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Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
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Issues with Quotes > Seeking Source of Quote, "The task is not to see . . . ."

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message 1: by Jcns (new)

Jcns | 9 comments Goodreads attributes the same quote* to two different authors, Erwin Schrödinger and Arthur Schopenhauer.

What is the correct original source of the quote? Any light anyone could shed on this would be greatly appreciated.
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* The task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what no one yet has thought about that which everybody sees.


message 2: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)


message 3: by Jcns (new)

Jcns | 9 comments rivka,

Thank you for this link. It's certainly on topic. Unfortunately, it does not appear to resolve the issue, so far as I can tell.


message 4: by rivka, Librarian Moderator (new)

rivka | 41456 comments Mod
The last post in that thread has a fairly definitive source. And it makes sense, really, since Schopenhauer died before Schrödinger was even born. Let alone saying quotable things.


message 5: by Jcns (new)

Jcns | 9 comments I agree that it looks like Schopenhauer. Would still like to nail down the exact location. Will look for it in The World as Will and Representation. Thank you again for your help.


message 6: by Banjomike (new)

Banjomike | 5530 comments Jcns wrote: "I agree that it looks like Schopenhauer. Would still like to nail down the exact location. Will look for it in The World as Will and Representation. Thank you again for your help."

It isn't in the three volumes on Gutenberg.


message 7: by Jcns (new)

Jcns | 9 comments Yikes! The plot thickens! Maybe it was Schrödinger after all? I did see one Schopenhauer passage (I believe it was in Volume 2 of 'The World as Will and Representation') which contained the concept behind the quote, but not the actual quote itself (or anything close enough to count). If I can find it again, I'll reproduce it here.

So, Banjomike, I gather from your comment that you were able to do full text search of three volumes of Schopenhauer's 'The World as Will and Representation' on Gutenberg? (I'm a rank novice at this, so don't know many of the tricks of doing such searches.) Any and all help still greatly appreciated!


message 8: by Banjomike (new)

Banjomike | 5530 comments Jcns wrote: "So, Banjomike, I gather from your comment that you were able to do full text search of three volumes of Schopenhauer's 'The World as Will and Representation' on Gutenberg? (I'm a rank novice at this, so don't know many of the tricks of doing such searches.) Any and all help still greatly appreciated! "


Full text search of ALL of Gutenberg
http://bookmine.tesuji.eu/gutenberg/f...


message 9: by Jcns (new)

Jcns | 9 comments Wow! Thanks, Banjomike! That's an extremely powerful tool! I searched on "the task is not so much to see" (which is an abbreviated version of the quote I'm trying to track down). Assuming I did the search correctly (a big assumption) the quote does not appear in any books in the Project Gutenberg collection. And the collection does include many works by Schopenhauer, including all three volumes of 'The World as Will and Representation.'

The collection apparently does not, however, include any works by Schrödinger. This leads me to conclude that if one or the other of these authors is the correct source it's more likely Schrödinger, simply by a process of elimination.

But I plan to continue trying to track it down to a specific source. Any and all help continues to be welcome! This has become an interesting challenge!


message 10: by Banjomike (new)

Banjomike | 5530 comments Jcns wrote: " This leads me to conclude that if one or the other of these authors is the correct source it's more likely Schrödinger, simply by a process of elimination."

No. The quote in question is most likely the 'creation' of one of the translators of one of the authors.


message 11: by Jcns (new)

Jcns | 9 comments Of course you could be correct about that! I'll go back and look for the passage in Schopenhauer which looked like a much "wordier," less elegant expression of the same idea. If I can find it I'll post it here later.

Fwiw, the reason I'm trying to find the correct source for this is that I've used the quote as the epigraph to an essay I've written, and I'd like to get the attribution right. Credit should go where it's due.

Thank you again, Banjomike, for your excellent help! Btw, assuming the picture which appears with your comments is you, you don't look like any Mike I've ever known, Banjo or otherwise, but I am a big fan of banjo music! :)


message 12: by Banjomike (new)

Banjomike | 5530 comments The picture is so I can find my posts in a thread. The banjo reference is an old joke.


message 13: by Jcns (new)

Jcns | 9 comments As promised, I've located and am reproducing here the passage from Schopenhauer which conveys a concept at least roughly paralleling that conveyed by the quote I'm trying to track down.

". . . relations of things in general come so rapidly and readily into their minds [into the minds of "people of great intellect"], that the same occasion that millions of ordinary people had before them brings them to *the* thought, to *the* discovery. Other men are subsequently surprised at not having made the discovery, because they certainly are able to think afterwards, but not before."

(P. 29, Payne translation of 'The World as Will and Representation,' Vol. II.) Words contained between asterisks were italicized in the source, but I don't know how to do italics here.

This passage strikes me as a wordier way of conveying the concept expressed more economically as "The task is not so much to see what no one yet has seen, but to think what no one yet has thought about that which everybody sees."

Now, my further task is to determine whether Schrödinger may actually have used this more economical version somewhere in his writings. I'm sorry that Gutenberg has not digitized Schrödinger's works. That would make my quest much easier!

Thanks again to all who have offered help and suggestions. Any and all additional help/suggestions welcomed with open arms.


message 14: by Kallil (new)

Kallil Neves | 4 comments I´ve been searching for years, so many people quoting as it's from Schopenhauer, never mentioning any publishings. Will try to find something from Schrödinger, never knew it could be someone else.


message 15: by Kallil (new)

Kallil Neves | 4 comments Found a very interesting article.
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/07/...


message 16: by Kallil (new)

Kallil Neves | 4 comments FINALLY.
Check the link, book - Parerga und Paralipomena: kleine philosophische Schriften - , last part of item #76, on page 93.
What a relief.


https://play.google.com/books/reader?...


message 17: by Banjomike (new)

Banjomike | 5530 comments Kallil wrote: "Found a very interesting article.
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/07/..."


Looks like a solution. I've combined all the versions I could find into this one:
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/9236...

The missing 160+ likers are included in the list of people but the total is wrong. Known problem.


message 18: by Jcns (new)

Jcns | 9 comments Kallil wrote: "Found a very interesting article.
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/07/..."


Yes, thank you! If you look at the bottom of this item you'll see that I'm the one who asked the Quote Investigator to look into this.

"(Great thanks to J. C. Smith whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Special thanks to Amy West who provided the first of the two translations of Schopenhauer’s statement given above. Any errors are the responsibility of QI.)"


message 19: by Kallil (new)

Kallil Neves | 4 comments Jcns wrote: "Kallil wrote: "Found a very interesting article.
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/07/..."

Yes, thank you! If you look at the bottom of this item you'll see that I'm the one who as..."


haha great! Mistery solved; they did a great job.


message 20: by Jcns (new)

Jcns | 9 comments Kallil wrote: "Jcns wrote: "Kallil wrote: "Found a very interesting article.
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/07/..."

Yes, thank you! If you look at the bottom of this item you'll see that I'm t..."


Yes!


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