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Philosophical Quotations


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We are more often treacherous through weakness than through calculation. ~François VI de la Rochefoucault


A man with one watch knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure. ~Lee Segall


Begin at the beginning... and go on till you come to the end: then stop. ~Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland


Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it. ~André Gide


Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow. ~Aesop


Only that in you which is me can hear what I'm saying. ~Baba Ram Dass


I am a part of all that I have met. ~Alfred Lord Tennyson


There's more to the truth than just the facts. ~Author Unknown


The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer. ~Edward R. Murrow


Even a clock that does not work is right twice a day. ~Polish Proverb


Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth. ~Ludwig Börne


If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky? ~Stanislaw J. Lec


We are all but recent leaves on the same old tree of life and if this life has adapted itself to new functions and conditions, it uses the same old basic principles over and over again. There is no real difference between the grass and the man who mows it. ~Albert Szent-Györgyi


Sometimes it's necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly. ~Edward Albee


When the student is ready, the master appears. ~Buddhist Proverb


A gun gives you the body, not the bird. ~Henry David Thoreau


Before enlightenment — chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment — chop wood, carry water. ~Zen Buddhist Proverb


When they go fishing, it is not really fish they are after. It is a philosophic meditation. ~E.T. Brown (Thanks, Walden Woods Project, walden.org)


Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work — that goes on, it adds up. ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams


I tell you everything that is really nothing, and nothing of what is everything, do not be fooled by what I am saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying. ~Charles C. Finn


Knock on the sky and listen to the sound. ~Zen Saying


The fish trap exists because of the fish. Once you've gotten the fish you can forget the trap. The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit. Once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare. Words exist because of meaning. Once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words. Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can talk with him? ~Chuang Tzu


By daily dying I have come to be. ~Theodore Roethke


You never know what is enough, until you know what is more than enough. ~William Blake, Proverbs of Hell


It requires a great deal of faith for a man to be cured by his own placebos. ~John L. McClenahan


What you see, yet can not see over, is as good as infinite. ~Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus


Philosophy is life's dry-nurse, who can take care of us — but not suckle us. ~Søren Kierkegaard


Men are probably nearer the central truth in their superstitions than in their science. ~Henry David Thoreau


Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought. ~Henri Louis Bergson


If you think you're free, there's no escape possible. ~Ram Dass


The fly that doesn't want to be swatted is most secure when it lights on the fly-swatter. ~G.C. Lichtenberg


Don't miss the donut by looking through the hole. ~Author Unknown


You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. ~Navajo Proverb


Life has the name of life, but in reality it is death. ~Heraclitus, Eustathius ad Iliad


To learn something new, take the path that you took yesterday. ~John Burroughs


Whatever I take, I take too much or too little; I do not take the exact amount. The exact amount is no use to me. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


Each forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind. ~John Lancaster Spalding


We must remember that nothing in this world really belongs to us. At best, we are merely borrowers. ~Christopher Isherwood


The map is not the territory. ~Alfred Korzybski


No matter where you go or what you do, you live your entire life within the confines of your head. ~Terry Josephson


Would there be this eternal seeking if the found existed? ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


I was once a skeptic but was converted by the two missionaries on either side of my nose. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


He who has seen present things has seen all, both everything which has taken place from all eternity and everything which will be for time without end; for all things are of one kin and of one form. ~Marcus Aurelius


If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one. ~Russian Proverb


The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really, if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself. ~Bertrand Russell


The obstacle is the path. ~Zen Proverb


 
 
It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers. ~James Thurber


It is easy to stand a pain, but difficult to stand an itch. ~Chang Ch'ao


You cannot step into the same river twice. ~Heraclitus, in Diogenes Laertius, Lives


You are fastened to them and cannot understand how, because they are not fastened to you. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


Only in the early morning light of day, and of life, can we see the world without its shadows. Truth requires new beginnings. ~Jeb Dickerson, www.howtomatter.com


One day, someone showed me a glass of water that was half full. And he said, "Is it half full or half empty?" So I drank the water. No more problem. ~Alexander Jodorowsky


Among creatures born into chaos, a majority will imagine an order, a minority will question the order, and the rest will be pronounced insane. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


What deep wounds ever closed without a scar? ~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Child Harold's Pilgrimage


Extreme remedies are very appropriate for extreme diseases. ~Hippocrates, Aphorisms


Seeking is not always the way to find. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


You are the sky. Everything else—it's just the weather. ~Pema Chödrön


You exist in time, but you belong to eternity. ~Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh


When you get there, there isn't any there there. ~Zen Proverb


"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get somewhere else—if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing." "A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place..." ~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, And What Alice Found There


We waste a lot of time running after people we could have caught by just standing still. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


There is no tomorrow. There is only a planet turning on its axis, and a creature given to optimistic fancies. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into. ~Author Unknown


I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning. ~Aleister Crowley, Book of Lies


Tomorrow always comes, and today is never yesterday. ~S.A. Sachs


Weak eyes are fondest of glittering objects. ~Thomas Carlyle


You can see a lot by just looking. ~Yogi Berra, also often quoted as "You can observe a lot by just looking." (original wording as yet unverified)


Proverbs often contradict one another, as any reader soon discovers. The sagacity that advises us to look before we leap promptly warns us that if we hesitate we are lost; that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but out of sight, out of mind. ~Leo Rosten


The unreal is more powerful than the real.... Because it's only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Choke


Reason and faith are both banks of the same river. ~Doménico Cieri Estrada


Man is the only animal who enjoys the consolation of believing in a next life; all other animals enjoy the consolation of not worrying about it. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


See without looking,
hear without listening,
breathe without asking.
~W.H. Auden


Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. ~Dr Seuss


The winds of earth are old and sane
But tell me, tell me when you know —
What happens to a hurricane
That hasn't any place to go?
~David Hertz (screenplay) from 1947 movie Daisy Kenyon, based on 1945 novel by Elizabeth Janeway; the quote is a poem written by character Peter Lapham (verse form and punctuation unconfirmed; screenplay was also contributed to by Margaret Buell Wilder, Ted Sills, and Ring Lardner, Jr.)


Who depends on another man's table often dines late. ~John Ray


There was never a wise saying that couldn't be made wiser by adding the words, "and vice-versa." ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


[T]hings are entirely what they appear to be and behind them... there is nothing. ~Jean Paul Sartre, Nausea


"People have forgotten this truth," the fox said. "But you mustn't forget it. You become responsible forever for what you've tamed." ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, 1943, translated from French by Richard Howard


The tighter you squeeze, the less you have. ~Zen Saying


When the pain is great enough, we will let anyone be doctor. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


A thousand men can't undress a naked man. ~Greek Proverb


May your passion be the kernel of corn stuck between your molars, always reminding you there's something to tend to. ~Jeb Dickerson, www.howtomatter.com


I stop wanting what I am looking for, looking for it. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


There's no fun in playing safe or by the rules, but it's not fun being hit by a semi-truck either. ~Daniel, @blindedpoet


We often repent the good we have done as well as the ill. ~William Hazlitt, Characteristics, 1823


When I die, I will not see myself die, for the first time. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish. ~Evelyn Waugh


It's very strange when the life you never had flashes before your eyes. ~Terri Minsky, Sex and the City, "The Baby Shower"


It's always Now. ~Eckhart Tolle


The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground. ~Buddha


We come to this work because the alternative, being consumed by the effort to ignore the mystery of being, is no longer acceptable. ~Ken McLeod, Wake Up To Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention


We become aware of the void as we fill it. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


When you're climbing the ladder, don't forget the rungs. ~Author Unknown


If you understand compound interest, you basically understand the universe. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And the lips more scarlet,
Or ask if all be right
From mirror after mirror,
No vanity's displayed:
I'm looking for the face I had
Before the world was made.
~W.B. Yeats


Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it. ~Santayana, Essays


The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. ~Niels Bohr


How often one sees people looking far and wide for what they are holding in their hands? Why! I am doing it myself at this very moment. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


Sometimes an answer not yet blowin' in the wind is stirring in the breeze. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


The silkworm spins out his life, and, wrapping himself in his labor, dies. ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866), "Religion in Disease," 1865


Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and the ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there. ~Eric Hoffer, Passionate State of Mind, 1955


Who is more foolish, the child afraid of the dark or the man afraid of the light? ~Maurice Freehill


Yearning for sun and starlight, roses and winter, together. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com


I believe that men are generally still a little afraid of the dark, though the witches are all hung, and Christianity and candles have been introduced. ~Henry David Thoreau, "Solitude," Walden, 1854


You have to do it by yourself,
And you can't do it alone.
~Martin Rutte


Because they know the name of what I am looking for, they think they know what I am looking for! ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


There are things I have wanted so long that I would only consent to have them if I could keep wanting them. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Eggs cannot be unscrambled. ~American Proverb


Just as there is no loss of basic energy in the universe, so no thought or action is without its effects, present or ultimate, seen or unseen, felt or unfelt. ~Norman Cousins


A thing, until it is everything, is noise, and once it is everything it is silence. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


The road was new to me, as roads always are going back. ~Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country Road of Pointed Firs, 1896


Admiration and familiarity are strangers. ~George Sand


I am not certain of the hereafter. Frankly, I'm not all that certain of the here. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


We used to think that if we knew one, we knew two, because one and one are two. We are finding that we must learn a great deal more about "and." ~Arthur Stanley Eddington


Ask not the grass to give you green, and later walk all over it. ~Anthony Liccione


To know the hight of a mountain, one must climb it. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place. ~Zen Proverb


The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing. ~Eric Berne


We are each a dozen people who were all the same child. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


The charm of history and its enigmatic lesson consist in the fact that, from age to age, nothing changes and yet everything is completely different. ~Aldous Huxley


Will localizes us; thought universalizes us. ~Henri-Frédéric Amiel


I've observed that there are more lines formed than things worth waiting for. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights. ~Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831)


When I break any of the chains that bind me I feel that I make myself smaller. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


We are spirits clad in veils. ~Christopher P. Cranch


If I am not pleased with myself, but should wish to be other than I am, why should I think highly of the influences which have made me what I am? ~John Lancaster Spalding


Before I travelled my road I was my road. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin


If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties. ~Francis Bacon


To believe with certainty we must begin with doubting. ~Stanislaus I of Poland


The world always makes the assumption that the exposure of an error is identical with the discovery of truth — that the error and truth are simply opposite. They are nothing of the sort. What the world turns to, when it is cured on one error, is usually simply another error, and maybe one worse than the first one. ~H.L. Mencken


The future influences the present just as much as the past. ~Friedrich Nietzsche


When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. ~John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, 1911


One does what one is; one becomes what one does. ~Robert von Musil, Kleine Prosa


In this, the late afternoon of my life, I wonder: am I casting a longer shadow or is my shadow casting a shorter me? ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


You can't fall off the floor. ~Author Unknown


A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountain top. ~Author Unknown


In a mist the heights can for the most part see each other; but the valleys cannot. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827


In general people experience their present naively, as it were, without being able to form an estimate of its contents; they have first to put themselves at a distance from it — the present, that is to say, must have become the past — before it can yield points of vantage from which to judge the future. ~Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion


The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there. ~Robert M. Pirsig


A stumble may prevent a fall. ~English Proverb


When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you. ~Friedrich Nietzsche


What you discover in a democracy is that it is difficult to build a house when each nail has an opinion. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com


Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought. ~Matsuo Basho



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