Ambiguity Quotes

Quotes tagged as "ambiguity" Showing 1-30 of 88
Gilda Radner
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.
Delicious Ambiguity.”
Gilda Radner

Rainer Maria Rilke
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Ursula K. Le Guin
“To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Brodi Ashton
“Heroes don't exist. And if they did, I wouldn't be one of them.”
Brodi Ashton, Everneath

Milan Kundera
“The greater the ambiguity, the greater the pleasure.”
Milan Kundera

Donna Tartt
“…I’ve come to realize that the only truths that matter to me are the ones I don’t, and can’t, understand. What’s mysterious, ambiguous, inexplicable. What doesn’t fit into a story, what doesn’t have a story. Glint of brightness on a barely-there chain. Patch of sunlight on a yellow wall. The loneliness that separates every living creature from every other living creature. Sorrow inseparable from joy.”
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch

Joyce Carol Oates
“The ideal art, the noblest of art: working with the complexities of life, refusing to simplify, to "overcome" doubt.”
Joyce Carol Oates, The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates: 1973-1982

Simone de Beauvoir
“As long as there have been men and they have lived, they have all felt this tragic ambiguity of their condition, but as long as there have been philosophers and they have thought, most of them have tried to mask it.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity

“We might not be able to know what reality is about, but we can’t but be aware of the explicitness of facts. To get a better grip on the intricate nature of the truth and its ambiguity, we have got to scrutinize facts and find out about their codes. But, yet, we can’t ignore that reality is a very intriguing place, since facts may be construed, receive variant contexts and create alternate outcomes, which, in turn, might spark new realities, over again. ("Imbroglio" )”
Erik Pevernagie

Glen Cook
“There are no self-proclaimed villains, only regiments of self-proclaimed saints. Victorious historians rule where good or evil lies.”
Glen Cook, Chronicles of the Black Company

Pawan Mishra
“Isn’t life a collection of weird quizzes with no answers to half the questions?”
Pawan Mishra, Coinman: An Untold Conspiracy

“Stories start in all sorts of places. Where they begin often tells the reader of what to expect as they progress. Castles often lead to dragons, country estates to deeds of deepest love (or of hate), and ambiguously presented settings usually lead to equally as ambiguous characters and plot, leaving a reader with an ambiguous feeling of disappointment. That's one of the worst kinds.”
Rebecca McKinsey, Sydney West

Daniel Quinn
“The sign stopped me-- or rather, this text stopped me. Words are my profession; I seized these and demanded that they explain themselves, that they cease to be ambiguous.”
Daniel Quinn, Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

Lionel Shriver
“He prizes ambiguity; he loves to keep you guessing.”
Lionel Shriver, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Christopher Hitchens
“There's a certain amount of ambiguity in my background, what with intermarriages and conversions, but under various readings of three codes which I don’t much respect (Mosaic Law, the Nuremberg Laws, and the Israeli Law of Return) I do qualify as a member of the tribe, and any denial of that in my family has ceased with me. But I would not remove myself to Israel if it meant the continuing expropriation of another people, and if anti-Jewish fascism comes again to the Christian world—or more probably comes at us via the Muslim world—I already consider it an obligation to resist it wherever I live. I would detest myself if I fled from it in any direction. Leo Strauss was right. The Jews will not be 'saved' or 'redeemed.' (Cheer up: neither will anyone else.) They/we will always be in exile whether they are in the greater Jerusalem area or not, and this in some ways is as it should be. They are, or we are, as a friend of Victor Klemperer's once put it to him in a very dark time, condemned and privileged to be 'a seismic people.' A critical register of the general health of civilization is the status of 'the Jewish question.' No insurance policy has ever been devised that can or will cover this risk.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Leo Tolstoy
“The doctor arrived towards dinnertime and said, of course, that although recurring phenomena might well elicit apprehension, nonetheless there was, strictly speaking, no positive indication, yet since neither was there any contraindication, it might, on the one hand, be supposed, but on the other hand it might also be supposed. And it was therefore necessary to stay in bed, and although I don't like prescribing, nevertheless take this and stay in bed.”
Leo Tolstoy, The Devil

Toba Beta
“Apriority creates ambiguities among ideas.”
Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

Mirabai Starr
“Mystics seem to have no shame about contradicting themselves left and right. They blithely proclaim that the cure for pain is in the pain itself and that the cry of longing is the sigh of merging. That's because the path of the mystic reconciles contradictory propositions (such as harrowing sorrow and radical amazement) and blesses us with an extended capacity to sit with ambiguity, to treasure vulnerability, to celebrate paradox as the highest truth.”
Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics

Jonathan Wells
“The many meanings of 'evolution' are frequently exploited by Darwinists to distract their critics. Eugenie Scott recommends: 'Define evolution as an issue of the history of the planet: as the way we try to understand change through time. The present is different from the past. Evolution happened, there is no debate within science as to whether it happened, and so on... I have used this approach at the college level.'
Of course, no college student—indeed, no grade-school dropout— doubts that 'the present is different from the past.' Once Scott gets them nodding in agreement, she gradually introduces them to 'The Big Idea' that all species—including monkeys and humans—are related through descent from a common ancestor... This tactic is called 'equivocation'—changing the meaning of a term in the middle of an argument.”
Jonathan Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design

Pawan Mishra
“In the end, it’s not the obviousness or the complexity of the matters that’s deluding mankind. It’s man himself.”
Pawan Mishra, Coinman: An Untold Conspiracy

“Perhaps we can conceive of the ironist as the fetishist's apprentice, reaching out for all readers, ensnaring them in a tangle of ambiguity, uncertainty and indecision from which there is no escape. Irony, quite possibly, makes fetishists of us all.”
Janet Beizer

Jenny Offill
“What it means to be a good person, a moral person, is calculated differently in times of crisis than in ordinary circumstances,” she says. She pulls up a slide of people having a picnic by a lake. Blue skies, green trees, white people.

“Suppose you go with some friends to the park to have a picnic. This act is, of course, morally neutral, but if you witness a group of children drowning in the lake and you continue to eat and chat, you have become monstrous.”
Jenny Offill, Weather

Richard Hofstadter
“The fundamentalist mind...is essentially Manichean; it looks upon the world as an arena for conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, and accordingly it scorns compromises (who would compromise with Satan?) and can tolerate no ambiguities.”
Richard Hofstadter

Joy Harjo
“The woman hangs from the 13th floor window crying for
the lost beauty of her own life. She sees the
sun falling west over the grey plane of Chicago.
She thinks she remembers listening to her own life
break loose, as she falls from the 13th floor
window on the east side of Chicago, or as she
climbs back up to claim herself again.”
Joy Harjo, She Had Some Horses

Brian Andreas
“Today, she decided to be suitably ambiguous, so you can think whatever you like about her.

(Amount of time scheduled for the opinions of others: ZERO)
—Suitably Ambiguous”
Brian Andreas, Theories of Everything

“El lenguaje de la política -en contra de sus propias intenciones- suele ser impreciso y ambiguo, de ahí el riesgo de su transformación, por pereza mental o por motivos utilitarios, en etiquetas o fórmulas estereotipadas, en eslóganes publicitarios o simples estribillos que no dicen nada.”
Juan José Sebreli, El malestar de la política

“Vico is Joycean in that he is always forcing the reader to comprehend the double meaning or double truth of the words upon which he structures the new science. Joyce does this through puns. Vico does it through ambiguity. Ambiguity is a form of fallacy in ordinary logic, a specific instance of which is equivocation, or using a word in two senses. No argument is valid that changes the meaning of its terms in its course. In the doctrine of the syllogism this is known as the fallacy of four terms. But ambiguity is the key to poetical meaning and to much of oration. The orator will play on the various meanings of words to draw forth for his hearers a central point.”
Donald Phillip Verene, Knowledge of Things Human and Divine: Vico’s New Science and "Finnegans Wake"

John Holt
“Words are not only a clumsy and ambiguous means of communication, they are extraordinarily slow.”
John Holt, How Children Learn

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