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Abstraction is the process or result of generalization by reducing the information content of a concept or an observable phenomenon.


  • For me, abstraction is real, probably more real than nature. I'll go further and say that abstraction is nearer my heart. I prefer to see with closed eyes.
  • The UN is not just a product of do-gooders. It is harshly real. The day will come when men will see the UN and what it means clearly. Everything will be all right — you know when? When people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction, and see it as a drawing they made themselves.
  • The reliance on the abstract is thus not a result of an over-estimation but rather of an insight into the limited powers of our reason. It is the over-estimation of the powers of reason which leads to the revolt against the submission to abstract rules. Constructivist rationalism rejects the demand for this discipline of reason because it deceives itself that reason can directly master all the particulars; and it is thereby led to a preference for the concrete over the abstract, the particular over the general, because its adherents do not realize how much they thereby limit the span of true control by reason. The hubris of reason manifests itself in those who believe that they can dispense with abstraction and achieve a full mastery of the concrete and thus positively master the social process.
  • The abstraction is often the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint.
  • Words are a medium that reduces reality to abstraction for transmission to our reason, and in their power to corrode reality inevitably lurks the danger that the words will be corroded too.
  • Denotation by means of sounds and markings is a remarkable abstraction. Three letters designate God for me; several lines a million things. How easy becomes the manipulation of the universe here, how evident the concentration of the intellectual world! Language is the dynamics of the spiritual realm. One word of command moves armies; the word Liberty entire nations.
    • Novalis, Blüthenstaub (1798) Fragment No. 2.
  • Everything abstract is ultimately part of the concrete. Everything inanimate finally serves the living. That is why every activity dealing in abstraction stands in ultimate service to a living whole.
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