nature

Prejudices may be intense, but their lives are limited. To discover when they are dead and to bury them, is an important matter, and no unseemly tears should be shed at their funerals... Human nature is so constituted, that all see, and judge better, in the affairs of other men, than in their own.

Even granting the author [Rutherford]... his main principle, ‘That every man’s own happiness is the ultimate end, which nature and reason teach him to pursue’, why may not nature and reason teach him, too, to have some desire to see others happy as well as himself, or give him some delight in doing what seems fit and right, if these things do not interfere with his own happiness?... Why may he not, with the pursuit of that end, join some other pursuits not inconsistent with it, instead of transforming every benevolent affection, every moral view, into self-interest? This surely neither does honour to religion, nor justice to human nature.

How happy is he born or taught,
That serveth not another’s will;
Whose armor is his honest thought
And simple truth his utmost skill!

Lord of himself, though not of lands;
And having nothing, yet hath all.

You meaner beauties of the night,
That poorly satisfy our eyes
More by your number than your light;
You common people of the skies,—
What are you when the moon shall rise?

An itch of disputing will prove the scab of churches.
I am but a gatherer and disposer of other men’s stuff.
Idle time not idly spent.
Now all nature seemed in love, and birds had drawn their valentines.

The exercise of criticism always destroys for a time our sensibility to beauty by leading us to regard the work in relation to certain laws of construction. The eye turns from the charms of nature to fix itself upon the servile dexterity of art.

Any interference with nature is damnable. Not only nature but also the people will suffer.

If man were by nature a solitary animal the passions of the soul by which he was conformed to things so as to have knowledge of them would be sufficient for him; but since he is by nature a political and social animal it was necessary that his conceptions be made known to others. This he does through vocal sound. Therefore there had to be significant vocal sounds in order that men might live together. Whence those who speak different languages find it difficult to live together in social unity.

Poetry is not concerned with telling people what to do, but with extending our knowledge of good and evil, perhaps making the necessity for action more urgent and its nature more clear, but only leading us to the point where it is possible for us to make a rational and moral choice.

It is with the desire for peace that wars are waged, even by those who take pleasure in exercising their warlike nature in command and battle. And hence it is obvious that peace is the end sought for by war. For every man seeks peace by waging war, but no man seeks war by making peace... Even wicked men wage war to maintain the peace of their own circle, and wish that, if possible, all men belonged to them, that all men and things might serve but one head, and might, either through love or fear, yield themselves to peace with him!

A simple-minded believer would say, ‘God is in Heaven.’ A man of trained mind, knowing that God must be represented as a physical entity in space, would say, ‘God is everywhere, and not merely in Heaven.’ But if the omnipresence of God be taken only in a physical and spatial sense, that formula, too, is likely in error. Accordingly, the philosopher more adequately expresses the purely spiritual nature of God when he asserts that God is nowhere but in Himself; in fact, rather than say that God is in spaced he might more justly say that space and matter are in God.

What then does propter hoc add to post hoc? At the factual level, nothing at all, so long as the conjunction is constant in either case... In nature one thing just happens after another. Cause and effect have their place only in our imaginative arrangements and extensions of these primary facts.

One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.

The brave man is not he who feels no fear, for that would be stupid and irrational; but he whose noble soul subdues its fear, and bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from.

It is the responsibility of free men to trust and to celebrate what is constant - birth, struggle, and death are constant - and so is love, though we may not always think so - and to apprehend the nature of change, to be able and willing to change. I speak of change not on the surface but in the depths - change in the sense of renewal. But renewal becomes impossible if one supposes things to be constant that are not - safety, for example, or money or power. One clings then to chimeras, but which one can only be betrayed, and the entire hope - the entire possibility - of freedom disappears.

Love is to the moral nature what the sun is to the earth.

If civilization has profoundly modified man, it is by accumulating in his social surroundings, as in a reservoir, the habits and knowledge which society pours into the individual at each new generation. Scratch the surface, abolish everything we owe to an education which is perpetual and unceasing, and you find in the depth of our nature primitive humanity, or something very near it.

Into every empty corner, into all forgotten things and nooks, Nature struggles to pour life, pouring life into the dead, life into life itself.

One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.

Keep the middle path of strength and virtue, lest you be overwhelmed by misfortune or corrupted by pleasant fortune. All that falls short or goes too far ahead, has contempt for happiness, and gains not the reward for labor done. It rests in your own hands what shall be the nature of the fortune which you choose to form for yourself. For all fortune which seems difficult, either exercises virtue, or corrects or punishes vice.

Love means that the adults be genuinely concerned with the evolution of the true nature of the child. Children are not able to respond to a love which tries to fashion them according to the concept of the adult, no matter how good the latter's intention may be.

The greatest events of an age are its best thoughts. It is the nature of thought to find its way into action.