The Quote Garden
 “I dig old books.”
 Est. 1998

Home      Search      About      Contact      Terms      Privacy

Philosophical Quotations

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

One epitaph is sufficiently comprehensive for most persons:—Here lies A MORTAL. In that word is comprised a brief space of trivial joys, and trivial sorrows. The rest is a phantom. ~William Benton Clulow, Horæ Otiosæ, 1833

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

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

Gazing at the stars will not save you from the abyss at your feet. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

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

Just as the old, looking back, idealize the past, so the young, looking forward, idealize the future. Illusion is the stuff of memory — and is at the heart of hope. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

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

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

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, 1990

Edith. Is there no rest?
Lyulph. Harmonious motion is divine repose. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, "Conversation I: The Cavern," 1850

I cling to the mortal, and yet long for immortality. ~Henry James Slack (1818–1896), The Ministry of the Beautiful, "Conversation I: The Cavern," 1850  [Edith speaking —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Symbols have a trick of stealing the show away from the thing they stand for. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Symbols," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

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

On the one hand, don't take everything seriously. On the other hand, don't expect anything to change until you do. ~Robert Brault,

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

Language was invented to ask questions. Answers may be given by grunts and gestures, but questions must be spoken. Humanness came of age when man asked the first question. Social stagnation results not from a lack of answers but from the absence of the impulse to ask questions. ~Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, 1973

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,

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

The obstacle is the path. ~Zen proverb

The world is stronger than the night; and the bindings of sense are ten-fold stronger than the most exquisite delirium of soul. This makes you feel, or will one day make you feel, that life, — strong life and sound life, — that life which lends approaches to the Infinite, and takes hold on Heaven, is not so much a PROGRESS, as it is a RESISTANCE. ~Ik Marvel (Donald Grant Mitchell, 1822–1908), Dream Life: A Fable of the Seasons

Hell, life itself can be absurd. But you have to embrace that. If you can't smile now, how can you possibly laugh in the face of death? ~R. Scott Gemmill, NCIS: Los Angeles, "Imposters" [S2, E23, 2011, Hetty Lange]

You cannot step into the same river twice. ~Heraclitus

While ladies draw their stockings on
The ladies they were are up and gone.
I pen my lines, I finish, I scan them,
I'm not the poet who began them.
Each moment Time, the lord of changers,
Stuffs our skins with ephemeral strangers.
Good heavens, how remote from me
The billion people I used to be!...
~Ogden Nash (1902–1971), "Time Marches On"

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

The world we live in is not really a single circle, as they draw it for you in the maps. It is a whole tangle of circles which only intersect at intervals; and the circumference of each is a brick wall which pens in the lives of the inmates. ~Ronald A. Knox, Other Eyes Than Ours, 1926

[M]an can accept pleasure only to the extent that he is willing to accept pain... the rejection of either eliminates both. ~Thea Alexander, 2150 A.D., 1976

Echo.— The shadow of a sound. ~"Specimens of a Patent Pocket Dictionary, For the use of those who wish to understand the meaning of things as well as words," The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 1824

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, @JebDickerson

It would be a very big book that contained all the maybes uttered in a day. ~French proverb

Nothing can ever happen twice.
In consequence, the sorry fact is
that we arrive here improvised
and leave without the chance to practice...
No day copies yesterday,
no two nights will teach what bliss is
in precisely the same way,
with exactly the same kisses.
~Wisława Szymborska (1923–2012), "Nothing Twice," Calling Out to Yeti (1957), translated from the Polish by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh

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,

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

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

Most of us reserve our amazement for phenomena rather than for general truths. ~Robert Lynd, "The Old Game," Solomon in All His Glory, 1923

"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, 1963

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

...Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired... ~Jonathan Swift, 1721  ["I have heard it remarked, that men are not to be reasoned out of an opinion that they have not reasoned themselves into." ~Fisher Ames, 1786 | Thanks, Garson O'Toole! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

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

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

But I have always found that the only kind of statement worth making is an overstatement. A half truth, like half a brick, is always more forcible as an argument than a whole one. It carries further. ~Stephen Leacock, The Garden of Folly, 1924

You don't want a million answers as much as you want a few forever questions. The questions are diamonds you hold in the light. Study a lifetime and you see different colors from the same jewel. ~Richard Bach, Running from Safety: An Adventure of the Spirit, 1994

A very good epitaph... I couldn't wish a better. We are all servants of some sort, and if the fact that we are faithful can be truthfully inscribed on our tombstones nothing more need be added. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915

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,

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 are my interpretation). Screenplay was also contributed to by Margaret Buell Wilder, Ted Sills, and Ring Lardner, Jr. –tg]

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

It’s a perfect day to slip into something more comfortable. Like the abyss. ~Keith Wynn, @ravenrhapsodies, tweet, 2020

We all have private ails. The troublemakers are they who need public cures for their private ales. ~Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, 1973

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, 1963

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

Yes, if I could believe in the immortality business, the world would indeed be too good to be true; but we were put here to do what service we can, for honour and not for hire; the sods cover us, and the worm that never dies, the conscience, sleeps well at last; these are the wages, besides what we receive so lavishly day by day; and they are enough for a man who knows his own frailty and sees all things in the proportion of reality. The soul of piety was killed long ago by that idea of reward.... [M]an's cherished belief is that he loves that happiness which he continually spurns and passes by; and this belief in some ulterior happiness exactly fits him. He does not require to stop and taste it; he can be about the rugged and bitter business where his heart lies; and yet he can tell himself this fairy tale of an eternal tea-party, and enjoy the notion that he is both himself and something else; and that his friends will yet meet him, all ironed out and emasculate, and still be lovable—as if love did not live in the faults of the beloved only, and draw its breath in an unbroken round of forgiveness! ~Robert Louis Stevenson, letter to Edmund Gosse, 1886 January 2nd

Which is it brings the Archer Fame—
His Bow, his Arrows, or his Aim?
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Human Phenomena," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

I know this much about racing in the rain. I know it is about balance. It is about anticipation and patience. I know all of the driving skills that are necessary for one to be successful in the rain. But racing in the rain is also about the mind! It is about owning one's own body. About believing that one's car is merely an extension of one's body. About believing that the track is an extension of the car, and the rain is an extension of the track, and the sky is an extension of the rain. It is about believing that you are not you; you are everything. And everything is you. ~Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain, 2008

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

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, tweet, 2010

The slipperiest thing in the world is the man who never says no. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1907, George Horace Lorimer, editor

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

Conscience and cowardice are really the same things, Basil. Conscience is the trade-name of the firm. That is all. ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also. ~Oscar Wilde

Do you really think... that it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations that it requires strength, strength and courage, to yield to. To stake all one's life on a single moment... there is no weakness in that. ~Oscar Wilde

The throat thinks of more than just thirst. ~Terri Guillemets

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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,

The only victories that have ever stuck were spiritual. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

The first great lesson is obedience; the second great lesson is to keep obedience from becoming slavery. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, as reprinted in Poor Richard Jr's Almanack, George Horace Lorimer, editor, 1906

Our sweetest hopes rise blooming.
      And then again are gone,
      They bloom and fade alternate,
      And so it goes rolling on.
I know it, and it troubles
      My life, my love, my rest,
      My heart is wise and witty,
      And it bleeds within my breast.
~Heinrich Heine, "A New Spring," 1826, Pictures of Travel, translated from German by Charles Godfrey Leland  [Interestingly, if you are indeed interested in such things, the translator C.G. Leland was the chief introducer of Heine to the English-speaking audience, especially America. Heine has had many other translators, including Christopher Pearse Cranch, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Snodgrass, and Edgar Alfred Bowring. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Eggs cannot be unscrambled. ~American proverb

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 of the Pointed Firs, 1896

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

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

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

The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats tho' unseen among us; visiting
This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower;
Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower...
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," 1816

I am changed forever by the realization of never. ~Terri Guillemets

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

No, it is too sad. A cry in the night from a man buried alive.... No poet ever had such a lucky change before... to survive his own death, though many a one has survived his own immortality.... The wrecks in the Morgue, what tales they could tell! But dead men tell no tales. While there's life there's hope; and so the worst cynicisms have never been spoken. But I—I alone—have dodged the Fates. I am the dead-alive, the living dead. I hover over my racked body like a ghost, and exist in an interregnum. And so I am the first mortal in a position to demand an explanation. Don't tell me I have sinned, and am in hell. Most sins are sins of classification by bigots and poor thinkers. Who can live without sinning, or sin without living? All very well for Kant to say: "Act so that your conduct may be a law for all men under similar conditions." But Kant overlooked that you are part of the conditions.... It is easy enough to be virtuous when you are a professor of pure reason, a regular, punctual mechanism, a thing for the citizens of Königsberg to set their watches by. But if you happen to be one of those fellows to whom all the roses nod and all the stars wink... ~Israel Zangwill, Dreamers of the Ghetto, "From a Mattress Grave," 1897  [spoken by the character Heinrich Heine —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

We have the ability to survive anything except ourselves. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2015

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

Chaos is the pulse of the universe. ~Terri Guillemets

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

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

In the circle of life there is no top, no corner, and no straight lines. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2015

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

Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain,
Which with pain purchased doth inherit pain:
As, painfully to pore upon a book
To seek the light of truth; while truth the while
Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look:
Light seeking light doth light of light beguile:
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.
~William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost, c.1594  [I, 1, Biron]

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. ~John Muir, 1869, My First Summer in the Sierra

Don't seek Honey with a Bear
And hope to get the Lion's Share.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Caution," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

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,

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

A stumble may prevent a fall. ~English proverb

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

Home      Search      About      Contact      Terms      Privacy

Page Information:
Last saved 2021 Sep 29 Wed 10:04 PDT