Very few men are wise by their own counsel, or learned by their own teaching; for he that was only taught by himself had a fool as his master.
—Ben Jonson (1572–1637) English Dramatist, Poet, Actor
However, no two people see the external world in exactly the same way. To every separate person a thing is what he thinks it is—in other words, not a thing, but a think.
—Penelope Fitzgerald (1916–2000) British Novelist, Short-Story Writer, Biographer
Poetry has to be something more than a conception of the mind. It has to be a revelation of nature. Conceptions are artificial. Perceptions are essential.
—Wallace Stevens (1879–1955) American Poet
What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what sort of person you are.
—C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) Irish-born British Academic, Author, Literary Scholar
Man’s mind stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809–94) American Physician, Essayist
Penetration seems a kind of inspiration; it gives me an idea of prophecy.
—George Greville, 2nd Earl of Warwick (1746–1816) British Nobleman, Politician
The heart has eyes which the brain knows nothing of.
—Charles Henry Parkhurst (1842–1933) American Clergyman, Civic Reformer
One drop has just fallen.
It is a precious moment, and one that is full of poignancy. In surrendering to gravity and slipping off the leaf, the drop loses its previous identity and joins the vastness of the water below. We can imagine that it must have trembled before it fell, just on the edge between the known and the unknowable.
—Sri Rajneesh (Osho) (1931–90) Indian Spiritual Teacher
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
—Charles Dickens (1812–70) English Novelist
We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.
—Epictetus (55–135) Ancient Greek Philosopher
There is no constant existence, neither of our being, nor of the objects. And we, and our judgement, and all mortal things else do uncessantly roll, turn, and passe away. Thus can nothing be certainly established, nor of the one, nor of the other; both the judging and the judged being in continual alteration and motion. We have no communication with being; for every humane nature is ever in the middle between being borne and dying; giving nothing of itself but an obscure appearance and shadow, and an uncertain and weak opinion. And if perhaps you fix your thought to take its being, it would be even as if one should go about to grasp the water: for how much the more he shall close and press that, which by its own nature is ever gliding, so much the more he shall loose what he would hold and fasten. Thus, seeing all things are subject to passe from one real change to another, reason, which therein seeketh a real subsistence, finds herself deceived as unable to apprehend any thing subsistent and permanent…
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
He gives us the very quintessence of perception.
—James Russell Lowell (1819–91) American Poet, Critic
When I was research head of General Motors and wanted a problem solved, I’d place a table outside the meeting room with a sign: LEAVE SLIDE RULES HERE! If I didn’t do that, I’d find some engineer reaching for his slide rule. Then he’d be on his feet saying, “Boss you can’t do that.”
—Charles F. Kettering (1876–1958) American Inventor, Entrepreneur, Businessperson
Stick with your own perception of yourself—living in your own world—and letting your reality, not the reality presented by other people or particular situations, control your performance.
—John Eliot (b.1971) American Psychologist, Academic
There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.
—J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904–67) American Nuclear Physicist
The place one’s in, though, doesn’t make any contribution to peace of mind: it’s the spirit that makes everything agreeable to oneself.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
To see, to hear, means nothing. To recognize (or not to recognize) means everything. Between what I do recognize and what I do not recognize there stands myself. And what I do not recognize I shall continue not to recognize.
—Andre Breton (1896–1966) French Poet, Essayist, Critic
The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.
—Mark Twain (1835–1910) American Humorist
We think too small. Like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.
—Mao Zedong (1893–1976) Chinese Statesman
As you inquire into issues and turn judgments around, you come to see that every perceived problem appearing “out there” is really nothing more than a misperception within your own thinking.
—Byron Katie (b.1942) American Speaker, Author
It is much more secure to be feared than to be loved.
—Niccolo Machiavelli (1469–1527) Florentine Political Philosopher
Maybe it was because like not only finds like; it can’t even escape from being found by its like. Even when it’s just like in one thing, because even them two with the same like was different.
—William Faulkner (1897–1962) American Novelist
It is true that there are exercises that can strengthen the ‘muscle’ that enable us to push back the bounds of acceptation. But these are relatively unimportant. The real problem is that we are trapped in misconceptions that always deceive us, as the matador’s cape deceives the bull; that continue to deceive us a million times over the course of a lifetime. Wittgenstein once said that traditional philosophy causes a form of mental cramp, and that the aim of his philosophy was to remove this mental cramp, or to ‘show the fly the way out of the bottle’. Our misconceptions involve the passive fallacy and notion that consciousness is a plane mirror that cannot lie about the world it reflects.
—Colin Wilson (b.1931) British Philosopher, Novelist
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
—Marcus Aurelius (121–180) Emperor of Rome, Stoic Philosopher
Whatever we focus on is bound to expand. Where we see the negative, we call forth more negative. And where we see the positive, we call forth more positive. Having loved and lost, I now love more passionately. Having won and lost, I now win more soberly. Having tasted the bitter, I now savor the sweet.
—Marianne Williamson (b.1952) American Activist, Author, Lecturer
The whole world is simply my story, projected back to me on the screen of my own perception. All of it.
—Byron Katie (b.1942) American Speaker, Author
What does not destroy me makes me stronger.
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is…The only problem in your life is your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.
—Dan Millman (b.1946) American Children’s Books Writer, Sportsperson
Most people grow old within a small circle of ideas, which they have not discovered for themselves. There are perhaps less wrong-minded people than thoughtless.
—Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues (1715–47) French Moralist, Essayist, Writer
By speaking, by thinking, we undertake to clarify things, and that forces us to exacerbate them, dislocate them, schematize them. Every concept is in itself an exaggeration.
—Jose Ortega y. Gasset (1883–1955) Spanish Critic, Journalist, Philosopher