„Action limits us; whereas in the state of contemplation we are endlessly expansive. Will localizes us; thought universalizes us.“

—  Henri Fréderic Amiel, Context: Action limits us; whereas in the state of contemplation we are endlessly expansive. Will localizes us; thought universalizes us. My soul wavers between half a dozen antagonistic general conceptions, because it is responsive to all the great instincts of human nature, and its aspiration is to the absolute, which is only to be reached through a succession of contraries. It has taken me a great deal of time to understand myself, and I frequently find myself beginning over again the study of the oft-solved problem, so difficult is it for us to maintain any fixed point within us. I love everything, and detest one thing only — the hopeless imprisonment of my being within a single arbitrary form, even were it chosen by myself. Liberty for the inner man is then the strongest of my passions — perhaps my only passion. Is such a passion lawful? It has been my habit to think so, but intermittently, by fits and starts. I am not perfectly sure of it. 8 March 1868 The will localizes us, thought universalizes us. My soul wavers between two, four, six general and contradictory conceptions, for it obeys all the great instincts of human nature, and aspires to the absolute, which can only be realized by a succession of contraries. As translated in The Private Journal of Henri Frédéric Amiel (1935), p. 238
Henri Fréderic Amiel Foto
Henri Fréderic Amiel3
Schweizer Schriftsteller und Philosoph 1821 - 1881
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„There are forces working in the world as never before in the history of mankind for standardization, for the regimentation of us all, or what I like to call making muffins of us, muffins all like every other muffin in the muffin tin. This is the limited universe, the drying, dissipating universe, that we can help our children avoid by providing them with “explosive material capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly.”“

—  Madeleine L'Engle American writer 1918 - 2007
Context: Because of the very nature of the world as it is today our children receive in school a heavy load of scientific and analytic subjects, so it is in their reading for fun, for pleasure, that they must be guided into creativity. There are forces working in the world as never before in the history of mankind for standardization, for the regimentation of us all, or what I like to call making muffins of us, muffins all like every other muffin in the muffin tin. This is the limited universe, the drying, dissipating universe, that we can help our children avoid by providing them with “explosive material capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly.” So how do we do it? We can’t just sit down at our typewriters an turn out explosive material. I took a course in college on Chaucer, one of the most explosive, imaginative, and far-reaching in influence of all writers. And I’ll never forget going to the final exam and being asked why Chaucer used certain verbal devices, certain adjectives, why he had certain characters behave in certain ways. And I wrote in a white heat of fury, “I don’t think Chaucer had any idea why he did any of these thing. That isn’t the way people write.” I believe this as strongly now as I did then. Most of what is best in writing isn’t done deliberately.

Paul Cézanne Foto
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Albert Einstein Foto

„A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955
Context: A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe", a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. Letter of 1950, as quoted in The New York Times (29 March 1972) and The New York Post (28 November 1972). However, The New Quotable Einstein by Alice Calaprice (Princeton University Press, 2005: , p. 206, has a different and presumably more accurate version of this letter, which she dates to February 12, 1950 and describes as "a letter to a distraught father who had lost his young son and had asked Einstein for some comforting words":<blockquote>A human being is a part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish it but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.</blockquote> Letter transcript and photograph http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/11/delusion.html Google Translate, with its improved neural machine translation system, gives a slightly different translation of the original German quote, as discussed by Bryce Haymond on his blog https://thymindoman.com/2018/03/29/einsteins-misquote-on-the-illusion-of-feeling-separate-from-the-whole/.<blockquote>A human being is a spatially and temporally limited piece of the whole, what we call the “Universe.” He experiences himself and his feelings as separate from the rest, an optical illusion of his consciousness. The quest for liberation from this bondage is the only object of true religion. Not nurturing the illusion but only overcoming it gives us the attainable measure of inner peace.</blockquote>

Victor J. Stenger Foto

„The universe is not fine-tuned to us; we are fine-tuned to our particular universe.“

—  Victor J. Stenger American philosopher 1935 - 2014
In The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us

John D. Barrow Foto
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 Novalis Foto

„We dream of travels throughout the universe: is not the universe within us? We do not know the depths of our spirit. The mysterious path leads within. In us, or nowhere, lies eternity with its worlds, the past and the future.“

—  Novalis German poet and writer 1772 - 1801
Context: Imagination places the future world for us either above or below or in reincarnation. We dream of travels throughout the universe: is not the universe within us? We do not know the depths of our spirit. The mysterious path leads within. In us, or nowhere, lies eternity with its worlds, the past and the future. Fragment No. 16 Variant translations: We dream of a journey through the universe. But is the universe then not in us? We do not know the depths of our spirit. Inward goes the secret path. Eternity with its worlds, the past and the future, is in us or nowhere. As translated in "Bildung in Early German Romanticism" by Frederick C. Beiser, in Philosophers on Education : Historical Perspectives (1998) by Amélie Rorty, p. 294 We dream of journeys through the cosmos — Is the cosmos not then in us? We do not know the depths of our own spirit. — The mysterious path leads within. In us, or nowhere, is eternity with its worlds — the past and the future.

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Carl Sagan Foto
Neil deGrasse Tyson Foto
Ray Bradbury Foto

„I believe the universe created us — we are an audience for miracles.“

—  Ray Bradbury American writer 1920 - 2012
Context: I believe the universe created us — we are an audience for miracles. In that sense, I guess, I'm religious. AARP Magazine (July-August 2008)

Max Scheler Foto
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Neil deGrasse Tyson Foto
Robert Grosseteste Foto

„The experimental universal is acquired by us,“

—  Robert Grosseteste English bishop and philosopher 1175 - 1253
Context: The experimental universal is acquired by us, whose mind's eye is not purely spiritual, only through the help of the senses. For when the senses several times observe two singular occurrences, of which one is the cause of the other or is related to it in some other way, and they do not see the connection between them... And from this perception repeated again and again and stored in memory, and from the sensory knowledge from which the perception is built up, the functioning of the reasoning begins. The functioning reason therefore begins to wonder and to consider whether things really are as the sensible recollection says, and these two lead the reason to experiment... But when he has administered many times with the sure exclusion of all other things [that could be mistaken for the cause]... then there is formed in the reason this universal... and this is the way in which it comes from sensation to a universal experimental principle. i. 14, ff. 13<sup>vb</sup>-14<sup>rb</sup>.

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