August 16, 2010


Category: Politics,Quotes — Biella @ 5:56 am

This is one of the best descriptions for utopia I have come across. You may not be able to reach it–and it is good to know this–but it can certainly inspire movement, action, and lead at times to a better, even if not perfect, world.

She’s on the horizon… I go two steps, she moves two steps away. I walk ten steps and the horizon runs ten steps ahead. No matter how much I walk, I’ll never reach her. What good is utopia? That’s what: it’s good for walking. — Eduardo Galeano

September 13, 2009

The secret of the enjoyment of pleasure is to know when to stop

Category: Quotes — Biella @ 11:03 am

I came across this quote while wrapping up Style: Toward Clarity and Grace, one of my favorite books on the craft of writing. The quote is remarkable not only for its content, which is spot on, but its.. clarity and grace:

The secret of the enjoyment of pleasure is to know when to stop … We do this every time we listen to music. We do not seize hold of a particular chord or phrase and shout at the orchestra to go on playing it for the rest of the evening; on the contrary. However much we may like that particular moment of music, we know that its perpetuation would interrupt and kill the movement of the melody. We understand that the beauty of a symphony is less in these musical moment than in the whole movement from beginning to end. If the symphony tried to go on for too long, if at a certain point the composer exhausts his creative abilities and tries to carry on just for the sake of filling in the required space of time, then we begin to fidget in our chairs, feeling that he has denied the natural rhythm, has broken the smooth curve from birth to death, and that though a pretense of a life is being made, it is in fact a living death.

Alan Watts, The Meaning of Happiness.

June 6, 2009

The penubra of privacy

Category: Privacy,Quotes — Biella @ 3:40 pm

“Specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance.”

SC justices can be so poetic.

November 16, 2008

The Quality of Time, Timeless Quality

Category: Quotes — Biella @ 7:56 pm

I love collecting quotes but I file most of them away in some file on my computer or distribute them in class. I thought I might start sharing some of my favorite passages/quotes. This one, which I read 3 years ago, reminded me of the craft-like spirit in Debian and Free Software in general. I like how the author brings together the themes of labor, time, quality, mistakes, intimacy and tools all in one swoop.

I refuse to be in such a hurry that I squeeze the aesthetic value out of everything just to gain a few minutes of time—time which will then just be filled with more rushing and more mass-produced, soulless junk. In the drive to achieve instant gratification, we have spent a century trying to shorten the learning curve and eliminate the chance of error in every human activity. There is much good in this, but something has been lost in the process. The Galoots are the guardians of that which was almost lost: the challenge of trying to master a skill that can never be fully mastered, the creative freedom that comes from intimacy with a medium as complex as wood, the sense of self-sufficiency that comes with knowing that you can make a useful object with tools so simple that you can make the tools too, and the peaceful mediation of trying to bring eye, hand, and wood together into harmony through finesse and understanding rather than brute force.

Quoted from Hohn (2005), The Romance with Rust, a Harper’s article on tool collectors. A Galoot “is a person with a deep passion for old hand tools, their ways, workings, and their history.”