studio non troppo : mindful design : facilitation

Quotes real, imagined, and indeterminate

Sometimes, you may come across a quote attributed to a particular individual, but when you try to track down exactly where the individual said or wrote the comment, all you find are sites giving you the runaround. Multiple sites may attribute the quote to the individual without specifying which book or speech or poem contains those words. It may be disappointing, but more often than not, that no one seems to know where it came from indicates the quote was misattributed.

Other times, it doesn’t matter, or it may even provide a moment of joy to fail to find a source to hold onto. Borges enjoyed inventing imaginary sources, for example.

In a book I once owned about designing one’s way forward in life, one of the early pages featured a delightful quote. Online, I eventually found a mention of a source (“Shu-an’s preface to Wu-men’s Gateless Gate to Zen Experience“), but there the trail ran out for me. No matter:

“When one happens on a book of this kind, he is well advised to throw it away”

– Shū-an