Let us cherish sympathy. By attention and exercise it may be improved in every man. It prepares the mind for receiving the impressions of virtue; and without it there can be no true politeness. Nothing is more odious than that insensibility which wraps a man up in himself and his own concerns, and prevents his being moved with either the joys or the sorrows of another.
Exaggerated respect for athletics, an excess of coarse impressions brought about by the technical discoveries of recent years, the increased severity of the struggle for existence due to the economic crisis, the brutalization of political life: all these factors are hostile to the ripening of the character and the desire for real culture, and stamp our age as barbarous, materialistic and superficial.
There is an everlasting struggle in every mind between the tendency to keep unchanged, and the tendency to renovate, its ideas. Our education is a ceaseless compromise between the conservative and the progressive factors... Most of us grow more and more enslaved to the stock conceptions with which we have once become familiar, and less and less capable of assimilating impressions in any but the old ways... Genius, in truth, means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.
In general, we receive impressions only in consequence of motion, and we might establish it as an axiom that, without motion, there is no sensation.
An ardent love and admiration of virtue seems to imply the existence of something opposite to it, and it seems highly probably that the same beauty of form and substance, the same perfection of character could not be generated without the impressions of disapprobation which arise from the spectacle of moral evil.
Men may tire themselves in a labyrinth of search, and talk of God; but if we would know Him indeed, it must be from the impressions we receive of Him; and the softer our hearts are, the deeper and livelier those will be upon us.
When the heat and motion of blind impulses and passions distract it on all sides, we can neither give nor receive anything truly. But when we find our centre in our soul by the power of self-restraint, by the force that harmonises all warring elements and unifies those that are apart, then all our isolated impressions reduce themselves to wisdom, and all our momentary impulses of heart find their completion in love; then all the petty details of our life reveal an infinite purpose, and all our thoughts and deeds unite themselves inseparably in an internal harmony.
Think as well as read, and when you read. Yield not your minds to the passive impressions which others may make upon them. Hear what they have to say; but examine it, weight it, and judge for yourselves. This will enable you to make a right use of books - to use them as helpers, not as guides to your understanding; as counselors, not as dictators of what you are to think and believe.
The least and most imperceptible impressions received in our infancy have consequences very important, and of a long duration. It is with these first impressions, as with a river whose waters we can easily turn, by different canals, in quite opposite courses, so that from the insensible directions the stream receives at its source, it takes different directions, and at last arrives at places far distant from each other; and with the same facility we may, I think, turn the minds of children to what direction we please.
If one should tell of a telescope so exactly made as to have the power of seeing; of a whispering gallery that had the power of haring; of a cabinet so nicely framed as to have the power of memory; or of a machine so delicate as to feel pain when it was touched - such absurdities are so shocking to common sense that they would not find belief even among savages; yet it is the same absurdity to think that the impressions of external objects upon the machine of our bodies can be the real efficient cause of thought and perception.
The home... is the lens through which we get our first look at marriage and all civic duties; it is the clinic where, by conversation and attitude, impressions are created with respect to sobriety and reverence; it is the school where lessons of truth or falsehood, honesty or deceit are learned; it is the mold which ultimately determines the structure of society.
When the print press examines a politician’s performance, very few voters are interested in detail. The essence of the modern campaign is personality politics: the direct impressions that viewers form from thirty-second daily blips on the Boss Tube, preaching homilies and honing bumpers-sticker themes to stick in voter’s memories.
In languages around the world, three-fourths of all the words describing sensory impressions refer to hearing and vision. The remaining minority of words are divided among the other senses, including smell, taste, and touch, as well as sensitivity to temperature, humidity, and electrical fields.
Anger held internally changes our impressions of the past and distorts our view of current reality. All of this anger becomes unfinished business not merely with others, but with ourselves.
If we had no motivation to be preoccupied with our sensations, the impressions that objects made on us would pass like shadows, and leave no trace. After several years, we would be the same as we were at our first moment, without having acquired any knowledge, and without having any other faculties than feeling. But the nature of our sensations does not let us remain enslaved in this lethargy. Since they are necessarily agreeable or disagreeable, we are involved in seeking the former, avoiding the latter; and the greater the intensity of difference between pleasure and pain, the more it occasions action in our souls. Thus the privation of an object that we judge necessary for our well-being, gives us disquiet, that uneasiness we call need, and from which desires are born. These needs recur according to circumstances, often quite new ones present themselves, and it is in this way that our knowledge and faculties develop.
From all which I conclude, there is a Mind which affects me every moment with all the sensible impressions I perceive. And, from the variety, order, and manner of these, I conclude the Author of them to be wise, powerful, and good beyond comprehension. Mark it well; I do not say, I see things by perceiving that which represents them in the intelligible Substance of God. This I do not understand; but I say, the things by me perceived are known by the understanding, and produced by the will of an infinite Spirit.
All violent feelings produce in us a falseness in all our impressions of external things, which I would generally characterize as the "Pathetic Fallacy."
In the conservative view human communication and interaction is limited to our sensory channels ... [but] we are linked by more subtle and encompassing connections as well...The connections that bind 'my' consciousness to the consciousness of others... are rediscovered today in controlled experiments with thought and image transference, and the effect of the mind of one individual on the body of another... Native tribes seem able to communicate beyond the range of eye and ear... In the laboratory also, modern people display a capacity for spontaneous transference of impressions and images, especially when they are emotionally close to each other... transpersonal contact includes the ability to transmit thoughts and images, and ... it is given to many if not all people... this is the finding of recent experiments... Reliable evidence is becoming available that the conscious mind of one person can produce repeatable and measurable effects on the body of another... [also] Intercessory prayer and spiritual healing, together with other mind- and intention-based experiments and practices, yield impressive evidence regarding the effectiveness of telepathic and telesomatic information- and energy-transmission. The pertinent practices produce real and measurable effects on people, and they are more and more widespread. But mainstream science has no explanation for them. Could it be that our consciousness is linked with other consciousnesses through an interconnecting Akashic Field, much as galaxies are linked in the cosmos, quanta in the microworld, and organisms in the world of the living?
It is well known to all experienced minds that our firmest convictions are often dependent on subtle impressions for which words are quite too coarse a medium.
In this life we never behold the true state of our interior: our attention is engaged by the few serious sentiments with which we are occasionally animated; and the judgment which we form of ourselves is generally influenced by the last impressions which are made upon our minds.