Being a practiced liar doesn’t mean you have a powerful imagination. Many good liars have no imagination at all; it’s that which gives their lies such wide-eyed conviction.

—Philip Pullman, Northern Lights

Money in one’s possession is the instrument of liberty; money one pursues is the symbol of servitude. That is why I hold fast to what I have, but covet no more.

—Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Les Confessions

What we have is government, representative government by a non-intellectual minority of politicians, generals, and businessmen.

—Herbert Marcuse, “Repressive Tolerance”

What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.

Mrs. Weasley, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets


Belligerence knows no tempo.

—Amy Leach, “Please Do Not Yell at the Sea Cucumber”

Vita sine litteris mors es. (Life without study is death.)

–San Felipe Neri, San Miguel de Allende

I stare about me, trying to etch into this journal the sense of Shey that is so precious, aware that all such effort is in vain; the beauty of this place must be cheerfully abandoned, like the wild rocks in the bright water of its streams. Frustration at the paltriness of words drives me to write, but there is more of Shey in a single sheep hair, in one withered sprig of everlasting, than in all these notes; to strive for permanence in what I think I have perceived is to miss the point.

—Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard

This is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter. That mankind has in this sense been cowardly has done life endless harm; the experiences that are called “visions,” the whole so-called “spirit-world,” death, all those things that are so closely akin to us, have by daily parrying been so crowded out of life that the senses with which we could have grasped them are atrophied.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, quoted by Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard