Quotations about   interpretation

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It should be quite unnecessary to point the moral; the right telling of the story should be sufficient. Do not moralize, but let the facts produce their own moral in the child’s mind.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Education and the Good Life, ch. 11 (1926)
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Added on 14-Jul-17 | Last updated 14-Jul-17
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So you end up with divergent sects reading from subtly different versions of the same book — which in turn is a third-generation translation of something which might have been the original codification of an oral tradition — and all convinced that their interpretation overrides such minor obstacles as observable reality. Which still wouldn’t be a problem except that some of the readers think the books are an instruction manual rather than a set of educational parables, a blueprint instead of a metaphor.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Apocalypse Codex (2012)
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Added on 2-May-17 | Last updated 2-May-17
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“What’s the play about?”
“Nobody seems to know.”
“What do the actors say it’s about?”
“They don’t know,” Susan said. She was as close to embarrassed as she gets.
“The actors don’t know what it’s about?”
“No.”
“How about the Director?”
“Lou says that a play is not required to be about anything.”
“And it runs how long?”
“Four and a half hours with an intermission.” Susan smiled encouragingly. “It’s very controversial,” she said.
“Excellent,” I said. “Maybe a fight will break out.”

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Walking Shadow (1994)
Added on 19-Apr-17 | Last updated 19-Apr-17
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Don’t express your ideas too clearly. Most people think little of what they understand, and venerate what they do not.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish writer.
The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)
Added on 31-Mar-17 | Last updated 31-Mar-17
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I shut my eyes in order to see.

Gauguin - shut my eyes - wist_info quote

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) French painter [Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin]
(Attributed)
Added on 31-May-16 | Last updated 31-May-16
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If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family Anatidae on our hands.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987)
Added on 1-Jun-15 | Last updated 1-Jun-15
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To establish the facts is always in order, and is indeed the first duty of the historian; but to suppose that the facts, once established in all their fullness, will “speak for themselves” is an illusion.

Carl L. Becker (1873-1945) American historian
“Everyman His Own Historian” (3), speech, American Historical Association, Minneapolis (29 Dec 1931)
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Added on 13-Jan-15 | Last updated 13-Jan-15
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Since history is not an objective reality, but only an imaginative reconstruction of vanished events, the pattern that appears useful or agreeable to one generation is never entirely so to the next.

Carl L. Becker (1873-1945) American historian
The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers (1932)
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Added on 16-Dec-14 | Last updated 16-Dec-14
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Books may preach when the author cannot, when the author may not, when the author dares not, yes, and which is more, when the author is not.

Thomas Brooks (1608-1680) English Puritan divine, writer
Heaven on Earth (1654)
Added on 10-Dec-14 | Last updated 10-Dec-14
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All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn’t your pet — it’s your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
“I Am Joss Wedon — AMA,” Reddit (10 Apr 2012)
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On fan fiction and academic analysis.
Added on 15-Oct-14 | Last updated 15-Oct-14
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Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.

David Sedaris (b. 1956) American humorist, comedian, author
Interview, Louisville Courier-Journal (5 Jun 2005)
Added on 3-Apr-14 | Last updated 31-Oct-14
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Men are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things.

Epictetus (c.55-c.135) Greek (Phrygian) Stoic philosopher
The Enchiridion (c. 135)

Alt. trans.: "We suffer not from the events in our lives, but from our judgment about them."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Jul-17
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