Life is not the creature of circumstance. Indeed, in the whole universe of everything that is, life alone, life by its very nature, is the antagonist of circumstance... If there is any one thing that is utterly clear about the nature of life, it is that it was meant to master circumstance. The spirit conquers all things when the spirit wills it, and no excuse remains when we fail to live as we wish.
I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in this cause. The example of great and pure personages is the only thing that can lead us to fine ideas and noble deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and always irresistibly tempts its owners to abuse it.
Two principles govern the moral and intellectual world. One is perpetual progress, the other the necessary limitations to that progress. If the former alone prevailed, there would be nothing steadfast and durable on earth, and the whole of social life would be the sport of winds and waves. If the alter had exclusive sway, or even if it obtained a mischievous preponderancy, every thing would petrify or rot. The best ages of the world are those in which these two principles are the most equally balanced. In such ages every enlightened man ought to adopt both principles, and with one hand develop what he can, with the other restrain and uphold what he ought.
The only thing that brings a mother undiluted satisfaction is her relation to a son; it is quite the most complete relationship between human beings, and the one that is the most free from ambivalence. The mother can transfer to her son all the ambition which she has had to surpress in herself, and she can hope to get from him the satisfaction of all that has remained to her of her masculinity complex. Even a marriage is not firmly assured until the woman has succeeded in making her husband into her child and in acting the part of a mother towards him.
What sort of philosophy one chooses depends, therefore, on what sort of man one is; for a philosophical system is not a dead piece of furniture that we can reject or accept as we wish; it is rather a thing animated by the soul of the person who holds it. A person indolent by nature or dulled and distorted by mental servitude, learned luxury, and vanity will never raise himself to the level of idealism.
Continual success in obtaining those things which a man form time to time desireth, that is to say, continual prospering, is that men call felicity; I mean the felicity of this life. For there is no such thing as perpetual tranquillity of mind, while we live here; because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense.
Why do we look old? Because we remember the weight of the burden of last year's experiences. There is no other reason. Instead of lifting our faces, we should discover that the thing to lift is our thought. It is the mind, not the physical body, which has the stamp of age and reflects it in the body.
Forgiveness means giving up, letting go. It has nothing to do with condoning behavior. It's just letting the whole thing go. 'I forgive you for not being the way I want you to be. I forgive you and set you free.' (Affirmation sets you free.)
There is no perfect knowledge which can be entitled ours, that is innate; none but what has been obtained from experience, or derived in some way from our senses; all knowledge, at all events, is examined by these, approved by them, and finally presents itself to us firmly grounded upon some preexisting knowledge which we possessed: because without memory there is no experience, which is nothing else than reiterated memory; in like manner memory cannot exist without endurance of the things perceived, and the thing perceived cannot remain where it has never been.
Conceit is just as natural a thing to human minds as a centre is to a circle. But little-minded people’s thoughts move in such small circles that five minute’s’ conversation gives you an arc long enough to determine their whole curve. An arc in the movement of a large intellect does not differ sensibly from a straight line.
A nation is a thing that lives and acts like a man, and men are the particles of which it is composed.