Abstraction Quotes

Quotes tagged as "abstraction" Showing 1-30 of 69
Gustave Flaubert
“Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.”
Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

David Levithan
abstraction, n.

Love is one kind of abstraction. And then there are those nights when I sleep alone, when I curl into a pillow that isn't you, when I hear the tiptoe sounds that aren't yours. It's not as if I can conjure you up completely. I must embrace the idea of you instead.”
David Levithan, The Lover's Dictionary

Wassily Kandinsky
“Colour is a power which directly influences the soul.”
Wassily Kandinsky , Concerning the Spiritual in Art

D.H. Lawrence
“And in this passion for understanding her soul lay close to his; she had him all to herself. But he must be made abstract first.”
D.H. Lawrence, Sons and Lovers

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
“People who are too fastidious towards the finite never reach actuality, but linger in abstraction, and their light dies away.”
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Friedrich Nietzsche
“What, then, is truth? A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms – in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins.”
Freidrich Neitzsche

Criss Jami
“It always seems as though the definition of love will remain debatable by an opinionated world.”
Criss Jami, Salomé: In Every Inch In Every Mile

Julian Barnes
“You can define a net two ways, depending on your point of view. Normally you would say it is a meshed instrument designed to catch fish. But you could, with no great injury to logic, reverse the image and define the net as a jocular lexicographer once did: he called it a collection of holes tied together with string.”
Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot

James George Frazer
“The propensity to excessive simplification is indeed natural to the mind of man, since it is only by abstraction and generalisation, which necessarily imply the neglect of a multitude of particulars, that he can stretch his puny faculties so as to embrace a minute portion of the illimitable vastness of the universe. But if the propensity is natural and even inevitable, it is nevertheless fraught with peril, since it is apt to narrow and falsify our conception of any subject under investigation. To correct it partially - for to correct it wholly would require an infinite intelligence - we must endeavour to broaden our views by taking account of a wide range of facts and possibilities; and when we have done so to the utmost of our power, we must still remember that from the very nature of things our ideas fall immeasurably short of the reality.”
James George Frazer, The Magic Art and the Evolution of Kings, Vol 1. The Golden Bough, Part 1

Douglas R. Hofstadter
“This idea that there is generality in the specific is of far-reaching importance.”
Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Ernest Hemingway
“Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the numbers of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates.”
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Gustave Flaubert
“It is an excellent habit to look at things as so many symbols.”
Gustave Flaubert, Bouvard and Pecuchet

Paul Karl Feyerabend
“All religions are good 'in principle' - but unfortunately this abstract Good has only rarely prevented their practitioners from behaving like bastards.”
Paul Karl Feyerabend, Farewell to Reason

Gustave Flaubert
“Abstraction can provide stumbling blocks for people of strange intelligence.”
Gustave Flaubert, Bouvard and Pecuchet

Lionel Shriver
“It must be this overarching commitment to what is really an abstraction, to one's children right or wrong, that can be even more fierce than the commitment to them as explicit, difficult people, and that can consequently keep you devoted to them when as individuals they disappoint. On my part it was this broad covenant with children-in-theory that I may have failed to make and to which I was unable to resort when Kevin finally tested my maternal ties to a perfect mathematical limit on Thursday. I didn't vote for parties, but for candidates. My opinions were as ecumenical as my larder, then still chock full of salsa verde from Mexico City, anchovies from Barcelona, lime leaves from Bangkok. I had no problem with abortion but abhorred capital punishment, which I suppose meant that I embraced the sanctity of life only in grown-ups. My environmental habits were capricious; I'd place a brick in our toilet tank, but after submitting to dozens of spit-in-the-air showers with derisory European water pressure, I would bask under a deluge of scalding water for half an hour. My closet wafter with Indian saris, Ghanaian wraparounds, and Vietnamese au dais. My vocabulary was peppered with imports -- gemutlich, scusa, hugge, mzungu. I so mixed and matched the planet that you sometimes worried I had no commitments to anything or anywhere, though you were wrong; my commitments were simply far-flung and obscenely specific.

By the same token, I could not love a child; I would have to love this one. I was connected to the world by a multitude of threads, you by a few sturdy guide ropes. It was the same with patriotism: You loved the idea of the United States so much more powerfully than the country itself, and it was thanks to your embrace of the American aspiration that you could overlook the fact that your fellow Yankee parents were lining up overnight outside FAO Schwartz with thermoses of chowder to buy a limited release of Nintendo. In the particular dwells the tawdry. In the conceptual dwells the grand, the transcendent, the everlasting. Earthly countries and single malignant little boys can go to hell; the idea of countries and the idea of sons triumph for eternity. Although neither of us ever went to church, I came to conclude that you were a naturally religious person.”
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

William  James
“Our intelligence cannot wall itself up alive, like a pupa in a chrysalis. It must at any cost keep on speaking terms with the universe that engendered it.”
William James, A Pluralistic Universe

Fulton J. Sheen
“Remember that every science is based upon an abstraction. An abstraction is taking a point of view or looking at things under a certain aspect or from a particular angle. All sciences are differentiated by their abstraction.”
Fulton J. Sheen, Life Is Worth Living

Azar Nafisi
“I was reminded of a painter friend who had started her career by depicting scenes from life, mainly deserted rooms, abandoned houses and discarded photographs of women. Gradually, her work became more abstract, and in her last exhibition, her paintings were splashes of rebellious color, like the two in my living room, dark patches with little droplets of blue. I asked about her progress from modern realism to abstraction. Reality has become so intolerable, she said, so bleak, that all I can paint now are the colors of my dreams.”
Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“People’s goodness or badness exists within not them but our minds.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

“Today we demand justice for the oppressed. We no longer accept atrocities as the inescapable fate of the defenceless. We desire and expect a better future. But when confronted with the enormity of injustice and what it demands of us, we retreat into the familiar ritual of intellectualization and moral posturing, recycling lofty liberal ideals from a safe distance. We avoid the intimate knowledge of suffering without which we will never understand the imperative of human rights.”
Payam Akhavan, In Search of A Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey

Wassily Kandinsky
“Form itself, even if completely abstract ... has its own inner sound.”
Wassily Kandinsky

Clement of Alexandria
“We shall understand the mode of purification by confession, and that of contemplation by analysis, advancing by analysis to the first notion, beginning with the properties underlying it; abstracting from the body its physical properties, taking away the dimension of depth, then that of breadth, and then that of length. For the point which remains is a unit, so to speak, having position; from which if we abstract position, there is the conception of unity.”
Clement of Alexandria, Volume 12. The Writings of Clement of Alexandria

Simone Weil
“Both the destruction and the preservation of capitalism are meaningless slogans, but these slogans are supported by real organizations. Corresponding to each empty abstraction there is an actual human group, and any abstraction of which this is not true remains harmless.”
simone weil, Simone Weil: An Anthology

Mihail Sebastian
“You see, the notion of "sin" is for me an abstraction. There's no such thing as "sin". There's only such a thing as "tactlessness".”
Mihail Sebastian, For Two Thousand Years

Aleksandar Hemon
“You have to be taught to recognize and care about differences, you have to be instructed who you really are; you have to learn how generations of dead people and their incomprehensible accomplishments made you the way you are; you have to define your loyalty to an abstraction-based herd that transcends your individuality.”
Aleksandar Hemon, The Book of My Lives

Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I would put myself in the attitude to look in the eye an abstract truth, and I cannot. I blench and withdraw on this side and on that. I seem to know what he meant who said, No man can see God face to face and live.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Michał Rusinek
“Kiedyś odcinek, teraz płaszczyzna, czas więc na przestrzeń. Kulturę podałem tutaj przykładowo. Ale właśnie kulturze dobrze by zrobiło, gdyby myślano o niej w kategoriach przestrzennych. Chyba że przestanie być dla urzędników abstrakcją. Ale w to jakoś trudno mi uwierzyć.”
Michał Rusinek, Pypcie na języku

“Knowledge of anything but concrete things stems from an illusion.”
Marty Rubin

Douglas Rushkoff
“...all this abstraction is also potentially distancing. We don't see the labor that went into building our railroads or the civilizations that were wiped out in order to clear the land. We don't see the millennia of dinosaurs or plankton that went into our oil, the Chinese repetitive stress injuries that went into our iPhones, or any of the other time-intensive processes we can spend in an instant today. We tend to see math and science as a steady state of facts rather than as the accumulated knowledge of linear traditions. As Korzybski put it, we see further because we "stand on the shoulders" of the previous generation.”
Douglas Rushkoff, Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now

Maggie Nelson
“Once we name something, you said, we can never see it the same way again. All that is unnameable falls away, gets lost, is murdered. You called this the cookie-cutter function of our minds. You said that you knew this not from shunning language but from immersion in it, on the screen, in conversation, onstage, on the page.”
Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

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