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- "Love - and I mean true love, real love - can cripple us. It can make us miserable, and even dangerous to those we love. It can make us jealous, clingy, overprotective, guilt-ridden, and even vengeful. But appreciation is pure. It's the kind of love that can can let us step away, and even watch a loved one suffer, when suffering is what they need." - Page 126 of What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better by Dan Baker, Ph.D..
- "In the natural world, beautiful usually means deadly. Beautiful with a casual demeanor always means deadly." - Edward O. Wilson in Naturalist.
- "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)
- "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
- "Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another;
it is the only way." - Albert Einstein
- "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." - George Bernard Shaw
- "Entrenched belief is never altered by the facts." - passed on by Dave in CA who heard it from Leo Haynes, a Caltrans Engineer
- "He [God] had even allowed me a glimpse into His own being. This was a great secret which I dared not and could not reveal to my father. I might have been able to reveal it had he been capable of understanding the direct experience of God. But in my talks with him I never got that far, never even came within sight of the problem, because I always set about it in a very unpsychological and intellectual way, and did everything possible to avoid the emotional aspects. Each time this approach was like a red rag to a bull and led to irritable reactions which were incomprehensible to me. I was unable to understand how a perfectly rational argument could meet with such emotional resistance." - Carl Jung on page 92 of Memories, Dreams, Reflections
- "When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world." - Author Unknown
- "The New Age stereotype is that it is all about changing ourselves internally and the world will take care of itself. The political activists’ stereotype is that we ignore our inner selves to save the world. Neither works! The cultural creatives are about leaving that dichotomy behind and integrating the evolution of the self and the work on the whole." - Sarah van Gelder, editor of Yes! A Journal of Positive Future
- "A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. They then dwell in the house next door, and at any moment a flame may dart out and set fire to his own house. Whenever we give up, leave behind, and forget too much, there is always the danger that the things we have neglected will return with added force." - Carl Jung in Memories, Dreams, Reflections
- “You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.” - Charles Bukowski
- “Psychological change requires resisting unproductive automatic reflexes and consciously and willfully choosing other alternatives - choices that are different, even opposite, from the automatic reflex - sometimes these new ways of behaving are frightening, but they hopefully are more efficient ways of coping."- Page 90 of I Hate You, Don't Leave Me
- "You never know till you try to reach them how accessible men are; but you must approach each man by the right door."- Henry Ward Beecher
- "Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within." - James Baldwin
- "The game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions: for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or of the want of it." - Benjamin Franklin in The Morals of Chess.
- "The chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chess-board, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem... I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists. " - Marcel Duchamp
- "Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are
the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions." - Primo Levi.
- "I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." - Tolstoy.
- "Why do men fight for their servitude as stubbornly as
though it were their salvation?" - Spinoza
- "It's hard to get a man to understand something if his paycheck depends upon him not understanding it." - Upton Sinclair
- "There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." - Carl Jung
(This quote was shared with me by one of my coaching clients. It is a great one and is posted frequently online. However, it seems that each part of it comes from a different work of Jung's and they have then been stitched together to create this one quote.)
- "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."
- "Always nonspecialists find the new things." - David Ruelle, quoted on page 132 of Chaos by James Gleick
- "The explorations and inventions of childhood are usually trivial and ephemeral. In themselves they mean little. But if the processes they involve, the sense of wonder and curiosity, the urge to seek and find and test, can be prevented from fading with age, so that they remain to dominate the mature Stimulus Struggle, over-shadowing the less rewarding alternatives, then an important battle has been won: the battle for creativity.
Many people have puzzled over the secret of creativity. I contend that it is basically no more than the extension into adult life of these vital childlike qualities. The child asks new questions; the adult answers old ones; the childlike adult finds answers to new questions. The child is inventive; the adult is productive; the childlike adult is inventively productive. The child explores his environment; the adult organizes it; the childlike adult organizes his explorations and, by bringing order to them, strengthens them. He creates." - page 227, The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Classic Study of the Urban Animal by Desmond Morris
- "...so why is it that they do not all develop bigger and better childlike curiosity? Part of the answer is that children are subordinate to adults...much as adults may love their children, they cannot help seeing them as a growing threat to their dominance...There is therefore a strong tendency to suppress inventiveness in members of the community younger than oneself...By the time the new generation has matured to the point where its members could be wildly inventive, childlike adults, they are already burdened with a heavy sense of conformity.
Only those rare individuals who experience an unusual childhood...will be able to achieve a level of great creativity in adult life...It either has to be so suppressive that the growing child revolts against the traditions of its elders in a big way...or it has to be so un-suppressive that the heavy hand of conformity rests only lightly on its shoulder...Both types can make a great impact in adult society, but the second will probably suffer less from obsessive limitations in his creative acts...The vast majority of children will, of course, receive a more balanced mixture of punishment and reward for their inventiveness...Their attitude to the childlike adults will be ambivalent; on the one hand they will applaud them for providing the much-needed sources of novelty, but on the other they will envy them. The creative talent will therefore find himself alternately praised and damned by society in a bewildering way, and he will be constantly in doubt about his acceptance by the rest of the community." - page 233-5, The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Classic Study of the Urban Animal by Desmond Morris
- "The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.
a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create - - - so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating." - Pearl Buck
- "The power of accurate observation is called cynicism
by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
- "If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me." - Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980)
- "The cynics are right nine times out of ten." - Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)
- "Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes. " - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
- "It is the well educated who will improve society - and they will improve it, at first, by criticizing it, and we are giving them the tools to criticize it. Naturally, as students, the brighter of them will begin their improvements on society by criticizing us." - Archie Thorndike in A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
- "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on." - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)
- "Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." - Will Durant
- "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain (1835-1910)
- "School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, brutal violations of common sense and common decency." - H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
- "A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar." - Lao-Tzu (570?-490? BC)
- "Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century." - Perelman
- "There is only one nature - the division into science and engineering is a human imposition, not a natural one. Indeed, the division is a human failure; it reflects our limited capacity to comprehend the whole." - Bill Wulf
- The science Ph.D. asks, "Why does it work?" The engineering Ph.D. asks, "How does it work?" The liberal arts Ph.D. asks, "Do you want fries with that?"
- "The mind is not like a tablet. On a tablet you cannot write the new till you rub out the old, on the mind you cannot rub out the old except by writing in the new." - Francis Bacon
- "Men should be taught as if you taught them not,
and things unknown proposed as things forgot,
to speak tho' sure with seeming diffidence.
For want of modesty is want of sense.
- Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography quoting from Essay on Criticism
- "The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust
- "What's your criteria of a good school?" Will asked
"In what? Winning scholarships? Getting ready for jobs? Obeying the local categorical imperatives?"
"All that, of course," said Mr. Menon. "But the fundamental question remains. What are boys and girls for?"
Will shrugged his shoulders. "The answer depends on where you happen to be domiciled. For example, what are boys and girls for in America? Answer: for mass consumption. And the corollaries of mass consumption are mass communications, mass advertising, mass opiates in the form of television, meprobamate, positive thinking and cigarettes. And now that Europe has made the breakthrough into mass production, what will its boys and girls be for? For mass consumption and all the rest - just like the boys and girls in America. Whereas in Russia there's a different answer. Boys and girls are for strengthening the national state. Hence all those engineers and science teachers, not to mention fifty divisions ready for instant combat and equipped with everything from tanks to H-bombs and long range rockets. And in China it's the same, but a good deal more so. What are boys and girls for there? For cannon fodder, industry fodder, agriculture fodder, road-building fodder. So East is East and West is West-for the moment. But the twain may meet in one or other of two ways. West may get so frightened of East that it will give up thinking that boys and girls are for mass consumption and decide instead that they're for cannon fodder and strengthening the state. Alternatively East may find itself under such pressure from the appliance-hungry masses who long to go Western, that it will have to change its mind and say that boys and girls are really for mass consumption. But that's for the future. As of now, the current answers to your question are mutually exclusive."
"And both of the answers," said Mr. Menon, "are different from ours. What are Palanese boys and girls for? Neither for mass consumption, nor for strengthening the state. The state has to exist, of course. And there has to be enough for everybody. That goes without saying. It's only on those conditions that boys and girls can discover what in fact they are for-only on those conditions that we can do anything about it."
"And what in fact are they for?"
"For actualization, for being turned into full-blown human beings." - page 236, Island by Aldous Huxley
- "The educational authorities are horrified. The ingratitude of it all! What has gone wrong? If we are ruthlessly honest with ourselves, the answer is not hard to find. It is contained in the official doctrines of these same educational authorities. As they face the upheaval, they must contemplate the uncomfortable fact that they have brought it on themselves. They literally asked for it. 'Think for yourselves,' they said, 'be resourceful, be active, be inventive.' Contradicting themselves in the same breath, they added: 'But do it on our terms, in our way, and above all abide by our rituals.'" - page 241, The Human Zoo: A Zoologist's Classic Study of the Urban Animal by Desmond Morris
- "As Henry Roth observed in his novel Call It Sleep, 'If you could put words to what you felt, it was yours.' The corollary, of course, is the alexithymic's dilemma: having no words for feelings means not making the feelings your own." - Daniel Goleman in Emotional Intelligence, page 52
- "There's nothing more personal, I think, than the shape that emptiness takes inside you; nor more particular than the means by which you fill it." - Clive Barker
- "Do the thing you Fear to do and keep on doing it...that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer Fear." - Dale Carnegie
- "To live with Fear and not be afraid is the final test of maturity."
- Edward Weeks
- "As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson in A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (note: this quote has often been incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela. However, as explained here, he never said it.)
- "One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again." - Abraham Maslow
- "The instinct of nearly all societies is to lock up anybody who is truly free. First, society begins by trying to beat you up. If this fails, they try to poison you. If this fails too, they finish by loading honors on your head." - Jean Cocteau (1889-1963)
- "He was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them" - Joseph Heller in Catch 22
- "When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility...Then, Athens ceased to be free." - Sir Edward Gibbon in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1
- "A discriminating irreverence is the creator and protector of human liberty." - Mark Twain in The American Claimant
- "Reverence and awe aren't democratic virtues. The last thing you need in a free society is people who know their place." - Richard Lacayo in "The Seriously Funny Man" about Mark Twain in Time Magazine, July 14, 2008.
- "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
- "You know, dear boy, there was an old sinner in the eighteenth century who declared that, if there were no God, he would have to be invented. S'il n'existait pas Dieu, il faudrait l'inventer. And man has actually invented God. And what's strange, what would be marvellous, is not that God should really exist; the marvel is that such an idea, the idea of the necessity of God, could enter the head of such a savage, vicious beast as man. So holy it is, so touching, so wise and so great a credit it does to man. As for me, I've long resolved not to think whether man created God or God man...But you must note this: if God exists and if He really did create the world, then, as we all know, He created it according to the geometry of Euclid and the human mind with the conception of only three dimensions in space. Yet there have been and still are geometricians and philosophers, and even some of the most distinguished, who doubt whether the whole universe, or to speak more widely, the whole of being, was only created in Euclid's geometry; they even dare to dream that two parallel lines, which according to Euclid can never meet on earth, may meet somewhere in infinity.
I have come to the conclusion that, since I can't understand even that, I can't expect to understand about God. I acknowledge humbly that I have no faculty for settling such questions, I have a Euclidean earthly mind, and how could I solve problems that are not of this world? And I advise you never to think about it either, my dear Alyosha, especially about God, whether He exists or not. All such questions are utterly inappropriate for a mind created with an idea of only three dimensions." - Chapter 3, The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
- "It is only through the psyche that we can establish that God acts upon us, but we are unable to distinguish whether these actions emanate from God or from the unconscious. We cannot tell whether God and the unconscious are two different entities. Both are border-line concepts for transcendental contents. But empirically it can be established, with a sufficient degree of probability, that there is in the unconscious an archetype of wholeness which manifests itself spontaneously in dreams, etc., and a tendency, independent of the conscious will, to relate other archetypes to this centre. Consequently, it does not seem improbable that the archetype produces a symbolism which has always characterized and expressed the Deity...the God-image does not coincide with the unconscious as such, but with a special content of it, namely the archetype of the self. It is this archetype from which we can no longer distinguish the God-image empirically." - Carl Jung on page 468 of Psychology and Religion: West and East
- "We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library, whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different languages. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend but only dimly suspects." - Albert Einstein
- "Man can try to name love, showering upon it all the names at his command, and he will still involve himself in endless self-deceptions. If he possesses a grain of wisdom, he will lay down his arms and name the unknown by the more unknown: by the name of God." - Carl Jung
- "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of great people; seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho
- "Happiness is good health and a bad memory." - Ingrid Bergman (1917-1982)
- "Human felicity is produc'd not so much by great Pieces of good Fortune that seldom happen, as by little Advantages that occur every day." - Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography.
- "...if we're ever going to be truly happy...we need to be willing to charge headlong into the inferno of our most horrific fears - eyes open, intellect and spirit at the ready - even as our survival instincts are screaming, 'Run! Run! Get out!' That takes courage, and that's why courage is one of the prerequisites for happiness. Courage, they say, is not the lack of fear, but the ability to take action in spite of it. But where does that ability come from? What power grants the strength to overcome the sick, shaky feeling of fear? Only one power is that strong: love. In the ultimate analysis, human beings have only two essential primal feelings: fear and love. Fear impels us to survive, and love enables us to thrive. This complementary pair of feelings has been the driving force of human history. Fear is the product of the reptilian brain, hardwired into every fiber of our being, and love is the product of the neocortical higher brain, where spirit and intellect reside. Thus, the dance of the spirit and reptile - the shifting balance between the neocortex and the reptilian brain - is the dance of love and fear. For you to be happy, love must lead this dance." - Page 80 of What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better by Dan Baker, Ph.D..
- "When I was young, I believed the same nonsense that a lot of people believe about happiness - that it comes from the flashy veneer of the American dream: money, status, and power. But then I grew up (unlike too many other people, who only grow older) and I began to see that these things often destroyed happiness. I learned that happiness only comes from inner qualities, such as courage, altruism, and optimism. Happiness comes from the self. But where is the self? Who is the self? Who are you? If you don't know, you'll never be happy, because you'll never be able to connect with the inner core qualities that make happiness possible. You'll just travel through life in circles, always going, always intent - never arriving, never content. You should, in fact, be able to describe exactly who you are, right now, in the proverbial 25 words or less." - Page 128 of What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better by Dan Baker, Ph.D.
- "If you put in the effort, you can achieve my favorite definition of health, coined by Jesse Williams, M.D., in the 1920's.: 'Health is the optimal condition of being that allows for the ultimate engagement with life.' Of course this definition means that health is more than simply the absence of disease. That sounds strange to some people. But does the absence of poverty mean wealth? Does the absence of panic mean peace of mind?" - Page 236 of What Happy People Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Life for the Better by Dan Baker, Ph.D.
- "It is no measure of good health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society." - J. Krishnamurti
- "[Hope] is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out." - Vaclev Havel
- "Do not depend on the hope of results . . .you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. . . .you gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people . . . .In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything." - Thomas Merton
- "Talent does what it can; genius does what it must." - Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873)
- "I see, clever in one sense, not so clever in another. Just half clever, which is the worst of all." - Theodore Dreiser in An American Tragedy, pg. 731
- "People hate a know-it-all, even if they really do." - Me
- "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell
- "I'm a PBS mind in an MTV World!" - Unsure who said this initially, but heard it from several people.
- "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre
minds." - A. Einstein
- "To know how little one knows is to have genuine knowledge.
Not to know how little one knows is to be deluded.
Only he who knows when he is deluded can free himself from such delusion.
The intelligent man is not deluded, because he knows and accepts his ignorance as ignorance, and thereby has genuine knowledge." - Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
- "A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part
limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and
feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical
delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few
persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the
prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living
creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty... We shall require a
substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive." - Albert Einstein
- "Ignorance of remote causes disposeth men to attribute all events to the causes immediate and instrumental: for these are all the causes they perceive." - Thomas Hobbes in Leviathan
- "A collective problem, if not recognized as such, always appears as a personal problem...The cause of disturbance is...not to be sought in the personal surroundings, but rather in the collective situation." - Carl Jung
- "What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously.
But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the
terrible disease of loneliness can be cured." - Kurt Vonnegut
- "Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to oneself or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible." - Carl Jung
- "Have you even been in love? Horrible, isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens your heart and it means that someone can get up inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life. You give them a piece of you. They don't ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness so a simple phrase like 'Maybe we should just be friends' or 'How very perceptive' turns into a glass splinter working it's way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that. Especially not love. I hate love." - Rose Walker in The Kindly Ones (Sandman, Book 9) by Neil Gaiman (found this one from my ex-gf. By the way, this is not how I feel most of the time, though I can relate to it at times certainly.)
- "It is hard to imagine what some jealous men can make up their mind to and overlook, and what they can forgive! The jealous are the readiest of all to forgive, and all women know it. The jealous man can forgive extraordinarily quickly (though, of course, after a violent scene), and he is able to forgive infidelity almost conclusively proved, the very kisses and embraces he has seen, if only he can somehow be convinced that it has all been "for the last time," and that his rival will vanish from that day forward, will depart to the ends of the earth, or that he himself will carry her away somewhere, where that dreaded rival will not get near her. Of course the reconciliation is only for an hour. For, even if the rival did disappear next day, he would invent another one and would be jealous of him. And one might wonder what there was in a love that had to be so watched over, what a love could be worth that needed such strenuous guarding. But that the jealous will never understand. And yet among them are men of noble hearts. It is remarkable, too, that those very men of noble hearts, standing hidden in some cupboard, listening and spying, never feel the stings of conscience at that moment, anyway, though they understand clearly enough with their "noble hearts" the shameful depths to which they have voluntarily sunk." - The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Chapter 3
- "Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and features in the beloved person; and even more, he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized. Furthermore, by his love, the loving person enables the beloved person to actualize these potentialities. By making him aware of what he can be and of what he should become, he makes these potentialities come true." - Viktor Frankl on page 116 of Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy.
THE MEANING OF LIFE
- "I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves." - Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)
- "The media should always have a tag at the bottom: "Based on a true story"." - Me
- "Hell is other people. " - Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)
- "As Jeff can't quite seem to figure out, the only way to guarantee failure in today's pop universe is to cling to harsh standards for yourself — or to insist on an unfashionable honesty before you've earned enough money to back it up." - From Salon Review of movie Suburbia
- "The contemporary generation are fearful of existence because it is God-forsaken; only in great masses do they dare to live, and they cluster together en masse in order to feel that they amount to something" - Søren Kirkegaard
- "Have we let carefree slide into careless?" - Me
- "True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view) consists of its attitude toward those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it." - Milan Kundera and Michael Henry Heim in The Unbearable Lightness of Being
- "Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws." - Plato (427-347 B.C.)
- "Always do right- this will gratify some and astonish the rest." - Mark Twain (1835-1910)
- "Blessed are they that choose the good; they that choose the pleasant miss the goal." - Katha Upanishad
- "He experienced the unfortunate ability of many people, especially Russians – the ability to see and believe in the possibility of goodness and truth, and to see the evil and falsehood of life too clearly to be able to participate in it seriously." - Leo Tolstoy in War and Peace
- "Values-talk comes naturally to a nonjudgmental age--an age judgmental primarily about the cardinal sin of being judgmental. It is considered broad-minded to say, "One person's values are as good as another's." It is nonsense to say "One person's virtues are as good as another's." Values are an equal-opportunity business: they are mere choices. Virtues are habits, difficult to develop and therefore not equally accessible to all. Speaking of virtues rather then values is elitist, offensive to democracy's egalitarian, leveling ethos.
Which is why talk of virtues should be revived." - George Will
- "...the river of public opinion, which today renders moral judgment only against being "judgmental" - George Will
- "There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." - Elie Wiesel, Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1986
- "Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." - Elie Wiesel
- "The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who remain neutral in time of great moral crisis." - Dante Alighieri, 13th Century Italian Poet
- "One of the largest chasms in the world lies between shouldn't and don't." - Me
- "If names are not correct, then language is not in accord with the truth of things. If language is not in accord with the truth of things, then affairs cannot be carried out successfully." - Confucius
- "The first step to wisdom is getting things by their right name." - Chinese proverb quoted by Edward O. Wilson in Naturalist.
- "Always use the proper name for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself." - Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
- "Do not expect an impossible restraint from a young mind. 'Drive nature out of the door and it will fly in at the window.' - Book 3, Chapter 13 of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
- "My advice to you is get married: if you find a good wife you'll be happy; if not, you'll become a philosopher." - Socrates (470-399 B.C.)
- "The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire
- "Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains." - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) (We'll see if I change, but I doubt it :) I know plenty of people over 30 who are liberal and have plenty of brains. Then again, Churchill never saw what's going on now.)
- "Men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all the other alternatives." - Abba Eban (1915-)
- "One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." - Plato
- "As democracy is perfected, the office of President represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's
desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." - H.L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)
- "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. " - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
- "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." - Edward Teller
- "Men have become the tools of their tools. " - Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
- "Good biology without good philosophy will be a calamity." - George Will
- "I think it would be a good idea." - Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), when asked what he thought of Western civilization.
- "We don't want to resemble a Stanford student, who explained how he'd learned more from his community volunteering than from all his courses in school. "I hope that one day," he said, "my grandchildren will get to have the same
experience working in the same homeless shelter that I did." Friends gently
reminded him that they were working for a future when no one in a country
this wealthy would need to sleep in a shelter." - Paul Rogat Loeb
- "True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
- "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." - Henry David Thoreau
- "We don't despair," he said, "because we know that things don't necessarily have to be as bad as in fact they've always been."
"We know that they can be a great deal better," Susila added. "Know it because they already are a great deal better, here and now, on this absurd little island." - Page 134, Island by Aldous Huxley
- "The first consideration is that in his medical school a doctor receives a training which is more or less the opposite of what he would need as a preparation for psycho-analysis [Freud's method of psychotherapy]. Neurotics, indeed, are an undesired complication, an embarrassment as much to therapeutics as to jurisprudence and to military service. But they exist and are a particular concern of medicine. Medical education, however, does nothing, literally nothing, towards their understanding and treatment. It would be tolerable if medical education merely failed to give doctors any orientation in the field of the neuroses. But it does more: it given them a false and detrimental attitude.
Analytic instruction would include branches of knowledge which are remote from medicine and which the doctor does not come across in his practice: the history of civilization, mythology, the psychology of religion and the science of literature. Unless he is well at home in these subjects, an analyst can make nothing of a large amount of his material. By way of compensation, the great mass of what is taught in medical schools is of no use to him for his purposes. A knowledge of the anatomy of the tarsal bones, of the constitution of the carbohydrates, of the course of the cranial nerves, a grasp of all that medicine has brought to light on bacillary exciting causes of disease and the means of combating them, on serum reactions and on neoplasms - all of this knowledge, which is undoubtedly of the highest value in itself, is nevertheless of no consequence to him; it does not concern him; it neither helps him directly to understand a neurosis and to cure it nor does it contribute to a sharpening of those intellectual capacities on which his occupation makes the greatest demands.
It is unjust and inexpedient to try to compel a person who wants to set someone else free from the torment of a phobia or an obsession to take the roundabout road of the medical curriculum. Nor will such an endeavor have any success." - Sigmund Freud in his book The Question of Lay Analysis.
- "Some time ago I analyzed [psychoanalyzed] a colleague who had developed a particularly strong dislike of the idea of anyone being allowed to engage in a medical activity who was not himself a medical man. I was in a position to say to him: `We have now been working for more than three months. At what point in our analysis have I had occasion to make use of my medical knowledge?' He admitted that I had had no such occasion" - Sigmund Freud on pp. 92-93 of The Question of Lay Analysis.
- "There is one question which I can hardly ignore ... would not the diagnosis be justified that many systems of civilisation, or epochs of it --possibly even the whole of humanity-- have become neurotic under the pressure of civilising trends? I would not say that such an attempt to apply psychoanalysis to civilised society would be fanciful or doomed to fruitlessness. But it behooves us to be very careful...The diagnosis of collective neurosis, moreover, will be confronted by a special difficulty. In the neurosis of an individual we can use as a starting-point the contrast presented to us between the patient and his environment, which we assume to be "normal". No such background as this would be available for any society similarly affected; it would have to be supplied in some other way... In spite of all these difficulties, we may expect that one day someone will venture upon this research into the pathology of civilised communities." - Sigmund Freud on pages141-2 of Civilisation and its Discontents.
- "Not every conflict is necessarily neurotic; some amount of conflict is normal and healthy. In a similar sense suffering is not always a pathological phenomenon; rather than being a symptom of neurosis, suffering may well be a human achievement, especially if the suffering grows out of existential frustration. I would strictly deny that one's search for a meaning to his existence, or even his doubt of it, in every case is derived from, or results in, any disease. Existential frustration is in itself neither pathological nor pathogenic. A man's concern, even his despair, over the worthwhileness of life is an existential distress but by no means a mental disease. It may well be that interpreting the first in terms of the latter motivates a doctor to bury his patient's existential despair under a heap of tranquilizing drugs. It is his task, rather, to pilot the patient through his existential crisis of growth and development." - Viktor Frankl on page 108 of Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy.
- "He [my father] could not even defend himself against the ridiculous materialism of the psychiatrists. This, too, was something that one had to believe, just like theology, only in the opposite sense. I felt more certain than ever that both of them lacked epistemological criticism as well as experience. My father was obviously under the impression that psychiatrists had discovered something in the brain which proved that in the place where mind should have been there was only matter, and nothing "spiritual". This was borne out by his admonitions that if I studied medicine I should in Heaven's name not become a materialist. To me this warning meant that I ought to believe nothing at all, for I knew that materialists believed in their definitions just as the theologians did in theirs and that my poor father had simply jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. I recognized that this celebrated faith of his had played this deadly trick on him, and not only on him but on most of the cultivated and serious people I knew. The arch sin of faith, it seemed to me, was that it forestalled experience. How did the theologians know that God had deliberately arranged certain things and "permitted" certain others, and how did the psychiatrists know that matter was endowed with the qualities of the human mind?" - Carl Jung on page 94 of Memories, Dreams, Reflections
- "In many cases in psychiatry, the patient who comes to us has a story that is not told, and which as a rule no one knows of. To my mind, therapy only really begins after the investigation of that wholly personal story. It is the patient's secret, the rock against which he is shattered. If I know his secret story, I have a key to the treatment. The doctor's task is to find out how to gain that knowledge. In most cases exploration of the conscious material is insufficient. Sometimes an association test can open the way; so can the interpretation of dreams, or long and patient human contact with the individual. In therapy the problem is always the whole person, never the symptom alone. We must ask questions which challenge the whole personality." - Carl Jung on page 117 of Memories, Dreams, Reflections
- "Clinical diagnoses are important, since they give the doctor a certain orientation; but they do not help the patient. The crucial thing is the story. For it alone shows the human background and the human suffering, and only at that point can the doctor's therapy begin to operate." - Carl Jung on page 124 of Memories, Dreams, Reflections
- "Our psyche is set up in accord with the structure of the universe, and what happens in the macrocosm likewise happens in the infinitesimal and most subjective reaches of the psyche." - Carl Jung on page 335 of Memories, Dreams, Reflections
- "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." -Albert Einstein
REFORM & REVOLUTION
- "The best way to help mankind is through the perfection of yourself." - Lord Krishna
- "Any suggestion of participating in apartheid structures in any way was automatically met with angry opposition. In my early days I, too, would have strenuously objected. But my sense of the country was that relatively few people were ready to make the sacrifices to join that struggle. We should meet the people on their own terms, even if that meant appearing to collaborate. My idea was that our movement should be a great tent that included as many people as possible." - Page 165, Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela's autobiography.
- "Nonviolent passive resistance is effective as long as your opposition adheres to the same rules as you do," he said. "But if peaceful protest is met with violence, its efficacy is at an end. For me, non-violence was not a moral principle but a strategy; there is no moral goodness in using an ineffective weapon." - Long Walk to Freedom, chapter 17 - Nelson Mandela
- "Conformity or rebellion? Neither one. Both ways are
simple-minded - they are only for people who cannot cope
with contradiction and ambiguity."
- Neil Stephenson in The Diamond Age
- "One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as
a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
the very phrases which our founding fathers used in
their struggle for independence." - Charles Austin Beard (American Historian, 1874-1948)
- "As reformers, we seldom win by making a frontal attack. No, we work
and we work at a reform and never get too far with it. And while we are
hitting our heads against the wall, we tinker with the idea and it gets
better and better and more and more people understand what we are
getting at. But we never win. The other side loses. Just when we are
about to pack up our banners, along comes an Enron or a Watergate.
In the states and in the nation, we only win by being ready, by being
on the spot with a good, workable alternative, when the unsustainable
systems fail, as they always do." - Granny D
- "Full public financing of elections is a structural adjustment, not a band-aid. It's a change that makes other changes possible." - Jim Ace, Ruckus Society
- "Sweeping campaign finance reform is the one reform that can prevent the pollution and degradation of both our civic and natural environments." - Granny D
- "It's dangerous to be right when those in power are wrong." - Voltaire
- "When the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure." - Rudolf Bahro
- "The job in getting people to fight and have faith is in making them believe in what life has made them feel. Making them feel that their feelings are as good as those of others." - Native Son by Richard Wright
- "All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field." - Albert Einstein
- "Extensive research on marriage and divorce by the American psychologist John Gottman suggests that much more important than whether people fight is how they do it. Gottman distinguishes three kinds of marriages: the avoidants (who dodge and minimize conflict), the validators (who carefully listen to each other's arguments), and the volatile (who argue and fight on a grand scale). Even though the last kind of marriage may seem to court disaster, the investigator observes that
it turns out that these couples' volcanic arguments are just a small part of an otherwise warm and loving marriage. The passion and relish with which they fight seems to fuel their positive interactions even more. Not only do they express more anger but they laugh and are more affectionate than the average validating couple. These couples certainly do not find making up hard to do - they are masters at it. As intense as their battles may be, their good times are that much better.
I sometimes imagine people as having ropes between them. The thicker the rope, the harder they can pull each other around without breaking the tie." - Frans de Waal in Good Natured: The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals.
- "The purpose of relationships is not happiness, but transformation." - Andrew Schneider
- "The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed." - Carl Jung
- "No person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right
to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended." - Alice Walker
- "The only reason we don't open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don't feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else's eyes." - Pema Chodron
- "Another danger is that, if you listen long enough you may start attending to what's being said. You may start thinking about other people, even sympathizing with them. You may develop a true empathy for others, and this will turn you into such a human oddity that you will become a social outcast." - P.J. O'Rourke in Modern Manners: An Etiquette Book for Rude People
- "I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something that we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow... If we let them, and we help them in return.- Glinda in the song For Good from the musical Wicked
- "I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure -- that is all that agnosticism means." - Clarence Darrow, Scopes trial, 1925.
- "Good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things -- that takes religion." - Physicist and Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg in a dialogue on religion and science.
- "Quote 'gods' unquote," he said in what was evidently an imitation of the Old Raja's manner "---their one great merit (apart from scaring birds and quote 'sinners' unquote, and occasionally, perhaps, consoling the miserable, consists in this: being raised aloft on poles, they have to be looked up at; and when anyone looks up, even at a god, he can hardly fail to see the sky beyond." - Page 234, Island by Aldous Huxley
- "The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life" - Sigmund Freud on religion in Civilization and Its Discontents
- "The pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive." - Einstein on Prayer, Purpose in Nature, and the Soul
- "Every pulpit is a pillory, in which stands a hired culprit, defending the justice of his own imprisonment. " - Robert Ingersoll
- "Religion. It’s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion." - Jon Stewart (Though I've also seen it attributed to Charlie Chaplin.)
SANITY & MADNESS
- "It is much more comfortable to be mad and know it, than to be sane and have one's doubts." - G. B. Burgin
- "No Sane man will dance. " - Cicero (106-43 B.C.)
- "Show me a sane man and I will cure him for you. " - Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)
- "Sanity is a madness put to good uses." - George Santayana (1863-1952)
- "It is important to remember that at first blush, going sane feels just like going crazy." - Julia Cameron
- "The mathemetician Stanislaw Ulam remarked that to call the study of chaos "nonlinear science" was like calling zoology "the study of nonelephant animals." - page 68 of Chaos by James Gleick
- "Professional scientists, given brief, uncertain glimpses of nature's workings, are no less vulnerable to anguish and confusion when they come face to face with incongruity. And incongruity, when it changes the way a scientist sees, makes possible the most important advances." - James Gleick on page 35 of Chaos
- "Then there are revolutions. A new science arises out of one that has reached a dead end. Often a revolution has an interdisciplinary character - its central discoveries often come from people straying outside the normal bounds of their specialties. The problems that obsess these theorists are not recognized as legitimate lines of inquiry. Thesis proposals are turned down or articles are refused publication. The theorists themselves are not sure whether they would recognize an answer if they saw one. They accept risk to their careers. A few freethinkers working alone, unable to explain where they are heading, afraid even to tell their colleagues what they are doing - that romantic image lies at the heart of Kuhn's scheme, and it has occurred in real life, time and time again, in the exploration of chaos." - James Gleick on page 37 of Chaos
- "Darling, a true lady takes off her dignity with her clothes and does her whorish best. At other times you can be as modest and dignified as your persona requires" - Initially stolen from some lady on AOL. Later, a reader alerted me that this is actually from The Notebooks of Lazarus Long by Robert Heinlein.
- "Loves a sensation, caused by temptation, a guy sticks his location, In a girl's destination, To improve the population of the next generation, Do you understand, or do you need a demonstration?" - Another quote demonstrating the brilliance of AOL members.
- "In skepticism we have two canonical sayings: 'Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence' and 'Keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out.'" - Michael Shermer, Editor-in-Chief of Skeptic Magazine
- "Another tension can surface when religious liberals feel a need for more spiritual depth but find themselves reluctant to engage in the kinds of sustained spiritual practices that could provide it. Practices such as prayer and meditation on scripture may carry the negative weight of now-rejected childhood religious practices. Or they may be narrowly conceived in supernaturalistic terms or smack of pietistic and emotion-laden traditions that rational-minded liberals find uncomfortable. Of course spiritual depth may be found in many places, from nature to music to long-distance running, and many liberals (and others) find fulfillment along these spiritual paths. But if these practices are to become deep spiritual resources, they require discipline and regular practice. Liberals can fall too easily into the trap of thinking that the rational and the spiritual are opposing poles rather than mutually reinforcing parts of our human condition." - Faith Without Certainty: Liberal Theology In The 21st Century by Paul Rasor
- "People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid. " - Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)
- "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
- "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life." - Frank Zappa
- "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." - Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)
- Mozart's father told him when composing "to consider not only the musical, but the unmusical public. You must remember that to every ten real connoisseurs, there are a hundred ignoramuses. So do not neglect the so-called popular style which tickles long ears." - From Mozart: A Cultural Autobiography by Robert Gutman.
- "Ignorance is never random." - Swedish sociologist Gunnar Myrdal, quoted by Senator Paul Wellstone in The Conscience of a Liberal: Reclaiming the Compassionate Agenda.
- "The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meeting and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now." - Goethe
- "Don't aim at success - the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue...as the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a course greater than oneself." - Viktor Frankl in Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy.
- "The father of every good work is discontent, and its mother is diligence." - Lajos Kassak
- "True success is not standing atop a corrupt system, but standing up to it." - Me
- "Nobody has to feel pain," she repeated. "But never forget: pain always means that something is wrong. You've learned to shut pain off, but don't do it thoughtlessly, don't do it without asking yourselves the question: What's the reason for this pain? And if it's bad, or if there's no obvious reason for it, tell your mother about it, or your teacher, or any grown-up in your Mutual Adoption Club. Then shut off the pain. Shut it off knowing that, if anything needs to be done, it will be done. Do you understand?..." - Page 261, Island by Aldous Huxley
- "Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on Earth." - Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment.
- "We are healed of a suffering only by expressing it to the full." - Marcel Proust
- "There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain." - R.D. Laing
- "The foundation of all mental illness is the unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering." - Carl Jung
- "He who learns must suffer.
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
And in our own despair, against our will,
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God."
- Agamemnon by Aeschylus
(Robert F. Kennedy famously quoted these lines in the speech he gave in Indianapolis the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.)
- "From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth; from the laziness that is content with half-truths; from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth – oh God of Truth deliver us!" - Unknown
- "In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot." - Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz
- "When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie." - Yevgeny Yevtushenko
- "The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense." - Tom Clancy
- "The truth is more important than the facts." - Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959)
- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that ain't so" - Mark Twain
- "The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."- Gloria Steinem
- "Certainty is no indication of veracity. It is better to be confused about the truth than certain of falsehoods." - Me
- "Epistemology is the study of how we know for certain that something is true...at least that's what I think it is." - Me
- "Violent words alienate. Truth spoken with gentleness and relevance -- attracts."
- "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow.
- "As a general matter, I believe we should be very slow to draw conclusions about the nature of the cosmos on the basis of inner experiences – no matter how profound they may seem." - Sam Harris in Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion.
- "I've wondered why it took us so long to catch on. We saw it and yet we didn't see it. Or rather we were trained not to see it. Conned, perhaps, into thinking that the real action was metropolitan and all this was just boring hinterland. It was a puzzling thing. The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling. We were both looking at the same thing, seeing, the same thing, talking about the same thing, except he was looking, seeing, talking and thinking from a completely different dimension." - Robert Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values.
- "All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Gandhi
TRUTH TO SELF
- "Never separate the lives you live from the words you speak." - Sen. Paul Wellstone
- "What if the question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?" - Oriah Mountain Dreamer
- "Don't ask yourself what the world needs - ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." -- Howard Thurman
(Note: For years, I had this quote incorrectly attributed to Harold Thurman Whitman. Then I heard Oprah Winfrey attribute it to Howard Thurman when she used it toward the very end of her 2013 Harvard Commencement address. Looking it up, I found, in this section of the Wikipedia page on Howard Thurman, that the quote is commonly misattributed, just as I had done, to Harold Thurman Whitman, which is a fictional name.)
- "Let me be honest with you---a feat which, by the way, I find of the utmost difficulty. When one is invisible, he finds such problems as good and evil, honesty and dishonesty, of such shifting shapes that he confuses one with the other, depending upon who happens to be looking through him at the time. Well, now I've been trying to look through myself, and there's a risk in it. I was never more hated than when I tried to be honest. Or when, even as just now I've tried to articulate exactly what I felt to be the truth. No one was satisfied---not even I.
On the other hand, I've never been more loved and appreciated than when I tried to "justify" and affirm someone's mistaken beliefs; or when I've tried to give my friends the incorrect, absurd answers they wished to hear. In my presence they could talk and agree with themselves, the world was nailed down, and they loved it. They received a feeling of security. But here was the rub: Too often, in order to justify them, I had to take myself by the throat and choke myself until my eyes bulged and my tongue hung out and wagged like the door of an empty house in a high wind. Oh, yes, it made them happy and it made me sick. So I became ill of affirmation, of saying "yes" against the nay-saying of my stomach---not to mention my brain.
'There is, by the way, an area in which a man's feelings are more rational than in his mind, and it is precisely in that area that his will is pulled in several directions at the same time. You might sneer at this, but I know now. I was pulled this way and that for longer than I can remember. And my problem was that I always tried to go in everyone's way but my own. I have also been called one thing and then another while no one really wished to hear what I called myself. So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled. I am an invisible man. Thus, I have come a long way and returned and boomeranged a long way from the point in society toward which I originally aspired." - Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man, Epilogue
- "Let me give you a quote, the best thing ever written for writers, or for artists of any kind. It comes from André Gide, and I give it to all my writing students: 'What another would have done as well as you, do not do it. What another would have said as well as you, do not say it, written as well as you, do not write it. Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself -- and thus make yourself indispensable." - Daniel Quinn in Providence: The Story of a Fifty-Year Vision Quest.
- "You have known for a long time what you must do. You have sense enough. Don't give way to drunkenness and incontinence of speech. Don't give way to sensual lust and above all to the love of money. And close your taverns...if you can't close all, at least two or three. And above all...don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot distinguish the truth within him or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect, he ceases to love and, in order to occupy and distract himself without love, he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures and sinks to bestiality in his vices...all from continual lying to other men and to himself.
The man who lies to himself can be more easily offended than anyone. You know, it is sometimes very pleasant to take offense, isn't it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself...has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque...has quartered a word and made a mountain out of a molehill. He knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offense and he will revel in his resentment until he feels great pleasure in it, and so pass to genuine vindictiveness." - Fyodor Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov.
- "Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps, then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer." - Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet
- "During those years, between 1918 and 1920, I began to understand that the goal of psychic development is the self. There is no linear evolution; there is only circumambulation of the self. Uniform development exists, at most, only at the beginning; later, everything points toward the center. This insight gave me stability, and gradually my inner peace returned. I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate. Perhaps someone else knows more, but not I." - Carl Jung on page 196 of Memories, Dreams, Reflections
- "Everyone has his own specific vocation in life...Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated...Thus everyone's task is as unique as his specific opportunity to implement it. We detect rather than invent our mission in life." - Viktor Frankl in Man's Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy.
- "The first step to wisdom is getting things by their right name." - Chinese proverb quoted by Edward O. Wilson in Naturalist.
- "He who knows not and knows not that he knows not:
He is a fool . . . shun him.
He who knows not and knows that he knows not:
He is simple . . . teach him.
He who knows and knows not that he knows:
He is asleep . . . wake him.
He who knows and knows that he knows:
He is wise . . . follow him." - Unknown Arabian Author
- "If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?"
- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
- "Never mistake motion for action." - Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
- "The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time." - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
- "It is a wonderful feeling to recognize the unity of a complex of phenomena that to direct observation appear to be quite separate things." - Albert Einstein
- The concertos in F, A and C were described by Mozart as "a happy medium between what is too easy and too difficult; they are very brilliant, pleasing to the ear and natural, without being vapid. There are passages here and there from which connoisseurs alone can derive satisfaction; but these passages are written in such a way that the less learned cannot fail to be pleased, though without knowing why."
"People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for some underdogs
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you help them. Help people
Give the world the best you've got and you may get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you've got anyway."
- "The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to
be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not and never persist in
trying to set people right." ~ Hannah Whitall Smith
- "What you resist, persists."
- "Without people nothing is possible, but without institutions nothing is lasting." - Jean Monnet
- "What you permit, you promote" - unknown therapist
- "We teach what we allow." - Unknown
- [Although] "...we succeed in enterprises which demand the positive qualities we possess....we excel in those which can also make use of our defects." - Alexis de Tocqueville