Quotes About Interpretation

Quotes tagged as "interpretation" (showing 1-30 of 152)
Charlotte Brontë
“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter - often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter - in the eye.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Susan Sontag
“Interpretation is the revenge of the intellectual upon art. ”
Susan Sontag

“The pianokeys are black and white
but they sound like a million colors in your mind”
Maria Cristina Mena, The Collected Stories of Maria Cristina Mena

Joss Whedon
“All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn't your pet -- it's your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.”
Joss Whedon

John Locke
“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.”
John Locke

Edward W. Said
“All knowledge that is about human society, and not about the natural world, is historical knowledge, and therefore rests upon judgment and interpretation. This is not to say that facts or data are nonexistent, but that facts get their importance from what is made of them in interpretation… for interpretations depend very much on who the interpreter is, who he or she is addressing, what his or her purpose is, at what historical moment the interpretation takes place.”
Edward W. Said

Charles Darwin
“...Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers... for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality... But I had gradually come by this time, i.e., 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow at sign, &c., &c., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian.

...By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported, (and that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become), that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost uncomprehensible by us, that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events, that they differ in many important details, far too important, as it seemed to me, to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses; by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire had some weight with me. Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can be hardly denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation which we now put on metaphors and allegories.

But I was very unwilling to give up my belief... Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlastingly punished.

And this is a damnable doctrine.”
Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82

Orson Scott Card
“The story is one that you and I will construct together in your memory. If the story means anything to you at all, then when you remember it afterward, think of it, not as something I created, but rather as something that we made together. ”
Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

Karl Lagerfeld
“Fashion is a language that creates itself in clothes to interpret reality.”
Karl Lagerfeld

George Orwell
“If there really is such a thing as turning in one's grave, Shakespeare must get a lot of exercise.”
George Orwell, All Art is Propaganda: Critical Essays

Friedrich Nietzsche
“The text has disappeared under the interpretation.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Umberto Eco
“To read fiction means to play a game by which we give sense to the immensity of things that happened, are happening, or will happen in the actual world. By reading narrative, we escape the anxiety that attacks us when we try to say something true about the world. This is the consoling function of narrative — the reason people tell stories, and have told stories from the beginning of time.”
Umberto Eco, Six Walks in the Fictional Woods

Friedrich Nietzsche
“I have forgotten my umbrella. ”
Friedrich Nietzsche

Rachel Held Evans
“My interpretation can only be as inerrant as I am, and that's good to keep in mind.”
Rachel Held Evans, Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions

C.S. Lewis
“The true reader reads every work seriously in the sense that he reads it whole-heartedly, makes himself as receptive as he can. But for that very reason he cannot possibly read every work solemly or gravely. For he will read 'in the same spirit that the author writ.'... He will never commit the error of trying to munch whipped cream as if it were venison.”
C.S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism

Douglas Adams
“I'm a scientist and I know what constitutes proof. But the reason I call myself by my childhood name is to remind myself that a scientist must also be absolutely like a child. If he sees a thing, he must say that he sees it, whether it was what he thought he was going to see or not. See first, think later, then test. But always see first. Otherwise you will only see what you were expecting. Most scientists forget that.”
Douglas Adams, The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Susan Sontag
“Today is such a time, when the project of interpretation is largely reactionary, stifling. Like the fumes of the automobile and of heavy industry which befoul the urban atmosphere, the effusion of interpretations of art today poisons our sensibilities. In a culture whose already classical dilemma is the hypertrophy of the intellect at the expense of energy and sensual capability, interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art.

Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world - in order to set up a shadow world of 'meanings.' It is to turn the world into this world. ('This world'! As if there were any other.)

The world, our world, is depleted, impoverished enough. Away with all duplicates of it, until we again experience more immediately what we have. ”
Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation and Other Essays

Don DeLillo
“When I work, I'm just translating the world around me in what seems to be straightforward terms. For my readers, this is sometimes a vision that's not familiar. But I'm not trying to manipulate reality. This is just what I see and hear.”
Don DeLillo

Vera Nazarian
“When you wake up from a dream you have only a few precious moments before the details of the dream begin to dissipate and the memory fades.

Not all dreams are significant or worth remembering.

But the ones that are . . . happen again.

So, wait for the dream to return. And never be afraid. Instead, consider it an opportunity to learn something profound and possibly wondrous about yourself.”
Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Neil Gaiman
“Have you thought about what it means to be a god?" asked the man. He had a beard and a baseball cap. "It means you give up your mortal existence to become a meme: something that lives forever in people's minds, like the tune of a nursery rhyme. It means that everyone gets to re-create you in their own minds. You barely have your own identity any more. Instead, you're a thousand aspects of what people need you to be. And everyone wants something different from you. Nothing is fixed, nothing is stable.”
Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Liezi
“When two things occur successively we call them cause and effect if we believe one event made the other one happen. If we think one event is the response to the other, we call it a reaction. If we feel that the two incidents are not related, we call it a mere coincidence. If we think someone deserved what happened, we call it retribution or reward, depending on whether the event was negative or positive for the recipient. If we cannot find a reason for the two events' occurring simultaneously or in close proximity, we call it an accident. Therefore, how we explain coincidences depends on how we see the world. Is everything connected, so that events create resonances like ripples across a net? Or do things merely co-occur and we give meaning to these co-occurrences based on our belief system? Lieh-tzu's answer: It's all in how you think.”
Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living

Joseph J. Ellis
“[quoting someone else] the American constitution is a document designed by geniuses to be eventually interpreted by idiots”
Joseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Toba Beta
“A very single fact could emerge into many versions of truth,
depends on the number of eyewitnesses and interpretations.”
Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

Jean Giono
“I should like to write about what happens when fictive people encounter and are embellished by real people.”
Jean Giono, An Italian Journey

Kim Stanley Robinson
“The word of God came down to man as rain to soil, and the result was mud, not clear water. (Bistami) Pg. 128”
Kim Stanley Robinson, The Years of Rice and Salt

“We cannot control the way people interpret our ideas or thoughts, but we can control the words and tones we choose to convey them. Peace is built on understanding, and wars are built on misunderstandings. Never underestimate the power of a single word, and never recklessly throw around words. One wrong word, or misinterpreted word, can change the meaning of an entire sentence and start a war. And one right word, or one kind word, can grant you the heavens and open doors.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Marguerite Porete
“Theologians and other clerks,
You won't understand this book,
-- However bright your wits --
If you do not meet it humbly,
And in this way, Love and Faith
Make you surmount Reason, for
They are the protectors of Reason's house. ”
Marguerite Porete

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“We degrade God too much, ascribing to him our ideas, in vexation at being unable to understand Him.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Idiot

Ursula K. Le Guin
“Some dreams tell us what we wish to believe. Some dreams tell us what we fear. Some dreams are of what we know though we may not know we know it. The rarest dream is the dream that tells us what we have not known.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, Changing Planes

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