Don’t quote me on this

I read that Ralph Waldo Emerson once raged about people that, when faced with difficult topics, resorted to quotations. He is alleged to have said something along the lines of, ‘Don’t use quotations, tell me what YOU actually think’. (actually he may not have said this since I couldn’t corroborated this anecdote)

‘Don’t believe everything you read on the internet’ – Abraham Lincoln

I struggle to remember what I had for breakfast… so remembering quotes to use in socratic or casual conversation is completely beyond me. (which is also why I am not completely adverse to the idea of resolving complex issues through pugilism or pistols at dawn… much easier and usually involves a clearcut winner)


Still… I like quotes and often write them down. Maybe because when weighted on succinct-ness and the general gravitas (because of the status afforded the utterer) they just convey more pizazz and are likely to be given more consideration than something thats been quickly glued together and then presented to the world as the craft of a true wordsmith. Much easier to pirate other peoples remarks than come up with your own.

Basically this is a rather large prelude so I can quote Douglas Adams

“For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much—the wheel, New York, wars and so on—whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man—for precisely the same reasons.”

Because this is how I feel today. And with respects to Ralph Waldo Emerson and his proclivity towards original thoughts… I’m comfortable with the vacuum inside my cranium (except for that incessant whistling noise) and I’m relatively content with letting other peoples quotes fight my battles for me.


3 thoughts on “Don’t quote me on this

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