Chris Bateman

Quotes

In no particular order.

Thomas Carlyle
No good book or good thing of any kind shows it best face at first. No, the most common quality in a true work of art that has excellence and depth, is that at first sight it produces a certain disappointment.
John Maeda
The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.
John Greenleaf Whittier
For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: "It might have been!"
Clayton Christensen
It’s easier to hold to your principles 100% of the time than it is to hold to them 98% of the time.
Calvin Coolidge
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.
Steve Jobs
When you're young, you look at television and think, There's a conspiracy. The networks have conspired to dumb us down. But when you get a little older, you realize that's not true. The networks are in business to give people exactly what they want. That's a far more depressing thought. Conspiracy is optimistic! You can shoot the bastards! We can have a revolution! But the networks are really in business to give people what they want. It's the truth.
Henry Ford
I invented nothing new. I simply assembled into a car the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work. ...Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed. So it is with every new thing. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable. To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense.
Isaac Newton
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.
T.S. Elliott
One of the surest of tests is the way in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion.
Jonathan Coulton
"I just got everything perfect in my life, and then I went and messed it all up by having a baby." I don't feel that way anymore, but the thought certainly crossed my mind a few times at the beginning. Eventually you just fall in love and forget about everything else, but it's not a very comfortable transition. I compare the process to becoming a vampire, your old self dies in a sad and painful way, but then you come out the other side with immortality, super strength and a taste for human blood. At least that's how it was for me. At any rate, it's complicated.
Ira Glass

Nobody tells people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me, is that... all of us who do creative work, like, y'know, we get into it and we get into it because we have good taste... But it's like there's a gap. That for the first couple years that you're making stuff, what you're making isn't so good, okay, it's not that great... It's trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it's not quite that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, your taste is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you're making is kind of a disappointment to you, you know what I mean?

...A lot of people never get past that phase. A lot people at that point they quit. And the thing I would just like to say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn't as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short... It didn't have this special thing that we wanted it to have.

And the thing I want to tell you is, everybody goes through that. And for you to go through it, if you're going through it right now, if you're just getting out of that phase, if you're just starting off and you're entering into that phase, you gotta know that's totally normal, and the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you're going to finish one story, you know what I mean? Whatever it's going to be, you create the deadline... Because it's only by actually going through a volume of work that you are actually going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you're making will be as good as your ambitions.

In my case... I took longer to figure out how to do this than anybody I've ever met... It takes a while, it's going to take you a while, it's normal to take a while, and you just have to fight your way through that. You will be fierce, you will be a warrior, and you will make things that aren't as good as you know in your heart you want them to be, and you just make one after another.

Theodore Roosevelt
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat
Neil DeGrasse Tyson

The most astounding fact is the knowledge that the atoms that comprise life on earth, the atoms that make up the human body, are traceable to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core, under extreme temperatures and pressures. These stars, the high-mass ones among them, went unstable in their later years. They collapsed and then exploded, scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy. Guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and all the fundamental ingredients of life itself. These ingredients become part of gas clouds that condense, collapse, form the next generation of solar systems, stars with orbiting planets, and those planets now have the ingredients for life itself.

So that when I look up at the night sky, and I know that yes, we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up - many people feel small cause they're small and the universe is big, but I feel big. Because my atoms came from those stars. There's a level of connectivity - that's really what you want in life, you want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant, you want to feel like you're a participant in the goings on of activities and events around you. That's precisely what we are, just by being alive.

Frank Chimero
For those that use the things made by others, they should credit where possible, and have their work be transformative in some way. They can carry the ideas of others, but they must to take it further or a new direction. Then, they are obliged share alike. To not do both is to go against the goodwill initiated by the work's creator. And for both, we should recognize that all creative processes use materials from those who came before us, and respect the meaningful influence of others. We're part of a long line of people who make things. It is a privilege to get to use the work of others in our own.
Paul Giambarba
You know long it takes to do simple? About ten times longer than fast and dirty.
Carl Sagan

Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

Charles F. Kettering
A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved.
Dieter Rams
Having small touches of colour makes it more colourful than having the whole thing in colour.
Seth Godin

At the local health food store lunch buffet, they offer stir fried tempeh. I never get it. Not because I don't like it, but because there are always so many other things on the buffet that I prefer.

That's why I don't watch TV. At all. There are so many other things I'd rather do in that moment. Broadcast TV was a great choice when a> there weren't a lot of other options and b> when everyone else was watching the same thing, so you needed to see it to be educated.

Now, though, you could: Run a little store on eBay; write a daily blog; write a novel; start an online community about your favorite passion; go to meetups in your town; volunteer to tutor a kid, in person or online; learn a new language, verbal or programming; write hand-written thank you notes each evening to people who helped you out or did a good job; produce small films and publish them online; listen to the one thousand most important operas; read a book or two every evening; play a game of Scrabble with your family

None of them are perfect. Each of them are better than TV.

Douglas Crockford
We like to think we spend most of our time powertyping. "I'm being productive, I'm writing programs." But we don't. We spend most of our time looking into the abyss, saying, "My God, what have I done?"
Jason Deamer
Pain is temporary, suck is forever.
Pablo Picasso
When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine.
Milton Glaser

There's no such thing as a creative type. As if creative people can just show up and make stuff up. As if it were that easy.

I think people need to be reminded that creativity is a verb, and very time-consuming verb. It's about taking an idea in your head, and transforming that idea into something real. And that's always going to be a long and difficult process. If you're doing it right, it's going to feel like work.

Mark Twain
As if there was much of anything in any human utterance, oral or written, except plagiarism! The kernel, the soul—let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances—is plagiarism. For substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources, and daily use by the garnerer with a pride and satisfaction born of the superstition that he originated them... When a great orator makes a great speech you are listening to ten centuries and ten thousand men—but we call it his speech, and really some exceedingly small portion of it is his. But not enough to signify... It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a telephone or any other important thing—and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite—that is all he did.
Greg McKeown
If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will.
Daniel C. Peterson

If a substantial number of sane and intelligent people believe something that seems to you utterly without sense, the problem probably lies with you, for not grasping what it is about that belief that a lucid and reasonable person might find plausible and satisfying.

Until you understand why people of good sense, learning, mental health, and sound intelligence find a particular worldview convincing and worthy of allegiance… you haven’t really understood it. You don’t have to accept that other worldview, but, if you’re serious about understanding it, you really have to grasp it.

Teller
Sometimes magic is just someone spending more time on something than anyone else might reasonably expect.
Peter Drucker
Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Max Planck
A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
Kathryn Schulz
[Being wrong] feels like being right.
Francis Ford Coppola
I don't think there's any artist of any value who doesn't doubt what they're doing.
Randall Munroe
Communicating badly and then acting smug when you're misunderstood is not cleverness.
Ryan Dahl
The only thing that matters in software is the experience of the user.
Maya Angelou
People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.
Bill Watterson
Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it's to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential – as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth. You'll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you're doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you'll hear about them. To invent your own life's meaning is not easy, but it's still allowed, and I think you'll be happier for the trouble.
Paul Lockhart
I don't see how it's doing society any good to have its members walking around with vague memories of algebraic formulas and geometric diagrams, and clear memories of hating them.
Charlie Stross
Libertarianism is like Leninism: a fascinating, internally consistent political theory with some good underlying points that, regrettably, makes prescriptions about how to run human society that can only work if we replace real messy human beings with frictionless spherical humanoids of uniform density (because it relies on simplifying assumptions about human behaviour which are unfortunately wrong).
Douglas Adams
Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, "This is an interesting world I find myself in – an interesting hole I find myself in – fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!" This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise.
Montague Jocelyn King-Harmon
We are quick to judge others by their acts, but we judge ourselves by our intentions.
Lindsey Redding
It is a universal truth that all artists think they are frauds and charlatans, and live in constant fear of being exposed. We believe by working harder than anyone else we can evade detection.
Ernest Hemingway
I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Science works on the frontier between knowledge and ignorance. We’re not afraid to admit what we don’t know. There’s no shame in that. The only shame is to pretend that we have all the answers.
Noam Chomsky
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.
Tony Kushner (inspired by Abraham Lincoln)
A compass, I learned when I was surveying, it'll point you true north from where you're standing, but it's got no advice about the swamps and deserts and chasms that you'll encounter along the way. If in pursuit of your destination, you plunge ahead, heedless of obstacles, and achieve nothing more than to sink in a swamp... what's the use of knowing true north?
Bertrand Russell
The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
Alain de Botton
Work finally begins when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly.
Editorial in the Pittsburgh Leader, 11/13/1919
The man who cannot listen to an argument which opposes his views either has a weak position or is a weak defender of it. No opinion that cannot stand discussion or criticism is worth holding. And it has been wisely said that the man who knows only half of any question is worse off than the man who knows nothing of it. He is not only one sided, but his partisanship soon turns him into an intolerant and a fanatic. In general it is true that nothing which cannot stand up under discussion and criticism is worth defending.
Carl Sagan
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Gaston Bachelard
We begin in admiration and we end by organizing our disappointment.
Edgar Mitchell
You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, 'Look at that, you son of a bitch.'
Aldous Huxley
That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.
Aldous Huxley
It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'Try to be a little kinder.'
Stephen Colbert
[I'm thankful for the people that I don't agree with] because they make me think about what I do. They question my beliefs. And an unquestioned belief is almost vestigial. It doesn't motivate you in any way. It doesn't serve you in any way if you don't question it, because a — a belief is a filter. You have to run things through it, you know, so you know how you see the world. It's a lens, it's not a prop.
Alberto Brandolini
The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.
Bob Johansen (paraphrased)
To deal with an uncertain future and still move forward – we advise people to have strong opinions, which are weakly held. Weak opinions are problematic because people aren’t inspired to develop the best arguments possible for them, or to put forth the energy required to test them. It is just as important, however, to not be too attached to what you believe because, otherwise, it undermines your ability to “see” and “hear” evidence that clashes with your opinions. This is what psychologists sometimes call the problem of “confirmation bias.”
Carl Sagan
The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true.
Neil Gaiman

Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.