Subjects — D
What is there that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man’s breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what human eye has not seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea, to discover a great thought — an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plough had gone over before. To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find a way to make the lightnings carry your messages. To be the first — that is the idea.
If you can’t find something where it’s supposed to be, look every place that it isn’t supposed to be.
The way a child discovers the world constantly replicates the way science began. You start to notice what’s around you, and you get very curious about how things work. How things interrelate. It’s as simple as seeing a bug that intrigues you. You want to know where it goes at night; who its friends are; what it eats.
If a man knew anything, he would sit in a corner and be modest; but he is such an ignorant peacock, that he goes bustling up and down, and hits on extraordinary discoveries.
What has become clear to you since we last met?
One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
The discovery of the North Pole is one of those realities which could not be avoided. It is the wages which human perseverance pays itself when it thinks that something is taking too long. The world needed a discoverer of the North Pole, and in all areas of social activity, merit was less important here than opportunity.
If we make a couple of discoveries here and there we need not believe things will go on like this for ever . … Just as we hit water when we dig in the earth, so we discover the incomprehensible sooner or later.
An hour of play discovers more than a year of conversation does.
They are ill discoverers that think there is no land when they see nothing but sea.