(Being a generally rambling discourse on pretty much nothing……………)
Have you ever observed that we pay much more attention to a wise passage when it is quoted than when we read it in the original author? - Philip G. Hamerton
For the inquiring minds out there, Philip Gilbert Hamerton (September 10, 1834 – November 4, 1894) was an English
artist and art critic and author. Editor's Note: Evidently, more of a critic and writer than an artist himself, because according to Wikipedia, he first tried painting, and then switched to writing.
You may have noticed that I try to insert at least one quote at the top of my various posts. I got the idea of doing this from a combination of things. One, it is pretty common practice in literature to see quotes as part of the preface to a book; Two, it's just kind of cool to see whether somebody way smarter than I might have said something sort of appropriate (and, that is not hard to do) to whatever rant I want to talk about, and; Three, iGoogle always has three quotes of the day on their site, and I have been saving them for a while OK, I suppose I could put a fourth reason here, and say 'cause I can put whatever I want since it's my blog! Oh, wait! I also have a collection of quotes that I found one day (on the 'net; where else?) specifically dealing with stupidity, and I just like to share.
Well, when I saw this quote on iGoogle the other day, it actually gave me pause. First, I wanted to know when this was originally said, and in what context? Because it did occur to me that this might well be truer today than, say, ten or fifteen years ago. And, I say that because I believe that we (OK, I) see excellent famous and not so famous quotes from famous and not so famous people much more often today than ever before, simply because of the internet.
But, my first thought was that this is simply not true, at least not for me. You see, I am a voracious reader (fiction for entertainment, mostly), and have been for all of my life. And, I cannot recall how many, many times I have interrupted my reading to cogitate on a particular passage, or statement that the writer has placed there (maybe just for me, who knows?). A very significant, poignant passage will cause me to put whatever book I'm reading aside for a period of time just to reflect on what I've just read. And, yes, to appreciate what has been written. This is actually one of the great pleasures of reading. You never know when you might just come across a gem, a sparkle, an idea so significant (maybe only to you, but that's OK) that you have no choice but to just look at it, pick it up, hold it a different angles, and downright admire it for what it is.
And, now that I think about it, maybe this has a lot to do with how I've decided over the years who some of my favorite authors are. They're the ones who provided me with those sparkling gems, those ideas that moved me, that inspired me, that made me think more deeply. And, they're the ones whose words I remember longer, and take to heart. They are also the ones whose writing in one book hit me so strongly that I had to go out and find more things written by them, just so I could seek to repeat that experience by attempting to find even more gems. And, you know what? I have rarely been disappointed in that search. And, that explains why, if you look at my sparse book shelves, you will see a lot books written by the same few authors.
So, I guess I wind up with this conclusion: the statement may be very generally true, because so many of us like to single out good quotes for use like I do on this Blog, but for me, I'll stick with my first reaction (usually a very good practice), and say that a great writer (or, sometimes, a great speaker) will inevitably sprinkle some gems over the material that he/she has written (or spoken) that will live longer than the whole of whatever has been written.