understanding

Before drifting away entirely, he found himself reflecting – not for the first time – on the peculiarity of adults. They tool laxatives, liquor, or sleeping pills to drive away their terrors so that sleep would come, and their terrors were so tame and domestic: the job, the money, what the teacher will think if I can’t get Jennie nicer clothes, does my wife still love me, who are my friends. They were pallid compared to the fears every child lies cheek and jowl with in his dark bed, with no one to confess to in hope of perfect understanding but another child. There is no group therapy or psychiatry or community social services for the child who must cope with the thing under the bed or in the cellar every night, the thing which leers and capers and threatens just beyond the point where vision will reach. The same lonely battle must be fought night after night and the only cure is the eventual ossification of the imaginary faculties, and this is called adulthood.

Stephen King, Salem’s Lot

If we communicated with something like music, we would never be misunderstood, because there is nothing in music to understand.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

Man can only be certain about the present moment. But is that quite true either? Can he really know the present? Is he in a position to make any judgment about it? Certainly not. For how can a person with no knowledge of the future understand the meaning of the present? If we do not know what future the present is leading us toward, how can we say whether this present is good or bad, whether it deserves our concurrence, or our suspicion, or our hatred?

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

The things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first, they love the produce of the second.

John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

If we do discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.

Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

Ever since the dawn of civilization, people have not been content to see events as unconnected and inexplicable. They have craved an understanding of the underlying order in the world. Today we still yearn to know why we are here and where we came from. Humanity’s deepest desire for knowledge is justification enough for our continuing quest. And our goal is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in.

Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

I think people understand things different when they get older. It’s not a question of getting soft, or seeing things in the gray areas instead of black and white. I really believe I’m just understanding things different. Better.

Dexter Morgan, Darkly Dreaming Dexter

Just because you can see everything doesn’t mean you can understand it.

Gillian Foster, Lie To Me

If God has a master plan that only He understands I hope it’s your eyes He’s seeing through.

Depeche Mode, Precious

Those who have no understanding of the political world around them have no right to criticize or complain.

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

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