January 8, 2010

Problems & Solutions

Note: This entry is designed to gather into one place the aphorisms in which Gómez Dávila mentions problems and solutions.

To philosophize is not to solve problems but to live them at a certain level. (#1,482)

The authentic problem demands not that we solve it but that we try to live it. (#145)

Metaphysical problems do not haunt man so that he will solve them, but so that he will live them. (#1,757)

A personal group of authentic solutions has the coherence not of a system but of a symphony. (#1,644)

An irritating man is one who claims that the solution he adopts has been reached in an impersonal way, the one who does not want to take responsibility for what he adopts. (#2,087)

Propose solutions?
As if the world were not drowning in solutions! (#1,448)

Modern man comforts himself by thinking that “everything has a solution.” As if there were no sinister solutions! (#2,145)

Human problems are neither exactly definable, nor remotely solvable.
He who expects Christianity to solve them has ceased to be a Christian. (#796)

The Christian does not pretend that the problems posed by religion have been solved; instead, he transcends them. (#2,887)

Christianity does not solve “problems”; it merely obliges us to live them at a higher level.
Those who claim that it does solve them entangle it in the irony of every solution. (#1,716)

The modern clergy declare that Christianity seeks to solve earthly problems—thereby confusing it with utopia. (#2,712)

Christianity does not teach that the problem is solved, but that the prayer is answered. (#1,707)

That Christianity may not solve social problems is no reason to commit apostasy except for those who forget that it never promised to solve them. (#1,080)

Faith in God does not solve problems, but makes them laughable.
The serenity of the believer is not a presumption of knowledge, but a fullness of confidence. (#907)

The solutions man finds always end up being less interesting than the problems.
The only interesting solutions are those which God reserves to Himself. (#1,155)

Philosophy is the art of lucidly formulating problems.
Inventing solutions is not an occupation of serious intellects. (#878)

Fashion adopts those philosophies which cautiously avoid problems. (#1,633)

Formulating the problems of today in a traditional vocabulary strips away their false pretenses. (#2,791)

Solutions in philosophy are the disguise of new problems. (#2,627)

We solve certain problems by proving they do not exist, and others we deny even exist so that we do not have to solve them. (#1,741)

An educated man is not someone who walks around loaded with answers, but who is capable of asking questions. (#1,055)

The man who does not claim to have panaceas does not become obliged to answer questions to which he has no answers. (#2,011)

Intelligence hastens to solve problems which life has not even raised yet.
Wisdom is the art of stopping it. (#552)

As a new problem is born out of a problem solved, wisdom consists not in solving problems but in taming them. (#581)

Innumerable problems arise from the method by which we seek to solve them. (#1,838)

Intelligence consists not in finding solutions, but in not losing sight of the problems. (#1,043)

Being a reactionary is not about believing in certain solutions, but about having an acute sense of the complexity of the problems. (#1,102)

The most convinced reactionary is the repentant revolutionary, that is to say: the man who has known the reality of the problems and has discovered the falseness of the solutions. (#2,163)

To be a reactionary is to understand that man is a problem without a human solution. (#2,357)

We frequently discover, after many years, that deliberate solutions end up being more intolerable than problems. (#815)

The “solutions” that puff contemporaries up with pride seem within a few years inconceivably stupid. (#1,601)

The fool exclaims that we are denying the problem when we show the falsity of his favorite solution. (#1,809)

Man needs less to solve his problems than to believe that they have been solved. (#1,545)

It is never possible to solve a problem well, but it is always possible to solve it worse. (#2,292)

Social problems cannot be solved.
But we can ameliorate them by preventing our determination to alleviate just one from aggravating them all. (#1,309)

We always prefer relief that exacerbates over a remedy that cures. (#582)

Our misery proceeds less from our problems than from the solutions which are appropriate for them. (#872)

Politics is not the art of imposing the best solutions, but of blocking the worst. (#725)

Man matures when he stops believing that politics solves his problems. (#1,469)

Every political solution limps, but some limp with grace. (#2,079)

What is difficult about every moral or social problem is based on the fact that its appropriate solution is not a question of all or nothing, but of more or less. (#2,826)

Even when it is right, a revolution solves nothing. (#1,618)

Revolutions do not solve any problem other than their leaders’ economic problem. (#1,525)

The problem of increasing inflation could be solved, if the modern mentality did not put up insurmountable resistance against any attempt to restrain human greed. (#2,948)

A non-economic problem does not appear worthy, in our time, of the attention of a serious citizen. (#2,557)

When we see that man cannot calculate the consequences of his actions, political problems do not lose their importance, but the solutions lose their interest. (#557)

A man is intelligent if what seems easy to everybody else seems difficult to him.
The number of audacious solutions a politician proposes increases with the stupidity of the listeners. (#745)

Social problems are the favorite refuge of those fleeing their own problems. (#1,137)

“Solutions” are the ideologies of stupidity. (#954)

What is called a solution is temporary insensibility to a problem. (#2,218)

Man closes his eyes before the real problems, just as the commentator does before the real difficulties of the text. (#992)

The solution which is not ready to laugh at itself stultifies or drives one insane. (#2,262)

Superficiality consists, basically, in hatred of the contradictions of life. (#1,072)

Each day I expect less and less to meet somebody who does not nurse the certainty of knowing how the world’s ills might be cured. (#775)

Grave problems never frighten the fool.
Those men who are disquieted, for example, by the qualitative deterioration of a society, make him laugh. (#1,324)

What happens in periods of unbelief is not that religious problems appear absurd, but that they do not appear to be problems. (#555)

Problems are also distributed along class lines.
There are noble problems, plebeian problems, and innumerable middling problems. (#1,652)

The impossibility of finding solutions teaches us that we should devote ourselves to ennobling the problems. (#2,072)

What save us from problems that defile us are problems that distress us. (#1,841)

Knowing solves only subordinate problems, but learning protects against tedium. (#2,731)

To be modern is not to have overcome yesterday’s problems; it is to believe one has overcome them. (#1,185)

The modern mind became paralyzed by believing that there are problems that have been solved. (#1,695)

The belief in the fundamental solubility of problems is a characteristic peculiar to the modern world.
That all conflict between principles is simply a matter of equivocation, that there will be aspirin for every headache. (#964)

After solving a problem, humanity imagines that it finds in analogous solutions the key to all problems.
Every authentic solution brings in its wake a train of grotesque solutions. (#2,669)

The American is not intolerable because he believes he is important individually, but because he possesses, insofar as he is an American, the solution to every problem. (#2,320)

The social sciences abound in problems that are unintelligible by their very nature to both the American professor and the Marxist intellectual. (#2,908)

Problems do not get solved; they merely go out of fashion. (#1,565)

True problems do not have a solution but a history. (#807)

No problem exists which can be understood outside its historical context, nor which can be completely reduced to it. (#2,078)

Determining what is the cause and what is the effect tends to be an insoluble problem in history. (#2,767)

The historian tends to forget that in every era man has no problems except those he believes he has. (#1,040)

Negative criticism sometimes achieves those conversions of the soul which significantly modify the problems.
“Constructive” criticism only multiplies catastrophes. (#816)

A naked body solves all the universe’s problems. (#239)

The problem is not sexual repression, nor sexual liberation, but sex. (#1,438)

Despite what is taught today, easy sex does not solve every problem. (#2,533)

Order is a deception.
But disorder is not a solution. (#1,351)

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