"The world was quite old in Homer's times, and the East quite cultured." - Claude Fleury, Les Mœurs des Israélites (Paris, 1681). Cit. G. G. Stroumsa, A New Science: The Discovery of Religion in the Age of Reason (Cambridge, Mass. 2010), 56.
A young African philosopher, Synesius of Cyrene (died ca 414), planning a trip to Athens, & complaining to his brother about how insufferable provincials are when they come back from Athens: "They differ in no way from us ordinary mortals. They do not understand Aristotle and Plato better than we, but nevertheless they go about… Continue reading “They differ in no way from us ordinary mortals”
"The only way to make a reasonably comfortable home for ourselves on this earth, is to humbly include the absurd in our calculations." - Friedrich Dürrenmatt, The Pledge (1958), ch. 28
"Claustropolis or Cosmopolis? A society of enforced seclusion or a society of forcible control? Actually, the dilemma itself seems illusory, with the temporal compression of instantaneity and the ubiquity of the age of the information revolution." - Paul Virilio, The Original Accident (Cambridge, 2007), 68 (text compressed)
"Wind is a rush of air which changes its name as it changes place." - Mansur, aka John of Damascus, De Fide Orthodoxa II 8
This has a weirdly contemporary feel. "Of the future both the angels & demons are alike ignorant; yet they make predictions." - Mansur, aka John of Damascus, De Fide Orthodoxa II 4
"He fought not only for himself, but clearly for other powers as well which he did not know, but in which, without infringing the regulations of the authorities, he was permitted to believe." - Franz Kafka, The Castle, chapter 5
"My old teacher [Albrecht] Ritschl once said that I drafted even my philology articles like a Parisian novelist - absurdly gripping." - F. Nietzsche, "Why I Write Such Good Books", Ecce Homo: How to Become What You Are (1888)
Am I seeing things? 1595 engraving of Lucifer in an edition of Dante's Inferno; 1651 title page of Hobbes's Leviathan.
"It's amazing what those that can do anything can't do." - Victor Hugo, via Paul Virilio, The Original Accident (2007), 32