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Samuel Butler

Datum narození: 4. prosinec 1835
Datum úmrtí: 18. červen 1902

Samuel Butler byl anglický spisovatel a překladatel. Studoval na univerzitě v Cambridge a nejdříve se připravoval na dráhu anglikánského duchovního. Pochybnosti o víře jej však přiměly, aby svůj záměr opustil a roku 1859 odjel na Nový Zéland. Zde založil ovčí farmu, jejímž prodejem později vydělal menší jmění, a začal literárně tvořit. Do Anglie se vrátil roku 1864 a natrvalo se usadil v Londýně. Roku 1872 vydal anonymně utopický román Erewhon, jímž se etabloval jako spisovatel. Nikdy se neoženil.

Samuel Butler byl prvním myslitelem, který uvažoval o možnosti, že by stroje mohly cestou darwinovského výběru vyvinout vědomí. Wikipedia

„An idea must not be condemned for being a little shy and incoherent; all new ideas are shy when introduced first among our old ones.“

—  Samuel Butler

Incoherency of New Ideas
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part XIV - Higgledy-Piggledy
Kontext: An idea must not be condemned for being a little shy and incoherent; all new ideas are shy when introduced first among our old ones. We should have patience and see whether the incoherency is likely to wear off or to wear on, in which latter case the sooner we get rid of them the better.

„The written law is binding, but the unwritten law is much more so.“

—  Samuel Butler

The Law
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part VII - On the Making of Music, Pictures, and Books
Kontext: The written law is binding, but the unwritten law is much more so. You may break the written law at a pinch and on the sly if you can, but the unwritten law — which often comprises the written — must not be broken. Not being written, it is not always easy to know what it is, but this has got to be done.

„There is an eternal antagonism of interest between the individual and the world at large.“

—  Samuel Butler

The Individual and the World
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part I - Lord, What is Man?
Kontext: There is an eternal antagonism of interest between the individual and the world at large. The individual will not so much care how much he may suffer in this world provided he can live in men’s good thoughts long after he has left it. The world at large does not so much care how much suffering the individual may either endure or cause in this life, provided he will take himself clean away out of men’s thoughts, whether for good or ill, when he has left it.

„If I were to start as a God or a prophet I think I should take the line: "Thou shalt not believe in me. Thou shalt not have me for a God.“

—  Samuel Butler

Samuel Butler's Notebooks (1912) self censored "d_____d" in original publication
Kontext: It is the manner of gods and prophets to begin: "Thou shalt have none other God or Prophet but me." If I were to start as a God or a prophet I think I should take the line: "Thou shalt not believe in me. Thou shalt not have me for a God. Thou shalt worship any d_____d thing thou likest except me." This should be my first and great commandment, and my second should be like unto it.

„As a general rule philosophy is like stirring mud or not letting a sleeping dog lie.“

—  Samuel Butler

Philosophy
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part XX - First Principles
Kontext: As a general rule philosophy is like stirring mud or not letting a sleeping dog lie. It is an attempt to deny, circumvent or otherwise escape from the consequences of the interlacing of the roots of things with one another.

„I do not like having to try to make myself like things; I like things that make me like them at once and no trying at all.“

—  Samuel Butler

On Knowing what Gives us Pleasure, ii
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part XIII - Unprofessional Sermons
Kontext: I should like to like Schumann’s music better than I do; I dare say I could make myself like it better if I tried; but I do not like having to try to make myself like things; I like things that make me like them at once and no trying at all.

„To think of a thing they must be got rid of: they are the clothes that thoughts wear—only the clothes. I say this over and over again, for there is nothing of more importance.“

—  Samuel Butler

Life and Habit http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext04/lfhb10h.htm, ch. 5 (1877)
Kontext: "Words, words, words," he writes, "are the stumbling-blocks in the way of truth. Until you think of things as they are, and not of the words that misrepresent them, you cannot think rightly. Words produce the appearance of hard and fast lines where there are none. Words divide; thus we call this a man, that an ape, that a monkey, while they are all only differentiations of the same thing. To think of a thing they must be got rid of: they are the clothes that thoughts wear—only the clothes. I say this over and over again, for there is nothing of more importance. Other men's words will stop you at the beginning of an investigation. A man may play with words all his life, arranging them and rearranging them like dominoes. If I could think to you without words you would understand me better."

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„Ideas and opinions, like living organisms, have a normal rate of growth which cannot be either checked or forced beyond a certain point.“

—  Samuel Butler

The Art of Propagating Opinion
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part X - The Position of a HomoUnius Libri
Kontext: Ideas and opinions, like living organisms, have a normal rate of growth which cannot be either checked or forced beyond a certain point. They can be held in check more safely than they can be hurried. They can also be killed; and one of the surest ways to kill them is to try to hurry them.

„I find the nicest and best people generally profess no religion at all, but are ready to like the best men of all religions.“

—  Samuel Butler

Religion
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part II - Elementary Morality
Kontext: Is there any religion whose followers can be pointed to as distinctly more amiable and trustworthy than those of any other? If so, this should be enough. I find the nicest and best people generally profess no religion at all, but are ready to like the best men of all religions.

„We can no longer separate things as we once could: everything tends towards unity; one thing, one action, in one place, at one time.“

—  Samuel Butler

Unity and Multitude
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part VI - Mind and Matter
Kontext: We can no longer separate things as we once could: everything tends towards unity; one thing, one action, in one place, at one time. On the other hand, we can no longer unify things as we once could; we are driven to ultimate atoms, each one of which is an individuality. So that we have an infinite multitude of things doing an infinite multitude of actions in infinite time and space; and yet they are not many things, but one thing.

„Propositions prey upon and are grounded upon one another just like living forms.“

—  Samuel Butler

Ramblings In Cheapside (1890)
Kontext: Propositions prey upon and are grounded upon one another just like living forms. They support one another as plants and animals do; they are based ultimately on credit, or faith, rather than the cash of irrefragable conviction. The whole universe is carried on on the credit system, and if the mutual confidence on which it is based were to collapse, it must itself collapse immediately. Just or unjust, it lives by faith; it is based on vague and impalpable opinion that by some inscrutable process passes into will and action, and is made manifest in matter and in flesh; it is meteoric — suspended in mid-air; it is the baseless fabric of a vision to vast, so vivid, and so gorgeous that no base can seem more broad than such stupendous baselessness, and yet any man can bring it about his ears by being over-curious; when faith fails, a system based on faith fails also.

„Animals and plants cannot understand our business, so we have denied that they can understand their own.“

—  Samuel Butler

Organic and Inorganic
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part VI - Mind and Matter
Kontext: Animals and plants cannot understand our business, so we have denied that they can understand their own. What we call inorganic matter cannot understand the animals’ and plants’ business, we have therefore denied that it can understand anything whatever.

„Critics generally come to be critics by reason not of their fitness for this but of their unfitness for anything else.“

—  Samuel Butler

Criticism
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part VII - On the Making of Music, Pictures, and Books
Kontext: Critics generally come to be critics by reason not of their fitness for this but of their unfitness for anything else. Books should be tried by a judge and jury as though they were crimes, and counsel should be heard on both sides.

„It is love that alone gives life, and the truest life is that which we live not in ourselves but vicariously in others, and with which we have no concern. Our concern is so to order ourselves that we may be of the number of them that enter into life — although we know it not.“

—  Samuel Butler

Ramblings In Cheapside (1890)
Kontext: All we know is, that even the humblest dead may live along after all trace of the body has disappeared; we see them doing it in the bodies and memories of these that come after them; and not a few live so much longer and more effectually than is desirable, that it has been necessary to get rid of them by Act of Parliament. It is love that alone gives life, and the truest life is that which we live not in ourselves but vicariously in others, and with which we have no concern. Our concern is so to order ourselves that we may be of the number of them that enter into life — although we know it not.

„Day by day, however, the machines are gaining ground upon us; day by day we are becoming more subservient to them; more men are daily bound down as slaves to tend them, more men are daily devoting the energies of their whole lives to the development of mechanical life.“

—  Samuel Butler

Darwin Among the Machines
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part III - The Germs of Erewhon and of Life and Habit
Kontext: Day by day, however, the machines are gaining ground upon us; day by day we are becoming more subservient to them; more men are daily bound down as slaves to tend them, more men are daily devoting the energies of their whole lives to the development of mechanical life. The upshot is simply a question of time, but that the time will come when the machines will hold the real supremacy over the world and its inhabitants is what no person of a truly philosophic mind can for a moment question.

„We are too fond of seeing the ancients as one thing and the moderns as another.“

—  Samuel Butler

Ancient Work
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912), Part XII - The Enfant Terrible of Literature
Kontext: If a person would understand either the Odyssey or any other ancient work, he must never look at the dead without seeing the living in them, nor at the living without thinking of the dead. We are too fond of seeing the ancients as one thing and the moderns as another.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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