Author Topic: Many Thoughts of Many Minds


Many Thoughts of Many Minds
« on: May 12, 2008 »
In another life I was a monk transcribing holy books. In this one I occasionally visit antiquarian shops and lob their contents back into circulation. Here is my latest acquisition:

look at the edge - it glows

This anthology of cogitations was "compiled and analytically arranged" by Henry Southgate in MDCCCLXVII. The fact that it is already online [erratum: that's the second series] shall not deter me.

Brevity - Necessary to Proper Talking

Talk to the point, and stop when you have reached it. The faculty some possess of making one idea cover a quire of paper, is not good for much. Be comprehensive in all you say or write. To fill a volume upon nothing is a credit to nobody; though Lord Chesterfield wrote a very clever poem upon nothing. There are men who get one idea into their heads, and but one, and they make the most of it. You can see it, and almost feel it, when in their presence. On all occasions it is produced, till it is worn as thin as charity. They remind one of a twenty-four pounder discharged at a humming bird. You hear a tremendous noise, see a volume of smoke, but you look in vain for the effects. The bird is scattered to atoms. Just so with the idea. It is enveloped in a cloud, and lost amid the rumblings of words and flourishes. Short letters, sermons, speeches, and paragraphs, are favourites with us. Commend us to the young man who wrote to his father--"Dear sir, I am going to be married;" and also to the old gentleman who replied--"Dear son, Go ahead." Such are the men for action. They do more than they say. The half is not told in their cases. They are worth their weight in gold for every purpose in life. Reader, be short; and we will be short with the advice.

- John Neal

He could have stopped after the first sentence, but where's the edification in that?


Failure - a Practical Lesson
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2009 »
It is far from being true, in the progress of knowledge, that after every failure we must recommence from the beginning. Every failure is a step to success; every detection of what is false directs us towards what is true; every trial exhausts some tempting form of error. Not only so; but scarcely any attempt is entirely a failure; scarcely any theory, the result of steady thought, is altogether false; no tempting form of error is without some latent charm derived from truth.

- William Whewell


Gravity - Laws of
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2009 »
It is a mathematical fact, that the casting of this pebble from my hand alters the centre of gravity of the universe.

- Thomas Carlyle (Many Thoughts attributes this to Southey), in Sartor Resartus, "intended to be a new kind of book: simultaneously factual and fictional, serious and satirical, speculative and historical. It ironically commented on its own formal structure, while forcing the reader to confront the problem of where 'truth' is to be found."

Falling off your bicycle causes ripples in the Milky Way


« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2009 »
Digressions incontestably are the sunshine; they are the life, the soul of reading.

- Laurence Sterne