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On Understanding...


There is understanding and understanding, because it is what happens in our heads. With the same experience, you and I can create totally different understandings. But with appropriate attention and effort we can build real new understanding that we can share and use, and that is indeed diamonds in the mine.

See also

belief*, certainty, common sense, communication, discovery, knowledge*, learning, mind, science, truth*


‘The universe must not be narrowed down to the limit of our understanding, but our understanding must be stretched and enlarged to take in the image of the universe as it is discovered.’

Francis Bacon

‘The human understanding, from its peculiar nature, easily supposes a greater degree of order and equality in things than it really finds.’

Francis Bacon

‘The human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolours the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it.’

Francis Bacon

‘To understand is to perceive patterns.’

Isaiah Berlin

‘Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.’

Marie Curie

‘You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand.’

Leonardo Da Vinci

‘All models are wrong, but some are useful.’

W. Edwards Deming

‘You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.’

Albert Einstein

‘The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.’

Albert Einstein

‘The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.’

Albert Einstein

‘It is a luxury to be understood.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘A keen observer once said of Einstein that part of his genius was his inability to understand the obvious.’

Henry Eyring

‘There is nothing in a butterfly that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.’

Richard Buckminster Fuller

‘I would rather live in a world where my life is surrounded by mystery than live in a world so small that my mind could comprehend it.’

Harry Fosdick

Idealism increases in direct proportion to one’s distance from the problem.’

John Galsworthy

‘What we do not understand we do not possess.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.’

Kurt Lewin

‘Those who hear and do not understand are like the deaf. Of them the proverb says: "Present, they are absent."’


‘Much learning does not teach understanding.’


‘The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.’

Frank Herbert

Understand. Love. Create. That’s all.’

David Morgan

‘Some people never learn anything because they understand everything too soon.’

Alexander Pope

‘If you would judge, understand.’

Lucius Seneca

‘You cannot put the same shoe on every foot.’

Publilius Syrus

‘All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.’

Leo Tolstoy

‘It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper understanding.’

Vincent van Gogh

‘Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.’

Alan Watts




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