Quintessential Quotations


Creative Ferment

Has anyone...any distinct notion of what poets of a stronger age understood by the word inspiration? ... There is an ecstasy such that the immense strain of it is sometimes relaxed by a flood of tears, along with which one's steps either rush or involuntarily lag, alternately. There is the feeling that one is completely out of hand, with the very distinct consciousness of an endless number of fine thrills and quiverings to the very toes... Everything happens quite involuntarily, as if in a tempestuous outburst of freedom, of absoluteness, of power and divinity.

Friedrich Nietzsche
Ecce Homo, cited in Richard Restak, The Modular Brain

We enjoy lovely music, beautiful paintings, a thousand intellectual delicacies, but we have no idea of their cost, to those who invented them, in sleepless nights, tears, spasmodic laughter, rashes, asthmas, epilepsies, and the fear of death, which is worse than all the rest.

Marcel Proust
cited in Richard Restak, The Modular Brain

One hears one does not seek; one takes one does not ask who gives.

Friedrich Nietzsche
Cited in Brewster Ghiselin, ed., The Creative Process, recited in John McCrone, The Myth of Irrationality

Literature is born when something in life goes slightly adrift.

Simone de Beauvoir
La Force de L'Age, quoted in Park Honan, Jane Austen: Her Life

The poets are nothing but interpreters of the gods, each one possessed by the divinity to whom he is in bondage.

Ion, cited in John McCrone, The Myth of Irrationality

The deity on purpose [sings] the liveliest of all lyrics through the most miserable poet.

cited in John McCrone, The Myth of Irrationality

The beginnings of all poetry is to suspend the course and the laws of rationally thinking reason and to transport us again into lovely vagaries of fancy and the primitive chaos of human nature.

August Wilhelm von Schlegel and Karl Wilhelm von Schlegel
cited in Max Nordeau, Degeneration, recited in John McCrone, The Myth of Irrationality

Poetry has no other end but itself: it cannot have any other... If a poet has followed a moral end he has diminished his poetic force and the result is most likely to be bad.

quoted in William Gaunt, The Aesthetic Adventure, recited in John McCrone, The Myth of Irrationality

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Creativity a Family Trait

Art in the blood is liable to take the strangest forms.

A. Conan Doyle
The Greek Interpreter

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Demystifying Genius

Genius should not be thought of as something that is solitary, spontaneous, and irrational. The human mind is born naked and then clothed with socially forged patterns of thought. The genius is the person who learns these habits of thinking better than anyone else and then finds a socially valued application for them.

John McCrone
The Myth of Irrationality

Creativity is a problem-solving response by intelligent, very active, highly emotional and extremely introverted persons... Subjected to a vast array of disorganized perceptual data and strongly feeling the inconsistencies, the active and intelligent individual forms new perceptual relationships to develop feelings of consistency and harmony.

Dr. L. M. Bachtold
quoted in Richard Restak, The Modular Brain

It is reckoned that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become reasonably skilled in just about any activity, whether it is chess, playing the piano or kicking a soccer ball. The biographies of most successful people show that they were already hard at work in their field of interest before they were even into their teens.

If the moment of discovery seems to come swiftly and effortlessly to the trained mind, it should never be forgotten how many years were spent flexing the muscles of thought and stocking the memory banks to make such discoveries possible.

John McCrone
The Myth of Irrationality

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Imagination and Memory

Bricks without straw are more easily made than imagination without memories.

Lord Dunsany
notes to A Shop in Go-By Street, in At the Edge of the World

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Longing to Create

Longing for creativity precedes the urge to create itself, and this is the first spark that sets in motion the mechanism for making images.

M. C. Escher
quoted on a tag for a Smart Art T-Shirt from Andazia International

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Madness and Creativity

Men have called me mad, but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence whether much that is glorious whether all that is profound does not spring from disease of thought from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect. They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. In their gray visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in waking, to find that they have been upon the verge of the great secret.

Edgar Allan Poe

The creativity and pathology of the human mind are, after all, two sides of the same medal coined in the evolutionary mint. The first is responsible for the splendour of our cathedrals, the second for the gargoyles that decorate them to remind us that the world is full of monsters, devils, and succubi.

Arthur Koestler
The Ghost in the Machine, cited in John McCrone, The Myth of Irrationality

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Copyright 1996-2015 by Joseph Morales