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JonnyCeltics's avatar

What does this quote mean to you?

Asked by JonnyCeltics (2721points) December 11th, 2009

“Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer

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24 Answers

jfos's avatar

I think the quotation means that it is hard to be conscious of all the places/people in the world, because one can only see so far.

Now, there are some people who travel the world, but I would say that most people never leave their orbital of comfort. (Either because they don’t want to or because they don’t have the means to.)

Wonder's avatar

People cannot see further than their noses.

janbb's avatar

That one takes one’s subjective reality to be objective reality.

ubersiren's avatar

Men are short sighted? I can’t relate. I’m a woman. ;)

jfos's avatar

@ubersiren If you didn’t have Bob Marley lyrics on your profile, I would have to take you to a debate.

nisse's avatar

People think their own limitations in ability and imagination apply to everyone else.

StupidGirl's avatar

Schopenhauer was probably “taking the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world” when he came up with that.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

How weird – I’ve been seeing this quote in the subway and wanted to ask this same question on Fluther but you beat me to it – and all I have to say is that I agree with the quote and believe that people’s perception of the world and concepts is colored by their own reality, paradigms and knowledge

dayvid's avatar

I agree with it. A man’s own world is often within his own head. Or at least within his own heart. :)

Sonnerr's avatar

Perhaps he was referancing the fact that men take in to account only what they deem to be worth the truth and therefore, it can only be that one truth that governs the whole world that they live in. If there was some other way to walk around a river and that man found it to be truth, then the next time that he comes to that river, he’ll have more options to get across.

CMaz's avatar

Means we always settle for what we know.

Strauss's avatar

(It means) Our world exists only within our own conception.

DrBill's avatar

Most people cannot imagine anything larger than their own personal view.

It’s like when you hear a new idea, and you say to yourself, “it’s so obvious, why didn’t I think of that?”

You did not think of it because you were limited by your own personal view (thought patterns) of the possibilities, now that you have this new information, your personal view expands to encompass it.

mcbealer's avatar

we’re our own worst critic

ninjacolin's avatar

I think this quote speaks to perception and the fact that what you consider to be scientific fact can be different than what i consider to be scientific fact. because we believe two different things are factual, it produces divergent expectations about what to do about those facts.

eg. a bomb in a hospital has to be diffused. you believe the red wire has to be cut to save the hospital. i believe the blue wire has to be cut to save the hospital. our actions are dictated by those beliefs about what is real.

i would cut the blue wire, you would cut the red. why? because we both believe our perspectives are reflective of what is real and practical and right.

ubersiren's avatar

@jfos : I kid, I kid.

Darwin's avatar

You see the world in terms of what you know by your own experience.

I prefer this quote in light of our current contentiousness about so many things these days:

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

filmfann's avatar

I rather like the title to a Pete Townesend album. “All the best cowboys have chinese eyes”. It means they are limited to achieving the right in the right and wrong world of their limited vision.

Poser's avatar

I am the center of the universe.

Nially_Bob's avatar

My immediate assumption is that the quote refers to the (seemingly present) human tendency to assume that our individual standards and preferences apply to others. An example of this being when someone dislikes participating in physical contact sports for fear of getting harmed they may find it confusing (or even unfavorable) that others consider these sports to be recreational due to the person, to some extent, assuming that others shall feel similarly to them in this regard.

Berserker's avatar

I think it means that most people limit the extent of everything to their own level of comprehension, and so define all by their limited knowledge instead of trying to understand further than they currently do.

ninjacolin's avatar

@Nially_Bob yea i agree.

another example is how people say things like: “Football sucks!” Statements like these imply (and the sentiment of the person saying it usually is) that the assertion is true universally when the truth is: “Football only sucks in my opinion” would be more accurate.

ninjacolin's avatar

also have to consider how some people have different manners. So, when someone tries to do some old fashioned chivalry, such as holding the door for lady.. the lady turns out to be a raging militant feminist and she says something like: “I can do that myself, you know!”

The man who held the door felt “everyone would appreciate this gesture.” But.. he was wrong. :) What was true for him wasn’t true for the whole world.

TexasDude's avatar

People think the world is only as big as their conception of it, and where their ingenuity ends, so does others.

That’s what I get out of it, at least.

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