A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it, an apostle is unlikely to look out.

Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799) German physicist, writer
Aphorisms, Notebook F, #17 (1776-79) [tr. Hollingdale (1990)]
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This is nearly mirrored by Notebook E, # 49 (1775-76), "A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is hardly likely to look out." Alternate translations:
  • "A book is a mirror: when a monkey looks in, no apostle can look out." [tr. Mautner and Hatfield]
  • "A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it, an apostle is unlikely to look out." [tr. Tester (2012)]
Added on 6-Jan-09 | Last updated 6-Jul-21
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