On Bluffing


‘May I just clarify this? You think the National Theatre thinks that you are bluffing and the National Theatre thinks that you think that they are bluffing, whereas your bluff is to make the National Theatre think that you are bluffing when you are not bluffing, or if you are bluffing, your bluff is to make them think you are not bluffing. And their bluff must be that they’re bluffing, because if they’re not bluffing they’re not bluffing.’

– Lynn J., Jay A. 1986. The Complete Yes Prime Minister London, Great Britain: BBC Books (1989) p. 453

On Friendship


‘Baldrick, does it have to be this way? Our valued friendship ending with me cutting you into strips and telling the Prince that you walked over a very sharp cattle grid in an extremely heavy hat?’

– Joseph M. 1998. Blackadder The Whole Damn Dynasty London, Great Britain: Penguin Books (1999) p. 329

Timelessness of Platonism


‘The fact is that Platonism, if we understand the word in a broad and literal, and not in a narrow or pedantic sense, is not yet dead, and cannot die, because its roots are struck deep in universal human nature.

Plato at the School of Athens

It is true that in the popular language of his time Plato speaks of the barbarian as the natural enemy of Greece; it is true that he calls his own ideal republic emphatically a Greek city; but the animating spirit of his teaching, as we shall see, is the enthusiasm of humanity, and leaves no room for the artificial distinctions of barbarian and Greek, bond and free.

To the most characteristic principles of Greek life and thought he is constantly opposed. The old and all but universal rule of pagan morality, “do good to your friends, and evil to your foes” is attacked by him in the Republic and elsewhere with arguments based on a loftier view of man’s nature and work than anything which we meet with in Greek literature before his time, and the practical conclusions which he draws “that the good man never does evil to any,””that it is better to suffer than to do wrong,” have justly been held to foreshadow the Sermon on the Mount. “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.”‘

– Adam. J. 1911. The Vitality of Platonism: And Other Essays Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press (1911) p. 5-6

A Rose Among Nettles


(Part I – Chapter IX)

‘And the more he tried to compose himself, the more breathless he found himself. An acquaintance met him and called him by his name, but Levin did not even recognize him. He went towards the mounds, whence came the clank of the chains of sledges as they slipped down or were dragged up, the rumble of the sliding sledges, and the sounds of merry voices. He walked on a few steps, and the skating-ground lay open before his eyes, and at once, amidst all the skaters, he knew her.

He knew she was there by the rapture and the terror that seized on his heart. She was standing talking to a lady at the opposite end of the ground. There was apparently nothing striking either in her dress or her attitude. But for Levin she was as easy to find in that crowd as a rose among nettles. Everything was made bright by her. She was the smile that shed light on all round her. “Is it possible I can go over there on the ice, go up to her?” he thought. The place where she stood seemed to him a holy shrine, unapproachable, and there was one moment when he was almost retreating, so overwhelmed was he with terror. He had to make an effort to master himself, and to remind himself that people of all sorts were moving about her, and that he too might come there to skate. He walked down, for a long while avoiding looking at her as at the sun, but seeing her, as one does the sun, without looking.

On that day of the week and at that time of day people of one set, all acquainted with one another, used to meet on the ice. There were crack skaters there, showing off their skill, and learners clinging to chairs with timid, awkward movements, boys, and elderly people skating with hygienic motives. They seemed to Levin an elect band of blissful beings because they were here, near her. All the skaters, it seemed, with perfect self-possession, skated towards her, skated by her, even spoke to her, and were happy, quite apart from her, enjoying the capital ice and the fine weather.’

– Tolstoy. L. 1877. Anna Karenina Mattituck, United States: Aeonian Press (1917) p. 66-67