„Acting is not what I do. It's what I am. It's my permanent, built-in cathedral.“

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Anne Baxter1
attrice statunitense 1923 - 1985
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„I am working as hard as I possibly can, and do not even dream of doing anything except the cathedral. It is an immense task.“

—  Claude Monet French impressionist painter 1840 - 1926
in a letter from to his art-dealer Durand-Ruel, 30 March 1893; as quoted in: Christoph Heinrich (2000), Monet, p. 57

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„Regardless of whether I believe or not, whether I am a Christian or not, I would play my part in the collective building of the cathedral.“

—  Ingmar Bergman Swedish filmmaker 1918 - 2007
Context: People ask what are my intentions with my films — my aims. It is a difficult and dangerous question, and I usually give an evasive answer: I try to tell the truth about the human condition, the truth as I see it. This answer seems to satisfy everyone, but it is not quite correct. I prefer to describe what I would like my aim to be. There is an old story of how the cathedral of Chartres was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Then thousands of people came from all points of the compass, like a giant procession of ants, and together they began to rebuild the cathedral on its old site. They worked until the building was completed — master builders, artists, labourers, clowns, noblemen, priests, burghers. But they all remained anonymous, and no one knows to this day who built the cathedral of Chartres. Regardless of my own beliefs and my own doubts, which are unimportant in this connection, it is my opinion that art lost its basic creative drive the moment it was separated from worship. It severed an umbilical cord and now lives its own sterile life, generating and degenerating itself. In former days the artist remained unknown and his work was to the glory of God. He lived and died without being more or less important than other artisans; 'eternal values,' 'immortality' and 'masterpiece' were terms not applicable in his case. The ability to create was a gift. In such a world flourished invulnerable assurance and natural humility. Today the individual has become the highest form and the greatest bane of artistic creation. The smallest wound or pain of the ego is examined under a microscope as if it were of eternal importance. The artist considers his isolation, his subjectivity, his individualism almost holy. Thus we finally gather in one large pen, where we stand and bleat about our loneliness without listening to each other and without realizing that we are smothering each other to death. The individualists stare into each other's eyes and yet deny the existence of each other. We walk in circles, so limited by our own anxieties that we can no longer distinguish between true and false, between the gangster's whim and the purest ideal. Thus if I am asked what I would like the general purpose of my films to be, I would reply that I want to be one of the artists in the cathedral on the great plain. I want to make a dragon's head, an angel, a devil — or perhaps a saint — out of stone. It does not matter which; it is the sense of satisfaction that counts. Regardless of whether I believe or not, whether I am a Christian or not, I would play my part in the collective building of the cathedral. Four Screenplays of Ingmar Bergman (1960).

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„I am in a position to speak my mind. And that is what I propose to do.“

—  Walter Cronkite American broadcast journalist 1916 - 2009
Context: For many years, I did my best to report on the issues of the day in as objective a manner as possible. When I had my own strong opinions, as I often did, I tried not to communicate them to my audience. Now, however, my circumstances are different. I am in a position to speak my mind. And that is what I propose to do. Those of us who are living today can influence the future of civilization. We can influence whether our planet will drift into chaos and violence, or whether through a monumental educational and political effort we will achieve a world of peace under a system of law where individual violators of that law are brought to justice.

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„Basic research is what I am doing when I don't know what I am doing.“

—  Wernher von Braun German, later an American, aerospace engineer and space architect 1912 - 1977
In an interview in the New York Times (16 December 1957), cited in a footnote on page 32 of "Work, Society, and Culture" by Yves Reni Marie Simon, and also in a footnote (in German) on page 360 of "Vita activa oder Vom taetigen Leben" by Hannah Arend (1981) Variants: Basic research is when I'm doing what I don't know I'm doing. Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. Basic research is what I am doing when I don't know what I am doing.

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„Intellectuals are cynical and cynics have never built a cathedral.“

—  Henry Kissinger United States Secretary of State 1923
As quoted in Sketchbook 1966-1971 (1971) by Max Frisch, p. 230

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„When I sleep I sleep and do not dream because it is as well that I am what I seem when I am in my bed and dream.“

—  Gertrude Stein American art collector and experimental writer of novels, poetry and plays 1874 - 1946
Before the Flowers of Friendship Faded Friendship Faded (1931)

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