Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Delusion

"The only perfection I know of is a hearty love of god, and to love one’s neighbour as oneself. Charity is the only virtue which rightly unites us to God and man. Such union is our final aim and end, and all the rest is mere delusion." - Jean-Pierre Camus de Pontcarré

"Premature success gives one an almost mystical conception of destiny as opposed to will power - at its worst the Napoleonic delusion." -

"Your true nature is not lost in moments of delusion, nor is it gained at the moment of enlightenment. It was never born and can never die. It shines through the whole universe, filling emptiness, one with emptiness. It is without time or space, and has no passions, actions, ignorance, or knowledge. In it there are no things, no people, and no Buddhas; it contains not the smallest hairbreadth of anything that exists objectively; it depends on nothing and is attached to nothing. It is all-pervading, radiant beauty: absolute reality, self-existent and uncreated. How then can you doubt that the Buddha has no mouth to speak with and nothing to teach, or that the truth is learned without learning, for who is there to learn? It is a jewel beyond all price." - Huang Po, also Huángbò Xīyùn

"If it is the great delusion of moralists to suppose that all previous ages were less sinful than their own, then it is the great delusion of intellectuals to supposed that all previous ages were less sick." - Louis Kronenberger

"The God-given rights of parents are not understood or are ignored by our secularist educators and by many school administrators who, in the delusion of sovereignty, act as though they, not the parents, have complete control of the education of the child." - John T. McNicholas, fully John Timothy McNicholas

"One cannot properly appreciate the human realities so long as one labors under the adolescent delusion that people get the fates they deserve." - Nicholas Rescher

"No man is happy without a delusion of some kind. Delusions are as necessary to our happiness as realities." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it." - Edward Dowling, S.J.

"She probably labored under the common delusion that you made things better by talking about them." - Rose Macauley, fully Dame Emilie Rose Macaulay

"Politics, as hopeful men practice it in the world, consists mainly of the delusion that a change in form is a change in substance." - H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

"In quiet and untroubled times it seems to every administrator that it is only by his efforts that the whole population under his rule is kept going, and in this consciousness of being indispensable every administrator finds the chief reward of his labor and efforts. While the sea of history remains calm the ruler-administrator in his frail bark, holding on with a boat hook to the ship of the people and himself moving, naturally imagines that his efforts move the ship he is holding on to. But as soon as a storm arises and the sea begins to heave and the ship to move, such a delusion is no longer possible. The ship moves independently with its own enormous motion, the boat hook no longer reaches the moving vessel, and suddenly the administrator, instead of appearing a ruler and a source of power, becomes an insignificant, useless, feeble man." -

"Eventually we'll have to confront the fact that world suffering is the result of ill-conceived thoughts taking form through misdirected action. If we're going to survive as a species, we must relinquish - to unprecedented levels, - qualities such as greed, hatred, and delusion. In other words, our very survival depends on accelerated levels of psychological and spiritual maturation." - Roger N. Walsh

"The fundamental delusion of humanity is to supposed that I am here and you are out there." - Haku'un Ryoko Yasutani, aka Yasutani Roshi

"It is only delusion, not knowledge, that bestows happiness." - Stefan Zweig

"One of the besetting fallacies of reformers is the delusion that their plans will be carried out by people who think precisely as they do." - John Maurice Clark

"A human being is part of the whole called by us 'universe', a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self [ego]. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive." - Albert Einstein

"None of us is free from self-delusion. We all depend mightily on rationalization to get us through the day without too much angst." - Elio Frattaroli

"Politics, as hopeful men practice it in the world, consists mainly of the delusion that a change in form is a change in substance." -

"Delusion: believe said to be false by someone who does not share it." -

"What the psychiatrist calls a “delusion of persecution” is one of the most dramatic human defenses against the feeling of personal insignificance and worthlessness. In fact, no one cares a hoot about Jones. He is an extra on the stage of life. But he wants to be a star." -

"It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness." - Leo Tolstoy, aka Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy or Tolstoi

"He who discerns all creatures in his Self, and his Self in all creatures, has no disquiet thence. What delusion, what grief can be with him?" - Isavasya Upanishad

"Hard as it is for us to escape the effects of our own feelings, nobody seems to have difficulty in rejecting the feelings of others as merely subjective and vulnerable to interference from the demons of self-deception and self-delusion." - Felipe Fernández-Armesto

"Fanaticism and intolerance often result from the delusion that, "this alone is the truth and everything else is false," causing people to commit atrocities in the name of "truth."" - P. D. Premasiri, fully Pahalawattage Don Premasiri

"When occasions present themselves, in which the interests of the people are at variance with their inclinations, it is the duty of the persons whom they have appointed to be the guardians of those interests, to withstand the temporary delusion, in order to give them time and opportunity for more cool and sedate reflection." - Alexander Hamilton

"I know but one freedom and that is the freedom of the mind. As for any other freedom it is but a mockery and a delusion, for however free you may think yourself, you have to use the door when you go out of the room, nor are you free to make yourself young at will or to profit by the sun at night... Not-being is not freedom." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"He who seeketh vanity findeth delusion." - Ben Sira

"The disappointment of Manhood succeeds to the delusion of Youth; let us hope that the heritage of Old Age is not despair." - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

"Wisdom is prevented by ignorance, and delusion is the result." - Bhagavad Gītā, simply known as Gita NULL

"One-half of life is admitted by us to be passed in sleep, in which, however, it may appear otherwise, we have no perception of truth, and all our feelings are delusions; who knows but the other half of life, in which we think we are awake, is a sleep also, but in some respects different from the other, and from which we wake when we, as we call it sleep. As a man dreams often that he is dreaming, crowding one dreamy delusion on another." - Blaise Pascal

"Both delusion and enlightenment are only concepts. There is no delusion and no enlightenment. One who realizes this completely, with the whole being, is called “enlightened.”" - Dennis Genpo Merzel, aka Genpo Merzel Roshi

"To start from the self and true to understand all things is delusion. To let the self be awakened by all things is enlightenment. To be enlightened about delusion is to be the Buddha. To be deluded in the midst of enlightenment is to be an ordinary person." -

"The logical mind seems interesting, but it is the seed of delusion." - Dudjom Rinpoche, fully Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche or Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje NULL

"Falsehood and delusion are allowed in no case whatever; but, as in the exercise of all the virtues, there is an economy of truth. It is a sort of temperance, by which a man speaks truth with measure, that he may speak it the longer." - Edmund Burke

"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion." - Edmund Burke

"The majority of men prefer delusion to truth. It soothes. It is easy to grasp." -

"Idolatry... is a superstitious delusion that one can make oneself acceptable to the Supreme Being by other means than that of having the moral law at heart." - Immanuel Kant

"Either free-will is a fact, or moral judgment a delusion." - James Martineau

"Do not hold the delusion that your advancement is accomplished by crushing others." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"Should this my firm persuasion of the soul's immortality prove to be a mere delusion, it is at least a pleasing delusion, and I will cherish it to my last breath." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"A person of character must look out for and overcome three very human tendencies that undermine good intentions: self-righteousness, self-delusion, and selfishness." - Michael S. Josephson

"Don’t make a fuss about anything. Whenever you worry, remember, you are deepening the cosmic delusion within you." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"Death is not the end: it is temporary emancipation... the land to which souls go at death - they enjoy a freedom such as they never knew during their earthly life. So don’t pity the person who is passing through the delusion of death, for in a little while he will be free. Once he gets out of that delusion, he sees that death was not so bad after all. He realizes that his mortality was only a dream and rejoices that now no fire can burn him, no water can drown him; he is free and safe." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"Without repentance those who have crated peace through their power imagine that they have created pure peace: and suffer from the delusion that the enemies of their peace are God’s enemies." -

"Without repentance those who have created peace through their power imagine that they have created pure peace: and suffer from the delusion that the enemies of their peace are God’s enemies." -

"In quiet and untroubled times it seems to every administrator that it is only by his efforts that the whole population under his rule is kept going, and in this consciousness of being indispensable every administrator finds the chief reward of his labor and efforts. While the sea of history remains calm the ruler-administrator in his frail bark, holding on with a boat hook to the ship of the people and himself moving, naturally imagines that his efforts move the ship he is holding on to. But as soon as a storm arises and the sea begins to heave and the ship to move, such a delusion is no longer possible. The ship moves independently with its own enormous motion, the boat hook no longer reaches the moving vessel, and suddenly the administrator, instead of appearing a ruler and a source of power, becomes an insignificant, useless, feeble man." -

"That you carry yourself forward and experience the myriad things is delusion. That the myriad things come forward and experience themselves is awakening." -

"Having purified the great delusion, the heart’s darkness, the radiant light of the unobscured sun continuously rises." - Dudjom Rinpoche, fully Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche or Dudjom Jigdral Yeshe Dorje NULL

"The majority of men prefer delusion to truth. It soothes. It is easy to grasp." - H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

"Objectivity is a subject's delusion that observing can be done without him . " - Heinz von Foerster