instinct

The ultimate test of the laughing instinct is that a man should always be ready to laugh at himself.

To live is like to love - all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it.

It may be difficult, too, for many of us, to abandon the belief that there is an instinct towards perfection at work in human beings, which has brought them to their present high level of intellectual achievement and ethical sublimation and which may be expected to watch over their development as supermen. I have no faith, however, in the existence of any such internal instinct and I cannot see how this benevolent illusion is to be preserved. The present development of human beings requires, as it seems to me, no different explanation from that of animals. What appears in a minority of human individuals as an untiring impulsion towards further perfection can easily be understood as a result of the instinctual repression upon which is based all that is most precious in human civilization.

A good man, through obscurest aspirations, has still an instinct of the one true way.

An instinct is an agent which performs blindly and ignorantly a work of intelligence and knowledge.

[Music] It reveals us to ourselves, it represents those modulations and temperamental changes which escape all verbal analysis, it utters what must else remain forever unuttered and unutterable; it feeds that deep, ineradicable instinct within us of which all art is only the reverberated echo, that craving to express, through the medium of the senses, the spiritual and eternal realties which underlie them.

Things as they are are changed when we demonstrate a new reality. A very small change in perception can result in a change in behavior and, cumulatively, in a very large change in cultural patterns. Our purpose and destiny are encoded within us. But they do not automatically propel us to the next act in our day, let alone the next stage in our evolution. Our Fourth Instinct allows us to see that next stage, and our free will enables us to act on it so that it can become a reality.

Music moves us, and we know not why; we feel the tears but cannot trace their source. Is the language of some other state, born of its memory? For what can wake the soul's strong instinct of another world like music?

When reason and instinct are reconciled, there will be no higher appeal.

Conscience is the voice of the soul, the passions are the voice of the body. Is it astonishing that often these two languages contradict each other, and then to which must we listen? Too often reason deceives us; we have only to listen too much acquired the right of refusing to listen to it; but conscience never deceives us; it is the true guide of man; it is to man what instinct is to the body, which follows it, obeys nature, and never is afraid of going astray.

The sex instinct is one of the three or four prime movers of all that we do and are and dream, both individually and collectively.

The inner and unconscious ideal which guides [the parents’] lives is precisely what touches the child; their words, their remonstrances, their punishments, their bursts of feeling even, are for him merely thunder and comedy; what they worship, that it is which his instinct divines and reflects.

We are impelled by a hidden instinct to reunion with the parts of the larger heart of the universe.

I believe that the more we think, the more we become convinced that the instinct which asks for equality is a low one, and that equality if it were completely brought out, would furnish play for the lower instincts and impulses of man.

All the great – the permanently great – things that have been achieved in the world have been so achieved by individuals, working from the instinct of genius or goodness.

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.

Morality is herd instinct in the individual.

Man is unique in that he knows nothing. He can learn nothing without being taught. He can neither speak nor walk nor eat, in fact he can do nothing by natural instinct alone except weep.

Even scholars of audacious spirit and fine instinct can be obstructed in the interpretation of facts by philosophical prejudices.

Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth, for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power. Whenever the will to power fails there is disaster.