Sensibility

Excessive sensibility is only another name for morbid self-consciousness.

Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of sensibility; one is wind-power, and the other water-power, that is all.

Nothing is little to him that feels it with great sensibility.

The man who has lived the longest is not he who has spent the greatest number of years, but he who has had the greatest sensibility of life.

The exercise of criticism always destroys for a time our sensibility to beauty by leading us to regard the work in relation to certain laws of construction. The eye turns from the charms of nature to fix itself upon the servile dexterity of art.

Atheism can benefit no class of people; neither the unfortunate, whom it bereaves of hope, nor the prosperous, whose joys it renders insipid, nor the soldier, of whom it makes a coward, nor the woman whose beauty and sensibility it mars, nor the mother, who has a son to lose, nor the rulers of men, who have no surer pledge of the fidelity of their subjects than religion.

The man who can really, in living union of the mind and heart, converse with God through nature, finds in the material forms around him, a source of power and happiness inexhaustible, and like the life of angels. The highest life and glory of man is to be alive unto God; and when this grandeur of sensibility to him, and this power of communion with him is carried, as the habit of the soul, into the forms of nature, then the walls of our world are as the gates of heaven.

It is this unquiet self-love that renders us so sensitive. The sick man, who sleeps ill, thinks the night long. We exaggerate, from cowardice, all the evils which we encounter; they are great, but our sensibility increases them. The true way to bear them is to yield ourselves up with confidence to God.

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of men's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his experience. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstones of our judgment. The artist... faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an offensive state.

For every one pupil who needs to be guarded from a weak excess of sensibility there are three who need to be awakened from the slumber of cold vulgarity. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.

As a social and as a personal force, religion has become a dependent variable. It does not originate; it reacts. It does not denounce; it adapts. It does not set forth new models of conduct and sensibility; it imitates. Its rhetoric is without deep appeal; the worship it organizes is without piety. It has become less a revitalization of the spirit in permanent tension with the world than a respectable distraction from the sourness of life.

Too much sensibility creates unhappiness; too much insensibility leads to crime.

Axial sensibility: the sense that we find ourselves caught up largely in appearances and are trapped in and subject to various forms of bondage, such as political, psychological, and possibly spiritual ones. Coupled with this sense is the further sense that there must be an elsewhere, or another and better way of being here in the world as it is not, one that better engages reality and gives us a sense of liberation rather than confinement. This axial sense may prove to be but an inchoate [just begun, lacking order, origin] and unrealistic longing, but it has been and continues to be experienced by many as genuine and inescapable. It has often been described as a longing for a belonging, driven in part by a sense of not belonging to the world as it is, of being displaced in it.

The more closely we identify ourselves with the rest of life, the more quickly we will be able to discover the sources of human sensibility and acquire the knowledge on which an enduring ethic, a preferred direction, can be built.

Nor do we accept as genuine the person not characterized by this blushing bashfulness, this youthfulness of heart, this sensibility to the sentiment of suavity, and self-respect. Modesty is bred of self-reverence. Fine manners are the mantle of fair minds. None are truly great without his ornament.

The sensibility of man to trifles, and his insensibility to great things, are the marks of a strange inversion.

The sensibility of man to trifles, and his insensibility to great things indicates a strange inversion.

Never expect to find perfection in men, in my commerce with my contemporaries I have found much human virtue. I have seen not a little public spirit; a real subordination of interest to duty; and a decent and regulated sensibility to honest fame and reputation. The age unquestionably produces daring profligates and insidious hypocrites. What then? Am I not to avail myself of whatever good is to be found in the world because of the mixture of evil that will always be in it? The smallness of the quantity in currency only heightens the value. They who raise suspicions on the good, on account of the behavior of ill men, are of the party of the latter.

Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.

What objects may be in themselves, apart from all this receptivity of our sensibility, remains completely unknown to us.