A deck of cards first published in 1975 for stimulating the mind during composition of music. The deck had its origins in the discovery by Brian Eno that both he and his friend Peter Schmidt, a British painter used the same technique informally. They each used hand made cards to break a 'stuck point' and continue moving on a given work. These desks of cards tended to keep a set of basic working principles which guided them through the kinds of moments of pressure - either working through a heavy painting session or watching the clock tick while you're running up an expensive studio bill. Both Schmidt and Eno realized that the pressures of time tended to steer them away from the ways of thinking they found most productive when the pressure was off. The Strategies were, then, a way to remind themselves of those habits of thinking - to jog the mind.

It's not clear from any other sources I've so far run across whether the cards were explicitly intended to be oracular at the outset (that is, whether or not Peter Schmidt and Eno necessarily saw them exclusively as a "single instruction/single response" kind of "game"). The introductory cards included in all three versions of the Oblique Strategies suggest otherwise. It seems clear, also, that the deck was not conceived of as a set of "fixed" instructions, but rather a group of ideas to be added to or modified over time; each of the three decks included 4 or 5 blank cards, intended to be filled and used as needed.

Here are the cards themselves:

  • Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities
  • Don't be frightened of cliches
  • What is the reality of the situation?
  • Are there sections? Consider transitions
  • Turn it upside down
  • Think of the radio
  • Allow an easement (an easement is the abandonment of a stricture)
  • Simple subtraction
  • Go slowly all the way round the outside
  • A line has two sides
  • Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last thing on the list
  • Into the impossible
  • Ask people to work against their better judgement
  • Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance
  • Infinitesimal gradations
  • Change instrument roles
  • Accretion
  • Disconnect from desire
  • Emphasize repetitions
  • Don't be afraid of things because they're easy to do
  • Don't be frightened to display your talents
  • Breathe more deeply
  • Honor thy error as a hidden intention
  • Only one element of each kind
  • Is there something missing?
  • Use `unqualified' people
  • How would you have done it?
  • Emphasize differences
  • Do nothing for as long as possible
  • Bridges -build -burn
  • You don't have to be ashamed of using your own ideas
  • Tidy up
  • Do the words need changing?
  • Ask your body
  • Water
  • Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action; incorporate
  • Consult other sources -promising -unpromising
  • Use an unacceptable color
  • Humanize something free of error
  • Use filters
  • Fill every beat with something
  • Discard an axiom
  • What wouldn't you do?
  • Decorate, decorate
  • Balance the consistency principle with the inconsistency principle
  • Listen to the quiet voice
  • Is it finished?
  • Put in earplugs
  • Give the game away
  • Abandon normal instruments
  • Use fewer notes
  • Repetition is a form of change
  • Give way to your worst impulse
  • Reverse
  • Trust in the you of now
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • Distorting time
  • Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame
  • blank white card
  • Ghost echoes
  • You can only make one dot at a time
  • Just carry on
  • (Organic) machinery
  • The inconsistency principle
  • Don't break the silence
  • Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
  • Cascades
  • Courage!
  • What mistakes did you make last time?
  • Consider different fading systems
  • Mute and continue
  • It is quite possible (after all)
  • Don't stress one thing more than another
  • You are an engineer
  • Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics
  • Look at the order in which you do things
  • Go outside. Shut the door.
  • Do we need holes?
  • Cluster analysis
  • Do something boring
  • Define an area as `safe' and use it as an anchor
  • Overtly resist change
  • Accept advice
  • Work at a different speed
  • Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify them
  • Mechanicalize something idiosyncratic
  • Emphasize the flaws
  • Remember .those quiet evenings
  • Take a break
  • Short circuit (example; a man eating peas with the idea that they will improve his virility shovels them straight into his lap)
  • Use an old idea
  • Destroy -nothing -the most important thing
  • Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency
  • The tape is now the music

Related nodes:


Sources: http://www.nashville.net/~bryrock/eno/oblique.html http://www.rtqe.net/ObliqueStrategies/ http://pinche.net/eno/ Last Updated 02.25.03

Summary

Oblique Strategies is a deck of cards with words on them. These words are intended to inspire the mind and excite the creative energies in an artist, engineer, or anyone who is grappling with a problem they can't solve. The intent of the cards is to offer a completely random, wholly objective and interpersonal source from which to bounce off ideas. The cards have no alterior motive. Their only real purpose is to get one to look at any dilemma from a new and innovative direction. The cards are not supposed to solve problems, but they can be used as a tool to help one get to that solution to any given problem. At least in theory.

History

The first edition of Oblique Strategies were published in 1975 by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. Two more editions were published prior to 1980. They were published in the form of a deck of cards. Upon each card was printed one of the many observations Eno and Schmidt had made during their work together. These observations were found to be principles underlying their efforts and accomplishments, based upon intuition and intellect. The early editions were relatively simple. The cards were about three inches by four inches, solid black on one side, and each card had one maxim or saying printed in undramatic ten point sans serif font face. Each deck came in a small black box with "Oblique Strategies.. Brian Eno/Peter Schmidt" printed on the box. Only 150 of the first edition were made. The other two editions were only a bit more aggressively produced, perhaps five hundred to a thousand copies exist today worldwide.

Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt were long-time friends and collaborators on many creative, engineering projects. In 1980, Peter Schmidt met an untimely death in Spain, which unceremoniously ended their collaboration, and for many years Brian Eno refused to continue public work on Oblique Strategies, in honor of his fallen friend. Eno remained the curator, but it seemed to somehow profit or commercially make the Oblique Strategies available without his friend there to share the joy with him... Well, anything further on that would be speculation based on uncertain assumptions. Suffice it to say the actual original decks of the Oblique Strategies have become quite rare and obscure, and the deck of cards itself never achieved mainstream popularity.

However, for Christmas of 1996 Eno decided to work with a gentleman named Peter Norton and his family. They published one final official edition. They made the cards much more elaborate, with more colorful and inspiring designs on each card. The rules were also written in several different languages on each card. There were only 4000 copies of this fourth edition made, and they were presented privately to friends and associates. It is believed this final deck has reached throughout the world, but it is nearly impossible to attain a copy, as they were not intended for the public. Other names who contributed to the fourth edition include: Arto Lindsay, Ritva Saarikko, Dieter Rot, and Stewart Brand. Eno has contemplated the Oblique Strategies occasionally since. He published a diary once which included contemplations of other aphorisms that he considered including in some future version, if ever he felt compelled to do so. As of this writing, he still has not.

Others have also contemplated such additions, most notably the Whole Earth Catalog. The Oblique Strategies were also mentioned briefly in the 1991 film Slacker directed by Richard Linklatter. However, so was a Madonna pap smear, so I'm not sure how notable the Oblique Strategies being mentioned in the film Slacker might be, come to think of it. To be fair to the film, it did mention in the dialogue five of the Oblique Strategies' maxims: "Honor thy error as a hidden intention," "Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify," "Not building a wall; making a brick," Repetition is a form of change," and "Withdrawing in disgust is not the same thing as apathy."

Function

Throughout the world people have realized a universality among these word combinations: they speak to the mind, to the heart and to the gut. Whatever obstacles a person may find in their life, meditating on one of these strategies can help a person focus towards their goal. These oblique strategies never provide answers, but they give a person impetus to look somewhere they hadn't thought of looking before. It's like having someone look over your shoulder and point out something you overlooked.

One can mull over the entire list of possibilites and choose the one most appropriate to the moment. One can opt to have a specific personal life issue in mind, or just attempt to grok the wisdom of the list as a whole without a personal issue upon which to reflect. However, we all have issues of one form or another, and exploring the list, most individuals will hear one cry out to them as words of hope, or opportunities to open the mind and think outside the box. These strategies were generally inspired by engineers and creative artists, but they speak to the entire spectrum of mankind, from architects to zoologists, and everyone in between.

Traditionally, the strategies are seen separately, on cards. An individual holds the deck in hand, contemplates a personal issue of any kind, and draws a single card from a shuffled deck. If only one card is selected, the proper procedure is to trust implicitly the advice of that strategy, even if its validity to the moment is unclear. One can choose to select more than one card as separate words of advice, or buffer it with the original situation.

"They are not final, as new ideas will present themselves, and others will become self-evident." - Brian Eno

The future of this project is unclear, but it should be pointed out that each of the decks also included blank cards, encouraging the possessor of each deck to add their own thoughts and observations to the deck. It can be surmised that this project does not have to end with the untimely passing of Peter Schmidt, but that each person can opt to create their own deck from scratch, using Eno and Schmidt's axioms as a starting point and adding their own at their leisure.

The List

The intent of this node is not to gain financially or in any other way at the expense of anyone, but to spread the knowledge of this little known but really keen neato cool idea. lara68 has brought to my attention that there is now a fifth edition, which is a public commercial release. It's available at www.enoshop.co.uk and www.roughtrade.com.

The following list includes all four of the original versions, and also includes examples from Brian Eno's own publically published diary, as well as a version made public by the Whole Earth Catalog. It should be pointed out that there were several minor differences between each of the four official editions. Also, any two people would look at this list and go, "what's that one doing there," or "I know you like this one but I prefer that one." So part of the fun of this list is the endless discussion and interpretation it can stir between friends, especially if they've all recently lubricated themselves on alcohol. A person reading this may opt to make their own makeshift version of the Oblique Strategies deck by purchasing some index cards and writing the following down by hand. Adding to or removing them as one so desires.

The Original Oblique Strategies Card Deck


Edition 1 (1975)

The Second Oblique Strategies Card Deck
Edition 2 (1978)
  • Abandon normal instruments
  • Accept advice
  • Accretion
  • A line has two sides
  • Allow an easement (an easement is the abandonment of a stricture)
  • Always first steps
  • Always give yourself credit for having more than personality (given by Arto Lindsay)
  • Are there sections? Consider transitions
  • Ask people to work against their better judgement
  • Ask your body
  • Assemble some of the instruments in a group and treat the group
  • A very small object -Its centre
  • Balance the consistency principle with the inconsistency principle
  • Be dirty
  • Be extravagant
  • Breathe more deeply
  • Bridges -build -burn
  • Cascades
  • Change instrument roles
  • Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency
  • Children's voices -speaking -singing
  • Cluster analysis
  • Consider different fading systems
  • Consult other sources -promising -unpromising
  • Convert a melodic element into a rhythmic element
  • Courage!
  • Cut a vital connection
  • Decorate, decorate
  • Define an area as `safe' and use it as an anchor
  • Destroy -nothing -the most important thing
  • Discard an axiom
  • Disciplined self-indulgence
  • Disconnect from desire
  • Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
  • Distorting time
  • Do nothing for as long as possible
  • Don't be afraid of things because they're easy to do
  • Don't be frightened of cliches
  • Don't be frightened to display your talents
  • Don't break the silence
  • Don't stress *on* thing more than another (sic)
  • Do something boring
  • Do the washing up
  • Do the words need changing?
  • Do we need holes?
  • Emphasize differences
  • Emphasize repetitions
  • Emphasize the flaws
  • Faced with a choice, do both (given by Dieter Rot)
  • Feed the recording back out of the medium
  • Fill every beat with something
  • Get your neck massaged
  • Ghost echoes
  • Give the game away
  • Give way to your worst impulse
  • Go outside. Shut the door.
  • Go slowly all the way round the outside
  • Honor thy error as a hidden intention
  • How would you have done it?
  • Humanize something free of error
  • Idiot glee (?)
  • Imagine the piece as a set of disconnected events
  • Infinitesimal gradations
  • Intentions -credibility of -nobility of -humility of
  • In total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly
  • Into the impossible
  • Is it finished?
  • Is the tuning intonation correct?
  • Is there something missing?
  • It is quite possible (after all)
  • Just carry on
  • Left channel, right channel, centre channel
  • Listen to the quiet voice
  • Look at the order in which you do things
  • Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify them
  • Lost in useless territory
  • Lowest common denominator
  • Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame
  • Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last thing on the list
  • Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action; incorporate
  • Mechanicalize something idiosyncratic
  • Mute and continue
  • Not building a wall but making a brick
  • Only one element of each kind
  • (Organic) machinery
  • Overtly resist change
  • Put in earplugs
  • Question the heroic approach
  • Remember .those quiet evenings
  • Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics
  • Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities
  • Repetition is a form of change
  • Revaluation (a warm feeling)
  • Reverse
  • Short circuit (example; a man eating peas with the idea that they will improve his virility shovels them straight into his lap)
  • Simple subtraction
  • Simply a matter of work
  • Spectrum analysis
  • State the problem in words as simply as possible
  • Take a break
  • Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance
  • Tape your mouth (given by Ritva Saarikko)
  • The inconsistency principle
  • The most important thing is the thing most easily forgotten
  • The tape is now the music
  • Think of the radio
  • Tidy up
  • Towards the insignificant
  • Trust in the you of now
  • Turn it upside down
  • Twist the spine
  • Use an old idea
  • Use an unacceptable color
  • Use fewer notes
  • Use filters
  • Use `unqualified' people
  • Water
  • What are the sections sections of? Imagine a caterpillar moving
  • What are you really thinking about just now?
  • What is the reality of the situation?
  • What mistakes did you make last time?
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • What wouldn't you do?
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • Work at a different speed
  • You are an engineer
  • You can only make one dot at a time
  • You don't have to be ashamed of using your own ideas

The Third Oblique Strategies Card Deck
Edition 3 (1979)
  • Abandon normal instruments
  • Accept advice
  • Accretion
  • A line has two sides
  • Allow an easement (an easement is the abandonment of a stricture)
  • Always first steps
  • Are there sections? Consider transitions
  • Ask people to work against their better judgement
  • Ask your body
  • Assemble some of the elements in a group and treat the group
  • Balance the consistency principle with the inconsistency principle
  • Be dirty
  • Be extravagant
  • Be less critical more often
  • Breathe more deeply
  • Bridges -build -burn
  • Cascades
  • Change instrument roles
  • Change nothing and continue with immaculate consistency
  • Children -speaking -singing
  • Cluster analysis
  • Consider different fading systems
  • Consult other sources -promising -unpromising
  • Courage!
  • Cut a vital connection
  • Decorate, decorate
  • Define an area as `safe' and use it as an anchor
  • Destroy -nothing -the most important thing
  • Discard an axiom
  • Disciplined self-indulgence
  • Disconnect from desire
  • Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
  • Distorting time
  • Do nothing for as long as possible
  • Don't be afraid of things because they're easy to do
  • Don't be frightened of cliches
  • Don't be frightened to display your talents
  • Don't break the silence
  • Don't stress one thing more than another
  • Do something boring
  • Do the words need changing?
  • Do we need holes?
  • Emphasize differences
  • Emphasize repetitions
  • Emphasize the flaws
  • Fill every beat with something
  • From nothing to more than nothing
  • Ghost echoes
  • Give the game away
  • Give way to your worst impulse
  • Go outside. Shut the door.
  • Go slowly all the way round the outside
  • Go to an extreme, move back to a more comfortable place
  • Honor thy error as a hidden intention
  • How would you have done it?
  • Humanize something free of error
  • Idiot glee (?)
  • Imagine the piece as a set of disconnected events
  • Infinitesimal gradations
  • Intentions -nobility of -humility of -credibility of
  • In total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly
  • Into the impossible
  • Is it finished?
  • Is the intonation correct?
  • Is there something missing?
  • It is quite possible (after all)
  • Just carry on
  • Listen to the quiet voice
  • Look at the order in which you do things
  • Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify them
  • Lost in useless territory
  • Lowest common denominator
  • Make a blank valuable by putting it in an exquisite frame
  • Make an exhaustive list of everything you might do and do the last thing on the list
  • Make a sudden, destructive unpredictable action; incorporate
  • Mechanicalize something idiosyncratic
  • Mute and continue
  • Not building a wall but making a brick
  • Once the search is in progress, something will be found
  • Only a part, not the whole
  • Only one element of each kind
  • (Organic) machinery
  • Overtly resist change
  • Question the heroic approach
  • Remember those quiet evenings
  • Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics
  • Remove specifics and convert to ambiguities
  • Repetition is a form of change
  • Retrace your steps
  • Revaluation (a warm feeling)
  • Reverse
  • Short circuit (example; a man eating peas with the idea that they will improve his virility shovels them straight into his lap)
  • Simple subtraction
  • Simply a matter of work
  • State the problem in words as clearly as possible
  • Take a break
  • Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance
  • The inconsistency principle
  • The most important thing is the thing most easily forgotten
  • The tape is now the music
  • Think of the radio
  • Tidy up
  • Towards the insignificant
  • Trust in the you of now
  • Turn it upside down
  • Use an old idea
  • Use an unacceptable color
  • Use fewer notes
  • Use filters
  • Use `unqualified' people
  • Water
  • What are the sections sections of? Imagine a caterpillar moving
  • What are you really thinking about just now?
  • What is the reality of the situation?
  • What mistakes did you make last time?
  • What wouldn't you do?
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • Work at a different speed
  • Would anybody want it?
  • You are an engineer
  • You can only make one dot at a time
  • You don't have to be ashamed of using your own ideas

The Fourth Oblique Strategies Card Deck
Edition 4(1996)
  • Abandon desire
  • Abandon normal instructions
  • Accept advice
  • Adding on
  • A line has two sides
  • Always the first steps
  • Ask people to work against their better judgement
  • Ask your body
  • Be dirty
  • Be extravagant
  • Be less critical
  • Breathe more deeply
  • Bridges -build -burn
  • Change ambiguities to specifics
  • Change nothing and continue consistently
  • Change specifics to ambiguities
  • Consider transitions
  • Courage!
  • Cut a vital connection
  • Decorate, decorate
  • Destroy nothing; Destroy the most important thing
  • Discard an axiom
  • Disciplined self-indulgence
  • Discover your formulas and abandon them
  • Display your talent
  • Distort time
  • Do nothing for as long as possible
  • Don't avoid what is easy
  • Don't break the silence
  • Don't stress one thing more than another
  • Do something boring
  • Do something sudden, destructive and unpredictable
  • Do the last thing first
  • Do the words need changing?
  • Emphasize differences
  • Emphasize the flaws
  • Faced with a choice, do both (from Dieter Rot)
  • Find a safe part and use it as an anchor
  • Give the game away
  • Give way to your worst impulse
  • Go outside. Shut the door.
  • Go to an extreme, come part way back
  • How would someone else do it?
  • How would you have done it?
  • In total darkness, or in a very large room, very quietly
  • Is it finished?
  • Is something missing?
  • Is the style right?
  • It is simply a matter or work
  • Just carry on
  • Listen to the quiet voice
  • Look at the order in which you do things
  • Magnify the most difficult details
  • Make it more sensual
  • Make what's perfect more human
  • Move towards the unimportant
  • Not building a wall; making a brick
  • Once the search has begun, something will be found
  • Only a part, not the whole
  • Only one element of each kind
  • Openly resist change
  • Pae White's non-blank graphic metacard
  • Question the heroic
  • Remember quiet evenings
  • Remove a restriction
  • Repetition is a form of change
  • Retrace your steps
  • Reverse
  • Simple Subtraction
  • Slow preparation, fast execution
  • State the problem as clearly as possible
  • Take a break
  • Take away the important parts
  • The inconsistency principle
  • The most easily forgotten thing is the most important
  • Think - inside the work -outside the work
  • Tidy up
  • Try faking it (from Stewart Brand)
  • Turn it upside down
  • Use an old idea
  • Use cliches
  • Use filters
  • Use something nearby as a model
  • Use `unqualified' people
  • Use your own ideas
  • Voice your suspicions
  • Water
  • What context would look right?
  • What is the simplest solution?
  • What mistakes did you make last time?
  • What to increase? What to reduce? What to maintain?
  • What were you really thinking about just now?
  • What wouldn't you do?
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • When is it for?
  • Where is the edge?
  • Which parts can be grouped?
  • Work at a different speed
  • Would anyone want it?
  • Your mistake was a hidden intention

The Diary Oblique Strategies Card Deck
Brian Eno's Diary Set (Post 1996)
  • Steal a solution. (22 July)
  • Describe the landscape in which this belongs. (9 August)
  • What else is this like? (9 August)
  • List the qualities it has. List those you'd like. (9 August)
  • Instead of changing the thing, change the world around it. (9 August)
  • What would make this really successful? (9 August)
  • Who would make this really successful? (9 August)
  • How would you explain this to your parents? (9 August)
  • Try faking it. - from Stewart Brand (9 August)
  • What were the branch points in the evolution of this entity (20 August)
  • Back up a few steps. What else could you have done? (20 August)
  • When is it for? Who is it for? (23 August)
  • What do you do? Now, what do you do best? (27 August)
  • First work alone, then work in unusual pairs. (8 September)
  • What most recently impressed you? How is it similar? What can you learn from it? What could you take from it? (10 September)
  • Take away as much mystery as possible. What is left? (30 December)

The Whole Earth Oblique Strategies Card Deck
Published by The Whole Earth Catalog
  • Use an unacceptable color.
  • Remove ambiguities and convert to specifics.
  • Fill every beat with something.
  • Don't stress one thing more than another.
  • Ask people to work against their better judgment.
  • Call your mother and ask her what to do.
  • Humanize something that is free of error.
  • Breathe more deeply
  • Do nothing for as long as possible
  • Use "unqualified" people.
  • Make a blank valuable by putting it in an excquisite frame
  • Faced with a choice, do both
  • Use fewer notes
  • Get your neck massaged
  • Remove specifics; convert to ambiguities
  • Remove the middle, extend the edges
  • (Picture of man spotlighted)
  • Imagine the music as a series of disconnected events
  • Take away the elements in order of apparent non-importance
  • Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them
  • Disconnect from desire
  • Mechanize something idiosyncratic
  • Do something boring
  • Accept advice
  • Pay attention to distractions
  • Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify.

The Slacker Oblique Strategies Card Deck
Inspired by the film Slacker (circa 1991)
  • Honor thy error as a hidden intention
  • Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify.
  • Not building a wall; making a brick
  • Repetition is a form of change
  • Withdrawing in disgust is not the same thing as apathy.
  • Time doesn't exist.
  • You can't look at something without changing it.
  • You're either with us or against us.

The Wholly Oblique Strategies Card Deck
Inspired by Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • 'Tis but a scratch.
  • A blessing! A blessing from the Lord! God be praised!
  • A new strategy was required.
  • Accomplish a daring and heroic rescue in your own particular ...idiom.
  • Alright, we'll call it a draw.
  • Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
  • Are you sure that's absolutely necessary?
  • Arthur, having consulted his closest knights, decided that they should separate and search for the grail individually.
  • Back to your bed at once.
  • Be quiet.
  • Bring out your dead.
  • Bring out the holy hand grenade.
  • Burn her. Burn her!
  • Build a bridge out of her.
  • Build it all just the same. Just to show 'em.
  • Hang on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.
  • Charge!
  • Could somebody give me a push, please?
  • Cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring.
  • Dismount.
  • Don't apologize! Every time I try to talk to someone it's sorry this and forgive me that and I'm not worthy.
  • Don't be such a baby.
  • Don't grovel. If there's one thing I can't stand it's people grovelling.
  • Don't want to go on the cart.
  • Escape more dramatically.
  • Explain again how sheep's bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.
  • Feche Le Bosche (Go get the cow).
  • Fight with the strengths of many men, sir Knight.
  • Find a witch. Burn her.
  • Five is right out.
  • Forget about freedom. Talk about mud.
  • Get stuffed.
  • Go and boil your bottoms sons of a silly person.
  • Go and change your armor.
  • Go and tell your Lord and master.
  • Go away or I shall taunt you a second time.
  • Grip it by the husks.
  • Hang around a couple minutes - he won't be long.
  • Have a plan.
  • Have at you!
  • He says he's not dead.
  • Help help I'm being repressed.
  • How do you know if she is a witch? She looks like one.
  • How does it work?
  • I fart in your general direction.
  • I feel fine.
  • I feel happy.
  • I move for no man.
  • I order you to be quiet.
  • I think I'll go for a walk.
  • I thought we were an autonomous collective.
  • I told them we already got one.
  • I warned you but did you listen to me? Oh no you no didn't you oh it's just a harmless little bunny isn't it? Well it's always the same. I always tell them do they listen to me? Oh no.
  • I'd rather just sing!
  • If I went around saying I was an emperor just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away.
  • If you do doubt your courage or your strength come no further for death awaits you all with nasty big pointed teeth.
  • I'm invincible! You're a loony.
  • I'm not dead.
  • It doesn't matter.
  • It is your sacred task to seek this grail.
  • It's a fair cop.
  • It's a simple question of weight ratios.
  • It's against regulations.
  • It's like those miserable psalms. They're so depressing.
  • It's not a question of where he grips it.
  • It's only a model.
  • I've had worse.
  • Just a flesh wound.
  • Keep me covered.
  • King eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers!
  • Knock it off!
  • Know much that is hidden.
  • Let me go back in there and face the peril.
  • Let us taunt it. It may become so cross that it will make a mistake.
  • Let's not bicker and argue over who killed who.
  • Logically if she weighs the same as a duck, she's made of wood.
  • Look at the bones.
  • Looks like there's dirty work afoot.
  • Mind your own business.
  • Must be a king.. He hasn't got shit all over him.
  • Ni!
  • None shall pass.
  • Of course it's a good idea!
  • Oh! Go get a glass of water.
  • Oh! Had enough eh?
  • Oh! What sad times are these when passing ruffians can say "Ni!" at will to old ladies.
  • On second thought let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.
  • Pull the other one.
  • Prove yourself worthy.
  • Remove the supports.
  • Run away!
  • See the violence inherent in the system.
  • Seek the finest and the bravest.
  • Seems a bit daft me having to guard him when he's a guard.
  • Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.
  • Shut up.
  • Someday all this will be yours.
  • Skip a bit, brother.
  • Stand aside worthy adversary.
  • Summon up fire without flint or tinder.
  • Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses; not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
  • The black knight always triumphs! Have at you!
  • The swallow may fly south with the sun, or the housemartin or the plumber may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land.
  • There is a pestulence upon this land. Nothing is sacred.
  • There's nothing wrong with that.
  • There's some lovely filth down here.
  • Throw her into the pond.
  • Torment me no longer.
  • Try to relax.
  • Wait until nightfall and then leap out of the rabbit, taking the french by surprise. Not only by surprise but totally unarmed!
  • Walk away. Just ignore them.
  • What an eccentric performance.
  • "What are you doing now?" "I'm averting my eyes oh Lord." "Well don't!"
  • What are you gonna do, bleed on me?
  • What I object to is you automatically treat me like an inferior.
  • When's your next round?
  • Why do witches burn? ..because they're made of wood.
  • You are indeed brave sir knight but the fight is mine.
  • You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just cuz some watery tart threw a sword at you.
  • You don't vote for kings.
  • You lie!
  • You make me sad. So be it.
  • You'll be stone dead in a moment.
  • You're fooling yourself.
  • You've got two empty halves of coconuts and you're banging them together.
  • You're not fooling anyone, y'know?
  • Your knights of the round table shall have a task to make them an example in these dark times.
  • You must try to relax.
  • You'd better get used to the idea.
  • Your father smelt of elder berries.
  • Your mother was a hamster.

The Starveling Oblique Strategies Card Deck
Compiled by Robin Starveling (2001)
  • Ask a brain besides your own.
  • Ask the envelope if it wants to be pushed.
  • Assume for a moment that your teachers were wrong.
  • Attack that which divides.
  • Beginnings and endings are one and the same.
  • Burn one bridge and build another.
  • Can you dance to it?
  • Change the order of events to find new meaning.
  • Color outside the lines.
  • Combine something with the nothing.
  • Complicate things.
  • Compromise can lead to constrictions.
  • Describe the intent.
  • Destroy the conventional.
  • Discover that which is not yet known.
  • Discover what you were really trying to say.
  • Do it twice and keep the better one.
  • Do what has not been done before.
  • Don't you think you've put it off long enough?
  • Doodle.
  • Doors serve no purpose unless used.
  • Embrace the negative space.
  • Everything has already been done. But not by you.
  • Examine the patterns and change them.
  • Explore with caution that which is most feared.
  • Fear is poorly channeled courage.
  • Find the laughter.
  • Focus on the distractions.
  • Go with your gut.
  • Grotesque can be a form of beauty.
  • Have you checked the dog's food and water?
  • Heaven is dependent on individual perception.
  • Include silence.
  • Increase the level of importance.
  • Jettison what is perceived as most necessary.
  • Kindling is unrealized fire.
  • Let inspiration sneak up on you.
  • Listen to the silence.
  • Look before the beginning.
  • Look at the window instead of through it.
  • Make do with what is available.
  • Make friends with the enemy.
  • Make it hold water.
  • Make sure you have all the ingredients before you start cooking.
  • Not embracing the tree but touching a leaf.
  • Over the now are tasks that do not yet matter.
  • Obstacles can be tools to one's advantage.
  • Partners can simulate both engines and anchors.
  • Perspective is more than lines stretching to infinity.
  • Play hide and seek with the original intentions.
  • Pretend it isn't what you think.
  • Procrastination is an action.
  • Punchlines usually belong at the end of the joke.
  • Put down the brush and use your hands.
  • Put it off until tomorrow.
  • Put something new in the center.
  • Question the predictable.
  • Quick strokes. Slow strides.
  • Read into it.
  • Reflect on the context.
  • Reinforce the supports.
  • Retreat can be going forward from a more knowledgable perspective.
  • Say something unimportant.
  • Skip a beat.
  • Simplify.
  • Something old something new something borrowed something blue.
  • Structure is simply something to hold onto while you reach outside, and not intended to confine one to the inside.
  • Summon the angels and demons; let them fight it out.
  • Take a break from it and come back.
  • There are no mistakes.
  • Too much is always better than not enough.
  • Trust your instincts.
  • Use all of the space.
  • Use the implements wrong, but with purpose.
  • Utilize great energy while standing still.
  • Visible is in.
  • What do you really want?
  • What will they see?
  • Words with the letter K in them are funny.
  • Years of objective and intent can lead to nanoseconds of accomplishment.
  • Zero in on the message, then exploit it.

The Oblique Oblique Strategies Card Deck
I have no idea where these came from. I found them once on the Internet
  • "Submerge your content... take off your bra and your panties." MAC
  • "Submit." jrp
  • "Something that's beautiful can be very ugly also." bharat-tv c/o j.h.de.groot@chello.nl
  • "Turn off the lights - listen." Tom Roser
  • "Unexpect the expected." Andrew Hinton
  • "Come back with fins." d. morgan
  • "What problem is it we are trying to solve?" Judee
  • "Leave a hole for someone else to fill." John Byrd
  • "Anyone can do this..." John Leonard
  • "Blue always applies." Bradd Skubinna
  • "What if?" M. Annual
  • "Make your inner world the real world." Pinky N'Saylance
  • "Never mind your own business." Brain Gargles
  • "Commit to the next thing that occurs to you." ted scarlett
  • "Expect Delays - Use Alternate Routes." Mark Yokoyama
  • "Gibberish sells too, you know." Chrissy Iley
  • "Open a nice bottle of wine." Quentin Cortina
  • "Phone a friend." Chris Tarrant
  • "Resurrect a dead idea." Tony Barrell
  • "I am what I think I am." Thomas J. Parnell
  • "Reference distinctions between structure and ornament." M. A. Curtis
  • "Freedom hides in limitations." Ard van der Horst
  • "A fold is an organised crumple." Ard van der Horst
  • "Repeat yourself. Don't be afraid to repeat yourself." Mitch Goldman
  • "And that's like what? metaphor" David Grove and Christoffer de Graal
  • "Find some trouble to get out of." telloc
  • "Don't eat yellow snow." Joseph Goldberg
  • "Your only as good as you sell yourself.... sell yourself short and you'll never go the distance.... over promote yourself....and you be eaten alive and burried.. ...yet not forgotten... have a good finicial plan and you'll go far..." Jeremiah J. Strombeck
  • "Nice guys finsh last when they give up." Tim Waldorf
  • "This too shall pass." Linda V.
  • "Undefined perfectionism and organized anarchy, the path of least resistance." Resol
  • "If life bites, bite it back." Brian Silverstein
  • "Hard work pays off." Steve Jones
  • "When winning isn't the only thing, then quit the game." Roy L. Weiland Jr.
  • "Force a new process." Jack Usage
  • "Upon reaching comfort, abandon it." Mugwump
  • "Always Dance. in thought, mind, spirit or Body." Honey-Lee
  • "Do everything it takes to get there." Christina Escamilla
  • "Remember your lies." Roberto Fernandez Robinson
  • "Focus your mind on every instrument at a time." Roberto Fernandez Robinson
  • "If someone is hostile to you (employer, lover, relative, etc.)--Serve them. Be giving, humble, kind, appreciative. Then see the power of this strategy evolve." Dorothy Bates
  • "Mind the gap." Zelig
  • "Sugar that nut." Paul Murphy
  • "Channel hop." Peter Marsh
  • "Imperfection as it's own reward." Pimp Daddy Nash
  • "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." Christopher Neylan
  • "Hold or touch a musical instrument in silence for five minutes." q-burns a.m.
  • "Someone is listening to this song one hundered years from now." q-burns a.m.
  • "Don't try to push with string- change ends." Paul Williams
  • "Enjoy the absence of a clear solution." Toby Lynos
  • "When orbiting the contradiction try not to burn up in the atmosphere." Paul Sloman
  • "Which card would Brian Eno like to have pulled out of the pack at this point?" Darren Bourne
  • "Pivot and redirect." Petro ''Aki'' Vouris
  • "Don't think,...feeeel, or you'll miss all the heavenly glory." Bruce Lee
  • "Yes." Andrew Cauthen
  • "Everything is everything." Andrew Cauthen
  • "There IS no tomorrow, nor is there yesterday." Andrew Cauthen
  • "Explain the last minute of your life." Christopher Shay
  • "Spend freely until you are free." Christopher Shay
  • "Write a play for the King and his wife, your mother." Christopher Shay
  • "The smartest will know what you mean right away." Daniel Hirshleifer
  • "Seek out the ordinary and make it extraordinary." Daniel Hirshleifer
  • "Listen..Talk...Listen...THINK!" Sindarta Gemilang
  • "Christ is nailed to one side of the cross. The other side is for you." J. M. O'Toole, King of Detectives
  • "What seems impossible is usually the simplest form of discipline." Frank Partida
  • "Express nothing." Ron Craighead
  • "Hold the tension." Robin Robertson
  • "If in doubt, improvise." Derren Lee Poole
  • "If you can be anything, be calm." Derren Lee Poole
  • "Never run if you can walk." Derren Lee Poole
  • "Want a tip? Never spit into the wind!" Derren Lee Poole
  • "You are naked." Anton LaVey
  • "Put two things that don't work together together." Peter Gifford
  • "Accept no disciples." Jason O'Toole, P.I.
  • "BELIEVE AND IT WILL HAPPEN." Anne
  • "If you can't eat it here, take it somewhere else." John Hernandez
  • "Listen...see?" B Chmura
  • "Trust your initial 'gut' instinct." B.S.T.
  • "What would your mother do?/What would your father do?" Joseph Buck
  • "Fish in the Dirt." G Caldwell
  • "TELL THE TRUTH FROM A FALSE PERSPECTIVE." Simon Larsen
  • "Listen again, then listen again. What? Listen again, then listen again. What?" Brian T. Sapp
  • "Be handsome" Jean de Nim
  • "Any Thoughts? (It doesn't matter if you haven't!)" Mary Wilson
  • "A new process is a new product." Derek D. Phillips
  • "Flaws enhance the perfections." Ard van der Horst
  • "What you search for finds you." Thee Oberon
  • "Abandon it... but come back some time later." Mike Mayer
  • "Stress is imposed. Effort is a choice." Ard van der Horst
  • "He who lies well is believed, he who lies badly is a liar." Ard van der Horst
  • "One small candle can light a whole room." Ard van der Horst
  • "When stuck, masturbate (make it sticky)." Ard van der Horst
  • "Lie, but only to other people." Moira R
  • "Quality thought is a result of quality time." BLA
  • "Effort is but an act of acceptance." BLA
  • "Second guess your doubts, triple guess your initial thoughts." M. Kavanaugh
  • "Touch with both hands something you can reach without moving. close your eyes and just let the feeling feed your thoughts." Valerie Pellet
  • "Evidence of an empty mind." David Brown
  • "Discover the difference." Ronald van Oosten
  • "Fuck shit up." TrĂ© Giles
  • "Welcome to tomorrow." Chris Kreidl
  • "Bleed." Ryan Glowczewski
  • "Begin yesterday." Tom Luke
  • "Never Trust A Friend's Opinion." Mehrva
  • Ggo home and pour yourself a nice drink." Jonno Davis
  • "Don't worry about hiding from everyone else's reaction. Imagine you're already hidden. Now what?" Aaron Underhill
  • "Surrender totally to failure." Adam Beslove
  • "Temporarily become what you hate." Adam Beslove
  • "Who farted?" Jeff Barker
  • "Fall down." Gavin Lapeyre
  • "What is the least important thing right now?" Mary Rose
  • "DON'T" Kevin Cannon
  • "Run away before finishing the conversation." Chris Shay
  • "Use Space." Vaughan Healey
  • "Change is a form of Repetition." Keith McDonald
  • "What is the most important thing right now?" M. Russell
  • "Knock before you enter." Lucy P.
  • "Dans le sens du vent." Jules
  • "Less is More." Simon Coward
  • "Create something new... later. better just create now." John-David Lucas
  • "Quality expression is indicative of quality thought." Craig Hicks
  • "One thing matters. others follow." John-David Lucas
  • "Even to read is an act of creation. You are reading this, arent you?" John-David Lucas
  • "It's always continuous." John-David Lucas
  • "Wake to a raven call." Kim Thomson
  • "A musick of influence and spotanaity." John-David Lucas

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