All paintings start out of a mood, out of a relationship with things or people, out of a complete visual impression. To call this expression abstract seems to me often to confuse the issue. Abstract means literally to draw from or separate. In this sense every artist is abstract . . . a realistic or non-objective approach makes no difference. The result is what counts.
Science sometimes improves hypotheses and sometimes disproves them. But proof would be another matter and perhaps never occurs except in the realms of totally abstract tautology. We can sometimes say that if such and such abstract suppositions or postulates are given, then such and such abstract suppositions or postulates are given, then such and such must follow absolutely. But the truth about what can be perceived or arrived at by induction from perception is something else again.
When needs and means become abstract in quality, abstraction is also a character of the reciprocal relation of individuals to oneanother. This abstract character, universality, is the character of being recognized and is the moment which makes concrete, i.e. social, the isolated and abstract needs and their ways and means of satisfaction.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Well, good science fiction is intelligent. It asks big questions that are on people's minds. It's not impossible. It has some sort of root in the abstract. So automatically you're getting closer to potentially divine sources of interest because it is abstract. It's one of the only ways that a film actor can express himself in the abstract and have audiences still go along for the ride. They don't contend it. They accept it, that they're going to go places that are a bit more of the imagination, a bit more out there, and that's more and more where I like to dance.
A man's knowledge may be said to be mature, in other words, when it has reached the most complete state of perfection to which he, as an individual, is capable of bringing it, when an exact correspondence is established between the whole of his abstract ideas and the things he has actually perceived for himself. His will mean that each of his abstract ideas rests, directly or indirectly, upon a basis of observation, which alone endows it with any real value; and also that he is able to place every observation he makes under the right abstract idea which belongs to it.
For what reason then do the realists show themselves so unfriendly toward philosophy? Because they misunderstand their own calling and with all their might want to remain restricted instead of becoming unrestricted! Why do they hate abstractions? Because they themselves are abstract since they abstract from the perfection of themselves, from the elevation of redeeming truth!
Abstract understanding doesn't mean arbitrary sloshing and messing. Abstract art is controlled visual magic based on laws and methodology. Abstraction generally involves implication, suggestion and mystery rather that obvious description. Like a good poem, a good abstraction attacks your feelings before your understanding. Abstraction within realism adds zest and excitement to otherwise dull subject matter. Abstract understanding takes time and patience.
And I have to say, books haven't helped much with all this. Because whenever you read anything about love, whenever anyone tries to define it, there's always a state or an abstract noun, and I try to think of it like that. But actually, love is... Well, it's just you. And when you go, it's gone. Nothing abstract about it.
It's one thing to predict [the complete breakdown of civilization]. It's something else again to be right in the middle of it. It's a very humbling thing... for an academic like me to find his abstract theories turning into concrete reality... It was all just so many words to me, really, just a philosophical exercise, completely abstract.
The one object of fifty years of abstract art is to present art-as-art and as nothing else, to make it into the one thing it is only, separating and defining it more and more, making it purer and emptier, more absolute and more exclusive - non-objective, non-representational, non-figurative, non-imagist, non-expressionist, non-subjective. the only and one way to say what abstract art or art-as-art is, is to say what it is not.
There are several kinds of truths, and it is customary to place in the first order mathematical truths, which are, however, only truths of definition. These definitions rest upon simple, but abstract, suppositions, and all truths in this category are only constructed, but abstract, consequences of these definitions ... Physical truths, to the contrary, are in no way arbitrary, and do not depend on us.
I'm really creating abstract shapes and relationships that work together. They come together and give the illusion of reality, but they're really abstract shapes. If you look at individual shapes, they aren't the shape of anything, but together they give you the illusion of hills and sun and flowers.
Truth is that concordance of an abstract statement with the ideal limit towards which endless investigation would tend to bring scientific belief, which concordance the abstract statement may possess by virtue of the confession of its inaccuracy and one-sidedness, and this confession is an essential ingredient of truth.
Charles Sanders Peirce
I remember one occasion when I tried to add a little seasoning to a review, but I wasn't allowed to. The paper was by Dorothy Maharam, and it was a perfectly sound contribution to abstract measure theory. The domains of the underlying measures were not sets but elements of more general Boolean algebras, and their range consisted not of positive numbers but of certain abstract equivalence classes. My proposed first sentence was: "The author discusses valueless measures in pointless spaces."
Abstract reason, formerly the servant of practical human reasons, has everywhere become its master, and denies poetry any excuse for existence. Though philosophers like to define poetry as irrational fancy, for us it is practical, humorous, reasonable way of being ourselves. Of never acquiescing in a fraud; of never accepting the secondary-rate in poetry, painting, music, love, friends. Of safeguarding our poetic institutions against the encroachments of mechanized, insensate, inhumane, abstract rationality.
I have spent much time in the study of the abstract sciences; but the paucity of persons with whom you can communicate on such subjects disgusted me with them. When I began to study man, I saw that these abstract sciences are not suited to him, and that in diving into them, I wandered farther from my real object than those who knew them not, and I forgave them for not having attended to these things. I expected then, however, that I should find some companions in the study of man, since it was so specifically a duty. I was in error. There are fewer students of man than of geometry.
Modern transcendental idealism, Emersonianism, for instance, also seems to let God evaporate into abstract Ideality. Not a deity in concreto, not a superhuman person, but the immanent divinity in things, the essentially spiritual structure of the universe, is the object of the transcendentalist cult. In that address of the graduating class at Divinity College in 1838 which made Emerson famous, the frank expression of this worship of mere abstract laws was what made the scandal of the performance.
The rejection of all abstract formalism. Materialism reminds every science of its real source: the world men transform. No science can, whether in its history or its object, grasp its own origins within itself or constitute itself as a closed world, exhaustively defined by internal rules. Materialism refers every science and every activity to the reality they depend on, even if this dependence is masked by a great many abstract mediations: mathematics as well as logic, aesthetics as well as ethics and politics.
For centuries, we in the West have thought of ourselves as rational animals whose mental capacities transcend our bodily nature. In this traditional view our minds are abstract, logical, unemotionally rational, consciously accessible, and, above all, able to directly fit and represent the world. Language has a special place in thie view of what a human is - it is a privileged, logical symbol system internal to our minds that transparently expresses abstract concepts that are defined in terms of the external world itself.
Abstract systems depend on trust, yet they provide none of the moral rewards which can be obtained from personalised trust, or were often available in traditional settings from the moral frameworks within which everyday life was undertaken. Moreover, the wholesale penetration of abstract systems into daily life creates risks which the individual is not well placed to confront; high-consequence risks fall into this category. Greater interdependence, up to and including globally independent systems, means greater vulnerability when untoward events occur that affect those systems as a whole.
The more ardently I see humanity as a glorious abstract that must conform to my ideal of how the world should be, the harder it is for me to love the person on the other side of the picket line who is holding up progress. I can love the downtrodden in the abstract, but as I shivered under the bridge that night with Jorge, I realized that it's harder to love the illegal immigrant with the bottle-slashed face and the body unwashed for weeks, the workers gathering to eat day-old bread and chicken and rice out of foam containers, the crowd of thousands clamoring for bread and fish and healing, the unclean woman hoping to touch the hem of the Savior's robe.
Education as the practice of freedom--as opposed to education as the practice of domination--denies that man is abstract, isolated, independent and unattached to the world; it also denies that the world exists as reality apart from people. Authentic reflection considers neither abstract man nor the world without people, but people in their relations with the world. In these relations consciousness and world are simultaneous: consciousness neither precedes the world nor follows it.