Featured [partial] Comment by Mark Hobson: "The quote has the profound sound of a deepity—a statement that has two meanings, one of which is true but superficial, the other which sounds profound but is meaningless."
Apropos of the nothing in particular, in the most recent bout of insomnia just now I found myself rereading Beaumont Newhall's marvelous historical anthology of writings by photographers (Photography: Essays & Images; Illustrated Readings in the History of Photography, Museum of Modern Art, 1980) and came across the following description, first published in 1857—that's eighteen fifty-seven, not a typo—of the Photograph Society of London, which had been founded in 1853 (in Newhall 1980, page 81):
"The very talk of [the members of the Society] is unlike that of any other men, either of business or pleasure. Their style is made of the direst facts, the longest words, and the most high-flown rhapsodies. Slight improvements in processes, and slight varieties in conclusions, are discussed as if they involved the welfare of mankind. They seek each other's sympathy, and they resent each other's interference, with an ardour of expression at variance with all the sobrieties of business, and the habits of reserve; and old-fashioned English mauvaise honte [bashfulness, reserve] is extinguished in the excitement, not so much of a new occupation as of a new state."
The author was Lady Elizabeth Eastlake, wife of the first president of the Society.