Some people have a way with words, and sometimes those words inspire us and are carried into the ages. I’m not certain what criteria one would use to judge the top ten quotes of all time. I certainly wouldn’t want to embark on the task of identifying the absolute number one quote of all eternity, therefore this top 10 list is presented in no particular order.
You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army on your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people and raze your city.”
The first that came to my minds is a response from the Spartans to Philip II of Macedon. Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, went on a conquest and when he got to Sparta he sent this message: “You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army on your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people and raze your city.”
The Spartans rejoinder was simply a word, “If”.
This highlights the condition attached to the threat meaning if he ever will actual get a chance to bring his army to Sparta, Philip II saw the salient message behind the words and to his conquest as far away from Sparta as he can go, not even Alexander his son dare to conquer Sparta.
“I have a theory that the truth is never told during the 9-to-5 hours.” – Hunter S. Thompson
Thompson has always had an eye for keen, often razor sharp observation, and as a journalist he discovered that nothing worth reporting ever came through the “proper channels” and was rarely said on the record. The official story is rarely the whole story.
“Kill one man and you are a murderer. Kill millions and you are a conqueror. Kill all and you are a God.” -Jean Rostand
This one makes the top 10 for being wonderfully cynical and wonderfully true. Kill your neighbor and you’ll go to jail, conqueror a neighboring state and you’ll be hailed as a hero. It’s no small thing to be reminded that even murder comes with context.
“If you have to say ‘I’m sorry, but…’ then you just aren’t sorry.” -Anonymous
I’ve heard this one around, but never with a proper attribution. I’ve found it immensely useful advice. If you’re still justifying your actions, or actions are still being justified to you, then an apology isn’t really what’s happening. It’s efficacious for judging yourself as well as others.
“Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.” Oscar Wilde
These words were followed promptly by Mr. Wilde’s death. I think it deserves top ten consideration for composure in the face of death. No bluster, just a snippy acknowledgment that the world remains even though we leave.
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill
When they guy who led Britain through WWII, drunk and at the end of his career, says that attitude makes a big difference, you should probably listen.
“He who laughs last thinks slowest.” -Anonymous
This one is a smart ass to the core, but it also asks you to evaluate a truism.
“Freedom is free of the need to be free.” -Funkadelic
Taoist attitude delivered on one of the most epic, lysergic funk tracks of all time. This is like having your Zen master start breakdancing. Free your mind and file this one away in the top 10.
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” -Mark Twain
No top ten list, of any kind, is complete without Mark Twain. I don’t think I can add much to this quote, so I’ll simply let it stand.
“Whatever words we utter should be uttered with care for people will hear them and they will be influenced for good or ill.” -Buddha
We conclude our top 10 list with a quote about the importance of quotes. Think about what you fill your mind with and what you place in other people’s minds.