"This book is about mathematics for its own sake. It is a guided tour of a great but empty Opera House. The guide is enthusiastic but interested only in sight-lines, acoustics, lighting and stage machinery. If you wish to see the stage filled with spectacle and the air filled with music you must come at another time and with a different guide."
"“Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out."
"Whenever you observe an animal closely, you feel as if a human being sitting inside were making fun of you."
"A man has been through an experience, now he is looking for the story to go with it - you can’t live with an experience that remains without a story, and I often used to imagine that someone else had exactly the story to fit my experience…"
"What does it mean, Guillaumet, if your days and nights of service are passed in the checking of gauges, in balancing your craft by gyroscope, in sounding the breath of your engines, in urging on fifteen tons of metal with your shoulders: The problems confronting you are ultimately the problems of all men, and you share the nobility of the mountain-dweller with whom you are on a direct and equal footing. Like a poet, you are a connoisseur of the first signs of dawn. From deep in the chasms of troubled nights, you have willed so often the coming of that pale flower, that gleam of light which rises from the dark lands of the east. Soemtiems that miraculous spring has unfrozen slowly before your very eyes, and healed you when you thought that you were dying.
Your use of a scientific instrument has not made a dry technician of you. It seems to me that those who are alarmed by too many of our technical advances are confusing ends and means. The man who struggles in the hope of material gain alone indeed harvests nothing worth living for. But the machine is not an end in itself; it is an implement. As the plough is an implement."