Top Incomprehensible Quotes

Browse top 161 famous quotes and sayings about Incomprehensible by most favorite authors.

Favorite Incomprehensible Quotes

1. "She felt herself alone, lost like a stranger in some fantastic country whose language and mode of life were alike incomprehensible, surrounded by enemies in an atmosphere of suspicion and perpetually lurking, unimaginable dangers."
Author: Anna Kavan
2. "All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar's teeth."
Author: Antonin Artaud
3. "More than that, these adverts sell a dubious world view. They sell the idea that science is not about the delicate relationship between evidence and theory. They suggest, instead, with all the might of their international advertising budgets, their Microcellular Complexes, their Neutrillium XY, their Tenseur Peptidique Végétal and the rest, that science is about impenetrable nonsense involving equations, molecules, sciencey diagrams, sweeping didactic statements from authority figures in white coats, and that this sciencey-sounding stuff might just as well be made up, concocted, confabulated out of thin air, in order to make money. They sell the idea that science is incomprehensible, with all their might, and they sell this idea mainly to attractive young women, who are disappointingly under-represented in the sciences."
Author: Ben Goldacre
4. "The Something"Here come my night thoughtsOn crutches,Returning from studying the heavens.What they thought aboutStayed the same,Stayed immense and incomprehensible.My mother and father smile at each otherKnowingly above the mantel.The cat sleeps on, the dogGrowls in his sleep.The stove is cold and so is the bed.Now there are only these crutchesTo contend with.Go ahead and laugh, while I raise oneWith difficulty,Swaying on the front porch,While pointing at somethingIn the gray distance.You see nothing, eh?Neither do I, Mr. Milkman.I better hit you once or twice over the headWith this fine old prop,So you don't go off mutteringI saw something!"
Author: Charles Simic
5. "Isaac basically knew just one thing for sure: Many are born, few flourish, all die. If you didn't die as a sacrifice for God today, you would die of an incomprehensible plague tomorrow, or of undeserved starvation the day after, or of good old-fashioned senseless human slaughter before the next harvest. Life was short in those days and people were grateful for whatever they could get. They didn't expect wireless video game consoles, fast German cars, dental insurance, anti-depressants, and a pension."
Author: Chris F. Westbury
6. "Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. It is not about the right attitude. Hope is not about peace of mind. Hope is action. Hope is doing something. The more futile, the more useless, the more irrelevant and incomprehensible an act of rebellion is, the vaster and more potent hope becomes.Hope never makes sense. Hope is weak, unorganized and absurd. Hope, which is always nonviolent, exposes in its powerlessness, the lies, fraud and coercion employed by the state. Hope knows that an injustice visited on our neighbor is an injustice visited on all of us. Hope posits that people are drawn to the good by the good. This is the secret of hope's power. Hope demands for others what we demand for ourselves. Hope does not separate us from them. Hope sees in our enemy our own face."
Author: Chris Hedges
7. "Oh incomprehensible pederasts, I shall not heap insults upon your great degradation; I shall not be the one to pour scorn on your infundibuliform anus. It is enough that the shameful and almost incurable maladies which besiege you should bring with them their unfailing punishments."
Author: Comte De Lautréamont
8. "There was only a language of families, a tongue woven from a lifetime of shared experiences. Its vocabulary consisted of gestures and curt sentences, incomprehensible to all outsiders. Inside, it wasn't difficult to translate at all."
Author: Courtney Milan
9. "At an early age I found myself facing the incomprehensible, the unthinkable, death. Ever since, I have known nothing on this earth can be shared because we own nothing. There is a word inside us stronger than all others - and more personal. A word of solitude and certainty, so buried in its night that it is barely audible to itself. A word of refusal, but also of absolute commitment, forging its bonds of silence in the emfathomable silence of the bond. This word cannot be shared. Only sacrificed."
Author: Edmond Jabès
10. "The passion for being for ever with one's fellows, and the fear of being left for a few hours alone, is to me wholly incomprehensible. I can entertain myself quite well for weeks together, hardly aware, except for the pervading peace, that I have been alone at all."
Author: Elizabeth Von Arnim
11. "It is the individual only who is timeless. Societies, cultures, and civilizations -- past and present -- are often incomprehensible to outsiders, but the individual's hungers, anxieties, dreams, and preoccupations have remained unchanged through the millenia."
Author: Eric Hoffer
12. "We were trained in the army for ten weeks and in this time more profoundly influenced than by ten years at school. We learned that a bright button is weightier than four volumes of Schopenhauer. At first astonished, then embittered, and finally indifferent, we recognised that what matters is not the mind but the boot brush, not intelligence but the system, not freedom but drill. We became soldiers with eagerness and enthusiasm, but they have done everything to knock that out of us. After three weeks it was no longer incomprehensible to us that a braided postman should have more authority over us than had formerly our parents, our teachers, and the whole gamut of culture from Plato to Goethe."
Author: Erich Maria Remarque
13. "Festivals and fasts are unhinged, traveling backward at a rate of ten days per year, attached to no season. Even Laylat ul Qadr, the holiest night in Ramadan, drifts--its precise date is unknown. The iconclasm laid down by Muhammed was absolute: you must resist attachment not only to painted images, but to natural ones. Ramadan, Muharram, the Eids; you associate no religious event with the tang of snow in the air, or spring thaw, or the advent of summer. God permeates these things--as the saying goes, Allah is beautiful, and He loves beauty--but they are transient. Forced to concentrate on the eternal, you begin to see, or think you see, the bones and sinews of the world beneath its seasonal flesh. The sun and moon become formidable clockwork. They are transient also, but hint at the dark planes that stretch beyond the earth in every direction, full of stars and dust, toward a retreating, incomprehensible edge"
Author: G. Willow Wilson
14. "Well, it is very odd of you to threaten to throw your friends out of the window, I must say," remarked Juliana.He smiled. "Not at all. It is only my friends that I would throw out of the window.""Dear me!" said Juliana, finding the male sex incomprehensible.-Chapter XIII"
Author: Georgette Heyer
15. "Where some one else's welfare is concerned, a young girl becomes as ingenious as a thief. Guileless where she herself is in question, and full of foresight for me,--she is like a heavenly angel forgiving the strange incomprehensible sins of earth."
Author: Honoré De Balzac
16. "When older people get together there is something unflappable about them; you can sense they've tasted all the heavy, bitter, spicy food of life, extract its poison, and will now spend ten or fifteen years in a state of perfect equilibrium and enviable morality. They are happy with themselves. They have renounced the vain attempts of youth to adapt the world to their desires. They have failed and now, they can relax. In a few years they will once again be troubled by a great anxiety, but this time it will be a fear of death; it will have a strange effect on their tastes, it will make them indifferent, or eccentric, or moody, incomprehensible to their families, strangers to their children. But between the ages of forty and sixty they enjoy a precarious sense of tranquility."
Author: Irène Némirovsky
17. "All human language draws its nature and value from the fact that it both comes from the Word of God and is chosen by God to manifest himself. But this relationship is secret and incomprehensible, beyond the bounds of reason and analysis."
Author: Jacques Ellul
18. "If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out."
Author: Jane Austen
19. "A tree is an incomprehensible mystery."
Author: Jim Woodring
20. "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
21. "But that which remains for ever incomprehensible is the initial horror, the horror imposed on each of us, of having to live, and that is a mystery no philosophy can explain."
Author: Joris Karl Huysmans
22. "In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent."
Author: Joseph Conrad
23. "He has to live in the midst of the incomprehensible, which is detestable. And it has a fascination, too, which goes to work upon him. The fascination of the abomination--you know."
Author: Joseph Conrad
24. "For the writer, the serial killer is, abstractly, an analogue of the imagination's caprices and amorality; the sense that, no matter the dictates and even the wishes of the conscious social self, the life or will or purpose of the imagination is incomprehensible, unpredictable."
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
25. "Incomprehensible jargon is the hallmark of a profession."
Author: Kingman Brewster Jr.
26. "Most white people in Midland City were insecurewhen they spoke, so they kept their sentences short and their wordssimple, in order to keep embarrassing mistakes to a minimum.Dwayne certainly did that. Patty certainly did that.This was because their English teachers would wince and cover theirears and give them flunking grades and so on whenever they failed tospeak like English aristocrats before the First World War. Also: theywere told that they were unworthy to speak or write their language ifthey couldn't love or understand incomprehensible novels and poemsand plays about people long ago and far away, such as Ivanhoe.The black people would not put up with this. They went on talkingEnglish every which way. They refused to read books they couldn'tunderstand—on the grounds they couldn't understand them. Theywould ask such impudent questions as, "Whuffo I want to read no Taleof Two Cities? Whuffo?"
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
27. "To say that a work of art is good, but incomprehensible to the majority of men, is the same as saying of some kind of food that it is very good but that most people can't eat it."
Author: Leo Tolstoy
28. "It would be good," thought Prince Andrei, glancing at the little image that his sister had hung around his neck with such reverence and emotion, "It would be good if everything were as clear and simple as it seems to Princess Marya . How good it would be to know where to seek help in this life, and what to expect after it, beyond the grave! How happy and at peace I should be if I could now say:" Lord have mercy on me!... But to whom should I say this? To some power--- indefinable and incomprehensible, to which I not only cannot appeal, but which I cannot express in words---The Great All or Nothing," he said to himself, "or to that God who has been sewn into this amulet by Marya? There is nothing certain, nothing except the nothingness of everything that is comprehensible to me, and the greatness of something incomprehensible but all important!"
Author: Leo Tolstoy
29. "How good it would be to know where to look for help in this life and what to expect after it, there, beyond the grave! How happy and calm I'd be, if I could say now: Lord, have mercy on me! ... But to whom shall I say it? Either it is an indefinable, unfathomable power, which I not only cannot address, but which I cannot express in words - the great all or nothing...or it is that God of whom Princess Marya has sewn in here, in this amulet? Nothing, nothing is certain, except the insignificance of everything I can comprehend and the grandeur of something incomprehensible but most important!"
Author: Leo Tolstoy
30. "But just as the force of gravitation-in itself incomprehensible, though felt by every man- is only so far understood by us as we know the laws of necessity to which it is subject, so too the force of free will, unthinkable in itself, but recognized by the consciousness of every man, is only so far understood as we know the laws of necessity to which it is subject."
Author: Leo Tolstoy
31. "Then it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former existence must be to a reincarnate spirit; the subject of my book would separate itself from me, leaving me free to choose whether I would form part of it or no; and at the same time my sight would return and I would be astonished to find myself in a state of darkness, pleasant and restful enough for the eyes, and even more, perhaps, for my mind, to which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, a matter dark indeed."
Author: Marcel Proust
32. "Now there is one thing I can tell you: you will enjoy certain pleasures you would not fathom now. When you still had your mother you often thought of the days when you would have her no longer. Now you will often think of days past when you had her. When you are used to this horrible thing that they will forever be cast into the past, then you will gently feel her revive, returning to take her place, her entire place, beside you. At the present time, this is not yet possible. Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power ... that has broken you restores you a little, I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more."
Author: Marcel Proust
33. "Occasionally, merely for the pleasure of being cruel, we put unoffending Frenchmen on the rack with questions framed in the incomprehensible jargon of their native language, and while they writhed, we impaled them, we peppered them, we scarified them, with their own vile verbs and participles."
Author: Mark Twain
34. "The most rigid pattern was not the one imposed by the school system or the adolescent social system. It was the pattern I made of the people around me, a mythology for their incomprehensible activity, a mythology that brought me a cramped delight, which I protected by putting all possible space between myself and other people. the boundaries of my inner world did not extend out, but in, so that there was a large area of blank whiteness starting at my most external self and expanding inward until it reached the tiny inner province of dazzling color and activity that it safeguarded."
Author: Mary Gaitskill
35. "The General Theory was not truly revolutionary at all but merely old and oft-refuted mercantilist and inflationist fallacies dressed up in shiny new garb, replete with newly constructed and largely incomprehensible jargon."
Author: Murray N. Rothbard
36. "Strength is incomprehensible by weakness, and, therefore, the more terrible."
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
37. "Women derive a pleasure, incomprehensible to the other sex, from the delicate toil of the needle."
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
38. "It was incomprehensible to Ricky that anyone could find Milburn boring: if you watched it closely for seventy years, you saw the century at work."
Author: Peter Straub
39. "Religion begins in story. Yes, it does, because religion is an attempt to make sense of what is incomprehensible to us, what is inexplicable, what is awe-inspiring, what is frightening, what moves us to great wonder, and so on. That is the religious impulse, and it is part of our psychological makeup -- of everyone's psychological makeup."
Author: Philip Pullman
40. "Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural, the incomprehensible, the unreasonable, the impossible, the unknowable, the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains."
Author: Robert G. Ingersoll
41. "No one infers a god from the simple, from the known, from what is understood, but from the complex, from the unknown, and incomprehensible. Our ignorance is God; what we know is science."
Author: Robert G. Ingersoll
42. "To admit we do not understand a phenomenon is not to admit the presence of the miraculous but merely, reasonably, to accept the limitations of human knowledge. God was invented to explain what our ancestors couldn't comprehend: the radiant mystery of being. The existence of the incomprehensible, however, is not a proof of god."
Author: Salman Rushdie
43. "You look back in time to when there was slavery and you think 'how did people even remotely believe that this was a good idea?'.It's incomprehensible for us to think of what the mindset was 100 or 200 years ago. I hope to make the present as incomprehensible to the future as the past is to us."
Author: Stefan Molyneux
44. "Great writers, I discovered, were not to be bowed down before and worshipped, but embraced and befriended. Their names resounded through history not because they had massive brows and thought deep incomprehensible thoughts, but because they opened windows in the mind, they put their arms round you and showed you things you always knew but never dared to believe. Even if their names were terrifyingly foreign and intellectual sounding, Dostoevsky, Baudelaire or Cavafy, they turned out to be charming and wonderful and quite unalarming after all."
Author: Stephen Fry
45. "What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment and death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment . . . inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose."
Author: Thomas Jefferson
46. "The Christian notion of the possibility of redemption is incomprehensible to the computer."
Author: Vance Packard
47. "I am closest of all to happiness—although I won't attempt to define just what it is—when I turn away from the window and am aware, with the edge of my consciousness, that a moment ago I was not here, there was simply the world outside the window, and something beautiful and incomprehensible, something which there is absolutely no need to ‘comprehend,' existed for a few seconds instead of the usual swarm of thoughts, of which one, like a locomotive, pulls all the others after it, absorbs them all and calls itself ‘I'."
Author: Victor Pelevin
48. "I went from one to the other holding my sorrow - no, not my sorrow but theincomprehensible nature of this our life - for their inspection. Some people goto priests; others to poetry; I to my friends, I to my own heart, I to seek amongphrases and fragments something unbroken - I to whom there is no beauty enough in moon or tree; to whom the touch of one person with another is all,yet who cannot grasp even that, who am so imperfect, so weak, sounspeakably lonely."
Author: Virginia Woolf
49. "For even if we know very little that is certain about spirit or soul, the true nature of the body, of materiality, is totally unknown and incomprehensible to us."
Author: Wilhelm Von Humboldt
50. "Not only do I not know what I believe, but also I cannot know for sure that I believe. How can I define precisely what my attitude is toward something it cannot conceivably grasp? Can I be said to be in the relation of "belief," in any usual sense of that term, toward something that I cheerfully and readily acknowledge to be absolutely incomprehensible to me?(...) No man can be sure that he is in faith; and we can say of no man with certainty that he has or does not have faith. (...)Not only does faith always carry its opposite uncertainty within itself, but also this faith is never a static condition that is -had-, but a movement toward... And toward what? In the nature of the case we cannot state this "what." We cannot make a flat assertion about our faith like a simple assertion that we have blue eyes or are six feet tall. More than this, the affirmation of our faith can never be made in the simple indicative mood at all. The statement "I believe" can only be uttered as a prayer."
Author: William Barrett

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I'm not even sure that any of us are ever ready for anything. We can be ripe, or over-ready, but what is that moment when we're actually ready?"
Author: Andrea Riseborough

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