Preconceptions Quotes (displaying: 1 - 29 of 29 quotes )
In my twenties if even a tenth reading of Mallarm failed to yield up its treasures, the fault was mine, not his. If my eyes swooned shut while I read The Sweet Cheat Gone, Proust’s pacing was never called into question, just my intelligence and dedication and sensitivity. And I still entertain these sacralizing preconceptions about high art. I still admire what is difficult, though I now recognize it as a “period” taste and that my generation was the last to give a damn. Though we were atheists, we were, strangely enough, preparing ourselves for God’s great Quiz Show; we had to know everything because we were convinced we would be tested on it—in our next life.
I think there's a difference between (a) offending people for its own sake, which I don't necessarily want to do, because some people are good and decent and it would be unkind to upset them simply to indulge my own self-importance, and (b) challenging their prejudices, their preconceptions, or their comfortable assumptions. I'm very happy to do that. But we need to be on our guard when people say they're offended. No one actually has the right to go through life without being offended. Some people think they can say "such-and-such offends me" and that will stop the "offensive" words or behaviour and force the "offender" to apologise. I'm very much against that tactic. No one should be able to shut down discussion by making their feelings more important than the search for truth. If such people are offended, they should put up with it.
Those who are truly enlightened, those whose souls are illuminated by love, have been able to overcome all of the inhibitions and preconceptions of their era. They have been able to sing, to laugh, and to pray out loud; they have danced and shared what Saint Paul called 'the madness of saintliness'. They have been joyful - because those who love conquer the world and have no fear of loss. True love is an act of total surrender.
Tragedy happens - "tragic mistakes" happen - when men act according to their flawed natures, in fulfillment of their preordained destinies. The tragedy of the four killers of Amadou Diallo is that their deeds were made possible by their general preconceptions about black people and poor neighborhoods; by a theory of policing that encourages them to be rigid and punitive toward petty offenders; and by a social context in which the possession and use of firearms is so normative as to be almost beyond discussion. The tragedy of the street vendor Amadou Diallo is that he came as an innocent to the slaughter, made vulnerable by poverty and by the color of his skin. And the tragedy of America is that a nation which sees itself as leading the world toward a global future in which the American values of freedom and justice will be available for everyone fails so frequently and so badly to guarantee that freedom and that justice for so many people within its own frontiers.
Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions, and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, we become seekers.
Few people ask from books what books can give us. Most commonly we come to books with blurred and divided minds, asking of fiction that it shall be true, of poetry that it shall be false, of biography that it shall be flattering, of history that it shall enforce our own prejudices. If we could banish all such preconceptions when we read, that would be an admirable beginning.
[T]he act of true reading is in its very essence democratic. Consider the nature of what happens when we read a book - and I mean, of course, a work of literature, not an instruction manual or a textbook - in private, unsupervised, un-spied-on, alone. It isn't like a lecture: it's like a conversation. There's a back-and-forthness about it. The book proposes, the reader questions, the book responds, the reader considers. We bring our own preconceptions and expectations, our own intellectual qualities, and our limitations, too, our own previous experiences of reading, our own temperament, our own hopes and fears, our own personality to the encounter.
Belief…is the insistence that the truth is what one would ‘lief’ or (will or) wish to be…Faith is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith let’s go…faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deceptio
There's a peculiar dichotomy in the nature of almost anyone who calls himself a historian. Such scholars all piously assure us that they're telling us the real truth about what really happened, but if you turn any competent historian over and look at his damp underside, you'll find a storyteller, and you can believe me when I tell you that no storyteller's ever going to tell a story without a few embellishments. Add to that the fact that we've all got assorted political and theological preconceptions that are going to color what we write, and you'll begin to realize that no history of any event is entirely reliable...
I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see I swallow immediately. Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful-The eye of the little god, four cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long. I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully. She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman. Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish.