Sunday, February 15, 2015

Quotes from two wise men born February 16

You may recognize some of these:
From Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), member of the Adams political family:
  • Friends are born, not made.
  • Only on the edge of the grave can man conclude anything.
  • Thank God, I never was cheerful. I come from the happy stock of the Mathers, who, as you remember, passed sweet mornings reflecting on the goodness of God and the damnation of infants.
  • It is impossible to underrate human intelligence--beginning with one's own.
  • Philosophy: Unintelligible answers to insoluble problems.
  • No man means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous.
  • A friend in power is a friend lost.
  • The proper study of mankind is woman.
Although noted in his lifetime for his nine-volume History of the United States During the Administration of Thomas Jefferson, Adams received the Pulitzer for his posthumously published memoirs, The Education of Henry Adams. The Modern Library named this work the top English-language nonfiction book of the twentieth century.
From presidential advisor/ambassador George Kennan (1904-2005), one of the group of foreign policy elders known as “The Wise Men”:
  • The very concept of history implies the scholar and the reader. Without a generation of civilized people to study history, to preserve its records, to absorb its lessons and relate them to its own problems, history, too, would lose its meaning.
  • The best an American can look forward to is the lonely pleasure of one who stands at long last on a chilly and inhospitable mountaintop where few have been before, where few can follow and where few will consent to believe he has been.
  • Heroism is endurance for one moment more.