Understanding Things

Sunday, February 1, 2009 – Understanding Things


I can’t understand it. I can’t even understand the people who can understand it. ~ Queen Juliana


I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying. ~ Oscar Wilde


The secret of forgiving everything is to understand nothing. ~ George Bernard Shaw


And verily, a woman need know but one man well, in order to understand all men; whereas a man may know all women and understand not one of them. ~ Helen Rowland (The Sayings of Mrs. Solomon: Being the Confessions of the Seven-Hundredth Wife)


A man who pretends to understand women is bad manners. For him to really to understand them is bad morals. ~ Henry James


It is the duty of the human understanding to understand that there are things which it cannot understand, and what those things are. Human understanding has vulgarly occupied itself with nothing but understanding, but if it would only take the trouble to understand itself at the same time it would simply have to posit the paradox. ~ Soren Kierkegaard


A first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die. ~ Franz Kafka


Is an intelligent human being likely to be much more than a large-scale manufacturer of misunderstanding? ~ Philip Roth


What is grand is necessarily obscure to weak men. That which can be made explicit to the idiot is not worth my care. ~ William Blake


Where I am not understood, it shall be concluded that something very useful and profound is couched underneath. ~ Jonathan Swift


There would be no society if living together depended upon understanding each other. ~ Eric Hoffer


We shall see but a little way if we require to understand what we see. ~ Henry David Thoreau


The smaller the understanding of the situation, the more pretentious the form of expression. ~ John Romano


If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it’s just possible you haven’t grasped the situation. ~ Jean Kerr (Please Don’t Eat the Daisies)


Man knows much more than he understands. ~ Alfred Adler


If you do not understand a man you cannot crush him. And if you do understand him, very probably you will not. ~ G. K. Chesterton


Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill-will. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.


I can’t stand it… It’s driving me sane ~ Spike Jones


My goal is simple. It is complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all. ~ Stephen Hawking


We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones. ~ Francois de La Rochefoucauld


We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society. ~ Judith Martin


When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other. ~ Eric Hoffer


With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion. ~ Steven Weinberg


A lifetime is more than sufficiently long for people to get what there is of it wrong. ~ Piet Hein


The theoretical understanding of the world, which is the aim of philosophy, is not a matter of great practical importance to animals, or to savages, or even to most civilized men. ~ Bertrand Russell


When one man speaks to another man who doesn’t understand him, and when the man who’s speaking no longer understands, it’s metaphysics. ~ Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet), Candide, 1759


UNDERSTANDING, n. A cerebral secretion that enables one having it to know a house from a horse by the roof on the house. Its nature and laws have been exhaustively expounded by Locke, who rode a house, and Kant, who lived in a horse. ~ Ambrose Bierce


A child of five would understand this. Send somebody to fetch a child of five! ~ Groucho Marx


Today we come across an individual who behaves like an automaton, who does not know or understand himself, and the only person that he knows is the person that he is supposed to be, whose meaningless chatter has replaced communicative speech, whose synthetic smile has replaced genuine laughter, and whose sense of dull despair has taken the place of genuine pain. Two statements may be said concerning this individual. One is that he suffers from defects of spontaneity and individuality which may seem to be incurable. At the same time it may be said of him he does not differ essentially from the millions of the rest of us who walk upon this earth. ~ Erich Fromm


Human speech is like a cracked tin kettle, on which we hammer out tunes to make bears dance when we long to move the stars. ~ Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary


Telling someone something he does not understand is pointless, even if you add that he will not be able to understand it. ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein


Just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand. ~ Homer Simpson