Quotations from Arthur Koestler

I really like some of these quotations from Arthur Koestler;

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.

The Act of Creation, London, (1970) p. 253.

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.

The Act of Creation (1970).

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.

A Challenge to ‘Knights in Rusty Armor, The New York Times, (14 February 1943).

Men cannot be treated as units in operations of political arithmetic because they behave like the symbols for zero and the infinite, which dislocate all mathematical operations.

Crossman (1949), p. 68.

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 (1967).

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 (1967).

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