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comprehend
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War and Peace
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comprehend
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War and Peace
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  • "Now then, go on, go on!" incited the officer, bending forward and trying not to lose a word of the speech which was incomprehensible to him.
  • There is nothing certain, nothing at all except the unimportance of everything I understand, and the greatness of something incomprehensible but all-important.
  • Pierre knew that everyone was waiting for him to say a word and cross a certain line, and he knew that sooner or later he would step across it, but an incomprehensible terror seized him at the thought of that dreadful step.
  • Either to a Power indefinable, incomprehensible, which I not only cannot address but which I cannot even express in words—the Great All or Nothing-" said he to himself, "or to that God who has been sewn into this amulet by Mary!
  • Natasha repeated with a smile of pity at her friend’s lack of comprehension.
  • And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
  • De Beausset closed his eyes, bowed his head, and sighed deeply, to indicate how profoundly he valued and comprehended the Emperor’s words.
  • Human sciences dissect everything to comprehend it, and kill everything to examine it.
  • He could not comprehend how anyone could wish to alter his life or introduce anything new into it, when his own life was already ending.
  • In the second category Pierre reckoned himself and others like him, seeking and vacillating, who had not yet found in Freemasonry a straight and comprehensible path, but hoped to do so.
  • Natasha did not understand what he was saying any more than he did himself, but she felt that his incomprehensible words had an improper intention.
  • —there in the presence of that Helene it had all seemed clear and simple; but now, alone by herself, it was incomprehensible.
  • The more we try to explain such events in history reasonably, the more unreasonable and incomprehensible do they become to us.
  • Whence came thy conception of the existence of such an incomprehensible Being? didst thou, and why did the whole world, conceive the idea of the existence of such an incomprehensible Being, a Being all-powerful, eternal, and infinite in all His attributes?
  • Whence came thy conception of the existence of such an incomprehensible Being? didst thou, and why did the whole world, conceive the idea of the existence of such an incomprehensible Being, a Being all-powerful, eternal, and infinite in all His attributes?
  • With Pfuel was Wolzogen, who expressed Pfuel’s thoughts in a more comprehensible way than Pfuel himself (who was a harsh, bookish theorist, self-confident to the point of despising everyone else) was able to do.
  • By the expression of her father’s face, not sad, not crushed, but angry and working unnaturally, she saw that hanging over her and about to crush her was some terrible misfortune, the worst in life, one she had not yet experienced, irreparable and incomprehensible—the death of one she loved.
  • Though it was quite incomprehensible why he should be King of Naples, he was called so, and was himself convinced that he was so, and therefore assumed a more solemn and important air than formerly.
  • To us it is incomprehensible that millions of Christian men killed and tortured each other either because Napoleon was ambitious or Alexander was firm, or because England’s policy was astute or the Duke of Oldenburg wronged.
  • The higher the human intellect rises in the discovery of these purposes, the more obvious it becomes, that the ultimate purpose is beyond our comprehension.
  • —that is, wants to exchange the current paper money for the real gold of actual comprehension.
  • Their laughter and their mutually incomprehensible remarks in two languages could be heard.
  • But at the instant when it seemed that the incomprehensible was revealing itself to her a loud rattle of the door handle struck painfully on her ears.
  • For us that movement of the peoples from west to east, without leaders, with a crowd of vagrants, and with Peter the Hermit, remains incomprehensible.
  • CHAPTER I. Absolute continuity of motion is not comprehensible to the human mind.
  • "Master, not here—don’t understand…. me, you…." said Gerasim, trying to render his words more comprehensible by contorting them.
  • In everything near and comprehensible he had only what was limited, petty, commonplace, and senseless.
  • But there are laws directing events, and some of these laws are known to us while we are conscious of others we cannot comprehend.
  • They were moved by fear or vanity, rejoiced or were indignant, reasoned, imagining that they knew what they were doing and did it of their own free will, but they all were involuntary tools of history, carrying on a work concealed from them but comprehensible to us.
  • And yet more incomprehensible is the cessation of that movement when a rational and sacred aim for the Crusade—the deliverance of Jerusalem—had been clearly defined by historic leaders.
  • We should in fact have reached those two fundamentals of which man’s whole outlook on the universe is constructed—the incomprehensible essence of life, and the laws defining that essence.
  • Disregarding the officers’ orders, the soldiers stood leaning against their stretchers and gazing intently, as if trying to comprehend the difficult problem of what was taking place before them.
  • Only by separating the two sources of cognition, related to one another as form to content, do we get the mutually exclusive and separately incomprehensible conceptions of freedom and inevitability.
  • She did not think of applying submission and self-abnegation to her own life, for she was accustomed to seek other joys, but she understood and loved in another those previously incomprehensible virtues.
  • That inexorable, eternal, distant, and unknown the presence of which he had felt continually all his life—was now near to him and, by the strange lightness he experienced, almost comprehensible and palpable….
  • There was a stir in the ranks of the soldiers and it was evident that they were all hurrying—not as men hurry to do something they understand, but as people hurry to finish a necessary but unpleasant and incomprehensible task.
  • The people’s minds were tuned to a high pitch and this was too simple and needlessly comprehensible—it was what any one of them might have said and therefore was what an ukase emanating from the highest authority should not say.
  • The self-sacrifice of a father or mother, or self-sacrifice with the possibility of a reward, is more comprehensible than gratuitous self-sacrifice, and therefore seems less deserving of sympathy and less the result of free will.
  • If the purpose of history be to give a description of the movement of humanity and of the peoples, the first question—in the absence of a reply to which all the rest will be incomprehensible—is: what is the power that moves peoples?
  • Five years have passed since then, and already I, with my petty understanding, begin to see clearly why she had to die, and in what way that death was but an expression of the infinite goodness of the Creator, whose every action, though generally incomprehensible to us, is but a manifestation of His infinite love for His creatures.
  • Religion alone can explain to us what without its help man cannot comprehend: why, for what cause, kind and noble beings able to find happiness in life—not merely harming no one but necessary to the happiness of others—are called away to God, while cruel, useless, harmful persons, or such as are a burden to themselves and to others, are left living.
  • The question again presented itself whether she was not guilty, whether she had not already broken faith with Prince Andrew, and again she found herself recalling to the minutest detail every word, every gesture, and every shade in the play of expression on the face of the man who had been able to arouse in her such an incomprehensible and terrifying feeling.
  • Laws of motion of any kind become comprehensible to man only when he examines arbitrarily selected elements of that motion; but at the same time, a large proportion of human error comes from the arbitrary division of continuous motion into discontinuous elements.
  • As the sun and each atom of ether is a sphere complete in itself, and yet at the same time only a part of a whole too immense for man to comprehend, so each individual has within himself his own aims and yet has them to serve a general purpose incomprehensible to man.
  • As the sun and each atom of ether is a sphere complete in itself, and yet at the same time only a part of a whole too immense for man to comprehend, so each individual has within himself his own aims and yet has them to serve a general purpose incomprehensible to man.
  • The third consideration is the degree to which we apprehend that endless chain of causation inevitably demanded by reason, in which each phenomenon comprehended, and therefore man’s every action, must have its definite place as a result of what has gone before and as a cause of what will follow.
  • And that other side of life, of which she had never before thought and which had formerly seemed to her so far away and improbable, was now nearer and more akin and more comprehensible than this side of life, where everything was either emptiness and desolation or suffering and indignity.
  • They understood that the saddles and Junot’s spoon might be of some use, but that cold and hungry soldiers should have to stand and guard equally cold and hungry Russians who froze and lagged behind on the road (in which case the order was to shoot them) was not merely incomprehensible but revolting.
  • They received Pierre in their small, new drawing-room, where it was impossible to sit down anywhere without disturbing its symmetry, neatness, and order; so it was quite comprehensible and not strange that Berg, having generously offered to disturb the symmetry of an armchair or of the sofa for his dear guest, but being apparently painfully undecided on the matter himself, eventually left the visitor to settle the question of selection.
  • This ideal of glory and grandeur—which consists not merely in considering nothing wrong that one does but in priding oneself on every crime one commits, ascribing to it an incomprehensible supernatural significance—that ideal, destined to guide this man and his associates, had scope for its development in Africa.
  • We cannot accurately estimate his genius in Austria or Prussia, for we have to draw our information from French or German sources, and the incomprehensible surrender of whole corps without fighting and of fortresses without a siege must incline Germans to recognize his genius as the only explanation of the war carried on in Germany.
  • On the one side reflection shows that the expression of a man’s will—his words—are only part of the general activity expressed in an event, as for instance in a war or a revolution, and so without assuming an incomprehensible, supernatural force—a miracle—one cannot admit that words can be the immediate cause of the movements of millions of men.
  • But even if we admitted that Kutuzov, Chichagov, and others were the cause of the Russian failures, it is still incomprehensible why, the position of the Russian army being what it was at Krasnoe and at the Berezina (in both cases we had superior forces), the French army with its marshals, kings, and Emperor was not captured, if that was what the Russians aimed at.
  • In neither case—however we may change our point of view, however plain we may make to ourselves the connection between the man and the external world, however inaccessible it may be to us, however long or short the period of time, however intelligible or incomprehensible the causes of the action may be—can we ever conceive either complete freedom or complete necessity.
  • …many people in the church; Natasha always stood beside Belova in the customary place before an icon of the Blessed Virgin, let into the screen before the choir on the left side, and a feeling, new to her, of humility before something great and incomprehensible, seized her when at that unusual morning hour, gazing at the dark face of the Virgin illuminated by the candles burning before it and by the morning light falling from the window, she listened to the words of the service which…
  • …he listened to, or himself took part in, trivial conversations, when he read or heard of human baseness or folly, he was not horrified as formerly, and did not ask himself why men struggled so about these things when all is so transient and incomprehensible—but he remembered her as he had last seen her, and all his doubts vanished—not because she had answered the questions that had haunted him, but because his conception of her transferred him instantly to another, a brighter, realm…
  • …St. Anne for the last maneuvers; strange as it was to think that he would go away without having sold his three roans to the Polish Count Golukhovski, who was bargaining for the horses Rostov had betted he would sell for two thousand rubles; incomprehensible as it seemed that the ball the hussars were giving in honor of the Polish Mademoiselle Przazdziecka (out of rivalry to the Uhlans who had given one in honor of their Polish Mademoiselle Borzozowska) would take place without him—he…
  • Princess Mary spoke of her childhood, of her mother, her father, and her daydreams; and Natasha, who with a passive lack of understanding had formerly turned away from that life of devotion, submission, and the poetry of Christian self-sacrifice, now feeling herself bound to Princess Mary by affection, learned to love her past too and to understand a side of life previously incomprehensible to her.
  • But though toward the end of the battle the men felt all the horror of what they were doing, though they would have been glad to leave off, some incomprehensible, mysterious power continued to control them, and they still brought up the charges, loaded, aimed, and applied the match, though only one artilleryman survived out of every three, and though they stumbled and panted with fatigue, perspiring and stained with blood and powder.
  • …of languages, the respect shown him by the French, his simplicity, his readiness to give anything asked of him (he received the allowance of three rubles a week made to officers); with his strength, which he showed to the soldiers by pressing nails into the walls of the hut; his gentleness to his companions, and his capacity for sitting still and thinking without doing anything (which seemed to them incomprehensible), he appeared to them a rather mysterious and superior being.
  • The third and most incomprehensible thing is that people studying history deliberately avoid seeing that this flank march cannot be attributed to any one man, that no one ever foresaw it, and that in reality, like the retreat from Fili, it did not suggest itself to anyone in its entirety, but resulted—moment by moment, step by step, event by event—from an endless number of most diverse circumstances and was only seen in its entirety when it had been accomplished and belonged to the…
  • If men descended from the apes at an unknown period of time, that is as comprehensible as that they were made from a handful of earth at a certain period of time (in the first case the unknown quantity is the time, in the second case it is the origin); and the question of how man’s consciousness of freedom is to be reconciled with the law of necessity to which he is subject cannot be solved by comparative physiology and zoology, for in a frog, a rabbit, or an ape, we can observe only…
  • We cannot comprehend either the Emperor’s aims or his actions!"
  • You mustn’t trifle with it, you know, or it may turn to pneumonia," she would go on, deriving much comfort from the utterance of that foreign word, incomprehensible to others as well as to herself.
  • But just as the force of gravitation, incomprehensible in itself but felt by every man, is understood by us only to the extent to which we know the laws of inevitability to which it is subject (from the first knowledge that all bodies have weight, up to Newton’s law), so too the force of free will, incomprehensible in itself but of which everyone is conscious, is intelligible to us only in as far as we know the laws of inevitability to which it is subject (from the fact that every man…
  • …in itself but felt by every man, is understood by us only to the extent to which we know the laws of inevitability to which it is subject (from the first knowledge that all bodies have weight, up to Newton’s law), so too the force of free will, incomprehensible in itself but of which everyone is conscious, is intelligible to us only in as far as we know the laws of inevitability to which it is subject (from the fact that every man dies, up to the knowledge of the most complex economic…

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  • I don’t think she comprehends how dangerous this has become.
  • Washington fails to comprehend the change in China’s strategy.

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