Quotes about understanding

A collection of quotes on the topic of understanding.

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Robert Downey Jr. photo
Sathya Sai Baba photo

„There was no one to understand Me until I created the whole world“

—  Sathya Sai Baba Indian guru 1926 - 2011
As quoted by his official biographer, N. Kasthuri, in 'Pathway to Peace', p. 64.

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Charles Spurgeon photo

„In order to understand what kind of behaviors classrooms promote, one must become accustomed to observing what, in fact, students actually do in them.“

—  Neil Postman American writer and academic 1931 - 2003
Context: In order to understand what kind of behaviors classrooms promote, one must become accustomed to observing what, in fact, students actually do in them. What students do in a classroom is what they learn (as Dewey would say), and what they learn to do is the classroom's message (as McLuhan would say). Now, what is it that students do in the classroom? Well, mostly they sit and listen to the teacher. Mostly, they are required to believe in authorities, or at least pretend to such belief when they take tests. Mostly they are required to remember. They are almost never required to make observations, formulate definitions, or perform any intellectual operations that go beyond repeating what someone else says is true. They are rarely encouraged to ask substantive questions, although they are permitted to ask about administrative and technical details. (How long should the paper be? Does spelling count? When is the assignment due?) It is practically unheard of for students to play any role in determining what problems are worth studying or what procedures of inquiry ought to be used. Examine the types of questions teachers ask in classrooms, and you will find that most of them are what might technically be called "convergent questions," but what might more simply be called "Guess what I am thinking " questions.

Franz Kafka photo
Tim Burton photo
Jacques Lacan photo

„In order to understand the Freudian concepts, one must set out on the basis that it is the subject who is called—the subject of Cartesian origin. This basis gives its true function to what, in analysis, is called recollection or remembering. Recollection is not Platonic reminiscence —it is not the return of a form, an imprint, a eidos of beauty and good,a supreme truth, coming to us from the beyond. It is something that comes to us from the structural necessities, something humble, born at the level of the lowest encounters and of all the talking crowd that precedes us, at the level of the structure of the signifier, of the languages spoken in a stuttering, stumbling way, but which cannot elude constraints whose echoes, model, style can be found, curiously enough, in contemporary mathematics.“

—  Jacques Lacan French psychoanalyst and psychiatrist 1901 - 1981
Context: It is on this step that depends the fact that one can call upon the subject to re-enter himself in the unconscious—for, after all, it is important to know who one is calling. It is not the soul, either mortal or immortal, which has been with us for so long, nor some shade, some double, some phantom, nor even some supposed psycho-spherical shell, the locus of the defences and other such simplified notions. It is the subject who is called— there is only he, therefore, who can be chosen. There may be, as in the parable, many called and few chosen, but there will certainly not be any others except those who are called. In order to understand the Freudian concepts, one must set out on the basis that it is the subject who is called—the subject of Cartesian origin. This basis gives its true function to what, in analysis, is called recollection or remembering. Recollection is not Platonic reminiscence —it is not the return of a form, an imprint, a eidos of beauty and good, a supreme truth, coming to us from the beyond. It is something that comes to us from the structural necessities, something humble, born at the level of the lowest encounters and of all the talking crowd that precedes us, at the level of the structure of the signifier, of the languages spoken in a stuttering, stumbling way, but which cannot elude constraints whose echoes, model, style can be found, curiously enough, in contemporary mathematics. Of the Network of Signifiers

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Haruki Murakami photo
Joseph Pisani photo
Leon Trotsky photo

„Dialectics does not deny the syllogism, but teaches us to combine syllogisms in such a way as to bring our understanding closer to the eternally changing reality.“

—  Leon Trotsky Marxist revolutionary from Russia 1879 - 1940
Context: Dialectical thinking is related to vulgar thinking in the same way that a motion picture is related to a still photograph. The motion picture does not outlaw the still photograph but combines a series of them according to the laws of motion. Dialectics does not deny the syllogism, but teaches us to combine syllogisms in such a way as to bring our understanding closer to the eternally changing reality. p. 66

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Jonathan Haidt photo
Michael Chekhov photo
Christopher Paolini photo
Jack Dempsey photo

„When you haven’t eaten for two days you’ll understand.“

—  Jack Dempsey American boxer 1895 - 1983
Context: When I was a young fellow I was knocked down plenty. I wanted to stay down, but I couldn’t. I had to collect the two dollars for winning or go hungry. I had to get up. I was one of those hungry fighters. You could have hit me on the chin with a sledgehammer for five dollars. When you haven’t eaten for two days you’ll understand. Grantland Rice quoting Dempsey, Book of Boxing, page 299.

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