— Confucius Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher -551 - -479 v.Chr
— Robert A. Heinlein, buch Starman Jones
Quelle: Starman Jones (1953), Chapter 11, “Through the Cargo Hatch” (p. 115)
„[blind_man] A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there.“
— Charles Darwin British naturalist, author of "On the origin of species, by means of natural selection" 1809 - 1882
This is attributed, with an expression of doubt as to its correctness, in Mathematics, Our Great Heritage: Essays on the Nature and Cultural Significance of Mathematics (1948) by William Leonard Schaaf, p. 163; also attributed in Pi in the Sky : Counting, Thinking and Being (1992) by John D. Barrow. There are a number of similar expressions to this with various attributions, but the earliest published variants seem to be quotations of Lord Bowen:
When I hear of an 'equity' in a case like this, I am reminded of a blind man in a dark room — looking for a black hat — which isn't there.
Lord Bowen, as quoted in "Pie Powder", Being Dust from the Law Courts, Collected and Recollected on the Western Circuit, by a Circuit Tramp (1911) by John Alderson Foote; this seems to be the earliest account of any similar expression. It is mentioned by the author that this expression has become misquoted as a "black cat" rather than "black hat."
An earlier example with "hat" as a learned judge is said to have defined the metaphysician, namely, as a blind man looking for a black hat in a dark room, the hat in question not being there Edinburgh Medical Journal, Volume 3 (1898)
With his obscure and uncertain speculations as to the intimate nature and causes of things, the philosopher is likened to a 'blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that is not there.'
William James, himself apparently quoting someone else's expression, in Some Problems of Philosophy : A Beginning of an Introduction to Philosophy (1911) Ch. 1 : Philosophy and its Critics
A blind man in a dark room seeking for a black cat — which is not there.
A definition of metaphysics attributed to Lord Bowen, as quoted in Science from an Easy Chair (1913) by Edwin Ray Lankester, p. 99
A blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there.
A definition of metaphysics attributed to Lord Balfour, as quoted in God in Our Work: Religious Addresses (1949) by Richard Stafford Cripps, p. 72
A philosopher is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there. A theologian is the man who finds it.
H. L. Mencken, as quoted in Peter's Quotations : Ideas for Our Time (1977) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 427
A metaphysician is like a blind man in a dark room, looking for a black cat — which isn't there.
Variant published in Smiles and Chuckles (1952) by B. Hagspiel
„A philosopher is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there. A theologian is the man who finds it.“
— H.L. Mencken American journalist and writer 1880 - 1956
„The moods of the dark night skies are variously represented like soft black velvet, like the shining black of a scarab beetle, like the patina-ed surface of Indian-inked paper, soft blotting-paper soaked in dark blue ink for forty days, like a black cat's fur shining in moonlight…“
— Peter Greenaway British film director 1942
„All of us can be influenced through psychological techniques. For example, if I say “don’t think of a black cat” what do you do? You think of a black cat because the command ‘think of a black cat’ was there in the sentence. Techniques like this can be used to influence people’s thoughts, behaviour, even their memory.“
— Derren Brown British illusionist 1971
TV Series and Specials (Includes DVDs), Mind Control (1999–2000) or Inside Your Mind on DVD
„Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn't there, and finding it.“
— Oscar Wilde Irish writer and poet 1854 - 1900
This quote was instead first mentioned in a 1931 book titled “Since Calvary: An Interpretation of Christian History” by the comparative religion specialist Lewis Browne.
„With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black cat chaped holes in the universe.“
— Arundhati Roy, buch Der Gott der kleinen Dinge
Quelle: The God of Small Things
— Groucho Marx American comedian 1890 - 1977
— Deng Xiaoping Chinese politician, Paramount leader of China 1904 - 1997
Quoted in Hung Li China's Political Situation and the Power Struggle in Peking (1977), p. 107
According to Chambers Dictionary of Quotations (1993), p. 315, this quote is from a speech at the Communist Youth League conference in July 1962.
— Henry James American novelist, short story author, and literary critic 1843 - 1916
The Madonna of the Future http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2460/2460-h/2460-h.htm (1879)
The Atlantic Monthly, March 1873 http://books.google.com/books?id=T4cGAQAAIAAJ&q=%22Cats+and+monkeys+monkeys+and+cats+all+human+life+is+there%22&pg=PA293#v=onepage
think that the
world should be full of cats and full of rain, that's all, just
rain, rain and cats, very nice, good
— Charles Bukowski, buch Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories
Quelle: Betting on the Muse: Poems and Stories
„It's the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do. They even had a Parliament. And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government. A government made up of big, fat, black cats. Now if you think it strange that mice should elect a government made up of cats, you just look at the history of Canada for last 90 years and maybe you'll see that they weren't any stupider than we are. Now I'm not saying anything against the cats. They were nice fellows. They conducted their government with dignity. They passed good laws--that is, laws that were good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren't very good for mice. One of the laws said that mouseholes had to be big enough so a cat could get his paw in. Another law said that mice could only travel at certain speeds--so that a cat could get his breakfast without too much physical effort. All the laws were good laws. For cats. But, oh, they were hard on the mice. And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn't put up with it any more, they decided something had to be done about it. So they went en masse to the polls. They voted the black cats out. They put in the white cats. Now the white cats had put up a terrific campaign. They said: "All that Mouseland needs is more vision." They said:"The trouble with Mouseland is those round mouseholes we got. If you put us in we'll establish square mouseholes." And they did. And the square mouseholes were twice as big as the round mouseholes, and now the cat could get both his paws in. And life was tougher than ever. And when they couldn't take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and put the black ones in again. Then they went back to the white cats. Then to the black cats. They even tried half black cats and half white cats. And they called that coalition. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them: they were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate like a cat. You see, my friends, the trouble wasn't with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats. And because they were cats, they naturally looked after cats instead of mice. Presently there came along one little mouse who had an idea. My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea. And he said to the other mice, "Look fellows, why do we keep on electing a government made up of cats? Why don't we elect a government made up of mice?" "Oh," they said, "he's a Bolshevik. Lock him up!"“
— Tommy Douglas Scottish-born Canadian politician 1904 - 1986
So they put him in jail. But I want to remind you: that you can lock up a mouse or a man but you can't lock up an idea!
— Shirley Jackson, buch We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Quelle: We Have Always Lived in the Castle