"Indeed, the real product of genuine systems analysis is not solutions but wisdom. To wit, understanding that excessive complexity is both costly and perilous and that management in the sense of control is unachievable. This would lead us to see that the proper (or only) way to “manage” civilization is by not allowing it to become too complex—in fact, deliberately designing in restraints, redundancy, and resiliency, even if the price is less power, freedom, efficiency, or profit than we might otherwise gain through greater complexity." from Immoderate Greatness: Why Civilizations Fail, CreateSpace, North Charleston, SC (2012)
”Soon after I enter Decentraland, I fall through a fountain and land in a bar, where an octopus is serving drinks. In the corner, two bots are having a scripted conversation about why the NFTs on display in the metaverse are superior to physical artworks. (It’s because they aren’t hidden away in a collector’s archive.) At least at the Tate my ability to view the art isn’t limited by my computer’s processing power, I think, as I try — unsuccessfully — to order a virtual pint from the octopus."
Peter Bradshaw ... on the metaverse
"If you are playing a miser, always emphasise their generosity".
"All really new ideas have a certain aspect of foolishness when they are first produced.”
Alfred North Whitehead
"Enthusiasm is like the fire that keeps the steam engine going."
"You can see the ball go past them, or the man, but you'll never see both man and ball go past at the same time. So if the ball goes past, the man won't, or if the man goes past they'll take the ball."
"That boy throws a football farther than I go on holiday."
... about Dave Challinor, Tranmere Rovers
"To be extraordinarily happy and have no concern for money drives some people nuts."
"The only way we can actually preserve things for the future and look after the environment is to change how we live, to use fewer resources, to value things in another way."
"Who painted the Sistine Chapel?". "Wasn't it Underwood's of Batley?" .
"Walton-Hayfield. On 26th March 2008, to Rebecca and Mark, a precious son Ptolomy Ned, brother to the gorgeous Atticus Monty, and the beautiful Octavius Kit."
, Daily Telegraph
“To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.”
Otto Von Bismarck
"When you read 1984, were you aware that it was a novel, not an instruction manual?"
Tweet to Tony Blair Q&A session
"When Nations grow old, the arts grow cold, and Commerce settles in every tree."
"Post-apocalypse science fiction has been moved - it can now be found in current affairs."
Bookends Bookshop, Fowey, Cornwall
"A smile is the shortest distance between two people."
"That one blew out the candles on the birthday cake."
's description of a Joe Frazier left hook.
"All progress is based on a universal innate desire of every organism to live beyond its income."
"Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch procejt, it deosnt mttaer waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter."
"We are now entering a period of consequences."
"Every no takes you one step closer to a yes".
Winston Churchill to sport artist Paul Trevillion Churchill
"Most politicians are incompetent with a veneer of competence. You seem to do it the other way round. "
to Boris Johnson
"Wouldn’t it be more sensible and less dangerous to take the view that losing is simply not winning and leave it at that?"
"Sincerity is the juice of hypocrisy"
"It's all very funny if you like laughing".
Ken Dodd heckle at Glasgow Empire.
"I’ve not failed ten thousand times. I’ve successfully found ten thousand ways that will not work."
"If we knew what we were doing it would not be called research, would it?"
"Keyboard malfunction. Press F1 for help."
"At least the ideas are recycled."
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
"Our leaders have harmed the economy by treating common interests as a hindrance to the wealth accumulation of a few, and neglected the institutions, people and professions most needed in a time of crisis."
"Man is so made that when anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish."
Jean de La Fontaine (1621-1695)
"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing."
"The things to do are: the things that need doing, that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done."
"The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency."
"The future’s already here - it’s just not very evenly distributed."
"I got rid of the Ferrari: it was bad for my hamstrings."
"My heart was bigger than my head."
"An implicit and almost universal assumption….is that the (environmental) problem … has a technical solution. A technical solution may be defined as one that requires a change only in the techniques of the natural sciences, demanding little or nothing in the way of change in human values."
‘The Tragedy of the Commons’, Science (Dec 1968)
"Murray Angry At Losing His Temper. "
Headline, London Evening Standard
"Only if we are capable of dwelling, only then can we build"
"Wavell had a shrewd, penetrating mind and an immunity to cant and conventional wisdom. [He] first labelled the Versailles Treaty ... "the peace to end all peace". He understood that politicians invariably found ways to create disasters, which soldiers, like himself, had to clean up."
Arthur Herman. Gandhi and Churchill, (Bantam, 2008)
"I’d rather have 5% less productivity and a world to pass on to the next generation"
"The problem with assumptions is that we always assume they are right."
"Standardisation is the parent of stagnation". Dark Age Ahead, 2004, p119
"Perhaps the greatest folly for a culture is to try to pass itself on by using principles of efficiency". Dark Age Ahead (Random House, 2004, page 160)
"Multi-functional bio-diverse green space network." Planning jargon for 'field'.
Japanese bookshop's translation of Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.
"The paradox of public transport is the better it does its job the less 'efficient' it may be."
"[In the 20th century] ... we built a really inefficient environment with the greatest efficiency ever known to man"
"Shyness is egotism out of its depth"
“I once met an economist who believed that everything was fungible for money, so I suggested he enclose himself in a large bell-jar with as much money as he wanted and see how long he lasted.” (fungible = easy to exchange)
"The best way to understand old buildings is to talk to old people. Unfortunately the old people we need to talk to are so old they have been dead for a long time. Hence, we have to use a new tool unknown in the Internet age—books—and really old ones that are typically written in some language other than English by some long dead European."
"What does less swearing and funnier mean? "
"Who are you going to believe? Me, or your own eyes?"
"Modern life is rubbish".
"Being healthy ... means being alive to our lives in their fullness. It means responding to the world and our inner state honestly and openly."
"In 1939 there wasn't just concern for the future of the country it was also a troubling time for Queen of the South." Queen of the South is a football club based in Dumfries, Scotland
”’I told you so’ are the four least satisfying words in the English language.”
" ... science is no longer science when it makes up factual statements to conform to people’s preferences.",
"I learned French the hard way: from a Spaniard. "
"Of all the adaptation schemes, the least effective is denial."
"It is better to be on the ground wishing to God you were in the air, than in the air wishing to God you were on the ground."
The Microlight Pilot's Handbook
Silence of the Lambs mistranslation.
"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."
"If academic endeavour had always been vetted in advance for practicality, we wouldn't have had the aeroplane or the iPhone, just a better mammoth trap."
"A constrained world cannot afford the rich."
"The life I lead is very autobiographical."
“The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.”
"People often overestimate the impact of change in the short term, but they also underestimate it in the long term"
"To Mavis Enderby and Old Bolingbroke. The Gift of a Son "
Graffito added to road sign near Spilsby, Lincolnshire
I never thought playing with Plasticine would lead to such a glamorous lifestyle."
"I was intrigued to see Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, born His Serene Highness Prince, referred to as "socially ambitious" .
"Many spatial dependencies are so thoroughly built into our constructed environment that little can be done about them."
“A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.”
"We founded the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust over lunch. Duck, I think it was."
HRH Prince Philip (attributed)
"An excessive dependence on narrow targets and an inability to work for “system-wide efficiency” have become the dominant characteristics of layer upon layer of command-and-control bureaucracy. ... so-called "unintended consequences abound."
"Measures taken to promote genuinely sustainable improvements in society ... are fighting all the time against the kind of consumerist, materialistic values that governments feel they have to stick to in order to keep the wheels of the economy turning."
"Do not eat the blackcurrant jam: it tastes of fish."
... warning Tony Greig not to have the caviar at a cricket reception.
"The politically acceptable is ecologically disastrous while the ecologically necessary is politically impossible. "
Wackernagel, M. & Rees, W. Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth. British Columbia: New Society Publishers (1996)
"He (Alfred Wainwright) told me that his mother hid him a drawer when visitors came."
"“A theory that you can't explain to a bartender is probably no damn good.”
"In geographical parlance, the built environment produces space-time; it is naturalized as the taken-for-granted and normal. This means that changing the built environment is as much a social and psychological challenge as it is a physical and financial one. "
"I try not to meet people I despise in case I find out they’re not that bad after all."
"The chief cause of problems is solutions."
"And who would run, that's moderately wise, a certain danger for a doubtful prize." John Pomfret (1667-1702)
Motto of the Shut Down Sizewell campaign
"In general, if you pick an academic field X and google “the end of X”, you’ll find an essay from the last decade wondering if it’s over — or declaring outright that it is."
".. absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
"Climate and sustainability professionals should be at the very epicenter of innovation and strategic learning within institutions, businesses and communities. They rarely are. That’s because in most settings, climate and sustainability professionals are not getting paid to change important things, they’re getting paid to protect important things from change."
“Falsehood flies, and the Truth comes limping after it; so that when Men come to be undeceiv’d, it is too late; the Jest is over, and the Tale has had its Effect . . .”
"No strategy is viable that steals from the future to support the present".
"Every time history repeats itself the price goes up."
“I'm not going to sing the one that she asked me for because, ... I can't actually... I can't remember a lot of the words. But I'll tell you what, if it's any consolation, the one I'm going to sing will have a lot of the same ... notes.”
"This Monty Python: is he one of us?"
"... You can be wrong by being right too soon". Quoted by Simon Jenkins in the context of exclusive news reports.
"We've privatised the rewards and socialised the risks."
"People have stopped counting their blessings."
"Research is all about self-perpetuation, answers are the very last thing you want, only more research pays the mortgage and the Guardian subscription."
"Theory is when you know what should happen, but you can’t get it to work. Practice is when things more or less work, but nobody knows why. Combining theory and practice is when nothing works and nobody knows why."
"There’s been a tendency lately, especially in Silicon Valley, to accept the whole motto of “failing forward.” Or “failing fast.” They’re very good at accepting failure there. But they’re not any better than anyone else at learning from failure, because they then make the same mistakes over and over again. You want people to take meaningful risks and learn from them. That’s where the action is, when it comes to innovation."
"Seek simplicity and distrust it. "
"If you save the living environment, you will automatically save the physical environment. But if you only try to save the physical environment, you will lose them both."
"You don't want to say more. You want to say less. Less is good."
"Eternal vigilance is the price of artificial complexity."
“I am not interested in erecting a building, but in [...] presenting to myself the foundations of all possible buildings.”
"The fact that the South Buckinghamshire District Council offices are in Slough, Berkshire, really does make you wonder whether their hearts are in it."
"Q: Who led the pedant's revolt? A: Which Tyler."
"Twenty minutes of feeling a wee bit uncomfortable."
Victoria Wood on being asked about the 'dangers' of stand-up comedy.