Quotes on Hobbies
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135. Depression; Diversion; Hobbies
Talking of constitutional melancholy, he observed, "A man so afflicted, Sir, must divert distressing thoughts, and not combat with them." Boswell: "May not he think them down, Sir?" Johnson: "No, Sir. To attempt to think them down is madness. He should have a lamp constantly burning in his bed chamber during the night, and if wakefully disturbed, take a book, and read, and compose himself to rest. To have the management of the mind is a great art, and it may be attained in a considerable degree by experience and habitual exercise.." Boswell: "Should not he provide amusements for himself? Would it not, for instance, be right for him to take a course of chymistry?" Johnson: "Let him take a course of chymistry, or a course of rope-dancing, or a course of any thing to which he is inclined at the time. Let him contrive to have as many retreats for his mind as he can, as many things to which it can fly from itself."
Boswell: Life

932. Hobbies; Vanity
"Between men of different studies and professions may be observed a constant reciprocation of reproaches. The collector of shells and stones derides the folly of him who pastes leaves and flowers upon paper pleases himself with colours that are perceptibly fading, and amasses with care what cannot be preserved. The hunter of insects stands amazed that any man can waste his short time upon lifeless matter, while many tribes of animals yet want their history. Every one is inclined not only to promote his own study, but to exclude all others from regard, and having heated his imagination with some favourite pursuit, wonders that the rest of mankind are not seized with the same passion."
Johnson: Rambler #83 (January 1, 1751)

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