A man’s delight in looking forward to and hoping for some particular satisfaction is a part of the pleasure flowing out of it, enjoyed in advance. But this is afterward deducted, for the more we look forward to anything the less we enjoy it when it comes.
Topics: Anticipation, Expectation
If you want to know your true opinion of someone, watch the effect produced in you by the first sight of a letter from him.
I observed once to Goethe … that when a friend is with us we do not think the same of him as when he is away. He replied, “Yes! because the absent friend is yourself, and he exists only in your head; whereas the friend who is present has an individuality of his own, and moves according to laws of his own, which cannot always be in accordance with those which you form for yourself”.
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 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.
They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice… that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.
Topics: Death, Suicide
Human existence must be a kind of error…it may be said of it, ‘it is bad today and every day it will get worse, until the worst of all happens’.
To overcome difficulties is to experience the full delight of existence.
The word of man is the most durable of all material.
If there is anything in the world that can really be called a mans property, it is surely that which is the result of his mental activity.
There is no vice, of which a man can be guilty, no meanness, no shabbiness, no unkindness, which excited so much indignation among his contemporaries, friends and neighbors, as his success. This is the one unpardonable crime, which reason cannot defend, nor [can] humility mitigate.
Topics: Success, Friend, Vice, Kindness, Reason, Humility, Kind
Hatred comes from the heart; contempt from the head; and neither feeling is quite within our control.
Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom
Money is human happiness in the abstract; and so the man who is no longer capable of enjoying such happiness in the concrete, sets his whole heart on money.
Topics: Success, Money, Happiness
There is one respect in which brutes show real wisdom when compared with us-I mean their quiet, placid enjoyment of the present moment.
The present is the only reality and the only certainty.
Consciousness is the mere surface of our minds, of which, as of the earth, we do not know the inside, but only the crust.
The closing years of life are like the end of a masquerade party, when the masks are dropped.
It is with trifles, and when he is off guard, that a man best reveals his character.
If people insist that honor is dearer than life itself, what they really mean is that existence and well-being are as nothing compared with other people’s opinions. Of course, this may be only an exaggerated way of stating the prosaic truth that reputation, that is, the opinion others have of us, is indispensable if we are to make any progress in the world.
The mother of the useful art, is necessity; that of the fine arts, is luxury.—the former have intellect for their father; the latter, genius, which itself is kind of luxury.
In action a great heart is the chief qualification. In work, a great head.
Suffering by nature or chance never seems so painful as suffering inflicted on us by the arbitrary will of another.
The greatest achievements of the human mind are generally received with distrust.
Happiness belongs to those who are sufficient unto themselves. For all external sources of happiness and pleasure are, by their very nature, highly uncertain, precarious, ephemeral, and subject to chance.
Topics: Happiness, Confidence, Self-reliance
To the man who studies to gain a thorough insight into science, books and study are merely the steps of the ladder by which he climbs to the summit; as soon as a step has been advanced he leaves it behind.—The majority of mankind, however, who study to fill their memory with facts do not use the steps of the ladder to mount upward, but take them off and lay them on their shoulders in order that they may take them along, delighting in the weight of the burden they are carrying.—They ever remain below because they carry what should carry them.
I owe what is best in my own development to the impression made by Kant’s works, the sacred writings of the Hindus, and Plato.
Topics: Authors & Writing
Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.
My desire is for wisdom, not for the exercise of the will. The will is the strong blind man who carries on his shoulders the lame man who can see.
Topics: Will Power, Will, Willpower, Wisdom
Talent is able to achieve what is beyond other people’s capacity to achieve, yet not what is beyond their capacity of apprehension; therefore it at once finds its appreciators. The achievement of genius, on the other hand, transcends not only others’ capacity of achievement, but also their capacity of apprehension; therefore they do not become immediately aware of it. Talent is like the marksman who hits a target which others cannot reach; genius is like the marksman who hits a target, as far as which others cannot even see.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Friedrich Nietzsche German Philosopher, Scholar
- Immanuel Kant Prussian German Philosopher
- Wilhelm von Humboldt German Statesman, Scholar
- Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi German Philosopher
- Martin Heidegger German Existential Philosopher
- Immanuel Hermann Fichte German Philosopher
- Johann Gottfried Herder German Poet, Literary Critic
- Moses Mendelssohn German Jewish Philosopher
- Friedrich Schiller German Poet
- Hannah Arendt German-American Political Theorist