Sense

There is no such thing as perpetual tranquillity of mind, while we live here; because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense.

To this war of every man, against every man, this is also consequent that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law: where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues. Justice, and injustice, are none of the faculties neither of the body, nor mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his sense, and passions. They are qualities, that relate to men in society, not in solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition, that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine and thing distinct; but only that to be every man’s, that he can get; and for so long, as he can keep it.

Education in its widest sense includes everything that exerts a formative influence, and causes a young person to be, at a given point, what he is.

Parents, however old they and we may grow to be, serve among other things to shield us from a sense of our doom. As long as they are around, we can avoid the fact of our mortality; we can still be innocent children.

Whenever, for any reason, we wish to think of the world, not as it appears to common sense, but as a continuum, we find that our traditional syntax and vocabulary are quite inadequate. Mathematicians have therefore been compelled to invent radically new symbol-systems for this express purpose. But the divine Ground of all existence is not merely a continuum, it is also out of time, and different, not merely in degree, but in kind from the worlds to which traditional language and the languages of mathematics are adequate.

If I do not feel a sense of joy in God’s creation, if I forget to offer the world back to God with thankfulness, I have advanced very little upon the Way. I have not yet learned to be truly human. For it is only through thanksgiving that I can become myself.

A man who protects and hoards his life may lose it anyhow. Perhaps to protect it is to lose it in the most real sense of the word, for cowardice means spiritual death.

The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.

The aim [of education] is to develop a sincere faith in the holiness of life and sense of responsibility for enabling the... people to make its contribution to the achievement of a good life.

A crowd... in its very concept is the untruth, by reason of the fact that it renders the individual completely impenitent and irresponsible, or at least weakens his sense of responsibility by reducing it to a fraction.

No love and no expression of love may, in the merely human and worldly sense, be deprived of a relationship to God. Love is a passionate emotion, but in this emotion, even before he enters into a relation with the object of his love, the man just first enter into a relationship with God, and thereby realize the claim that love is the fulfillment of the law.

To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one's self. And to venture in the highest sense is precisely to become conscious of one's self.

I am here in order to fulfill the designs of my Creator as I understand them and to the best of my ability... Each one of us creates his own picture of the world, tortuously building an ideal in order to try to live in accordance with it. In that sense, there is no difference between a believer and an agnostic, since an ideal is something that, once raised, transcends man. Thus, we are here in order to “hoist our spirit without anchoring it upon anything,” as one of the ancient Chinese philosophers said. We must admit that that foundations are indeed shaky.

Social security depends on personal security. And personal security depends on spiritual security. Spiritual security is primary, in the sense that every other kind of security stems from it. Without spiritual security, there just can’t be any other kind of lasting security.

There are two insults no human will endure: the assertion that he has no sense of humor and the doubly impertinent assertion that he has never known trouble.

Prayer is the act by which man, detaching himself from the embarrassments of sense and nature, ascends to the true level of his destiny

Affectation in any part of our carriage is lighting up a candle to see our defects, and never fails to make us taken notice of, either as wanting sense or sincerity.

Perception, thinking, doubting, believing, reasoning, knowing, willing, and all the different actings of our own minds; which we being conscious of, and observing in ourselves, do from these receive into our understanding as do from these receive into our understanding as distinct ideas as we do from bodies affecting our senses. This source of ideas every man has wholly in himself; and though it be not sense, as having nothing to do with external objects, yet it is very like it, and might properly enough be called internal sense. But as I call the other sensation, so I call this reflection, the ideas it affords being such only as the mind gets by reflecting on its own operation within self... These two, I say, vis. external material things, as the objects of sensation, and the operations of our own minds within, as the objects of reflection, are to me the only originals from whence all our ideas take their beginnings.

Everything was possessed of personality, only different from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that was to feel beauty... Observation was certain to have its rewards. Interest, wonder, admiration grew, and the fact was appreciated that life was more than mere human manifestation; it was expressed in a multitude of forms. This appreciation enriched Lakota existence. Life was vivid and pulsating; nothing was casual and commonplace. The Indian lived - lived in every sense of the word - from his first to his last breath.

The attempted transformation of the Indian by the white man and the chaos that has resulted are but the fruits of the white man’s disobedience of a fundamental and spiritual law. “Civilization” has been thrust upon me since the days of reservations, and it has not added one whit to my sense of justice, to my reverence for the rights of life, to my love of truth, honesty, and generosity, or to my faith in Wakan Tanka, God of the Lakotas. For after all the great religions have been preached and expounded, or have been revealed by brilliant scholars, or have been written in fine books and embellished in fine language with finer covers, man - all man - is still confronted with the Great Mystery.