Quotes about Pythagoras
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A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today. — 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' — Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.
And then there is Pythagoras. The legend is that the founder of theoretical mathematics was so outraged when one of his students, the haplessly gifted Hippasus, discovered irrational numbers that he sent the poor fellow out on a raft to drown, initiating a venerable tradition of professors mistreating their graduate students.
Pythagoras asks that we not let a friend go lightly, for whatever reason. Instead, we should stay with a friend as long as we can, until we're compelled to abandon him completely against our will. It's a serious thing to toss away money, but to cast aside a person is even more serious. Nothing in human life is more rarely found, nothing more dearly possessed. No loss is more chilling or more dangerous than that of a friend.
It seems probable that the early Greeks were largely indebted to the Phoenicians for their knowledge of practical arithmetic or the art of calculation, and perhaps also learnt from them a few properties of numbers. It may be worthy of note that Pythagoras was a Phoenician; and according to Herodotus, but this is more doubtful, Thales was also of that race.
It is impossible to decide whether a particular detail of the Pythagorean universe was the work of the master, or filled in by a pupil a remark which equally applies to Leonardo or Michelangelo. But there can be no doubt that the basic features were conceived by a single mind; that Pythagoras of Samos was both the founder of a new religious philosophy, and the founder of Science, as the word is understood today.
Pythagoras at the same Time uses the Terms of Music, by calling the Space between the Earth and the Moon a Tone; saying, that from her to Mercury is Half a Tone: and from him to Venus about the same Space. But from her to the Sun so much and a Half more: but from the Sun to Mars a Tone, that is to say, as much as from the Earth to the Moon.
As soon as we adventure on the paths of the physicist, we learn to weigh and to measure, to deal with time and space and mass and their related concepts, and to find more and more our knowledge expressed and our needs satisfied through the concept of number, as in the dreams and visions of Plato and Pythagoras...
I think it is important that people be made aware that the vegetarian movement has a venerable history behind it. It didn't spring full-blown from the head of a flower child in the 1960's. It really begins with Pythagoras in the West in the 6th century BC and has reasserted itself periodically ever since.
From the works now extant of Aristotle, and from the system of Pythagoras... we might certainly infer that these philosophers considered the agents of change now operating in Nature, as capable of bringing about in the lapse of ages a complete revolution; and the Stagyrite even considers occasional catastrophes happening at distant intervals of time as part of the regular and ordinary course of Nature.
But after these, Pythagoras changed that philosophy, which is conversant about geometry itself, into the form of a liberal doctrine, considering its principles in a more exalted manner; and investigating its theorems immaterially and intellectually; who likewise invented a treatise of such things as cannot be explained in geometry, and discovered the constitution of the mundane figures.