Quotations

Display of superior knowledge is as great a vulgarity as display of superior wealth -- greater, indeed, inasmuch as knowledge should tend more definitely than wealth towards discretion and good manners.

-- H. W. Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926), article on "French Words".

It was a piece of subtle refinement that God learned Greek when he wanted to become a writer -- and that he did not learn it better.

-- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Section 121.

The nomadic life, indicating the lowest stage of civilization, is again found at the highest in the tourist life, which has become general. The first was produced by want, the second by boredom.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer, "Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life", in Parerga and Paralipomena, volume 1, tr. E. F. J. Payne (Oxford, 1974), page 329.

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

-- Max Planck, Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers (New York, 1949), pages 33--34.

The first step in the process of writing, rewriting, and re-rewriting, is writing. Given the subject, the audience, and the outline [...], start writing, and let nothing stop you. There is no better incentive for writing a good book than a bad book.

-- Paul Halmos, "How to write mathematics", in L'Enseignement Mathematique, Volume 16 (1970), page 131.

Scepticism is in philosophy what the Opposition is in Parliament.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer, Essays and Aphorisms, tr. R. J. Hollingdale, (Penguin, 1970), Aphorism 6.

All things are delightful to see, but dreadful to be.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer, "Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life", in Parerga and Paralipomena, tr. E. F. J. Payne (Oxford, 1974), Volume 1, page 479.

The first forty years of our life furnish the text, whereas the following thirty supply the commentary.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer, "Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life", in Parerga and Paralipomena, tr. E. F. J. Payne (Oxford, 1974), Volume 1, pages 490--491.

Unless there is a good reason for its being there, do not inject opinion into a piece of writing. [...] To air one's views gratuitously [...] is to imply that the demand for them is brisk, which may not be the case.

-- E. B. White, "An Approach to Style", Rule 17, in Strunk and White, The Elements of Style, (4th Edition, 2000)

We all have enough strength to bear the troubles of others.

-- La Rochefoucauld, Maxims, V:19.

When men are reproached for pursuing so eagerly something that could never satisfy them, their proper answer, if they really thought about it, ought to be that they simply want a violent and vigorous occupation to take their minds off themselves, and that is why they choose some attractive object to entice them in ardent pursuit. Their opponents could find no answer to that.

-- Pascal, Pensees, tr. A. J. Krailsheimer, 136.

It is more often pride than some greater enlightenment that makes us oppose so stubbornly the generally accepted view of something. We find the front seats already taken on the correct side, and we do not want any of the back ones.

-- La Rochefoucauld, Maxims, tr. Blackmore, Blackmore, and Giguere, V:234 (alt.).

I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.

-- Henry Thoreau, Walden, "Solitude".