The 3D Web Will Rapidly Be the Dominant Thing and Everyone Will Have an Avatar

Philip Rosedale? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The technology needed to implement virtual reality (VR) has been under development for decades. The company Linden Lab launched a popular virtual world called “Second Life” (SL) in 2003. The avatar of each user could move though a wide variety of 3D digital environments and interact with digital objects and other avatars.

Yet, this virtual world differed from immersive VR because the imagery was displayed via conventional screens and not via VR goggles. The founder of “Second Life” was convinced that soon everyone would have an avatar, and virtual worlds would surpass the web to become dominant. Would you please help me to find a citation for his comments?

Quote Investigator: In 2007 “The Guardian” newspaper of London published “Today Second Life, Tomorrow the World” which contained an interview with Philip Rosedale, the founder of Linden Lab and “Second Life”. He believed that once people had learned how to use “Second Life” it would become a preferred realm for communication and collaboration. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

The big problem is that it takes a long time to figure out how to do things in SL. Once you get over that, I think SL is a smoother road than the web itself, so taking that average of the four hours it takes now for people to understand SL down to 40 minutes will move us from 10% retention of users to more than 50% and then the 3D web will rapidly be the dominant thing and everyone will have an avatar.

Below is one additional citation and the conclusion.

Continue reading The 3D Web Will Rapidly Be the Dominant Thing and Everyone Will Have an Avatar

Notes:

  1. 2007 May 17, The Guardian, Today Second Life, tomorrow the world (Interview conducted by Kate Bulkley of Philip Rosedale, the founder of the virtual world Second Life), Quote Page 5, London, England. (ProQuest)

My Father Had a Profound Influence On Me—He Was a Lunatic!

Spike Milligan? Michael Parkinson? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: A popular comedian once asserted that his father had a major influence on him. Normally, this type of claim is followed by effusive praise of the father. But the comedian employed a gleeful paraprosdokian by saying that his father was a lunatic. Would you please help me to find out who crafted this jest?

Quote Investigator: The Irish-English comedian Spike Milligan appeared several times on the U.K talk show of Michael Parkinson. In 1982 the host published “The Best of Parkinson” containing extracts from the most memorable interviews of the show including Milligan’s remarks about his father. Boldface added to excepts by QI: 1

My father had a profound influence on me—he was a lunatic! He went bald when he was very young, about seventeen, and so he used to wear a wig which in those days looked like shredded GPO directories.

Below are two additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading My Father Had a Profound Influence On Me—He Was a Lunatic!

Notes:

  1. 1982, The Best of Parkinson by Michael Parkinson, Chapter: Spike Milligan, Quote Page 109, Pavilion Books Limited, London in Association with Michael Joseph Limited. (Verified with scans)

I Prayed That God Would Emancipate Me, But It Was Not Till I Prayed With My Legs That I Was Emancipated

Frederick Douglass? Richard Theodore Greener? Samuel Byron Brittan? Rufus K. Noyes? James Clear? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: You must be willing to take constructive actions to resolve your own problems. If you rely solely on the help of others you will be disheartened. Also, if you depend solely on supernatural intervention you will be disappointed.

The great orator Frederick Douglass provided a cogent anecdote. When he was held in bondage he frequently prayed for freedom. Yet, he only achieved freedom when he took action and prayed with his legs, i.e., he successfully ran away.

I am having trouble finding solid citations for this tale. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: The earliest match located by QI appeared within a speech delivered by Frederick Douglass in 1859 at the annual meeting of the “Friends of Human Progress” held in Waterloo, New York. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

We want practical religion—religion that will do something. When I commenced praying with my legs, I felt the answer coming down.

See the 1876 citation further below for a pertinent excerpt from a later speech by Frederick Douglass. Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Prayed That God Would Emancipate Me, But It Was Not Till I Prayed With My Legs That I Was Emancipated

Notes:

  1. 1859, Proceedings of the Yearly Meeting of the Friends of Human Progress, Held at Waterloo, Seneca Co., N.Y., the 3d, 4th and 5th of June, 1859, Second Day, (Description of speech by Frederick Douglass), Quote Page 8, Press of C. W. Hebard & Company, Rochester, New York. (Google Books Full View) link

Any Fool Can Know. The Point Is To Understand

Albert Einstein? Ernest Kinoy? Gotthold Ephraim Lessing? James L. Christian? George F. Simmons? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Comprehending a subject requires more than memorizing a set of facts and formulas. The famous physicist Albert Einstein supposedly made the following pertinent remark:

Any fool can know. The point is to understand.

I am skeptical of this attribution because I have been unable to find a citation. Would you please explore the provenance of this remark?

Quote Investigator: There is no substantive evidence that Albert Einstein wrote or spoke this statement. It is not listed in the comprehensive reference “The Ultimate Quotable Einstein” from Princeton University Press. 1

In 1973 the NBC television network broadcast a program titled “Dr. Einstein Before Lunch” featuring a fictional version of Albert Einstein. 2 During the drama a supernatural being visited Einstein shortly before his death. The visitor offered to give Einstein an equation representing the breakthrough theory in physics that Einstein had been attempting to discover for many years. Einstein asked about the mathematical and experimental underpinnings for the derivation of the equation, but the visitor did not provide any scientific justification; instead, the visitor said “I can make you know!” The Einstein character rejected the offer.

An excerpt of the television script by Ernest Kinoy appeared in the 1990 textbook “Philosophy: An Introduction to The Art of Wondering” by James L. Christian. Ellipses occurred in the reprinted script. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 3

EINSTEIN: No thank you.

VISITOR: But Doctor . . . I offer you what you have been searching for for thirty years. I offer you the . . . the answer of your soul’s question. I offer you the . . . confirmation of your faith.

EINSTEIN: Any fool can KNOW! The point is . . . to understand! To follow the thought . . . to build a structure of theory and mathematics which is . . . True! That is science . . .

QI believes that the quotation originated with Ernest Kinoy who penned the line for a fictional Einstein within a drama televised in 1973.

James L. Christian published several editions of “Philosophy: An Introduction to The Art of Wondering”. The script excerpt containing the quotation first appeared in the fifth edition in 1990; it did not appear the fourth edition in 1986. 4

Thanks to top German quotation expert Gerald Krieghofer who located the crucial 1990 citation containing the script excerpt. His article in German is available here.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Any Fool Can Know. The Point Is To Understand

Notes:

  1. 2010, The Ultimate Quotable Einstein, Edited by Alice Calaprice, (The quotation is absent), Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. (Verified with hardcopy)
  2. 1973 May 21, New York Times, TV: Father of Relativity by Howard Thompson, (This article describes the NBC program, but does not contain the quotation), Quote Page 67, New York. (ProQuest)
  3. 1990, Philosophy: An Introduction to The Art of Wondering by James L. Christian (Rancho Santiago College, Santa Ana, California), Fifth Edition, Chapter 1-2: The Spirit of Philosophy, Quote Page 34, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Fort Worth, Texas. (Verified with scans)
  4. 1986, Philosophy: An Introduction to The Art of Wondering by James L. Christian (Rancho Santiago College, Santa Ana, California), Fourth Edition, (The quotation is absent), Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York. (Verified with scans)

The Search for Truth Is More Precious Than Its Possession

Albert Einstein? Gotthold Ephraim Lessing? Alexander Grant? J. A. Turner? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The pursuit of truth is fascinating and energizing while the actual attainment of truth may feel anticlimactic. Here are four instances from a family of sayings:

(1) The search for truth is more precious than its possession
(2) The search for truth is more precious than truth itself
(3) The pursuit of truth is more valuable than the attainment of truth
(4) The pursuit of an object is more pleasurable than its possession

This saying has been attributed to the famous physicist Albert Einstein and the prominent German philosopher Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Would you please explore this topic?

Quote Investigator: In 1778 Gotthold Ephraim Lessing published “Eine Duplik” which contained a passage discussing the struggle to attain the truth. Below is a translation of Lessing’s remarks from German into English published in 1866 by E. P. Evans. QI believes that the family of sayings under examination were derived from Lessing’s viewpoint. Boldface added to excerpt by QI: 1

The worth of man lies not in the truth which he possesses, or believes that he possesses, but in the honest endeavor which he puts forth to secure that truth; for not by the possession of, but by the search after, truth, are his powers enlarged, wherein, alone, consists his ever-increasing perfection. Possession fosters content, indolence, and pride.

If God should hold enclosed in His right hand all truth, and in His left hand only the ever-active impulse after truth, although with the condition that I must always and forever err, I would, with humility, turn to His left hand, and say, ‘Father, give me this; pure truth is for Thee alone.’

In 1940 Albert Einstein published “Considerations Concerning the Fundaments of Theoretical Physics” in the journal “Science”. Einstein employed the first instance from the family above, and he credited Lessing. Einstein did not use quotation marks, and QI believes the physicist presented an encapsulation of Lessing’s perspective and not a direct quotation: 2

Some physicists, among them myself, can not believe that we must abandon, actually and forever, the idea of direct representation of physical reality in space and time; or that we must accept the view that events in nature are analogous to a game of chance. It is open to every man to choose the direction of his striving; and also every man may draw comfort from Lessing’s fine saying, that the search for truth is more precious than its possession.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading The Search for Truth Is More Precious Than Its Possession

Notes:

  1. 1866, The Life and Works of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing From the German of Adolf Stahr by E. P. Evans Ph.D. (Professor of Modern Languages and Literature in the University of Michigan), Volume 2, Book 12, Chapter 5: The Controversy with Götze, Quote Page 257, William V. Spencer, Boston, Massachusetts. (Google Books Full View) link
  2. 1940 May 24, Science, Volume 91, Number 2369, Considerations Concerning the Fundaments of Theoretical Physics by Dr. Albert Einstein (Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey), Start Page 487, Quote Page 492, Column 2, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington D.C. (JSTOR) link

“Education Isn’t Everything” “You’re Right, For a Start It’s Not Elephants”

Spike Milligan? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Education is enormously important, but it is not a cure-all for the ailments of society. An absurdist quip highlights this limitation:

Education isn’t everything; for a start it isn’t an elephant.

The Irish-English comedian Spike Milligan has received credit for this line, but I haven’t been able to find a citation. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: In 1974 Spike Milligan published “Rommel? Gunner Who?: A Confrontation in the Desert”, the second volume of a seven-volume memoir recounting his experiences during World War 2. The book was set primarily in North Africa in 1943. Milligan described an episode communicating with a pilot and a fellow soldier. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

‘He must have had a good education’ Edgington remarked later, ‘I mean, controlling the plane and issuing fire orders at the same time.’
‘Education isn’t everything.’
‘You’re right, for a start it’s not elephants.’

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading “Education Isn’t Everything” “You’re Right, For a Start It’s Not Elephants”

Notes:

  1. 1975 (1974 Copyright), “Rommel?” “Gunner Who?”: A Confrontation in the Desert by Spike Milligan, Quote Page 166, Book Club Associates, London. (Verified with scans)

A Sure Cure for Seasickness Is To Sit Under a Tree

Spike Milligan? John MacGregor? William Gordon Stables? Anonymous?

Dear Quote Investigator: The nausea of seasickness feels endless. An absurdist quip suggests that the only genuine remedy is a return to solid ground:

The best cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree.

The Irish-English comedian Spike Milligan has received credit for this line, but I haven’t been able to find a citation. Would you please help?

Quote Investigator: In 1971 Spike Milligan published “Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall”, the first volume of a seven-volume memoir recounting his experiences during World War 2. During one episode in 1943 the troopship Milligan was traveling on encountered turbulent weather. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

The storm never let up. It was only this that prevented U-boat attacks, though I know many a sick-covered wreck who would rather have had calm seas and been torpedoed. A poor green-faced thing asked, “Isn’t there any bloody cure for seasickness?”

“Yes,” I said. “Sit under a tree.” I had to be quick.

Milligan presented the joke in a question-answer format. Yet, he did not create this jest which has a long history.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading A Sure Cure for Seasickness Is To Sit Under a Tree

Notes:

  1. 1972 (1971 Copyright), Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall by Spike Milligan, Part 3, Chapter: January 1943 — At Sea, Quote Page 135, Book Club Associates, London. (Verified with scans)

I Drink To Keep Body and Soul Apart

Oscar Wilde? Seamus Heaney? Dorothy Parker? Israel Zangwill? Jen Kirkman? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The body and the soul separate at the time of death according to many religious systems. Hence, the idiom “keep body and soul together” refers to maintaining life, i.e., earning enough money to maintain health and activity. The famous Irish wit Oscar Wilde has received credit for a reversal of the idiom. Here are two versions:

(1) I drink to keep body and soul apart.
(2) I drink to separate my body from my soul.

I am skeptical because I have not seen a good citation. Would you please explore this saying?

Quote Investigator: QI has found no substantive evidence supporting the ascription to Oscar Wilde. It is not listed in the compendium “Oscar Wilde in Quotation: 3,100 Insults, Anecdotes, and Aphorisms”. 1 Also, it does not appear in researcher Ralph Keyes’s collection “The Wit & Wisdom of Oscar Wilde”. 2

Wilde died in 1900, and the earliest match located by QI appeared in “The Boston Globe” in 1981. The newspaper published a profile of Irish poet and translator Seamus Heaney who later received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Heaney told the “Globe” journalist that Wilde crafted the saying. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 3

He is particularly at ease in his own kitchen, brewing a fresh pot of tea, slicing bread for a guest, talking. He is not, I rush to add, exactly uncomfortable hunched over a pint in a pub, talking.

“Do know that Oscar Wilde said he drank to keep body and soul apart? That’s good, isn’t it?”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Drink To Keep Body and Soul Apart

Notes:

  1. 2006, Oscar Wilde in Quotation: 3,100 Insults, Anecdotes, and Aphorisms, Topically Arranged with Attributions, Compiled and edited by Tweed Conrad, (There is no quotation using “body and soul” and “drink” or “drank” in this book), McFarland & Company Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina. (Verified with scans)
  2. 1996, The Wit & Wisdom of Oscar Wilde, Edited by Ralph Keyes, (There is no quotation using “body and soul” and “drink / drank” in this book), HarperCollins Publishers, New York. (Verified with hardcopy)
  3. 1981 February 26, The Boston Globe, Poet Seamus Heaney: This most rooted of men, bard of the Irish soul by Shaun O’Connell (Special to The Globe), Quote Page 53, Column 3, Boston, Massachusetts. (ProQuest)

I Was Responsible for Myself, and I Had To Make Good

Oprah Winfrey? Anne Saidman? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: At an early age U.S. talk show host, producer, and entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey believed that she was responsible for her own choices and actions. She worked hard to make a good life and obtain success. One of her inspirational quotations used the phrase “responsible for myself”. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: The 1990 book “Oprah Winfrey: Media Success Story” by Anne Saidman described Winfrey’s activities as a volunteer. She often delivered speeches at churches, YMCAs, and shelters. She helped form a Big Sisters group to support young women in a Chicago housing project. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

She encourages the girls in the group to stay in school, get an education, and take responsibility for their futures. Her advice to them has a lot to do with how she sees herself: “I don’t think of myself as a poor deprived ghetto girl who made good. I think of myself as somebody who from an early age knew I was responsible for myself, and I had to make good.”

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading I Was Responsible for Myself, and I Had To Make Good

Notes:

  1. 1990, Oprah Winfrey: Media Success Story by Anne Saidman, Chapter 6: Spectacular Success, Quote Page 41 and 42, Lerner Publications Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Verified with scans)

Salary Is No Object; I Want Only Enough To Keep Body and Soul Apart

Dorothy Parker? Alexander Woollcott? Israel Zangwill? Oscar Wilde? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: The body and the soul separate at the time of death according to many religious systems. Hence, the idiom “keep body and soul together” refers to maintaining life, i.e., earning enough money to maintain health and activity. A quipster once reversed this formula and said something like:

I only want enough money to keep body and soul apart.

Would you please explore the provenance of this saying?

Quote Investigator: In 1928 poet, critic, and wit Dorothy Parker published a book review in “The New Yorker” magazine which included a comical plea for employment. Boldface added to excerpts by QI: 1

And now that this review is over, do you mind if I talk business for a moment? If you yourself haven’t any spare jobs for a retired book-reviewer, maybe some friend of yours might have something. Maybe you wouldn’t mind asking around. Salary is no object; I want only enough to keep body and soul apart.

Dorothy Parker deserves credit for the remark immediately above. Yet, this type of joke has a longer history, and an 1891 citation for author Israel Zangwill appears further below.

Here are selected citations in chronological order.

Continue reading Salary Is No Object; I Want Only Enough To Keep Body and Soul Apart

Notes:

  1. 1928 February 4, The New Yorker, Reading and Writing: A Good Novel, and a Great Story by Constant Reader (Dorothy Parker), Start Page 74, Quote Page 77, Column 1, F. R. Publishing Corporation, New York. (Online New Yorker archive of digital scans)