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Leslie Stephen

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If you wish at once to do nothing and to be respectable now-a-days, the best pretext is to be at work on some profound study.
--
Sketches from Cambridge (1865)

 
Leslie Stephen

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I know I shall be called heterodox, and that unseen lightning flashes and unheard thunderbolts will be playing around my head, when I say that women will never be profound students in any other department except music while they give four hours a day to the practice of music. I should by all means encourage every woman who is born with musical gifts to study music; but study it as a science and an art, and not as an accomplishment; and to every woman who is not musical, I should say, 'Don't study it at all;' you cannot afford four hours a day, out of some years of your life, just to be agreeable in company upon possible occasions. If for four hours a day you studied, year after year, the science of language, for instance, do you suppose you would not be a linguist? Do you put the mere pleasing of some social party, and the reception of a few compliments, against the mental development of four hours a day of study of something for which you were born? When I see that girls who are required by their parents to go through with the irksome practising really become respectable performers, I wonder what four hours a day at something which they loved, and for which God designed them, would do for them. I should think that to a real scientist in music there would be something mortifying in this rush of all women into music; as there would be to me if I saw every girl learning the constellations, and then thinking she was an astronomer!

 
Maria Mitchell
 

When I commenced the study of man... I thought at least to find many companions in the study of man, and that it was the true study which is suited to him. I have been deceived; still fewer study it than geometry. It is only from the want of knowing how to study this that we seek the other studies. But is it not that even here is not the knowledge which man should have, and that for the purpose of happiness it is better for him not to know himself? 144

 
Blaise Pascal
 

Profound study of nature is the most fertile source of mathematical discoveries.

 
Joseph Fourier
 

When you clean them up, when you make movies respectable, you kill them. The wellspring of their art, their greatness, is in not being respectable.

 
Pauline Kael
 

It's always strange. I've had a lot of people work for me, and I've found out it's a funny thing that you give them Saturday and Sunday off, and they work so hard to get to those two days and those are the two days that they totally destroy themselves. I mean, you know you think to yourself, you say, "My goodness, I've really pounded these people and worked to them to death." And Friday comes and they say, "Yeah!" And then they come in Monday... [he makes an expression that looks like he's exhausted and upset] and say, "Boy, am I glad to be back here. I'm no good on my own. I was given two whole days and I just went crazy."

 
Bill Cosby
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