Human life cannot be formless. We live by patterns. We move in comradeships. Conformity is evil when it distorts, flattens, and erases fruitful ways, strong ideas, natural identities; it is evil when it is a steamroller. But a man cannot escape being part of a milieu - and a recognizable part - unless he flees naked to a cave, never to return. The sensible thing is to use hard thinking to find the right way to live and then to live that way. What matters is living with dignity, with decency, and without fear.
Let us fill a cup and drink to that most noble, ridiculous, laughable, sublime figure in our lives... The Young Man Who Was. Let us drink to his dreams, for they were rainbow-colored; to his appetites, for they were strong; to his blunders, for they were huge; to his pains for they were sharp; to his time for it was brief; and to his end, for it was to become one of us.
The Navy is a master plan designed by geniuses for execution by idiots. If you're not an idiot, but find yourself in the Navy, you can only operate well by pretending to be one.
The Talmud is to this day the circulating heart's blood of the Jewish religion. Whatever laws, customs or ceremonies we observe-whether we are orthodox, conservative, reform or merely spasmodic sentimentalists-we follow the Talmud. It is our common Law.
I think it's a bit like coming to the end of a book. The plot's in its thickest, all the characters are in a mess, but you can see that there aren't fifty pages left, and you know that the finish can't be far off.