Barthes, Camera Lucida, 1980, translated by Richard Howard:
I decided then to take as a guide for my new analysis the attraction I felt for certain photographs. For of this attraction, at least, I was certain. What to call it? Fascination? No, this photograph which I pick out and which I love has nothing in common with the shiny point which sways before your eyes and makes your head swim; what it produces in me is the very opposite of hebetude; something more like an internal agitation, an excitement, a certain labor too, the pressure of the unspeakable which wants to be spoken.
Poincaré, “Mathematical definitions and education,” 1906, in Science and Method, translated by Francis Maitland:
Logic sometimes breeds monsters. For half a century there has been springing up a host of weird functions, which seem to strive to have as little resemblance as possible to honest functions that are of some use. No more continuity, or else continuity but no derivatives, etc. More than this, from the point of view of logic, it is these strange functions that are the most general; those that are met without being looked for no longer appear as more than a particular case, and they have only quite a little corner left them.
Cf. Goya’s El sueño de la razón produce monstruos, circa 1799:
Melville to Hawthorne, November 1851:
Lord, when shall we be done growing? As long as we have anything more to do, we have done nothing. So, now, let us add Moby Dick to our blessing, and step from that. Leviathan is not the biggest fish; — I have heard of Krakens.
A drawing by British naturalist William Evans Hoyle, 1886:
William Blake’s Laocoön, circa 1817:
Wittgenstein, from “Notes for Lectures on ‘Private Experience’ and ‘Sense Data'” (circa 1934–1936):
Die Atmosphäre, die dieses Problem umgibt, ist schrecklich. Dichte Nebel der Sprache sind um den problematischen Punkt gelagert. Es ist beinahe unmöglich, zu ihm vorzudringen.
translated by Rush Rhees:
The atmosphere surrounding the problem is terrible. Dense mists of language are situated about the crucial point. It is almost impossible to get through to it.