Johann Kaspar Lavater

Johann Kaspar

Swiss-born German Theologian, Poet, Physiognomist

Author Quotes

He who seldom speaks, and with one calm well-timed word can strike dumb the loquacious, is a genius or a hero.

Mistrust the man who finds everything good, the man who finds everything evil and still more the man who is indifferent to everything.

Act well at the moment, and you have performed a good action for all eternity.

When the most insignificant person tells us we are in error, we should listen, and examine ourselves, ands see if it is so. To believe it possible we may be in error, is the first step toward getting out of it.

Where there is much pretension, much has been borrowed; nature never pretends.

Who makes quick use of the moment, is a genius of prudence.

Who, in the midst of just provocation to anger, instantly finds the fit word which settles all around him in silence is more than wise or just; he is, were he a beggar, of more than royal blood, he is of celestial descent.

Wisdom is the repose of the mind.

Wishes run over in loquacious impotence; will presses on with laconic energy.

Words are the wings of actions.

You are not very good if you are not better than your best friends imagine you to be.

He alone is an acute observer, who can observe minutely without being observed.

If you wish to appear agreeable in society, you must consent to be taught many things which you already know.

The prudent see only the difficulties, the bold only the advantages, of a great enterprise; the hero sees both; diminishes the former and makes the latter preponderate, and so conquers.

Trust him little who praises all; him less who censures all; and him least who is indifferent to all.

Volatility of words is carelessness in actions; words are the wings of actions.

What do I owe to my times, to my country, to my neighbors, to my friends? Such are the questions which a virtuous man ought often to ask himself.

What knowledge is there of which man is capable that is not founded on the exterior, the relation that exists between visible and invisible, the perceptible and imperceptible?

Malice is poisoned by her own venom.

Those who speak always and those who never speak are equally unfit for friendship. A good proportion of the talent of listening and speaking is the base of social virtues.

Obstinacy is the strength of the weak. Firmness founded upon principle, upon the truth and right, order and law, duty and generosity, is the obstinacy of sages.

Thousands are hated, but none is ever loved without a real cause.

Superstition always inspires littleness, religion grandeur of mind; the superstitious raises being inferior to himself to deities.

True philosophy is that which makes us to ourselves and to all about us, better; and at the same time, more content, patient, calm, and more ready for all decent and pure enjoyment.

The enemy of art is the enemy of nature; art is nothing but the highest sagacity and exertions of human nature; and what nature will be honor who honors not the human?

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Johann Kaspar
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Swiss-born German Theologian, Poet, Physiognomist