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David Foster Wallace

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'You know what your problem is, Hallie?' 'I have just one problem?'

 
David Foster Wallace

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The answer is in the problem, not away from the problem. I go through the searching, analysing, dissecting process, in order to escape from the problem. But, if I do not escape from the problem and try to look at the problem without any fear or anxiety, if I merely look at the problem ó mathematical, political, religious, or any other ó and not look to an answer, then the problem will begin to tell me. Surely, this is what happens. We go through this process and eventually throw it aside because there is no way out of it. So, why canít we start right from the beginning, that is, not seek an answer to a problem? ó which is extremely arduous, isnít it? Because, the more I understand the problem, the more significance there is in it. To understand, I must approach it quietly, not impose on the problem my ideas, my feelings of like and dislike. Then the problem will reveal its significance. Why is it not possible to have tranquillity of the mind right from the beginning?

 
Jiddu Krishnamurti
 

It seems to me that the real problem is the mind itself, and not the problem which the mind has created and tries to solve. If the mind is petty, small, narrow, limited, however great and complex the problem may be, the mind approaches that problem in terms of its own pettiness. If I have a little mind and I think of God, the God of my thinking will be a little God, though I may clothe him with grandeur, beauty, wisdom, and all the rest of it. It is the same with the problem of existence, the problem of bread, the problem of love, the problem of sex, the problem of relationship, the problem of death. These are all enormous problems, and we approach them with a small mind; we try to resolve them with a mind that is very limited. Though it has extraordinary capacities and is capable of invention, of subtle, cunning thought, the mind is still petty. It may be able to quote Marx, or the Gita, or some other religious book, but it is still a small mind, and a small mind confronted with a complex problem can only translate that problem in terms of itself, and therefore the problem, the misery increases. So the question is: Can the mind that is small, petty, be transformed into something which is not bound by its own limitations?

 
Jiddu Krishnamurti
 

The problem of induction is, roughly speaking, the problem of finding a way to prove that certain empirical generalizations which are derived from past experience will hold good also in the future. There are only two ways of approaching this problem on the assumption that it is a genuine problem, and it is easy to see that neither of them can lead to its solution.

 
Alfred Jules Ayer
 

We always have had a great deal of difficulty in understanding the world view that quantum mechanics represents. At least I do, because I'm an old enough man that I haven't got to the point that this stuff is obvious to me. Okay, I still get nervous with it. And therefore, some of the younger students... you know how it always is, every new idea, it takes a generation or two until it becomes obvious that there's no real problem. It has not yet become obvious to me that there's no real problem. I cannot define the real problem, therefore I suspect there's no real problem, but I'm not sure there's no real problem.

 
Richard Feynman
 

The problem of thermonuclear reactions is not a usual physics problem. This is a problem that must transform society and the world. Our generation, which gave to mankind atomic energy and thermonuclear energy in the form of explosions, is responsible to humanity for solving the main problem of energy Ė obtaining energy from water. People are waiting for the solution of this problem. Our duty is to solve it within the lifetime of our generation, and therefore we must set out on this path.

 
Gersh Budker
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