I decided to add some quotes I love, like, find funny and or express ideas I like, some I used in my art book about my work. As a friend recently asked me to put together a book list of books I have read and would recommend. As with the quotes I have generally read the whole books from where the quotes come from.

“Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend” Albert Camus


In ancient Greece (469 – 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said,“Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”
“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Test of Three.”
“Test of Three?”
“That’s correct,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student let’s take a moment to test what you’re going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”
“No,” the man replied, “actually I just heard about it.”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”
“No, on the contrary…”
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him even though you’re not certain it’s true?”
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.
Socrates continued, “You may still pass though because there is a third test – the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really…”
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”
The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more… Socrates

‎”Computer games don’t affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we’d  all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music.” Marcus  Brigstocke

“A life built on lies is a lie and one of the many things I have found out about myself. Is I cannot live a lie.“ Russell Hand

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”      

George Bernard Shaw

“A true friend stabs you in the front.” Oscar Wilde

“Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so” Bertrand Russell

“Ignorance more frequently engenders confidence than knowledge”
Charles Darwin

“Words are all we have.” Samuel Beckett

“No medicine cures what happiness cannot.” Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

“If relationships were as simple as beauty and love then all of mine would have been immortal.”  Russell Hand

“What does it matter how many lovers you have if none of them gives you the universe ?”
Jacques Lacan

“We have dreamt of every woman there is, and dreamt too of the miracle that would bring us the pleasure of being a woman, for women have all the qualities — courage, passion, the capacity to love, cunning — whereas all our imagination can do is naively pile up the illusion of courage.”
Jean Baudrillard

“Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.” Oscar Wilde

“Those who fail to re-read are obliged to read the same story everywhere.”
Roland Barthes

“What pornographic literature does is precisely to drive a wedge between one’s existence as a full human being and one’s existence as a sexual being—while in ordinary life a healthy person is one who prevents such a gap from opening up. Normally we don’t experience, at least don’t want to experience, our sexual fulfillment as distinct from or opposed to our personal fulfillment. But perhaps in part they are distinct, whether we like it or not.” Susan Sontag

“In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

“Albeit the jealous temper of mankind, ever more disposed to censure than to praise the work of others, has constantly made the pursuit of new methods and systems no less perilous than the search after unknown lands and seas; nevertheless, prompted by that desire which nature has implanted in me, fearlessly to undertake whatsoever I think offers a common benefit to all, I enter on a path which, being hitherto untrodden by any, though it involve me in trouble and fatigue, may yet win me thanks from those who judge my efforts in a friendly spirit. And although my feeble discernment, my slender experience of current affairs, and imperfect knowledge of ancient events, render these efforts of mine defective and of no great utility, they may at least open the way to some other, who, with better parts and sounder reasoning and judgment, shall carry out my design; whereby, if I gain no credit, at all events I ought to incur no blame.” Niccolò Machiavelli

“Simplicity is what is most difficult in the world; it is the last stage of experience and the first effort of genius.” Madeleine Vionnet

“Travelling is putting one foot in front of the other” Russell Hand

“Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.” Bertrand Russell

“It is not the figure of seduction that is mysterious, but that of the subject tormented by his own desire or his own image.” Jean Baudrillard

“Once one is caught up into the material world not one person in ten thousand finds the time to form literary taste, to examine the validity of philosophic concepts for himself, or to form what, for lack of a better phrase, I might call the wise and tragic sense of life.” F Scott Fiztgerald (from a letter to his daughter)

“I was assailed by memories of a life that wasn’t mine anymore, but one in which I’d found the simplest and most lasting joys.” Albert Camus

“I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” Socrates

“On the first reading we see that which we already know.
On the second reading we begin to realise there is that which we have not seen and not known before.
On the third reading we begin to learn some ‘other’ than we had seen or known.” Russell Hand

 “The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.
The highest as the lowest form of criticism is a mode of autobiography. Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault…                                            …Those who read the symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors. Diversity of opinion about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital. When critics disagree, the artist is in accord with himself.” Oscar Wilde

“He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything…” George Bernard Shaw

 “The main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on a stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy—then go back to the office & sell every one of the poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.” Hunter S. Thompson

‎”I don’t know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I cannot know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it. What can a meaning outside my condition mean to me? I can understand only in human terms. What I touch, what resists me — that I understand. And these two certainties — my appetite for the absolute and for unity and the impossibility of reducing this world to a rational and reasonable principle — I also know that I cannot reconcile them.”         Albert Camus

 “For the signifier is a unit in its very uniqueness, being by nature symbol only of an absence.”     Jacques Lacan

“Hell is other people” Jean-Paul Sartre

 “Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.” Susan Sontag

“Speak so I can hear, but remember to listen.” Russell Hand

“Every era has to reinvent the project of “spirituality” for itself. (Spirituality = plans, terminologies, ideas of deportment aimed at resolving the painful structural contradictions inherent in the human situation, at the completion of human consciousness, at transcendence.)
In the modern era, one of the most active metaphors for the spiritual project is “art.” The activities of the painter, the musician, the poet, the dancer, once they were grouped together under that generic name (a relatively recent move), have proved a particularly adaptable site on which to stage the formal dramas besetting consciousness, each individual work of art being a more or less astute paradigm for regulating or reconciling these contradictions. Of course, the site needs continual refurbishing. Whatever goal is set for art eventually proves restrictive, matched against the widest goals of consciousness. Art, itself a form of mystification, endures a succession of crises of demystification;”
Susan Sontag

“Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.” Margaret Atwood

“Didn’t we dream of some kind of acceleration of the mind, where the mind accelerated & the world slowed. Now we have to live in a world where culture is accelerated to the point meaningless, constant repetitious cycles ever faster, and people wonder why they are lost, why they struggle to make meaning out of meaningless…” Russell Hand

“Le succès est la meilleure vengeance ( Success is the best revenge.)” French proverb

 “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” Samuel Beckett

“To have a fascination with things, of odysseys,
swimming in oceans of possibilities,
making concrete ideas manifesting dreams of thought & being,
opening vistas, walking in imaginary impossible places,
visiting invisible cities making meaning from nothingness,
walking in the rain.” Russell Hand

“For those who would joyously march in rank and file, they have already earned my contempt, for they were given a large brain by accident when a spinal chord would have sufficed.” Albert Einstein

“Gaily bedight, A gallant knight, In sunshine and in shadow, Had journeyed long, Singing a song, In search of Eldorado. But he grew old— This knight so bold— And o’er his heart a shadow— Fell as he found No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado. And, as his strength Failed him at length, He met a pilgrim shadow— ‘Shadow,’ said he, ‘Where can it be— This land of Eldorado?’ ‘Over the Mountains Of the Moon, Down the Valley of the Shadow, Ride, boldly ride,’ The shade replied,— ‘If you seek for Eldorado!’ ” Edgar Allan Poe

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Albert Einstein

“Palm leaf fires in the Sinai Peninsula,
laying in the desert sands listening to the surf roll in,
in the middle of nowhere, staring into the night sky,
until you fall into the stars, disoriented and whirled away,
an infinitesimal & insignificant dust mote,
laying on a rock hurtling through space,
of absolutely no consequence,
what a beautiful feeling, what a beautiful memory,” Russell Hand

McCoy: “Perhaps, we could cover a little philosophical ground. Life”
McCoy: “Death”
McCoy: “Life.”
McCoy: “Things of that nature.”
Spock: “I did not have time on Vulcan to review the philosophical disciplines.”
McCoy: “C’mon, Spock, it’s me, McCoy. You really have gone where no man’s gone before. Can’t you tell me what it felt like ?”
Spock: “It would be impossible to discuss the subject without a common frame-of-reference.”
McCoy: “You’re joking!”
Spock: “A joke… is a story with a humorous climax.”
McCoy: “You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death ?”
from the film; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

“I think; therefore I am” Rene Descartes

“I shop therefore I am” Barbara Kruger
A beautiful play on Descartes thought.Barbara Kruger is a contemporary artist and writer. Her simple substitution of a word in the quote of Descartes; brilliant. People shop instead of think ? A critical engagement with our culture/s and times.

“Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end,
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks,
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation,
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; aye, there’s the rub…” William Shakespeare

I am not a huge Shakespeare fan but like some of his soliloquies, particularly this one, I have liked since I was very young and first read it. When the main character is beset, by the deceptive, the base, the ignorant, the lying, the stupid of the world. A noble spirit beset by evil.

“Lies are strange things, me for much of my life I have thought that when someone lies; in a relationship, lovers, in a friendship, political leaders, all circumstances really, lies, misinformation, disinformation they take away your freedom to chose freely. Because if you chose something based on lies; love, friendship, politics what choice is that really.” Russell Hand

“Actually my ideal piece of sculpture is a road.” by Carl Andre

I have only spoken t Carl Andre once, he asked me what I did, ‘I said I am one of those terrible British installation artists’, he waved his arm at his work/art as we were at his show, I then said; I know you are one of those terrible American ones.’ We both started laughing, an artist with a sense of humour. Though he is a minimalist, reductionist, alchemist, and I am a conceptual artists, we both have an understanding and love for the language of materials and both have a sense of humour.

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.”    Albert Einstein

“In Europe an actor is an artist. In Hollywood, if he isn’t working, he’s a bum.” Anthony Quinn

“Who the fuck would want to be a genius, it would be as bad as being famous or worse.” Russell Hand

The blazes raining in gusts of frost.
Ecstasies! –
fires in the rain from the wind of diamonds hurled out by the earthly heart,
charred for us. – O world! –
(Far from the old retreats and the old flames, that you hear and feel,)
The blazes and foams.
The music, churnings of gulfs and the shock of icicles on the stars.”
Arthur Rimbaud

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze…” William Wordsworth

“The quarrel of the sparrows in the eaves,
The full round moon and the star-laden sky,
And the loud song of the ever-singing leaves,
Had hid away earths old and weary cry.
And then you came with those red mournful lips,
And with you came the whole of the worlds mournful tears,
And all the trouble of her labouring ships,
And all the trouble of her myriad tears…” William Butler Yeats

 “…Starry sky, and the stars chime like crystals,
shatter and fall in whirls of star dust through the moonbeams,
and Helios furnace blasts and sends me kisses from the sun,
and Selene caresses gently with her moonlight,
as I cross the desert sands…” Russell Hand

“…Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass…” T S Eliot

“It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare…”     “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one…” Edmund Burke

 “A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.” Bertrand Russell

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.” Søren Kierkegaard

“The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth” Albert Camus

“I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.” Tennyson

“Never hurt a woman’s vanity they will do or say anything for revenge, irrespective of the truth.” Russell Hand

“Stronger than lover’s love is lover’s hate.
Incurable, in each, the wounds they make.”

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”  Oscar Wilde

“Art does not reproduce what we see; rather, it makes us see.” Paul Klee

All copyright to the authors including text by myself Russell Hand © ®

If for any reason the copyright holder of any quotes would like me to remove their quotes please get in touch.

To be continued…