On Supporting Education or Building Jails

Mark Twain on educations vs. more jails

“Every time you stop a school, you will have to build a jail. What you gain at one end you lose at the other. It’s like feeding a dog on his own tail. It won’t fatten the dog.”
-Mark Twain

Allowing schools to slowly wither through lack of funding only means money will be spent later building a jail – social institutions are funded by the public’s priorities. We should consider the implications of what it means when we build a school versus when we build a jail.

More fully supporting one will diminish the other.

Image credit: Todd Petrie, courtesy flickr

On Not Learning from History and Electing Presidents

Good politics doesn't not necessarily mean good presidents

DonnaW / Pixabay

“History has tried hard to teach us that we can’t have good government under politicians. Now, to go and stick one at the very head of the government couldn’t be wise.”
-Mark Twain in the New York Herald, August 26, 1876

The process of becoming president requires a man of unique skill and talent, most of which are ill-suited for real leadership.

Yeah, so what’s my point?

Here we go again…

On Learning Wisdom, Eventually

Learning wisdom

ambroochizafer / Pixabay

“We chase phantoms half the days of our lives. It is well if we learn wisdom even then, and save the other half.” – Mark Twain

There comes a time in one’s life where he may question, finally, all the distractions of youth that have taken so much time and energy, and see them for what they are: nameless, faceless phantoms of fear and want , without merit or purpose.

Even then, after one has given over half a life to such imaginary phantoms and ghosts, it is worthwhile to to finally see what is important, and then to pursue only that.

On the Real Value of a Good Education

A good education is a mindset. A drive to satisfy never ending curiosity

Unsplash / Pixabay

“Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge.”
-Mark Twain

A good education is never finished. And the best education teaches unending curiosity in the knowledge that what one knows pales in comparison to what one doesn’t know.

On Spelling

Mark Twain on spelling - there's more than one way to skin a cat

Please mountain the premicies tidy. Thank you.

I don’t give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way.
-Mark Twain

Mark Twain would not abide spellcheck.

On the Power of Humor

Don't take anything too seriously. A good sense of humor serves us well in life

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.
-Mark Twain

A person harboring resentment or fear is best served by finding their sense of humor.

On Another New Year’s Eve

Another useless New Year's Eve

greener-dalii / Pixabay

“New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls and humbug resolutions.”
-Mark Twain

New Years Eve is one of the saddest holidays of the year; no it is the saddest. People only look happy because they’ve had too much to drink, many with the notion that it is for the last time.

On Learning to See

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
-Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

It is with our eyes that we look, but only with our imagination that we see.

On Textbooks in Texas

“The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.”
-Mark Twain, Following the Equator

For the Texas Board of Education, America wasn’t founded on the principal of the separation of church and state, every good capitalist is actually a free-market conservative, McCarthy wasn’t really that bad, and Thomas Jefferson had nothing to do with inspiring revolution in 18th-century America.

And the ink dries on prejudice in Texas.

On Empathy and the Law of Proportion

“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.”
-Mark Twain, “Which Was the Dream

All loss is profound. Comfort is found by seeing equally in other’s sorrow – and joy – a measure of our own.