Words of Wisdom

Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life. The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly. In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true. It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell. No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path. The mind is everything. What you think you become. We are formed and molded by our thoughts. The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows. Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.

Albert Camus
All great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning. Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without asking a clear question.

For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. He who despairs of the human condition is a coward, but he who has hope for it is a fool. Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal. The need to be right is the sign of a vulgar mind. To be happy we must not be too concerned with others. To know oneself, one should assert oneself. Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object. We continue to shape our personality all our life. If we knew ourselves perfectly, we should die. We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking. You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.

Erich Fromm
Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties. If a person loves only one other person and is indifferent to all others, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism. If I am what I have and if I lose what I have who then am I? Love is often nothing but a favorable exchange between two people who get the most of what they can expect, considering their value on the personality market. Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence. Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve. Most people die before they are fully born. One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often. Sanity is only that which is within the frame of reference of conventional thought.

The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers. There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself. To die is poignantly bitter, but the idea of having to die without having lived is unbearable. We live in a world of things, and our only connection with them is that we know how to manipulate or to consume them. Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age?

A person hears only what they understand. Do not give in too much to feelings. An overly sensitive heart is an unhappy possession on this shaky earth. Doubt grows with knowledge. Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live. Only by joy and sorrow does a person know anything about themselves and their destiny. They learn what to do and what to avoid. Unlike grown ups, children have little need to deceive themselves.

Soren Kierkegaard
Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are. The highest and most beautiful things in life are not to be heard about, nor read about, nor seen but, if one will, are to be lived.

Karl Marx
The less you are and the less you express of your life – the more you have and the greater is your alienated life.

Meister Eckhart
A human being has so many skins inside, covering the depths of the heart. We know so many things, but we don't know ourselves! Why, thirty or forty skins or hides, as thick and hard as an ox's or bear's, cover the soul. Go into your own ground and learn to know yourself there.

One person who has mastered life is better than a thousand persons who have mastered only the contents of books. The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of making a mistake.

Friedrich Nietzsche
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies. In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself. The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad. The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. The most common lie is that which one lies to himself; lying to others is relatively an exception. There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths. Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings - always darker, emptier and simpler.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. Knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind. Life must be lived as play. Man - a being in search of meaning. No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education. Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.

Bertrand Russell
Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves. Contempt for happiness is usually contempt for other people's happiness, and is an elegant disguise for hatred of the human race. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric. Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education. The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

George Santayana
All living souls welcome whatever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous and wrong, or deny to be possible. Do not have evil-doers for friends, do not have low people for friends: have virtuous people for friends, have for friends the best of men. Friendship is almost always the union of a part of one mind with the part of another; people are friends in spots. Habit is stronger than reason. I believe in general in a dualism between facts and the ideas of those facts in human heads. One's friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human. Scepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily. The primary use of conversation is to satisfy the impulse to talk. The truth is cruel, but it can be loved, and it makes free those who have loved it. The wisest mind has something yet to learn. To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say. Wisdom comes by disillusionment.

Freedom is what you do with what's been done to you.

Arthur Schopenhauer
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death. It is with trifles, and when he is off guard, that a man best reveals his character. Nature shows that with the growth of intelligence comes increased capacity for pain, and it is only with the highest degree of intelligence that suffering reaches its supreme point. The doctor sees all the weakness of mankind; the lawyer all the wickedness, the theologian all the stupidity. The more unintelligent a man is, the less mysterious existence seems to him.

Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant. Beware the barrenness of a busy life. The unexamined life is not worth living. True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.

A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting. All men are children, and of one family. The same tale sends them all to bed, and wakes them in the morning. As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new. I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.

If you can speak what you will never hear, if you can write what you will never read, you have done rare things. It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about? It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know. It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate. Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them. Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.