Friday, April 20, 2007

The 5 Quotations

Here are the five quotations referred to in Some Favorite Quotations, selected by Jacques Barzun. Of them, Mr. Barzun said, “Together they seem to me pretty well to sum up my choice of work and my tastes in life.”

The heart has its reasons that the Reason does not know.
— Pascal, Pensées

You can give humanistic value to almost anything by teaching it historically. Geology, economics, mechanics, are humanities when taught with reference to the successive achievements of the geniuses to which these sciences owe their being. Not taught thus, literature remains grammar, art a catalogue, history a list of dates, and natural science a sheet of formulas and weights and measures. The sifting of human creations! — nothing less than this is what we ought to mean by the humanities.
— William James, “The Social Value of the College-Bred”

Our task, in lieu of all wishing, is to free ourselves as much as possible from foolish joys and fears and to apply ourselves above all to the understanding of historical development.
— Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments of History and Historians

To my taste, the most natural and fruitful exercise of the mind is conversation. Engaging in it I find sweeter than any other activity in life, which is why if I were forced to choose, I think I would rather agree to lose my eyesight than my hearing or power of speech.
— Montaigne, Essays, III, 8

To make life seem agreeable, disagreeables first.
— L. O. McDuff