How many a knot of mystery and misunderstanding would be untied by one word spoken in simple and confiding truth of heart! How many a solitary place would be made glad if love were there, and how many a dark dwelling would be filled with light!
A major cause of many people’s sadness is their lack of attaining things they could live without.
How many of us are waiting for the opportunity to do some great thing for the betterment of our community, forgetting that the solution of the problem requires only the active intelligent fulfillment of individual civic duty. The only things which are wrong about our Government are the things which are wrong with you and me. Democracy is never a thing done; it is and always will be a goal to be achieved. It means action, not passive acquiescence in things as they are; it requires alertness to duty, a dynamic faith, a willingness to give for the good of all. It can live only as a result of loyalty and devotion to its principles expressed by daily needs.
Everyone suffers. But many do not take it to heart that the suffering comes as a punishment for transgressions, rather they consider it accidental. The proper attitude is that suffering is an atonement. With this realization a person appreciates that suffering in this world saves him suffering in the next.
Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men.
The freer a man’s judgment is in relation to a definite question, the greater is the necessity with which the content of this judgment will be determined; while the uncertainty, founded on ignorance, which seems to make an arbitrary choice among many different and conflicting possible decisions, shows precisely by this that it is not free, that it is controlled by the very object it should itself control. Freedom therefore consists in the control over ourselves and over external nature, an control founded on knowledge of natural necessity; it is therefore necessarily a product of historical development.
Simplicity is the straightforwardness of a soul which refuses itself any reaction with regard to itself or its deeds. This virtue differs from and surpasses sincerity. We see many people who are sincere without being simple. They do not wish to be taken for other than what they are; but they are always fearing lest they should be taken for what they are not.
Custom may lead a man into many errors; but it justifies none.
It is a secret, well known to all great men, that by conferring an obligation they; do not always procure a friend, but are certain of creating many enemies.
In cities no one is quiet but many are lonely; in the country, people are quiet but few are lonely.
We settle things by a majority vote, and the psychological effect of doing that is to create the impression that the majority is probably right. Of course, on any fine issue the majority is sure to be wrong. Think of taking a majority vote on the best music. Jazz would win over Chopin. Or on the best novel. Many cheap scribblers would win over Tolstoy. And any day a prizefight will get a bigger crowd, larger gate receipts and wider newspaper publicity than any new revelation of goodness, truth or beauty could hope to achieve in a century.
How many observe Christ's birthday! How few his precepts! O! 'tis easier to keep holidays than commandments.
The taxes were indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the government were the only ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our idleness, three times by our pride, and four times as much by our folly; and from these taxes the commissioners cannot ease or deliver us, by allowing an abatement.
What are the qualities of Life? It can be shared forever, but cannot be kept forever. When given to another, it brings great joy to all; when taken, the anguish for many is great. It is sometimes maintained by less than the thread of a string and sometimes lost despite the hopes of millions. Its frailty and end are obvious, but its strength and limits endless. So share your life with me while we are together so we can create that which will bring joy to others. When this life is over, let the meaning of our lives be found not on a list of accomplishments, but in the hearts and souls of the people with whom we shared our fragile existence. Let our lives not be measured by what we did for others, but by what we helped people do for themselves.
No man ever became great or good except through many and great mistakes.
One of the almost numberless advantages of goodness is, that it blinds its possessor to many of those faults in others which could not fail to be detected by the morally defective. A consciousness of unworthiness renders people extremely quick-sighted in discerning the vices of their neighbors; as person scan easily discover in others the symptoms of those diseases beneath which they themselves have suffered.
Plunge boldly into the thick of life! each lives it, not to many is it known; and seize it where you will it is interesting.
One great reason why men practice generosity so little in the world is their finding so little there. Generosity is catching; and if so many men escape it, it is in a great degree from the same reason the countrymen escape the smallpox, because they meet no one to give it to them.
There is a great amount of deception in honor giving. Many people who give honor are really takers.
One pang of conscience is worth more than many lashes.