The unexamined life is not worth living.
In short, he became so absorbed in his reading that he spent his nights poring over his books from dusk to dawn, and his days from sunrise to sunset. Thus, from his little sleep and considerable reading, his brain dried up and he lost his sanity.
Every great art must be supplemented by leisurely discussion, by stargazing, if you will, about the nature of things.
People do not realize how much time and effort it takes to learn to read. It took me eighty years, and I am not even certain whether I have succeeded.
The reading of all the great books is like conversing with the best people of earlier times: it is even a studied conversation in which the authors show us only the best of their thoughts.
— René Descartes
Liberal Education, viewed in itself, is simply the cultivation of the intellect, as such, and its object is nothing more or less than intellectual excellence.
— John Henry Newman
When evening comes, I go back to my home. On the threshhold I take off my work clothes, and put on the clothes an ambassador would wear. I enter the courts of rulers who have long since died. There I am warmly welcomed and I feed on the only food I find nourishing. I am not ashamed to talk to them and to ask them to explain their actions. And they out of kindness answer me. I forget every worry. I am no longer afraid of poverty, or frightened of death.
— Niccolò Machiavelli
For even if the aim of the liberal arts were pure enjoyment and nothing else, you would still, I am sure, feel obliged to agree that no other activity of the mind could possibly have such a broadening and enlightening effect. For there is no occupation upon earth which is so appropriate to every time and every age and every place. Reading stimulates the young and diverts the old, increases one's satisfaction when things are going well, and when they are going badly provides refuge and solace. It is a delight in the home; it can be fitted in with public life; throught the night, on journeys, in the country, it is a companion which never lets me down.
Every era has to start this task afresh: learning to read and reread "old truths." We pass our lives in "reading," but we no longer know how to read, that is to stop, to free ourselves from our concerns, to return to ourselves, to leave aside our quest for subtlety and originality, to meditate calmly, to ruminate, to let the texts speak to us. It is a spiritual exercise, one of the most difficult.
— Pierre Hadot
Culture is a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world . . . Culture looks beyond machinery, culture hates hatred; culture has one great passion for sweetness and light.
— Matthew Arnold
Academic work is one of those fields containing a pearl so precious that it is worth while to sell all our possessions, keeping nothing for ourselves, in order to be able to acquire it.
— Simone Weil