Quotations about   explanation

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I really love language; it allows us to explain the pain and the glory, the nuances and the delicacies, of our existence. Most of all, it allows us to laugh. We need language.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet, memoirist, activist [b. Marguerite Ann Johnson]
“The Art of Fiction,” Paris Review, #116, Interview with George Plimpton (1990)
Added on 28-Feb-19 | Last updated 28-Feb-19
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The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.

William Arthur Ward (1921-1994) American aphorist, author, educator
Thoughts of a Christian Optimist (1968)
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Added on 11-Aug-17 | Last updated 11-Aug-17
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The sharpness of a refusal or the edge of a rebuke may be blunted by an appropriate story so as to save wounded feelings and yet serve the purpose.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) American lawyer, politician, US President (1861-65)
(Attributed)

In Anthony Gross, ed. Lincoln's Own Stories, ch. 6 (1912).
Added on 26-Dec-16 | Last updated 26-Dec-16
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The test of a religion or philosophy is the number of things it can explain: so true it is. But the religion of our churches explains neither art not society nor history, but itself needs explanation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (1838)
Added on 24-Oct-16 | Last updated 24-Oct-16
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People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. They are far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it. I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
“The Planet that Wasn’t,” The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (May 1975)
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Added on 10-May-16 | Last updated 10-May-16
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“There’s weird shit,” I said. “And we deal with the weird shit, but normally it turns out that there’s a perfectly rational explanation.” Which is often that a wizard did it.

Ben Aaronovitch (b. 1964) British author
Foxglove Summer (2014)
Added on 3-Feb-16 | Last updated 3-Feb-16
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Heaven will solve our problems, but not, I think, by showing us subtle reconciliations between all our apparently contradictory notions. The notions will all be knocked from under our feet. We shall see that there never was any problem.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
A Grief Observed (1961)
Added on 30-Sep-15 | Last updated 30-Sep-15
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What I mean is that if you really want to understand something, the best way is to try and explain it to someone else. That forces you to sort it out in your mind. And the more slow and dim-witted your pupil, the more you have to break things down into more and more simple ideas. And that’s really the essence of programming. By the time you’ve sorted out a complicated idea into little steps that even a stupid machine can deal with, you’ve learned something about it yourself.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987)
Added on 8-Jun-15 | Last updated 8-Jun-15
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Struggling to be brief
I become obscure.

[Brevis esse laboro,
obscurus fio.]

Horace (65-8 BC) Roman poet and satirist [Quintus Horacius Flaccus]
Ars Poetica, l. 25 (c. 18 BC)

Alt. trans.: "Aiming at brevity, I become obscure."
Added on 9-May-11 | Last updated 7-Apr-17
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A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.

H. H. Munro (1870-1916) Scottish writer [Hector Hugh Munro; pseud. Saki]
“Clovis on the Alleged Romance of Business,” The Square Egg (1924)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 31-May-17
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When one remembers that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook [ed. Paine (1935)]
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See also this.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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