrity always moderately to rent.

This is a reason to talk a lot to think little.

I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). I like gardens, trees, and unmechanized farmlands; I smoke a pipe, and like good plain food (unrefrigerated), but detest French cooking; I like, and even dare to wear in these dull days, ornamental waistcoats. I am fond of mushrooms (out of a field); have a very simple sense of humor (which even my appreciative critics find tiresome); I go to bed late and get up late (when possible). I do not travel much.