4. “You were right. For the secret of man's being is not only to live but to have something to live for. Without a stable conception of the object of life, man would not consent to go on living, and would rather destroy himself than remain on earth, though he had bread in abundance. Nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of conscience, but nothing is a greater cause of suffering. Hadst Thou accepted that last counsel of the mighty spirit, Thou wouldst have accomplished all that man seeks on earth – that is, some one to worship, some one to keep his conscience, and some means of uniting all in one unanimous and harmonious ant-heap, for the craving for universal unity is the third and last anguish of men.

Mankind as a whole has always striven to organize a universal state. There have been many great nations with great histories, but the more highly they were developed the more unhappy they were, for they felt more acutely than other people the craving for world-wide union. The great conquerors, Timours and Ghenghis-Khans, whirled like hurricanes over the face of the earth striving to subdue its people, and they too were but the unconscious expression of the same craving for universal unity.”

F.M. Dostoevsky

16. “The assertion that “God made Man in His own image” is ticking like a time-bomb in the foundations of Christianity. As the hierarchy of the universe is slowly disclosed to us, we will have to face this chilling fact: if there are any gods whose chief concern is Man, they cannot be very important gods.”

Arthur C. Clarke

11. “Communication can only happen between equals.”

Robert Anton Wilson

18. “The division of one day from the next must be one of the most profound peculiarities of life on this planet. It is, on the whole, a merciful arrangement. We are not condemned to sustained flights of being, but are constantly refreshed by little holidays from ourselves. We are intermittent creatures, always falling to little ends and rising to new little beginnings. Our soon-tired consciousness is meted out in chapters, and that the world will look quite different tomorrow is, both for our comfort and our discomfort, usually true. How marvelously too night matches sleep, sweet image of it, so neatly apportioned to our need.

Angels must wonder at these beings who fall so regularly out of awareness into a phantasm-infested dark. How our frail identities survive these chasms no philosopher has ever been able to explain.” 

Iris Murdoch

13. “You are surrounded by loving machines, hating machines, greedy machines, unselfish machines, brave machines, cowardly machines, truthful machines, lying machines, funny machines, solemn machines. Their only purpose is to stir you up in every conceivable way, so the Creator of the Universe can watch your reactions. They can no more feel or reason than grandfather clocks.

The Creator of the Universe would now like to apologize not only for the capricious, jostling companionship He provided during the test, but for the trashy, stinking condition of the planet itself. The Creator programmed robots to abuse it for millions of years, so it would be a poisonous, festering cheese when you got here. Also, He made sure it would be desperately crowded by programming robots, regardless of their living conditions, to crave sexual intercourse and adore infants almost more than anything. He also programmed robots to write books and magazines for you, and television and radio shows, and stage shows, and films. They wrote songs for you. The Creator of the Universe had them invent hundreds of religions, so you would have plenty to choose among.

He had them kill each other by the millions, for this purpose only: that you be amazed. They have committed every possible atrocity and every possible kindness unfeelingly, automatically, inevitably, to get a reaction from YOU.

Every time you went into the library the Creator of the Universe held His breath. «With such a higgledy-piggledy cultural smorgasbord before you, what would you, with your free will, choose?»”

Kurt Vonnegut

6. “It's the hardest thing to put your finger on: the human groundswell before it has stirred, the vox populi before it has spoken. After the war there will be Iran and the Ayatollah. Egypt in the run-up to Suez. The perestroika and the collapse of the evil empire. And America's best customer – Saddam. Who will see them coming? Who will see them forming like black clouds upon the horizon? No one.

Historians will have history falsified, ambushed, and outwitted. Politicians and secret service agents will have every house wired. They will know the mood of the mob, its subconscious agenda, its hidden flashpoints. Together they will be able to crack every nut except the one that matters – the human enigma.”

John le Carré

1. “What do the circumstances of your life matter if your dreams make you lord paramount of time and space?"
W. Somerset Maugham

series of videos and apps for students of foreign languages

(knowledge first entertainment later)

thought [θɔːt] – (noun) an idea or opinion produced by thinking, or occurring suddenly in the mind; it’s the thought that counts (it is the kindness behind an act that matters, however imperfect or insignificant the act may be); 考え, 思考, 望み, 期待, 意図, 目的; (a/the) thought is enough to… – …するにはそのことを考えるだけで十分だ; food for thought – 思考の糧, 考えるべきこと;  pensamiento;  to read smb’s thoughts – adivinarle el pensamiento a alguien; spare a thought for those worse off than yourself – piensa en los que están en peores circunstancias que tú; мысль, идея, мнение, соображение; thought control – стеснение интеллектуальной свободы; second thoughts are best – семь раз отмерь – один раз отрежь

17. “A man’s capable of understanding anything – how the ether vibrates, and what’s going on in the sun – but how any other man can blow his nose differently from him, that he’s incapable of understanding.”

Ivan Turgenev


15. “This world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

Ernest Hemingway

12. When I looked, he stuck his hand out of his car, across at me, grinning. – “Malcolm X, do you mind shaking hands with a white man?” Just as the traffic light turned green, I told him, “I don’t mind shaking hands with human beings. Are you one?”

Alex Haley


2. “Why you have to don a uniform and kill men you don't know, just to get that crust of bread, is a mystery to me. That's what I think about, more than about whose trap it's going down or how much it costs. Why should I give a      about what anything costs? I'm here to live, not to calculate. And that's just what the bastards don't want you to do – to live! They want you to spend your whole life adding up figures. That makes sense to them. That's reasonable. That's intelligent.”

Henry Miller

Creative Commons Fair Use Public Domain

7. “The somber picture presented in Parts I and II, in which human life is mainly a process of filling in time until the arrival of death, or Santa Claus, with very little choice, if any, of what kind of business one is going to transact during the long wait, is a commonplace but not the final answer. For certain fortunate people there is something which transcends all classifications of behavior, and that is awareness; something which rises above the programming of the past, and that is spontaneity; and something that is more rewarding than games, and that is intimacy.

But all three of these may be frightening and even perilous to the unprepared. Perhaps they are better off as they are, seeking their solutions in popular techniques of social action, such as “togetherness”. This may mean that there is no hope for the human race, but there is hope for individual members of it.”

Eric Berne

8. Reading is not a typically African recreation. Music, yes; dancing, yes; eating, yes; talking, yes – lots of talking. But reading, no, and particularly not reading fat novels. Reading has always struck us Africans as a strangely solitary business. It makes us uneasy.

When we Africans visit great European cities like Paris and London, we notice how people on trains take books out of their bags or their pockets and retreat into solitary worlds. Each time the book comes out it is like a sign held up. “Leave me alone, I am reading,” says the sign. “What I am reading is more interesting than you could possibly be”.

J.M. Coetzee

14. “To me individually, to my heart has been revealed this knowledge beyond all doubt, and unattainable by reason, and here I am obstinately trying to express that knowledge in reason and words… I shall go on in the same way, falling into angry discussions, expressing my opinions tactlessly; there will still be the same wall between the holy of holies of my soul and other people; but my life now, my whole life apart from anything that can happen to me, every minute of it is no longer meaningless as it was before, but it has the positive meaning of goodness which I have the power to put into it.”

Leo Tolstoy

3. “You mechanically recite to yourselves the question that is recited to you: “What am I called to? What ought I to do?” You need only ask thus, to have yourselves told what to do and ordered to do it, to have your calling marked out for you, or else to order yourselves and impose it on yourselves according to the spirit’s prescription.

The rush of the world by the dream of a better world, of a general happiness of humanity; in short, by an ideal… Longing and hope everywhere and nothing but these. What else should the ideal be but the sought-for ever-distant self?

One seeks for himself, consequently one does not yet have himself; one aspires toward what one ought to be, consequently one is not it. One lives in longing and has lived thousands of years in it, in hope. Living is quite another thing in – enjoyment.”

Max Stirner

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10. “I am indeed the truest friend of the German language – and not only now, but from long since – yes, before twenty years already… I would only some changes effect. I would only the language method – the luxurious, elaborate construction compress, the eternal parenthesis suppress, do away with, annihilate; the introduction of more than thirteen subjects in one sentence forbid; the verb so far to the front pull that one it without a telescope discover can. With one word, my gentlemen, I would your beloved language simplify so that when you her for prayer need, One her yonder-up understands… After all these reforms established be will, will the German language the noblest and the prettiest on the world be.”

Mark Twain

9. “We prefer to do things comfortably,” said the Controller.

“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

“In fact, you're claiming the right to be unhappy.”

“All right, then,” said the Savage defiantly, “I’m claiming the right to be unhappy.”

“Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.”

There was a long silence.

“I claim them all,” said the Savage at last.

Aldous Huxley


Out of the night that covers me

Dark as the pit from pole to pole

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody but unbowed

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid

It matters not how straight the gate

How charged with punishments the scroll

I am the master of my fate

I am the captain of my soul

William Ernest Henley