Courtesy Quotes (2 quotes)
It is best to attenuate the virulence of our adversaries with the chloroform of courtesy and flattery, much as bacteriologists disarm a pathogen by converting it into a vaccine.
In Charlas de Café: pensamientos, anécdotas y confidencias (1920, 1967), 32. (Café Chats: Thoughts, Anecdotes and Confidences). As translated in Peter McDonald (ed.) Oxford Dictionary of Medical Quotations (2004), 83. From the original Spanish, “Cuando no se ha nacido rico y es fuerza, por tanto, luchar por la existencia, la más hábil y piadosa conducta consiste en adormecer y atenuar la toxicidad de nuestros émulos y adversarios con el cloroformo de la cortesía y del halago. Procedamos como el bacteriólogo que, en la imposibilidad de aniquilar al microbio, opta por embolarlo, es decir, por convertirlo en saludable vacuna.” A more literal translation attempted by Webmaster using Google Translate is “When you are not born rich and mighty, thus, struggle for existence, the most shrewd and pious behavior is to calm and reduce the toxicity of our rivals and adversaries with the chloroform of politeness and flattery. Proceed as the bacteriologist who, unable to kill the microbe, opt for embolization (?), ie, by converting it into a healthy vaccine.”
The cell phone has transformed public places into giant phone-a-thons in which callers exist within narcissistic cocoons of private conversations. Like faxes, computer modems and other modern gadgets that have clogged out lives with phony urgency, cell phones represent the 20th Century’s escalation of imaginary need. We didn’t need cell phones until we had them. Clearly, cell phones cause not only a breakdown of courtesy, but the atrophy of basic skills.