observation

To be fruitful in invention, it is indispensable to have a habit of observation and reflection.

Where observation is concerned, chance favors only the prepared mind.

Scientists look for four qualities in theory generally… parsimony: the fewer the units and process used to account for the phenomenon, the better… second, generality: the greater the range of phenomena covered by the model, the more likely it is to be true… Consilence: units and process of a discipline that conform with solidly verified knowledge in other disciplines have proven consistently superior in theory and practice to units and processes that do not conform… Predictiveness: those theories endure that are precise in the predictions they make across phenomena and whose predictions are easiest to test by observation and experiment.

It is a just observation that the people commonly intend the public good. This often applies to their very errors. But their good sense would despise the adulator who should pretend that they always reason right about the means of promoting it. They known from experience that they sometimes err; and the wonder is that they so seldom err as they do, beset, as they continually are, by the wiles of parasites and sycophants, by the snares of the ambitious, the avaricious, the desperate, by the artifices of men who possess their confidence more then they deserve it, and of those who seek to possess rather than to deserve it.

Truth is strengthened by observation and time, pretenses by haste and uncertainty.

He is a truly virtuous man who wishes always to be open to the observation of honest men.

Nothing is so capable of diminishing self-love as the observation that we disapprove at one time what we approve at another.

It is for the most part in our skill in manners, and in the observation of time and place and of decency in general that what is called taste consists; and which is in reality no other that a more refined judgment. The cause of a wrong taste is a defect of judgment.

[Zen] is not a kind of “self-actualization,” an expansion of the limited, isolated Me, of the empirical ego. Neither is it a regression, a return into that vegetative ooze of Oneness, before we became aware of our differentiation as separate egos. On the contrary, the Zen experience is the overcoming of the hallucination that the Me is the valid center of observation of the universe. It is a momentary, radical turnabout, a direct perception of and insight into the presence, into the transiency, the finitude that I share with all beings.

The whole record of civilization is a record of the failure of money as a higher incentive. The enormous majority of men never make any serious effort to get rich. The few who are sordid enough to do so easily become millionaires with a little luck, and astonish the others by the contrast between their riches and their stupidity... The belief in money as an incentive is founded on the observation that people will do for money what they will not do for anything else.

Morality without religion is only a kind of dead reckoning, an endeavor to find our place on a cloudy sea by measuring the distance we have run, but without any observation of the heavenly bodies.

There are at bottom but two possible religions - that which rises in the moral nature of man, and which takes shape in moral commandments, and that which grows out of the observation of the material energies which operate in the external universe.

There are at bottom but two possible religions – that which rises in the moral nature of man, and which takes shape in moral commandments, and that which grows out of the observation of the material energies which operate in the external universe.

This is the tax a man must pay to his virtues - they hold up a torch to his vices, and render those frailties notorious in him which would have passed without observation in another.

Where observation is concerned, chance favors only the prepared mind.

It has been my observation that being beaten up is often a temporary condition; giving up is what makes it permanent.

It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom. Each, in its utmost development, supposes a high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge; each renders one individual dependent for the food of his affections and spiritual life upon another; each leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his object.

It is an observation no less just than common, that there is no stronger test of a man’s real character than power and authority, exciting, as they do, every passion, and discovering every latent vice.

That learning which thou gettest by thy own observation and experience, is far beyond that which thou gettest by precept; as the knowledge of a traveler exceeds that which is got by reading.

A writer needs three things, experience, observation and imagination, any two of which, at times any; one of which, can supply the lack of the two others.