Piet Hein quotes

Piet Hein photo
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Piet Hein

Birthdate: 16. December 1905
Date of death: 17. April 1996

Piet Hein was a Danish polymath , often writing under the Old Norse pseudonym Kumbel, meaning "tombstone". His short poems, known as gruks or grooks , first started to appear in the daily newspaper Politiken shortly after the German occupation of Denmark in April 1940 under the pseudonym "Kumbel Kumbell". Wikipedia

„There is
one art,
no more,
no less:
to do
all things
with art-
lessness.“

—  Piet Hein

Ars Brevis
Grooks

„Art is this: art is the solution of a problem which cannot be expressed explicitly until it is solved.“

—  Piet Hein

As quoted in Man Creates Art Creates Man (1973) by Duane Preble, p. 14
Variant translation: Art is solving problems that cannot be formulated before they have been solved. The shaping of the question is part of the answer.
As quoted in Architecture: form, space, and order (2007) by Francis D.K. Ching, p. ix
Context: After all, what is art? Art is the creative process and it goes through all fields. Einstein’s theory of relativity — now that is a work of art! Einstein was more of an artist in physics than on his violin.
Art is this: art is the solution of a problem which cannot be expressed explicitly until it is solved.

„But we are in a straitjacket, having to accept one or the other, when often some intermediate form would be better.“

—  Piet Hein

As quoted in Scandinavian Review (2003), by the American-Scandinavian Foundation, p. 18
Context: Man is the animal that draws lines which he himself then stumbles over. In the whole pattern of civilization there have been two tendencies, one toward straight lines and rectangular patterns and one toward circular lines. There are reasons, mechanical and psychological, for both tendencies. Things made with straight lines fit well together and save space. And we can move easily — physically or mentally — around things made with round lines. But we are in a straitjacket, having to accept one or the other, when often some intermediate form would be better.

„Put up in a place
where it's easy to see
the cryptic admonishment“

—  Piet Hein

T.T.T. (Acronym in Danish: Ting Tager Tid)
Grooks
Context: p>Put up in a place
where it's easy to see
the cryptic admonishmentT. T. T.When you feel how depressingly
slowly you climb,
it's well to remember that
Things Take Time.</p

„Problems worthy
of attack
prove their worth
by hitting back.“

—  Piet Hein

Problems
Grooks

„Art is the creative process and it goes through all fields.“

—  Piet Hein

As quoted in Man Creates Art Creates Man (1973) by Duane Preble, p. 14
Variant translation: Art is solving problems that cannot be formulated before they have been solved. The shaping of the question is part of the answer.
As quoted in Architecture: form, space, and order (2007) by Francis D.K. Ching, p. ix
Context: After all, what is art? Art is the creative process and it goes through all fields. Einstein’s theory of relativity — now that is a work of art! Einstein was more of an artist in physics than on his violin.
Art is this: art is the solution of a problem which cannot be expressed explicitly until it is solved.

„Those
that are looking
for nothing — will find it.“

—  Piet Hein

Look And Thou Shalt Find
Grooks
Context: Foes
of what's cooking
see no worth behind it.
Those
that are looking
for nothing — will find it.

„Man is the animal that draws lines which he himself then stumbles over.“

—  Piet Hein

As quoted in Scandinavian Review (2003), by the American-Scandinavian Foundation, p. 18
Context: Man is the animal that draws lines which he himself then stumbles over. In the whole pattern of civilization there have been two tendencies, one toward straight lines and rectangular patterns and one toward circular lines. There are reasons, mechanical and psychological, for both tendencies. Things made with straight lines fit well together and save space. And we can move easily — physically or mentally — around things made with round lines. But we are in a straitjacket, having to accept one or the other, when often some intermediate form would be better.

„Somebody said
that Reason was dead.
Reason said: No,
I think not so.“

—  Piet Hein

Dead Reasonable
Grooks

„Love is like
a pineapple,
sweet and
undefinable.“

—  Piet Hein

What Love Is Like
Grooks

„Living is
a thing you do
now or never —
which do you?“

—  Piet Hein

Living Is —
Grooks

„Err
and err
and err again
but less
and less
and less.“

—  Piet Hein

The Road to Wisdom?
Grooks
Context: The road to wisdom? — Well, it's plain
and simple to express:
Err
and err
and err again
but less
and less
and less.

„The human spirit sublimates
the impulses it thwarts;
a healthy sex life mitigates
the lust for other sports.“

—  Piet Hein

Hint And Suggestion : Admonitory grook addressed to youth
Grooks

„The universe may
be as great as they say.
But it wouldn't be missed
if it didn't exist.“

—  Piet Hein

Nothing Is Indespensable : Grook to warn the universe against megalomania
Grooks

„if you posses
more than just eight things
then y o u
are possessed by t h e m“

—  Piet Hein

The Tyranny Of Things
Grooks

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