„When I was a young writer there had been a stage where Camus, almost more than any other contemporary literary figure, radically set the tone for my own view of life and history.“

—  William Styron, Context: When I was a young writer there had been a stage where Camus, almost more than any other contemporary literary figure, radically set the tone for my own view of life and history. I read his novel The Stranger somewhat later than I should have — I was in my early thirties — but after finishing it I received the stab of recognition that proceeds from reading the work of a writer who has wedded moral passion to a style of great beauty and whose unblinking vision is capable of frightening the soul to its marrow. The cosmic loneliness of Meursault, the hero of that novel, so haunted me that when I set out to write The Confessions of Nat Turner I was impelled to use Camus’s device of having the story flow from the point of view of a narrator isolated in his jail cell during the hours before his execution. For me there was a spiritual connection between Meursault’s frigid solitude and the plight of Nat Turner — his rebel predecessor in history by a hundred years — likewise condemned and abandoned by man and God. Camus’s essay “Reflections on the Guillotine” is a virtually unique document, freighted with terrible and fiery logic; it is difficult to conceive of the most vengeful supporter of the death penalty retaining the same attitude after exposure to scathing truths expressed with such ardor and precision. I know my thinking was forever altered by that work, not only turning me around completely, convincing me of the essential barbarism of capital punishment, but establishing substantial claims on my conscience in regard to matters of responsibility at large. Camus was a great cleanser of my intellect, ridding me of countless sluggish ideas, and through some of the most unsettling pessimism I had ever encountered causing me to be aroused anew by life’s enigmatic promise. II
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William Styron1
1925 - 2006
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„I was a history major at Bowdoin and as I looked at different movements in different stages in history, it was clear to me that it was important to have some segments of any particular group work within the system. These people could bring an enlightened view or a different set of perspectives.“

—  Kenneth Chenault American business executive 1951
Context: I was a history major at Bowdoin and as I looked at different movements in different stages in history, it was clear to me that it was important to have some segments of any particular group work within the system. These people could bring an enlightened view or a different set of perspectives. I thought to work totally outside the system was destructive and counter-productive in the long term. … what I think was unique about Bowdoin — and maybe it was the size of the school and its environment — is that you couldn’t isolate yourself. We had real discourse, real debate on the issues. At the same time, there was also respect. As a result, people saw you on a personal level, not just as a representative of a certain group or of certain ideas. And I think that was quite important.

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—  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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