Another reason I like Facebook less and less all the time

So last night, I was leafing through my tattered and musty-smelling copy of The Name of the Rose, and ran across this Thomas à Kempis quote at the end of the foreword:

In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro.

And I immediately loved it and wanted to add it as one of my favorite quotes on Facebook.

But since Facebook has been reconfigured about 47 times (I think it’s competing with the number of times the U.S. House has tried to repeal Obamacare) since the last time I added a quote, I couldn’t find my quotes.

Which really ticked me off. If it had been a button for inviting people to play Candy Crush Saga, you can bet it wouldn’t have disappeared. But since quotes have to do with the written word, and might provoke actual thought

But thanks to Google, I found a way to get to my quotes. Actually, the instructions I found were out of date (a couple more Facebook configurations since they were written, apparently), but they helped me enough that I could intuit my way to my quotes.

Here’s how: Click on your name to get your home page. Click on About. Over on the left, click on “Details About You.” At the bottom of the box, you’ll find your quotes. Which is counterintuitive. You’d expect to find them on the page with your favorite books, movies, music, etc. But they’re not there…

Here are mine. Maybe they aren’t all the epitome of profundity, but I like them:

“I wouldn’t want to live without strong misgivings. Right, Chaplain?”
— Yossarian, in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22

“Stand in the place where you live.”
— R.E.M.

“I invested my life in institutions — he thought without rancour — and all I am left with is myself.”
— Smiley’s People

“In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro.”
— Thomas à Kempis

33 thoughts on “Another reason I like Facebook less and less all the time

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    Why not just tweet it? I mean, since you love Twitter so much, why bother with the less ephemeral Facebook at all?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        But at your suggestion, I went ahead and put it on Twitter, too…

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    By the way, I should confess that I had to look up the translation, despite my two years of Latin in high school.

    Maybe I could have worked it out eventually, but in a world with Google Translate…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, I don’t think I WOULD have worked it out eventually… “in angulo cum libro” seems plain enough in hindsight, but “quaesivi” and “inveni nisi” would have defeated me…

  3. Doug Ross

    Here’s my favorite quote from my favorite book this year:

    The Early Tales of Snow and Oakham

    “There are three questions that must be answered in life,” Tip said. “Truthfully there are only three. ‘How did I get here?” What is my purpose? What will I to do to fulfill that purpose?”

  4. Bryan Caskey

    “Our national strife springs not from our permanent part, not from the land we inhabit, not from our national homestead. Our strife pertains to ourselves, to the passing generations of men, and it can without convulsion, be hushed forever with the passing of one generation.”

    -Abraham Lincoln’s Address to Congress in 1862

    I came across that quote just recently. I thought it had a certain timeless sense to it, evoking the constant struggle forward in America.

  5. Norm Ivey

    “If you dislike change, you’re going to dislike irrelevance even more.”
    -General Eric Shinseki

    My work email signature quote. A large part of my job is encouraging teachers to find ways to integrate technology into their lessons. There are pockets of reluctance.

  6. Mike Cakora

    Brad –

    It never crossed my mind that you too were an Umberto Eco fan. While the The Name of the Rose is probably his best known work, my favorite to date is Foucault’s Pendulum, mainly because I’m a skeptic and member at one time or another of various skeptical organizations. The pace is quick, the

    But I must confess that I owe you yet again. I think I offered to buy you a coffee but stood and watched you do your thang with your iPhone at Starbucks when I should have simply told the barista that your coffee was on me. I may have refrained from saying that out of an irrational fear that she would take my words literally and dump the coffee on me.

    But I digress and must confess my added indebtedness: Just now while cruising Amazon for Eco’s books I discovered that I can have the Kindle version of many of the master’s works free because I am an Amazon Prime member. Thank you! I’d not have discovered that had you not mentioned him here.

    As for favorite quotes, here are some of mine:

    From Glenn Reynolds (InstaPundit): SO YESTERDAY I ASKED WHY MEN FAVOR POT LEGALIZATION BY BIG MARGINS, WHILE WOMEN OPPOSE IT: Reader Jane Vawter responded: “Women don’t like pot for the most part. It’s a man drug. What they really don’t like is a useless, stoned man…pot makes you stupid, poor company and a poor provider.”

    Robert Heinlein: Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
    This is known as “bad luck.”

    “A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually.”
    – Abba Eban, Israeli diplomat (1915-2002)

    The most dangerous thing in the world is to try to cross a chasm in two leaps. (Attributed to many including David Lloyd George and Ambrose Bierce.)

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I like the Abba Eban quote, even though I suspect he is trying to say something negative about consensus, when I think it is a wonderful thing.

      The point he makes is at the heart of why I’m so pedantic about the distinction between an editorial and a column. One expresses a group opinion (preferably a consensus, which was our goal at The State), and the other is what one person believes.

      It also lies at the heart of my objection to the changes to the Catholic liturgy in English in this country a couple of years back. Well, aside from my aesthetic objections. (I thought the words were more beautiful before.)

      I only have my nose rubbed in this problem when I attend a Mass in English, which I usually don’t do, since I’m a Spanish lector. (The irony is that the Spanish version has the same flaws as the new English one, but it’s the only version I’ve known in Spanish, so I don’t have the sense of loss.)

      Last night, I attended a Mass in English, because I had a personal conflict with my usual Mass time. When we got to the Creed, I couldn’t bring myself to say the new words. Here’s the new creed, the one that bothers me so much.

      Here’s the old one. Or rather, a comparison of the two. The old one is on the left.

      I have a number of objections, as I said, arising purely from my love of the language. If you care about words, “one in being with the Father” is greatly preferable to “consubstantial with the Father. Or compare the old, “he suffered, died and was buried” to “he suffered death and was buried.” The latter minimizes both the suffering and the death, coming across almost as though “he suffered inconvenience.” The old stresses that he SUFFERED, and then he DIED. Whole different connotation.

      But the BIG objection is that the old is about what “WE believe,” and the new one says “I believe.” And yeah, I know this gets us back to a literal translation of the Latin Credo, but that doesn’t legitimize it for me.

      Here’s why: For me the creed works as an editorial (the old way), but not as a column (the new way). As with the Eban quote, the creed describes what we have agreed to believe collectively, not a single person’s conclusions about faith. Switching to “I” negates the communitarian nature of Catholicism, and moves us more toward the nonliturgical denominations, where they talk a lot about their own personal faith, and their personal relationship with Jesus. I prefer to stress, through our statement of faith, that we are all part of the Body of Christ, and that these statements reflect a 2,000-year-old process of discernment.

      And for those of you who still don’t understand my communitarian leanings, this is NOT about subordinating my ability to think to a collective enterprise. As you know, I object deeply to that sort of thing; that objection lies at the heart of my critique of political parties.

      I object because I DO think for myself. And if I were working out a personal, “I” sort of creed, it would be quite different from this one. I’m not a Christian and a Catholic because of the things stated in the creed. At no time would I attach great importance to the Virgin Birth, for instance. I’m OK with saying “WE” believe that; I don’t object to it. But it’s not core to my faith. The core of my faith, and I think, truly, the Catholic faith, is what Jesus stated as the Great Commandment, and the second commandment that is inextricably related to it, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

      Were I to write a creed, it would center around those things, not around a sort of religious cosmology or the description of a Trinity-based pantheon of versions of God. I’m happy to go along with (WE believe) what they came up with at Nicea, but it’s just not what I, personally (I believe) would have come up with.

      Which reminds me. I have for years had this idea for a project — to draft a new creed, based in what Jesus actually taught, rather than in all the arguments that occurred after his death as to who he was. A creed that Jesus would actually recognize, that would make him say, “THAT’s what I was talking about.” I’ve just been intimidated by the scope of it. Lacking a good grounding in theology or in deep study of the Bible, I fear that what I came up with would be woefully inadequate, and therefore it would be presumptuous of me to try.

      But I really ought to try sometime… Maybe the difficulty of the task would make me appreciate the Nicene one better…

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        It’s so ironic that the page at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s website that contains the new version of the creed is headlined “What We Believe.” And then the new creed itself starts out completely in the wrong direction, with “I believe” instead of “We.”

        Is anyone at the Conference conscious of that?

      2. Kathryn Fenner

        Well, raised as a Lutheran, with a Lutheran pastor sister-in-law, I was steeped in the importance of proper theological and linguistic education–words change meanings over time, so the King James Version, beloved of so many fundamentalists, but a poetic paraphrase, not a strict translation, the KJV has many words that no long denote or, perhaps, connote what they did four or five centuries ago. Hence the rigorous education in ancient languages, etc., of Lutheran pastors–I imagine Episcopal priests and Roman Catholic priests receive a similarly rigorous education. So, I would bet the modern translation is the most accurate.
        What it does not necessarily accurately track is what you, Brad, believe. Should you not recite what YOU believe, not what the Church tells you to believe at any given Mass?

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          That’s complicated…

          Because what I believe is that at Mass, we should state together what WE believe, NOT what I believe. If I want to tell somebody what I alone believe, I’ll write a column or essay, or tell them face-to-face. I don’t expect a bunch of people to recite along with me what I, specifically, believe.

          And, as I say above, I sort of do go ahead and recite the “We believe” version, I just keep my voice low so as not to distract the other folks who are doing the official version…

          1. Kathryn Fenner

            but if you do believe, and you believe that the other congregants believe, why not say the official version? Do you not believe the others believe?

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              I’ll also admit that I’m inconsistent. In Spanish, I don’t mind saying, “Creo en un solo Dios Padre todopoderoso, Creador del cielo y de la tierra, de todo lo visible y lo invisible….”

              Because that’s the only way I’ve ever said it. Sure, I’d like it better if we said “Creemos…” instead of “Creo,” but I’m just not as pedantic in Spanish as I am in English…

          2. Pat

            The Apostles’ Creed in the Protestant vein says essentially the same thing except more concisely and meaning the universal church at the end. To me, the reason to say “I believe” rather than “We believe” is because we are engaged in individual worship though we are doing it corporately. Speaking those words out loud reminds us of our own basic beliefs, and having those basic beliefs in common with the other worshipers reinforces our common bond.

            1. Kathryn Fenner

              Catholics have the Apostles Creed, too, right?
              Lutherans and Episcopalians say the Nicene Creed when there is a communion/eucharist service, and the Apostles for less formal ones. There’s one service when you say the Athenasian Creed, which is really trippy.

            2. Pat

              Kathryn, I must profess ignorance about denominations using both longer and shorter creeds. The Presbyterian church where I used to attend only used the Apostles’ Creed. Baptists don’t define themselves by creed though their statement of faith covers all the bases of the Apostles’ Creed.

  7. Dave Crockett

    I thought of Douglas Adams while watching the reports on the successful test of the new Orion spacecraft:
    “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.

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