Quotations about   comprehension

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



There are three things which are real: God, human folly, and laughter. Since the first two pass our comprehension, we must do what we can with the third.

Aubrey Menen (1912-1989) English writer
Rama Retold (1954)
    (Source)
Added on 2-Jul-20 | Last updated 2-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Menen, Aubrey

JACK BURTON: I don’t get this at all. I thought Lo Pan —
LO PAN: Shut up, Mr. Burton! You are not brought upon this world to “get it”!

W. D. Richter (b. 1945) American screenwriter, producer, director [Walter Duch Richter]
Big Trouble in Little China (1986) [with Gary Goldman, David Z Weinstein]
Added on 13-May-20 | Last updated 13-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Richter, WD

The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
“The Call of Cthulhu,” ch. 1, opening words (1928)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Apr-20 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lovecraft, H. P.

That seems to point up a significant difference between Europeans and Americans:

A European says: I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with me?
An American says: I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with him?

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Post, alt.fan.pratchett (8 May 1994)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Apr-20 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

I think perhaps the most important problem is that we are trying to understand the fundamental workings of the universe via a language devised for telling one another when the best fruit is.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Post, alt.fan.pratchett (16 Apr 2002)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Mar-20 | Last updated 20-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.

Jean-Luc Godard (b. 1930) French-Swiss film director, screenwriter, critic
(Attributed)
Added on 11-Mar-20 | Last updated 11-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Godard, Jean-Luc

Stupidity lies in wanting to draw conclusions.

[L’ineptie consiste à vouloir conclure. […] Oui, la bêtise consiste à vouloir conclure.]

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) French writer, novelist
Letter to Louis Bouilhet (4 Sep 1850)
    (Source)

The phrase is used twice in the letter. The initial phrase is usually translated to "foolishness" or "folly," the second to "stupidity."
Added on 23-Jan-20 | Last updated 23-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Flaubert, Gustave

Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering — because you can’t take it in all at once.

Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) Belgian-English actress
Quoted in David Hofstede, Audrey Hepburn: A Bio-bibliography (1994)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Jan-20 | Last updated 16-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Hepburn, Audrey

The Creator had a lot of remarkably good ideas when he put the world together, but making it understandable hadn’t been one of them.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Mort (1987)
    (Source)
Added on 6-Apr-18 | Last updated 6-Apr-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Nightmare Stacks, ch. 18 (2016)
    (Source)

A variant of Clarke's Third Law.
Added on 3-Oct-17 | Last updated 3-Oct-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Stross, Charles

Every man hears only what he understands.

goethe-every-man-hears-understands-wist_info-quote

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe, #385 [tr. Saunders (1892)]
Added on 25-Jan-17 | Last updated 25-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Goethe, Johann von

The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.

Adams - keep yourself occupied- wist_info quote

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ch. 30 (1979)
Added on 29-Aug-16 | Last updated 29-Aug-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, Douglas

I believe that only scientists can understand the universe. It is not so much that I have confidence in scientists being right, but that I have so much in nonscientists being wrong.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
Quasar, Quasar, Burning Bright (1978)
Added on 17-May-16 | Last updated 17-May-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Asimov, Isaac

Understanding everything makes one very indulgent.

[Tout comprendre rend très-indulgent.]

Germaine de Staël (1766-1817) Swiss-French writer, woman of letters, critic, salonist [Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, Madame de Staël, Madame Necker]
Corinne, Book 18, ch. 5 (1807)
Added on 16-Feb-16 | Last updated 16-Feb-16
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by De Stael, Germaine

It is not written in the stars that I will always understand what is going on — a truism that I often find damnably annoying.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Friday [Friday Jones] (1982)
Added on 13-Oct-15 | Last updated 13-Oct-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Heinlein, Robert A.

Those who are destitute of philosophy may be compared to prisoners in a cave, who are only able to look in one direction because they are bound, and who have a fire behind them and a wall in front. Between them and the wall there is nothing; all that they see are shadows of themselves, and of objects behind them, cast on the wall by the light of the fire. Inevitably they regard these shadows as real, and have no notion of the objects to which they are due. At last, some man succeeds in escaping from the cave to the light of the sun; for the first time he sees real things, and becomes aware that he had hitherto been deceived by shadows. If he is the sort of philosopher who is fit to become a guardian, he will feel it is his duty to those who were formerly his fellow prisoners to go down again into the cave, instruct them as to the truth, and show them the way up. But he will have difficulty in persuading them, because, coming out of the sunlight, he will see shadows less clearly than they do, and will seem to them stupider than before his escape.

Plato (c.428-347 BC) Greek philosopher
The Republic, 7.514

Summ. Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy, ch. 15 (1946)
Added on 11-Jun-15 | Last updated 11-Jun-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Plato

He that will believe only what he can fully comprehend, must have a very long head, or a very short creed.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, #470 (1820 ed.)
Added on 27-Feb-15 | Last updated 27-Feb-15
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Colton, Charles Caleb

It is the duty of the human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Journals (1847)
Added on 27-Oct-14 | Last updated 27-Oct-14
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Kierkegaard, Soren

It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Attributed)
Added on 24-Mar-09 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

We can see nothing face to face; our utmost seeing is but a fumbling of blind finger-ends in an overcrowded pocket.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
Ramblings In Cheapside (1890)
Added on 15-Jan-09 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Butler, Samuel

I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
In G. Viereck, Glimpses of the Great (1930)
    (Source)

Note this passage is not present in the Saturday Evening Post interview that was the basis for that chapter of Viereck's book.
Added on 27-Aug-08 | Last updated 15-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Einstein, Albert

To know God better is only to realize how impossible it is that we should ever know him at all. I know not which is more childish, to deny him, or define him.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Butler, Samuel

There is no such source of error as the pursuit of absolute truth.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Butler, Samuel

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) British writer
Profiles of the Future, “Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination” (Clarke’s Third Law) (1962; rev. 1973)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Feb-17
Link to this post | 2 comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Clarke, Arthur C.