A (very) short list of my favorite quotes
Here are some of my favorite quotes (in the original language, if the original language is either of English, Spanish, French, Italian, Latin, or Portuguese). Each counts as an evidence of my beliefs, and my beliefs serve, in particular, as a foundation for my aesthetics (of mathematics, writing, and life).
- Here, above all, the triumphant novelist can be brought up short and demolished by details, those very details in which reality is always so rich, and which are always neglected by such unfortunate and unwilling authors, as if they were utterly insignificant and unnecessary trifles, if indeed they even occur to them. Oh, they cannot be bothered with that at the moment, their mind creates only the grandiose whole - and then someone dares suggest such a trifle to them!
- It has been said that the most basic instinct in man is not for food or sex but to edit someone else's writing – and the urge to edit one’s own writing is, apparently, even stronger.
- We but mirror the world. [...] If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. [...] We need not wait to see what others do.
Je suis monté au lac des solitudes
Dans l'écrin gris des charmes sans raison
Où des airs vieux palpitaient sous la lune
J'aurai laissé des chairs aux ronces, des chansons.
- The same development which leads to a new literature where novels do not need to have a plot, to an abstract music, sometimes written by a computer, to abstract sculpture and painting, which do not intend to give an ordinary representation of real objects, this same development toward abstraction leads to a kind of Mathematics much less motivated by possible applications than by a profound desire to find in each problem the very essence of it, the general structure on which it depends. [...] For the Platonists among the mathematicians, the motivation of their work lies in this search for the true structure in a given situation and in the study of such an abstract structure for itself. For the more pragmatic mathematician, the purpose of his efforts is to solve a preassigned problem [...] with any means at his disposal, avoiding as much as possible the introduction of new general concepts. But all mathematicians agree that the value of a work in Mathematics is best proved if it stimulates new research, and the main range of applications of Mathematics is Mathematics itself.
- Vous êtes belles, mais vous êtes vides, leur dit-il encore. On ne peut pas mourir pour vous. Bien sûr, ma rose à moi, un passant ordinaire croirait qu'elle vous ressemble. Mais à elle seule elle est plus importante que vous toutes, puisque c'est elle que j'ai arrosée. Puisque c'est elle que j'ai mise sous globe. Puisque c'est elle que j'ai abritée par le paravent. Puisque c'est elle dont j'ai tué les chenilles (sauf les deux ou trois pour les papillons). Puisque c'est elle que j'ai écoutée se plaindre, ou se vanter, ou même quelquefois se taire. Puisque c'est ma rose.
- Not all those that wander are lost.
Last update: March 12, 2014