"Perseverance - a lowly virtue whereby mediocrity achieves an inglorious success."
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911
"The acts of the mind, wherein it exerts its power over simple ideas, are chiefly these three: 1. Combining several simple ideas into one compound one, and thus all complex ideas are made. 2. The second is bringing two ideas, whether simple or complex, together, and setting them by one another so as to take a view of them at once, without uniting them into one, by which it gets all its ideas of relations. 3. The third is separating them from all other ideas that accompany them in their real existence: this is called abstraction, and thus all its general ideas are made."
John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, 1690
"Every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow."
Hermann Hesse, Wandering, 1920
"Being an amateur, a free lance who never held any academic post or had any professional status, I had the rather unusual advantage of considering problems with an open mind, unbiased by traditional textbook ideas that had remained untested against facts."
Ralph Bagnold, Sand, Wind, and War: Memoirs of a Desert Explorer, 1991
"It is a sad thing to think of, but there is no doubt that genius lasts longer than beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves. In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place. The thoroughly well-informed man--that is the modern ideal. And the mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-a-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value."
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890
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