Sydney J. Harris

Sydney J.

American Journalist and Syndicated Columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times

Author Quotes

Being yourself is not remaining what you were, or being satisfied with what you are. It is the point of departure.

Skepticism is not an end in itself; it is a tool for the discovery of truths.

By the time a man asks you for advice, he has generally made up his mind what he wants to do, and is looking for confirmation rather than counseling.

The art of listening needs its highest development in listening to oneself; our most important task is to develop an ear that can really hear what we're saying.

Confidence, once lost or betrayed, can never be restored again to the same measure; and we learn too late in life that our acts of deception are irrevocable – they may be forgiven, but they cannot be forgotten by their victims.

The art of living successfully consists of being able to hold two opposite ideas in tension at the same time: first, to make long-term plans as if we were going to live forever; and, second, to conduct ourselves daily as if we were going to die tomorrow.

Filth is always a sign of weakness - in the mouth of the user and in the mind of the writer.

The founder of every creed from Jesus Christ to Karl Marx, would be appalled to return to earth and see what has been made of that creed, not by its enemies, but by its most devoted adherents.

Have you ever noticed that it is generally the same people who talk about the need for incentive to make a man work successfully, who resent the idea of incentive to make a man think successfully?

The only way to relieve the world's ills is not by understanding each other, but by each one understanding himself; for there can be no genuine rapport between persons who are ignorant of their own deepest motivations and needs.

If you cannot endure to be thought in the wrong, you will begin to do terrible things to make the wrong appear right.

Those who imagine that the world is against them have generally conspired to make it true.

If you want to know what a man's character is really like... ask him to tell you the living person he most admires – for hero worship is the truest index of a man's private nature.

We can often endure an extra pound of pain far more easily than we can suffer the withdrawal of an ounce of accustomed pleasure.

It may be true that the weak will always be driven to the wall; but it is the task of a just society to see that the wall is climbable.

We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until... we have stopped saying It got lost, and say, I lost it.

Many people feel guilty about things they shouldn't feel guilty about, in order to shut out feelings of guilt about things they should feel guilty about.

We truly possess only what we are able to renounce; otherwise, we are simply possessed by our possessions.

Maturity begins when we're content to feel we're right about something without feeling the necessity to prove someone else wrong.

Western civilization has not yet learned the lesson that the energy we expend in 'getting things done' is less important than the moral strength it takes to decide what is worth doing and what is right to do.

A fact does not become a truth until people are willing to act upon it; the fact that war is now a losing proposition for everybody will not flower into an effective truth until we are prepared to make as many sacrifices for our children's future peace as for their present comforts.

Men may be divided almost any way we please, but I have found the most useful distinction to be made between those who devote their lives to conjugating the verb to be, and those who spend their lives conjugating the verb to have.

What the ordinary person means by a 'miracle' is some gross distortion or suspension of the laws of nature... but life itself strikes him as commonplace, when in truth a blade of grass or a neuron in the brain is a greater miracle...

A university is not, primarily, a place in which to learn how to make a living; it is a place in which to learn how to be more fully a human being, how to draw upon one's resources, how to discipline the mind and expand the imagination; how to make some sense out of the big world we will shortly be thrown into.

More trouble is caused in the world by indiscreet answers than by indiscreet questions.

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Sydney J.
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American Journalist and Syndicated Columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times