Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself.
—Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922) Scottish-born American Inventor, Engineer, Academic
The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.
—Robertson Davies (1913–95) Canadian Novelist, Playwright, Essayist
In contemplation, if a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties. They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
—James Joyce (1882–1941) Irish Novelist, Poet
People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.
—Blaise Pascal (1623–62) French Mathematician, Physicist, Theologian
When you make the finding yourself – even if you’re the last person on Earth to see the light – you’ll never forget it.
—Carl Sagan (1934–96) American Astronomer
The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.
—Ralph Washington Sockman (1889–1970) American United Methodist Pastor
The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.
—Walker Percy (1916–90) American Novelist
Any life, no matter how long and complex it may be, is made up of a single moment—the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is.
—Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986) Argentine Writer, Essayist, Poet
Every great discovery I ever made, I gambled that the truth was there, and then I acted in faith until I could prove its existence.
—Arthur Compton (1892–1962) American Physicist
All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
—Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) Italian Astronomer, Physicist, Mathematician
I invent nothing, I rediscover.
—Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) French Sculptor
The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.
—Frank Herbert (1920–86) American Science Fiction Writer
In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.
—Ansel Adams (1902–84) American Photographer
Nothing is true in self-discovery unless it is true in your own experience. This is the only protection against the robot levels of the mind.
—Barry Long (1926–2003) Australian Spiritual Teacher, Writer
As long as anyone believes that his ideal and purpose is outside him, that it is above the clouds, in the past or in the future, he will go outside himself and seek fulfillment where it cannot be found. He will look for solutions and answers at every point except where they can be found—in himself.
—Erich Fromm (1900–80) German-American Psychoanalyst, Social Philosopher
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
—Henry David Thoreau (1817–62) American Philosopher
It is the individual who knows how little they know about themselves who stands the most reasonable chance of finding out something about themselves before they die.
—S. I. Hayakawa (1906–92) Canadian-born American Academic, Elected Rep, Politician
No great discovery was ever made without a bold guess.
—Isaac Newton (1643–1727) English Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer, Theologian
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
—A. A. Milne (1882–1956) British Humorist, Playwright, Children’s Writer
The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.
—Arthur Koestler (1905–83) British Writer, Journalist, Political Refugee
When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.
—William Arthur Ward (1921–94) American Author
A human being is only interesting if he’s in contact with himself. I learned you have to trust yourself, be what you are, and do what you ought to do the way you should do it. You have got to discover you, what you do, and trust it.
—Barbra Streisand (b.1942) American Musician, Actor, Songwriter
If I have made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.
—Isaac Newton (1643–1727) English Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer, Theologian
If you are prepared to accept the consequences of your dreams then you must still regard America today with the same naive enthusiasm as the generations that discovered the New World.
—Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007) French Sociologist, Philosopher
Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.
—James Bryant Conant (1893–1978) American Chemist, Educator
Little by little, through patience and repeated effort, the mind will become stilled in the Self.
—The Bhagavad Gita Hindu Scripture
Ninety per cent of the world’s woe comes from people not knowing themselves, their abilities, their frailties, and even their real virtues. Most of us go almost all the way through life as complete strangers to ourselves—so how can we know anyone else?
—Sydney J. Harris (1917–86) American Essayist, Drama Critic
A theory can be proved by experiment; but no path leads from experiment to the birth of a theory.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955) German-born Physicist
If scientific discovery has not been an unalloyed blessing, if it has conferred on mankind the power not only to create but also to annihilate, it has at the same time provided humanity with a supreme challenge and a supreme testing
—John F. Kennedy (1917–63) American Head of State, Journalist
Love is a sudden revelation: a kiss is always a discovery.
Everything changes, nothing remains without change.
For a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
—F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940) American Novelist
Just as all thought, and primarily that of non-signification, signifies something, so there is no art that has no signification.
—Albert Camus (1913–60) Algerian-born French Philosopher, Dramatist, Essayist, Novelist, Author
It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.
—Whitney Young (1921–71) American Civil Rights Leader
Man’s “progress” is but a gradual discovery that his questions have no meaning
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900–44) French Novelist, Aviator
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.
—Plato (428 BCE–347 BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Mathematician, Educator
No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new doorway for the human spirit.
—Helen Keller (1880–1968) American Author
I have made an important discovery… that alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, produces all the effect of intoxication.
—Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) Irish Poet, Playwright
It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between.
—Diane Ackerman (b.1948) American Poet, Essayist, Naturalist
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look at fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along”. You must do the think you think you cannot do.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962) American First Lady, Diplomat, Humanitarian
After reading all that has been written, and after thinking all that can be thought, on the topics of God and the soul, the man who has a right to say that he thinks at all, will find himself face to face with the conclusion that, on these topics, the most profound thought is that which can be the least easily distinguished from the most superficial sentiment.
—Edgar Allan Poe (1809–49) American Poet
It’s not only the most difficult thing to know one’s self, but the most inconvenient.
—Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw) (1818–85) American Humorist, Author, Lecturer
There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory mentioned, which states that this has already happened.
—Douglas Adams (1952–2001) English Novelist, Scriptwriter
What has become clear to you since we last met?
—Benjamin Franklin (1706–90) American Political Leader, Inventor, Diplomat
For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.
—Aristotle (384BCE–322BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scholar
It is the modest, not the presumptuous inquirer, who makes a real and safe progress in the discovery of divine truths.—He follows God in his works and in his word.
—Henry St John, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke (1678–1751) English Politician, Philosopher
Look into the depths of your own soul and learn first to know yourself, then you will understand why this illness was bound to come upon you and perhaps you will thenceforth avoid falling ill.
—Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) Austrian Psychiatrist, Psychoanalytic
A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
A new principle is an inexhaustible source of new views.
—Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues (1715–47) French Moralist, Essayist, Writer