Top Abstraction Quotes

Browse top 162 famous quotes and sayings about Abstraction by most favorite authors.

Favorite Abstraction Quotes

1. "Since opposed principles, or ideologies, are irreconcilable, wars fought over principle will be wars of mutual annihilation. But wars fought for simple greed will be far less destructive, because the aggressor will be careful not to destroy what he is fighting to capture. Reasonable - that is, human - men will always be capable of compromise, but men who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshipers of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life."
Author: Alan Wilson Watts
2. "Why must art be static? You look at an abstraction, sculptured or painted, an entirely exciting arrangement of planes, spheres, nuclei, entirely without meaning. It would be perfect, but it is always still. The next step in sculpture is motion."
Author: Alexander Calder
3. "Time isn't made of anything. It is an abstraction. Just a meaning that we impose upon motion."
Author: Anne Carson
4. "Abstraction allows man to see with his mind what he cannot see physically with his eyes."
Author: Arshile Gorky
5. "Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. man had no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons,and to make weapons - a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and we have comes from a single attribute of man -the function of his reasoning mind."
Author: Ayn Rand
6. "Do you know what punishments I've endured for my crimes, my sins? None. I am proof of the absurdity of men's most treasured abstractions. A just universe wouldn't tolerate my existence."
Author: Brent Weeks
7. "His education had been neither scientific nor classical—merely "Modern." The severities both of abstraction and of high human tradition had passed him by: and he had neither peasant shrewdness nor aristocratic honour to help him. He was a man of straw, a glib examinee in subjects that require no exact knowledge (he had always done well on Essays and General Papers) and the first hint of a real threat to his bodily life knocked him sprawling."
Author: C.S. Lewis
8. "But the brain does much more than just recollect it inter-compares, it synthesizes, it analyzes, it generates abstractions. The simplest thought like the concept of the number one has an elaborate logical underpinning. The brain has its own language for testing the structure and consistency of the world."
Author: Carl Sagan
9. "I care about strangers when they're abstractions, but I feel almost nothing when they're literally in front of me."
Author: Chuck Klosterman
10. "The notion of a separate organism is clearly an abstraction, as is also its boundary. Underlying all this is unbroken wholeness even though our civilization has developed in such a way as to strongly emphasize the separation into parts."
Author: David Bohm
11. "To make someone an icon is to make him an abstraction, and abstractions are incapable of vital communication with living people.1010 One has only to spend a term trying to teach college literature to realize that the quickest way to kill an author's vitality for potential readers is to present that author ahead of his time as "great" or "classic." Because then the author becomes for the students like medicine or vegetables, something the authorities have declared "good for them" that they "ought to like," at which point the students' nictitating membranes come down, and everyone just goes through the requisite motions of criticism and paper-writing without feeling one real or relevant thing. It's like removing all oxygen from the room before trying to start a fire."
Author: David Foster Wallace
12. "Washington isn't a city, it's an abstraction."
Author: Dylan Thomas
13. "Not one idiot in a thousand has been entirely refractory to treatment, not one in a hundred has not been made more happy and healthy; more than thirty per cent have been taught to conform to social and moral law, and rendered capable of order, of good feeling, and of working like the third of a man; more than forty per cent have become capable of the ordinary transactions of life under friendly control, of understanding moral and social abstractions, of working like two-thirds of a man."
Author: Edouard Séguin
14. "The human soul enjoys these rare, classical periods, but, apart from them, we are seldom single or unique; we keep company in this world with a hoard of abstractions and reflections and counterfeits of ourselves - the sensual man, the economic man, the man of reason, the beast, the machine and the sleepwalker, and heaven knows what besides, all in our own image, indistinguishable from ourselves to the outside eye. We get borne along, out of sight in the press, unresisting, till we get the chance to drop behind unnoticed, or to dodge down a sides treet, pause, breathe freely and take our bearings, or to push ahead, outdistance our shadows, lead them a dance, so that when at length they catch up with us, they look at one another askance, knowing we have a secret we shall never share."
Author: Evelyn Waugh
15. "But how will you bear an absentminded man who, if he happens to see you, will kill you? That is what tries the nerves, abstraction combined with cruelty. Men have felt it sometimes when they went through wild forests, and felt that the animals there were at once innocent and pitiless. They might ignore or slay. How would you like to pass ten mortal hours in a parlour with an absent-minded tiger?"
Author: G.K. Chesterton
16. "The dynamic element in my philosophy, taken as a whole, can be seen as an obstinate and untiring battle against the spirit of abstraction."
Author: Gabriel Marcel
17. "One might suppose that reality must be held to at all costs. However, though that may be the moral thing to do, it is not necessarily the most useful thing to do. The Greeks themselves chose the ideal over the real in their geometry and demonstrated very well that far more could be achieved by consideration of abstract line and form than by a study of the real lines and forms of the world; the greater understanding achieved through abstraction could be applied most usefully to the very reality that was ignored in the process of gaining knowledge."
Author: Isaac Asimov
18. "Civilization comes at a cost of manliness. It comes at a cost of wildness, of risk, of strife. It comes at a cost of strength, of courage, of mastery. It comes at a cost of honor. Increased civilization exacts a toll of virility, forcing manliness into further redoubts of vicariousness and abstraction"
Author: Jack Donovan
19. "Lying mouth to mouth, kiss to kiss in the pillow dark, loin to loin in unbelievable surrendering sweetness so distant from all our mental fearful abstractions it makes you wonder why men have termed God antisexual somehow (p. 148)"
Author: Jack Kerouac
20. "Let us begin with a simple line,Drawn as a child would draw it, To indicate the horizon,More real than the real horizon,Which is less than line,Which is visible abstraction, a ratio.The line ravishes the page with implicationsOf white earth, white sky!"
Author: James Galvin
21. "Logic might be imagined to exist independent of writing—syllogisms can be spoken as well as written—but it did not. Speech is too fleeting to allow for analysis. Logic descended from the written word, in Greece as well as India and China, where it developed independently. Logic turns the act of abstraction into a tool for determining what is true and what is false: truth can be discovered in words alone, apart from concrete experience. Logic takes its form in chains: sequences whose members connect one to another. Conclusions follow from premises. These require a degree of constancy. They have no power unless people can examine and evaluate them. In contrast, an oral narrative proceeds by accretion, the words passing by in a line of parade past the viewing stand, briefly present and then gone, interacting with one another via memory and association."
Author: James Gleick
22. "In his own way each man must struggle, lest the moral law become a far-off abstraction utterly separated from his active life."
Author: Jane Addams
23. "What I hope is I'll eventually be seen as an actual individual, not as some abstraction - an art dealer running a museum."
Author: Jeffrey Deitch
24. "Perhaps swimming was dancing under the water, he thought. To swim under lily pads seeing their green slender stalks wavering as you passed, to swim under upraised logs past schools of sunfish and bluegills, to swim through reed beds past wriggling water snakes and miniature turtles, to swim in small lakes, big lakes, Lake Michigan, to swim in small farm ponds, creeks, rivers, giant rivers where one was swept along easefully by the current, to swim naked alone at night when you were nineteen and so alone you felt like you were choking every waking moment, having left home for reasons more hormonal than rational; reasons having to do with the abstraction of the future and one's questionable place in the world of the future, an absurdity not the less harsh for being so widespread."
Author: Jim Harrison
25. "The economy is not an abstraction. The economy consists of people, and it will only grow if people feel secure and are reasonably free."
Author: John Bruton
26. "Wisdom... is often an abstraction associated not with fact or reality but with the man who asserts it and the manner of its assertion."
Author: John Kenneth Galbraith
27. "Nevertheless, we react to one a bit differently than we do to Rothko's hovering panels or Barnett Newman's stripes, though Whistler does approach their extremity of abstraction; part of our pleasure lies in recognizing bridges and buildings in the mist, and in sensing the damp riverine silence, the glimmering metropolitan presence. … The painting - a single blurred stripe of urban shore - is additionally daring in that the sky and sea are no shade of blue, but, instead, an improbable, pervasive cobalt green. Human vision is here taken to its limits, and modern painting, as a set of sensations realized in paint, is achieved."
Author: John Updike
28. "At long last he was unencumbered, emancipated from the stifling world of his parents and peers, a world of abstraction and security and material excess, a world in which he felt grievously cut off from the raw throb of existence."
Author: Jon Krakauer
29. "I was finally beginning to perceive that no matter how many dead people I might see, or people at the instant of their death, I would never manage to grasp death, that very moment, precisely in itself. It was one thing or the other: either you are dead, and then in any case there's nothing else to understand, or else you are not yet dead, and in that case, even with the rifle at the back of your head or the rope around your neck, death remains incomprehensible, a pure abstraction, this absurd idea that I, the only living person in the world, could disappear. Dying, we may already be dead, but we never die, that moment never comes, or rather it never stops coming, there it is, it's coming, and then it's still coming, and then it's already over, without ever having come."
Author: Jonathan Littell
30. "Time is an absurdity. An abstraction. The only thing that matters is this moment. This moment a million times over. You have to trust me. If this moment is repeated enough, if you keep trying — and you have to keep trying — eventually you will come across the next item on your list."
Author: Jonathan Nolan
31. "The philosopher Elaine Scarry has observed that "beauty always takes place in the particular." Cruelty, on the other hand, prefers abstraction."
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
32. "Je n'écris pas pour une petite élite dont je n'ai cure, ni pour cette entité platonique adulée qu'on surnomme la Masse. Je ne crois pas à ces deux abstractions, chères au démagogue. J'écris pour moi, pour mes amis et pour adoucir le cours du temps."
Author: Jorge Luis Borges
33. "Abstraction is real, probably more real than nature."
Author: Josef Albers
34. "Humanists try to behave decently and honorably without any expectation of rewards or punishments in an afterlife. And, since the creator of the universe is to them unknowable so far, they serve as best they can the highest abstraction of which they have some understanding, which is their community."
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
35. "And there was no longer a single race who bred blindly and without question. Time and its agonizing nostalgia would touch the heart each season, and be seen in the fall of a leaf, or, most terrible of all, a loved face would grow old. Cronos and the Fates had entered man's thinking, and try to escape as he might, he would endure an interior Ice Age. He would make, and then unmake fables. Then at last, and unwillingly, comprehend an intangible abstraction called space-time, and shiver inwardly at the endless abysses of space as he had once shivered, unclothed and unlighted before the Earthly frost."
Author: Loren Eiseley
36. "He recognised that all the period of Odette's life which had elapsed before she first met him, a period of which he had never sought to form any picture in his mind, was not the featureless abstraction which he could vaguely see, but had consisted of so many definite, dated years, each crowded with concrete incidents. But were he to learn more of them, he feared lest her past, now colourless, fluid and supportable, might assume a tangible, an obscene form, with individual and diabolical features. And he continued to refrain from seeking a conception of it, not any longer now from laziness of mind, but from fear of suffering."
Author: Marcel Proust
37. "I work in colour sometimes, but I guess the images I most connect to, historically speaking, are in black and white. I see more in black and white - I like the abstraction of it."
Author: Mary Ellen Mark
38. "For what reason then do the realists show themselves so unfriendly toward philosophy? Because they misunderstand their own calling and with all their might want to remain restricted instead of becoming unrestricted! Why do they hate abstractions? Because they themselves are abstract since they abstract from the perfection of themselves, from the elevation of redeeming truth!"
Author: Max Stirner
39. "She really was pretty, for a grown-up person, but when you are seven, beauty is an abstraction, not an imperative. I wonder what I would have done if she had smiled at me like that now: whether I would have handed my mind or my heart or my identify to her for the asking, as my father did."
Author: Neil Gaiman
40. "Mattia was startled to find that he still had instincts, buried beneath the dense network of thoughts and abstractions that had woven itself around him."
Author: Paolo Giordano
41. "Soon the child's clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions, and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. The sun glints through the pines and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, we become seekers."
Author: Peter Matthiessen
42. "Enjoying art is a personal matter. It's made up by contemplation, silence, abstraction."
Author: Renzo Piano
43. "Quality is a direct experience independent of and prior to intellectual abstractions."
Author: Robert M. Pirsig
44. "That's what it is that you rehearse - the making of music, not the playing of notes as abstractions."
Author: Sarah Caldwell
45. "In the end, therefore, money will be the one thing people will desire, which is moreover only representative, an abstraction. Nowadays a young man hardly envies anyone his gifts, his art, the love of a beautiful girl, or his fame; he only envies him his money. Give me money, he will say, and I am saved...He would die with nothing to reproach himself with, and under the impression that if only he had had the money he might really have lived and might even have achieved something great."
Author: Søren Kierkegaard
46. "Contrary to current cynicism about past golden ages, the abstraction known as 'the intelligent layperson' does exist - in the form of millions of folks with a passionate commitment to continuous learning."
Author: Stephen Jay Gould
47. "We are so much the victims of abstraction that with the Earth in flames we can barely rouse ourselves to wander across the room and look at the thermostat."
Author: Terence McKenna
48. "When we see religion split into so many thousand of sects, and I may say Christianity itself divided into its thousands also, who are disputing, anathematizing and where the laws permit burning and torturing one another for abstractions which no one of them understand, and which are indeed beyond the comprehension of the human mind, into which of the chambers of this Bedlam would a man wish to thrust himself.[Letter to George Logan, 12 November 1816]"
Author: Thomas Jefferson
49. "People rely on intelligence to solve problems, and they are naturally baffled when comprehension proves impotent to effect emotional change. To the neocortical brain, rich in the power of abstractions, understanding makes all the difference, but it doesn't count for much in the neural systems that evolved before understanding existed. Ideas bounce like so many peas off the sturdy incomprehension of the limbic and reptilian brains. The dogged implicitness of emotional knowledge, its relentless unreasoning force, prevents logic from granting salvation just as it precludes self-help books from helping. The sheer volume and variety of self-help paraphernalia testify at once to the vastness of the appetite they address and their inability to satisfy it. (118)"
Author: Thomas Lewis
50. "Poetry is an abstraction bloodied."
Author: Wallace Stevens

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I've always had enough, even if my enough and your enough are as different as an elephant and a minaret."
Author: Catherynne M. Valente

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