„Knowledge must start from some foundation, something must be recognized as known; otherwise we shall be obliged always to define one unknown by means of another.“

—  P. D. Ouspensky, Context: The most difficult thing is to know what we do know, and what we do not know. Therefore, desiring to know anything, we shall before all else determine WHAT we accept as given, and WHAT as demanding definition and proof; that is, determine WHAT we know already, and WHAT we wish to know. In relation to the knowledge of the world and of ourselves, the conditions would be ideal could we venture to accept nothing as given, and count all as demanding definition and proof. In other words, it would be best to assume that we know nothing, and make this our point of departure. But unfortunately such conditions are impossible to create. Knowledge must start from some foundation, something must be recognized as known; otherwise we shall be obliged always to define one unknown by means of another. Ch. I
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P. D. Ouspensky1
russischer Esoteriker und Schriftsteller, Gurdjieff-Schüler 1878 - 1947
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„Any one who thinks is an agnostic about something, otherwise he must believe that he is possessed of all knowledge. And the proper place for such a person is in the madhouse or the home for the feeble-minded.“

—  Clarence Darrow American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union 1857 - 1938
Context: An agnostic is a doubter. The word is generally applied to those who doubt the verity of accepted religious creeds of faiths. Everyone is an agnostic as to the beliefs or creeds they do not accept. Catholics are agnostic to the Protestant creeds, and the Protestants are agnostic to the Catholic creed. Any one who thinks is an agnostic about something, otherwise he must believe that he is possessed of all knowledge. And the proper place for such a person is in the madhouse or the home for the feeble-minded. In a popular way, in the western world, an agnostic is one who doubts or disbelieves the main tenets of the Christian faith.

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„Recognition implies previous knowledge, otherwise you cannot recognize.“

—  Jiddu Krishnamurti Indian spiritual philosopher 1895 - 1986
Context: In seeking there are several things involved: there is the seeker and the thing that he seeks after. When the seeker finds what he thinks is truth, is God, is enlightenment, he must be able to recognize it. He must recognize it, right? Recognition implies previous knowledge, otherwise you cannot recognize. I cannot recognize you if I had not met you yesterday. Therefore when I say this is truth, I have already known it and therefore it is not truth. So a man who is seeking truth lives a life of hypocrisy, because his truth is the projection of his memory, of his desire, of his intentions to find something other than "what is", a formula. So seeking implies duality — the one who seeks and the thing sought after — and where there is duality there is conflict. There is wastage of energy. So you can never find it, you can never invite it. p. 157

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„It would be well to begin with telepathy; with the fundamental law, as I believe it to be, that thoughts and images may be transferred from one mind to another without the agency of the recognized organs of sense — that knowledge may enter the human mind without being communicated in any hitherto known or recognized ways.“

—  William Crookes British chemist and physicist 1832 - 1919
Context: No incident in my scientific career is more widely known than the part I took many years ago in certain psychic researches. Thirty years have passed since I published an account of experiments tending to show that outside our scientific knowledge there exists a Force exercised by intelligence differing from the ordinary intelligence common to mortals. This fact in my life is, of course, well understood by those who honored me with the invitation to become your president. Perhaps among my audience some may feel curious as to whether I shall speak out or be silent. I elect to speak, although briefly. … To ignore the subject would be an act of cowardice — an act of cowardice I feel no temptation to commit. To stop short in any research that bids fair to widen the gates of knowledge, to recoil from fear of difficulty or adverse criticism, is to bring reproach on science. There is nothing for the investigator to do but to go straight on; "to explore up and down, inch by inch, with the taper his reason; "to follow the light wherever it may lead, even should it at times resemble a will-o'-the-wisp. I have nothing to retract. I adhere to my already published statements. Indeed, I might add much thereto. I regret only a certain crudity in those early expositions which, no doubt justly, militated against their acceptance by the scientific world. My own knowledge at that time scarcely extended beyond the fact that certain phenomena new to science had assuredly occurred, and were attested by my own sober senses and, better still, by automatic record. I was like some two-dimensional being who might stand at the singular point of a Riemann's surface, and thus find himself in infinitesimal and inexplicable contact with a plane of existence not his own. I think I see a little farther now. I have glimpses of something like coherence among the strange elusive phenomena; of something like continuity between those unexplained forces and laws already known. This advance is largely due to the labors of another association, of which I have also this year the honor to be president — the Society for Psychical Research. And were I now introducing for the first time these inquiries to the world of science I should choose a starting point different from that of old. It would be well to begin with telepathy; with the fundamental law, as I believe it to be, that thoughts and images may be transferred from one mind to another without the agency of the recognized organs of sense — that knowledge may enter the human mind without being communicated in any hitherto known or recognized ways.

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„To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.“

—  Marilyn vos Savant US American magazine columnist, author and lecturer 1946
As quoted in Courage: the heart and spirit of every woman : reclaiming the forgotten virtue (2001) by Sandra Ford Walston

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„We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain.“

—  Richard Feynman American theoretical physicist 1918 - 1988
Context: The scientist has a lot of experience with ignorance and doubt and uncertainty, and this experience is of very great importance, I think. When a scientist doesn’t know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is, he is uncertain. And when he is pretty darn sure of what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty — some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely certain. Now, we scientists are used to this, and we take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to be unsure, that it is possible to live and not know. But I don’t know whether everyone realizes this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born out of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle: permit us to question — to doubt — to not be sure. I think that it is important that we do not forget this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained.