What sort of philosophy one chooses depends, therefore, on what sort of man one is; for a philosophical system is not a dead piece of furniture that we can reject or accept as we wish; it is rather a thing animated by the soul of the person who holds it. A person indolent by nature or dulled and distorted by mental servitude, learned luxury, and vanity will never raise himself to the level of idealism.
It is not from nature, but from education and habits, that our wants are chiefly derived.
There is a sort of knowledge beyond the power of learning to bestow, and this is to be had in conversation; so necessary is this to the understanding the characters of men, that none are more ignorant of them than those learned pedants whose lives have been entirely consumed in colleges and among books; for however exquisitely human nature may have been described by writers the true practical system can be learned only in the world.
When we have something for a long time we usually take it for granted. From the day we were born we have breathed air and seen sunlight and the beauty of nature. We have had sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch for such a long time we have lost our appreciation for them. We take our daily pleasures and our intellectual attainments for granted.
No one can understand unless, holding to his own nature, he respects the free nature of others.
Our best hope for the future is that the intellect - the scientific spirit, reason - should in time establish a dictatorship over the human mind. The very nature of reason is a guarantee that it would not fail to concede to human emotions, and to all that is determined by them, the position to which they are entitled. But the common pressure exercised by such a domination of reason would prove to be the strongest unifying force among men, and would prepare the way for further unifications. Whatever, like the ban laid upon thought by religion, opposes such a development is a danger for the future of mankind.
The unconscious is the true psychic reality; in its inner nature it is just as much unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is just as imperfectly communicated to us by the data of consciousness as is the external world by the reports of our sense-organs.
In the works of man as in those of nature, it is the intention which is chiefly worth studying.
Where do we now meet an original nature? And where is the man who has the strength to be true, and to show himself as he is?
Good nature is the very air of a good mind; the sign of a large and generous soul, and the peculiar soil in which virtue prospers.
The center of human nature is rooted in ten thousand ordinary acts of kindness that define our days.
We cannot read the meaning of life passively in the facts of nature. We must construct these answers ourselves - from our own wisdom and ethical sense. There is no other way.
Neutrality in things good or evil is both odious and prejudicial; but in matters of an indifferent nature is safe and commendable. Herein taking of parts maketh sides, and breaketh unity. In an unjust cause of separation, he that favoreth both parts may perhaps have least love of either side, but hath most charity in himself.
Pain is the deepest thing we have in our nature, and union through pain has always seemed more real and holy than any other.
Good-nature is the beauty of the mind, and like personal beauty, wins almost without anything else, sometimes, indeed, in spite of positive deficiencies.
The business of philosophy is to circumnavigate human nature.
Our souls must become expanded by the contemplation of Nature’s grandeur, before we can fully comprehend the greatness of man.
Thought is invisible nature; nature, visible thought.
Hide not thy tears; weep boldly, and be proud to give the flowing virtue manly way; it is nature’s mark to know an honest heart by.
Shun fear, it is the ague of the soul! a passion man created for himself - for sure that cramp of nature could not dwell in the warm realms of glory.