„It may not sound very consistent with any such professed humility on my part, if I say to you that, after having served for the Quaternions during fourteen years, and having (as America seems to think) won my Rachel—to be my own by an intellectual marriage—I now wish to wind up several scientific projects, from which those quaternions had for a long time diverted me; and feel as if I were entering, or had already entered, on a new harvest of labour and reputation. As to Fame, if it have not been won or earned already, it is not likely that any future exertion will make it mine.
But as to the Labour; that is a thing within everybody's power to judge of, even for himself. I have very long admired Ptolemy's description of his great astronomical Master, Hipparchus... "a labour-loving and truth-loving man."—Be such my epitaph!“

— William Rowan Hamilton, Letter to Mrs. Wilde, (February 11, 1858) as quoted by Robert Perceval Graves, Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1889) Vol.3 https://books.google.com/books?id=0ODuAAAAMAAJ, p. 230
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Vincent Van Gogh photo

„I couldn't tell you how happy I feel to have taken up drawing again. It had already been on my mind for a long time, but I always saw the thing as impossible and beyond my reach“

— Vincent Van Gogh Dutch post-Impressionist painter (1853-1890) 1853 - 1890
Context: First and foremost, the masterly etching, 'The bush', by Daubigny/Ruisdael. [ Daubigny's etching 'The bush', he made after Jacob van Ruisdael ].... I plan to do two drawings, either in sepia or something else, one of them after this etching [by Daubigny] — the other [etching, made] after T. Rousseau's 'The oven in Les Landes'. This latter sepia is already done — it's true — but if you compare it with Daubigny's etching, you'll understand that it becomes weak, even though the sepia drawing considered on its own may very well have a certain tone and sentiment. I have to go back to it and work on it again.... I couldn't tell you how happy I feel to have taken up drawing again. It had already been on my mind for a long time, but I always saw the thing as impossible and beyond my reach. In his letter to Theo, from Cuesmes, 24 September 1880 - original manuscript of letter no. 158 - at Van Gogh Museum, location Amsterdam - inv. no. b156 V/1962, http://vangoghletters.org/vg/letters/let158/letter.html Van Gogh's copies (drawings) he made after the work of Rousseau have been lost

John Stuart Mill photo

„I have already mentioned Carlyle's earlier writings as one of the channels through which I received the influences which enlarged my early narrow creed; but I do not think that those writings, by themselves, would ever have had any effect on my opinions. What truths they contained, though of the very kind which I was already receiving from other quarters, were presented in a form and vesture less suited than any other to give them access to a mind trained as mine had been. They seemed a haze of poetry and German metaphysics, in which almost the only clear thing was a strong animosity to most of the opinions which were the basis of my mode of thought; religious scepticism, utilitarianism, the doctrine of circumstances, and the attaching any importance to democracy, logic, or political economy. Instead of my having been taught anything, in the first instance, by Carlyle, it was only in proportion as I came to see the same truths through media more suited to my mental constitution, that I recognized them in his writings. Then, indeed, the wonderful power with which he put them forth made a deep impression upon me, and I was during a long period one of his most fervent admirers; but the good his writings did me, was not as philosophy to instruct, but as poetry to animate.“

— John Stuart Mill British philosopher and political economist 1806 - 1873
Context: I have already mentioned Carlyle's earlier writings as one of the channels through which I received the influences which enlarged my early narrow creed; but I do not think that those writings, by themselves, would ever have had any effect on my opinions. What truths they contained, though of the very kind which I was already receiving from other quarters, were presented in a form and vesture less suited than any other to give them access to a mind trained as mine had been. They seemed a haze of poetry and German metaphysics, in which almost the only clear thing was a strong animosity to most of the opinions which were the basis of my mode of thought; religious scepticism, utilitarianism, the doctrine of circumstances, and the attaching any importance to democracy, logic, or political economy. Instead of my having been taught anything, in the first instance, by Carlyle, it was only in proportion as I came to see the same truths through media more suited to my mental constitution, that I recognized them in his writings. Then, indeed, the wonderful power with which he put them forth made a deep impression upon me, and I was during a long period one of his most fervent admirers; but the good his writings did me, was not as philosophy to instruct, but as poetry to animate. Even at the time when out acquaintance commenced, I was not sufficiently advanced in my new modes of thought, to appreciate him fully; a proof of which is, that on his showing me the manuscript of Sartor Resartus, his best and greatest work, which he had just then finished, I made little of it; though when it came out about two years afterwards in Fraser's Magazine I read it with enthusiastic admiration and the keenest delight. I did not seek and cultivate Carlyle less on account of the fundamental differences in our philosophy. He soon found out that I was not "another mystic," and when for the sake of my own integrity I wrote to him a distinct profession of all those of my opinions which I knew he most disliked, he replied that the chief difference between us was that I "was as yet consciously nothing of a mystic." I do not know at what period he gave up the expectation that I was destined to become one; but though both his and my opinions underwent in subsequent years considerable changes, we never approached much nearer to each other's modes of thought than we were in the first years of our acquaintance. I did not, however, deem myself a competent judge of Carlyle. I felt that he was a poet, and that I was not; that he was a man of intuition, which I was not; and that as such, he not only saw many things long before me, which I could only when they were pointed out to me, hobble after and prove, but that it was highly probable he could see many things which were not visible to me even after they were pointed out. I knew that I could not see round him, and could never be certain that I saw over him; and I never presumed to judge him with any definiteness, until he was interpreted to me by one greatly the superior of us both -- who was more a poet than he, and more a thinker than I -- whose own mind and nature included his, and infinitely more.

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William Thomson photo

„Quaternions came from Hamilton after his really good work had been done, and though beautifully ingenious, have been an unmixed evil to those who have touched them in any way.“

— William Thomson British physicist and engineer 1824 - 1907
Letter to Robert Baldwin Hayward (1892), as quoted in Energy and Empire : A Biographical Study of Lord Kelvin (1989) by Crosbie Smith and M. Norton Wise

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„After having coined this word I sorted my own research over a very long period of time and I realised that I had been doing almost nothing else in my life.“

— Benoît Mandelbrot Polish-born, French and American mathematician 1924 - 2010
Context: The word fractal, once introduced, had an extraordinary integrating effect upon myself and upon many people around. Initially again it was simply a word to write a book about, but once a word exists one begins to try to define it, even though initially it was simply something very subjective and indicating my field. Now the main property of all fractals, put in very loose terms, is that each part — they're made of parts — each part is like the whole except it is smaller. After having coined this word I sorted my own research over a very long period of time and I realised that I had been doing almost nothing else in my life. Segment 67

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„I may have wept that any should have died
Or missed their chance, or not have been their best,
Or been their riches, fame, or love denied;
On me as much as any is the jest.
I take my incompleteness with the rest.“

— Robert Frost American poet 1874 - 1963
Context: I may have wept that any should have died Or missed their chance, or not have been their best, Or been their riches, fame, or love denied; On me as much as any is the jest. I take my incompleteness with the rest. God bless himself can no one else be blessed. I hold your doctrine of Memento Mori. And were an epitaph to be my story I’d have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.

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Berthe Morisot photo

„I have found an honest and excellent man [ Eugène Manet, brother of Edouard Manet ] who, I believe, sincerely loves me. I have entered into the positive life after having lived for a long time in by chimeras.“

— Berthe Morisot painter from France 1841 - 1895
quote from Berthe's letter to her brother Tiburce, 1875; as cited in The Correspondence of Berthe Morisot, with her family and friends, Denish Rouart - newly introduced by Kathleen Adler and Tamer Garb; Camden Press London 198, pp. 95-96

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