The widespread inability to understand technological artifacts as fabricated entities, as social and cultural phenomena, derives from the fact that in retrospect only those technologies that prove functional for a culture and can be integrated into everyday life are 'left over.' However, the perception of what is functional, successful and useful is itself the product of social and cultural--and last but not least--political and economic processes. Selection processes and abandoned products and product forms are usually not discussed.
On land you saw how the pride of Captain Pedel was so much humbled that he with his men, who are as foolish as himself, could not even bear the look of my men ; and how, on the mere sight of my warriors, they threw down their arms and willingly awaited their well-deserved punishment with outstretched necks. Are these not sufficient proofs of your incompetency and inability to resist my forces?koxinga
Moral crusade: Public activity undertaken by middle-aged men who are cheating on their wives or diddling little boys. Moral crusades are particularly popular among those seeking power for their own personal pleasure, politicians who can't think of anything useful to do with their mandates, and religious professionals suffering from a personal inability to communicate with their god.john ralston saul
Historians are left forever chasing shadows, painfully aware of their inability ever to reconstruct a dead world in its completeness however thorough or revealing their documentation. We are doomed to be forever hailing someone who has just gone around the corner and out of earshot.Dead Certainties (Unwarranted Speculations) p. 320 (1991)
All the inducements of early society tend to foster immediate action; all its penalties fall on the man who pauses; the traditional wisdom of those times was never weary of inculcating that "delays are dangerous," and that the sluggish man the man "who roasteth not that which he took in hunting" will not prosper on the earth, and indeed will very soon perish out of it. And in consequence an inability to stay quiet, an irritable desire to act directly, is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind.walter bagehot
Speaking of love, one problem that recurs more and more frequently these days, in books and plays and movies, is the inability of people to communicate with the people they love: husbands and wives who can't communicate, children who can't communicate with their parents, and so on. And the characters in these books and plays and so on, and in real life, I might add, spend hours bemoaning the fact that they can't communicate. I feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up.tom lehrer
The liberty of the press is the birthright of a Briton, and is justly esteemed the firmest bulwark of the liberties of this country. It has been the terror of all bad ministers; for their dark and dangerous designs, of their weakness, inability, and duplicity, have thus been detected and shown to the public, generally in too strong and just colors for them to bear up against the odium of mankind. ... A wicked and corrupt administration must naturally dread this appeal to the world; and will be for keeping all the means of information from the prince, parliament, and people.John Wilkes, (The North Briton, No. 1. June 5, 1762).
From inability to let well alone; from too much zeal for the new and contempt for what is old; from putting knowledge before wisdom, science before art and cleverness before common sense; from treating patients as cases; and from making the cure of the disease more grievous than the endurance of the same, Good Lord, deliver us.Sir Robert Hutchison, 20th century physician, British Medical Journal, 1953; 1: 671.
The more I study the world, the more am I convinced of the inability of brute force to create anything durable.As quoted by Charles Sumner, "War System of the Commonwealth of Nations" (1849), in The works of Charles Sumner (1870), Vol. 2, p. 224.
The men who ushered in the Dark Ages were men like Theodoric and Cassiodorus, who were intent on restoring the cities, preserving the statues, and transcribing the classics. Their adoration of the ancient world was matched only by their inability to understand it, for by the time that they were born, classical culture was already dead. They were the first of the great medievals and began to build a new civilization in an attempt to restore the old.R. H. C. Davis A History of Medieval Europe from Constantine to Saint Louis (London: Longman, 1970) p. 53.
The inability to erase information has already taken on a name: the Streisand Effect.David Eagleman (2011). Why the Net Matters, or Six Easy Ways to Avert the Collapse of Civilization. Canongate Books. ISBN 0857860534.
A totally objective examination of it [the Qur'an] in the light of modern knowledge, leads us to recognize the agreement between the two, as has been already noted on repeated occasions. It makes us deem it quite unthinkable for a man of Muhammad's time to have been the author of such statements on account of the state of knowledge in his day. Such considerations are part of what gives the Qur'anic Revelation its unique place, and forces the impartial scientist to admit his inability to provide an explanation which calls solely upon materialistic reasoning."Maurice Bucaille, THE QUR'AN AND MODERN SCIENCE, 1981, p. 18
The Beginning of Philosophy is a Consciousness of your own Weakness and inability in necessary things.Epictetus, Discourses, Book II. Ch, XI. St. 1. Reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 596-97.
I look upon the Guadalcanal and Tulagi operations as the turning point from offensive to defensive, and the cause of our setback there was our inability to increase our forces at the same speed as you.Japanese Admiral Osami Nagano, Chief of Naval Staff, to American officers after the war.