187 Sourced quotes
Once man was tossed about helplessly and incessantly by the wind that blew through him—now the toughest of all plants is more sensitive, more easily moved than he. In other words, death is better than life, nothing is better than anything. Nor is this a silly adolescent pessimism peculiar to Housman, as so many critics assure you. It is better to be dead than alive, best of all never to have been born—said a poet approvingly advertised as seeing life steadily and seeing it whole; and if I began an anthology of such quotations there it would take me a long time to finish. The attitude is obviously inadequate and just as obviously important.
I suppose she chose me because she knew my name; as I read the alphabet a faint line appeared between her eyebrows, and after making me read most of My First Reader and the stock-market quotations from The Mobile Register aloud, she discovered that I was literate and looked at me with more than faint distaste. Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me any more, it would interfere with my reading.
The present book is not a methodology of mathematics in the sense that I will systematically show how some teaching matter should taught; it is not even a systematic analysis of subject matter. I hardly ever refer to well-organized classroom experiments evaluated by statistical methods, nor do I cite experimental results of developmental psychology or the psychology of learning. Maybe the most striking feature is that this book contains few quotations. I will try to justify all these features.
Treatment of the apparently whimsical fluctuations of the stock quotations as truly non stationary processes requires a model of such complexity that its practical value is likely to be limited. An additional complication, not encompassed by most stock market models, arises from the manifestation of the market as a nonzero sum game.
The work process begins when I start selecting quotations from a large collection I already have, given that I use such texts often in my work and have for a long time. In fact, appropriation of this kind––along with other kinds––has been part of my work since the beginning in the '60s. I go through hundreds of these amassed quotes from my own research and that of my staff, make my choices, and then continually add them in relation to the quotes I already have selected. The surplus meaning that is constructed by using the words of others in conjunction with each other, which is my goal, is a far more delicate operation than it may seem.
A foreign visitor to the Berlin Stock Exchange would easily be deceived. There are announcements of daily quotations and price changes as though a free Stock Exchanged still existed, but nowhere would he find the former 'public'— private buyers and sellers—as represented by independent brokers, bankers and 'visitors.'
I do not by any means want to deny that I and my fellow workers selected news and quotations following a certain tendency. It is the curse of propaganda during war that one works only with black and white. But to my knowledge it is a mistake to believe that in the Propaganda Ministry thousands of little lies were hatched out. If we had lied on a thousand small things, the enemy would have been able to deal with us more easily than was the case.
So, with due thanks to those great heroes, the ancient authorities, we can now move on with a more cheerful heart to the rest of Presocratic philosophy. Many of the Presocratics' words are lost, but we may still catch a glimpse of their strange forgotten worlds, woven into a splendid patchwork of ancient quotations and interpretations.