Quotes and Musings

A collection of quotes and musings collected over time that are important to me.


“There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’; it’s an illusion. We are all human beings, and we all have a responsibility to support one another and to discover ways of wresting the power from the very, very few people who control all the cash and all the property.”

“Everything under the sun is in tune, but the sun is eclipsed by the moon.”

“Long you live and high you fly. And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry. And all you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be.”

“…Do you want a voice? If you do, you better bloody well go out and get it because it’s not going to be handed to you on a plate.”

- Roger Waters

“You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.”

“What I cannot create - I do not understand.”

- Richard P. Feynman

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Most rules lie, yet lies are less shocking, less corrosive than the chosen, cultivated ignorance that Chevallier addresses here. This ignorance denies the reality of anything which provokes pity. It is an error to think of such war leaders or, today, economic strategists, as pitiless. They are abject. This is what we have to learn and to act upon. They are abject.”

- Gabriel Chevallier, Fear; A Novel of World War I (Quote from Roger Waters The Wall, 2015)

“He knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

- Oscar Wilde

“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”

- William Blake

“You have to die a few times before you can really live.”

“Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead.”

“Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.”

- Charles Bukowski

“The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos.”

- H.L. Mencken

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

“There he goes. One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die”

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well… maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”

“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”

“I was not proud of what I had learned, but I never doubted that it was worth knowing.”

“A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.”

“Some may never live, but the crazy never die.”

“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and—in spite of True Romance magazines—we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely—at least, not all the time—but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.”

- Hunter S. Thompson

“You’re up against skinheads that are all like ‘play faster!’ and we’re all like ‘Listen slower!’”

- Maynard James Keenan

“The intellectual is, quite simply, a human being who has a pencil in his or her hand when reading a book.”

- George Steiner

“Science is the poetry of reality.”

- Richard Dawkins

“Tell him that we have fucking reprogrammed reality. Tell him that language is a virus and that religion is an operating system and that prayers are just so much fucking spam.”

- Neil Gaiman

“With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured…the first thought forbidden…the first freedom denied – chains us all, irrevocably.”

- Jean-Luc Picard

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

- Albert Einstein

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

- Søren Kierkegaard

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

- E.F. Schumacher

“The cracks are where the light gets let in.”

- Leonard Cohen

“To do a great and important work, two things are necessary — a definite plan, and not quite enough time.”

- Leonard Bernstein

“Work for a cause, Not Applause.”

- Unknown

“Offence is important; that’s how you know you care about things. Imagine a life where you’re not offended. So dull.”

- Marcus Brigstocke

“The less confident you are, the more serious you have to act.”

- Tara Ploughman

“In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia.”

- Milan Kundera

“Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all.”

- Winston Churchill

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

- Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Elective Affinities

“When I’m working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

- R. Buckminster Fuller

“Death is caused by swallowing small amounts of saliva over a long period of time.”

“Religion is just mind control.”

- George Carlin

“It’s sad when someone you know becomes someone you knew.”

“My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud.”

“Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue. Realize the strength, move on.”

- Henry Rollins

“Simplicities are enormously complex. Consider the sentence “I love you”.”

- Richard O. Moore

“Truth is a matter of circumstances. It’s not all things to all people at all times.”

- Natasha Romanoff

“No silicon heaven? Preposterous! Where would all the calculators go?”

- Kryten

Tech Specific

“Any improvements made anywhere besides the bottleneck are an illusion.”

“Being able to take needless work out of the system is more important than being able to put more work into the system.”

“A great team doesn’t mean that they had the smartest people. What made those teams great is that everyone trusted one another. It can be a powerful thing when that magic dynamic exists.”

“We need to create a culture that reinforces the value of taking risks and learning from failure and the need for repetition and practice to create mastery.”

“Left unchecked, technical debt will ensure that the only work that gets done is unplanned work.”

- Gene Kim

“If it hurts, do it more often.”

“If you plan and build for perfection, you will likely not live to see it completed.”

- Adrian Cockcroft

“Design not for MTBF, but for MTTR.”

- John Allspaw

“Programs must be written for people to read, and only incidentally for machines to execute.”

- Abelson & Sussman

“When the train stays on the tracks you don’t ask why.”

- Marty Rubin

“A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.”

- John Gall


“Aiming to move from engineering to management is odd, think of it like a comedian - when you get good, or great even - you don’t become a teacher of comedy, you tell jokes in the good or great way, you don’t ‘upgrade to comedian management’.”

“You call engineers resources and I’ll call you overhead. What’s yet - they can prove it if they work together.”

“Art isn’t without its faults, some of them grave. To disregard art because of the errors of its creator or content - no matter how flawed, unjust or solipsistic, is at least - to rob the world of context. The choice to make better the future is within the power of those that experience and choose to learn and grow from it”

“An ass, regardless how smart, still speaks through wind and vibrations.”

“A manager once said to me “I don’t come to work to make friends” - from point time onwards, I knew I wanted to do the exact opposite - I come to work to make friends, because the connections we make are what makes us human, they create and shape societies and give us meaning, direction and value to life.”

“It’s like we have all the time in the world for people who let the organisation down, but none of the time for the people let down by the organisation.”

“I hate Jira.”

- SM