„Play always as if in the presence of a master.“

Last update June 10, 2021. History
Robert Schumann photo
Robert Schumann9
German composer, aesthete and influential music critic 1810 - 1856

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Learned Hand photo

„No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master.“

—  Learned Hand American legal scholar, Court of Appeals judge 1872 - 1961

"Democracy: Its Presumptions and Realities" (1932); also in The Spirit of Liberty: Papers and Addresses (1952), p. 99 - 100.
Extra-judicial writings
Context: When I hear so much impatient and irritable complaint, so much readiness to replace what we have by guardians for us all, those supermen, evoked somewhere from the clouds, whom none have seen and none are ready to name, I lapse into a dream, as it were. I see children playing on the grass; their voices are shrill and discordant as children's are; they are restive and quarrelsome; they cannot agree to any common plan; their play annoys them; it goes poorly. And one says, let us make Jack the master; Jack knows all about it; Jack will tell us what each is to do and we shall all agree. But Jack is like all the rest; Helen is discontented with her part and Henry with his, and soon they fall again into their old state. No, the children must learn to play by themselves; there is no Jack the master. And in the end slowly and with infinite disappointment they do learn a little; they learn to forbear, to reckon with another, accept a little where they wanted much, to live and let live, to yield when they must yield; perhaps, we may hope, not to take all they can. But the condition is that they shall be willing at least to listen to one another, to get the habit of pooling their wishes. Somehow or other they must do this, if the play is to go on; maybe it will not, but there is no Jack, in or out of the box, who can come to straighten the game.

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Aeschylus photo

„Wealth itself is blameless, but there can be fear for its precious eye; for I consider the presence of a house's master to be its saving light.“

—  Aeschylus, The Persians

Original: (el) Ἔστι γὰρ πλοῦτός γ᾽ ἀμεμφής, ἀμφὶ δ᾽ ὀφθαλμῷ φόβος·
ὄμμα γὰρ δόμων νομίζω δεσπότου παρουσίαν.
Source: The Persians (472 BC), lines 168–169 (tr. Christopher Collard)

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„The Artist always has the masters in his eyes.“

—  Ralph Waldo Emerson American philosopher, essayist, and poet 1803 - 1882

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„In the presence of God himself man stands always like a solitary tree in the wilderness.“

—  Martin Buber German Jewish Existentialist philosopher and theologian 1878 - 1965

Source: For The Sake of Heaven (1945), p. 95

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„Since the beginning of time, children have not liked to study. They would much rather play, and if you have their interests at heart, you will let them learn while they play; they will find that what they have mastered is child's play.“

—  Carl Orff German composer 1895 - 1982

As quoted in a review of Langley Schools Music Project : Innocence and Despair (2001) http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/4685-innocence-and-despair/ by Dominique Leone (6 January 2002)

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Prevale photo

„In the air sweet and dancing melodies of the sound, in life music is always the master.“

—  Prevale Italian DJ and producer 1983

Original: Nell'aria dolci e danzanti melodie del suono, nella vita la musica fa sempre da padrona.

Roberto Durán photo

„Duran has always been the master of defense that is one of his trademarks.“

—  Roberto Durán Panamanian boxer 1951

Al Bernstein, boxing analyst, at ring side during a fight against Iran Barkley and "The Hands of Stone" http://coxscorner.tripod.com/duran.html

Napoleon I of France photo

„I never was truly my own master but was always ruled by circumstances.“

—  Napoleon I of France French general, First Consul and later Emperor of the French 1769 - 1821

Conversation with Emmanuel, comte de Las Cases (11 November 1816), Mémorial de Sainte Hélène, v. 4, p. 133 http://books.google.com/books?id=945jAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA133.
Context: I may have had many projects, but I never was free to carry out any of them. It did me little good to be holding the helm; no matter how strong my hands, the sudden and numerous waves were stronger still, and I was wise enough to yield to them rather than resist them obstinately and make the ship founder. Thus I never was truly my own master but was always ruled by circumstances.

Sri Aurobindo photo
Eugene V. Debs photo

„The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles.“

—  Eugene V. Debs American labor and political leader 1855 - 1926

The Canton, Ohio Speech, Anti-War Speech (1918)
Context: Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war. The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another's throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.
They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.
And here let me emphasize the fact — and it cannot be repeated too often — that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace.
Yours not to reason why;
Yours but to do and die.
That is their motto and we object on the part of the awakening workers of this nation.
If war is right let it be declared by the people. You who have your lives to lose, you certainly above all others have the right to decide the momentous issue of war or peace.

Richard Wagner photo

„My child, all is lost for him, and he will never achieve the rank of 'Master' in any land, because someone who is born a master, always has the lowest standing among 'Masters'.“

—  Richard Wagner German composer, conductor 1813 - 1883

Quotes from his operas, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Hans Sachs, Act 2, Scene 4
Original: (de) Mein Kind, für den ist alles verloren,
und Meister wird der in keinem Land;
denn wer als Meister geboren,
der hat unter Meistern den schlimmsten Stand.

Rodion Malinovsky photo

„Playing down the effective capacity of the USSR to deal a counterblow to the aggressor and exaggeration of their transoceanic capabilities…do not testify to the presence of common sense among the U. S. military.“

—  Rodion Malinovsky Soviet military commander and politician 1898 - 1967

Quoted in "Nuclear Blackmail and Nuclear Balance" - Page 173 - by Richard K. Betts - Political Science - 1987

„If a woman has her PhD in physics, has mastered quantum theory, plays flawless Chopin, was once a cheerleader, and is now married to a man who plays baseball, she will forever be "former cheerleader married to star athlete."“

—  Maryanne Ellison Simmons American printmaker 1949

The Waiting Room http://books.google.com/books?id=rhzwAAAAMAAJ&q=%22If+a+woman+has+her+Ph+D+in+physics+has+mastered+quantum+theory+plays+flawless+Chopin+was+once+a+cheerleader+and+is+now+married+to+a+man+who+plays+baseball+she+will+forever+be+former+cheerleader+married+to+star+athlete%22&pg=PA24#v=onepage magazine (May 1982)

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