There is no readier way for a man to bring his own worth into question than by endeavoring to detract from the worth of other men.
Man’s actions proceed from his innate character and the motives acting upon him. What is conscience and the perception of right and wrong in actions that follows from the consciousness of freedom? That is a question for ethics.
If a person is indecisive about which of two courses of action to take, the question to ask himself is: “Which choice will bring more honor to the Almighty?” The reply to this question is the path to choose.
The greatest right in the world is the right to be wrong. If the Government or majorities think an individual is right, no one will interfere with him; but when agitators talk against the things considered holy, or when radicals criticise, or satirize the political gods, or question the justice of our laws and institutions, or pacifists talk against war, how the old inquisition awakens, and ostracism, the excommunication of the church, the prison, the wheel, the torture-chamber, the mob, are called to suppress the free expression of thought.
The first key to wisdom is this - constant and frequent questioning - for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.
While an open mind is priceless, it is priceless only when its owner has the courage to make a final decision which closes the mind for action after the process of viewing all sides of the question has been completed. Failure to make a decision after due consideration of all the facts will quickly brand a man unfit for a position of responsibility. Not all of your decisions will be correct. None of us is perfect. But if you get into the habit of making decisions, experience will develop your judgment to a point where more and more of your decisions will be right. After all, it is better to be right 51 percent of the time and get something done, than it is to get nothing done because you fear to reach a decision.
Education should be a way of making inquiring minds inquire. Students enter school as question marks but in too many schools they leave as periods. We must teach them to imagine, to train their memories.
You cannot take any performance (even an interior performance) as itself an act of intention; for if you describe a performance, the fact that it has taken place is not a proof of intention; words for example may occur in somebody’s mind without his meaning them. so intention is never a performance in the mind, though in some matters a performance in the mind which is seriously meant may make a difference to the correct account of the man’s action - e.g., in embracing someone. But the matters in question are necessarily ones in which outward acts are ‘significant’ in some way.
“What is eternity?” was a question once asked at the deaf and dumb institution of Paris, and the beautiful and striking answer was given by one of the pupils, “The lifetime of the Almighty.”
The question of bread for myself is a material question, but the question of bread for my neighbor is a spiritual question.
Take your duty, and be strong in it, as God will make you strong. The harder it is, the stronger in fact you will be. Understand, also, that the great question her is, not what you will get, but what you will become. The greatest wealth you can ever get will be in yourself. Take your burdens and troubles and losses and wrongs, if come they must and will, as your opportunity, knowing that God has girded you for greater things than these.
Is life worth living? This is a question for an embryo, not for a man.
Don't spend your precious time asking, "Why isn't the world a better place?" It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is, "How can I make it better?" To that question, there is an answer.
True conservatism is substantial progress; it holds fast what is true and good in order to advance in both. To cast away the old is not of necessity to attain the new. To reject anything that is valuable, lessens the power of gaining more. That a thing is new does not of course commend; that it is old does not discredit. The test question is, "Is it true or good?"
What is the sense of our life? What is the sense of the life of any living being at all? To know an answer to this question means to be religious. You ask: What is the sense of putting this question at all? I answer: He who feels that his own life or that of his fellow-beings is senseless is not only unhappy, but hardly capable of living.
There is one wish ruling over all mankind, and it is a wish which is never in any single instance granted - each man wishes to be his own master. It is a boy's beautific vision, and it remains the grown-up man's ruling passion to the last. But the fact is, life is a service; the only question is, whom will we serve?
The most distinctive mark of a cultured mind is the ability to take another's point of view; to put one's self in another's place, and see life and its problems from a point of view different from one's own. To be willing to test a new idea; to be able to live on the edge of difference in all matters intellectually; to examine without heat the burning question of the day; to have imaginative sympathy, openness and flexibility of mind, steadiness and poise of feeling, cool calmness of judgment, is to have culture.
Every question in philosophy is the mask of another question; and all these masking and masked questions require to be removed and laid aside, until the ultimate but truly first question has been reached. Then, but not till them, it is possible to decipher and resolve the outside mask, and all those below it, which come before us in the first instance.
We try to evade the question [of existence] with property, prestige, power, production, fun, and, ultimately, by trying to forget that we - that I - exist. No matter how often he thinks of God or goes to church, or how much he believes in religious ideas, if he, the whole man, is deaf to the question of existence, if he does not have an answer to it, he is marking time, and he lives and dies like of the million things he produces. He thinks of God, instead of experiencing God.
I don’t see any reason why we should have less confidence in this kind of perception, I.e., in mathematical intuition, than in sense perception, which induces us to build up physical theories and to expect that future sense perceptions will agree with them and, moreover, to believe that a question not decidable now has meaning and may be decided in the future.