The greatest happiness is to transform one’s feelings into actions.
We pay a terrible price for not forgiving. Unfortunately, the people whom we hold responsible for these unfinished feelings usually don’t suffer because of our feelings.
The most human thing we have to do in life is is to learn to speak our honest convictions and feelings and live with the consequences. This is the first requirement of love, and it makes us vulnerable to other people who may ridicule us. But our vulnerability is the only thing we can give to other people.
Hard as it is for us to escape the effects of our own feelings, nobody seems to have difficulty in rejecting the feelings of others as merely subjective and vulnerable to interference from the demons of self-deception and self-delusion.
The true revolutionary is guided by feelings of great love.
The seduction of war is insidious because so much of what we are told about it is true; It does create a sense of comradeship, which obliterates our alienation and makes us, for perhaps the only time of our life, feel we belong. War allows us to rise above our small stations in life. We find nobility in a cause and feelings of selflessness and even bliss. And at a time of soaring deficits and financial scandals and the very deterioration of our domestic fabric, war is a fine diversion. War, for those who enter into combat, has a dark beauty, filled with the monstrous and the grotesque. The Bible calls it the "lust of the eye" and warns believers against it. War gives us a distorted sense of self; it gives us meaning.
The secular or freethinking humanist looks into the self for guidance; response to need comes from deep human feelings of compassion, concern for others, and a desire to help. The freethinker is not motivated by a divine command to act, but rather by personal humanistic response to pain, loneliness, hunger, and homelessness. Benevolent actions are not accompanied by a need to convert or indoctrinate, but rather flow from deep human wellsprings of empathy and a desire to improve the condition of the world.
When I speak to people about creating a life, they often speak of what they want to "do" – as opposed to what they want to "feel." My recommendation to someone facing your decision is to write down a list of feelings that you're trying to create in your life and use that as the measuring stick to determine whether you're achieving your goals. I post my list right above my desk every day.
We often use the word "meaning" in relation to personal feelings and emotional significance. It then reveals and sometimes declares our highest values. It manifests ideals that we cherish and pursue.
Each of us really understands in others only those feelings he is capable of producing in himself.
Since things that are found in the soul are of three kinds - passions, faculties, states of character, virtue must be one of these. By passions I mean appetite, anger, fear, confidence, envy, joy, friendly feeling, hatred, longing, emulation, pity, and in general the feelings that are accompanied by pleasure or pain; by faculties the things in virtue of which we are said to be capable of feeling these, for example, of becoming angry or being pained or feeling pity; by states of character the things in virtue of which we stand well or badly with reference to the passions, for example, with reference to anger we stand badly if we feel it violently or too weakly, and well if we feel it moderately; and similarly with reference to the other passions. Now neither the virtues nor the vices are passions, because we are not called good or bad on the ground of our virtues and our vices, and because we are neither praised nor blamed for our passions (for the man who feels fear or anger is not praised, nor is the man who simply feels anger blamed, but the man who feels it in a certain way), but for our virtues and our vices we are praised or blamed.
When men hear imitations, even apart from the rhythms and tunes themselves, their feelings move in sympathy. Since then music is a pleasure, and virtue consists in rejoicing and loving and hating aright, there is clearly nothing which we are so much concerned to acquire and to cultivate as the power of forming right judgments and of taking delight in good dispositions and noble actions. Rhythm and melody supply imitations of anger and gentleness, and also of courage and temperance, and of all the qualities contrary to these, and of the other qualities of character, which hardly fall short of the actual affections, as we know form our own experience, for in listening to such strains our souls undergo a change. The habit of feeling pleasure or pain at mere representation is not far removed from the same feeling about realities.
Men best show their character in trifles, where they are not on guard. It is in insignificant matters, and in the simplest habits, that we often see the boundless egotism which pays no regard to the feelings of others, and denies nothing to itself.
Joy and sorrow are not ideas of the mind but affections of the will, and so they do not lie in the domain of memory. We cannot recall our joys and sorrows; by which I mean we cannot renew them. We can recall only the ideas that accompanied them; and, in particular, the things we were led to say; and these form a gauge of our feelings at the time. Hence our memory of joys and sorrows is always imperfect, and they become a matter of indifference to us as soon as they are over.
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool. To weep is to risk appearing sentimental. To reach out for another is to risk involvement. To expose our feelings is to risk exposing our true self. To place your ideas and dreams before the crowd is to risk loss. To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk despair. To try at all is to risk failure. But risk we must, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The man, the woman who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
Patriotism depends as much on mutual suffering as on mutual success; and it is by that experience of all fortunes and all feelings that a great national character is created.
Nine-tenths of the appeal of pornography is due to the indecent feelings concerning sex which moralists inculcate in the young; the other tenth is physiological, and will occur in one way or another whatever the state of the law may be.
One-half of life is admitted by us to be passed in sleep, in which, however, it may appear otherwise, we have no perception of truth, and all our feelings are delusions; who knows but the other half of life, in which we think we are awake, is a sleep also, but in some respects different from the other, and from which we wake when we, as we call it sleep. As a man dreams often that he is dreaming, crowding one dreamy delusion on another.
All great discoveries are made by those whose feelings run ahead of their thinking.
The rule of life is to be found within yourself. Ask yourself constantly, "What is the right thing to do?" Beware of ever doing that which you are likely, sooner or later, to repent of having done. It is better to live in peace than in bitterness and strife. It is better to believe in your neighbors than to fear and distrust them. The superior man does not wrangle. He is firm but not quarrelsome. He is sociable but not clannish. The superior man sets a good example to his neighbors. He is considerate of their feelings and property. Consideration for others is the basis of a good life, and a good society. Feel kindly toward everyone. Be friendly and pleasant among yourselves. Be generous and fair.