We never exchange more than three words with a Friend in our lives on that level to which our thoughts and feelings almost habitually rise.
(Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 1, p. 281, Houghton Mifflin (1906).)
It was the supreme expression of the mediocrity of the apparatus that Stalin himself rose to his position.
(Leon Trotsky (1879-1940), Russian revolutionary. My Life, ch. 40 (1930).
In his last book, Stalin (published 1947), drafted while in exile in Mexico, Trotsky wrote: "Our paths diverged so long ago and so far, and in my eyes he is so much the instrument of historical forces that are alien and hostile to me, that my feelings towards him differ little from those I have towards Hitler or the Mikado. The personal element burned out long ago." Trotsky was assassinated on Stalin's orders before the book could be finished.)