Top Unknowable Quotes

Browse top 97 famous quotes and sayings about Unknowable by most favorite authors.

Favorite Unknowable Quotes

1. "As far as I know, only a small minority of mathematicians, even of those with Platonist views, accept the idea that there may be mathematical facts which are true but unknowable."
Author: Abraham Robinson
2. "History is not an agreed-upon fiction but what gets made in a crowded room; what is said isn't what's heard, and what's heard isn't what gets repeated. Civilization is an agreement to keep people from shouting 'Fire!' in a crowded theater, but the moments we call historical occur when there is a fire in a crowded theater; and then we all try to remember afterward when we heard it, and if we ever really smelled smoke, and who went first and what they said. The indeterminancy is built into the emotion of the moment. The past is so often unknowable not because it is befogged now but because it was befogged then, too, back when it was still the present. If we had been there listening, we still might not have been able to determine exactly what Stanton said. All we know for sure is that everyone was weeping and the room was full."
Author: Adam Gopnik
3. "I am as a speck of dust in the sun, and not even so much, in this solemn, mysterious, unknowable universe."
Author: Andrew Carnegie
4. "What do you love, Ari? What do you really love?" "I love the desert. God, I love the desert.""It's so lonely.""Is it?" Dante didn't understand. I was unknowable."
Author: Benjamin Alire Sáenz
5. "Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable. Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away."
Author: Carl Sandburg
6. "That women are mysterious and unknowable is something every young man grows up believing. Men, on the other hand, never think of themselves as mysterious or confusing, and we are often at a loss as to why women want to figure us out."
Author: Chris Abani
7. "I'm not straight, and I'm not gay. I'm not bisexual. I want out of the labels. I don't want my whole life crammed into a single word. A story. I want to find something else, unknowable, some place to be that's not on the map. A real adventure."
Author: Chuck Palahniuk
8. "It is my sincere opinion that our precious time on earth should not be spent attempting to justify unbelievable acts of cruelty, death, and disease as a part of 'God's Plan' or the greater good — and clinging to ancient texts that preach ill-concealed bigotry and sexism. Instead, we should find ways to make this life happy and satisfying, without regard to the unknowable nature of an afterlife."
Author: David G. McAfee
9. "Some people spend their entire lives devoted to a religion that claims to be the ‘right' religion... they often deny scientific evidence that contradicts their archaic holy books, they sometimes oppress those who disagree with them, and they always do what they do in the name of an unknowable deity... but sometimes, they wake up. Occasionally, they realize that all religions are man-made and that none of them are ‘right.' And when they do, they can live happy and fulfilling lives without dogma and without anticipating or fearing an afterlife."
Author: David G. McAfee
10. "Another person is, at the heart of it, unknowable. And if you cannot know a person enough to always guess what they're capable of, you certainly cannot know them enough to hold them in your hands, to control their behavior, to fight, manipulate, cajole or nurse or soothe them into doing what they should or shouldn't.People will do what they will do. The trick is admitting your own helplessness about that little fact."
Author: Deb Caletti
11. "One of my own stray childhood fears had been to wonder what a whale might feel like had it been born and bred in captivity, then released into the wild-into its ancestral sea-its limited world instantly blowing up when cast into the unknowable depths, seeing strange fish and tasting new waters, not even having a concept of depth, not knowing the language of any whale pods it might meet. It was my fear of a world that would expand suddenly, violently, and without rules or laws: bubbles and seaweed and storms and frightening volumes of dark blue that never end"
Author: Douglas Coupland
12. "But, ancient Greece and ancient Rome - people did not happen to believe that creativity came from human beings back then, OK? People believed that creativity was this divine attendant spirit that came to human beings from some distant and unknowable source, for distant and unknowable reasons."
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
13. "Why did I start with them? Why do any of us choose one company over another as an employer? The money? At the beginning they all offer more or less the same and no one know how it will go after that. I guess it is often not so much your prospects at a particular firm, because these are essentially unknowable, but whether people will think you have done well to get the job there, that determines you choice. That was largely it in my case. It was really the prestige. They gave good letterhead."
Author: Elliot Perlman
14. "She could not fathom the hexagonal miracle of snowflakes formed from clouds, crystallized fern and feather that tumble down to light on a coat sleeve, white stars melting even as they strike. How did such force and beauty come to be in something so small and fleeting and unknowable? You did not have to understand miracles to believe in them, and in fact Mabel had come to suspect the opposite. To believe, perhaps you had to cease looking for explanations and instead hold the little thing in your hands as long as you were able before it slipped like water between your fingers. (kindle location 2950)"
Author: Eowyn Ivey
15. "... researchers argue that it's of utmost importance to unravel the nature of black holes, lest we someday begin to worship them. Sounds ridiculous, but whole segments of humankind have often revered the unknowable, venerating that which cannot be tested experimentally. Come to think of it, many still do in twenty-first-century society."
Author: Eric Chaisson
16. "Religion, by its very nature as an untestable belief in undetectable beings and an unknowable afterlife, disables our reality checks. It ends the conversation. It cuts off inquiry: not only factual inquiry, but moral inquiry. Because God's law trumps human law, people who think they're obeying God can easily get cut off from their own moral instincts. And these moral contortions don't always lie in the realm of theological game-playing. They can have real-world consequences: from genocide to infanticide, from honor killings to abandoned gay children, from burned witches to battered wives to blown-up buildings."
Author: Greta Christina
17. "From the heart arise unknowable impulses as well as conscious feelings, moods, and wishes. The heart, too, has its reasons and is the center of perception and understanding. Finally, the heart is the seat of the will: it makes plans and comes to good decisions. Thus the heart is the central and unifying organ of our personal life. Our heart determines our personality, and is therefore not only the place where God dwells but also the place to which Satan directs his fiercest attacks. It is this heart that is the place of prayer. The prayer of the heart is a prayer that directs itself to God from the center of the person and thus affects the whole of our humanness."
Author: Henri J.M. Nouwen
18. "The point is: what happens in heaven?''Unknowable wonderfulness?' 'Nonsense. The answer is nothing. Nothing can happen because if something happens, in fact if something can happen, then it doesn't represent eternity. Our lives are about development, mutation and the possibility of change; that is almost a definition of what life is: change.''If you disable change, if you effectively stop time, if you prevent the possibility of the alteration of an individual's circumstances - and that must include at least the possibility that they alter for the worse - then you don't have life after death; you just have death."
Author: Iain M. Banks
19. "By being unknowable, by resulting from events which, at the sub-atomic level, cannot be fully predicted, the future remains malleable, and retains the possibility of change, the hope of coming to prevail; victory, to use an unfashionable word. In this, the future is a game; time is one of the rules."
Author: Iain M. Banks
20. "I erupt from the dark, crushing tunnel into a flash of light and noise. A new kind of air surrounds me, dry and cold, as they wipe the last smears of home off my skin. I feel a sharp pain as they snip something, and suddenly I am less. I am no one but myself, tiny and feeble and utterly alone. I am lifted and swungthrough great heights across yawning distances, and given to Her. She wraps around me, so much bigger and softer than I ever imagined from inside,and I strain my eyes open. I see Her. She is immense, cosmic. She is the world. The world smiles down on me, and when She speaks it's the voice of God, vast and resonant with meaning, but words unknowable, ringing gibberish in my blank white mind."
Author: Isaac Marion
21. "The dream world is the last wilderness, vast and unknowable."
Author: J.J. Brown
22. "I loved her for what I couldn't understand about her. Love searches for the mystery in the beloved, seeks the unknowable."
Author: John Dufresne
23. "Time in itself, absolutely, does not exist; it is always relative to some observer or some object. Without a clock I say 'I do not know the time' . Without matter time itself is unknowable. Time is a function of matter; and matter therefore is the clock that makes infinity real."
Author: John Fowles
24. "Truth is, something exists, and everything exists for a reason. Regardless if the reason is known or unknown, knowable or unknowable, reason exists and can be named."
Author: John K. Brown
25. "Wars make history seem deceptively simple. They provide clear turning points, easy distinctions.: before and after, winner and loser, right and wrong. True history, the past, is not like that. It isn't flat or linear. It has no outline. It is slippery, like liquid; infinite and unknowable, like space. And it is changeable: just when you think you see a pattern, perspective shifts, an alternate version is proffered, a long-forgotten memory resurfaces."
Author: Kate Morton
26. "What wild undisturbed corners do you leave within you or within your partner, your children, your parents, your closest friends? What is left respectfully and quietly for passive cultivation, for privacy, for the imagination, for discovery, for serendipity, for faith, for secrecy, for grace, for reverence, for the untapped, for the future, for the unknowable and the unknown?"
Author: Kathryn Hall
27. "History was like some vast thing that was always over the tight horizon, invisible except in its effects. It was what happened when you weren't looking -- an unknowable infinity of events, which although out of control, controlled everything."
Author: Kim Stanley Robinson
28. "You think it's so easy to change yourself. You think it's so easy, but it's not True, things don't stay the same forever: couches are replaced, boys leave, you discover a song, your body becomes forever scarred. And with each of these moments you change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions - but always at last it returns to you, like a dancer on the floor. Because throughout it all you are still always, *you*: beautiful and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn't that - just you - enough?"
Author: Leila Sales
29. "If the highest things are unknowable, then the highest capacity or virtue of man cannot be theoretical wisdom."
Author: Leo Strauss
30. "Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable."
Author: Leonard Bernstein
31. "So begins the exhausting analysis of the cavalcade of unknowable smiles and cryptic sentences uttered by someone your newly interested in. When everything boils down to a succession of enigmatic moments. Moments played and replayed from the perspective you attribute to your lover-to-be, but that are actually from the part of you that's sure you're far too flawed to be loved."
Author: Liza Palmer
32. "Now I am the unknown, the unknowable."
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
33. "There is only ever one answer to the question what did you do with your life, and it's the same--fleeting and unknowable--for every one of us. I lived."
Author: Marianne Wiggins
34. "Later that summer, as rain fell, such a moment shimmered and paused on the brink, and then began the ancient dance of numbers: two, four, eight, sixteen, thirty-two, and a new life took root and began to grow. And thus the generations past were joined to the unknowable future."
Author: Mary Doria Russell
35. "Writing is.... being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page. If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment."
Author: Mary Gaitskill
36. "Logic only tells us what's there; it can't really address what isn't. Even the most devoted empiricist must admit that we have no hope of understanding the universe. Some things are unknowable."
Author: Megan Chance
37. "'Hamlet' is one of the most dangerous things ever set down on paper. All the big, unknowable questions like what it is to be a human being; the difference between sanity and insanity; the meaning of life and death; what's real and not real. All these subjects can literally drive you mad."
Author: Michael Sheen
38. "We really wanted to know all the unknowable things about each other and how we were the same and how we were different, if we even were, maybe nobody is."
Author: Miranda July
39. "The future had suddenly become unknowable: anything could happen: the train of my life had jumped the rails and headed off across the fields and coming down the lane with me, then."
Author: Neil Gaiman
40. "All pain must be faced and embraced as the true countenance of your beloved All fear must be met and recognized as the thrill of tasting the unknowable All joy must be surrendered and acknowledged as a gift with no giver"
Author: Nirmala
41. "It began to occur to me that the whole story of love might be nothing more than a wicked lie; that simply sleeping beside another body night after night gives no express right of entry to the interior world of their thoughts or dreams;that we are separate in the end whatever contrary illusions we may cherish; and that this miserable truth might as well be faced, since it will be dinned into one, like it or not by the failings of those we hold dear. I wasn't so bitter now. I'd begun to emerge into a sense of satisfaction with my not, but it would be a long time before I trusted someone, for I'd seen how essentially unknowable even the best loved might prove to be."
Author: Olivia Laing
42. "Hands, teeth, gut, thoughts even, were all simply more or less convenient to human circumstance, as my father was receding from human circumstance, so, too, were all of these particulars, back to some unknowable froth where they might be reassigned to be stars or belt buckles, lunar dust or railroad spikes. Perhaps they already were all of these things and my father's fading was because he realized this: My goodness, I am made from planets and wood, diamonds and orange peels ..."
Author: P. Harding
43. "I spoke of the tragic illusion of perpetuity, but, no, my friends, it is a comic one. The ludicrous plot in which we are all trapped. The ancient Greeks referred to plot as mythos, attributing the random drift of human affairs to some sort of unknowable but glimpsable divine motion, attempting to attach a certain grandeur to it, the delusion of meaning. But we are characters who do not exist, in a story composed by no one from nothing. Can anything be more pitiable? No wonder we all are grieving."
Author: Robert Coover
44. "There was so much we had done to ourselves, so much we said in our sessions that our hearts were rent with sorrow. There is so much that happens to the human heart that is in the realm of the unthinkable, the unknowable, the unbearable. (95)"
Author: Robert Goolrick
45. "The four points of the compass be logic, knowledge, wisdom and the unknown. Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable. The man who bows in that final direction is either a saint or a fool. I have no use for either."
Author: Roger Zelazny
46. "Everyone who sees us -- especially Stanhope, who has been friends with us both for years -- knows we're just out for a ride. Not out for a ride."He looked at her, shaking his head in confusion. "Women truly are strange and unknowable creatures"
Author: Sarah MacLean
47. "Nevertheless, remembering how the curate described what existed before creation, Scully saw dark matter out there, thick, unknowable, aching to made into a world."
Author: Toni Morrison
48. "You have a poem called "Bad Theology." What would you call a bad theology?I guess any theology that presumes to have God in its pocket. Can I explain this without sinning further? We'll find out. The community in which I was raised did what they would call theology, but it was always a kind of cranky, brutal reduction of lush and beautiful complexities into the lowest common denominator, the dullest version. But when I went away to school and started reading more, I became increasingly dissatisfied with any theology that replaces the enormous, immeasurable real with very measurable and very calculated replacements. I'm not saying this very eloquently, but I guess bad theology articulates as definitive and conclusive that which is unknowable and without end."
Author: Tony Leuzzi
49. "Among the many things that made the Professor an excellent teacher was the fact that he wasn't afraid to say 'we don't know.' For the Professor, there was no shame in admitting you didn't have the answer, it was a necessary step toward the truth. It was as important to teach us about the unknown or the unknowable as it was to teach us what had already been safely proven."
Author: Yōko Ogawa
50. "Attempts to tame the wayward and domesticate the riotous, to make the unknowable predictable and enchain the free-roaming - all such things sound the death knell to love."
Author: Zygmunt Bauman

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Inexperience people think that books will lead the one of intellect to understanding. But the ignoramus doesn't know that in these books are ambiguos that will confuse even the most intelligent of people. If you try to learn this knowledge without a teacher you will go astray and affairs will become so confusing to you that you will be more astray than Toma*, the physician.*???? ??????"
Author: Abu Hayyan Al Tawhidi

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