Quote of the Day

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

–Theodore Roosevelt

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

3 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. I often think of the Roosevelt quotation when I ponder the extent to which ‘good intentions’ are good enough. The sailor waiting for calm waters, as they say, may never set sail at all.

    Of course, a healthy antidote to whenever I fall on Roosevelt’s side of that argument (the side that advocates getting into the fray even despite the opprobrium of the critics) is the great counter-argument by Foucault:

    “People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what what they do does.”
    –(“Madness and Civilization”)

    1. Interesting, that Foucalt quote sounds like a parallel to what Dick Cheney said, in a roundabout way:

      We know what we know, and we mostly know what we don’t know, but what we don’t know we don’t know can cause real problems.

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