From a pragmatic point of view, the difference between living against a background of foreignness (an indifferent Universe) and one of intimacy (a benevolent Universe) means the difference between a general habit of wariness and one of trust.
Topics: The Universe
As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use.
The first thing to learn in intercourse with others is non-interference with their own particular ways of being happy, provided those ways do not assume to interfere by violence with ours.
Topics: Friendship, Happiness
Most men’s friendships are too inarticulate.
To be conscious means not simply to be, but to be reported, known, to have awareness of one’s being added to that being.
We forget that every good that is worth possessing must be paid for in strokes of daily effort. We postpone and postpone, until those smiling possibilities are dead.
The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths.
A little cooling down of animal excitability and instinct, a little loss of animal toughness, a little irritable weakness and descent of the pain-threshold, will bring the worm at the core of all our usual springs of delight into full view, and turn us into melancholy metaphysicians.
I have often thought the best way to define a man’s character would be to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which, when it comes upon him, he felt himself most deeply and intensely active and alive. At such moments there is a voice inside which speaks and says: “This is the real me!”.
Wisdom is learning what to overlook.
Millions of items in the outward order are present to my senses which never properly enter into my experience. Why? Because they have no interest for me. My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind—without selective interest, experience is an utter chaos.
When you live your life with an appreciation of coincidences and their meanings, you connect with the underlying field of infinite possibilities.
Topics: Living Well
I know that you, ladies and gentlemen, have a philosophy, each and all of you, and that the most interesting and important thing about you is the way in which it determines the perspective in your several worlds.
Topics: Philosophy, Philosophers
Man, biologically considered, and whatever else he may be into the bargain, is the most formidable of all beasts of prey, and indeed, the only one who preys systematically on his own species.
He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had failed.
We, the lineal representatives of the successful enactors of one scene of slaughter after another, must, whatever more pacific virtues we may also possess, still carry about with us, ready at any moment to burst into flame, the smoldering and sinister traits of character by means of which they lived through so many massacres, harming others, but themselves unharmed.
I am done with great things and big things, great institutions and big success, and I am for those tiny invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which if you give them time, will rend the hardest monumentos of man’s pride.
Topics: Morals, Pride
Success plus self-esteem equals pretensions.
The prince of darkness may be a gentleman, as we are told he is, but, whatever the God of earth and heaven is, he can surely be no gentleman.
The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way.
Topics: Hell, Character
Give up the feeling of responsibility, let go your hold, resign the care of your destiny to higher powers, be genuinely indifferent as to what becomes of it all and you will find not only that you gain a perfect inward relief, but often also, in addition, the particular goods you sincerely thought you were renouncing.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- John Dewey American Philosopher
- Charles Sanders Peirce American Philosopher
- George Santayana Spanish-American Poet, Philosopher
- Eric Hoffer American Philosopher
- Robert Anton Wilson American Polymath
- Timothy Leary American Psychologist
- Mortimer J. Adler American Philosopher, Educator
- Michel Foucault French Philosopher
- Georges Bataille French Essayist, Intellectual
- Ludwig Wittgenstein Austrian-born British Philosopher