Explaining Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 132 quotes )
Explaining how the two of them, up there in the Green Mountains, had managed to dial down life's urgencies and dial up its pleasures and richness, Gary put it beautifully and poetically: "We've discovered a way" he confided with a sense of gleeful wonderment, "to bend time." I imagined Tracy and me engaged in a similar conspiracy a dozen years or so from now.
I refer to what is called mysterium iniquitatis, meaning, as I see it, that a crime in the final analysis remains inexplicable inasmuch as it cannot be fully traced back to biological, psychological and/or sociological factors. Totally explaining one’s crime would be tantamount to explaining away his or her guilt and to seeing in him or her not a free and responsible human being but a machine to be repaired. Even criminals themselves abhor this treatment and prefer to be held responsible for their deeds. From a convict serving his sentence in an Illinois penitentiary I received a letter in which he deplored that 'the criminal never has a chance to explain himself. He is offered a variety of excuses to choose from. Society is blamed and in many instances the blame is put on the victim.
And it was about then, about that time, that I began to find life unsatisfactory as an explanation of itself and was forced to adopt the method of the artist of not explaining but putting the blocks together in some other way that seems more significant to him. Which is a rather fancy way of saying I started writing.
Now here's somebody who wants to smoke a marijuana cigarette. If he's caught, he goes to jail. Now is that moral? Is that proper? I think it's absolutely disgraceful that our government, supposed to be our government, should be in the position of converting people who are not harming others into criminals, of destroying their lives, putting them in jail. That's the issue to me. The economic issue comes in only for explaining why it has those effects. But the economic reasons are not the reasons
The poet Robert Browning caused considerable consternation by including the word twat in one of his poems, thinking it an innocent term. The work was Pippa Passes, written in 1841 and now remembered for the line "God's in His heaven, all's right with the world." But it also contains this disconcerting passage: Then owls and batsCowls and twatsMonks and nuns in a cloister's moods,Adjourn to the oak-stump pantry!Browning had apparently somewhere come across the word twat--which meant precisely the same then as it does now--but pronounced it with a flat a and somehow took it to mean a piece of headgear for nuns. The verse became a source of twittering amusement for generations of schoolboys and a perennial embarrassment to their elders, but the word was never altered and Browning was allowed to live out his life in wholesome ignorance because no one could think of a suitably delicate way of explaining his mistake to him.
I found myself earnestly explaining to the young minister that I did not believe in God, 'but I've discovered that I can't live as though I didn't believe in him. As long as I don't need to say any more than that I try to live as though I believe in God, I would very much like to come to church--if you'll let me.
Let me add, however, that in every idea of genius or in every new human idea, or, more simply still, in every serious human idea born in anyone's brain, there is something that cannot possibly be conveyed to others, though you wrote volumes about it and spent thirty-five years in explaining your idea; something will always be left that will obstinately refuse to emerge from your head and that will remain with you for ever and you will die without having conveyed to anyone what is perhaps the most vital point of your idea.
I went to the theatre with the author of a successful play. He insisted on explaining everything. He told me what to watch, the details of the direction, the errors of the property man, the foibles of the star. He anticipated all of my surprises and ruined the evening. Never again! And mark you, the greatest author of all made no such mistake.
The Marie bit is easy enough to understand, then. The Laura thing takes a bit more explaining, but what it is, I think, is this: sentimental music has this great way of taking you back somewhere at the same time that it takes you forward, so you feel nostalgic and hopeful all at the same time. Marie’s the hopeful, forward part of it – maybe not her, necessarily, but somebody like her, somebody who can turn things around for me. (Exactly that: I always think that women are going to save me, lead me through to a better life, that they can change and redeem me.) And Laura’s the backward part, the last person I loved, and when I hear those sweet, sticky acoustic guitar chords I reinvent our time together, and, before I know it, we’re in the car trying to sing the harmonies on “Sloop John B” and getting it wrong and laughing. We never did that in real life. We never sang in the car, and we certainly never laughed when we got something wrong. This is why I shouldn’t be listening to pop music at the moment.
There's no chance of their having a conscious glimpse of the truth as long as they refuse to disturb the things they take for granted and remain incapable of explaining them. For if your starting-point is unknown, and your end-point and intermediate stages are woven together out of unknown material, there may be coherence, but knowledge is completely out of the question.
As Mary delivered what was to be her last lecture about the Galapagos Islands, she would be stopped mid-sentence for five seconds by a doubt which, if expressed in words, might have come out something like this: "Maybe I'm just a crazy lady who had wandered off the street and into this classroom and started explaining the mysteries of life to these people. And they believe me, although I am utterly mistaken about simply everything."She had to wonder, too, about all the supposedly great teachers of the past, who, although their brains were healthy, had turned out to be as wrong as Roy about what was really going on.
If you give orders and explain nothing, you might get obedience, but you'll get no creativity. If you tell them your purpose, then when your original plan is shown to be faulty, they'll find another way to achieve your goal. Explaining to your men doesn't weaken their respect for you, it proves your respect for them.
I learned about religion the way most children learned about sex, [in the schoolyard]. . . . They terrified me by telling me there was a dead man in the sky watching everything I did and I retaliated by explaining where babies came from. Some of their mothers phoned mine to complain, though I think I was more upset than they were: they didn't believe me but I believed them.
I tell my students that when you write, you should pretend yo?re writing the best letter you ever wrote to the smartest friend you have. That way, yo?ll never dumb things down. You wo?t have to explain things that do?t need explaining. Yo?ll assume an intimacy and a natural shorthand, which is good because readers are smart and do?t wish to be condescended to. I think about the reader. I care about the reader. Not?audience? Not?readership? Just the reader.
An increased power of reflection like an increased knowledge only adds to man's affliction, and above all it is certain that for the individual as for the generation no task is more difficult than to escape from the temptations of reflection, simply because they are so dialectical and the result of one clever discovery may give the whole question a new turn, because at any moment reflection is capable of explaining everything quite differently and allowing one some way of escape; because at the last moment of a reflective decision reflection is capable of changing everything--after one has made far greater exertions than are necessary to get a man of character into the midst of things.
Nobody can imagine how nothing could turn into something. Nobody can get an inch nearer to it by explaining how something could turn into something else. It is really far more logical to start by saying ‘In the beginning God created heaven and earth’ even if you only mean ‘In the beginning some unthinkable power began some unthinkable process.’ For God is by its nature a name of mystery, and nobody ever supposed that man could imagine how a world was created any more than he could create one. But evolution really is mistaken for explanation. It has the fatal quality of leaving on many minds the impression that they do understand it and everything else
Real mystery - the very reason to read (and certainly write) any book - was to them a thing to dismantle, distill and mine out into rubble they could tyrannize into sorry but more permanent explanations; monuments to themselves, in other words. In my view all teachers should be required to stop teaching at age thirty-two and not allowed to resume until they're sixty-five, so that they can live their lives, not teach them away - live lives full of ambiguity and transience and regret and wonder, be asked to explain nothing in public until very near the end when they can't do anything else. Explaining is where we all get into trouble.
The only people who can ever put ideas into context are people who don't care; the unbiased and apathetic are usually the wisest dudes in the room. If you want to totally misunderstand why something is supposedly important, find the biggest fan of that particular thing and ask him for an explanation. He will tell you everything that doesn't matter to anyone who isn't him. He will describe paradoxical details and share deeply personal anecdotes, and it will all be autobiography; he will simply be explaining who he is by discussing something completely unrelated to his life.
Not merely hope, but any burdensome yearning: ambition, hatred, love (especially love) - how rarely do our emotions meet the object they seem to deserve? How hopelessly we signal; how dark the sky; how big the waves. We are all lost at see, washed between hope and despair, hailing something that may never come to rescue us. Catastrophe has become art; but this is no reducing process. It is freeing, enlarging, explaining. Catastrophe has become art: that is, after all, what it is for.
I can’t explain why, I just know. Do you remember the first question I ever asked you?” “Yes, you asked me if I knew what being crazy meant.” “Exactly. This time I’m not going to tell you a story. I’ll just say that insanity is the inability to communicate your ideas. It’s as if you were in a foreign country, able to see and understand everything that’s going on around you but incapable of explaining what you need to know or of being helped, because you don’t understand the language they speak there.” “We’ve all felt that” “And all of us, one way or another, are insane.