26 Apr 2014

Unquote

I'm not really good at remembering famous quotes.

I've seen people who can pluck inspiring sentences from their respected idols, as easily as recalling their emergency contact numbers. Some of them can weave them nicely into essays or speeches to lend strength to their own words. I'm hopeless at that though. I don't have as great of a catalogue of quotes at my disposal.

Not that I really felt I needed one anyway. I might find certain quotes interesting, in that it provokes thoughts based around the underlying idea behind the quote, and why the person might have said the quote. But I'm not one to pass quotes around. I'm the type that reads quotes, derives lessons from them, and moves on, probably forgetting about the quotes but not the lessons.

Really. I don't have a selection of quotes that I always keep in mind. Why retain the essence of the ideas in a restricted form?

I suppose one reason is to do better in written essay tests. I don't deny that with the appropriate quotes, arguments get strength. Though to me, it usually seemed like a false strength. I mean, the only thing I get out of seeing someone insert a quote is that 1) the quoter is to a certain extent well-read, at least with regards to the relevant fields that the "quotee" is associated with, and 2) the quoter and "quotee" are of similar opinions. But does that necessarily mean the arguments being put forth by the quoter are therefore convincing?

Another, I guess, is to liven up conversation. If I were to seamlessly integrate a topical and fascinating quote into the dialogue, it could give the impression that I'm intelligent and aware of the conversational topic, if not passionate about it. Though I could do the same without using quotes. I could recall the gist of past incidents related to the topic. I could contribute my own related experiences.

Maybe it's just me, in that I don't like memorising words. I can deal with storing and compartmentalising the abstract concepts underlying the words, and then reform them into words more natural to me when I need to express them. Trying to take in quotes strictly as they are into my head seems like an unnecessary use of extra energy, when I can get the gist after spending some time re-reading and analysing, and then not have to keep looking at the quote multiple times again.

So rather than using quotes as tools to "enhance" people's impression of me, I use them as personal stepping stones towards developing my own insights. I can still appreciate the occasional beauty of cleverly crafted words by the "quotee", but that's not really worth committing the quote to a tee in my opinion.


If you find that you can wield the power of quotations with ease and skill, then by all means continue what you do best. I prefer to stick to different weapons of wit and thought.