I do not know what I may appear to the world;
but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy
playing on the seashore, and diverting myself
now and then finding a smoother pebble
or a prettier shell than ordinary,
whilst the great ocean of truth
lay all undiscovered before me. (Isaac Newton)
Every generation has its own problems;
it ought to find out its own solutions.
There is no use in our living if we can't do things
better than our fathers did. (Henry Ford)
Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.
We know more about war than we know about peace,
more about killing than we know about living.
(General Omar Bradley)
Let us build a pantheon for professors.
It should be located among the ruins
of one of the gutted cities of Europe or Japan,
and over the entrance to the ossuary I would inscribe,
in letters six or seven feet high, the simple words:
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF THE WORLD'S EDUCATORS.
(Aldous Huxley, foreword to the 1946
edition of "Brave New World")
One day [Sir Richard] Burton was discussing Darwin
with a Catholic archbishop. The prelate noticed
some monkeys frisking nearby. "Well, Captain Burton,"
the archbishop said, "there are some of your ancestors."
Burton twirled his moustache and replied,
"Well, I at least have made some progress.
But what about your lordship who is descended from the angels?"
The archbishop was not overly amused.
(from "Fearless Adventurer: Sir Richard Burton",
by Arthur Orrmont)
Upon this marble bust that is not I
Lay the round, formal wreath that is not fame;
But in the forum of my silenced cry
Root ye the living tree whose sap is flame.
I, that was proud and valiant, am no more;-
Save as a dream that wanders wide and late,
Save as a wind that rattles the stout door,
Troubling the ashes in the sheltered grate.
The stone will perish; I shall be twice dust.
Only my standard on a taken hill
Can cheat the mildew and the red-brown rust
And make immortal my adventurous will.
Even now the silk is tugging at the staff:
Take up the song; forget the epitaph.
("To Inez Milholland", by Edna St. Vincent Millay,
read in Washington, November eighteenth, 1923,
at the unveiling of a statue of three leaders
in the cause of Equal Rights for Women.)
People from my country believe - and rightly so -
that the only thing separating man from the animals
is mindless superstition and pointless ritual.
(Latka Gravis, "TAXI")
The morn has enterprise, deep quiet droops
With evening, triumph takes the sunset hour,
Voluptuous transport ripens with the corn
Beneath a warm moon like a happy face:
- And this to fill us with regard for man,
With apprehension of his passing worth,
Desire to work his proper nature out,
And ascertain his rank and final place,
For these things tend still upward, progress is
The law of life, man is not Man as yet.
Nor shall I deem his object served, his end
Attained, his genuine strength put fairly forth,
While only here and there a star dispels
The darkness, here and there a towering mind
O'erlooks its prostrate fellows: when the host
Is out at once to the despair of night,
When all mankind alike is perfected,
Equal in full-blown powers - then, not till then,
I say, begins man's general infancy.
(from "Paracelsus", by Robert Browning)
[Douglas] Hofstadter has no shortage of metaphors for the mind.
An ant colony. A labyrinth of rooms,
with endless rows of doors flinging open and slamming shut.
A network of intricate domino chains,
branching apart and rejoining,
with little timed springs to stand the dominoes back up.
Velcro-covered marbles bashing around inside a "careenium".
A wind chime, with myriad glass tinklers fluttering
in the cross-breezes of its slowly twisting strands.
(Gleick, James, from "Exploring the Labyrinth of the Mind",
New York Times Magazine, August 21, 1983.)
I like the dreams of the future
better than the history of the past.
e, August 21, 1983.)
I like the dreams of the future
better than the history of the pas