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From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French emperor, military leader
Comment to the Abbé du Pradt (10 Dec 1812)

During the invasion of Russia. Quoted Archibald Alison, History of Europe from the Commencement of the French Revolution in 1789, to the Restoration of the Bourbons in 1815, Vol. 3, ch. 67 (1842). See Paine.

Alt. trans.:
  • "There is but one step from the sublime to the ridiculous."
  • "There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous."
Added on 21-Aug-14 | Last updated 10-Apr-20
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The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime, makes the ridiculous; and one step above the ridiculous, makes the sublime again.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political philosopher and writer
The Age of Reason, Part 2 (1794)
Added on 14-Aug-14 | Last updated 14-Aug-14
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The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavor in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness.

In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.

Einstein - sense of the mysterious - wist_info quote

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“My Credo,” speech, German League of Human Rights, Berlin (Autumn 1932)
Added on 22-Aug-07 | Last updated 1-Feb-16
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