Instinct

The universal and insuperable instinct which leads man to prayer is in harmony with this great fact: he who believes in God cannot but have recourse to Him and to pray to Him.

The history of the world begins with its general aim, the realization of the idea of spirit, only in an implicit form, that is, as nature; a hidden, most profoundly hidden, unconscious instinct; and the whole process of history (as already observed) is directed to rendering this unconscious impulse a conscious one... This vast congeries of volitions, interest and activities, constitute the instruments and means of the world-spirit for attaining its object; bringing it to consciousness, and realizing it.

Friendship may indeed come to exist without sensuous liking or comradeship to pave the way; but unless intellectual sympathy and moral appreciation are powerful enough to react on natural instinct and to produce in the end the personal affection which at first was wanting, friendship does not arise.

Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through a long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness.

To fight is a radical instinct; if men have nothing else to fight over they will fight over words, fancies, or women, or they will fight because they dislike each other's looks, or because they have met walking in opposite directions. To know a thing down, especially if it is cocked at an arrogant angle, is a deep delight to the blood. To first for a reason and in a calculating spirit is something your true warrior despises.

Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness…. When experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it…. This is the condition of children and barbarians, in whom instinct has learned nothing from experience.

The instinct for justice, when equipped with all the resources of technology, is capable of laying waste to the earth itself.

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things. I do not wish to be any more busy with my hands than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing, as some creatures use their snout and fore paws, and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills. I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts; so by the divining-rod and thin rising vapors I judge; and here I will begin to mine.

A true religious instinct never deprived man of one single joy; mournful faces and a sombre aspect are the conventional affectations of the weak-minded.

Reason is progressive; instinct, stationary. Five thousand years have added no improvement to the hive of the bee, nor the house of the beaver.

The difference between reason of man and the instinct of the beast is this, that the beast does but know, but the man knows that he knows.

Nine-tenths of that which is attributed to sexuality is the works of our magnificent ability to imagine, which is no longer an instinct, but exactly the opposite: a creation.

If you let your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, your life will be safe, expedient and thin.

The greatest event in natural history was the birth of conscience in the human mind. That was the moment when man put aside his strongest natural instinct, which was self-interest.

Death is a great preacher of deathlessness. The protest of the soul against death, its reversion, its revulsion, is a high instinct of life. Dissatisfaction in his world who satisfieth the desire of every living thing has a grip on the future. As far as this goes, he has the least assurance of immortality who can be best satisfied with eating and drinking and “things”’ he has the surest hope of ongoings and far distances who does not live by brad alone, whose eye is looking over the shoulder of things, whose ear hears mighty waters rolling ever more, who has “hopes naught can satisfy below.” The limits of which death makes us aware, make us aware of life’s limitlessness. The wing cage knows it was meant for an ampler ether and diviner air.

The wise are instructed by reason; ordinary minds, by experience; the stupid, by necessity; and brutes by instinct.

A kind of mysterious instinct is supposed to reside in the soul, that instantaneously discerns truth, without the tedious labour of ratiocination. This instinct, for I know not what other name to give it, has been termed common sense, and more frequently, sensibility; and, by a kind of indefeasible right, it has been supposed, for rights of this kind are not easily proved, to reign paramount over the other faculties of the mind, and to be an authority from which there is no appeal.

The love of liberty is simply the instinct in man for expansion. Not only to find oneself tyrannized over and outraged is a defeat to this instinct, but in general, to feel oneself over-tutored, over-governed, sate upon (as the popular phrase is) by authority, is a defeat to it.

Is it a fact - or have I dreamt it - that by means of electricity the world of matter has become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of miles in a breathless point of time? Rather, the round globe is a vast head, a brain, instinct with intelligence; or shall we say it is itself a thought, nothing but thought, and no longer the substance which we dreamed it.

All our progress is an unfolding, like a vegetable bud. You have first an instinct, then an opinion, then a knowledge as the plant has root, bud, and fruit. Trust the instinct to the end. though you can render no reason.