„Thirty spokes unite at the single hub;
It is the empty space which makes the wheel useful.
Mold clay to form a bowl;
It is the empty space which makes the bowl useful.
Cut out windows and doors;
It is the empty space which makes the room useful.“

—  Laozi, book Tao Te Ching

Source: Tao Te Ching, Ch. 11

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
Laozi photo
semi-legendary Chinese figure, attributed to the 6th centur… -604

Related quotes

James Jeans photo
Piet Mondrian photo
Joan Miró photo
Andy Warhol photo
John Cage photo
José Ortega Y Gasset photo

„Life today is the fruit of an interregnum, of an empty space between two organizations of historical rule — that which was, that which is to be. For this reason it is essentially provisional.“

—  José Ortega Y Gasset, book The Revolt of the Masses

Source: The Revolt of the Masses (1929), Chapter XIV: Who Rules The World?
Context: No one knows toward what center human things are going to gravitate in the near future, and hence the life of the world has become scandalously provisional. Everything that today is done in public and in private — even in one's inner conscience — is provisional, the only exception being certain portions of certain sciences. He will be a wise man who puts no trust in all that is proclaimed, upheld, essayed, and lauded at the present day. All that will disappear as quickly as it came. All of it, from the mania for physical sports (the mania, not the sports themselves) to political violence; from "new art" to sun-baths at idiotic fashionable watering-places. Nothing of all that has any roots; it is all pure invention, in the bad sense of the word, which makes it equivalent to fickle caprice. It is not a creation based on the solid substratum of life; it is not a genuine impulse or need. In a word, from the point of view of life it is false.
We are in presence of the contradiction of a style of living which cultivates sincerity and is at the same time a fraud. There is truth only in an existence which feels its acts as irrevocably necessary. There exists today no politician who feels the inevitableness of his policy, and the more extreme his attitudes, the more frivolous, the less inspired by destiny they are. The only life with its roots fixed in earth, the only autochthonous life, is that which is made of inevitable acts. All the rest, all that it is in our power to take or to leave or to exchange for something else, is mere falsification of life. Life today is the fruit of an interregnum, of an empty space between two organizations of historical rule — that which was, that which is to be. For this reason it is essentially provisional. Men do not know what institutions to serve in truth; women do not know what type of men they in truth prefer.
The European cannot live unless embarked upon some great unifying enterprise. When this is lacking, he becomes degraded, grows slack, his soul is paralyzed. We have a commencement of this before our eyes today. The groups which up to today have been known as nations arrived about a century ago at their highest point of expansion. Nothing more can be done with them except lead them to a higher evolution. They are now mere past accumulating all around Europe, weighing it down, imprisoning it. With more vital freedom than ever, we feel that we cannot breathe the air within our nations, because it is confined air. What was before a nation open to all the winds of heaven, has turned into something provincial, an enclosing space.

Richard Siken photo
Ray Bradbury photo
Brian Andreas photo
Joseph Addison photo
Raymond Chandler photo
John D. Barrow photo

„Parmenides' influential arguments against the concept of empty space“

—  John D. Barrow British scientist 1952

Source: The Book of Nothing (2009), chapter one "Zero—The Whole Story"<!-- p. 40-->
Context: The Greek tradition was a complete contrast to that of the Far East.... the Greeks placed logic at the pinnacle of human thinking. Their sceptical attitude towards the wielding of 'non-being' as some sort of 'something' that could be subject to logical development was exemplified by Parmenides' influential arguments against the concept of empty space.... He maintained that you can only speak about what is: what is not cannot be thought of, and what cannot be thought of cannot be.... more unexpected was the further conclusion that time, motion nor change could exist either.

Andrew Marvell photo

„No creature loves an empty space;
Their bodies measure out their place.“

—  Andrew Marvell English metaphysical poet and politician 1621 - 1678

Upon Appleton House, to My Lord Fairfax.

El Lissitsky photo

„The purpose of architecture is to transmute the emptiness into space, that is into something which our minds can grasp as an organized unity.“

—  El Lissitsky Soviet artist, designer, photographer, teacher, typographer and architect 1890 - 1941

quote, p. 384
posthumous publications, El Lissitzky, El Lissitzky : Life, Letters, Texts (1967; 1980)

Will Shortz photo

„Study void. Void is what makes everything possible. If there is no emptiness or open space in your life then very very few things are possible.“

—  Ken McLeod Canadian lama 1948

Five Elements Five Dakinis http://www.unfetteredmind.org/five-elements-five-dakinis-9#FEFD090:33:46.8. Unfettered Mind http://www.unfetteredmind.org.. (2007-07-09) (Topic: Practice)

Max Beckmann photo

„Space and space again, is the infinite deity which surrounds us and in which we are ourselves contained.“

—  Max Beckmann German painter, draftsman, printmaker, sculptor and writer 1884 - 1950

Source: 1930s, On my Painting (1938), p. 12

„The vestiges of the bicameral mind do not exist in any empty psychological space.“

—  Julian Jaynes, book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind

Book III, Chapter 2, p. 355
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976)

Related topics