Understanding vs Knowing

“The effort to understand people, life, the universe prevents us from getting to know them at all. Since ‘to know’ and ‘to understand’ are two concepts which are not only non-identical, but just the opposite of one another in meaning… We think we have understood a phenomenon if we have included it in a list of others, previously known to us. And, since all our mental aspiration reduces itself to understanding the universe, we refuse to know a great deal which will not adapt itself to the plane surface of the contemporary world-conceptions… To us it seems, on the contrary, that in the interests of knowing we should sacrifice, and gladly, understanding, since understanding in any case is a secondary affair.”

From Lev Shestov’s All Things Are Possible


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