Archive | understanding

Silence is one of the great arts of conversation

Silence is one of the great arts of conversation. – Cicero What does that mean? To me, it basically says “Shut up already!” We know that you can’t have a conversation with both (or all) of the people talking at the same time. So somehow we have to take turns. There are some social conventions […]

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Disturbing emotions not only disturb our own state of mind, they also disturb the minds of others.

Disturbing emotions not only disturb our own state of mind, they also disturb the minds of others. – Dalai Lama What does that mean? Our lives intersect the lives of others. When we are with others, if we have any empathy at all (most of us do, to some extent), we can get a sense of how […]

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If you would judge, understand.

If you would judge, understand. – Seneca What does that mean? I would expand this slightly to state “If you would judge, first you must understand.” I don’t know if he was carving all his quotes into stone, or if he was a minimalist, but so many of these quotes are just so terse it […]

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If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver.

If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. – Winston Churchill What does that mean? This is Sir Winston at his finest. It is part of a longer quote, which goes into detail as to how to properly use a pile driver to make your point. […]

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The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.

The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom. – Sun Tzu What does that mean? Obviously, this quote is a little longer that can be posted on Twitter, so the tweet is […]

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There is no delight in owning anything unshared.

There is no delight in owning anything unshared. – Seneca What does that mean? This seems fairly straight forward, doesn’t it? How many things have you ever purchased that you deliberately hid from the world, that nobody else knew about? We tend to get stuff to either share or to show off. Some people go […]

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Time heals what reason cannot.

Time heals what reason cannot. – Seneca What does that mean? “Be reasonable about it.” You’ve heard this before, I’d imagine. Something has happened, and you are upset. You eventually calm down and think through the problem. Most of the time you can come to an understanding of what happened and reason prevails. Perhaps it […]

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Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.

Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. – Albert Einstein What does that mean? If two people (or two countries – this saying seems to scale fairly well) don’t understand one another, there cannot be a peace.  There will be misunderstandings leading to friction, which leads to heated arguments […]

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If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.

If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. – Albert Einstein What does that mean? To me, it talks about the straight forward answer.  E=mc2.  Simple, elegant and still holding true over a century later.  Some less esoteric examples?  Water flows downhill : gravity.  Hot air rises : density.  Light going […]

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Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. – Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Seneca the Younger) What does that mean? This phrase, in a slightly different wording, is also frequently attributed to Mark Twain, but I think Seneca probably said […]

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You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe What does that mean? Well, most people are really nice to the people who can help them.  Weather it’s buttering them up or brown-nosing, there are a plethora of terms […]

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Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. – Mohandas Gandhi What does that mean? While the term “correct under-standing” shows up repeatedly in Buddhist writings, I am told by a reliable source (a Zen Assistant-Priest) that the English words mean exactly what you’d expect.  So, let’s start out with a definition of the […]

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