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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

"I admit I've done too much playing around without understanding
the issues involved over the last years as well, but it's time
to stop reinventing the (sometimes octangular) wheel and learn
everything from history which we can learn."

        - Rik van Riel
Furious activity is no substitute for understanding.
                -- H.H. Williams
"I think that most debian developers are rather "strong willed" people
with a great degree of understanding and a high level of passion for what
they perceive as important in development of the debian system."
        --Bill Leach
Carrying body and soul and embracing the one,
Can you avoid separation?
Attending fully and becoming supple,
Can you be as a newborn babe?
Washing and cleansing the primal vision,
Can you be without stain?
Loving all men and ruling the country,
Can you be without cleverness?
Opening and closing the gates of heaven,
Can you play the role of woman?
Understanding and being open to all things,
Are you able to do nothing?
Giving birth and nourishing,
Bearing yet not possessing,
Working yet not taking credit,
Leading yet not dominating,
This is the Primal Virtue.
In the beginning those who knew the Tao did not try to enlighten others,
But kept it hidden.
Why is it so hard to rule?
Because people are so clever.
Rulers who try to use cleverness
Cheat the country.
Those who rule without cleverness
Are a blessing to the land.
These are the two alternatives.
Understanding these is Primal Virtue.
Primal Virtue is deep and far.
It leads all things back
Toward the great oneness.
... But if we laugh with derision, we will never understand.  Human
intellectual capacity has not altered for thousands of years so far as
we can tell.  If intelligent people invested intense energy in issues
that now seem foolish to us, then the failure lies in our understanding
of their world, not in their distorted perceptions.  Even the standard
example of ancient nonsense -- the debate about angels on pinheads --
makes sense once you realize that theologians were not discussing
whether five or eighteen would fit, but whether a pin could house a
finite or an infinite number.
                -- S. J. Gould, "Wide Hats and Narrow Minds"
A mathematician, a doctor, and an engineer are walking on the beach and
observe a team of lifeguards pumping the stomach of a drowned woman.  As
they watch, water, sand, snails and such come out of the pump.
        The doctor watches for a while and says: "Keep pumping, men, you may
yet save her!!"
        The mathematician does some calculations and says: "According to my
understanding of the size of that pump, you have already pumped more water
from her body than could be contained in a cylinder 4 feet in diameter and
6 feet high."
        The engineer says: "I think she's sitting in a puddle."
Bistromathics is simply a revolutionary new way of understanding the
behavior of numbers.  Just as Einstein observed that space was not an
absolute, but depended on the observer's movement in space, and that
time was not an absolute, but depended on the observer's movement in
time, so it is now realized that numbers are not absolute, but depend
on the observer's movement in restaurants.
                -- Douglas Adams
If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of
arithmetic, we should not get very far in our understanding of the physical
world.  One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by
the use of the mathematics of probability.
                -- Vannevar Bush
Stuckness shouldn't be avoided.  It's the psychic predecessor of all
real understanding.  An egoless acceptance of stuckness is a key to an
understanding of all Quality, in mechanical work as in other endeavors.
                -- R. Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
Understanding is always the understanding of a smaller problem
in relation to a bigger problem.
                -- P.D. Ouspensky
"Creation science" has not entered the curriculum for a reason so simple
and so basic that we often forget to mention it: because it is false, and
because good teachers understand exactly why it is false.  What could be
more destructive of that most fragile yet most precious commodity in our
entire intellectualy heritage -- good teaching -- than a bill forcing
honorable teachers to sully their sacred trust by granting equal treatment
to a doctrine not only known to be false, but calculated to undermine any
general understanding of science as an enterprise?
-- Stephen Jay Gould, "The Skeptical Inquirer", Vol. 12, page 186
"Today's robots are very primitive, capable of understanding only a few
simple instructions such as 'go left', 'go right', and 'build car'."
--John Sladek
I ask only one thing.  I'm understanding.  I'm mature.  And it isn't much to
ask.  I want to get back to London, and track her down, and be alone with my
Selina -- or not even alone, damn it, merely close to her, close enough to
smell her skin, to see the flecked webbing of her lemony eyes, the moulding
of her artful lips.  Just for a few precious seconds.  Just long enough to
put in one good, clean punch.  That's all I ask.
-- Martin Amis, _Money_
The spectacle of astrology in the White House -- the governing center of
the world's greatest scientific and military power -- is so appalling that
it defies understanding and provides grounds for great fright.  The easiest
response is to laugh it off, and to indulge in wisecracks about Civil
Service ratings for horoscope makers and palm readers and whether Reagan
asked Mikhail Gorbachev for his sign.  A contagious good cheer is the
hallmark of this presidency, even when the most dismal matters are concerned.
But this time, it isn't funny.  It's plain scary.
-- Daniel S. Greenberg, Editor, _Science and Government Report_, writing in
   "Newsday", May 5, 1988
"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by mean of zeal,
well-meaning but without understanding."
-- Justice Louis O. Brandeis (Olmstead vs. United States)
"You must learn to run your kayak by a sort of ju-jitsu.  You must learn to
tell what the river will do to you, and given those parameters see how you
can live with it.  You must absorb its force and convert it to your users
as best you can.  Even with the quickness and agility of a kayak, you are
not faster than the river, nor stronger, and you can beat it only by
understanding it."
-- Strung, Curtis and Perry, _Whitewater_
"All the system's paths must be topologically and circularly interrelated for
conceptually definitive, locally transformable, polyhedronal understanding to
be attained in our spontaneous -- ergo, most economical -- geodesiccally
structured thoughts."
-- R. Buckminster Fuller [...and a total nonsequitur as far as I can tell.  -kl]
Nature to all things fixed the limits fit,
And wisely curbed proud man's pretending wit.
As on the land while here the ocean gains,
In other parts it leaves wide sandy plains;
Thus in the soul while memory prevails,
The solid power of understanding fails;
Where beams of warm imagination play,
The memory's soft figures melt away.
                -- Alexander Pope (on runtime bounds checking?)
They told me you had proven it                When they discovered our results
        About a month before.                        Their hair began to curl
The proof was valid, more or less        Instead of understanding it
        But rather less than more.                We'd run the thing through PRL.

He sent them word that we would try        Don't tell a soul about all this
        To pass where they had failed                For it must ever be
And after we were done, to them                A secret, kept from all the rest
        The new proof would be mailed.                Between yourself and me.

My notion was to start again
        Ignoring all they'd done
We quickly turned it into code
        To see if it would run.
Hacker's Law:
        The belief that enhanced understanding will necessarily stir
        a nation to action is one of mankind's oldest illusions.
paranoia, n.:
        A healthy understanding of the way the universe works.
        "What I like most about myself is that I'm so understanding
        when I mess things up."
All possibility of understanding is rooted in the ability to say no.
                -- Susan Sontag
Conversation enriches the understanding, but solitude is the school of genius.
I would like the government to do all it can to mitigate, then, in
understanding, in mutuality of interest, in concern for the common good,
our tasks will be solved.
                -- Warren G. Harding
It is easier to be a "humanitarian" than to render your own country its
proper due; it is easier to be a "patriot" than to make your community a
better place to live in; it is easier to be a "civic leader" than to treat
your own family with loving understanding; for the smaller the focus of
attention, the harder the task.
                -- Sydney J. Harris
Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.
                -- Albert Einstein
The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men
of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
                -- Justice Louis D. Brandeis
        A novice was trying to fix a broken lisp machine by turning the
power off and on.  Knight, seeing what the student was doing spoke sternly,
"You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding
of what is going wrong."  Knight turned the machine off and on.  The
machine worked.
A student, in hopes of understanding the Lambda-nature, came to Greenblatt.
As they spoke a Multics system hacker walked by.  "Is it true", asked the
student, "that PL-1 has many of the same data types as Lisp?"  Almost before
the student had finished his question, Greenblatt shouted, "FOO!", and hit
the student with a stick.
Assembly language experience is [important] for the maturity
and understanding of how computers work that it provides.
                -- D. Gries
But this has taken us far afield from interface, which is not a bad
place to be, since I particularly want to move ahead to the kludge.
Why do people have so much trouble understanding the kludge?  What
is a kludge, after all, but not enough K's, not enough ROM's, not
enough RAM's, poor quality interface and too few bytes to go around?
Have I explained yet about the bytes?
The idea that an arbitrary naive human should be able to properly use a given
tool without training or understanding is even more wrong for computing than
it is for other tools (e.g. automobiles, airplanes, guns, power saws).
                -- Doug Gwyn
To communicate is the beginning of understanding.
                -- AT&T
You have an unusual understanding of the problems of human relationships.
No guarantee of accuracy or completeness!
©TU Chemnitz, 2006-2019
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