Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Mistake

"When you have desires to do something wrong, you might feel so embarrassed with yourself for not being on a higher level that you try to repress those desires and forget about them. This is a mistake since it is not dealing with the problem but covering it up. Ignoring your inner feelings and reactions is dangerous. Be aware of what you desire, and have a dialogue with yourself to overcome it." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"Incredulity is not wisdom, but the worst kind of folly. It is folly, because it causes ignorance and mistake, with all the consequents of these; and it is very bad, as being accompanied with disingenuity, obstinacy, rudeness, uncharitableness, and the like, bad dispositions; from which credulity itself, the other extreme sort of folly, is exempt." - Isaac Barrow

"It is a very easy thing to devise good laws; the difficulty is to make them effective. The great mistake is that of looking upon men as virtuous, or thinking that they can be made so by laws; and consequently the greatest art of a politician is to render vices serviceable to the cause of virtue." - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"From a worldly point of view there is no mistake so great as that of being always right." - Samuel Butler

"Mistake, error, is the discipline through which we advance." - William Ellery Channing

"The very nearest approach to domestic happiness on earth is in the cultivation on both sides of absolute unselfishness. Never both be angry at once. Never talk at one another, either alone or in company. Never speak loud to one another unless the house is on fire. Let each; one strive to yield oftenest to the wishes of the other. Let self-denial be the daily aim and practice of each. Never find fault unless it is perfectly certain that a fault has been committed, and always speak lovingly. Never taunt with a past mistake. Neglect the whole world besides rather than one another. Never allow a request to be repeated. Never make a remark at the expense of each other, it is a meanness. Never part for a day without loving words to think of during absence. Never meet without a loving welcome. Never let the sun go down upon any anger or grievance. Never let any fault you have committed go by until you have frankly confessed it and asked forgiveness. Never forget the happy hours of early love. Never sigh over what might have been, but make the best of what is. Never forget that marriage is ordained of God, and that His blessing alone can make it what it should ever be. Never be contented till you know you are both walking in the narrow way. Never let your hopes stop short of the eternal home." - Edward Watke, Jr.

"In judging character, too often we mistake rigidity for morality." - John P. Grier

"Men often mistake themselves, but they never forget themselves." - Charles Montagu Halifax, 1st Earl of Halifax, Lord Halifax

"Nirvana is interpreted by Western nations as the actual annihilation of human desire or passion; but this is a mistake. Nirvana is nothing else than universal reason." - Kinza M. Hirai, fully Kinza Ringe M. Hirai

"The happy people are those who are producing something; the bored people are those who are consuming much and producing nothing. Boredom is a certain sign that we are allowing our faculties to rust in idleness. When people are bored, they generally look about for a new pleasure, or take a holiday. There is no greater mistake: what they want is some hard piece of work, some productive drudgery. Doctors are fond of sending their fashionable patients to take a rest cure. In nine cases out of ten a work cure would do them far more good." - William Ralph Inge

"So far as man stands for anything, and is productive or originative at all, his entire vital function may be said to have to deal with maybes. Not a victory is gained, not a deed of faithfulness or courage is done, except upon a maybe; not a service, not a sally of generosity, not a scientific exploration or experiment or textbook, that may not be a mistake. It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only thing that makes the result come true." - William James

"Madmen... do not appear to me to have lost the faculty of reasoning, but having joined together some ideas very wrongly, they mistake them for truths; and they err as men do that argue right from wrong principles. For, by the violence of their imaginations, having taken their fancies for realities, they make right deductions from them." - John Locke

"The highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness; so the care of ourselves that we mistake not imaginary for real happiness, is the necessary foundation of our liberty." - John Locke

"All men who know not where to look for truth, save in the narrow well of self, will find their own image at the bottom, and mistake it for what they are seeking." - James Russell Lowell

"We are not immortal, but our acts are... The question is not why we exist but whether we deserve to exist as supposedly rational beings if we act like conquerors rather than caring beings willing to share the planet with all those who are less powerful, and to act with restraint in respecting the needs of others and all life to come. As a species, we are on trial to see whether rationality was an advance or a tragic mistake." - Michael McCloskey

"It is a mistake to base one’s hopes for happiness upon the enforcement of security and equality. In principle, both desires are insatiable... No individual or society is secure in a world of emergent probability and sin... To exercise liberty is to take risks, to embrace uncertainties." - Michael Novak

"It is undoubtedly true that some people mistake sycophancy for good nature, but it is equally true that man more mistake impertinence for sincerity." - George Dennison Prentice

"It would be a mistake to found a natural science on ‘what we really think’ ... opinions are interpretations, and often misinterpretations, of sense-experience; and the man of science must appeal from these to sense-experience itself, which furnishes his real data. In ethics no such appeal is possible... the moral convictions of thoughtful and well-educated people are the data of ethics just as sense-perceptions are the data of a natural science." - W. D. Ross, fully Sir William David Ross

"When a law is proposed in the people’s assembly, what is asked of them is not precisely whether they approve of the proposition or reject it, but whether it is in conforming with the general will which is theirs; each by giving his vote gives his opinion on this question, and the counting of votes yields a declaration of the general will. When, therefore, the opinion contrary to my own prevails, this proves only that I have made a mistake, and that what I believed to be the general will was not so. If my particular opinion had prevailed against the general will, I should have done something other than what I had willed, and then I should not have been free. This presupposes, it is true, that all characteristics of the general will are still to be found in the majority; when these cease to be there, no matter what position men adopt, there is no longer any freedom." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The one and only serious mistake is to be afraid of making mistakes." - Christopher A. Smart

"It is a mistake to suppose that men succeed through success; they much oftener succeed through failure." - Samuel Smiles

"The voice of conscience is so delicate that it is easy to stifle it; but it is also so clear that it is impossible to mistake it." -

"Have I met the hour patiently, without fear, at the portal? Now is my name called, of the lip of my love has spoken: Do I mistake you, O divine Signaler? is it after all some other soul that is hailed. My self is my answer: there’s that in my heart responds, meeting the call with equal voice, establishing forever the unspeakable bond! Bond that does not bind - bond that frees - bond that discovers and bestows. Look! I am flushed with inexhaustible possessions! The old measures vanish, I am expanded to infinite sweep... Before birth, seeing birth, after life seeing life!... This minute grown infinite, the far worlds spread before me, the endless drift of soul..." - Horace Traubel

"Show us the man who never makes a mistake and we will show you a man who never makes anything. The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass." - Herman Lincoln Wayland

"When you make a mistake, don't look back at it long. Take the reason of the thing into your mind, and then look forward. Mistakes are lessons of wisdom. The past cannot be changed. the future is yet in your power." - Hugh Lawson White

"People who are in despair always make a mistake when they hang themselves; the next day often brings the unknown." -

"Praise is especially destructive to children, for they readily grasp the fact that praise is based on identification with their actions. Thus, they automatically blame themselves every time they make a mistake. This is the beginning of their lack of Self-Esteem." - L. S. Barksdale

"A sound discretion is not so much indicted by never making a mistake, as by never repeating it." - John Christian Bovee

"It is only an error of judgment to make a mistake, but it argues an infirmity of character to adhere to it when discovered. The Chinese say, "The glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time you fall."" - John Christian Bovee

"Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied." - Pearl S. Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu

"Mistakes are costly and somebody must pay. The time to correct a mistake is before a mistake is made. The causes of mistakes are first, "I didn't know"; second, "I didn't think"; third, "I didn't care."" - Henry H. Buckley

"The very nearest approach to domestic happiness on earth is in the cultivation on both sides of absolute unselfishness. Never both be angry at once. Never talk at one another, either alone or in company. Never speak loud to one another unless the house is on fire. Let each; one strive to yield oftenest to the wishes of the other. Let self-denial be the daily aim and practice of each. Never find fault unless it is perfectly certain that a fault has been committed, and always speak lovingly. Never taunt with a past mistake. Neglect the whole world besides rather than one another. Never allow a request to be repeated. Never make a remark at the expense of each other, it is a meanness. Never part for a day without loving words to think of during absence. Never meet without a loving welcome. Never let the sun go down upon any anger or grievance. Never let any fault you have committed go by until you have frankly confessed it and asked forgiveness. Never forget the happy hours of early love. Never sigh over what might have been, but make the best of what is. Never forget that marriage is ordained of God, and that His blessing alone can make it what it should ever be. Never be contented till you know you are both walking in the narrow way. Never let your hopes stop short of the eternal home." -

"False beliefs tend to undermine the identification of the subject matter; to undermine, therefore, the validity of a description of the belief as being about that subject... The more things a believer is right about, the sharper his errors are. To much mistake simply blurs the focus." - Donald Davidson

"It was probably a mistake to pursue happiness, much better to create happiness, still better to create happiness for others." - Lloyd C. Douglas, fully Lloyd Cassel Douglas, born Doya C. Douglas

"It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curious of inquiry. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty." - Albert Einstein

"Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement." - Henry Ford

"There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer, no disease that enough love will not heal, no door that enough love will not open; no gulf that enough love will not bridge; no wall that enough love will not throw down; no sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world." -

"It is a fearful mistake to believe that because our wishes are not accomplished that they can do no harm." - Saint Gertrude, aka Saint Gertrude of Nivelles NULL

"Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feeling for the strength of their argument. The heated mind resents the chill touch and relentless scrutiny of logic." - William Ewart Gladstone

"At the heart of racism is the religious assertion that God made a creative mistake when He brought some people into being." - Frederick Hertz, until 1946 Friedrich Otto Hertz, aka Germanus Liber

"Judging only by outer appearances is a mistake, because things are rarely what they seem... Disapproval of a person is disapproval of God. There is a great difference between being judgmental and using good judgment. You have to love each person’s divine essence, but you do not have to like someone’s inappropriate behavior. Wrong judgment impedes your spiritual growth." - Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla

"One of the disadvantages of wine is that it makes a man mistake words for thoughts." -

"I am a man of peace, God knows how I love peace; but I hope I shall never be such a coward as to mistake oppression for peace." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia - to mistake an ordinary young man for a Greek god or an ordinary young woman for a goddess." - H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

"Let’s make no mistake about this: The American Dream starts with our neighborhoods. If we wish to rebuild our cities, we must first rebuild our neighborhoods. And to do that, we must understand that the quality of life is more important than the standard of living. to sit on the front steps - whether it’s a veranda in a small town or a concrete stoop in a big city - and talk to our neighbors is infinitely more important than to huddle on the living-room lounger and watch make-believe world in not-quite living color." - Harvey Milk

"It is a woeful mistake to suppose that the educated are kinder or more tolerant: education creates vested interests, and renders the beneficiaries acutely jealous and very vocal." - Lewis Namier, fully Sir Lewis Bernstein Namier, aka Ludwik Niemirowski, born Ludvik Bernstein

"I’m not afraid of facts, I welcome facts but a congeries of facts is not equivalent to an idea. This is the essential fallacy of the so-called “scientific” mind. People who mistake facts for ideas are incomplete thinkers, they are gossips." - Cynthia Ozick

"It is a great mistake of many ardent students that they trust too much to their books, and do not draw from their own resources - forgetting that of all sophists our own reason is that which abuses us least." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"It is a very easy thing to devise good laws; the difficulty is to make them effective. The great mistake is that of looking upon men as virtuous, or thinking that they can be made so by laws; and consequently the greatest art of a politician is to render vices serviceable to the cause of virtue." -

"A failure is not always a mistake; it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying." -