Union may be strength, but it is mere blind brute strength unless wisely directed.
To do nothing is in every man’s power; we can never want an opportunity of omitting duties. The lapse to indolence is soft and imperceptible, because it is only a mere cessation of activity; but the return to diligence is difficult, because it implies a change from rest to motion, from privation to reality.
We consider ourselves as defective in memory, either because we remember less than we desire, or less than we suppose others to remember.
It is a dangerous policy to claim that we are acting improperly because of destiny or fate.
It is a weak thing to tell half your story, and then ask your friend's advice--a still weaker thing to take it.
Some students require great mildness, while others need to be directed with firmness.
I am particularly fond of [Emmanuel Mendes da Costa's] Natural History of Fossils because this treatise, more than any other work written in English, records a short episode expressing one of the grand false starts in the history of natural science—and nothing can be quite so informative and instructive as a juicy mistake.
Included in this almost nothing, as a kind of geological afterthought of the last few million years, is the first development of self-conscious intelligence on this planet—an odd and unpredictable invention of a little twig on the mammalian evolutionary bush. Any definition of this uniqueness, embedded as it is in our possession of language, must involve our ability to frame the world as stories and to transmit these tales to others. If our propensity to grasp nature as story has distorted our perceptions, I shall accept this limit of mentality upon knowledge, for we receive in trade both the joys of literature and the core of our being.
The enraged man always appears as the gang-leader of his own self, giving his unconscious the order to pull no punches, his eyes shining with the satisfaction of speaking for the many that he himself is. The more someone has espoused the cause of his own aggression, the more perfectly he represents the repressive principle of society. In this sense more than in any other, perhaps, the proposition is true that the most individual is the most general.
By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet.
Our notions about happiness entrap us. We forget that they are just ideas. Our idea of happiness can prevent us from actually being happy. We fail to see the opportunity for joy that is right in front of us when we are caught in a belief that happiness should take a particular form.
Reasoning with a drunkard is like going under water with a torch to seek for a drowning man.
Another doctrine repugnant to civil society, is that whatsoever a man does against his conscience, is sin; and it dependeth on the presumption of making himself judge of good and evil. For a man's conscience and his judgment are the same thing, and as the judgment, so also the conscience may be erroneous.
May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.
I live in the woods out of necessity. I get out of the bed in the middle of the night because it is imperative that I hear the silence of the night, alone, and, with my face on the floor, say psalms, alone, in the silence of the night... the silence of the forest is my bride and the sweet dark warmth of the whole world is my love and out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in silence, but it is the root of all the secrets that are whispered by all the lovers in their beds all over the world.
There is something in the depths of our being that hungers for wholeness and finality. Because we are made for eternal life, we are made for an act that gathers up all the powers and capacities of our being and offers them simultaneously and forever to God. The blind spiritual instinct that tells us obscurely that our owns lives have a particular importance and purpose, and which urges us to find out our vocation, seeks in so doing to bring us to a decision that will dedicate our lives irrevocably to their true purpose. The man who loses this sense of his own personal destiny, and who renounces all hope of having any kind of vocation in life has either lost all hope of happiness or else has entered upon some mysterious vocation that God alone can understand.
The Sun shineth as well on the good as the bad: God from on high beholdeth all the workers of iniquity, as well as the upright of heart.
When people ask me if it has been a hard or easy road, I always answer with the same quotation, the end is nothing, the road is all.
Good will is not a single quality. It is a composite of all the qualities of the spirit, applied to daily living.
A mercantile democracy may govern long and widely; a mercantile aristocracy cannot stand.