Meaning Quotes

... life is meaningless unless you bring meaning to it; ... it is up to us to create our own existence. Unless you do something, unless you make something it's as though you aren't there.

Alan Alda

When we say a character in my films doesn't function, we mean he doesn't function as a person, but he does function as a character that is, until you take him as a symbol. At that point it is you who are not functioning. Why not simply accept him as a character, without judging him? Accept him for what he is. Accept him as a character in a story, without claiming that he derives or acquires meaning from that story. There may be meanings, but they are different for all of us.

Michelangelo Antonioni

When a scene is being shot, it is very difficult to know what one wants it to say, and even if one does know, there is always a difference between what one has in mind and the result on film. I never think ahead of the shot I'm going to make the following day because if I did, I'd only produce a bad imitation of the original image in my mind. So what you see on the screen doesn't represent my exact meaning, but only my possibilities of expression, with all the limitations implied in that phrase. Perhaps the scene reveals my incapacity to do better; perhaps I felt subconsciously ironic toward it. But it is on film; the rest is up to you.

Michelangelo Antonioni

We are saddled with a culture that hasn't advanced as far as science. Scientific man is already on the moon, and yet we are still living with the moral concepts of Homer. Hence this upset, this disequilibrium that makes weaker people anxious and apprehensive, that makes it so difficult for them to adapt to the mechanism of modern life. ... We live in a society that compels us to go on using these concepts, and we no longer know what they mean. In the future not soon, perhaps by the twenty-fifth century these concepts will have lost their relevance. I can never understand how we have been able to follow these worn-out tracks, which have been laid down by panic in the face of nature. When man becomes reconciled to nature, when space becomes his true background, these words and concepts will have lost their meaning, and we will no longer have to use them.

Michelangelo Antonioni

In this book we are concerned with how to create mass organizations to seize power and give it to the people; to realize the democratic dream of equality, justice, peace, cooperation, equal and full opportunities for education, full and useful employment, health, and the creation of those circumstances in which man can have the chance to live by values that give meaning to life.

Saul David Alinsky

A lot of the arguments about religion going on at the moment spring from a rather inept understanding of religious truth Our notion changed during the early modern period when we became convinced that the only path to any kind of truth was reason. That works beautifully for science but doesn't work so well for the humanities. Religion is really an art form and a struggle to find value and meaning amid the ghastly tragedy of human life.

Karen Armstrong

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.

St. Augustine of Hippo

All wishes, whatever their apparent content, have the same and unvarying meaning: "I refuse to be what I am."

Wystan Hugh Auden

When the bubble of ignorance bursts the self realizes its oneness with the indivisible Self. Words that proceed from the Source of Truth have real meaning. But when men speakthese words as their own, the words become meaningless.

Meher Baba

If now Isay "Stealing money is wrong," I produce a sentence which has no factual meaning that is, expresses no proposition which can be either true or false. It is as if I had written "Stealing money!!" where the shape and thickness of the exclamation marks show, by a suitable convention, that a special sort of moral disapproval is the feeling which is being expressed.

Sir Alfred Jules Ayer

I am a dreamer of words, of written words. I think I am reading; a word stops me. I leave the page. The syllables of the word begin to move around. Stressed accents begin to invert. The word abandons its meaning like an overload which is too heavy and prevents dreaming. Then words take on other meanings as if they had the right to be young. And the words wander away, looking in the nooks and crannies of vocabulary for new company, bad company.

Gaston Bachelard

Out in Hollywood, where the streets are paved with Goldwyn, the word "sophisticate" means, very simply, "obscene." A sophisticated story is a dirty story. Some of that meaning was wafted eastward and got itself mixed up into the present definition. So that a "sophisticate" means: one who dwells in a tower made of a DuPont substitute for ivory and holds a glass of flat champagne in one hand and an album of dirty post cards in the other.

Dorothy Parker

Faced with the nonsense question 'What is the meaning of a word?' and perhaps dimly recognizing it to be nonsense, we are nevertheless not inclined to give it up.

John Langshaw Austin

It may justly be urged that, properly speaking, what alone has meaning is a sentence.

John Langshaw Austin

Cripple crow say something for our grieving, where do we go once we start leaving. Well close that wound or else keep on bleeding and change your tune, it's got no meaning.

Devendra Banhart

In most people's vocabularies, design means veneer. It's interior decorating. It's the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.

Steve Jobs

Since the essence of the soul is but a will to bestow, and all its manifestations and possessions are fulfillments of that will to bestow (...) therefore it is immortal and irreplaceable. The soul, with all its manifestations is eternal and exists forever. Absence does not apply to them upon the departure of the body. On the contrary, the absence of the corrupted form of the body, greatly strengthens it, thus enabling it to rise to the Heavens. Thus we have clearly shown that the persistence in no way depends upon the concepts it has acquired, as philosophers claim, but its eternality is in its very essence, meaning in its will to bestow, which is its essence. And the concepts it acquires are its reward, not its essence.

Yehuda Ashlag

Indeed, if we set our hearts to answer but one very famous question, I am certain that all these questions and doubts will vanish from the horizon, and you will look unto their place to find them gone. This indignant question is a question that the whole world asks, namely, What is the meaning of my life? In other words, these numbered years of our life that cost us so heavily and the numerous pains and torments that we suffer for them, to complete them to the fullest, who is it that enjoys them?

Yehuda Ashlag

There is a positive force, meaning constructive, and a negative force, meaning negative and destructive. They create and complement the entire reality in general and particular through their harsh and perpetual war with one another. As we have said above, the negative force appears at the end of every political phase, elevating it to a better state, and thus the phases follow one another until they reach their ultimate perfection (...) In addition, being a social creature, the individual development is not enough. Rather, ones ultimate perfection depends on the development of all the members of society.

Yehuda Ashlag

There are only a few images that are not forced to provide meaning, or have to go through the filter of a specific idea.

Jean Baudrillard

Imam Ali was asked the meaning of being well-off or well-provided for. Imam Ali replied, "Your welfare does not lie in your having enormous wealth and numerous children but it rests in your being highly educated and forbearing and in your being proud of your obedience to God. If you do a good deed then thank God for it and if you commit a sin then repent and atone for it. In this world there is a real welfare for two kinds of people, one is the person who, when commits a sin, atones for it and the other is anxious to do good as much as possible.

Ali bin Abu-Talib

We painted embroidered and made collages. All these works were drawn from the simplest forms and were probably the first examples of concrete art. These works are realities pure and independent with no meaning or cerebral intention. We rejected all mimesis and description, giving free reign to the elementary and spontaneous.

Jean Arp

I think that the effort is to reach a realm of meaning that is not quite sayable. You stay away from what can be said and you try to reach what cant quite be said. Yet it is nevertheless meaningful. And there is such a realm and it is very difficult to talk about. Its not quite nonverbal, but that comes fairly close.

Donald Barthelme

It is not given me to trace The lovely laughter of that face, Like a clear brook most full of light, Or olives swaying on a height, So silver they have wings, almost; Like a great word once known and lost And meaning all things. Nor her voice A happy sound where larks rejoice, Her body, that great loveliness, The tender fashion of her dress, I may not paint them. These I see, Blazing through all eternity, A fire-winged sign, a glorious tree!

Stephen Vincent Bent
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