„The truth is that the phenomena of artistic production are still so obscure, so baffling, we are still so far from an accurate scientific and psychological knowledge of their genesis or meaning, that we are forced to accept them as empirical facts; and empirical and non-explanatory names are the names that suit them best.“

— Logan Pearsall Smith, Context: The truth is that the phenomena of artistic production are still so obscure, so baffling, we are still so far from an accurate scientific and psychological knowledge of their genesis or meaning, that we are forced to accept them as empirical facts; and empirical and non-explanatory names are the names that suit them best. The complete explanation of any fact is the very last step in human thought; and it is reached, as I have said, if indeed it is ever reached, by the preliminary processes of recognition, designation, and definition. It is with these preliminary processes that our aesthetic criticism is still occupied. "Four Romantic Words" in Words and Idioms : Studies in the English Language (1925), § VI
Logan Pearsall Smith Foto
Logan Pearsall Smith
britisch-amerikanischer Schriftsteller, Aphoristiker und ... 1865 - 1946
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„The fact that so many books still name the Beatles "the greatest or most significant or most influential" rock band ever only tells you how far rock music still is from becoming a serious art.“

— Piero Scaruffi Italian writer 1955
Context: The fact that so many books still name the Beatles "the greatest or most significant or most influential" rock band ever only tells you how far rock music still is from becoming a serious art. Jazz critics have long recognized that the greatest jazz musicians of all times are Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, who were not the most famous or richest or best sellers of their times, let alone of all times. Classical critics rank the highly controversial Beethoven over classical musicians who were highly popular in courts around Europe. Rock critics are still blinded by commercial success: the Beatles sold more than anyone else (not true, by the way), therefore they must have been the greatest. Jazz critics grow up listening to a lot of jazz music of the past, classical critics grow up listening to a lot of classical music of the past. Rock critics are often totally ignorant of the rock music of the past, they barely know the best sellers. No wonder they will think that the Beatles did anything worth of being saved.

Henrik Ibsen Foto

„There are three Empires. First there is the Empire which was founded on the tree of knowledge. Then there is the Empire founded on the tree of the Cross. The third is still a secret Empire which will be founded on the tree of knowledge and the tree of the Cross — brought together.“

— Henrik Ibsen Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet 1828 - 1906
Emperor and Galilean (1873), as quoted by Lester B. Pearson in his address on accepting the Nobel Peace Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway (10 December 1957) http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1957/pearson-acceptance.html

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Wendell Berry Foto

„We haven't accepted — we can't really believe — that the most characteristic product of our age of scientific miracles is junk, but that is so.“

— Wendell Berry author 1934
Context: We haven't accepted — we can't really believe — that the most characteristic product of our age of scientific miracles is junk, but that is so. And we still think and behave as though we face an unspoiled continent, with thousands of acres of living space for every man. We still sing "America the Beautiful" as though we had not created in it, by strenuous effort, at great expense, and with dauntless self-praise, an unprecedented ugliness. "The Rise".

„Out of the maelstrom of happenings we abstract certain bits to attend to. We snapshot these bits by naming them. Then we begin responding to the names as if they are the bits that we have named, thus obscuring the effects of change.“

— Neil Postman American writer and academic 1931 - 2003
Context: A fifth kind of semantic awareness has to do with what might be called the "photographic" effects of language. We live in a universe of constant process. Everything is changing in the physical world around us. We ourselves, physically at least, are always changing. Out of the maelstrom of happenings we abstract certain bits to attend to. We snapshot these bits by naming them. Then we begin responding to the names as if they are the bits that we have named, thus obscuring the effects of change. The names we use tend to "fix" that which is named, particularly if the names also carry emotional connotations... There are some semanticists who have suggested that such phrases as "national defense" and "national sovereignty" have been... maintained beyond the date for which they were prescribed. What might have been politically therapeutic at one time may prove politically fatal at another.

René Magritte Foto
Blaise Pascal Foto

„Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.“

— Blaise Pascal French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, and Christian philosopher 1623 - 1662

Boris Sidis Foto
Chris Hedges Foto

„When you spend that long on the outer reaches of empire, you understand the cruelty of empire... and the lies we tell ourselves about what is done in our name.“

— Chris Hedges American journalist 1956
interviewed by Bill Moyers, July 22, 2012 http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/chris_hedges_on_moyers_company_20120722

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Claude Lévi-Strauss Foto

„The truths which we seek so far afield only become valid when we have separated them from this dross.“

— Claude Lévi-Strauss French anthropologist and ethnologist 1908 - 2009
Context: I hate travelling and explorers. Yet here I am proposing to tell the story of my expeditions. But how long it has taken me to make up my mind to do so! It is now fifteen years since I left Brazil for the last time and all during this period I have often planned to undertake the present work but on each occasion a sort of shame and repugnance prevented me from making a start. Why, I asked myself, should I give a detailed account of so many trivial circumstances and insignificant happenings? Adventure has no place in the anthropologists profession; it is merely one of those unavoidable drawbacks, which detract from his effective work through the incidental loss of weeks or months; there are hours of inaction when the informant is not available; periods of hunger, exhaustion, sickness perhaps; and always the thousand and one dreary tasks which eat away the days to no purpose and reduce dangerous living in the heart of the virgin forest to an imitation of military service … The fact that so much effort and expenditure has to be wasted on reaching the object of our studies bestows no value on that aspect of our profession, and should be seen rather as its negative side. The truths which we seek so far afield only become valid when we have separated them from this dross. Ch. 1 : Setting Out, p. 17

George Bernard Shaw Foto

„The greatest of God's names is Counsellor; and when your Empire is dust and your name a byword among the nations the temples of the living God shall still ring with his praise as Wonderful! Counsellor! the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.“

— George Bernard Shaw Irish playwright 1856 - 1950
Context: Law is blind without counsel. The counsel men agree with is vain: it is only the echo of their own voices. A million echoes will not help you to rule righteously. But he who does not fear you and shews you the other side is a pearl of the greatest price. Slay me and you go blind to your damnation. The greatest of God's names is Counsellor; and when your Empire is dust and your name a byword among the nations the temples of the living God shall still ring with his praise as Wonderful! Counsellor! the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Jesus, as portrayed in Preface, Difference Between Reader And Spectator

Eric R. Kandel Foto

„As knowledge advances and scientific disciplines change, so do the disciplines impinging on them.“

— Eric R. Kandel American neuropsychiatrist 1929
Context: As knowledge advances and scientific disciplines change, so do the disciplines impinging on them. Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and the New Biology of Mind (2008)

C.G. Jung Foto
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Simon Kuznets Foto

„we need far more empirical study than we have had so far of the universe of inventors; any finding concerning inventors... would be of great value... for public policy in regard to inventive activity.“

— Simon Kuznets economist 1901 - 1985
Simon Kuznets (1962, p. 32), as cited in: David W. Galenson, "Understanding the Creativity of Scientists and Entrepreneurs." (2012).

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