As students of nature we are pantheists, as poets polytheists, as moral beings monotheists.
There is no more lovely worship of God than that for which no image is required, but which springs up in our breast spontaneously when nature speaks to the soul, and the soul speaks to nature face to face.
Nothing whatever can be said in support of the assumption that nature will usually follow the simpler theory... The simplest theory is to be chosen not because it is most likely to be true but because it is scientifically the most rewarding among equally likely alternatives. We aim at simplicity and hope for truth.
It is one of the many paradoxes of psychology that the pursuit of happiness defeats its own purpose. We find happiness only when we do not directly seek it. An analogy will make this clear. In listening to music at a concert, we experience pleasurable feelings only so long as our attention is directed towards the music. But if in order to increase our happiness we give all our attention to our subjective feeling of happiness, it vanishes. Nature contrives to make it impossible for anyone to attain happiness by turning into himself.
Religion is the final centre of repose; the goal to which all things tend; apart form which man is a shadow, his very existence a riddle, and the stupendous scenes of nature which surround him as unmeaning as the leaves which the sibyl scattered in the wind.
Like a great poet, Nature produces the greatest results with the simplest means. These are simply a sun, flowers, water and love. Of course, if the spectator be without the last, the whole will present but a pitiful appearance; and, in that case, the sun is merely so many miles in diameter, the trees are good for fuel, the flowers are classified by stamens, and the water is simply wet.
Such is the nature of men that howsoever they may acknowledge many others to be more witty, or more eloquent, or more learned, yet they will hardly believe they may be many so wise as themselves.
The nature of God is incomprehensible; that is to say, we understand nothing of what He is, but only that He is; and therefore the attributes we give Him are not to tell one another what He is, nor to signify our opinion of His nature, but our desire to honor Him with such names as we conceive most honorable amongst ourselves.
Imagination is the organ through which the soul within us recognizes a soul without us; the spiritual eye by which the mind perceives and converses with the spiritualities of nature under her material forms; which tends to exalt eve the senses into soul by discerning a soul in the objects of sense.
When you stop thinking that things have a past or future, and that they come or go, then in the whole universe there won't be a single atom that is not your own treasure. All you have to do is look into your own mind; then the marvelous reality will manifest itself at all times. Don't search for the truth with your intellect. Don't search at all. The nature of the mind is intrinsically pure.
Language is by its very nature a communal thing, that is , it expresses never the exact thing but a compromise - that which is common to you, me, and everybody.
Cognition is, after all, only human cognition, bound up with human intellectual forms, and unfit to reach the very nature of things, to reach things in themselves.
Education: To be at home in all lands and ages; to count Nature as a familiar acquaintance and Art an intimate friend; to gain a standard for the appreciation of other men's work and the criticism of one's own; to carry the keys of the world's library in one's pocket, and feel its resources behind one in whatever task he undertakes; to make hosts of friends among the men of one's own age who are the leaders in all walks of life; to lose oneself in general enthusiasms and co-operate with others for common ends.
It is interesting to notice how some minds seem almost to create themselves, springing up under every disadvantage, and working their solitary but irresistible way through a thousand obstacles. Nature seems to delight in disappointing the assiduities of art, with which it would rear dullness to maturity; and to glory in the vigor and luxuriance of her chance productions. She scatters the seeds of genius to the winds, and though some may perish among the stony places of the world, and some may be choked by the thorns and brambles of early adversity, yet others will now and then strike root even in the clefts of the rock, struggle bravely up into sunshine, and spread over their sterile birthplace all the beauties of vegetation.
Instead of production, primarily, we have to think of sustainability. Instead of dominating nature, we have to acknowledge that nature is our source and best teacher. Instead of understanding the world in parts, we need to think about the whole.
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
Deviation from Nature is deviation from happiness.
It is the great privilege of poverty to be happy and yet unenvied, to be healthy without physic, secure without a guard, and to obtain from the bounty of nature what the great and wealthy are compelled to procure by the help of art.
No man is by nature the property of another.
Novelty is indeed necessary to preserve eagerness and alacrity; but art and nature have sores inexhaustible by human intellects; and every moment produces something new to him who has quickened his faculties by diligent observation.