A Few Quotes To Start The Year Off

January 2, 2009 | By | 2 Replies More

This first is something for all of us to contemplate when engaging each other in debate.

Since logic and sensibility do not coincide, and since both have legitimate claims upon our decision, the great and recurring debate about century boundaries simply cannot be resolved.  Some questions have answers because obtainable information decrees a particular conclusion….Some questions have no answers because we cannot get the required information….Many of our most intense debates, however, are not resolvable by information of any kind, but arise from conflicts in values or modes of analysis….A subset of these debates—ultimately trivial, but capable of provoking great agitation, and thus most frustrating of all—have no answers because they are about words and systems, rather than things.  Phenomena of the world (that is, “things”) therefore have no bearing upon potential solutions.  The century debate lies within this vexatious category.

Stephen Jay Gould, Questioning The Millennium

Now a couple others.

The tendency has always been strong to believe that whatever received a name must be an entity or being, having an independent existence of its own.  And if no real entity answering to the name could be found, men did not for that reason suppose that none existed, but imagined that it was something peculiarly abstruse and mysterious.

John Stuart Mill

[The Apocalypse] has had a greater effect on second-rate people throughout the Christian ages, than any other book in the Bible.

D.H. Lawrence, Apocalypse, 1931

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Category: Communication, Culture, History, Language, Quotes, Religion, Science, Whimsy, Writing

About the Author ()

Mark is a writer and musician living in the St. Louis area. He hit puberty at the peak of the Sixties and came of age just as it was all coming to a close with the end of the Vietnam War. He was annoyed when bellbottoms went out of style, but he got over it.

Comments (2)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    See Lakoff/Johnson's concept of "ontological metaphors" for a new spin on the insightful quote by John Stuart Mill. http://dangerousintersection.org/2006/10/23/apoll

    As for the "century debate," I had to do a bit of research. Is this the essence of the debate? http://static.userland.com/userLandDiscussArchive

  2. Yes, that's the source of it. But it was his breakdown of things definable by logic and those that are, shall we say, ineffable that I thought worth pondering.

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