Quotes for the Fortnight


Robert I. Sternberg

From the book Successful Intelligence.

In our society, people at the top of the heap — lawyers, doctors, business executives, college professors — tend to have higher IQs than do those at the bottom heap — day labourers, house cleaners, street sweepers, and the like. So IQ is associated with occupational success, but does it cause it?

In another sense, most people who live in Nigeria are black, and most of the people who live in Norway are white. Does it mean that living in Nigeria cause you to be black or that living in Norway cause you to be white?


High IQ might indeed cause better job placement, which is plausible. Or better job placement may cause high IQ, which it turns out, is true. Being in a better job enables you to practise your intellectual skills, which in turn results in higher intelligence and thus higher IQ. Or it may be that both high IQ and job placement are dependent on some other factor or factors.

Timothy Ray Miller

From the book How to Want What You Have.

Sometimes I want to win; sometimes I don’t care. Sometimes I hope to win; sometimes I know I have little hope of winning. Sometimes I play with people I would not want to socialise with, but even then my opponents and I share a pleasant low-key companionship. I can think of only one thing that could spoil the game completely. If I ever felt that I must win, all the fun would instantly be destroyed.


It might seem playing to win is identical to playing as if I must win. A little thought reveals they are quite different. I play to win, but I have just as much fun whether I win or lose.

On Existence

Daniel Callahan

From the book The Troubled Dream of Life.

Though it did not happen to me, I have had a number of friends whose elderly parents died after an extended stay in nursing homes, long demented and cut off from human communication. They lived with the particular hell of loving their parent, wishing that parent would die, blaming themselves for having such a wish, and dutifully paying painful visits.


Narcissism struggles with altruism; the insistent clamour of desires and wants wrestles with the claims of morality.


The price of a longer life has been a sicker life.

Albert Camus

From the book A Happy Death.

He marvelled at the strange blindness by which men, though they are so aware of what changes in themselves, impose on their friends an image chosen for them once and for all. He was being judged by what he had been. Just as dogs don’t change character, men are dogs for each other.


He discovered the cruel paradox by which we always decieve ourselves twice about the people we love — first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage.

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