Socrates. One has to choose between being a man and being a mind. Man can act only because he can ignore, and content himself with a part of this knowledge which is his peculiar extravagance, a knowledge that is somewhat more extensive than is necessary!
Phaedrus. Yet it is this slight excess that makes us men!
Socrates. Men? … Think you that dogs do not see the stars, for which they have no use? It would be enough for them that their eye should perceive terrestrial things; but it is not so exactly adapted to pure utility as to be blind to the celestial bodies and the majestic ordering of night.
Phaedrus. They never tire of howling at the moon!
Socrates. And do not humans strive in a thousand ways to fill or to break the eternal silence of those infinite spaces that affright them?
—Paul Valéry (‘Eupalinos, or the Architect’, trans. W.M. Stewart)