„To love in spite of all is the secret of greatness. And may very well be the greatest secret in this universe.“

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„There is evidence that the honoree might be privy to the secret of the universe, which, in case you’re wondering, is simply this: everything is connected. Everything.“

—  Tom Robbins American writer 1936
Context: It is their desire to honor L. Cohen, songwriter, that has prompted a delegation of our brightest artists to climb, one by one, joss sticks smoldering, the steep and salty staircase in the Tower of Song. There is evidence that the honoree might be privy to the secret of the universe, which, in case you’re wondering, is simply this: everything is connected. Everything. Many, if not most, of the links are difficult to determine. The instrument, the apparatus, the focused ray that can uncover and illuminate those connections is language. And just as a sudden infatuation often will light up a person’s biochemical sky more pyrotechnically than any deep, abiding attachment, so an unlikely, unexpected burst of linguistic imagination will usually reveal greater truths than the most exacting scholarship. In fact, the poetic image may be the only device remotely capable of dissecting romantic desire, let alone disclosing the hidden mystical essence of the material world. Cohen is a master of the quasi-surrealistic phrase, of the “illogical” line that speaks so directly to the unconscious that surface ambiguity is transformed into ultimate, if fleeting, comprehension: comprehension of the bewitching nuances of sex and the bewildering assaults of culture. Liner notes for the Leonard Cohen tribute album Tower of Song (1995).

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„Madame de Staël thought it was pride in mankind to endeavour to penetrate the secret of the universe; and speaking of the higher metaphysics she said: "I prefer the Lord's Prayer to it all."“

—  Anne Louise Germaine de Staël Swiss author 1766 - 1817
Sketch of the Life, Character, and Writings of Baroness de Staël-Holstein (1820) by Albertine-Adrienne Necker de Saussure, p. 349; often misquoted as, "I desire no other evidence of the truth of Christianity than the Lord's Prayer."

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„The secret of the man who is universally interesting is that he is universally interested“

—  William Dean Howells author, critic and playwright from the United States 1837 - 1920
Context: The secret of the man who is universally interesting is that he is universally interested, and this was, above all, the secret of the charm that Doctor Holmes had for every one. No doubt he knew it, for what that most alert intelligence did not know of itself was scarcely worth knowing. This knowledge was one of his chief pleasures, I fancy; he rejoiced in the consciousness which is one of the highest attributes of the highly organized man, and he did not care for the consequences in your mind, if you were so stupid as not to take him aright. Literary Friends and Acquaintance : A Personal Retrospect of American Authorship (1900) http://archive.org/stream/oliverwendellhol03395gut/old/whowh10.txt

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