Samuel Butler citations

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Samuel Butler

Date de naissance: 4. décembre 1835
Date de décès: 18. juin 1902

Samuel Butler était un écrivain britannique principalement connu pour sa satire Erewhon, ou De l’autre côté des montagnes.

„La vie est l’art de tirer des conclusions des prémisses insuffisantes.“

—  Samuel Butler

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.
en

„C'est beaucoup plus sûr de savoir trop peu que de savoir trop. Les gens condamneront les uns, mais ils en voudront aux autres à cause d'être obligés à se démener pour les atteindre.“

—  Samuel Butler

It is far safer to know too little than too much. People will condemn the one, though they will resent being called upon to exert themselves to follow the other.
en

„La vie est comme la musique: pour la composer on doit s’orienter par l’oreille, le sentiment et l’instinct, non par les règles. Néanmoins, c’est mieux de les connaître, parce que parfois elles aident dans des cas douteuses – quoique pas souvent.“

—  Samuel Butler

Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule. Nevertheless one had better know the rules, for they sometimes guide in doubtful cases, though not often
en

„C'est facile d'avoir des avis plus justes quand tout le monde les a déjà.“

—  Samuel Butler

It's easy to have juster views when everybody else has them.
en

„Saint Antoine a tenté les démons autant qu’ils lui ont tenté, puisque son sainteté particulière était pour eux une tentation impossible de résister. A proprement parler, ce sont les démons qui devraient nous apitoyer, parce qu’ils ont été tentés par Saint Antoine et ils ont tombé, et il lui-même n’a pas tombé.“

—  Samuel Butler

St Anthony tempted the devils quite as much as they tempted him; for his peculiar sanctity was a greater temptation to tempt him than they could stand. Strictly speaking, it was the devils who were the more to be pitied, for they were led up by St Anthony to be tempted and fell, whereas St Anthony did not fall.
en

„La vie est une superstition. Pourtant, les superstitions ont quelque utilité: la coquille de l’escargot est une superstition, puisque la limace va très bien sans elle; mais un escargot sans coquille ne serait pas une limace, sauf qu’il avait aussi l’indifférence de la limace vis-à´vis la coquille.“

—  Samuel Butler

Life is a superstition. But superstitions are not without their value. The snail's shell is a superstition, slugs have no shells and thrive just as well. But a snail without a shell would not be a slug unless it had also the slug's indifference to a shell.
en

„Il a été souvent remarqué, je crois, qu'une poule n'était seulement que le moyen qu'avait un œuf de fabriquer un autre œuf.“

—  Samuel Butler

It has, I believe, been often remarked, that a hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.
en

„L'avantage de faire l'éloge de soi-même personnellement c'est qu'on peut insister autant qu'on veut sur précisément les aspects qu'on veut.“

—  Samuel Butler

The advantage of doing one’s praising for oneself is that one can lay it on so thick and exactly in the right places.
en

„La vie n’est pas une devinette qu’on doit résoudre, mais plutôt un nœud gordien que sera coupé tôt ou tard.“

—  Samuel Butler

Life is not so much a riddle to be read as much as a Gordian knot that will get cut sooner or later.
en

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„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
Contexte: 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.

„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
Contexte: 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
Contexte: 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?
Contexte: 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.

„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
Contexte: 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.

„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
Contexte: 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)
Contexte: 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.

„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
Contexte: 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.

„It is in the uncompromisingness with which dogma is held and not in the dogma or want of dogma that the danger lies.“

—  Samuel Butler, livre The Way of All Flesh

Ch. 67 http://books.google.com/books?id=wZAEAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA338
The Way of All Flesh (1903)
Contexte: As the days went slowly by he came to see that Christianity and the denial of Christianity after all met as much as any other extremes do; it was a fight about names — not about things; practically the Church of Rome, the Church of England, and the freethinker have the same ideal standard and meet in the gentleman; for he is the most perfect saint who is the most perfect gentleman. Then he saw also that it matters little what profession, whether of religion or irreligion, a man may make, provided only he follows it out with charitable inconsistency, and without insisting on it to the bitter end. It is in the uncompromisingness with which dogma is held and not in the dogma or want of dogma that the danger lies.

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

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