Skip navigation

Category Archives: Quotes

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you
have lived. This is to have succeeded.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

https://i2.wp.com/the-reviewer.net/wp-content/uploads/the-dark-knight-joker-poster-500w.jpg“Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just, do things.

The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon’s got plans. You know, they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their worlds. I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how, pathetic, their attempts to control things really are. So, when I say, ah, come here, when I say that you and your girlfriend was nothing personal, you know that I’m telling the truth.

It’s the schemers that put you where you are. You were a schemer, you had plans, and uh, look where that got you. I just did what I do best. I took your plan and I turned it on itself.

Look what I did, to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hm? You know what, you know what I noticed? Nobody panics when things go according to plan. Even if the plan is horrifying. If tomorrow I tell the press that like a gang banger, will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it’s all, part of the plan. But when I say that one, little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!

Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh and you know the thing about chaos, it’s fair.”

Even after all this time, this is the monologue in The Dark Knight that’s etched into my memory. I can close my eyes, and hear Heath Ledger’s voice, hear that rhythmic pronunciation and odd elocution that marked such a brilliant performance.

You know why? Because I’m a schemer. I heard that dialogue, and identified with it instantly. Sure the Joker’s talking to Dent. But he’s talking about me. Well about people like me. The whole “I got a plan; I’m in control; Life is gonna follow the path I tell it to follow” attitude. For a while, life even plays along.

Life doesn’t give a damn. Life is more like the Joker’s description of it than anyone’s willing to admit. There is chaos, there is chance, there is luck. There is being born in the right month, and growing up in the right neighbourhood and there is being smart and there is being hardworking. There’s the illusion that what we do matters.

The recognition that I’m a schemer is liberating. It frees me up to accept that the way I see the world, the way I want the world to be, doesn’t have to be identical with the way the world is. I’m thankful for all the coincidence, the fate, the chaos, that has given me so much, and created so much good in my life. I shrug of the bad in life as fate, chaos and chance. I can plan, contingency plan, contingency – contingency plan, and yet not worry about what will happen, and to be unconcerned when the plans disappear in a puff of smoke.

Have I become a fan of chaos and anarchy? Not yet. I like order. But I can’t shake the notion that the more comfortable I become with chaos, the more I enjoy its presence, and the more I want its presence. Things aren’t as interesting when they go according to plan.

To mark the occasion of my friend Tim Parker’s step into a brave new world, at 9am sharp today morning at Sha Tin Magistracy, which is the first moment of his first pupilage, and because Yusuf bhai said it was an interesting little story, I share with you why barristers dress in such strange clothes when they appear in court.

Read More »

bookshelves

Books say “She did this because.”

Life says “She did this.”

Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren’t. I’m not surprised that some people prefer books.

Books make sense.

The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people’s lives, never your own.

– Julian Barnes

universe

There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals.

Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers and then you cash in on guilt.

Now, that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.

– Dr. Floyd Ferris in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

I fell that as a statement about the laws of men this is uncontroversial. Well relatively so.

We live in an age where those who prosecute rule breaking have an almost infinite variety of charges to press against all of us, if they apply themselves to the problem. I doubt there exists amongst us one person who is not guilty of something that would amount to an offense under the laws of the country in which they live.

Except that’s not why I have this quote up. That’s not the reason its on my mind. Rather its the parallel situation that has recently suggested itself to me that has me vexed.

What happens when you start thinking that what Ayn Rand says about man made laws, might be true about the Divine ones you’ve internalised?

What do you do when the dramatic cycle of sin, repentance and forgiveness start to feel like God plays a variation of the guilt game with a degree of skill and vigour that no mere mortal could match. “You are born guilty, you are living in sin, you will die in sin. Inspite of that, I may yet be persuaded to drop the charges against you if you know the right people and beg in the proper manner”.

I can’t shake this notion that any system that works on the premise that to be human is to be guilty, can’t be a good system around which to base a human’s existence.

Anyone want to help me out here?

I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour
And when I die I expect to find him laughing
– Depeche Mode, Blasphemous Rumours

Sometimes what you read just stays in your head for aeons afterwards. Maybe because you feel its got a healthy bit of truth attached to it. Or at least that little part of you that’s a skeptic can’t help but be amused by the irony.

And you feel you have to find the true source and track it down to its origin. But you don’t get around to doing it.

And then someone reminds you of it inadvertently as you casually blaspheme away. And you feel motivated. And you grab that moment by the scruff of its neck, and fire up Google.

And you find what you’re looking for in two minutes, turning a lifelong pending quest into a rather damp event that fizzles out gloriously but abruptly. And rather unsatisfactorily.

Though I admit, I like the way the chorus is sung. And I wouldn’t have that benefit without finishing the quest. Odd gifts at the end of a rainbow. Odd gifts indeed.

Full lyrics here

Watch it on YouTube here

 

Dr. Gregory House: They’re out there, doctors, lawyers postal workers some of them doing great some of them doing lousy. Are you going to base your whole life on who you got stuck in a room with?

Eve: I’m going to base this moment on who I’m stuck in a room with. It’s what life is. It’s a series of rooms and who we get stuck in those rooms with adds up to what our lives are.

This is a beautiful way of looking at the world and our journey through life.

One of my favorite episodes of House because of the strange interplay between House and Eve.