SoundEagle in the Court of Quotation

SoundEagle in the Court of Quotation


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SoundEagle in ็–พ้ขจ็Ÿฅๅ‹่‰

SoundEagle in ็–พ้ขจ็Ÿฅๅ‹่‰

Dear Readers and Followers as well as Lovers and Collectors of Fine Quotes,

Once in a while, in moments of clarity, we may come to the realization that quotations are akin to opinions or views in that we are quoting ourselves or others to make certain statements for various purposes and occasions. Unfortunately, the ways in which people routinely handle or dispense opinions and quotations (whether of their own or others) are fraught with numerous problems, most of which elude peopleโ€™s awareness and acknowledgement. Moreover, that a quotation purportedly resonates with oneโ€™s intention, objective, identity, conviction, principle, boundary or status (quo) may not constitute a reasonable basis or sufficient ground for the unadulterated acceptance of its validity or reliability. Via a series of analytical and multipronged approaches, this post seeks to uncover and explain a wide range of issues and problems so that they can be identified and apprehended, if they are to be avoided, alleviated or eliminated successfully. Considering that a good quote can pointedly reflect or meaningfully project oneโ€™s worldview, attitude, intention or identity like a shining beacon or scintillating jewel, it does pays great dividend to quote well indeed.

Being as enjoyable to read as it is edifying to digest, the Quotation Fallacy can constitute excellent food for thought as well as a splendid guide for living a more examined life, as one proceeds to be a wiser and more discerning quoter who is capable of being sufficiently critical or appreciably methodical in recognizing and fostering quotational excellence. A decent understanding of the Quotation Fallacy can facilitate our acquiring the cognitive tools and intellectual acumen necessary to recognize the errors or defects propagated in quotations or statements from numerous sources, including the media, luminaries, celebrities, politicians, stakeholders, advertisers, Internet users and bloggers.

In addition, presented here in style is a collection of potentially inspirational and thought-provoking quotes, chosen for you by SoundEagle.

Many quotes have reached us in the present from the distant past. For example, the first quote is a Chinese poem that has existed for more than one thousand years, and is available in several variations.

็–พ ้ขจ ็Ÿฅ ๅ‹ ่‰SoundEagle in ็–พ้ขจ็Ÿฅๅ‹่‰
ๆ˜ ๆ—ฅ ่พจ ่ช  ่‡ฃ
ๅ‹‡ ๅคซ ๅฎ‰ ่ญ˜ ็พฉ
ๆ™บ ่€… ๅฟ… ๆ‡ท ไป

The first line of the poem, โ€œ็–พ้ขจ็Ÿฅๅ‹่‰โ€, literally meaning โ€œStrong wind knows tough grassโ€, has already existed as an idiom as early as 23 AD. It can be translated more freely into English as โ€œThe storm puts strong grass to the testโ€, meaning that oneโ€™s true colours are revealed after a severe or daunting test. The whole poem edifies us that only the strong and sincere can bear hardship and turmoil; and that only the wise, not the valiant, can know righteousness and cherish benevolence.

The second quote is not only as ancient as the Roman Empire but also indeterminate as to its true source. Even though it has been credited to Marcus Aurelius, a practitioner of Stoicism who became Roman emperor from 161 to 180AD, there are contentions as to its authenticity and authorship due to unresolved historical inconsistencies.

Life Cycle
Live a good life.

If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.

If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.

If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

For those who are interested, please read Fabricated Marcus Aurelius Quote and Did Marcus Aurelius say โ€œLive a good lifeโ€?. Perhaps one could indeed take George Mikes more seriously when the Hungarian-born British writer, journalist and humourist uttered: โ€œI have made it a rule that whenever I say something stupid, I immediately attribute it to Dr Johnson, Marcus Aurelius or Dorothy Parker.โ€

A misquotation refers to an act, instance or occasion of quoting a person or a source incorrectly or inaccurately; or of attributing a quotation to the wrong author or incorrect source. In general, it is not always possible to determine or evaluate the accuracy of the source of a quote and the contexts in which the quote is created and used by the author or by other people. This limitation remains valid even when one has the luxury of consulting a database of quotations or an encyclopedia of quotes, where misquotations, if present, can spread rapidly due to the large number of online users relying on the database or encyclopedia on a daily basis. Edmark M Law describes the predicament of ascertaining the authenticity of a quoteโ€™s origin in a comment addressed to SoundEagle as follows:

The origins of lots of quotations are difficult to pinpoint. People like to attribute clever quotes to Einstein, Twain, Wilde, etc. since this would look better than attributing them to some unknown nobody. Even authoritative sources like Oxford and Bartlettโ€™s contain a large number of mistakes. Quote Investigator (a website) is rather good since it tries to track down the origin of the quotes they investigate. Unfortunately, I have also found some errors there.

The biggest source of misinformation regarding quotes (and their origins) today is, of course, the Internet. You can find a huge number of misquotations and misattributions in social media and โ€œquotesโ€ websites[.]

Thatโ€™s why when I post quotes, I seldom use a โ€œQuoteโ€ book or website as a reference. Normally, when I find an interesting passage from a book that I read, Iโ€™d quote it. Sometimes, when I see an interesting quote from a quote book, I try my best to find the original source. If I canโ€™t find the original source, then I most likely wonโ€™t post it.

Misquotations can easily lead to quoting out of context (also called contextomy or quote mining) as a result of being misleading in the following ways, as outlined by Gary N Curtis in The Fallacy Files:

  • Bogus Quotes: Quotes that have been fabricated and falsely attributed.
  • Misattributions: Quotes attributed to the wrong person.
  • Misquotes: Garbled quotes that are similar to what the quoted person actually said.
  • Mistranslations: Quotes garbled in translation.

Whether it would be easy or hard to find or cite the source of certain quotes, there exist other more important issues and considerations to be aware of than just those pertaining to misquotations. To begin with, there are valid and even compelling reasons for a discerning and reasonable person to conclude that, irrespective of the source and how a quote eventually comes to be known and used, the message of a quote (when correctly interpreted or understood) is more important than the messenger, whose public status, identity and fame or the lack thereof, as well as our knowledge and assumptions of them, plus the noise and travail of our existence and the hustle and bustle of our lives, can readily or even surreptitiously taint, usurp, prejudice or interfere with our reception and understanding of the message.

Throughout the waking hours, we are continually carried along by many psychological processes, mental habits and internal states, which can influence our judgements and decisions by stealth. Given that people are responsive beings whose current emotions (such as joy, pleasure, empathy, trust, pride, confidence, surprise, hope, fear, anger, anxiety, contempt and other conscious experience) habitually influence their decisions, it would be quite difficult to avoid the affect heuristic, a rapid, involuntary emotional response, a kind of mental shortcut described in Wikipedia as โ€œa subconscious process that shortens the decision-making process and allows people to function without having to complete an extensive search for information.โ€ In other words, it is a simple, efficient rule that people often intuitively use to form judgements and make decisions such that โ€œemotional response, or “affect” in psychological terms, plays a lead roleโ€, insofar as the human mind is deemed to be a cognitive miser โ€œdue to the tendency of humans to think and solve problems in simpler and less effortful ways rather than in more sophisticated and more effortful ways, regardless of intelligence.โ€

In addition, we must be significantly vigilant against the many ways in which our emotions can be played or manipulated by the persuasiveness of certain quotations via their appeal to emotion, the scope, occurrence and ramifications of which are indeed considerable if not alarmingly common and frequent, as outlined in Wikipedia:

Appeal to emotion or argumentum ad passiones is a logical fallacy characterized by the manipulation of the recipient’s emotions in order to win an argument, especially in the absence of factual evidence.[1] This kind of appeal to emotion is a type of red herring and encompasses several logical fallacies, including appeal to consequences, appeal to fear, appeal to flattery, appeal to pity, appeal to ridicule, appeal to spite, and wishful thinking.

Instead of facts, persuasive language is used to develop the foundation of an appeal to emotion-based argument. Thus, the validity of the premises that establish such an argument does not prove to be verifiable.[2]

Appeals to emotion are intended to draw inward feelings from the acquirer of the information. And in turn, the acquirer of the information is intended to be convinced that the statements that were presented in the fallacious argument are true; solely on the basis that the statements may induce emotional stimulation such as fear, pity and joy. Though these emotions may be provoked by an appeal to emotion fallacy, effectively winning the argument, substantial proof of the argument is not offered, and the argument’s premises remain invalid.[3][4][5]

Adding to the all too common pitfalls or quandaries of being trapped or seduced by various forms of appeal to emotion is emotional reasoning, yet another consequence of people (falling into the habit of) being creatures of emotion as they reason about certain situations through their emotional lenses and thus come to some distorted views or conclusions about those situations based on their feelings or emotional states, as summarized by Wikipedia:

Emotional reasoning is a cognitive process by which a person concludes that his/her emotional reaction proves something is true, regardless of the observed evidence. For example, even though a spouse has shown only devotion, a person using emotional reasoning might conclude, “I know my spouse is being unfaithful because I feel jealous.”

Emotional reasoning amplifies the effects of other cognitive distortions. For example, a test-taker may feel insecure about their understanding of the material even though they are perfectly capable of answering the questions. If he (or she) acts on his insecurity about failing the written test he might assume that he misunderstands the material and therefore might guess answers randomly, causing his own failure in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Furthermore, people are at the mercy of attribute substitution, which happens when they have โ€œto make a judgment (of a target attribute) that is computationally complex, and instead substitutes a more easily calculated heuristic attributeโ€ or stereotype. It is a psychological process that lies beneath a number of cognitive biases and perceptual illusions. Overall, people characteristically commit or experience attribution bias:

In psychology, an attribution bias or attributional bias is a cognitive bias that refers to the systematic errors made when people evaluate or try to find reasons for their own and others’ behaviors.[1][2][3] People constantly make attributions regarding the cause of their own and others’ behaviors; however, attributions do not always accurately reflect reality. Rather than operating as objective perceivers, people are prone to perceptual errors that lead to biased interpretations of their social world.[4][5]

For example, the myth of โ€œIf I can do it then anybody can.โ€ is perpetuated by similar mental predispositions or cognitive biases, insofar as people tend to evaluate situations based on their assessments, experiences and outcomes of their own prevailing circumstances. The myth is also rooted in the fact that people can have a strong tendency or proclivity to overestimate the ability and autonomy of the individual, and to underestimate the role and influence of the social. Those who are enticed or charmed by the preconceived notion โ€œIf I can do it then anybody can.โ€ would have ignored that the structural nature of inequality, the systemic nature of social organization, the influential sphere of sociopolitical ideology, the bargaining power of socioeconomic status, the social relations to the means of production, the symbolic commands of cultural capital, and the pervading effects of social stratification, let alone the perennial issues of race, age and gender, can create advantages for some individuals and disadvantages for others, and thus can be the underlying causes of an individualโ€™s success or failure regardless of how hard the person works.

The distorted views or beliefs commonly encountered in peopleโ€™s ignorance, misunderstanding or underestimation of prominent factors in their social upbringing and systemic socialization practices with respect to how people justify or rationalize the outcomes of their efforts or achievements are also the result of people succumbing to the cognitive processes of motivated reasoning, as explicated in Wikipedia:

Motivated reasoning is an emotion-biased decision-making phenomenon studied in cognitive science and social psychology. This term describes the role of motivation in cognitive processes such as decision-making and attitude change in a number of paradigms, including:

  • Cognitive dissonance reduction[1]
  • Beliefs about others on whom one’s own outcomes depend[1]
  • Evaluation of evidence related to one’s own outcomes[1]

The processes of motivated reasoning are a type of inferred justification strategy which is used to mitigate cognitive dissonance. When people form and cling to false beliefs despite overwhelming evidence, the phenomenon is labeled “motivated reasoning”. In other words, “rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe”.[2] This is “a form of implicit emotion regulation in which the brain converges on judgments that minimize negative and maximize positive affect states associated with threat to or attainment of motives”.[3]

Being active members of a highly gregarious and communicative species, we are often content with our many assumptions about other people and their endeavours based on their social status and physical attributes. All too often, if the messenger is known to be famous or deemed to be authoritative, we are far more likely to defer our better judgement, surrender our common sense, forsake our suspicion, suspend our scepticism, relinquish our intellectual autonomy, disregard the yardstick of logic, or throw caution to the wind through our admiration of, or alliance with, the messenger, believing that our use of such a quote and the eminence of its originator will automatically, inevitably or categorically impart significant credence and meaning to our own position, purpose and perspective. Lorenzo Pasqualis warns us about famous quotes and logical fallacies as follows. Originated from the story of Sherlock Holmes, the renowned quotation โ€œWhen you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.โ€ typifies a Holmesian fallacy (also called Sherlock Holmes fallacy or process-of-elimination fallacy), which is a formal fallacy (also known as logical fallacy or deductive fallacy) that occurs when a certain explanation is believed to be true by claiming that alternate explanations are impossible without actually establishing the means or facts to rule them out exhaustively.

Logical fallacies will show their ugly head in dialog during your career in tech, and life in general. Do not let that go! It will distort reality and introduce contradictions to supposedly logical arguments. People regularly repeat phrases and quotes as unquestionable truths, because some famous person said them in the past. Such phrases sound smart and are attached to famous names that we would not dare to question. People repeat those phrases because we are used to them, and we assume them to be true.

โ€ฆa quote by Sir Arthur Conan Doyleโ€ฆhas a logical fallacy:

โ€œOnce you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.โ€

When you hear someone quote this monstrosity, donโ€™t let it go! It is a logical fallacy, and it is simply wrong. Just because Arthur Conan Doyle was a โ€œSirโ€ and wrote books about a smart detective, it does not mean he was right all the time.โ€ฆOnce you eliminate the impossible, what remains is โ€œnot impossibleโ€, which simply means โ€œpossibleโ€. If something is possible it does not mean that it is true, nor likely. It simply means that there is a non-zero chance of it being true, not a certainty.

Logically correct statements, sometimes donโ€™t sound as smart as similar fallacies

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle should have stated the principle as follows:

โ€œOnce you eliminate everything that is not the truth, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.โ€

It is quite ironic, if not downright unfortunate, that quotations that are logically true may appear to be less clever, appealing, insightful or intelligent than those that are logically flawed. Falling into such a trap and being somewhat fooled or misled by apparently canny, percipient, sagacious and thought-provoking quotations notwithstanding, in willingly assuming famous quotations to be true or valid on account of their provenances without bothering to examine them for harbouring formal fallacies (also called logical fallacies or deductive fallacies), we fail to assess the phrases and quotations on their respective merits, and thus simultaneously succumb to the genetic fallacy (also called the fallacy of origins or fallacy of virtue), which โ€œis a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on someone’s or something’s history, origin, or source rather than its current meaning or contextโ€, and to the halo effect, a form of cognitive bias and a specific type of confirmation bias, in which our overall impression of a famous person influences not only our thoughts and feelings about the personโ€™s character or attributes, but also our opinions and assessments of the personโ€™s writing or saying in quotations. Indeed, it is all too easy to use famous quotations as shields, excuses, pretexts or justifications to bolster a particular defence or standpoint, to reinforce certain kind of belief or reasoning, to relax the reins on our follies or shortcomings, and to counter any qualms that we might have about specific acts or issues.

On the flip side, the relevance or significance of a quotation can be readily disparaged or tarnished by a mere reference to an infamous person, whose credibility or character is questionable. As a result, we run a great risk of dismissing any intrinsic value of the quotation summarily, unfairly or indiscriminately.

As mentioned, the act of using or even just reading famous quotes can readily or unknowingly cause one to fall into the troubled catchments of formal fallacies (also called logical fallacies or deductive fallacies), genetic fallacy (also called the fallacy of origins or fallacy of virtue), and halo effect, especially when one tries to appeal to authority or commit an argument from authority (also called the argumentum ad verecundiam), in which the support of a professed expert or claimed authority is deployed as evidence for the conclusion of an argument or a quotation, on the basis that an expert knows better and that the reader or audience should conform to the expertโ€™s opinion or assessment. Also rooted in cognitive biases, such an argument presented as statement(s) or quotation(s) is defeasible and thus in principle is open to valid objection, forfeiture, annulment or revision, since it is a sort of reasoning that is rationally compelling but deductively invalid, and since it is a contingent statement, which only amounts to a specific type of non-demonstrative reasoning without a full, complete or final demonstration of a claim, in which fallibility and corrigibility of a conclusion are acknowledged. Whilst appeal to authority or argument from authority is a familiar fallacy, it is a valid inductive argument that can be cogently maintained or effectively deployed when all parties of a discussion agree on the reliability of the authority in the given context.

In general, an appeal to authority or argument from authority by way of quoting a famous person, expert or authority should only be used when the case or context of an argument or quotation has sufficient validity and reliability, if one were to avoid being tarnished or led astray by the authority bias, which is the tendency of an individual or group not only to impute more validity or attribute greater accuracy to the opinion of an authoritative figure, imposing icon, respected dignitary or reputable celebrity (even when the opinion is unrelated to the content of the case or quotation), but also to be significantly more influenced by the opinion to the detriment of retaining effective autonomy in forming judgements and making decisions. As a matter of fact, the authority bias is another precipitous tendency, involuntary emotional response or mental shortcut described as follows in Wikipedia as the result of informal means of social control through internalization of norms, values and ideologies by the process of socialization, such that an individual normally equipped with very wide range of behavioural repertoires and potentialities is led to develop behaviours confined to the much narrower range of what is acceptable or tolerable to the dominant group standards, what is urged or boosted under social pressures, and what is encouraged or emboldened by social conformities.

โ€ฆThe Milgram experiment in 1961 was the classic experiment that established its existence.[2]

We usually have deep seated duty to authority, and tend to comply when requested by an authority figure.[3]

In any society, a diverse and widely accepted system of authority allows the development of sophisticated structures for the production of resources, trade, expansion and social control. Since the opposite is anarchy, we are all trained from birth to believe that obedience to authority is right. Notions of submission and loyalty to legitimate rule of others are accorded values in schools, the law, the military and in political systems. The strength of the bias to obey a legitimate authority figure comes from systemic socialization practices designed to instill in people the perception that such obedience constitutes correct behavior. Different societies vary the terms of this dimension.[4] As we grow up, we learn that it benefits us to obey the dictates of genuine authority figures because such individuals usually possess higher degrees of knowledge, wisdom and power. Consequently, deference to authority can occur in a mindless fashion as a kind of decision-making short cut.[5]

See also

For those who prefer ingesting something short and sweet to digesting the long and full discussion above, the fallacy of quoting an authority can be summed up with three one-sentence paragraphs located in the middle of Mark Reijmanโ€™s article entitled โ€œDonโ€™t fall for the authority biasโ€ as follows:

Remember that authority typically only applies to a narrow field.

For example, it doesnโ€™t make sense to invoke a quote from Einstein on religion, as his expertise was in physics!

Always look at the strength of the argument, not the person behind it.

In a comment addressed to SoundEagle, Keith, who is a client manager for a professional consulting firm, and also a blogger providing a source of โ€œ[i]ndependent views from someone who offers some historical contextโ€, concedes a similar point about the author of a quote playing a part in our reception or attitude towards the quote: โ€œwe have to guard against author bias. Sometimes, we may like a quote and then like it more when we discover the author. It also feeds part of our ego to be able to cite Mark Twain or Confucious [sic].โ€

Therefore, adding even more caveats to using quotes is the ever-present author bias, which, according to Writing@CSU | The Writing Studio, an open-access, educational website supported by Colorado State University, โ€œcan carry an understated or implied judgment โ€ฆ reflect[ing] an author’s bias or preference for one side of an issue over anotherโ€, not to mention that an authorโ€™s opinion, agenda or subjectivity can significantly affect the content or discussion of an issue. Given that the opinions and backgrounds of different authors will have significantly different bearings on what, how and why certain issues or subject matters are selected and approached, one should be mindful of the underlying assumptions, patterns, paradigms, propagandas and the like, which invariably accompany authors publishing their oeuvres in any medium or format, even something as factual as an academic article from a reputable and long-established source such as a journal or encyclopaedia, let alone those not generally regarded as trustworthy sources, much less those resembling opinion pieces giving little or no citations.

If possible, one should gather and examine the opinions or findings of multiple authors to reveal or review whether they are consistent or divergent, to learn about cross-fertilizations in collaborative works or edited volumes, to discover or identify confluences of data or views, and to have a sense of the interconnections of disciplines and knowledges, since many findings and techniques across distinct domains are variously based or founded on (the (re)organizations or (re)contextualization of) existing data, concepts, ideas, models, theories, archetypes, narratives, rules, codes, lexicons, grammars, logics, syntaxes, equations, derivations, abstractions, generalizations, classifications, quantifications, measurements, instrument(ation)s, interdisciplinarity and so on in vastly interconnected fashions, and have been reliably used or referenced for a long time. Regardless of the level of consensus amongst authors, the cumulative achievements, benefits and synergies resulting from the convergence of evidences and efforts from authors of different disciplines and persuasions can be just as illuminating in their magnitude and diversity as the competitions, animosities and adversities resulting from the divergence of authorsโ€™ personalities, approaches, convictions and circumstances.

By extension, one should always establish the validity and reliability of authorsโ€™ claims by triangulation using multiple methods or types and sources of information, and should never categorically trust unusual or unconfirmed information from only one or a few sources, especially when (the tasks of assessing or establishing) the authenticity, validity and reliability of those claims and sources are so specialized, conflated or complicated as to be very difficult for laypersons lacking appropriate expert training or professional acumens to gauge or understand. Furthermore, in an age where misinformation and falsehoods abound on various digital media and communications channels, and where authors and agents with dubious credentials and spurious claims are free to disseminate any news or contents created to promote agendas and profits, or to propel fads and following, it would also be highly prudent to be aware of authorsโ€™ associations and funding sources.

In examining multiple sources of information from different authors, one must refrain from cherry picking data and ignoring contrary evidences, so that one may obtain not only reasonable exposure to contrasting viewpoints or perspectives, but also the possibility of evaluating and changing oneโ€™s standpoints, approaches and behaviours, regardless of how entrenched they might have been. After all, it is important for, and also courageous and admirable of, all of us to confront sensitive and polarizing issues amidst social prejudice, ignorance and bigotry, to have lived an examined life, to be inquisitive and open-minded, and to be watchful and punctilious of why and how we quote any authority or any author, and what we quote from their work.

May we always be adequately mindful of both authority bias and author bias to attain a significant degree of intellectual autonomy, if not dispassionate objectivity. A timely reminder in the form of a pithy article entitled โ€œContrary to Reasonโ€ by George (Joshua Richard) Monbiot, a writer, investigative journalist, zoologist, environmentalist and political activist, alerts us to the constant assaults on reason, intellect and integrity as well as the dilutions of idea and substance, which are brazenly stoked by the chronic inducements of consumerist ethos, pop culture and tabloid mentality in the unrelenting cult of celebrity and hero-worship saturating the mass media and contemporary living:

One of the curiosities of our age is the way in which celebrity culture comes to dominate every aspect of public life. Even the review pages of the newspapers sometimes look like a highfalutin version of gossip magazines. Were we to judge them by the maxim โ€œgreat minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss peopleโ€, they would not emerge well. Biography dominates, ideas often seem to come last. Brilliant writers like Sylvia Plath become better known for their lives than their work: turning her into the Princess Diana of literature does neither her nor her readers any favours.

Even when ideas are given prominence, they no longer have standing in their own right; their salience depends on their authorship.โ€ฆ

For these reasons, the Illustrated Quotations showing Inspirational and Thought-Provoking Quotes at the end of this post are allowed to stand alone with their full weights and implications carried by their contents alone, which readers and followers can appreciate without prior knowledge or preconception of the quotes’ creators. Moreover, these quotes have been chosen on the basis of their heuristic potentials and edificatory strengths as well as their veracity and validity.

Closer examination, deeper assessment and better reasoning have been applied in the process of selecting suitable quotes for inclusion as a collection here, given that quotes can come in many forms and flavours. SoundEagle has had to be vigilant and to realize that numerous quotes are characteristically subjective, biased, one-sided, tendentious or even invidious, if not significantly flawed, fallacious, specious or spurious. Fortunately, quotes can often be better understood or critiqued via analysis, comparison, logic, scoping and contextualization so that their limitations, idiosyncrasies or inconsistencies could be uncovered.

For instance, what might first appear to be very persuasive and highly sensible quotes could be inescapably self-contradictory, meaning that one can find quotes that are apparently reasonable on their own but are at odds with each other when put side by side, or when examined from other perspective(s). At the very least, one needs to concede the validity of the law of noncontradiction, which dictates that contradictory quotes or conflicting statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time (โ€˜Nothing can both be and not beโ€™), as well as the law of excluded middle, which mandates that for any proposition, either that proposition is true or its negation is true (โ€˜Everything must either be or not beโ€™). In short, some quotes that people use or encounter daily are quite circumscribed in their validities and reliabilities. Upon applying careful inspection and higher-level scrutiny, they can be revealed to be far from universally true and/or comprehensively applicable.

๐Ÿฅฉ๐Ÿ’ฌ๏ธ One manโ€™s meaty statement is another manโ€™s quoted poison. โš—๏ธ๐Ÿ’ฌ

Of course, one can always retort or argue, by special pleading or committing the relativist fallacy (also called the subjectivist fallacy), that specific quotes are โ€œspecial casesโ€ beyond scrutiny or immune to analysis; that some quotes are true for one person but not true for someone else; that particular quotes are always at the outer fringes of consensus or comprehension; that certain quotes are exceptions to generally accepted rules or principles even in the absence of reasonable explanations or valid justifications; that the meanings and currencies of quotes are always fluctuating as a result of being conditioned by culture and history, and thus are subject to biases and misinterpretations, even if rationality can be consistently strengthened or appealed to; that the relevance and quality of quotes are fundamentally filtered and moulded by class structures, social stratifications, cultural reproductions and communication frameworks; that various quotes and their significances are rooted in social constructivism, social constructionism and symbolic interactionism to the extent that all quotations are socially manufactured viewpoints and historically embedded extracts arising from the active, creative, subjective, strategic and intentional aspects of human beings, agencies and constructive potentials, and therefore are neither products of pure observations nor representations of objective realities; that the validities of quotes are inescapably constrained by, or contingent upon, contemporary modes of thought, standards of reasoning, epistemic principles, theoretical perspectives, ideological standpoints, leading paradigms, social conventions, cultural traditions, moral ideals and the like, which necessitate a postmodernist โ€œattitude of skepticism, irony, or rejection toward grand narratives, ideologies, and various tenets of universalism, including objective notions of reason, human nature, social progress, moral universalism, absolute truth, and objective realityโ€; and that many quotes are not so much amenable (contextually, semantically, symbolically, metaphorically, stylistically, idiomatically, thematically, philosophically or otherwise) to any positivist-empiricist conception of science, mathematics, reason, logic or the laws of physics as they are to the pragmatic, utilitarian, emotional, psychological, existential, phenomenological, spiritual and metaphysical aspects of life, let alone the ontological and epistemological aspects of being.

Nevertheless, all things being equal, any quote that can also possess or exhibit scientific, mathematical, empirical and/or logical validity or truth will tend to be more reliable, abiding, cogent, authentic, compelling, defensible, comprehensive and/or universal. However, if (one were to believe or insist that) scientific truth, or any truth for that matter, is merely one sort of truth and therefore not to be singularly believed, especially privileged or taken for granted, and if everything is a matter of opinion or view relative to differences or divergences in perception and consideration, then there can be no universal, objective truth or logical yardstick. Instead, each viewpoint holds its own truth or validity. Hilary Whitehall Putnam, an American philosopher, mathematician and computer scientist with significant contributions to philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics and philosophy of science, warns that those who adopt certain forms of relativism put themselves in a highly compromised and untenable position in which it is impossible to believe or admit that one is in error, since if there is no truth beyond oneโ€™s belief or opinion that something is true, then one cannot hold oneโ€™s beliefs or opinions to be false or mistaken, not to mention that relativizing truth to individuals demolishes the distinction between truth and belief.

Therefore, whether or not one comes to realize that many people, rightly or wrongly, often believe that they have found or acquired the(ir) truth or answer, one should critically beware of rampant relativism regardless of whether there is indeed right or wrong in matters of belief or opinion, and irrespective of why and how one could or should adjudicate such matters by way of, and to arrive at, dispassionate objectivity, transcendent wisdom, profound consilience or perspicacious erudition.

Therefore, SoundEagle would like to encapsulate all of the abovementioned issues as well as the ensuing matters by coining a brand new term:

The Quotation Fallacy can be defined as any error or defect that weakens the construction, interpretation or treatment of a quotation as a consequence of invalid or faulty reasoning; intentional manipulation or misrepresentation; unintentional carelessness or ignorance; misleading notion or view; and mistaken belief or attribution.

Overall, the cognitive and social influences on forming judgements and making decisions in relation to interpreting and using quotations are far-reaching. Given that quotes are so often tossed around conversations, sprinkled in writings, and endlessly circulated in social media, the Quotation Fallacy is indeed very pervasive in everyday life and its concomitant human interactions, to the extent that people routinely and unintentionally commit this fallacy with impunity by being inadequately cognizant of, or accountable to, the effects and ramifications resulting from their desire to appropriate, perpetuate or reinforce particular views, sentiments or ideologies associated with certain quotes, which they render as personal flags, signature blocks, customized messages or memorable catchphrases to invoke inspirations or philosophical thoughts, and which they conscript as neologisms, truisms, dictums, epigrams, mottos, axioms, proverbs, mantras, slogans or manifestos to mobilize opinions, influence social dynamics, alter social discourses or bend social outcomes in countless situations, including those involving the media, luminaries, celebrities, politicians, stakeholders, advertisers, Internet users and bloggers.

Note: Hovering with a mouse cursor over a hyperlinked text will bring up a tooltip showing descriptive information.

In the Quotation Fallacy, the causes, effects and ramifications of misusing, misjudging or misinterpreting quotes, however invisible, unchecked and unacknowledged they may have been, can also include those arising from availability heuristic, ethnocentrism, confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias), bandwagon effect, false-consensus effect (or false-consensus bias), selective perception, selective exposure, Semmelweis reflex (or Semmelweis effect), anchoring (or focalism), conservatism (or conservatism bias), reactance, anecdotal evidence, Texas sharpshooter fallacy, illusory correlation, irrelevant conclusion (also known as ignoratio elenchi, false conclusion or missing the point), faulty generalization, hasty generalization, jumping to conclusions (officially the jumping conclusion bias, and also called the inference-observation confusion), fallacy of the single cause (also called complex cause, causal oversimplification, causal reductionism and reduction fallacy), implicit stereotype, fundamental attribution error (also known as the correspondence bias or attribution effect), group attribution error, subjective validation (also known as personal validation effect), self-deception, self-serving bias, optimism bias (also known as unrealistic or comparative optimism), pessimism bias, positivity bias, negativity bias, hindsight bias (also called the knew-it-all-along effect or creeping determinism), belief bias, belief perseverance, illusory truth effect (also known as the truth effect, the illusion-of-truth effect, the reiteration effect, the validity effect, and the frequency-validity relationship), illusion of validity, outcome bias, choice-supportive bias (or post-purchase rationalization), historian’s fallacy, strawman fallacy, quoting out of context (also known as contextomy or quote mining), cherry picking (also called suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence), begging the question, circular reasoning, Bulverism, prooftexting, association fallacy (including guilt by association and honour by association), fallacy of illicit transference (including fallacy of composition and fallacy of division), slippery slope argument, continuum fallacy, splitting (also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking), false dilemma (also known as false dichotomy, fallacy of bifurcation, black-or-white fallacy), false analogy, divine fallacy (also known as argument from incredulity or personal incredulity), moralistic fallacy and naturalistic fallacy. Some of these can be found in the following Cognitive Bias Codex.

The Cognitive Bias Codex - 180+ biases, designed by John Manoogian III

Cognitive biases can be organized into four categories: biases that arise from too much information, not enough meaning, the need to act quickly, and the limits of memory. For more information, consult the cognitive bias cheat sheet and the list of cognitive biases.

In short, the abovementioned heuristics, effects, biases, tendencies and fallacies stem from simple, intuitive, efficient rules, measures or schemas that people routinely use to judge and decide, insofar as they are mental shortcuts that largely involve concentrating on one facet of a complex problem and ignoring others, whilst filtering or filling the details with assumptions, approximations, constructs, prejudices, stereotypes and generalities that gel with peopleโ€™s existing mental models. As a result, people tend to gravitate towards the quicker, simpler, familiar, stereotyped or expected rather than the more important, challenging, complicated, unaccustomed or unpredictable, even if the latter ultimately results in better outcomes and processes, superior judgements and decisions, or worthier expenditures of time and resources. Consequently, whilst these rules or mental strategies may suffice under most circumstances, they can often lead people to commit systematic deviations from logic, probability, rationality, or even decency and morality, causing various errors in judgements and decisions. These errors can detrimentally affect not only peopleโ€™s choices in quotations but also their choices in matters like valuing a house, marrying a spouse, evaluating a person, appraising a situation, choosing an investment, or determining the outcome of a legal case.

Philosophy, cognitive science, logical inquiries, sound reasonings and self-appraisals can show us the pitfalls and misconceptions in not only how we live, choose, think and write but also how we quote. In conclusion, whilst we invariably gravitate towards choosing only certain quotations for their potency in representing, accentuating or validating our personalities, identities and beliefs so as to uphold or disseminate preferred views and favoured ideas, we should be aware that our opinions or reasonings involved in the selection and judgement of quotations can be imperfect and prone to the Quotation Fallacy.

Without further delay, SoundEagle hereby invites you to relish the following quotes in the hope that you will be much more careful when seeing, hearing or using quotes, even in the case of the most familiar or accepted kinds, so that you can consistently approach them with more reservations and deeper understanding, but with fewer encumbrances and misconceptions of any kind, including the sorts of mistakes in reasoning that arise from, or result in, the mishandling of the content and context of any quote.

SoundEagle in Quotation Fallacy and Fantasy
Note: Each of the following images accompanying all but one of the corresponding quotes can be clicked or touched to reveal an entirely separate comment section in which to submit comment(s) or reply to existing comment(s) regarding the specific quote.
็–พ ้ขจ ็Ÿฅ ๅ‹ ่‰
ๆ˜ ๆ—ฅ ่พจ ่ช  ่‡ฃ
ๅ‹‡ ๅคซ ๅฎ‰ ่ญ˜ ็พฉ
ๆ™บ ่€… ๅฟ… ๆ‡ท ไป

Only the strong and sincere can bear hardship and turmoil.
Only the wise, not the valiant, can know righteousness and cherish benevolence.

SoundEagle in ็–พ้ขจ็Ÿฅๅ‹่‰
Live a good life.Life Cycle
If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.
If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.
If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.
Sound, Society and Environment
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
SoundEagle in Use WITH Caution Or Not At All
For those who do believe, no proof is necessary.
For those who don’t, no proof is possible.
SoundEagle in Art, Aphorism and Paramusic
What we do for ourselves dies with us.
What we do for others and the world, remains and is immortal.
SoundEagle in Sound, Society and Environment
A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses.
It is an idea that possesses the mind.
Transhuman, Posthuman, Neurotechnology, Neuroengineering, Neural Networks, Neuroscience, Memory Transplant, Augmentation and Reprogramming
Ability is what you are capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it.
Pro-Environment Perspective
The farther backward you can look,
the farther forward you will see.
Instrumental Perspective
An ounce of prevention is better than ten pounds of cure.
Pro-Animal/Plant Perspective
Nothing is easier than self-deceit.
For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.
Spiritual Perspective
We don’t see things as they are;
we see them as we are.
The method of science is to begin with questions, not with answers, least of all with value judgements.

The scientific method as a cyclic or iterative process
Science is dispassionate inquiry and therefore cannot take over outright any ideologies “already formulated in everyday life”, since these are themselves inevitably traditional and normally tinged with emotional prejudice.
Facing the Noise & Music - Monthly Blogging Event and Challenge with Preface, Issues and The Model
Sweeping all-or-none, black-and-white judgements are characteristic of totalitarian attitudes and have no place in science, whose very nature is inferential and judicial.
SoundEagle in Art, Science, Observation, Research, Development, Biomimicry, Biomimetics and Biomorphism
Philosophy, cognitive science, logical inquiries, sound reasonings and self-appraisals can show us the pitfalls and misconceptions in not only how we live, choose, think and write but also how we quote.
SoundEagle in Live Choose Think Write Quote

45 comments on “Quotes

  1. Hi Sound Eagle. You really do have a variety of thought provoking quotes here. I enjoyed them. I have added this blog to my blogroll. Take care. Ralph x

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great idea to list quotes ! I will definitely come back here!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The farther backward you can look,
    the farther forward you will see.

    As a historian (of sorts) this appeals to me. But I also find that my memories (and their mysterious sources) are an ongoing source of “sight.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Theses quotes are fantastic!! Thank you for linking me to them, they really do add to my post as well as everything else I tend to write about lol!

    Liked by 1 person

    • SoundEagle is glad that you appreciate those quotes and that they can be extensions or adjuncts to your posts. By the way, SoundEagle would like to inform that you will need to manually detect and visit SoundEagle‘s new pages whenever you visit SoundEagle‘s blog(s) from time to time because WordPress notifies followers of new posts only, thus leaving out new pages from being included in email notifications, as far as SoundEagle knows.


  5. These are all great quotes! Who are the authors?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for complimenting the quality or choice of the quotes here. Please kindly read the new explanatory preface on this page, for it contains the answer to your question.


  6. What a beautifully written preface!

    I do however disagree with you when you say that the authors of these remarkable quotes are irrelevant; they are quotes. Who are they quoting?
    But regardless of them being a quote – these people are the authors of these works. That makes these writings copyrighted.
    It is always a shame when people separate the author from their work out of lack of care or laziness, or perhaps, because the person posting them, on facebook or wherever, wants people to think that they wrote it themselves – and they soak up the glory accordingly! ’tis weird to me.

    We have blogs because we are writers – writing is our product. We should feel the most safe here; amongst other writers.

    SoundEagle, simply by googling a few of the above quotes I have learnt the authors; pretty easy to do the right thing.
    ‘Too often we enjoy…’ John F Kennedy
    ‘For those who do believe…’ Stuart Chase.
    ‘What we do for ourselves…’ Albert Pine.

    It would not be difficult for you SoundEagle to do the right thing by these authors; and by your audience.

    I do feel awful for being on your case about this, but this is about truth – and truth is bigger than the both of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for reading the preface and for your response. Indeed, it would not be hard to find the source of certain quotes, and I have never mentioned that it is hard or unnecessary in all cases. What I did mention is that there are other more important issues and considerations to be aware of. That I have received such a reply indicates to me that they have not quite come through to you. What I also mentioned is that people do not always know the accuracy of the source of a quote and the contexts in which the quote is created and used by the author or by other people.

    Your statement “they are quotes. Who are they quoting?” is flawed and inadmissible because you are claiming that quotes quote themselves. In reality, they are quotes because they are quoted by someone, meaning that they are someone’s quotations (which are not quite the same as citations). Moreover, you would surprise even yourself how often people (including yourself) have uttered and written partial or entire statements, phrases, idioms and proverbs originated from others without giving or acknowledging the sources.

    Copyright is a modern invention, Kelly. And it is a complex topic that cannot be simplified in such a manner as you did here, not to mention that not all readers and authors view copyright (and its ramifications) in the same light as you do. l feel that you have not quite understood what I have intended to do for my readers and followers, and what I have tried to convey in the preface and also in the quotes by extension, and that you seem to have reduced or focused the discussion to one that essentially pertains to copyright through a straightforward championing, much to the exclusion and detriment of other matters of greater weight, relevance and import. Besides, truth is not apart from the physical world if people have the capacity and willingness to see it. Even if we could assume that a quote itself is unproblematic in the first place, are we so naive, mechanical and perfunctory as to believe or insist that if we simply appended the author’s name to the end of the quote, then we would be doing the “right” or “just” thing by the reader and/or the author, and somehow the reader could understand the quote more and reach the truth better?

    Caring about truth requires us to be consilient, open-minded and multidisciplinary rather than being narrowly focused or entrenched in certain ways. Considering that you are a new reader here, please kindly click About to receive a good orientation plus useful recommendations on selected tools and features in order to be familiar with the nature and purpose of this website or blog.

    I wish you well.


  8. These quotes are well chosen SE. Eternal words of wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I enjoy reading quotes and enjoyed your post! Thanks for visiting Homeflair.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It is great to see quotes that encourage thought and showcase a number of unique perspectives on matters.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. After reading this collection of quotes I don’t think it at all wise to be too hasty in forming an opinion & I shall revisit & give further thought to the quotes over a period . One observation & thought is that an inital assessment is an important starting point to be built on & added to .

    Liked by 1 person

    • SoundEagle would like to congratulate thenakedflorist for being prudent and reserved in (passing any) judgement, on the recognition or basis that there is much more to be considered, given the multilayered nature of the subject matters.

      Regarding your statement “One observation & thought is that an inital assessment is an important starting point to be built on & added to”, if the inital assessment were flawed or invalid, then it would have to be abandoned or revised, not “built on” or “added to”.

      This is SoundEagle sending you food for thought and wishing you another wonderful weekend, thenakedflorist!


      • What sort of food is this ??
        I had visions of relaxing on the bear rug near the open fire – or should that read bare on the rug ? While I contemplate an answer I am being fed delicious food & offered pink champagne .

        Liked by 1 person

      • As mentioned, it is food for thought. Please be advised by SoundEagle that becoming intoxicated is not conducive to contemplating an answer, however trivial or genuine your contemplation, answer, intention and/or effort may be, though having a semi-full stomach of delicious and healthful food can provide fuel for thought. Cheers!


  12. Well written kw ,meaningfull words grouped together , invoking thought about life & circumstance , wisdoms of old are all just words after all .Actions & loving kindness , how we treat each other & Mother Nature will be our salvation .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi thenakedflorist! Thank you for your comments and compliments, and for showing your appreciation of the specially chosen quotes presented above. Have you finally found or identified your own most favourite quote(s) to share here?

      You would be very pleased to know that SoundEagle has had the opportunity to dramatically improve the contents of this webpage, which now carries a longer preface and presents each of the quotes both textually and graphically.


  13. Certainly many nuggets to choose from.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tom, Audrey and Emma,

      It is delightful that you found some potential treasures here to enrich or complement your intellectual horizon and wisdom.

      Which nuggets did you end up choosing, and why?


    • Thanks, usathroughoureyes, for your comment. Please be informed that this webpage has been dramatically improved and much extended since your previous visit. You are very welcome to return. Happy mid-October to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. – I will have to remember that one. It is sadly too common these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, John Hric! It is indeed far too common nowadays. Many perpetrators even mistakenly believe without any reservations that they are fully justified in expressing their opinions, insisting that when, how and what they choose to express are their entitlements. This rather insidious stance is well explicated by the following entry at Wikipedia:

      I’m entitled to my opinion or I have a right to my opinion is a logical fallacy in which a person discredits any opposition by claiming that they are entitled to their opinion. The statement exemplifies a red herring or Thought-terminating clichรฉ. Whether one has a particular entitlement or right is irrelevant to whether one’s assertion is true or false. To assert the existence of the right is a failure to assert any justification for the opinion. Such an assertion, however, can also be an assertion of one’s own freedom or of a refusal to participate in the system of logic at hand.[1][2][3]

      Philosopher Patrick Stokes has described the expression as problematic because it is often used to defend factually indefensible positions or to “[imply] an equal right to be heard on a matter in which only one of the two parties has the relevant expertise”.[4]

      You are encouraged to revisit and savour the special selection of quotes again because the webpage containing the selection has been dramatically improved and much extended since your previous visit. Happy mid-October to you!


  15. Soundeagle, I enjoyed reading your lead-in. I do think we have to guard against author bias. Sometimes,we may like a quote and then like it more when we discover the author. It also feeds part of our ego to be able to cite Mark Twain or Confucious.

    The quotes you offer are excellent and make the reader think. They are more than slogans. I do like to keep things simple, but I see too many politicians like the US President who have bumper sticker solutions to complex problems. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our interactions are very satisfying, Keith. Thank you for coming over here after reading my most recent comment on your website, quoted as follows:

      Thank you, Keith, for your replies.

      By the way, I have just finished expanding one of my main webpages at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/quotes/, and need someone of your experience and calibre to give me a detailed feedback on what I have done there. As a consultant, do you think that the webpage about quotes has delivered? I shall appreciate your help if you could kindly leave a detailed comment at the comment section there. You might also want to read some or all of the comments already left there. Thank you in anticipation.

      SoundEagle is grateful for your preceding feedback, and has finished extending the preface yet again after your previous visit. Please read it over carefully to discover a pleasant surprise for you!


  16. Yes, quotes by famous and infamous people are often used to validate opinions and points of view. Naturally, one needs to be skeptical of anything that is presented as pithy wisdom. Sometimes the quote simply seems good or is used as flimsy evidence to support fraudulent ideas and people. There are some timeless quotes that bolster true wisdom and virtue.

    I like to use quotations to stimulate thought or to reinforce the importance of a topic of which I write. I do not use quotations lightly unless I’m repeating a joke performed by a famous comedian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello swabby429, the BlueJay of Happiness! Thank you for sharing your insight on quotations here, and for explaining how you normally use quotations. If you do not mind, SoundEagle would like to know which quote, from the ones stylishly presented above, is your favourite.


      • Considering my present state of mind, which is positive, the quote that resonates is, “We donโ€™t see things as they are; we see them as we are.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, swabby429, for revealing your favourite quotation to SoundEagle, who would like to inform you that a new graphic depicting the โ€œQuotation Fallacy and Quotation Fantasyโ€ has just been designed and added to this page. May you have a lovely weekend before the dawn of November, the final month of autumn!

        Liked by 1 person

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