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Robert F. Kennedy may have said this in a speech somewhere at some time but if he did, he was quoting George Bernard Shaw. What Robert Kennedy may have meant by quoting Shaw is unknown to me. I can, however tell you what I think the phrase means, or at the very least what it means to me.

The first part of this phrase; "Some men see things as they are and ask why..." can be taken two ways. First a scientist or philosopher will see things the way they are and ask why to better understand the mechanics of reality. The second inference is that men see the world they don't understand, feel victimized by the circumstances and ask in helplessness, why? In the full context of the quotation I would argue that the second interpretation is more harmonious with the full meaning of the phrase.

The second part of this phrase; "...I dream things that never happened and ask why not?" Is a bold assertion that it is better to be cause over the way things are than it is to be the effect of them. Once only birds ruled the sky, now man rules the sky. We are more powerful, each and every one of us, than most of us give ourself credit of being. It was Goethe who said; "If you can imagine it, you can achieve it."


Senator Edward (Ted) Kennedy actually used this Shaw quote at the end of his eulogy to his brother Robert. In part, he said:

My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

"Some men see things as they are and say why.

I dream things that never were and say why not."

It was a fitting and moving tribute to the late Attorney General of the United States, who probably would have won the Democratic nomination in the Presidential race, but who, thanks to Sirhan Sirhan, left his brother Ted as the only brother of the three in politics.

The assertion is that it is easier to see something that already exists and improve on it or at least modify it than it is to create something new and that the latter is nobler, perhaps more worthy of praise.

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โˆ™ 2014-03-11 15:14:21
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โˆ™ 2020-09-16 13:26:21

To keep improving and not just accept

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Q: Some men see things as they are and ask why I dream things that never were and ask why not What did Robert.F.Kennedy mean when he said that?
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