When the Okies Migrated To California, It Raised the I.Q. in Both States

Will Rogers? Robert Muldoon? Herbert L. Carver? Anthony S. Rogers? Harry Woodhead? Lynn T. White? Robert Ruark? Dewey F. Bartlett? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: There is a humorous remark about migration that initially seems a bit paradoxical. Here are two versions:

When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, they raised the average intelligence level in both states.

When all those New Zealanders went to Australia, the average IQ in both countries was lifted considerably.

This phenomenon occurs when the migrating group have an average intelligence that is lower than the mean in the starting location and higher than the mean in the destination location.

U.S. humorist Will Rogers has received credit for the first statement, and New Zealand Prime Minister Robert Muldoon has received credit for the second. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: These two quips belong to an evolving family of expressions which is difficult to trace because of its variety. The earliest match located by QI appeared in 1939 within the “McComb Daily Journal” of Mississippi. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

Puzzle: You name the counties:
A man is said to have moved from one south Mississippi county to another, and when he did he raised the intelligence level of both counties.

The joke above referred to a single person moving instead of a group migrating, but the idea was the same. The jest appeared in a column by Herbert L. Carver.

Will Rogers died in 1935. He received credit for an instance in 1970. But this late citation provided only very weak evidence. Robert Muldoon received credit from an eyewitness in 1990. But this joke schema was already quite old in 1990.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading When the Okies Migrated To California, It Raised the I.Q. in Both States

Notes:

  1. 1939 April 6, McComb Daily Journal, The Jackson Go-Round by Herbert L. Carver, Quote Page 5, Column 5, McComb, Mississippi. (Newspapers_com)

The Rain Will Stop; The Night Will End; The Hurt Will Fade. Hope Is Never So Lost That It Can’t Be Found

Ernest Hemingway? Mandy Hale? The Single Woman? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: I recently encountered a quotation using evocative language about the rain stopping and the night ending. The quotation emphasized that one should feel hopeful. Oddly, the famous author Ernest Hemingway received credit for the remark, but I do not think it sounds anything like him. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence supporting the ascription to Ernest Hemingway.

The earliest close match located by QI appeared in a tweet dated February 18, 2013 from @TheSingleWoman which is the handle used by author Mandy Hale. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

The rain WILL stop, the night WILL end, the hurt WILL fade. Hope is never so lost that it can’t be found. #TheSW

The hash tag within the tweet signaled that “TheSW”, i.e., Mandy Hale, was taking credit for the statement.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Rain Will Stop; The Night Will End; The Hurt Will Fade. Hope Is Never So Lost That It Can’t Be Found

Notes:

  1. Tweet, From: The Single Woman @TheSingleWoman, Time: 1:00 AM, Date: Feb 18, 2013, Text: The rain WILL stop, the night WILL end, the hurt WILL fade … (Accessed on twitter.com on October 8, 2021) link

For Progress There Is No Cure

John von Neumann? R.L. Duffus? Albert Wohlstetter? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The remarkable recent advances in the field of artificial intelligence have produced feelings of excitement and foreboding. Power, hope, and danger are intertwined with technological discoveries. A famous scientist emphasized the inevitability of challenges:

For progress there is no cure.

Would you please explore the provenance of this remark?

Quote Investigator: In the 1950s the editors of “Fortune” magazine invited several prominent individuals to predict future developments for the 1980s. The resultant essays were printed in the magazine and collected in the 1956 book “The Fabulous Future America In 1980”. The mathematician, physicist, and polymath John von Neumann penned a piece titled “Can We Survive Technology?” He discussed nuclear weapons, nuclear power, climate control, and automated systems. He believed that the difficulties and opportunities facing humanity were momentous. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

For progress there is no cure. Any attempt to find automatically safe channels for the present explosive variety of progress must lead to frustration. The only safety possible is relative, and it lies in an intelligent exercise of day-to-day judgment.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading For Progress There Is No Cure

Notes:

  1. 1956, The Fabulous Future America In 1980, Introduction by the Editors of Fortune Magazine, Can We Survive Technology by John von Neumann, Start Page 33, Quote Page 46 and 47, E. P. Dutton & Company, New York. (Verified with scans)

It’s Easier To Act Your Way Into a New Way of Thinking Than To Think Your Way Into a New Way of Acting

John S. White? F. J. Finch? Glenn Franc? E. Stanley Jones? Orval Hobart Mowrer? Harry Emerson Fosdick? J. P. Allen? Zig Ziglar? Bruce Norman? Susan Glaser? John C. Maxwell? Jerry Sternin? Millard Fuller?

Dear Quote Investigator: In self-help and motivation books I’ve encountered the following saying:

It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.

This remark employs a rhetorical technique called chiasmus. The first phrase is repeated while some of its words are cleverly re-ordered. Would you please explore the provenance of this expression?

Quote Investigator: This adage belongs to an evolving collection of expressions with changing vocabulary that each employ chiasmus. Here is a sampling with dates. The phrasing varies, and these assertions are not all logically equivalent:

1930: easier to act yourself into right thinking than to think yourself into right acting. (Spoken by John S. White or F. J. Finch)

1932: easier to live yourself into right thinking than it is to think yourself into right living. (Attributed to Glenn Franc)

1937: easier to act your way into right thinking than to think your way into right acting. (E. Stanley Jones)

1959: easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of acting. (Anonymous)

1959: easier to act your way into a new way of feeling than to feel your way into a new way of acting. (O. Hobart Mowrer)

1961: easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than to think yourself into a new way of acting. (Attributed to E. Stanley Jones)

1965: easier to act yourself into a new way of feeling than to feel your way into a new way of acting. (Attributed to O. Hobart Mowrer)

1969: easier to act your way into new ways of thinking than to think your way into new ways of acting. (J. P. Allen)

1979: easier to behave your way into a new way of thinking than to think your way into a new way of behaving (Called “Kegley’s Principle of Change” by John Peers)

The first saying in this family was employed in 1930 during a Sunday School Convention held in Nebraska. The two main speakers were John S. White, general secretary of Nebraska, and F. J. Finch, educational director for the Methodists of Nebraska. The local newspaper reported that one of these gentlemen employed the saying, but the precise orator was unidentified. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

Much food for thought was left by these men in statements such as “It is easier to act yourself into right thinking than to think yourself into right acting.” “Stop preaching religion and live it, practice it in your everyday life.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading It’s Easier To Act Your Way Into a New Way of Thinking Than To Think Your Way Into a New Way of Acting

Notes:

  1. 1930 June 26, The Herman Record, S. S. Convention Very Successful, Quote Page 1, Column 4, Herman, Nebraska. (Newspapers_com)

Not Everything That Is Faced Can Be Changed; But Nothing Can Be Changed Until It Is Faced

James Baldwin? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The prominent writer James Baldwin crafted a brilliant two part statement about purposeful literature:

Not everything that is faced can be changed.
But nothing can be changed until it is faced.

The word “everything” was converted to its antonym “nothing” in the second part. Also, the key words “faced” and “changed” were reordered. Thus, Baldwin employed a modified version of the ancient rhetorical technique of chiasmus. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1962 James Baldwin penned an essay titled “As Much Truth As One Can Bear” in “The New York Times Book Review”. He presented his thoughts about the crucial task of contemporary authors: Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

We are the generation that must throw everything into the endeavor to remake America into what we say we want it to be. Without this endeavor, we will perish.
. . .
Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

In 1989 the quotation appeared in “Webster’s New World Best Book of Aphorisms”: 2

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
—James Baldwin

In 1997 the saying appeared in “Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes” 3 and in 2006 it appeared in “Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing”. 4

In conclusion, James Baldwin deserves credit for this remark.

(Thanks to the volunteer editors of Wikiquote and quotation specialists Barry Popik and Mardy Grothe who listed the 1962 citation for this quotation.)

Notes:

  1. 1962 January 14, The New York Times, Section: The New York Times Book Review, As Much Truth As One Can Bear by James Baldwin, Start Page BR1, Quote Page BR38, Column 5, New York. (ProQuest)
  2. 1989, Webster’s New World Best Book of Aphorisms by Auriel Douglas and Michael Strumpf, Topic: Change, Quote Page 72, Arco Publishing: A Division of Simon & Schuster, New York. (Verified with scans)
  3. 1997, Reader’s Digest Quotable Quotes: Wit and Wisdom for All Occasions, Quote Page 104,Published by Reader’s Digest Association, Pleasantville, New York. (Verified with hardcopy)
  4. 2006, Wisdom for the Soul: Five Millennia of Prescriptions for Spiritual Healing, Compiled and Edited by Larry Chang, Section: Change, Quote Page 114, Column 1, Gnosophia Publishers, Washington, D.C. (Verified with scans)

A Place and Station To Which Our Tradition and Undying Genius Entitle Us

Winston Churchill? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Winston Churchill once spoke about the “undying genius” of his fellow citizens while exhorting them to make a “supreme effort” to maintain a successful country. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1952 Winston Churchill visited his alma mater, the Harrow School in London, and delivered a speech which was described in “The Yorkshire Post” 1 and the “Manchester Guardian”. He spoke about Britain’s future after the extreme experiences of WW2. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 2

You must not suppose that the troubles of Britain are over . . .
On the contrary, we may feel that in the world which has grown so much vaster all round us and towers up about us, we in this small island have to make a supreme effort to keep our place and station, a place and station to which our tradition and undying genius entitle us. A great effort is required and you, to whom much of the future belongs, will play your part in this proud, equal, democratic England.

Below is one more citation and a conclusion.

Continue reading A Place and Station To Which Our Tradition and Undying Genius Entitle Us

Notes:

  1. 1952 November 8, The Yorkshire Post, Mr. Churchill at his old school: Hears Harrow boys sing songs he selected, Quote Page 1, Column 6, Yorkshire, England. (British Newspaper Archive)
  2. 1952 November 8, Manchester Guardian, Sixty Years On: Mr Churchill Hears Harrovians Sing, Quote Page 10, Column 2, Manchester, England. (Newspapers_com) link

One Idiot Is One Idiot. Two Idiots Are Two Idiots. Ten Thousand Idiots Are a Political Party

Franz Kafka? Leo Longanesi? Robert Browning? Jean Anouilh? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A derisive remark aimed at politically motivated groups of people has been attributed to the influential short-story writer Franz Kafka. Here is the German version followed by an English translation:

Ein Idiot ist ein Idiot. Zwei Idioten sind zwei Idioten. Zehntausend Idioten sind eine politische Partei.

One idiot is one idiot. Two idiots are two idiots. Ten thousand idiots are a political party.

I have been unable to find a solid citation, and I am skeptical of this attribution. Would you please explore this remark?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence supporting the attribution to Kafka. Instead, QI believes that the statement evolved from a remark published in 1947 by Italian satirist and journalist Leo Longanesi within his book “Parliamo dell’Elefante: Frammenti di un Diario” (“Let’s Talk About the Elephant: Fragments of a Diary”). A near match appeared in an entry dated December 15, 1938. Here is the Italian text followed by one possible English translation. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

Fanfare, bandiere, parate.
Uno stupido è uno stupido. Due stupidi sono due stupidi. Diecimila stupidi sono una forza storica.

Fanfare, flags, parades.
One fool is one fool. Two fools are two fools. Ten thousand fools are a historical force.

During the ensuing decades variants began to circulate in multiple languages. The phrase “historical force” was changed to “political party”, and the ascription was changed to Kafka.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading One Idiot Is One Idiot. Two Idiots Are Two Idiots. Ten Thousand Idiots Are a Political Party

Notes:

  1. 2017 (First published 1947), Parliamo dell’Elefante: Frammenti di un Diario (Let’s Talk About the Elephant: Fragments of a Diary) by Leo Longanesi, Diary Date: 15 dicembre 1938 (December 15, 1938), Published by Longanesi, Milano, Italy. (Digital Edition)

In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity

Albert Einstein? John Archibald Wheeler? A. P. Barton? Bertram Carr? Mirjana R. Gearhart? H. Jackson Brown Jr.? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Everyone experiences challenges and difficulties. Happily, while surmounting these obstacles it is often possible to glimpse wonderful possibilities for the future. Here is a pertinent saying:

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

This phrase has often been attributed to the famous scientist Albert Einstein. Would you please explore the provenance of this saying?

Quote Investigator: The attribution to Einstein is spurious. The saying appears in a section titled “Misattributed to Einstein” in “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein” from Princeton University Press. 1

The phrase can be traced back to John Archibald Wheeler, a prominent U.S. theoretical physicist whose research included work on general relativity and quantum information. Wheeler stated that he discussed physics with Albert Einstein “from time to time over a span of 21 years”. Wheeler published a piece about Einstein in “Newsweek” magazine in 1979. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 2

There were three additional rules of Einstein’s work that stand out for use in our science, our problems, and our times. First, out of clutter find simplicity. Second, from discord make harmony. Third, in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

The quotation under examination appeared as the third rule above, but these rules were written by Wheeler and not by Einstein. Wheeler was describing his reaction to Einstein’s’ efforts and accomplishments. Thus, this precise formulation may be attributed to Wheeler; however, the idea being communicated by the quotation has a long history.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity

Notes:

  1. 2010, The Ultimate Quotable Einstein, Edited by Alice Calaprice, Section: Misattributed to Einstein, Quote Page 480, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. (Verified on paper)
  2. 1979 March 12, Newsweek, Volume 93, Issue 11, The Outsider by John Archibald Wheeler, Start Page 67, Quote Page 67, Column 1, Newsweek, New York. (ProQuest)

Be Alone, That Is the Secret of Invention; Be Alone, That Is When Ideas Are Born

Nikola Tesla? Orrin E. Dunlap Jr.? Thomas P. Hughes? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The famous inventor and futurist Nikola Tesla apparently said the following:

Be alone, that is the secret of invention.

Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1934 Nikola Tesla was interviewed in “The New York Times” by journalist Orrin E. Dunlap Jr, and the brilliant innovator highlighted the value of separateness: 1

“It is providential that the youth or man of inventive mind is not ‘blessed’ with a million dollars,” said Mr. Tesla. “He would find it difficult to think. The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. No big laboratory is needed in which to think.

Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone, that is the secret of invention; be alone, that is when ideas are born.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Be Alone, That Is the Secret of Invention; Be Alone, That Is When Ideas Are Born

Notes:

  1. 1934 April 8, New York Times, An Inventor’s Seasoned Ideas: Nikola Tesla, Pointing to ‘Grievous Errors’ of the Past by Orrin E. Dunlap Jr., Quote Page X9, Column 1 and 2, New York. (ProQuest)

Plenty of Hope; Infinite Hope; Just Not for Us

Franz Kafka? Max Brod? Jonathan Franzen? Josef Paul Hodin? Georg Lukács? Harold Bloom? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: In 2019 acclaimed author Jonathan Franzen wrote an essay in “The New Yorker” that began with the following remark of despair attributed to the influential Prague-born writer Franz Kafka.

There is infinite hope; only not for us.

Here are two longer versions I have seen:

(1) Oh, hope enough, infinite hope, — just not for us.
(2) Plenty of hope—for God—no end of hope—only not for us.

Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: Max Brod was a friend and a biographer of Franz Kafka. In 1921 he published a piece titled “Der Dichter Franz Kafka” (“The Poet Franz Kafka”) in the literary journal “Die Neue Rundschau”. Brod described a conversation he held with his friend in 1920. Below is an excerpt in German followed by one possible translation into English. Boldface added by QI: 1

„Wir sind,“ so sagte er, „nihilistische Gedanken, Selbstmordgedanken, die in Gottes Kopf aufsteigen“. Mich erinnerte das zuerst an das Weltbild der Gnosis: Gott als böser Demiurg, die Welt sein Sündenfall. „O nein,“ meinte er, „unsere Welt ist nur eine schlechte Laune Gottes, ein schlechter Tag.“ — „So gäbe es außerhalb dieser Erscheinungsform Welt, die wir kennen, Hoffnung?“ — Er lächelte: „Oh Hoffnung genug, unendlich viel Hoffnung, — nur nicht für uns.“

“We are,” he said, “nihilistic thoughts, suicidal thoughts that rise up in God’s head”. This reminded me of the worldview of the Gnostics: God is an evil demiurge; the world reflects his fall into sin. “Oh no,” he said, “our world is just a bad mood of God, a bad day.” — “So outside of this world manifestation, which we know, would there be a world that knows hope?” — He smiled: “Oh, hope enough, infinite hope, — just not for us.”

The correctness of this quotation is dependent upon the veracity of Max Brod. In addition, the precise phrasing in English varies because of the inherent imprecision of translations.

Below are additional selected citations.

Continue reading Plenty of Hope; Infinite Hope; Just Not for Us

Notes:

  1. 1921 November, Die Neue Rundschau (The New Rundschau), Der Dichter Franz Kafka (The Poet Franz Kafka) by Max Brod, Start Page 1210, Quote Page 1213, Fischer Verlag, Berlin, Germany. (HathiTrust Full View) link