Preconceptions Quotes

Quotes tagged as "preconceptions" Showing 1-30 of 40
Lemony Snicket
“Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make -- bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake -- if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble. Making assumptions simply means believing things are a certain way with little or no evidence that shows you are correct, and you can see at once how this can lead to terrible trouble. For instance, one morning you might wake up and make the assumption that your bed was in the same place that it always was, even though you would have no real evidence that this was so. But when you got out of your bed, you might discover that it had floated out to sea, and now you would be in terrible trouble all because of the incorrect assumption that you'd made. You can see that it is better not to make too many assumptions, particularly in the morning.”
Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy

Thomas Henry Huxley
“Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at all risks to do this.”
Thomas Huxley, Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley - Volume 1

Brandon Sanderson
What is a woman's place in this modern world? Jasnah Kholin's words read. I rebel against this question, though so many of my peers ask it. The inherent bias in the inquiry seems invisible to so many of them. They consider themselves progressive because they are willing to challenge many of the assumptions of the past.

They ignore the greater assumption--that a 'place' for women must be defined and set forth to begin with. Half of the population must somehow be reduced to the role arrived at by a single conversation. No matter how broad that role is, it will be--by-nature--a reduction from the infinite variety that is womanhood.

I say that there is no role for women--there is, instead, a role for each woman, and she must make it for herself. For some, it will be the role of scholar; for others, it will be the role of wife. For others, it will be both. For yet others, it will be neither.

Do not mistake me in assuming I value one woman's role above another. My point is not to stratify our society--we have done that far to well already--my point is to diversify our discourse.

A woman's strength should not be in her role, whatever she chooses it to be, but in the power to choose that role. It is amazing to me that I even have to make this point, as I see it as the very foundation of our conversation.

Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance

Robert A. Heinlein
“Belief gets in the way of learning.”
Robert A. Heinlein

Jane Austen
“She was heartily ashamed of her ignorance - a misplaced shame. Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant. To come with a well−informed mind is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.”
Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Alan Alda
“[B]egin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while or the light won’t come in.”
Alan Alda, Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself

Moderata Fonte
“When you hear men talking," said Cornelia, "all they ever do is speak ill of women. ... And I don't quite know how they managed to make this law in their favour, or who exactly it was who gave them a greater license to sin than is allowed to us; and if the fault is common to both sexes (as they can hardly deny), why should the blame not be as well? What makes them think they can boast of the same thing that in women brings only shame?”
Moderata Fonte, The Worth of Women: Wherein Is Clearly Revealed Their Nobility and Their Superiority to Men

Virginia Woolf
“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.”
Virginia Woolf, The Second Common Reader

Charlotte Brontë
“Your god, sir, is the World. In my eyes, you, too, if not an infidel, are an idolater. I conceive that you ignorantly worship: in all things you appear to me too superstitious. Sir, your god, your great Bel, your fish-tailed Dagon, rises before me as a demon. You, and such as you, have raised him to a throne, put on him a crown, given him a sceptre. Behold how hideously he governs! See him busied at the work he likes best -- making marriages. He binds the young to the old, the strong to the imbecile. He stretches out the arm of Mezentius and fetters the dead to the living. In his realm there is hatred -- secret hatred: there is disgust -- unspoken disgust: there is treachery -- family treachery: there is vice -- deep, deadly, domestic vice. In his dominions, children grow unloving between parents who have never loved: infants are nursed on deception from their very birth: they are reared in an atmosphere corrupt with lies ... All that surrounds him hastens to decay: all declines and degenerates under his sceptre. Your god is a masked Death.”
Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

Erik Pevernagie
“If we take the time or courage to find out what people feel and think, and to listen to the heart of their story, we are capable of losing the narrowness of our preconceptions and the nitpicking manipulations in our brain, making us geared up to view the world, openly and with confidence. ("With confidence »)”
Erik Pevernagie

Charlotte Brontë
“She sang, as requested. There was much about love in the ballad: faithful love that refused to abandon its object; love that disaster could not shake; love that, in calamity, waxed fonder, in poverty clung closer. The words were set to a fine old air -- in themselves they were simple and sweet: perhaps, when read, they wanted force; when well sung, they wanted nothing. Shirley sang them well: she breathed into the feeling, softness, she poured round the passion, force: her voice was fine that evening; its expression dramatic: she impressed all, and charmed one.

On leaving the instrument, she went to the fire, and sat down on a seat -- semi-stool, semi-cushion: the ladies were round her -- none of them spoke. The Misses Sympson and the Misses Nunnely looked upon her, as quiet poultry might look on an egret, an ibis, or any other strange fowl. What made her sing so? They never sang so. Was it proper to sing with such expression, with such originality -- so unlike a school girl? Decidedly not: it was strange, it was unusual. What was strange must be wrong; what was unusual must be improper. Shirley was judged.”
Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

Christine de Pizan
“My Lady, you certainly tell me about wonderful constancy, strength and virtue and firmness of women, so can one say the same thing about men? (...)

Response [by Lady Rectitude]: "Fair sweet friend, have you not yet heard the saying that the fool sees well enough a small cut in the face of his neighbour, but he disregards the great gaping one above his own eye? I will show you the great contradiction in what the men say about the changeability and inconstancy of women. It is true that they all generally insist that women are very frail [= fickle] by nature. And since they accuse women of frailty, one would suppose that they themselves take care to maintain a reputation for constancy, or at the very least, that the women are indeed less so than they are themselves. And yet, it is obvious that they demand of women greater constancy than they themselves have, for they who claim to be of this strong and noble condition cannot refrain from a whole number of very great defects and sins, and not out of ignorance, either, but out of pure malice, knowing well how badly they are misbehaving. But all this they excuse in themselves and say that it is in the nature of man to sin, yet if it so happens that any women stray into any misdeed (of which they themselves are the cause by their great power and longhandedness), then it's suddenly all frailty and inconstancy, they claim. But it seems to me that since they do call women frail, they should not support that frailty, and not ascribe to them as a great crime what in themselves they merely consider a little defect.”
Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies

Christine de Pizan
“[J]ust the sight of this book, even though it was of no authority, made me wonder how it happened that so many different men – and learned men among them – have been and are so inclined to express both in speaking and in their treatises and writings so many wicked insults about women and their behaviour. Not only one or two ... but, more generally, from the treatises of all philosophers and poets and from all the orators – it would take too long to mention their names – it seems that they all speak from one and the same mouth. Thinking deeply about these matters, I began to examine my character and conduct as a natural woman and, similarly, I considered other women whose company I frequently kept, princesses, great ladies, women of the middle and lower classes, who had graciously told me of their most private and intimate thoughts, hoping that I could judge impartially and in good conscience whether the testimony of so many notable men could be true. To the best of my knowledge, no matter how long I confronted or dissected the problem, I could not see or realise how their claims could be true when compared to the natural behaviour and character of women.”
Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies

Christine de Pizan
“[I]f you seek in every way to minimise my firm beliefs by your anti-feminist attacks, please recall that a small dagger or knife point can pierce a great, bulging sack and that a small fly can attack a great lion and speedily put him to flight.”
Christine de Pizan, Le Débat Sur Le Roman De La Rose

Javier Marías
“We all have to lead our own life, and we only have the one life, and the only people who can live life not according to their own desires are those who have no desires--which is the majority, actually. People can say what they like, they can speak of abnegation, sacrifice, generosity, acceptance, and resignation, but it's all false. The norm is for people to think that they desire whatever comes to them, whatever they achieve along the way or whatever is given to them--they have no preconceived desires.”
Javier Marías

Christine de Pizan
“[S]ince you are angry at me without reason, you attack me harshly with, "Oh outrageous presumption! Oh excessively foolish pride! Oh opinion uttered too quickly and thoughtlessly by the mouth of a woman! A woman who condemns a man of high understanding and dedicated study, a man who, by great labour and mature deliberation, has made the very noble book of the Rose, which surpasses all others that were ever written in French. When you have read this book a hundred times, provided you have understood the greater part of it, you will discover that you could never have put your time and intellect to better use!"

My answer: Oh man deceived by willful opinion! I could assuredly answer but I prefer not to do it with insult, although, groundlessly, you yourself slander me with ugly accusations. Oh darkened understanding! Oh perverted knowledge ... A simple little housewife sustained by the doctrine of Holy Church could criticise your error!”
Christine de Pizan, Le Débat Sur Le Roman De La Rose

“Your judgment, perceptions, preconceptions, and expectations all cloud the moment. If you want to become more aware, empty your mind, so that you can see the moment more clearly.”
Akiroq Brost

Tim Kreider
“Quite a lot of what passes itself off as dialogue about our society consists of people trying to justify their own choices (pursuing a creative career instead of making money; breastfeeding over formula; not having children in an overpopulated world) as the only right or natural ones by denouncing others' as selfish and wrong. So it's easy to overlook that it all arises out of insecurity.”
Tim Kreider, We Learn Nothing

Jonathan Gash
“Remember preconceptions? Even though I'd landed hoping simply to somehow scrape the transatlantic fare home, I'd been an arrogant swine, imbued with that Old World toffee-nosed attitude: The United States of America's got no culture, not deep down.”
Jonathan Gash, The Great California Game

E.T.A. Hoffmann
“Erlaube," fuhr Meister Abraham fort, "erlaube, mein Johannes, mit dem Just magst du mich kaum vergleichen. Er rettete einen Pudel, ein Tier, das jeder gern um sich duldet, von dem sogar angenehme Dienstleistungen zu erwarten, mittelst Apportieren, Handschuhe-, Tabaksbeutel- und Pfeife-Nachtragen usw., aber ich rettete einen Kater, ein Tier, vonr dem sich viele entsetzen, das allgemein als perfid, keiner sanften, wohlwollenden Gesinnung, keiner offenherzigen Freundschaft fähig ausgeschrieen wird, das niemals ganz und gar die feindliche Stellung gegen den Mensch aufgibt, ja, einen Kater rettete ich aus purer uneigennütziger Menschenliebe ... Es ist das gescheiteste, artigste, ja witzigste Tier der Art, das man sehen kann, dem es nur noch an der höhern Bildung fehlt, die du, mein lieber Johannes, ihm mit leichter Mühe beibringen wirst.”
E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr

“...you cannot enter into an investigation with a philosophy that dictates the outcome. Objectivity is paramount; this is the first principle of detective work that each of us must learn. It sounds simple, but our presuppositions are sometimes hidden in a way that makes them hard to uncover and recognize.”
J Warner Wallace

George L. Mosse
“It was a cultural revolution, and was not directed at instituting economic changes. He could thus appeal to old prejudices without threatening the existing economic system. This appealed, above all, to white-collar workers and the small entrepreneurs, as some of the statistics presented in this book will demonstrate. It was their kind of revolution: the ideology would give them a new status, free them from isolation in the industrial society, and give them a purpose in life. But it would not threaten any of their vested interests; indeed it would reinforce their bourgeois predilections toward family...and restore the 'good old values' which had been so sadly dismantled by modernity.”
George L. Mosse, Nazi Culture: Intellectual, Cultural and Social Life in the Third Reich

Siddhartha Mukherjee
“Like Bennett, Virchow didn't understand leukemia. But unlike Bennett, he didn't pretend to understand it. His insight lay entirely in the negative. By wiping the slate clean of all preconceptions, he cleared the field for thought.”
Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

William McIlvanney
“The simplicity of this case offends me. It's so neat, it's like a preconception. One thing you can be sure about any preconception. It's wrong. If there's a God and he tried to preconceive the world, he got it wrong.”
William McIlvanney, The Papers of Tony Veitch

Soetsu Yanagi
“One's assessment of an object must be free and unhampered, with nothing between you and the object. You must look directly at it. To decide that a particular piece must be valuable because it has a particular [artist's signature] seal is weak and demeaning. Your assessment only gains meaning when you look at the object directly, free and unfettered.”
Soetsu Yanagi, The Beauty of Everyday Things

Rory Sutherland
“All too often, what matters is not whether an idea is true or effective, but whether it fits with the preconceptions of a dominant cabal.”
Rory Sutherland, Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense

Jim Harrison
“By not letting places be themselves we show our contempt for them. We bury them in sentiment, then suffocate them to death in one way or another. I can ruin both the desert and the Museum of Modern Art in New York by carrying to them an insufferable load of distinctions that disallows actually seeing the flora and fauna or the paintings. Children are usually better at finding mushrooms and arrowheads because they are either ignorant of or unwilling to carry the load.”
Jim Harrison, Dalva

“The cognitive point here is that we generally make sense of confusing things by judging them against various preconceptions. When confronted with a new proposition we don’t start thinking about it with a blank sheet in front of us; instead, we place the proposition somewhere in relation to our pre-existing structure of beliefs and attitudes, this makes liked much easier, because we can reduce even a complicated judgement to a simple binary one – does it conform to my existing views or not?”
Evan Davis

“The shells are very subtle, being prejudice against someone because he is somehow different, doesn’t make you robust; indeed it makes you clumsy”
Naif drwish

“You must let go of your preconceptions of spirituality.”
Drasen

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