Arthur Koestler Quotes (31 Quotes)

    A writer's ambition should be to trade a hundred contemporary readers for ten readers in ten years' time and for one reader in a hundred years' time.

    Prometheus is reaching out for the stars with an empty grin on his face.

    The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.

    When all is said, its atmosphere (England's) still contains fewer germs of aggression and brutality per cubic foot in a crowded bus, pub or queue than in any other country in which I have lived

    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

    One may not regard the world as a sort of metaphysical brothel for emotions.

    cheerfully slain in the name of the true religion, just policy, or correct ideology

    The definition of the individual was: a multitude of one million divided by one million.

    The process of evolution may be described as differentiation of structure and integration of function. The more differentiated and specialized the parts, the more elaborate co-ordination is needed to create a well-balanced whole. The ultimate criterion of the value of a functional whole is the degree of its internal harmony or integratedness, whether the functional whole is a biological species or a civilization or an individual. A whole is defined by the pattern of relations between its parts, not by the sum of its parts and a civilization is not defined by the sum of its science, technology, art and social organization, but by the total pattern which they form, and the degree of harmonious integration in that pattern.

    Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.

    The most persistent sound which reverberates through man's history is the beating of war drums.

    If conquerors be regarded as the engine-drivers of History, then the conquerors of thought are perhaps the pointsmen who, less conspicuous to the traveler's eye, determine the direction of the journey.

    Scientists are peeping toms at the keyhole of eternity.

    The principle mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.

    Nobody before the Pythagoreans had thought that mathematical relations held the secret of the universe. Twenty-five centuries later, Europe is still blessed and cursed with their heritage. To non-European civilizations, the idea that numbers are the key to both wisdom and power, seems never to have occurred.

    Creativity in science could be described as the act of putting two and two together to make five

    God seems to have left the receiver off the hook and time is running out

    Artists treat facts as stimuli for imagination, whereas scientists use imagination to coordinate facts.

    When a person identifies himself with a group his critical faculties are diminished and his passions enhanced by a kind of emotive resonance. The individual is not a killer, the group is, and by identifying with it, the individual becomes one. This i

    If the creator had a purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant us to stick it out.

    In the index to the six hundred odd pages of Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History, abridged version, the names of Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes and Newton do not occur yet their cosmic quest destroyed the medieval vision of an immutable social order in a walled-in universe and transformed the European landscape, society, culture, habits and general outlook, as thoroughly as if a new species had arisen on this planet.

    The progress of science is strewn, like an ancient desert trail, with the bleached skeleton of discarded theories which once seemed to possess eternal life.

    Space-ships and time machines are no escape from the human condition. Let Othello subject Desdemona to a lie-detector test his jealousy will still blind him to the evidence. Let Oedipus triumph over gravity he won't triumph over his fate.

    Two half-truths do not make a truth, and two half-cultures do not make a culture.

    Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

    Politics can be relatively fair in the breathing spaces of history; at its critical turning points there is no other rule possible than the old one, that the end justifies the means.

    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 prerequisite of originality is the art of forgetting, at the proper moment, what we know.

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