Lichtenberg : Aphorisms on Books, Reading and Truth





{Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, (born July 1, 1742, Ober-Ramstadt, near Darmstadt, Hesse [Germany]—died Feb. 24, 1799, Göttingen, Hanover), German physicist, satirist, and writer of aphorisms, best known for his ridicule of metaphysical and romantic excesses.


From 1765 until the end of his life, Lichtenberg kept notebooks he referred to as Sudelbücher, or “waste books,” where he recorded quotations, sketched, and made brief observations on a wide range of subjects from science to philosophy.


First published posthumously in 1800–06, they became his best-known work and gave him his reputation as an aphorist. Selections from the Sudelbücher were published in English as The Waste Books (2000).}




Aphorisms



I offer this book to you not as a lorgnette to observe others but as a mirror to observe yourself.


(Notebook)


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A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it, an apostle is unlikely to look out.


(Notebook)


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When a book and a head collide and a hollow sound is heard, must it always have come from the book ?

(The Waste Books)


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A sure sign of a good book is that you like it more the older you get.


(The Waste Books)


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Does the soul not find itself in a peculiar situation when it reads an investigation of itself, thus when it searches in books for what it itself might be ?


(Notebook)


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In this world, one can hardly find a stranger ware than books: they are printed by people who do not understand them; sold by people who do not understand them; bound, reviewed, and read by people who do not understand them; and now they are even written by people who do not understand them.


(Notebook)


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Nowadays we already have books about books and descriptions of descriptions.


(Notebook)


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There are very many people who read simply to prevent themselves from thinking.

(The Waste Books)


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