„If we do not understand furniture we cannot understand the city“

—  Constantínos Apóstolos Doxiádis, Chapter 6, The furniture, p. 70
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„How can we design improvement in large systems without understanding the whole system, and if we the answer is that we cannot, how is it possible to understand the whole system?“

—  C. West Churchman American philosopher and systems scientist 1913 - 2004
Context: It is only natural to expect that improvement can occur in certain sectors of the system without our having delved deeply into the characteristics of the whole system. Thus, for example, there is a tradition in Western thought that parts of the whole system can be studied and improved more or less in isolation from the rest of the system. So deeply ingrained is this concept of social improvement in Western thought that we naturally think it proper to subdivide our society into functional elements. We think it proper that each element develop its own criteria of improvement and that the elements be as free as possible from the interference of the other parts of the social structure... Men have neglected a very serious problem in defining improvement. The problem is very simple: How can we design improvement in large systems without understanding the whole system, and if we the answer is that we cannot, how is it possible to understand the whole system? p. 2 as cited in: John P. van Gigch (1991) System Design Modeling and Metamodeling. p. 145.

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Hans-Georg Gadamer photo

„We cannot understand without wanting to understand, that is, without wanting to let something be said.“

—  Hans-Georg Gadamer German philosopher 1900 - 2002
Context: We cannot understand without wanting to understand, that is, without wanting to let something be said. It would be an inadmissible abstraction to contend that we must first have achieved a contemporaneousness with the author or the original reader by means of a reconstruction of his historical horizon before we could begin to grasp the meaning of what is said. A kind of anticipation of meaning guides the effort to understand from the very beginning. p. 101 http://books.google.com/books?id=7RP-TggufEEC&pg=PA101

Samuel Butler photo

„Animals and plants cannot understand our business, so we have denied that they can understand their own.“

—  Samuel Butler novelist 1835 - 1902
Context: Animals and plants cannot understand our business, so we have denied that they can understand their own. What we call inorganic matter cannot understand the animals’ and plants’ business, we have therefore denied that it can understand anything whatever. Organic and Inorganic

Jean Paul Sartre photo

„I do not understand! I understand nothing! I cannot understand nor do I want to understand! I want to believe! To Believe!“

—  Jean Paul Sartre French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary c... 1905 - 1980
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Elias Canetti photo

„Understanding, as we understand it, is misunderstanding.“

—  Elias Canetti Bulgarian-born Swiss and British jewish modernist novelist, playwright, memoirist, and non-fiction writer 1905 - 1994
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Stephen R. Covey photo

„We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand.“

—  Eric Hoffer American philosopher 1902 - 1983
Context: We can be absolutely certain only about things we do not understand. A doctrine that is understood is shorn of its strength. Section 57

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Terence McKenna photo

„We cannot expect to cross the rainbow bridge through a good act of contrition; that will not be sufficient.
We have to understand.“

—  Terence McKenna American ethnobotanist 1946 - 2000
Context: There is a spiritual obligation, there is a task to be done. It is not, however, something as simple as following a set of somebody else's rules. The noetic enterprise is a primary obligation toward being. Our salvation is linked to it. Not everyone has to read alchemical texts or study superconducting biomolecules to make the transition. Most people make it naively by thinking clearly about the present at hand, but we intellectuals are trapped in a world of too much information. Innocence is gone for us. We cannot expect to cross the rainbow bridge through a good act of contrition; that will not be sufficient. We have to understand. Whitehead said, "Understanding is the apperception of pattern as such"; to fear death is to misunderstand life. Cognitive activity is the defining act of humanness. Language, thought, analysis, art, dance, poetry, mythmaking: these are the things that point the way toward the realm of the eschaton. We humans may be released into a realm of pure self-engineering. The imagination is everything. This was Blake's perception. This is where we came from. This is where we are going. And it is only to be approached through cognitive activity. "New Maps of Hyperspace" (1989); originally published in Magical Blend magazine, also in The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (1992) http://www.erowid.org/culture/characters/mckenna_terence/mckenna_terence_maps_hyperspace.shtml

Richard Feynman photo

„What I cannot create, I do not understand.“

—  Richard Feynman American theoretical physicist 1918 - 1988
Context: What I cannot create, I do not understand.Know how to solve every problem that has been solved. on his blackboard at the time of death in February 1988; from a photo in the Caltech archives http://archives.caltech.edu/pictures/1.10-29.jpg