Favourite Fort Quotes

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Anonymous

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Your favorite Charles Fort quote

So, would anyone like to share their favorite quote from Mr Fort?
 

Justin_Anstey

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OK, here's one:

"I shut the front door upon Christ and Einstein, and at the back door hold out a welcoming hand to little frogs and periwinkles. I believe nothing of my own that I have ever written. I cannot accept that the products of minds are subject-matter for beliefs."

http://www.resologist.net/lo103.htm
 
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Anonymous

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Fort quote

I think:

''Maybe going to heaven makes people athiests is a good one''


Lo! Ch18
 
A

Anonymous

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Fort Quote's

I know that the Anomalist has composed a list of 'Quotable Fort:'

(http://www.anomalist.com/fort.html)
(http://www.anomalist.com/fort2.html)

But is there any definitive list, existant or in the works, of Fort quotes? I'm writing an article on Fort, and there are some excellent quotes (as you will know) but:

1) some I know, but can't specify, which means they are academically inadmissble (they want REFERENCES, people!!)
2) there are other great ones I MUST be missing!

I'm at university, so I can't spend too much time on this.

Need Fort quotes now fast!

[Emp edit: Making link clickable]
 
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Anonymous

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Fort's books online

I'm 100% sure this has been posted to this board at some point. But never when I was around.... so...
While looking up info on John Murray Spear (the god machine guy. shares a last name with my mom. Sadly, according to the big huge geneology book i went through, we're not related) I stumbled upon this:

Charles Fort's books. Online. Rulage.

Now, I'm an avid FT reader, but I just realized I haven't read a single paragraph by Mr. Fort. So I think I'll be reading some... I'm starting with Lo!, just because it has the shortest name, and therefore, will be the shortest.

A NAKED man in a city street -- the track of a horse in volcanic mud -- the mystery of the reindeer's ears -- a huge, black form, like a whale, in the sky, and it drips red drops as if attacked by celestial swordfishes -- an appalling cherub appears in the sea --
Hmm. Okay, I think I'm going to read this straight through tonight.
 

ruffready

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thanks alot!!

I'm doomed!!:eek!!!!: oh well I better get some coffee..its gonna be a long week on this site..(I havent read fort either ,been meanning too, now no excuse!!)
 

rynner2

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Bump! I've moved this thread to the Charles Fort forum, and merged it with a couple of older little threadlets. :)
 

littleblackduck

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Fort in a nutshell

My favourite Fort quotation may be:
"In Continuity, it is impossible to distinguish phenomena at their merging-points, so we look for them at their extremes. Impossible to distinguish between animal and vegetable in some infusoria -- but hippopotamus and violet. For all practical purposes they're distinguishable enough. No one but a Barnum or a Bailey would send one a bunch of hippopotami as a token of regard. "
--Charles Fort in THE BOOK OF THE DAMNED, Chapter III.
 
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Anonymous

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Fort's writing- the stories

Although Forteana was founded with Fort's four books, there is also a vast wealth of Fortist material, particularly with regard to the development of Fort's iconoclasty and philosophy, in his stories.

Mr X. has done an excellent job of recovering and providing these (http://www.resologist.net), and in particular, I would draw your attention to 'A Radical Corpuscle' and 'The Giant, The Insect, and the Philanthropic-Looking Gentleman.' The first deals with Fort's unvierse-as-organism ideas and Fortean metaphysics, and the second, with Fort's notetaking and his use of it. They are both highly recommended.

Always good to read around Fort, and his stories, and in particular the two above, are excellent for this. I just wish we had X and Y...

Ian
 
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Anonymous

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"For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert"

Often attributed to Fort. But take a look on the intermaweb, and it's also attributed to Arthur C. Clarke, who attributes it to good ole 'anonymous'. So, is it original to Fort? Where in his books does it occur (I couldn't find it by googling through resologist.net)?
 
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Anonymous

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Who said it

The closest my quick search of Resologist.net came up with is the following, which is in a similar vein to the quote:

''cientific explanations do often work out rather well -- but say in medical treatments, if ailments are mostly fancied; or in stock-market transactions, except in a crisis; or in expert testimony in the courts, except when set aside by other expert testimony -- ''

But searching Google we get various accounts of the quote's origins:

http://www.quantumc.plus.com/accquotes.html tells us the quote is Clarke's

http://hypertextbook.com/physics/mechanics/newton-third/ tells us the quote belongs to that industrious old poet, Anonymous

http://www.planetfusion.co.uk/~pignut/elf.html
says that the quote is Fort's.

Perhaps we should move our wondering to another dictum:

''For every website, there is an equal and opposite website''

Ian
 

JamesWhitehead

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I open Fort at random and find quotable things. He is strangely rich.

When that vast black thing - gainful employment - temporarily releases
me, we shall have that long-promised study of his prose.

Musical, you might think.

Maybe.

Ambiguous, perhaps.

Until then, the page falls open on this, which appeals partly for its local flavour:

"So the frogs that fell at Wigan. I have looked that matter up again. Later
more frogs fell." (Book of the Damned, Chapter 27)


:eek!!!!:
 

Comfortably Numb

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I was thinking of this and it would have to be:

“If there is a true universal mind, must it be sane?”

Regrettably, I also thought about the question itself! :pop:
 

EnolaGaia

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"For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert"

Often attributed to Fort. But take a look on the intermaweb, and it's also attributed to Arthur C. Clarke, who attributes it to good ole 'anonymous'. So, is it original to Fort? Where in his books does it occur (I couldn't find it by googling through resologist.net)?
This is often called Clarke's Fourth Law. The laws referred to are those Clarke specified in his book Profiles of the Future (1962 and many editions thereafter).

This so-called fourth law didn't appear in any edition of Profiles ... prior to the revised 1999 edition. I've checked Sixties and Eighties era versions of the book, and no such passage occurs therein. As far as I can tell I have to agree with this blogger:

Clarke's Fourth Law:
For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert.
You didn't hear about the fourth law? Well, yes, he did promise to stop with the third (like “both the Isaacs”), but the nineties edition of Profiles added this blatant contravention of the standard do‐everything‐in‐threes protocol. ...
http://jbr.me.uk/retro/acc.html

The original source for this proposition appears to be an abbreviated version of an economist's statement from 1995:

Proposed fourth law
A fourth law has been proposed for the canon, despite Clarke's declared intention of not going one better than Newton. Geoff Holder quotes: "For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert," which is part of American economist Thomas Sowell's "For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert, but for every fact there is not necessarily an equal and opposite fact", from his 1995 book The Vision of the Anointed.
http://azkaniankakan.blogspot.com/2017/02/clarkes-three-laws-quotes-about.html

I cannot find this (or any arguably equivalent) statement in any of Fort's books. If it originated with Fort it must have been in some other writing (e.g., a letter).
 

EnolaGaia

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While we're on the subject of Fort versus Clarke's laws ...

Clarke's third law is the popular: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

There's a passage in Fort's 1932 Wild Talents which seems to be a precedent for this notion:

Against all the opposition in the world, I make this statement--that once I knew a magician. I was a witness of a performance that may some day be considered understandable, but that, in these primitive times, so transcends what is said to be the known that it is what I mean by magic.
Charles Fort, Wild Talents, pp. 1030 - 1031.
 

Comfortably Numb

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This is often called Clarke's Fourth Law. The laws referred to are those Clarke specified in his book Profiles of the Future (1962 and many editions thereafter).
That is one fabulous and fascinating investigation.

I was aware re the controversy, although not a resolution of same. :)
 

EnolaGaia

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As far as I know or have been able to reasonably discern ...

The only thing that has been reasonably resolved is that the commonly quoted version:

“If there is a universal mind, must it be sane?”

... didn't originate with Fort.

It most definitely originated with a writer who was discussing Fort, but the specific origin remains a bit murky.

The earliest known passage from which this quote derived comes from Damon Knight's biography Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained, (1970):

“Do things fall where a universal mind, which may be the mind of an idiot, conceives that they are needed?" (p. 157)
Knight writes this while discussing the implications of Fort's work. He's not quoting Fort, and this is the only place within the book's original edition that addresses any "universal mind." These points are consistent for all editions I could find from 1970 up through the late 1980s.

Who, then, distilled Knight's version into the concise common phrasing we know today?

In this book:

The Fortean Influence on Science Fiction: Charles Fort and the Evolution of the Genre, Tanner F. Boyle, 2020

... it's claimed that Jim Steinmeyer was the first to paraphrase Knight using the commonly encountered phrasing, in his book Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural, 2008. Here's the specific (and sole) allusion in Steinmeyer's book:

"Taking his cue from Fort, author Damon Knight speculated, "If there is a universal mind, must it be sane?" It wasn't the myriad of Fort's phenomena that stunned readers, but one underlying suggestion that human beings have always found to be hair-raising: The world is actually irrational." (From the Author's Introduction)
However ... Steinmeyer was not the first author to condense Knight's version, nor was he the first to use the concise phrasing. The trail leads farther back to (ahem ... ) John Keel. Keel cites the common phrasing in closing early editions of The Mothman Prophecies. However, this is not the point of origin; Keel's use of this phrasing pre-dates The Mothman Prophecies.

Keel actually cited the common phrasing for the quote in 1972, within a speech prepared for a MENSA gathering.

Speech for MENSA Convention, 10/29/72 (1)
Here, to follow up on John’s 1970 speech to the Humanist Society, is one for a MENSA convention in NYC in 1972. He touches on some of the same subjects, but is more concerned with the connections between paranormal and religious experiences. ...
More specifically, Keel wrote:

In one of his books, Fort asked, "If there is a universal mind, must it be sane?" In fact, he almost titled one book, "Is God Sane?". (p. 4 in the speech manuscript)
However, the archive of Keel's work housing the speech's manuscript offers the following corrections ...

A few corrections about Charles Fort: he was not a “little man,” but six feet tall and stocky; he died in 1932, not 1931; the quotation “If there is a universal mind, must it be sane?” (with which John closes The Mothman Prophecies) was written by Damon Knight, in his biography of Fort; it was Aaron Sussman who proposed the title God Is an Idiot, which Fort rejected, preferring Tiffany Thayer’s suggestion Lo!
SOURCE: http://www.johnkeel.com

BOTTOM LINES:

- The "must it be sane?" quote didn't come from Fort;
- The general comment from which the quote derived originated with Damon Knight in 1970;
- Keel seems to be the earliest writer to twist Knight's comment (without attribution) into the popular form; and
- Multiple other authors have followed Keel's lead in using the concise popular form as if it came straight from Fort.

NOTE: Keel's earlier (1970) speech to the Humanist Society made no reference to Fort or the quote.
 

packshaud

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This one from Lo!:
"If there is an underlying oneness of all things, it does not matter where we begin, whether with stars, or laws of supply and demand, or frogs, or Napoleon Bonaparte. One measures a circle, beginning anywhere."
 

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