Discernment

To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel that discernment is but a hand playing with finely ordered variety on the chords of emotion: a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge.

Wealth is nothing in itself, it is not useful but when it departs from us; its value is found only in that which it can purchase, which, if we suppose it put to its best use by those that posses it, seems not much to deserve the desire or envy of a wise man. It is certain that, with regard to corporal enjoyment, money can neither open new avenues to pleasure, nor block up the passages to anguish. Disease and infirmity still continue to torture and enfeeble, perhaps exasperated by luxury, or promoted by softness. With respect to the mind, it has rarely been observed, that wealth contributes much to quicken the discernment, enlarge the capacity, or elevate the imagination; but may, by hiring flattery, or laying diligence asleep, confirm error, and harden stupidity.

The beginning of research is curiosity, its essence is discernment, and its goal truth and justice.

A great deal may be done by severity, more by love, but most by clear discernment and impartial justice.

Look around this universe. What an immense profusion of beings, animated and organized, sensible and active! You admire this prodigious variety and fecundity. But inspect a little more narrowly these living existences, the only beings worth regarding. How hostile and destructive to each other! How insufficient all of them for their own happiness! How contemptible or odious to the spectator! The whole presents nothing but the idea of a blind nature, impregnated by a great vivifying principle, and pouring forth from her lap, without discernment or parental care, her maimed and abortive children.

Never speak by superlatives; for in so doing you will be likely to wound either truth or prudence. Exaggeration is neither thoughtful, wise, nor safe. It is a proof of the weakness of the understanding, or the want of discernment of him that utters it, so that even when he speaks the truth, he soon finds it is received with partial, or even utter disbelief.

Wealth is nothing in itself; it is not useful but when it departs from us; its value is found only in that which it can purchase. As to corporeal enjoyment, money can neither open new avenues of pleasure, nor block up the passages of anguish. Disease and infirmity still continue to torture and enfeeble, perhaps exasperated by luxury, or promoted by softness. With respect to the mind, it has rarely been observed that wealth contributes much to quicken the discernment or elevate the imagination, but may, by hiring flattery, or laying diligence asleep, confirm error and harden stupidity.

Everyone is prejudiced in favor of his own powers of discernment, and will always find an argument most convincing if it leads to the conclusion he has reached for himself; everyone must then be given something he can grasp and recognize as his own idea.

We, undisciplined in discernment of the inward, knowing nothing of it, run after the outer, never understanding that it is the inner which stirs us; we are [like] one who sees his own reflection but not realizing whence it comes goes in pursuit of it.

The great religions of the world unanimously affirm Transcendence as the goal of the human quest. It is a journey that begins with ordinary knowledge, but when it is seriously pursued it crests in “an intuitive awareness of things, a discernment of the way things are.”

To create consists precisely in not making unclear combinations and in making those which are useful and which are only a small minority. Invention is discernment, choice. If not a brute algorithm, then it must be a heuristic that guides us to a fruitful combination. What is the heuristic?

Instead of developing the child’s own faculties of discernment, and teaching it to judge and think for itself, the teacher uses all his energies to stuff its head full of the ready-made thoughts of other people.

A mirror is of no use to the blind man, nor knowledge to a man without discernment.

He is not a reasonable man who by chance stumbles upon reason, but he who derives it from knowledge, from discernment, and from taste.

We are not fond of praising, and never praise any one except from interested motives. Praise is a clever, concealed, and delicate flattery, which gratifies in different ways the giver and the receiver. The one takes it as a recompense of his merit, and the other bestows it to display his equity and discernment.

Wisdom consists in the highest use of the intellect for the discernment of the largest moral interest of humanity. It is the most perfect willingness to do the right combined with the utmost attainable knowledge of what is right… Wisdom consists in working for the better from the love of the best.

Education properly understood, is that which teaches discernment.

A man may have wisdom and discernment, but that is not like embracing the favorable opportunity.

The fundamental qualities for good execution of a plan is first; intelligence; then discernment and judgment, which enable one to recognize the best method as to attain it; the singleness of purpose; and, lastly, what is most essential of all, will-stubborn will.

The great religions of the world unanimously affirm Transcendence as the goal of the human quest. It is a journey that begins with ordinary knowledge, but when it is seriously pursued it crests in “an intuitive awareness of things, a discernment of the way things are.