Petty Quotes (5 quotes)
It is very remarkable that while the words Eternal, Eternity, Forever, are constantly in our mouths, and applied without hesitation, we yet experience considerable difficulty in contemplating any definite term which bears a very large proportion to the brief cycles of our petty chronicles. There are many minds that would not for an instant doubt the God of Nature to have existed from all Eternity, and would yet reject as preposterous the idea of going back a million of years in the History of His Works. Yet what is a million, or a million million, of solar revolutions to an Eternity?
One of the petty ideas of philosophers is to elaborate a classification, a hierarchy of sciences. They all try it, and they are generally so fond of their favorite scheme that they are prone to attach an absurd importance to it. We must not let ourselves be misled by this. Classifications are always artificial; none more than this, however. There is nothing of value to get out of a classification of science; it dissembles more beauty and order than it can possibly reveal.
The study of geometry is a petty and idle exercise of the mind, if it is applied to no larger system than the starry one. Mathematics should be mixed not only with physics but with ethics; that is mixed mathematics.
To smite all humbugs, however big; to give a nobler tone to science; to set an example of abstinence from petty personal controversies, and of toleration for everything but lying. are these my aims?
When I quitted business and took to science as a career, I thought I had left behind me all the petty meannesses and small jealousies which hinder man in his moral progress; but I found myself raised into another sphere, only to find poor human nature just the same everywheresubject to the same weaknesses and the same self-seeking, however exalted the intellect.