Understanding a theory has, indeed, much in common with understanding a human personality. We may know or understand a man's system of dispositions pretty well; that is to say, we may be able to predict how he would act in a number of different situations. But since there are infinitely many possible situations, of infinite variety, a full understanding of a man's dispositions does not seem to be possible.
In my own version of the idea of 'what art wants,' the end and fulfillment of the history of art is the philosophical understanding of what art is, an understanding that is achieved in the way that understanding in each of our lives is achieved, namely, from the mistakes we make, the false paths we follow, the false images we have come to abandon until we learn wherein our limits consist, and then how to live within those limits.
At the outset, it is only liking, not understanding, that matters. Gaps in understanding ... are not only important, they are perhaps even welcome, like clearings in the woods, the better to allow the heart's rays to stream out without obstacle. The unlit shadows should remain obscure, which is the very condition of enchantment.
I'm not surprised that Governor Dean would oppose [the $87 billion to fund Iraq reconstruction].... I've lost confidence that he has any understanding of the national security responsibilities of a President... [b]ecause I don't believe that he has any understanding of the international role that the United States has to play in the world. I think it's a kind of a pseudo-isolationism that appeals to the base of the caucus voters. I do not believe that particularly in the case of Iraq that Governor Dean has any fundamental understanding of what's at stake here.