Make no little plans
Here is a great quotation, whose accidental application to Esperanto is obvious:
“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our sons and grandsons are going to do things that would stagger us. Let your watchword be order and your beacon beauty. Think big.” – Daniel Burnham, Chicago architect. (1846-1912)
Esperanto is certainly a case of “a noble, logical diagram” (with its “internal idea” corresponding to the “noble” aspect of the diagram), and the staggering things that our grandsons will do is reminiscent of Zamenhof’s assertion, “La nepoj vin benos, se vi pacience eltenos.”.
Such accidental links to Esperanto abound, and the more superficial – expressions used in advertising that happen to coincide with Esperanto words – are well known.
It might be useful to use the term “exaptation” in this regard: The application of the above quotation to Esperanto is an example of exaptation. This term is borrowed from biology. Here is the link to the Wikipedia article discussing it:
Regarding exaptation, here is an example from a recent news article, suggesting a pathway to flight in birds evolving from dinosaurs:
"A grasping foot is present in the closest relatives of birds, but also in the earliest birds like Archaeopteryx. … We suggest that this originally evolved for predation, but would also have been available for use in perching. This is what we call 'exaptation:' a structure evolved originally for one purpose that can later be appropriated for a different use…"
By the way, the Wikipedia article on Burnham suggests that Burnham may not have actually been the one to say this, but even if he didn’t it is still a famous quotation. Often the fame of the quotation is all that really matters, and the attribution, even if dubious, is just an interesting bit of trivia. Another such example of dubious attribution is the remark, “A billion dollars here, a billion dollars there – pretty soon it adds up to real money.” which is attributed to Senator Dirksen. There is some doubt whether he actually said this, but it’s a great quote nonetheless. Here is the link to the Wikpedia article on Senator Dirksen:
By the way, in this article is another quotation with accidental application to Esperanto, namely from Voltaire, quoted by Senator Dirksen in support of passage of Civil Rights legislation:
“Victor Hugo wrote in his diary substantially this sentiment, 'Stronger than all the armies is an idea whose time has come.' The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing of government, in education, and in employment. It must not be stayed or denied."
The all-time great dubious attribution is that of the authorship of the Iliad and Odyssey. It is attributed to Homer, but we know next to nothing about Homer. So, when someone questioned whether it was really Homer who wrote those works, the deathless reply was, “If Homer didn’t write them, then someone else named Homer did.”
Anyway, here’s the link to the Wikpedia article on Burnham: