Two great quotes for how greedy we are for the feeling that we understand

When the truth of a thing is shrouded, and real understanding is impossible, that rarely stops the feeling of understanding from rushing in anyway and acting like it owns the place. Two great quotes:

In the study of ideas, it is necessary to remember that hard-headed clarity issues from sentimental feeling, as it were a mist, cloaking the perplexities of fact. Insistence on clarity at all costs is based on sheer superstition as to the mode in which human intelligence functions. Our reasonings grasp at straws for premises and float on gossamers for deductions.
— A. N. Whitehead

Or, more tersely

There’s no sense in being precise when you don’t even know what you’re talking about.
— John von Neumann

Also, while I’m writing, some quotes by McLuhan from his graphic book “The Medium is the Massage” (sic). McLuhan can be eye-rolly, but not as bad as I’d expected. But maybe I’d been thinking of Luhmann, it’s hard to keep these media theorists straight. Here is a hopeful one:

There is absolutely no inevitability as long as there is a willingness to contemplate what is happening

And here is one that clearly expresses a deep argument for the value of telecom. It is clear enough that it could be tested in experiments, which is worth doing, because you wouldn’t want to just assume he’s right.

Media, by altering the environment, evoke in us unique ratios of sense perceptions. The extension of any one sense alters the way we think and act—the way we perceive the world. When these ratios change, men change.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 and is filed under Uncategorized.