You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it.[Vanité du mot expérience. L’expérience n’est pas expérimentale. On ne la provoque pas.]
Our character is determined more by the absence of certain experiences than by the experiences we have undergone.[Unser Charakter wird noch mehr durch den Mangel gewisser Erlebnisse, als durch Das, was man erlebt, bestimmt.]
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.
Our moments of inspiration are not lost though we have no particular poem to show for them; for those experiences have left an indelible impression, and we are ever and anon reminded of them.
Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves — that’s the truth. We have two or three great and moving experiences in our lives — experiences so great and moving that it doesn’t seem at the time that anyone else has been so caught up and pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just that way ever before.
Man tries to make for himself in the fashion that suits him best a simplified and intelligible picture of the world; he then tries to some extent to substitute this cosmos of his for the world of experience, and thus to overcome it. This is what the painter, the poet, the speculative philosopher, and the natural scientist do, each in his own fashion.