Happy is he who is engaged in controversy with his own passions, and comes off superior; who makes it his endeavor that his follies and weakenesses may die before himself, and who daily meditates on mortality and immortality.
The angriest person in a controversy is the one most liable to be in the wrong.
Disagreement is refreshing when two men lovingly desire to compare their view to find out truth. Controversy is wretched when it is only an attempt to prove another wrong. Religious controversy does only harm. It destroys humble inquiry after truth, and throws all the energies into an attempt to prove ourselves right - a spirit in which no man gets at truth.
Fear when people understand what each other mean, they see, for the most part, that controversy is either superfluous or hopeless.
It is without all controversy that learning doth make the minds of men gentle, amiable, and pliant to government; whereas ignorance makes them churlish, thwarting, and mutinous; and the evidence of time doth clear this assertion, considering that the most barbarous, rude and unlearned times have been most subject to tumults, seditions, and changes.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet renounce controversy are people who want crops without ploughing the ground.
In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.
When men understand what each other mean, they see, for the most part, that controversy is either superfluous or hopeless.
In a much quoted passage in his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country." It is a striking sign of the temper of our times that the controversy about this passage centered on its origin and not on its content. Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic "what your country can do for you" implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man's belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, "what you can do for your country" implies that government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary. To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favors and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshiped and served. He recognizes no national goal except as it is the consensus of the goals that the citizens severally serve. He recognizes no national purpose except as it is the consensus of the purposes for which the citizens severally strive.
Any controversy waged in the service of God shall in the end be of lasting worth, but any that is not shall in the end lead to no permanent result. Which controversy was an example of being waged in the service of G-d? Such was the controversy of Hillel and Shammai. And which was not for G-d? Such was the controversy of Korah and all his company. Whoever leads the masses in the right path will not come to any sin, but whoever leads the masses astray will not be able to repent for all the wrong he commits. Thus Moses was virtuous and he led the masses in the right path, and their merit is ascribed to him, as it is written (Deuteronomy 33:21) He executed the justice of the Lord, and His ordinances for Israel. But Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, sinned and caused the multitude to sin, and so the sin of the masses is ascribed to him as it is written (I Kings 15:30) Because of the sins of Jeroboam that he committed and that he caused Israel to commit.
He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.
Alone of human beings the good and wise mother stands on a plane of equal honor with the bravest soldier; for she has gladly gone down to the brink of the chasm of darkness to bring back the children in whose hands rests the future of the years.
One reason the world is not reformed, is, because every man would have others make a beginning, and never thinks of himself.
The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough.
If, as it appears, it was an act of terrorists, then we will do everything in our power to track them down and hold them accountable.
The period of Catholic ascendancy was on the whole one of the most deplorable in the history of the human mind.... The spirit that shrinks from enquiry as sinful and deems a state of doubt a state of guilt, is the most enduring disease that can afflict the mind of man. Not till the education of Europe passed from the monasteries to the universities, not till Mohammedan science, and clasical free thought, and industrial independence broke the sceptre of the Church, did the intellectual revival of Europe begin.
Most teachers who are honest with themselves are forced to admit that, in the main, the class would make the same progress if the teacher were not there at all, the clever remaining clever and the dull remaining dull.
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.
I never lecture, not because I am shy or a bad speaker, but simply because I detest the sort of people who go to lectures and don't want to meet them.
At least for a while the road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.