Quotation Saturday: Stars. . . in your multitudes, scarce to be counted, filling the darkness with order and light. . . .

quotationsaturdayMamacita: I know that the rest of this song is about being inflexible, but these few lines are, indeed, about the stars.  (Javert meant well, but was too inflexible about human nature.)  Lately there have been  a myriad – a veritable constellation, if you will – of pictures of stars, including our own, sent back by the Hubble and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Back in the days of Greek mythology, the ancients understood the connection between what we now call “science” and “literature.”  One of the nine Muses was Urania, who was in charge of astronomy.  No one can study astronomy without also studying the stories behind each of the constellations, planets, and stars; anything that can be seen by the naked eye was charted and named by the ancients, named after a hero, god, goddess, creature, or storyline that the pattern of stars reminded these ancient celestial map-makers of.  A good, imaginative instructor will combine these two; a poor, unimaginative one will believe they are separate entities.

I am sharing with you quotations about the stars.

1. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened. — Mark Twain

2. I have … a terrible need … shall I say the word? … of religion. Then I go out at night and paint the stars. — Vincent van Gogh

3. If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently. — Bill Watterson

4. If the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

5. For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream. — Vincent van Gogh

6. I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes, – and the stars through his soul. — Victor Hugo

7. I can find in my undergraduate classes, bright students who do not know that the stars rise and set at night, or even that the Sun is a star. — Carl Sagan

8. I’ve loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night. –Galileo Galilei

9. Set your course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship. — Omar N. Bradley

10. What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives? — E. M. Forster

11. I have long thought that anyone who does not regularly – or ever – gaze up and see the wonder and glory of a dark night sky filled with countless stars loses a sense of their fundamental connectedness to the universe. — Brian Greene

12. The sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago… had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands. — Henry Ellis

13. There they stand, the innumerable stars, shining in order like a living hymn, written in light. — N.P. Willis

14. Metaphor for the night sky: A trillion asterisks and no explanations. –Robert Brault

15. No sight is more provocative of awe than is the night sky. –Llewelyn Powys

16. Whoever thinks of going to bed before twelve o’clock is a scoundrel. –Samuel Johnson

17. Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another. — Plato

18. I think a future flight should include a poet, a priest and a philosopher . . . we might get a much better idea of what we saw. — Michael Collins

19. How quickly do we grow accustomed to wonders. I am reminded of the Isaac Asimov story Nightfall, about the planet where the stars were visible only once in a thousand years. So awesome was the sight that it drove men mad. We who can see the stars every night glance up casually at the cosmos and then quickly down again, searching for a Dairy Queen. — Roger Ebert

20. What the space program needs is more English majors. — Michael Collins

21. To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit. — Stephen Hawking

22. Human interest in exploring the heavens goes back centuries. This is what human nature is all about. — Dennis Tito

23. I have a hunch the most important reason we’re going to space is not known now. — Burt Rutan

24. Two things inspire me to awe—the starry heavens above and the moral universe within. — Albert Einstein

25. I know that I am mortal and ephemeral. But when I search for the close-knit encompassing convolutions of the stars, my feet no longer touch the earth, but in the presence of Zeus himself I take my fill of ambrosia which the gods produce. — Ptolemy

26. We do not ask for what useful purpose the birds do sing, for song is their pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not to ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens … The diversity of the phenomena of Nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment. — Johannes Kepler

27. Observing quasars is like observing the exhaust fumes of a car from a great distance and then trying to figure out what is going on under the hood. — Carole Mundell

28. Those who study the stars have God for a teacher. — Tycho Brahe (He was so in awe of
the Maker of the Universe that he put on his court robes whenever he went to his telescope.) (One eye was also larger than the other, from his years of star-gazing.)

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