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Hello,
I don't understand this expression on this sentence:
' He asked me if i had read Sappho or Socrates. I said, nope, that I hadn't, and then he asked me the same about Dante and Donne. I said, not much. He said the thing to remember them was that YOU ALWAYS COME OUT WHERE YOU WENT IN'
Could someone help me?
Thanks in advance, JO.
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Hi,

It means that you gain nothing by reading the works of these people.

It's actually a quotation that was originally written by Mark Twain:

"And what does it amount to?" said Satan, with his evil chuckle. "Nothing at all. You gain nothing; you always come out where you went in. For a million years the race has gone on monotonously propagating itself and monotonously reperforming this dull nonsense--to what end? No wisdom can guess! Who gets a profit out of it? Nobody ...

Best wishes, Clive
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anonymousI don't understand this expression on this sentence:
' He asked me if I had read Sappho or Socrates. I said, nope, that I hadn't, and then he asked me the same about Dante and Donne. I said, not much. He said the thing to remember about them was that YOU ALWAYS COME OUT WHERE YOU WENT IN'
Could someone help me?

This is from Chronicles Volume 1 by Bob Dylan.

https://books.google.com/books?id=h97UxHlubtMC&pg=PT101&lpg=PT101&dq=%22He+asked+me+if+i+had+read+Sappho+or+Socrates.%22&source=bl&ots=T5duiNfi1q&sig=ACfU3U0Jj9_3mdKU69eZSq45HR4OmOp3Rw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwilz8aR84_uAhUD-6wKHX0EASkQ6AEwBnoECAgQAg#v=onepage&q=%22He%20asked%20me%20if%20i%20had%20read%20Sappho%20or%20Socrates.%22&f=false

Much of it is "borrowed" — not to say plagiarized — rather clumsily from writings of Archibald MacLeish and Carl Sandburg. Personally, I don't completely trust that the conversation which Dylan recollects here actually happened.

http://ralphriver.blogspot.com/2010/06/bob-dylan-carl-sandburg-and-problem.html

Anyway, as already mentioned by others, "you always come out where you went in" is generally associated with the perennial questions about the purpose of life. "Why are we here?" "What's the point of doing anything?" "Why is it that, in spite of all the progress humankind has made, things seem to be exactly the same as they have always been?"

CJ

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Comments  
Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about; but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

"Will it go round in circles?" (Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher)

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As in life generally.... Yes! Life IS a circle, is it not!

 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.