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Thread: help to understand the quote!

  1. #1
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    help to understand the quote!

    "Do what you know, and perception is converted into character."

    I really can't understand what it means. It doesn't help that this quote can be translated in Russian in different ways, depending on the meaning of the certain words you're using.

    Please, help.

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    I think the first phrase "do what you know" means that you should do what you have the knowledge, talent and/or ability to do. For example, let's assume you are a translator. One day you decide you want to be a concert pianist, but you do not have the necessary education, training and/or talent. If you follow the "do what you know" advice then you should not waste your time trying to be a concert pianist, but continue being a translator.

    In the second phrase I think "perception" primarily means your experience of the situations and environment in which you find yourself. It is the information you acquire through your physical senses and the impressions you form about it, that is your attitudes and understandings.

    In the second phrase I think "character" primarily means the mental and ethical traits, attributes and features that make up and distinguish you from other individuals.

    So "perception is converted into character" probably means that your experience forms your character.

    Here's another explanation of the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote:
    We should learn to behave like nature, enacting our best (most hidden) insight in order to convert perception into character. . . . an individual is the fixed result of complex natural processes that constitute the conditions of its individuation. Humans are both of such processes, and particular foci within them, like other forms of living energy . . .
    Levin, Jonathan, The Poetics of Transition: Emerson, Pragmatism, & American Literary Modernism 36 (1999)
    http://books.google.com/books?id=juEkvt ... 7p8Q&hl=en

  3. #3
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    Thanks! I PMed you.

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    Re: help to understand the quote!

    Quote Originally Posted by gRomoZeka
    "Do what you know, and perception is converted into character."

    I really can't understand what it means. It doesn't help that this quote can be translated in Russian in different ways, depending on the meaning of the certain words you're using.

    Please, help.
    Давай так:

    "Делай что ты знаешь, и понимание становится характером."

    That's the translation, and the explanation, above, is very good.
    Я плохо пишу по-русски. Если я совершаю ошибки, или что-то собственное противно смыслу или глазам, поправляйте, пожалуйста.

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