Quotations about   complexity

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique human being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is ever be put together a second time.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
“Schopenhauer as Educator,” ch. 1 (1874) [tr. Collins]
    (Source)
Added on 26-Nov-18 | Last updated 26-Nov-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Nietzsche, Friedrich

Proverbs contradict each other. That is the wisdom of a nation.

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
Unkempt Thoughts (1962)
Added on 16-Mar-17 | Last updated 16-Mar-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lec, Stanislaw

Nature is more subtle, more deeply intertwined and more strangely integrated than any of our pictures of her — than any of our errors. It is not merely that our pictures are not full enough; each of our pictures in the end turns out to be so basically mistaken that the marvel is that it worked at all.

Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974) Polish-English humanist and mathematician
Science and Human Values, Part 4 “The Abacus and the Rose” (1956)
Added on 26-Dec-16 | Last updated 26-Dec-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Bronowski, Jacob

“When did life get so complicated?” she wondered to Dimity.

“Boys,” said Dimity succinctly.

Gail Carriger (b. 1976) American archaeologist, author [pen name of Tofa Borregaard]
Curtsies & Conspiracies (2013)
Added on 3-Nov-16 | Last updated 3-Nov-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Carriger, Gail

Sometimes I don’t know if my life is complicated, or if it’s that I just think too much about things.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
Zoe’s Tale (2008)
Added on 20-Sep-16 | Last updated 20-Sep-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Scalzi, John

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator, ch. 15, epigraph, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar” (1897)
    (Source)

Sometimes paraphrased, "Why shouldn't truth be stranger than fiction? Fiction, after all, has to make sense." More on this quotation and its variants here.
Added on 17-Jul-15 | Last updated 20-Jan-19
Link to this post | 2 comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

The older I get, the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first — a process which often reduces the most complex human problems to manageable proportions.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
“Let’s Be Honest with Ourselves,” Reader’s Digest (Dec 1963)
Added on 13-Apr-15 | Last updated 13-Apr-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Eisenhower, Dwight David

Managers are not confronted with problems that are independent of each other, but with dynamic situations that consist of complex systems of changing problems that interact with each other. I call such situations messes. Problems are extracted from messes by analysis. Managers do not solve problems, they manage messes.

Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
“The future of operational research is past,” The Journal of the Operational Research Society, Vol 30, pp.93-104. (1979)
Added on 19-Mar-15 | Last updated 19-Mar-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Ackoff, Russell

What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, and every day, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts (which are but the mute articulation of his feelings,) not those other things, are his history. His acts and his words are merely the visible thin crust of his world, with its scarred snow summits and its vacant wastes of water — and they are so trifling a part of his bulk! a mere skin enveloping it. The mass of him is hidden — it and its volcanic fires that toss and boil, and never rest, night nor day. These are his life, and they are not written, and cannot be written. Every day would make a whole book of eighty thousand words — three hundred and sixty-five books a year. Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man — the biography of the man himself cannot be written.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 1 (2010)
    (Source)
Added on 11-Mar-15 | Last updated 28-May-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

A problem never exists in isolation; it is surrounded by other problems in space and time. The more of the context of a problem that a scientist can comprehend, the greater are his chances of finding a truly adequate solution.

Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
“The development of operations research as a science,” Operations Research (Jun 1956)
Added on 22-Jan-15 | Last updated 22-Jan-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Ackoff, Russell

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) American poet
“Song of Myself,” Sec. 51 (1855)
Added on 12-Jan-15 | Last updated 12-Jan-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Whitman, Walt

Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem neat, plausible, and wrong.

Mencken - neat plausible and wrong - wist_info quote

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“The Divine Afflatus,” New York Evening Mail (16 Nov 1917)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Prejudices: Second Series (1920) and A Mencken Chrestomathy, ch. 25 (1949).

Variants:
  • "There is always an easy solution to every human problem -- neat, plausible, and wrong."
  • "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 18-Apr-16
Link to this post | 4 comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Mencken, H.L.

The more laws, the less justice.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis, 1.33
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

Great blunders are often made, like large ropes, of a multitude of fibers.

[Les fortes sottises sont souvent faites, comme les grosses cordes, d’une multitude de brins.]

Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French writer
Les Misérables, Vol. 2 “Cosette,” Book 5 “A Dark Chase Requires a Silent Hound,” ch. 10 “In Which it is explained how Javert lost the Game” (1862) [tr. Wilbour]

Alt. trans. [N. Denny (1980)]: "The greatest blunders, like the thickest ropes, are often compounded of a multitude of strands. Take the rope apart, separate it into the small threads that compose it, and you can break them one by one. You think, 'That is all there was!' But twist them all together, and you have something tremendous." Full text. Cited as Part 2, ch. 5 "Hunt in the Darkness."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 27-May-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Hugo, Victor