„The cat of the slums and alleys, starved, outcast, harried, still keeps amid the prowlings of its adversity the bold, free, panther-tread with which it paced of yore the temple courts of Thebes, still displays the self-reliant watchfulness which man has never taught it to lay aside.“

—  Saki, Context: The animal which the Egyptians worshipped as divine, which the Romans venerated as a symbol of liberty, which Europeans in the ignorant Middle Ages anathematised as an agent of demonology, has displayed to all ages two closely blended characteristics — courage and self-respect. No matter how unfavourable the circumstances, both qualities are always to the fore. Confront a child, a puppy, and a kitten with a sudden danger; the child will turn instinctively for assistance, the puppy will grovel in abject submission to the impending visitation, the kitten will brace its tiny body for a frantic resistance. And disassociate the luxury-loving cat from the atmosphere of social comfort in which it usually contrives to move, and observe it critically under the adverse conditions of civilisation — that civilisation which can impel a man to the degradation of clothing himself in tawdry ribald garments and capering mountebank dances in the streets for the earning of the few coins that keep him on the respectable, or non-criminal, side of society. The cat of the slums and alleys, starved, outcast, harried, still keeps amid the prowlings of its adversity the bold, free, panther-tread with which it paced of yore the temple courts of Thebes, still displays the self-reliant watchfulness which man has never taught it to lay aside. "The Achievement of the Cat"
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Saki4
britský spisovatel 1870 - 1916
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„The mouse, even, has not been transmuted into the cat, nor the hen into the turkey, nor the duck into the goose, nor the hawk into the eagle, and still less the monkey into the man.“

—  David Brewster British astronomer and mathematician 1781 - 1868
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„A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there.“

—  Charles Darwin British naturalist, author of "On the origin of species, by means of natural selection" 1809 - 1882
This is attributed, with an expression of doubt as to its correctness, in Mathematics, Our Great Heritage: Essays on the Nature and Cultural Significance of Mathematics (1948) by William Leonard Schaaf, p. 163; also attributed in Pi in the Sky : Counting, Thinking and Being (1992) by John D. Barrow. There are a number of similar expressions to this with various attributions, but the earliest published variants seem to be quotations of Lord Bowen: When I hear of an 'equity' in a case like this, I am reminded of a blind man in a dark room — looking for a black hat — which isn't there. Lord Bowen, as quoted in "Pie Powder", Being Dust from the Law Courts, Collected and Recollected on the Western Circuit, by a Circuit Tramp (1911) by John Alderson Foote; this seems to be the earliest account of any similar expression. It is mentioned by the author that this expression has become misquoted as a "black cat" rather than "black hat." An earlier example with "hat" as a learned judge is said to have defined the metaphysician, namely, as a blind man looking for a black hat in a dark room, the hat in question not being there Edinburgh Medical Journal, Volume 3 (1898) With his obscure and uncertain speculations as to the intimate nature and causes of things, the philosopher is likened to a 'blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that is not there.' William James, himself apparently quoting someone else's expression, in Some Problems of Philosophy : A Beginning of an Introduction to Philosophy (1911) Ch. 1 : Philosophy and its Critics A blind man in a dark room seeking for a black cat — which is not there. A definition of metaphysics attributed to Lord Bowen, as quoted in Science from an Easy Chair (1913) by Edwin Ray Lankester, p. 99 A blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there. A definition of metaphysics attributed to Lord Balfour, as quoted in God in Our Work: Religious Addresses (1949) by Richard Stafford Cripps, p. 72 A philosopher is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there. A theologian is the man who finds it. H. L. Mencken, as quoted in Peter's Quotations : Ideas for Our Time (1977) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 427 A metaphysician is like a blind man in a dark room, looking for a black cat — which isn't there. Variant published in Smiles and Chuckles (1952) by B. Hagspiel

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„If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.“

—  Erwin Schrödinger Austrian physicist 1887 - 1961
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