Another round-up of quotes I've met which were amusing, interesting or thought-provoking.
The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.
[Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]
Any event in this world — any human being for that matter — that seems to wear even the faintest cast or warp of strangeness, is apt to leave a disproportionately sharp impression on one's senses ... Life's mere ordinary day-to-day — its thoughts, talk, doings — wither and die out of the mind like leaves from a tree. Year after year a similar crop recurs, and that goes too. It is mere debris, it perishes. But these other anomalies survive, even through the cold of age.
[Walter de la Mare, quoted at www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22380449]
The belief that the world is composed only of physical things operating according to universal laws is metaphysical speculation, not a falsifiable theory.
[John Gray, quoted at www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22380449]
The distinction between what's natural and what's not isn't as straightforward as it seems. The very idea of a law-governed cosmos may be a relic of monotheism, with natural laws serving the role that divine commands once did. Many religions don't distinguish between nature and the supernatural. For animists and polytheists, the natural world is full of spirits.
[John Gray (again), quoted at www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22380449]
Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.
The strongest leaders lead not from their anger and frustration and fear, but from their vision of the world as it could be ... See a world you want to move toward, and take just one step forward today. Take one more step tomorrow. And one more after that ...
[Emily Nagoski at www.thedirtynormal.com/2013/05/08/be-the-sex-educator/]
Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!
My tables, — meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.
Though Evelyn [Waugh] described his own grasp of Latin and Greek as 'superficial', he did not think the hours devoted to learning them were wasted because one learnt 'that words have basic inalienable meanings, departure from which is either conscious metaphor or inexcusable vulgarity ... The old fashioned test of an English sentence — will it translate? — still stands after we have lost the trick of translation'. Anyone denied this apprenticeship — 'most Americans and most women' — would always be at a disadvantage.
[Michael Barber; Brief Lives: Evelyn Waugh]
You can never plan the future by the past.
Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.
[MC Escher, 1898-1972]