To a stranger, the probability that I shall send a letter to the post
unstamped may be derived from the statistics of the Post Office;
for me those figures would have but the slightest bearing on the
John Maynard Keynes
Keynes, John Maynard (1921). A Treatise on Probability. London: Macmillan,
p. 71.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where–Anywhere!
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go!Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Chapter 6 of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.


A man may be as humble as possible in his demeanor, and yet hardly ever get people to overlook his crime in standing intellectually above them. In the Garden of Roses, Sadi makes the remark:— You should know that foolish people are a hundredfold more averse to meeting the wise than the wise are indisposed for the company of the foolish.

Men are like children, in that, if you spoil them, they
become naughty.

Therefore it is well not to be too indulgent or charitable with
anyone. You may take it as a general rule that you will not lose a
friend by refusing him a loan, but that you are very likely to do
so by granting it; and, for similar reasons, you will not readily
alienate people by being somewhat proud and careless in your
behaviour; but if you are very kind and complaisant towards them, you
will often make them arrogant and intolerable, and so a breach will

There is one thing that, more than any other, throws people absolutely
off their balance–the thought that you are dependent upon them. This
is sure to produce an insolent and domineering manner towards you.
There are some people, indeed, who become rude if you enter into any
kind of relation with them; for instance, if you have occasion to
converse with them frequently upon confidential matters, they soon
come to fancy that they can take liberties with you, and so they try
and transgress the laws of politeness. This is why there are so few
with whom you care to become more intimate, and why you should avoid
familiarity with vulgar people. If a man comes to think that I am more
dependent upon him than he is upon me, he at once feels as though I
had stolen something from him; and his endeavor will be to have his
vengeance and get it back. The only way to attain superiority in
dealing with men, is to let it be seen that you are independent of

And in this view it is advisable to let everyone of your
acquaintance–whether man or woman–feel now and then that you
could very well dispense with their company. This will consolidate
friendship. Nay, with most people there will be no harm in
occasionally mixing a grain of disdain with your treatment of them;
that will make them value your friendship all the more. _Chi non
istima vien stimato_, as a subtle Italian proverb has it–to disregard
is to win regard. But if we really think very highly of a person, we
should conceal it from him like a crime. This is not a very gratifying
thing to do, but it is right. Why, a dog will not bear being treated
too kindly, let alone a man!


Counsels and Maxims, by Arthur Schopenhauer





Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.
Bertolt Brecht, The Mother
All the gang of those who rule us
hope our quarrels never stop
helping them to split and fool us
so they can remain on top.

Bertolt Brecht, “Solidarity Song”

Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.
Bertolt Brecht, Decade of Protest


If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.

Mark Twain

A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain.


Mark Twain, US humorist, novelist, short story author, & wit (1835 – 1910)  


Where everyone thinks the same, nobody thinks enough.

Walter Lippmann


“He who knows (the Way) does not speak about
it; he who speaks about it does not know it. He (who knows it) will keep
his mouth shut and close the portals of his nostrils.” 47 The wise man is
modest, for at fifty, one should have discovered the relativity of knowl-
edge and the frailty of wisdom; if the wise man knows more than other
men he tries to conceal it; “he will temper his brightness, and bring him-
The Chinese think of the sage as reaching the maturity of his powers about the age
of fifty, and living, through quietude and wisdom, to a century.
self into agreement with the obscurity (of others) ;” he agrees with the
simple rather than with the learned, and does not suffer from the novice’s
instinct of contradiction.  (Lao-tze )

The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage,  pp. 656-657   , Will and Ariel Durant, 1954

Returning to Lu,  Confucius found his native province so disordered with civil strife that he
removed to the neighboring state of T’si, accompanied by several of his
pupils. Passing through rugged and deserted mountains on their way,
they were surprised to find an old woman weeping beside a grave. Con-
fucius sent Tsze-loo to inquire the cause of her grief. “My husband’s
father,” she answered, “was killed here by a tiger, and my husband also;
and now my son has met the same fate.” When Confucius asked why she
persisted in living in so dangerous a place, she replied: “There is no op-
pressive government here.” “My children,” said Confucius to his students,
“remember this. Oppressive government is fiercer than a tiger.”* 5

The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage,  p. 662   , Will and Ariel Durant, 1954


their hearts are not rectified because their thinking  is insincere, doing scant justice to reality and concealing rather than revealing their own natures; their thinking is insincere because they let
their wishes discolor the facts and determine their conclusions, instead of
seeking to extend their knowledge to the utmost by impartially investi-
gating the nature of things. Let men seek impartial knowledge, and their
thinking will become sincere; let their thoughts be sincere and their hearts
will be cleansed of disorderly desires; let their hearts be so cleansed, and
their own selves will be regulated; let their own selves be regulated, and
their families will automatically be regulated— not by virtuous sermonizing
or passionate punishments, but by the silent power of example itself; let
the family be so regulated with knowledge, sincerity and example, and it
will give forth such spontaneous social order that successful government
will once more be a feasible thing; let the state maintain internal justice
and tranquillity, and all the world will be peaceful and happy.

The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage,  p. 669   , Will and Ariel Durant, 1954

“The Higher Man is anxious lest he
should not get truth; he is not anxious lest poverty should come upon
him. . . . He is catholic, not partisan. . . . He requires that in what he says
there should be nothing inaccurate.” … “Where the solid qualities are in excess of accomplishments,
we have rusticity; where the accomplishments are in excess of the solid
qualities, we have the manners of a clerk. When the accomplishments and
solid qualities are equally blended, we then have the man of complete
virtue.” ……”Is it not just an entire sincerity which marks the Higher Man? “He acts before he speaks, and
afterwards speaks according to his actions.”  “In archery we have some-
thing like the way of the Higher Man. When the archer misses the center
of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in him-
self.”  “What the Higher Man seeks is in himself; what the lower man
seeks is in others. . . . The Higher Man is distressed by his want of ability,
not … by men’s not knowing him”; and yet “he dislikes the thought of his
name not being mentioned after his death.” He “is modest in his speech,
but exceeds in his actions. . . . He seldom speaks; when he does he is sure
to hit the point. . . . That wherein the Higher Man cannot be equaled is
simply this: his work, which other men cannot see.” He is moderate in
word and deed; in everything “the Higher Man conforms with the path of
the mean.”  “there is no end of things by which man is affected; and
when his likings and dislikings are not subject to regulation, he is changed
into the nature of things as they come before him.”  “The Higher Man
moves so as to make his movements in all generations a universal path; he
behaves so as to make his conduct in all generations a universal law; he
speaks so as to make his words in all generations a universal norm.’
He accepts completely the Golden Rule, which is here laid down explicitly
four centuries before Hillel and five centuries before Christ: “Chung-kung
asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, . . . ‘Not to do unto others as
you would not wish done unto yourself.’ ‘ ,12a The principle is stated again
and again, always negatively, and once in a single word. “Tsze-kung asked,
‘Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s
life?’ The Master said, Is not reciprocity such a word?'” 123 Nevertheless he
did not wish, like Lao-tze, to return good for evil; and when one of his
pupils asked him, “What do you say concerning the principle that injury
should be recompensed with kindness?” he replied, more sharply than was
his custom: “With what, then, will you recompense kindness? Recompense
injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.” 124
The very basis of the Higher Man’s character is an overflowing sympathy
towards all men. He is not angered by the excellences of other men; when
he sees men of worth he thinks of equaling them; when he sees men of low
worth he turns inward and examines himself; 12411 for there are few faults
that we do not share with our neighbors. He pays no attention to slander
or violent speech. 1245 He is courteous and affable to all, but he does not gush
forth indiscriminate praise. 125 He treats his inferiors without contempt, and
his superiors without seeking to court their favor. 128 He is grave in deport-
ment, since men will not take seriously one who is not serious with them; he
is slow in words and earnest in conduct; he is not quick with his tongue, or
given to clever repartee; he is earnest because he has work to do— and this
is the secret of his unaffected dignity. 127 He is courteous even to his familiars,
but maintains his reserve towards all, even his son. 128 Confucius sums up the
* Cf. Spinoza: “We are tossed about by external causes in many ways, and like waves
driven by contrary winds, we waver and are unconscious of the issue and our fate.” n9
tCf. one of Kant’s formulations of the “Categorical Imperative” of morals: “So to will
that the maxim of thy conduct can become a universal law. ,mi
qualities of his “Higher Man”— so similar to the Megalopsychos, or “Great-
Minded Man,” of Aristotle— in these words:
The Higher Man has nine things which are subjects with him of
thoughtful consideration. In regard to the use of his eyes he is
anxious to see clearly. … In regard to his countenance he is anxious
that it should be benign. In regard to his demeanor he is anxious
that it should be respectful. In regard to his speech he is anxious
that it should be sincere. In regard to his doing of business he is
anxious that it should be reverently careful. In regard to what he
doubts about, he is anxious to question others. When he is angry
he thinks of the difficulties his anger may involve him in. When
he sees gain to be got he thinks of righteousness.

The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage,  p. 669-671   , Will and Ariel Durant, 1954

Oppenheim lectures 3 http://ocw.mit.edu/resources/res-6-007-signals-and-systems-spring-2011/video-lectures/lecture-3-signals-and-systems-part-ii/

Arthur Mattuck ODE  3 http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/18-03-differential-equations-spring-2010/video-lectures/


Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we
are here we might as well dance.

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…
it’s about learning to dance in the rain!”

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Maxims for Revolutionists

We must reform society before we can reform ourselves.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, preface to Misalliance

When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Caesar and Cleopatra


Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, Maxims for Revolutionists


Patriotism: Your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.

GEORGE BERNARD SHAW, The Public: A Journal of Democracy, 1910


One man likes oysters, and another likes pineapples; this distinguishes between them.

But when they think about the multiplication table, provided they think correctly, there is no difference between them. The irrational separates us, the rational unites us.

A history of western Philosophy, p. 172.  Bertrand Russell


Any expense that enhances the customer experience should be considered as a marketing cost. Because it will generate repeat customers through word of mouth.  (OM3, p.21, Zappos.com)



My slightly modified  version 42 Ideals of Maat1. I honor virtue
2. I benefit with gratitude
3. I am peaceful
4. I respect the virtuous  property of others
5. I affirm that all life is magnificent

6. I give offerings that are genuine
7. I live to get closer to the truth as much as one can
8. I listen to  all opinions with respect
9. I speak with sincerity
10. I consume only my fair share
11. I offer words of good intent
12. I relate in peace
13. I honor animals with reverence
14. I can be trusted
15. I care for the earth
16. I keep my own council
17. I speak positively of others
18. I remain in balance with my emotions
19. I am trustful in my relationships
20. I hold purity in high esteem
21. I spread joy
22. I do the best I can
23. I communicate with compassion
24. I listen to opposing opinions
25. I create harmony
26. I invoke laughter
27. I am open to love in various forms
28. I am forgiving
29. I am kind
30. I act respectfully of others
31. I am accepting
32. I follow my inner guidance
33. I converse with awareness
34. I do good
35. I give blessings
36. I keep the waters pure
37. I speak with good intent
38. I praise the magnificence God
39. I am humble
40. I achieve with integrity
41. I advance through my own abilities
42. I embrace the All