Why I like quotes

Quotes condense lifetimes of learning into bite-sized sentences. By themselves, they’re nothing. But add their backdrop, and they’re reminders for what you can’t remember.

Like I can’t remember all of Elie Wiesel’s life. I barely recall two sentences from his first memoir, Night, which pulls heavily from his Holocaust experience and happens to be one of my favorite books. I do remember one quote, though, from a speech he gave at the White House:

“The opposite of love is not hate – it’s indifference.” -Elie Wiesel

I might have glossed over this line if someone else had said it. But coming from a Holocaust survivor, someone who remembers in detail how much indifference costs, I can’t forget it.

No one can remember a lifetime all at once. Most of us can’t remember even one lesson. But we can remember a quote because a quote can distill a lifetime into a sentence. I like that.

The other reason I like quotes is because, for the most part, they come from other people. Satan’s sleaziest trick was convincing the world to rely on personal experience. Yes, learn from personal experience, but even better, learn from other people’s experience. Quotes remind us to do that.

I like that too. And this, because I’m not the only one:

“The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.” -Benjamin Disraeli