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Georges Clemenceau

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There are only two perfectly useless things in this world. One is an appendix and the other is Poincaré.
Referring to his rival Raymond Poincaré, as quoted in Paris 1919 : Six Months That Changed the World (2003) by Margaret MacMillan, p. 33

Georges Clemenceau

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It is better to teach a few things perfectly than many things indifferently, and an overloaded curriculum is useless. The object of instruction is not to produce technicians, but good active minds.

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I have done no passably decent job in this world which did not at first seem to me useless - absurdly useless, useless to the point of nausea. My secret demon is called :What's the use?

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Dynamic ecstasy is absolute romanticism, absolute heroism. And here I return to my point. From my point of view, after the catastrophe which we feel and think is universal, a catastrophe resulting from an excess of useless dynamism of useless progress, of useless realism, of useless technology, after this an unattainable democracy is to be reached through the conception and realization of a new romanticism.

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I returned to civilization shortly after that and went to Cornell to teach, and my first impression was a very strange one. I can't understand it any more, but I felt very strongly then. I sat in a restaurant in New York, for example, and I looked out at the buildings and I began to think, you know, about how much the radius of the Hiroshima bomb damage was and so forth... How far from here was 34th street?... All those buildings, all smashed — and so on. And I would see people building a bridge, or they'd be making a new road, and I thought, they're crazy, they just don't understand, they don't understand. Why are they making new things? It's so useless.
But, fortunately, it's been useless for almost forty years now, hasn't it? So I've been wrong about it being useless making bridges and I'm glad those other people had the sense to go ahead.

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