„A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?“

Book II, Chapter 1, "The Rival Conceptions of God"
Mere Christianity (1952)
Context: My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update June 3, 2021. History
Clive Staples Lewis photo
Clive Staples Lewis271
Christian apologist, novelist, and Medievalist 1898 - 1963

Related quotes

Horace Mann photo

„God draweth straight lines but we call them crooked.“

—  Horace Mann American politician 1796 - 1859

The Common School Journal, Vol. V, No. 18 (15 September 1843)

Edwin Abbott Abbott photo

„It seemed that this poor ignorant Monarch — as he called himself — was persuaded that the Straight Line which he called his Kingdom, and in which he passed his existence, constituted the whole of the world, and indeed the whole of Space. Not being able either to move or to see, save in his Straight Line, he had no conception of anything out of it.“

—  Edwin Abbott Abbott, book Flatland

Source: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (1884), PART II: OTHER WORLDS, Chapter 13. How I had a Vision of Lineland
Context: Describing myself as a stranger I besought the King to give me some account of his dominions. But I had the greatest possible difficulty in obtaining any information on points that really interested me; for the Monarch could not refrain from constantly assuming that whatever was familiar to him must also be known to me and that I was simulating ignorance in jest. However, by persevering questions I elicited the following facts:It seemed that this poor ignorant Monarch — as he called himself — was persuaded that the Straight Line which he called his Kingdom, and in which he passed his existence, constituted the whole of the world, and indeed the whole of Space. Not being able either to move or to see, save in his Straight Line, he had no conception of anything out of it. Though he had heard my voice when I first addressed him, the sounds had come to him in a manner so contrary to his experience that he had made no answer, "seeing no man", as he expressed it, "and hearing a voice as it were from my own intestines." Until the moment when I placed my mouth in his World, he had neither seen me, nor heard anything except confused sounds beating against — what I called his side, but what he called his INSIDE or STOMACH; nor had he even now the least conception of the region from which I had come. Outside his World, or Line, all was a blank to him; nay, not even a blank, for a blank implies Space; say, rather, all was non-existent.His subjects — of whom the small Lines were men and the Points Women — were all alike confined in motion and eye-sight to that single Straight Line, which was their World. It need scarcely be added that the whole of their horizon was limited to a Point; nor could any one ever see anything but a Point. Man, woman, child, thing — each was a Point to the eye of a Linelander. Only by the sound of the voice could sex or age be distinguished. Moreover, as each individual occupied the whole of the narrow path, so to speak, which constituted his Universe, and no one could move to the right or left to make way for passers by, it followed that no Linelander could ever pass another. Once neighbours, always neighbours. Neighbourhood with them was like marriage with us. Neighbours remained neighbours till death did them part.Such a life, with all vision limited to a Point, and all motion to a Straight Line, seemed to me inexpressibly dreary; and I was surprised to note the vivacity and cheerfulness of the King.

Simone Weil photo
Lois McMaster Bujold photo
Marvin Minsky photo

„When you "get an idea," or "solve a problem," or have a "memorable experience," you create what we shall call a K-line.“

—  Marvin Minsky American cognitive scientist 1927 - 2016

K-Linesː A Theory of Memory (1980)
Context: When you "get an idea," or "solve a problem," or have a "memorable experience," you create what we shall call a K-line. This K-line gets connected to those "mental agencies" that were actively involved in the memorable event. When that K-line is later "activated," it reactivates some of those mental agencies, creating a "partial mental state" resembling the original.

Ralph Waldo Emerson photo
Antoni Gaudí photo

„The straight line belongs to Man. The curved line belongs to God.“

—  Antoni Gaudí Catalan architect 1852 - 1926

The real author seems to be Pierre Albert-Birot https://books.google.com/books?id=3Ul51CwjUOcC&pg=PA290&dq=%22the+curved+line+that+belongs+let%27s+say+to+God+and+the+straight+line+that+belongs+to+man%22&hl=de&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=%22the%20curved%20line%20that%20belongs%20let%27s%20say%20to%20God%20and%20the%20straight%20line%20that%20belongs%20to%20man%22&f=false.
Attributed

Helen Thomas photo

„I don't speechify. I know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. And that's what I ask. But they get mad at the straight line. I just want to ask a tough question.“

—  Helen Thomas American author and journalist 1920 - 2013

Interview by Adam Holdorf for Real Change News, (18 March 2004).

Leonardo Da Vinci photo
Roger Joseph Boscovich photo

„But if some mind very different from ours were to look upon some property of some curved line as we do on the evenness of a straight line, he would not recognize as such the evenness of a straight line; nor would he arrange the elements of his geometry according to that very different system, and would investigate quite other relationships as I have suggested in my notes.
We fashion our geometry on the properties of a straight line because that seems to us to be the simplest of all. But really all lines that are continuous and of a uniform nature are just as simple as one another. Another kind of mind which might form an equally clear mental perception of some property of any one of these curves, as we do of the congruence of a straight line, might believe these curves to be the simplest of all, and from that property of these curves build up the elements of a very different geometry, referring all other curves to that one, just as we compare them to a straight line. Indeed, these minds, if they noticed and formed an extremely clear perception of some property of, say, the parabola, would not seek, as our geometers do, to rectify the parabola, they would endeavor, if one may coin the expression, to parabolify the straight line.“

—  Roger Joseph Boscovich Croat-Italian physicist 1711 - 1787

"Boscovich's mathematics", an article by J. F. Scott, in the book Roger Joseph Boscovich (1961) edited by Lancelot Law Whyte.
"Transient pressure analysis in composite reservoirs" (1982) by Raymond W. K. Tang and William E. Brigham.
"Non-Newtonian Calculus" (1972) by Michael Grossman and Robert Katz.

Eugène Delacroix photo

„Criticism, like so many other things, keeps to what has been said before and does not get out of the rut. This business of the 'Beautiful' some see it in curved lines, some in straight lines, but all persist in seeing it as a matter of line. I am now looking out of my window and I can see the most lovely countryside; lines just do not come into my head: the lark is singing, the river sparkles with a thousand diamonds, the leaves are whispering; where, I should like to know, are the lines that produce delicious impressions like these? They refuse to see proportion or harmony except between two lines: all else they regard as chaos, and the dividers alone are judge.“

—  Eugène Delacroix French painter 1798 - 1863

Quote from a letter to Léon Peisse, 15 July 1949; as cited in Letters of the great artists – from Blake to Pollock, Richard Friedenthal, Thames and Hudson, London, 1963, p. 68
this quote refers to Delacroix's refusal to use the line as boundary of the form in his painting art, as a too sharp dividing force in the picture - in contrast to the famous classical painter in Paris then, Ingres
1831 - 1863

„By what name shall we call this animating principle of the universe, this source of all phenomana? Some call it Force or Energy or Mind, others call it God. Some call this idea a working hypothesis, others call it Faith.“

—  Kirby Page American clergyman 1890 - 1957

Source: Something More, A Consideration of the Vast, Undeveloped Resources of Life (1920), p. 15

Ani DiFranco photo

„Somedays the line I walk turns out to be straight -
Other days the line tends to deviate.“

—  Ani DiFranco musician and activist 1970

In or Out
Song lyrics

Aristarchus of Samos photo
Thomas Mann photo

„Distance in a straight line has no mystery. The mystery is in the sphere.“

—  Thomas Mann German novelist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate 1875 - 1955

Robert Henri photo
Ann Coulter photo

Related topics