Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Paradox

"One should not think slightly of the paradoxical; for the paradox is the source of the thinker’s passion, and the thinker without a paradox is like a love without feeling... The supreme paradox of all thought is the attempt to discover something that thought cannot think." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"Subjectivity is the truth. By virtue of the relationship subsisting between the eternal truth and the existing individual, the paradox came into being. Let us now go further, let us suppose that the eternal essential truth is itself a paradox. How does the paradox come into being? By putting the eternal essential truth into juxtaposition with existence. Hence when we posit such a conjunction with the truth itself, the truth becomes a paradox. The eternal truth has come into being in time: this is the paradox." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"It is a curious paradox that aversion of future harm seems more important than the promise of future benefit. That was not always true. Those who are unwilling to invent in the future haven’t earned one." - Harold Lewis, fully Harold "Hal" Warren Lewis

"A paradox is what adults tell. When a kid does it, it's called a big lie." - Art Linkletter, fully Arthur Gordon "Art" Linkletter

"One man’s antinomy is another man’s falsidical paradox, give or take a couple of thousand years... One man’s antinomy can be another man’s verdical paradox, and one man’s verdical paradox can be another man’s platitude." - Willard Quine, fully Willard Van Orman Quine

"The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change." -

"Strange and hard that paradox true I give, objects gross and the unseen soul are one." - Vaga Saneyi Samhita Upanishad

"It is a paradox of life that the way to miss pleasure is to seek it first. The very first condition of lasting happiness is that a life should be full of purpose, aiming at something outside self. As a matter of experience, we find that true happiness comes in seeking other things, in the manifold activities of life, in the healthful outgoing of all human powers." - Hugh Black

"Good humor is a paradox. The unexpected juxtaposition of the reasonable next to the unreasonable." - Melvin "Mel" Helitzer

"The paradox is the source of the thinker's passion, and the thinker without a paradox is like a love without feeling; a paltry mediocrity." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"The supreme paradox of all thought is the attempt to discover something that thought cannot think." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"Happiness is the greatest paradox in nature. It can grow in any soil, live under any condition. It defies environment. The reason for this is that it does not come from without but from within. Whenever you see a person seeking happiness outside himself, you can be sure he has never found it." - William George Jordan

"In the end we shall have to say that there is no solution of an intellectual kind and that it is part of the general mystical paradox that the mystical revelation transcends the intellect." - W. T. Stace, fully Walter Terence Stace

"Paradox though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life." -

"Maintaining responsibility but not identification with the obstacle. In handling obstacles resourcefully, we once again come face-to-face with paradox: the problem is ours to deal with, and yet the problem is not the whole of who we are." - Carol Adrienne

"The first paradox of our lives is that nothing is fixed; and yet nothing is random or accidental, either. We co-create with our spiritual source. We have free will, and yet we are not in control. The second paradox is that when we set our intention for what we desire, we achieve it usually only after we have released our need to have it. This is the paradox of intention (personal desire and will) and surrender (letting God or the universe provide what is best for our highest good). You are both a finite earthly being, and an infinite soul of greater spiritual dimension. Your are both/and. You are the drop of water and the wave. You direct yourself, and you are directed." - Carol Adrienne

"The world is full of paradox. For example, [in Buddhism] though no notion of a creator is entertained, great stress is laid upon the need for faith and piety. By faith is meant not trust in a benevolent diety avid for love, praise and obedience, but conviction that beyond the seeming reality misreported by our senses which is inherently unsatisfactory, lies a mystery which, when intuitively unsatisfactory, lies a mystery which, when intuitively perceived, will give our lives undreamed-of meaning and endow the most insignificant object with holiness and beauty." - John Blofeld, fully John Eaton Calthorpe Blofeld

"The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life even in order to keep it." - Gilbert Keith "G.K." Chesteron

"One should not think slightly of the paradoxical; for the paradox is the source of the thinker's passion, and the thinker without paradox is like a lover without feeling: a paltry mediocrity." -

"The core paradox that underlies spirituality is the haunting sense of incompleteness, of being somehow unfinished, that comes from the reality of living on this earth as part and yet also not-part of it. For to be human is to be incomplete, yet year for completion; it is to be uncertain, yet long for certainty; to be imperfect, yet long for perfection; to be broken, yet crave wholeness. All these yearnings remain necessarily unsatisfied, for perfection, completion, certainty, and wholeness are impossible precisely because we are imperfectly human – or better, because we are perfectly human, which is to say humanly imperfect." - Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

"In the end we shall have to say that there is no solution of an intellectual kind and that it is part of the general mystical paradox that the mystical revelation transcends the intellect." -

"It is a tragic paradox that the very qualities that have led to a person's extra-ordinary capacity for success are also those most likely to destroy them." - Anthony Storr

"It is one of the paradoxes of the human race and possibly its last paradox, that the people who control the fortunes of our community should at the same time be wildly radical in matters that concern our own change of our environment, and rigidly conservative in the social matters that determine our adaptation to it." -

"In contrast to symbiotic union, mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality. Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. In love, the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two." -

"Mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality... In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two." -

"Human reason exhausts itself ceaselessly to explain the inexplicable. Explanation itself is high comedy, as preposterous as trying to see the back of one's own head, but the vanity of the ego is boundless, and it becomes even more overblown by this very attempt to make sense of nonsense. The mind, in its identity with the ego, cannot by definition, comprehend reality; if it could, it would instantly dissolve itself upon recognizing its own illusory nature. It's only beyond the paradox of mind transcending ego that what Is stands forth, self-evident and dazzling in its infinite Absoluteness. And then all of these words are useless." -

"We are confronted by the great paradox of human life. It is our conditioning which develops our consciousness; but in order to make full use of this developed consciousness, we must start by getting rid of the conditioning which developed it." -

"We are confronted by the great paradox of human life. It is our conditioning which develops our consciousness; but in order to make full use of this developed consciousness, we must start by getting rid of the conditioning which developed it." -

"We are confronted by the great paradox of human life. It is our conditioning which develops our consciousness; but in order to make full use of this developed consciousness, we must start by getting rid of the conditioning which developed it." -

"We must grasp the number of aims entertained by those who argue as competitors, and rivals to the death. These are five in number, refutation, fallacy, paradox, solecism, and fifthly to reduce the opponent in the discussion to babbling - i.e. to constrain him to repeat himself a number of times; or it is to produce the appearance of each of these things without the reality." - Aristotle NULL

"It is not so difficult a task to plant new truths as to root out old errors, for there is this paradox in men: they run after that which is new, but are prejudiced in favor of that which is old... A truth that is merely acquired from others only clings to us as a limb added to the body, or as a false tooth, or a wax nose. A truth we have acquired by our own mental exertions, is like our natural limbs, which really belong to us. This is exactly the difference between an original thinker and the mere learned man." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"The human mind turned downwards takes cognizance of the world reported to it by the senses; turned upwards it receives intuitional knowledge and directions from pure intelligence, which is its source and essence... The mind finds itself not merely cognizing and arranging the world reported by the senses but striving to rule it and in fact ruled by it. This is a cruel paradox, for by desiring one thing and fearing another the pseudo-self or ego subordinates itself to the senses and the world they report. Thus it comes to be torn between conflicting passions and subject to the tyranny of events." - Arthur W Osborn

"Minds have forms because, although they are changing streams of consciousness, they exhibit the paradox of unity in diversity which is the characteristic of all wholes. Forms are aspects of consciousness and precede tangible and so-called substantial expression. The universe as a totality, comprising forms and their integration into wholes in infinite diversity, is an expression of Life universal in graded series on various levels. Every particular form-expression “creates” its own time-space. Substance and tangibility have no reality apart from sensory apprehension." - Arthur W Osborn

"It is not so difficult a task to plant new truths as to root out old errors; for there is this paradox in men - they run after that which is new, but are prejudiced in favor of that which is old." - Charles Caleb Colton

"It is a curious paradox that precisely in proportion to our own intellectual weakness will be our credulity, to those mysterious powers assumed by others." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Few things are more agreeable to self-love than revenge, and yet no cause so effectually restrains us from revenge as self-love. And this paradox naturally suggests another; that the strength of the community is not infrequently built upon the weakness of those individuals that compose it." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Man is an embodied paradox, a bundle of contradictions." - Charles Caleb Colton

"There is a paradox in pride – it makes some men ridiculous, but prevents others from become so." - Charles Caleb Colton

"There is a paradox in pride: it makes some men ridiculous, but prevents others from becoming so." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Reform is a good replete with paradox; it is a cathartic which our political quacks, like our medical, recommend themselves; it is admired by all who cannot effect it, and abused by all who can; it is thought pregnant with danger, for all time that is present, but would have been extremely profitable for that which is past, and will be highly salutary for that which is to come." - Charles Caleb Colton

"There is this paradox in fear: he is most likely to inspire it in others who has none himself!" - Charles Caleb Colton

"There is this paradox in pride - it makes some men ridiculous, but prevents others from becoming so." - Charles Caleb Colton

"Discipline is the surest means to greater freedom and independence; it provides the focus to achieve the skill level and depth of knowledge that translates into more options in life... The Law of Discipline points to a paradox. While freedom is our transcendent birthright, it must be earned in this world; discipline remains the key to freedom and independence." - Dan Millman, born Daniel Jay Millman

"This metaphor of a mountain path allows us to reconcile an ancient paradox about whether we truly have free will or whether our life is somehow predestined. At the moment of birth we are each given a specific inner mountain to climb, reflecting the force of predestination. How we climb and the time we take are up to us, reflecting the power of free will. In other words, we're given the playing field, but we choose how to play the game. We always have the power of choice, discipline, responsibility and commitment. No life path is harder or easier, better or worse, than any other, except to the degree we make it so." - Dan Millman, born Daniel Jay Millman

"It is a paradox of the post-industrial age that, despite its technical omnipotence, it is as dominated by words and magic as any primitive tribe. A haze of empty words, coming from the word factories of the universities, is corrupting the air of our ailing cities. The young lurch not so much from one illusion to another as from one cliché to another." - Eric Hoffer

"It is the individual only who is timeless. Societies, cultures, and civilizations - past and present - are often incomprehensible to outsiders, but the individual's hunger, anxieties, dreams, and preoccupations have remained unchanged through the millennia. Thus, we are up against the paradox that the individual who is more complex, unpredictable, and mysterious than any communal entity is the one nearest to our understanding; so near that even the interval of millennia cannot weaken our feeling of kinship. If in some manner the voice of an individual reaches us from the remotest distance of time, it is a timeless voice speaking about ourselves." - Eric Hoffer

"It is a paradox of the acquisitive society in which we now live that although private morals are regulated by law, the entrepreneur is allowed considerable freedom to use - and abuse - the public in order to make money. The American pursuit of happiness might be less desperate if the situation were reversed." -

"There is a paradox in pride - it makes some men ridiculous, but prevents others from being so." - James Bryant Conant

"It was the failures who had always won, but by the time they won they had come to be called successes. This is the final paradox, which men call evolution." - Loren Eiseley

"A hundred years ago, paradox meant error to the scientific mind; but now it is widely recognized that at a certain level, reality is paradoxical." - M. Scott Peck, fully Morgan Scott Peck