Naivete in grownups is often charming; but when coupled with vanity it is indistinguishable from stupidity.
Man is eminently a storyteller. His search for a purpose, a cause, an ideal, a mission and the like is largely a search for a plot and a pattern in the development of his life story—a story that is basically without meaning or pattern. – Hoffer, Eric
It is the pull of opposite poles that stretches souls. And only stretched souls make music.
Unlimited opportunities can be as potent a cause of frustration as a paucity or lack of opportunities.
There is in most passions a shrinking away from ourselves. The passionate pursuer has all the earmarks of a fugitive.
Even in slight things the experience of the new is rarely without some stirring of foreboding.
We never say so much as when we do not quite know what we want to say. We need few words when we have something to say, but all the words in all the dictionaries will not suffice when we have nothing to say and want desperately to say it.
Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man’s spirit than when we win his heart. For we can win a man’s heart one day and lose it the next. But when we break a proud spirit we achieve something that is final and absolute.
The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.
There is a grandeur in the uniformity of the mass. When a fashion, a dance, a song, a slogan or a joke sweeps like wildfire from one end of the continent to the other, and a hundred million people roar with laughter, sway their bodies in unison, hum one song or break forth in anger and denunciation, there is the overpowering feeling that in this country we have come nearer the brotherhood of man than ever before.
The effectiveness of a doctrine does not come from its meaning but from its certitude. No doctrine however profound and sublime will be effective unless it is presented as the embodiment of the one and only truth
We all have private ails. The troublemakers are they who need public cures for their private ails.
A nation without dregs and malcontents is orderly, peaceful and pleasant, but perhaps without the seed of things to come.
It is the stretched soul that makes music, and souls are stretched by the pull of opposites—opposite bents, tastes, yearnings, loyalties. Where there is no polarity—where energies flow smoothly in one direction—there will be much doing but no music.
Topics: Music, Art
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.
Marriage has for women many equivalents of joining a mass movement. It offers them a new purpose in life, a new future and a new identity (a new name). The boredom of spinsters and of women who can no longer find joy and fulfillment in marriage stems from an awareness of a barren, spoiled life. By embracing a holy cause and dedicating their energies and substance to its advancement, they find a new life full of purpose and meaning.
There is radicalism in all getting and conservatism in all keeping. Lovemaking is radical, while marriage is conservative.
There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.
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.
We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
Topics: Opportunity, Desire, Dreams, Talent
To have a grievance is to have a purpose in life.
Excesses are essentially gestures. It is easy to be extremely cruel, magnanimous, humble or self-sacrificing when we see ourselves as actors in a performance.
They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus talent is a species of vigor.
Topics: Failure, Awareness
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- William James American Philosopher
- John Dewey American Philosopher
- Mortimer J. Adler American Philosopher, Educator
- Charles Sanders Peirce American Philosopher
- Will Durant American Historian
- Henry David Thoreau American Philosopher
- George Santayana Spanish-American Poet, Philosopher
- Rollo May American Philosopher
- Ralph Waldo Emerson American Philosopher
- Jiddu Krishnamurti Indian Philosopher