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arthur koestler Quotes

Arthur Koestler Quotes

Date of Death: 1983-03-03 (Thursday, March 3rd, 1983)



    • Einstein's space is no closer to reality than Van Gogh's sky. The glory of science is not in a truth more absolute than the truth of Bach or Tolstoy, but in the act of creation itself. The scientist's discoveries impose his own order on chaos, as the composer or painter imposes his; an order that always refers to limited aspects of reality, and is based on the observer's frame of reference, which differs from period to period as a Rembrant nude differs from a nude by Manet. (Source: The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler, London, 1970, p. 253)
    • 'Look at this. Did you ever see a magazine called the New Musical Express? It turns out there is a pop group called The Police - I don't know why they are called that, presumably to distinguish them from the punks - and they've made an album of my essay The Ghost in the Machine. I didn't know anything about it until my clipping agency sent me a review of the record.' (Source: Writers at Work, Plimpton, George)
    • 'I profoundly admire Aldous Huxley, both for his philosophy and uncompromising sincerity. But I disagree with his advocacy of 'the chemical opening of doors into the Other World', and with his belief that drugs can procure 'what Catholic theologians call a gratuitous grace'. Chemically induced hallucinations, delusions and raptures may be frightening or wonderfully gratifying; in either case they are in the nature of confidence tricks played on one's own nervous system.' (Source: Return Trip to Nirvana from Sunday Telegraph in 1967)
    • 'Indeed, the ideal for a well-functioning democratic state is like the ideal for a gentleman's well-cut suit- it is not noticed. For the common people of Britain, Gestapo and concentration camps have approximately the same degree of reality as the monster of Loch Ness. Atrocity propaganda is helpless against this healthy lack of imagination.' (Source: A Challenge to 'Knights in Rusty Armor, The New York Times, February 14, 1943)
    • 'In the social equation, the value of a single life is nil; in the cosmic equation, it is infinite... Not only communism, but any political movement which implicitly relies on purely utilitarian ethics, must become a victim to the same fatal error. It is a fallacy as naive as a mathematical teaser, and yet its consequences lead straight to Goya's Disasters, to the reign of the guillotine, the torture chambers of the Inquisition, or the cellars of the Lubianka.' (Source: The Invisible Writing)
    • 'Without the hard little bits of marble which are called 'facts' or 'data' one cannot compose a mosaic; what matters, however, are not so much the individual bits, but the successive patterns into which you arrange them, then break them up and rearrange them.' (Source: The Act of Creation)
    • 'If one looks with a cold eye at the mess man has made of history, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he has been afflicted by some built-in mental disorder which drives him towards self-destruction' (The Ghost in the Machine)
    • 'The evolution of the brain not only overshot the needs of prehistoric man, it is the only example of evolution providing a species with an organ which it does not know how to use' (The Ghost in the Machine)
    • 'God seems to have left the receiver off the hook and time is running out'
    • 'The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterward.'
    • 'The most persistent sound which reverberates through man's history is the beating of war drums.'
    • 'Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.'
    • 'A publisher who writes is like a cow in a milk bar.'
    • 'Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.
    • 'If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.'
    • 'The offspring in the marriage of Eros and Logos is tolerance'
    • 'Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.'
    • 'Politics can be relatively fair in the breathing spaces of history; at its critical turning points there is no other rule possible than the old one, that the end justifies the means.'
    • 'Scientists are peeping toms at the keyhole of eternity.'
    • 'The principle mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.'
    • 'True creativity often starts where language ends.'
    • 'Prometheus is reaching out for the stars with an empty grin on his face.'
    • 'Creativity in science could be described as the act of putting two and two together to make five' (cf Orwell, in 1984)
    • 'Nobody before the Pythagorean had thought that mathematical relations held the secret of the universe. Twenty-five centuries later, Europe is still blessed and cursed with their heritage. To non-European civilizations, the idea that numbers are the key to both wisdom and power, seems never to have occurred.'
    • 'When all is said, its atmosphere [England's] still contains fewer germs of aggression and brutality per cubic foot in a crowded bus, pub or queue than in any other country in which I have lived'
    • 'When a person identifies himself with a group his critical faculties are diminished and his passions enhanced by a kind of emotive resonance. The individual is not a killer, the group is, and by identifying with it, the individual becomes one. This is the infernal dialect reflected in man's history.'
    • 'Two half-truths do not make a truth, and two half-cultures do not make a culture.'
    • arthur koestler

Quotes by Famous People

Who Were Also Born On Who Also Died On March 3rd
Marguerite Duras
Danny Kaye
Arthur Koestler
William Stukeley

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