Clarification: When I write, I don't prepare or organize my ideas, I just write what I would say if I was talking to you in person, so sometimes my blogs end up a little messy. I don't even proof-read what I write before posting it so you may find grammatical mistakes and poorly written sentences. Sometimes I'll read my blogs a day or two after publishing them and I may re-write things that weren't too clear and any embarrassing grammatical mistake. Also, English is not my first language, so I apologize if reading my blogs become a struggle. Of course, if this is the case, I would imagine you wouldn't continue reading.

Apr 10, 2013

The Uselessness Of Quotes

I don't think I can remember the last time when I didn't read on the internet at least one quote during the course of a day. Can you? Quotes are part of the memes/funny pictures proliferation phenomenon and just like them, they are everywhere across the social networks. Well, not quotes, but the pictures of quotes, which is the current preferred sharing format. The oral and text versions of quotes (the old school way) are also used but are not nearly as popular, probably because they require more effort and are not as fun as the colorful cool/cute pictures everyone likes.


How many thousands of Pinterest boards exist with titles like "Inspiring", "Quotes To Live By", or "Thoughts For The Soul", that are dedicated to collect all these colorful pictures of words? There's all kinds of quotes, we have the insightful quotes, the inspirational "never give up" type of quotes, the humorous quotes, the religious (or anti-religion)/spiritual quotes, and the more political quotes. Then we have the out-of-context quotes, the misquotes, and the fake quotes, which often become even more popular than the real ones, but we'll get back to this in a little bit. In any case, it's clear that the message, whatever it is, is being broadcast to the whole world via pictures of words. Fortunately, it's a positive message for the most part.

While it's very likely this viral-quote frenzy has some sort of cultural and social effect, I think quotes have been vastly overestimated. In fact, I consider most of those words of wisdom useless. Even before pictures-of-text inundated our every day cyber-lives, back when people used the old copy/paste technique, I've always found quotes a little deceiving, like pieces of knowledge that appear more important than what they really are, to an almost annoying point. There are really good quotes, of course, some of which have blown my mind because they have made me think in ways that I've never considered before, for whatever reason. Those quotes illuminate the path to new perspectives and/or approaches, helping us to break away from old paradigms. But I've not encountered those types of quotes too often. The quotes I read 90% of the time are far less impressive, and fall into three categories: opinions/beliefs, inspirational anecdotal crap, and "duh", and I think I don't even need to explain what's the difference between them for you to figure it out.

Think about it for a minute, first, who are the people saying these things? Mostly celebrities, and the occasional admirable or heroic historical figures, who are nothing more than celebrities who died long ago. They all are people like you and me, and despite their fame or success, many of them aren't really the holders of any special kind of wisdom. Some of them are probably a lot less virtuous and intelligent than you or me, but regardless of that, most of those pictures of  words that get re-posted over and over are nothing but opinions. Is Will Smith's opinion more legit than my own? Does he possess more insight into human nature? What has he done that makes him quotable while no one cares about what I say? He may have some credentials that make him legit, who knows? But it's not only Will Smith or any other celeb, even the truly admirable ones, like Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Joan of Arc, or Jesus Christ (man, Bible quoters are the worst!), what are they gonna tell me? Never give up? Treat others like I'd like to be treated? Expect weird shit in my life? Thank you, guys! Now my life is so much easier!

Sometimes these quotes are plain lies, I mean, sure it's cool to know that someone never gave up and eventually achieved their dreams, but how many more people have worked harder and got nothing but a life of misery? Not trying to be a pessimist or anything, but I think the reason for so many heartbroken and jaded people is this false hope they have, this belief that dreams always come true if you are persistent. Bollocks! I'll tell you the truth right now, which you'll read, ignore and forget in less than 30 minutes, but I'll tell you anyway: if you are working towards your dream because you think it will eventually become true, you can stop right now, don't bother. If you're going to do anything, do it because you love doing it, not because you think you're really going to conquer the world, period. Sure, it'd be nice if your passion leads to a wonderful life of success, but this shouldn't be the reason you are doing what you do. This is the best advice you could follow, but probably won't.

OK, I'll stop ruining your dreams and big plans now.

Anyway, I went and checked one of those Pinterest boards dedicated to quotes and these are some of the things I've found:

Quote #1: Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. - Earl Nightingale.

Unless you have infinite time, this is bullshit. OK, this is not entirely bullshit, the time will pass for sure, that's correct. What I'm calling bullshit is not what's written, but that "all dreams come true in the end" feeling you get from it. I don't know who Earl Nightingale is.

Quote #2: Nothing is impossible, the word itself says "I'm possible". - Audrey Hepburn

I kinda agree that nothing is impossible, but what a terrible quote this is, jeez.

Quote #3: A smile is the best makeup any girl can wear. -Anonymous

And judging by the picture (below), it's also the best dress. Guys, on the other hand, don't need  smiles or pants, right?

Quote #4: If a girl understands your bullshit, sticks through your mistakes, smiles even when you've done nothing for her, it's obvious she's a keeper. But it's also obvious you don't deserve her. -Lil Wayne.

Lil Wayne? Dafuck? Why don't you quote Hitler too?

Quote #5: Surround yourself with those who make you happy. - Anonymous.

I would have been so lost had I not read this, whoever wrote it must be a genius.

Quote #6: Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much, of your mind, feelings and emotions. -Will Smith

We have already established that Mr. Smith has quotable credentials, so make sure you do follow his enlightening advice. Whatever.

Quote #7: The three things a guy should want to change about his girl is her last name, address, and her viewpoint on me. -Kid Cudi

Probably the best one, because it works if you're with the perfect girlfriend, or if you're married to a psycho-bitch. But who the fuck is Kid Cudi?

And the list could go on forever with millions of other bullshit quotes from famous or semi-famous people. Seriously, do you really need to read a picture of the words that Will Smith said to think about that on your own? Even some of the quotes from truly important figures seem rather un-enlightening. Take for example this one:

Sure, what he says is very true, however, even if we ignore the fact that it's been said several other times long before Mandela, how barbaric someone has to be to not realize how important education is? It's a piece of knowledge that adds as much value to your life as me letting you know that gravity is what makes the planets stay in orbit around the sun. Give me the same quote said by someone 4000 years ago instead, and while it'd still add no value to my life, it'd be pretty impressive.

Now, back to these infamous misquotes and fake quotes, which not only seem to be surfacing at an alarming pace, but that apparently not many really care about stopping or correcting. I recently started a Facebook page called Pooping Your Party, which is dedicated to point out all the fake quotes-pics or fact-pics, as well as flawed-reasoning viral pictures that people keep sharing left and right. It's not a really serious page, I do it for fun, mainly because pooping on other people's parties is fun, you know. Here are a couple of examples of things I've posted there:


I may not be making the world a better place or anything, but at least I'm trying. But you know what's been really surprising? That in many instances when I've made the effort to research and provide solid evidence that someone may be sharing an "inspiring quote" that's pretty much a load of shit (because I don't want my friends to look like dumbasses by spreading misinformative -is this even a word?- crap), I've simply been told that they don't care because they like what the "quote" says. And after they say that, one of their Facebook friends will come and leave a comment saying something like "this is truly beautiful", or some shit. What's up with that? Am I the only one who thinks there's something wrong with this? Maybe I'm the one who's making an ass of himself and maybe I shouldn't worry about these things. Maybe I'm just wasting my time, maybe so. It's still a lot of fun to poop of people's parties, though. 

Anyways, I'm going to stop my useless rambling now, but before I do, I'd like to leave you with a quote of my own: 



IOYOI said...

"A clean house is a sign of a wasted life": a very stupid quote that swept my guilt. Not so useless!

CE54R said...

See, that's not a bad quote, because it's more like an old saying. I like it. Plus, it applies to me since my house is usually clean.

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