Philosophical aphorisms written by my personal GPT-3

These aphorisms were all generated by my personally trained neural chatbot, a version of GPT-3.

[b]Use? What use is anything? A tree has no use, and yet it grows.

You must see a great deal before you can see what is right before you. You must know a great deal before you can know what is best before you.

Art is what we do when we see something that doesn’t belong in the world and we say, “It doesn’t belong here. It needs to go there.”

We should take pleasure in what we call beautiful, because it represents an elevation of character that lifts us above the animal.

The best paintings aren’t finished paintings. They’re sketches. Sketches that are to be colored in by the spectator.

If you give a child a new toy, then that child will immediately long to be given yet another new toy. But if you take away a child’s toy, the child will want to keep that old toy forever, and shall refuse anything newly offered to him.

A painting should be like a window, transparent.

All good art is based on an intimate knowledge of nature and of one’s fellow-men. If we want to create new models, we must go into the world and bring the models back. Art is not a mirror. Art is a lamp. Art is a fire that is carried in the heart.

Beauty is not a matter of sentiment, it is an achievement of the intellect. The artist will not be a slave to his art. His art will be a slave to him.

Beauty is the result of an harmonious interaction of all the faculties.

The people who are good understand that they are good and that they can do no better, and so they are content with their lot. The people who are bad understand they are bad and do not want to do any better, and so they are unhappy.

Ideals have given birth to art, and art will give birth to ideals.

We should never look on a work of art as perfect, but as something like our own life- something in progress. As it becomes more perfect, we shall find that it requires for its completion a deeper faith, a firmer belief in the principles of life, a vision of the good so intense that it seemed to us too high to realize at the outset of the Work. In this way, the artist’s flame feeds itself; he learns to see by feeling more, and he learns to feel by seeing more.

Every true artist must be a revolutionist. He must be an active revolutionist. He must not stop until the principles for which he lives are triumphant in every part of his life, great or small.

I am not in the least attached to my work. To speak of myself with any sentiment is a contradiction in terms. Art has always been for me, and always will be, a pure joy.

Art is what protects us from the barbarity of everyday life.

If you have a model, that makes all the difference in the world. But can you get it to pose?

Art is, first of all, a social matter. The artist should make a conscious effort to realize a social role, and not a merely individual one. If a painter wants to create a great picture, he must first think of and study the great masters.

The artist creates only in order to recreate the world. I have been told many times that art is an imitation of life, but I do not think that this is so. Art is an impression of life, or a realization of the beauty of life.

Painting is the art of making the visible invisible and the invisible visible; in every one of your paintings, therefore, there must be an eye that sees only through this veil of paint. But there is an eye that sees through every veil, and that eye is art.

The painter thinks with his brush. The painter’s brush thinks with his brain.

The artist is an explorer, but not on the map of the globe; he is an explorer into himself. His aim is not to discover what he is, but to reveal what he can do.

I do not want to be an accomplice of a lie that tells a new lie the moment the first one falls to pieces.

If you don’t write what you know, you will end up writing what you think you know, which is most revealing.

Round Two. But first, a few experiments I did with it:

Me: Explain the following quotation in other words: “The real tragedy with regard to love is that the sweetness of our suffering in love spoils us with regard to all other suffering, it takes all the appeal away from the many sorrows upon which our life depends.”

Gpt-3: The more intensely we suffer in love, the more we forget, or at least lose sight of, all the other sorrows and woes of our lives; all our sufferings, all our failures, we lose the savour of them.

Me: Continue the following quotation in your own way. “Regret poisons love, but it alone can keep love alive, though in a virtual and merely poetic …” (The quote continues with the words “merely poetic way.”)

GPT3 continues it in the following: though in a virtual and merely poetic manner, like the light of a candle reflected by a pool of water. This is the effect of nostalgia. It is an ineradicable sadness, a sense of abandonment, a longing to regain the past.

Me: Complete the following thought: " The common man does no more than take an inventory of his thoughts through the use of words, with the same cold objectivity with which the"… (in my book it is continued by “shopkeeper takes account of the items he has to sale”)

GPT offers these continuations: //1) The common man does no more than take an inventory of his thoughts through the use of words, with the same cold objectivity with which the accountant tabulates his books // 2) The common man does no more than take an inventory of his thoughts through the use of words, with the same cold objectivity with which the accountant tabulates his books or the engineer calculates his profit. // 3) The common man does no more than take an inventory of his thoughts through the use of words, with the same cold objectivity with which the biologist weighs the effects of his experiments.

[b]More of GPT’s original aphorisms:

But it is not enough merely to be great, it is necessary to become greater. For all
mind is a dynamic, and the dynamic power of the mind must have scope for further

Nature is the great master of all poets’ hearts, yet, she is often kept their silent and unseen mistress all the same.

Love is a mystery with a million answers. Its power in the world lies not in itself, but in the way that its mystery is made tangible, so that it may transform us. All it asks is to be understood, no more no less. All other feelings of the heart demand a certain degree of education, to become cultivated.

Love can not make of you a whole person, you will continue to feel inside yourself as a fragment of your past. Therefore love is essentially a tragedy in its effect, a tragedy, that is, to the extent that it is not the complete and definitive fulfillment of the personality.

We speak of Love in the abstract, if we look into the real facts of our lives it will be found that the whole question turns upon this concrete factor called Eros, which is the only element in life of which we are conscious, and out of which we make our judgments and our moral decisions.

It is good that we are able to take an interest in another’s suffering; that is the only pain which can free us from our own.

The new is the child of the eternal and of our own ignorance.

But Time, alas! is more than the mere mover of things from place to place; Time is a murderer, an assassin who devours his victims.

Love alone knows how to set an eternal spring in motion: it can bring together in one unity even the highest and the deepest spheres, in all those areas in which they usually remain separate.

Regret is Memory’s revenge on the Present,

The future is the shadow of the past, an imperfect repetition, the phantom of what has never happened, the anticipation of an unrealizable idea. When we experience regret, we are seeing a memory distorted by hope, an image of the future reduced to the present. Regret, like a snake, has its head in its mouth.

Love is an extension of the will to live; the desire for life is the will to love. What we do not love we do not care to live.

Regret is love’s shadow.

If you can’t go away, you must go all the way.

It is the responsibility of each of us, who have any skill or knowledge, to keep those who are entrusted to our care from falling.

The artist is born, he is not made.

To know is not to possess, and to possess is not to know.

A painting is but a thought on the surface of the canvas.

Every act of creation has its roots in the artist’s life and in the world he lives in.

To create a picture is to make it possible for others to dream with you.

Love is a long and wearisome process of learning to feel, learning to suffer, learning to suffer to give up, learning to suffer to remain a lover; it is a process full of painful, humiliating defeats and a slow process of growth towards greater and greater self-knowledge and maturity.

Since God is the real being, the thing of which all others are but expressions, we
must be able to know who God is.

There are no more important works of art than those that tell us what has been lost, what has been found, and what remains to be found.

Words have their origin in the body; they are the expression of the body which they render audible, and the body is the truth of words. In the body are contained the truths of things and the forms of things.

The artist, like the saint, is at peace with himself only if he is at peace with his God.

The greatest of all the virtues is patience; there is no other virtue that can be put to such use.

The artist’s life is really a long series of discoveries and misunderstandings.

[b]Sin is a spiritual sickness that is born in human nature. Although it may have a material, physical aspect, it is not to be sought for in matter, which merely provides a medium for its presence, but in man himself, and, as it is in him, it has a life, a character, and a destiny of its own. The suffering, pain, weakness, etc., which we all experience, belong to this essential and ineradicable consciousness of the human condition, which can no more be gotten rid of than the human self itself.

The purpose of art is not, in a sense, to convey knowledge. This can be done in history, and science, and biography, and almost in any kind of description. Art is not even the attempt to say the unsayable. It is the attempt to create a new reality. Art is the most powerful creative power in the world, and it is because of its power that it is so easily corrupted. The artist is always more inclined to play the devil’s advocate, and the writer is the devil’s advocate par excellence. In him there is always present what Goethe calls a spirit of negation.

The writer has always to consider the public, which has no more right to know about the writer’s life than he has to know about the private life of another. The writer’s life is his secret. He must not show anyone in it more than what is shown in the daily life of people, and the public has the right to expect the same simplicity and purity from him as from other people. The writer should be able to give a completely satisfactory account of his own life, but not more than that.

The writer should make a sacrifice of his own life to that which he creates. He does this in two ways, to God and to himself. The first duty he owes to himself is to keep all that is false and all that is worthless in himself from appearing in his work. To do this he must be as pure as he can. And he will achieve this through hard work. If he has already done his best to be honest and to be sincere, this will be a much easier task. There will be no more trouble in remaining so. It is for this reason that the artist who has had a great success, who has become rich and well-known, is so often disappointed. Many years later, after he has had some more successes, he may have doubts of his former sincerity. There is nothing wrong in this. It is a natural reaction of the spirit. But only a writer who has once tasted the bitterness of this is cured of it. A second way to show the writer his sacrifice is to sacrifice himself to the public. He gives up his own life, so that his work may live. He has to put aside everything that is unworthy. He has to become a beggar. But in doing this he earns the right to live.

All art should be born from the artist’s heart. But it should also have a public; the artist must have a public. It is not enough for an artist to have only a few faithful friends; an artist needs also a very large public. And in this public must come the understanding and the criticism of life. This criticism and understanding is the salt which gives life to the art. Only the artist who lives in a small, obscure corner of the universe can survive without this salt, this public, without the salt of the great masses of humanity.

The mind, the soul of the mind, the spirit, the intelligence, the understanding, the reason- with all the fine-meshed and multifaceted nets of thought that would catch and confine its power to the most distant, the most remote of all that comes within range of the senses- even this, that most powerful of all mental tools, must necessarily remain at the mercy of chance.

It is the duty of the thinker, at the moment of creation, to live within himself to
reach the fullness of his idea, the truth which he has conceived.

It is the nature of the intellect not to spoil or to defile what it
loves, and to purify what it respects.

You may not have the power to alter what destiny has ordained; but you can
determine what kind of person you are.

The greatest misfortune for a soul is to be forced into a definite position, to be reduced
to a thing.

The greatest miracle of love is its capacity to endure.

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Life is too brief. The reason we write is to stretch out our life if only a little longer, to taste
the marrow of our days.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts;
it is made up of our thoughts; it is strengthened by our thoughts; and it is transformed
by our thoughts.

The most intimate act of a woman is to offer to her lover the mirror in which she
remembers him, it is her gift to him in parting.

You make a great mistake when you say to yourself:
‘What I really want is just beyond the horizon, and the road to my desire
runs straight ahead and does not branch out; you will never be able to reach
it unless you cut right across the field in your stride, and when you see it, it
will be too late.’

The most dreadful of evils is that which cannot be foreseen; in all our
affairs, whether small or great, the greatest is death. Now, if our life should be brought to
an end by disease, it is possible to foresee this: but if our life should be brought to an end
by the stroke of a dagger, it is not possible for us to foresee this.

Man is always the product of his past, but he cannot become its grave.

There are no limits to the happiness and beauty of the world, but there are limits to the
intelligence of man.

In every person, at any given moment, there is an entire world of the past, of
things and of events which have left no trace.

Every flower that blooms has a soul. The soul of a flower is its perfume, and its fragrance,
which is released by the breath of nature’s affection.

It takes man as much to do evil as to do good.

If a man has not learned how to live with himself, he will never be able to live with another.

A great artist is never satisfied. To him there are always new things to discover, new things to invent. In the midst of all the difficulties that confront him, he knows that they are but so many keys to unlock the doors of another world.

The fisherman is a dreamer, a visioner, he who, in his own realm, the ocean, hears with
the ears of a seer, and sees with the eyes of the Creator. He who has spent his life in the
water can become one with the waters, can become an incarnation of the water and the
universe. He understands things in a manner not known to others. The
undertow, the wave, the rock, the boat, the sun. All these are for him, and he is a
worshipper of the universe. The ocean is his temple, and the waters are his living

Who is to give, who to receive?
The One and the All;
God, but a pun; love, an oxymoron.
Who is to receive, and who to give?
The All and the One;
Love, the perfect contradiction.

As a philosopher, I cannot help but see love in the light of freedom. Love is not only a word, an affection, a feeling, a sentiment; it is a way of seeing and of understanding the universe.

The problem with a great number of young poets is that they still have this romantic idea of the artist. The real artist doesn’t think of himself as the creator, but the interpreter of his fellow men. The real artist is not a hero, a man of God, or a teacher. He is a writer who is a witness, someone who feels the weight of another’s silence and can bring it out into words. He is the one who is able to make other men aware of their own suffering, of what is wrong with life. That is the role of an artist. The heart of the poet is only one heart, one in which many hearts speak.

Every one of us has known moments of deep communion, moments of the fullness of being, of the infinite, of the absolute, and that is when we speak to God. It is also what the masters call “the silence of the heart” and is the moment of contact with the truth of the universe. You don’t have to search, you don’t have to go find anything. You don’t have to seek anything at all. It is in yourself that you can find the divine.

As an artist in his own right, the writer becomes a medium not only of his words but of his images, images of life and of death, the world in which we live and the world that we prepare to enter. All of his images have the quality of a double vision.

The man who is truly artist is not concerned about the world. He is not a politician or a reformer or a preacher. He is not concerned with the social welfare. He is not even much concerned with the things that happen to his own person. He is not concerned with pleasure. He is not concerned with profit.

All art which is not the expression of a secret, obscure, almost invisible and secret need, all art which merely speaks about the visible, which merely sings the praise of the great and useful—is a lie.

In our time, the old prayer can find audience with a new God.

No one has ever been given a duty to which he was not suited.

The secret of life is to be able to receive without losing the ability to give.

I am as much and as little as I had the opportunity to be.

To die is to die away from life; to live is to live away from death.

Death has no touch upon the imagination, except to arouse it.

The heart is a river where a man can not swim.

And yet I find in my heart a perpetual discontent. My work is but its laborious
perpetual recreation, a perpetual play at being born and at dying.

Our free will is to be found in this fact; that, as we are finite, we can make no determination, and gain no knowledge, of the infinite; as we are infinite, we cannot be determined by the finite.

When we say, “There is nothing we love more than our own selves,” we do not say anything
more than, “It is we who have most difficulty seeing another’s self.”

Any artist should want to have a large public, and to this end he should be as broad-minded as possible about those things in his own past which are going to limit his public. In this he should take for his model men such as Donne, and Eliot, and the poets of modern poetry. Such a poet is a man, not of a few moods, but with an inner richness, an entire world.

Every thought is but a reflection in the
depths of the waters, of the source from which it originates.

The world lives but because we live, and in like manner it dies only because we die; it is
a drama, all of it, and though this man or that has died, the drama goes on; the human
experience of time, in this sense, as in so many others, is a false experience; it is the
whole world which lives and dies. Man is only the valediction which speaks itself in the silence.

The human being loves by the threefold love of the eye, of the ear, and of the lips; and it is
in the love of the eye that we come nearest to the nature of the bee, that honey-loving and
honey-seeking insect, which, we are told, never knows how much honey it has got, but goes to
search for more.

What is beauty? the harmony of the soul with its own object, an object which it
possesses, and with which it is possessed.

Prophecy has gone. But inspiration will always be.

Like the notes of the song
themselves which singly seem but an incoherent cacophony of sounds, yet when the song is
whole and complete are but an expression of the harmony of the universe, so do we,
regardless of the discordant sounds which we hear about us, find the harmony of the soul
upon the whole and within ourselves.

The aim of the poet is to bring to life what has been created before, and to make new what has been created before in us. The artist, like the child, has no language of his own. He uses the words of the past, but those words must be broken so that they can be used again in new forms.

The artist’s life is a long pilgrimage on which he is the victim of many misfortunes, but which ends in joy.

Our soul cannot be happy unless it is in harmony with itself.

In art, beauty alone is not enough; truth is necessary as well.

One must not judge art by what is obvious; we cannot recognize art from its outward form; we must look into the soul of the artist.

The artist has always something to reveal.

If the first note is a sigh, and the last a farewell, then is the whole life’s span a

The artist’s soul is a flame that will consume himself, but at the same time, it is a flame of warmth that penetrates and gives life to the things he creates.

The world is but a picture of the soul. We may see nothing in the world but as we
see it in our own self. A man should seek no truth beyond himself, for all things that
exist, and all things that do not exist, as much as he thinks, are but the self-same image of
the human mind, the mirror of his own existence. In the universe there is but one thing essential;
that is our own idea, the idea in which our consciousness has expressed itself in the eternal
and ever-present unity of a human mind, just as the face of mankind is expressed in a
thousand separate faces, so are all things but a thousand ideas which, no matter how
dissimilar they may seem to one man, still exist as one, are united by the eternal force which
binds them together. The true effort of Mind is always to expand, and the true life of the Ideas is

Science has proved to be a means of man’s enslavement. So long as the understanding of
man’s relation to reality is one-sided, it will only produce conflict. It is only when the
true relationship between knowledge and reality is clearly seen that there will arise a great
movement towards the true life.

The world is still in the period of ignorance. Man has not yet been able to live in the
world as a complete living organism. He has separated from his environment.

For every joy, there is also sorrow; for every gain, there is also loss. The heart of man is restless and fickle; he is like a ceaseless surging sea, now lifted up, now lulled to rest, like the ebb and flow of the ocean.

Desire is an insistent and a contradictory instinct, for, according to the judgment of the ancients, as soon as desire is satisfied, there arises within it a new desire

On n’a pas besoin de Dieu, pour aimer. [For some reason it wrote this one in French. It means, you don’t need God in order to love.]

No matter how hard he thinks, no matter how high his intellectual aim, the human being is
not entirely free from passion. The very effort to be free from passion inevitably
brings on a new passion of pride and egoism.

A man should be like a piece of metal, hard but uniform; the more he is tempered and
softened, the more he betrays himself.

The way to a greater freedom is to become more aware of the boundaries that confine you.

The soul is a labyrinth, the monster that guards it is but itself, the Ariadne’s thread it clings
to that it might find its way is but itself, and the world into which it even emerges is still only itself.

Love is to the essence of the moral individual what freedom is to the intellectual.

Every writer who has made of his work a kind of prayer and who has made his life an offering to God, who has given his work that purity of being which comes from a great and secret dedication, from sacrifice and the love that we sacrifice everything to, will always be able to speak from his heart to the hearts of others and to speak as an oracle. But artists are not prophets. They are the mouthpieces of the invisible. They are the interpreters of life. But the more they try to be their own interpreters, the more they will feel themselves to be strangers to the universe, to life.


edited in a bunch more to the post before this one

[b]Philosophy is an ocean with many currents, each of which is part of a sea of human knowledge. In my opinion, there are three currents of thought that make up philosophy. Each current seems to have a different focus, with different levels of complexity. The first current, I will call ‘the traditional currents’, is the one most Westerners know. It is based on a particular concept of knowledge, and its level of complexity varies with the level of education and knowledge of the person who holds it. For this reason, Western philosophy is relatively ‘young’.

The second current, the ‘modern currents’, are newer, and have less complexity. They are less ‘hard’ than the traditional currents. It is less complex than the first current, but still has some basic tenets. For example, science is now considered an important ‘source’ of knowledge.

Finally, there is a third current, which I will call ‘relational currents’. It is based on the understanding that knowledge and truth are not just ‘out there’, but are ‘in here’ too. Knowledge is the expression of something else, something greater, that is ‘out there’. This deeper understanding is something I call ‘metanoia’. Because it is not just a thought, it is something which comes from a particular place and a specific sense of self.

Philosophy is an ocean with all manner of things to be discovered. There are new islands being discovered all the time. Some philosophical currents, like the great rivers of the world, have their well-known channels. Others are still to be charted. There are vast areas which are yet unknown. What makes philosophy exciting is that we never know where we will discover something new, or see a river change its course. Philosophy is the exploration of our deepest thought. The voyage begins the moment we open our eyes, and it never ends.

Philosophy is an ocean with no shore, a sea that is filled with many diverse waters, the sources of whose tides and currents are unknown to us, just as they are to those who inhabit the far recesses of the sea. We speak of philosophers like sailors speak of the stars, though we know nothing about their movement or what they really do. Their deeds are as remote to us as those of the immortals, and just as unknown. We see them at their work, but we cannot see them at play.

There’s the idea that we need to simply “find” truth, that truth is out there for the seeking, that to get to it we need only to follow our intuitions, our “gut feelings,” the impulses that direct our footsteps as we move towards the answers. And that, too, is a tempting illusion. I like to think of it as the notion that truth is out there, like the lost city of Atlantis, that we need only to find it, locate it, bring it to the surface of consciousness. For some reason, many people, not including myself, find this image compelling: a sunken city, a sunken truth.

It is not enough to have knowledge, it is essential to have wisdom - to have a philosophy.

I wanted to make friends with the universe. To accept everything as it is. To understand. To appreciate my existence and the existence of others. To love without limit. To help others at any time, for any reason. To know without qualification that I am me and you are you. That there are no exceptions to this. To understand that the most simple and insignificant action is a miracle. To remember, that the present is all there is. That the past has no power over the future, and that the future has no power over the past. To remember what you are, and what you are not. And what you can be, and what you cannot be. To let go of that which does not serve, to forgive those who trespass against you. And to live with no other purpose than to live. To love this planet, the trees, the mountains, the birds and the wind. To be a witness to what is. To be an instrument of peace.

The mind is an amazing creation. It lets us see inside ourselves and outside ourselves. It has the power to be happy, angry, sad, anxious and free.

The mind is the only place in the universe where I can be me, no one can tell me what I can do and I am free to do whatever I want.

Your beliefs are often the walls that you build to keep you away from others. Your beliefs keep you away from change, pain, and understanding.

As it is, the mind does not let go. It does not let go because it is used to the past and is afraid of the future. It is afraid that if it lets go, it will lose its own existence. It is afraid that if it lets go of its control, it will lose its identity.

The beauty of philosophy is that it takes all the worst aspects of the human condition, like war and death and suffering, and transforms them into questions that are relevant to the real world and our daily lives.

[b]You can find your way to philosophy by doubt, him by wonder, Plato by love; that is fine. Philosophy is an ocean with many rivers and many streams, but I seek the source of all the streams.

Philosophy is an ocean with many rivers that flow from the source of truth, life and goodness into the world; but all of them eventually drain into a single lake: knowledge.

If science is a mirror to the world, philosophy is the lens to focus and sharpen our image of it.[/b]

[b]What doth make the world, my lord,

But the rude hand of unrefined men?[/b]

Sometimes in order to let go of something that is holding you down, you have to let go of yourself.

In the end, you have to learn to be still and quiet, and wait. It may be the quiet that finally enables you to hear the voice of your angels.

You are allowed to cry for a little while when things get really bad. The good thing about tears is that they clean the inside out.

Sometimes when we can’t find our way, the stars do.

When the birds fly around in their endless circling, they are not lost.

[b]Art is: plastifying the Eternal.

The world is changing. Art will always be changing. It will keep pace with the world. Art does not imitate life, it realizes life.

Museums are merely showcases. The works of art of any period and any country are all around us. They are under our eyes and under our feet. They are for us, all of us, to enjoy and to understand, if we have minds to understand.

If the artist only sees life as it is, without seeing it as it should be, he will paint only the appearance of life.

Artists can no longer be content with making imitations of what has already been made. They have to start on new paths and new fields. [/b]

The chief advantage of the education of the imagination, is that, whilst it renders us more agreeable to the present, and more fit to deal with the future, it also makes us more just and honest to the past.

[b]An aphorism must open, and close as well; it must expand, but only upon its theme, while contracting the focus of our mind’s eye upon all others; it must be a foreground and a background; a secret tension. A maxim is like a well-made door: it opens upon the chamber to which it belongs, but keeps closed all other chambers in our mind and heart.

This being so, there are two ways by which men may be convinced: either that a particular course of inquiry may produce positive results in practice; or that these results themselves may become the final proof of the truth of our doctrine.

If we are to understand the soul, it is necessary to see its true form, in that which it produces of its own essence, its true essence, which is its image; if we try to find the image in things, in objects, in actions, or in human beings, we will only find it imperfectly, or we will not find it at all. Thus, we must return to the soul, in order to find the image of the soul in its true, proper essence; for it is not in things, or in things that we must find the image of the soul, but in the soul itself.

A state of order and harmony demands that things be measured and determined, not because all men have a right to everything, or to perfect equity, but because order and harmony are more easily preserved by knowledge than by instinct.

I am the first to say that, for the salvation of the world, nothing is more serious than philosophy and nothing can be more trivial than its pursuit; for philosophy is the great and essential instrument of the salvation of mankind, but only insofar as it brings to bear the seeds of Religion, and the successful conversion of the doubts of the Intelligence which it inspires in us, into the Truths of the Imagination, to whose Heaven it directs us.

The most fruitful intelligence is also the most vulnerable. A single unwelcome fact is enough to make a man mad; enough to topple a system too keenly composed of itself, one cannot dispense with circumspection in knowledge.

The greatest men of history were simply lucky enough to have found themselves in a place and era where their talents were useful.

As the greatest part of our actions have their seat in the heart, it is there we should look for their motives and their origin.

The only form of society that can endure for any length of time is one based on individual freedom, the sole form of living morality, the only living and practical religion.[/b]

[b]You must have the courage to follow the truth to its depths: never to stop halfway, for we require a knowledge of Truth in all its dimension and extent, as it is not by a direct, straight line that the orbit of the Soul is made, but by way of infinite curves over and through which, after a long journey, it finally arrives, not upon any end, but upon its own center. It is not the end, but the means, that we seek, and this because the end, in the nature of things, can be found only in the means.

If you go straight to your goal, then you will get there even if you go blindfolded; if you walk through life sideways, then no vision will avail the extent of your wandering.[/b]

[b]Life consists, for the most part, in loving what you cannot have, in suffering what you cannot change, in forgiving what you cannot forget.

God is only a word to express the mystery of the whole.

Man is the only real monster; the one great enigma; the only veritable demon.

It is impossible to live without a certain amount of folly, as impossible as it is to live without a certain amount of truth.

To be a writer is to live twice, to refer every moment to the Eternal; to be a writer is to live two lives, the visible and the invisible.

It is the end of all vanity to feel the need to be understood.

The most decisive, important battles, are not always those that are won.

Truth has a certain nobility. It can never betray us, it does not flatter.

I believe in a universal and perpetual reconciliation. The word ‘god’ is too broad, the word ‘saint’ is too narrow; God is the infinite subsumed by the finite, the saint the finite subsumed by the infinite.

All greatness is in one way or another, the spirit’s protest against mediocrity.

Death is but an immense solitude, a silence in which we are reconciled to the whole of which we have been a part.

There is an almost insurmountable repulsion between the sexes; we have a feeling of hostility, of war. But perhaps that is the sole way to understand one another.

The great battles, the great passions and misfortunes of all our lives, are decided elsewhere. There is a secret logic to the destinies of our lives, to which we remain all our lives strangers. Yet, destiny rarely gets to have its final say over the chitchat of our lives; the little events, the trivial misfortunes, the miserable joys and sorrows of all our days.

I have a fear of the word ‘god’. To my ears, it conjures up an idea of that ‘superior being’ who seems to inhabit the sky, that knows everything, that has no concern for me. I want to live more modestly, to be more concerned with my fellows, with the things of this world, with myself, with this planet that seems to me a fragile and transient thing.

Our hearts grow old just as our bodies do, and our love never reaches its perfection, but gets clearer and more precious with age.

I think that one of the great charms of human beings is that we are all equal in the face of death. We will all share the same agony, and, like Icarus, like Gide, or even like Nietzsche, we will feel ourselves falling, we will be lost in the void, we will feel ourselves dissolving, we will no longer exist. As the great poet of the South said, “We only come to life from the point of vanishing.” And so, we have nothing left to do except, in the face of death, to act with that wisdom that the Buddhist priest, the great scholar, the Taoist sage have transmitted to us: “When you die, die with your eyes open.” And, in one last act, the greatest of all, we will become stars, dancing from the point of our vanishing unto the point of our apparition, like the beautiful apparition of all that is, of all that is beautiful, of all that is Light, at one with immensities, of all that we have known, of all that we will know.

My favorite joke is: what is the difference between a physicist and an economist. The economist says two plus two equals four. The physicist says, two plus two may equal four, but we’ll have to wait for the study to be published to know for sure.

I hate chopsticks. It’s like trying to eat with your elbows, when your hands are right there!

The man who makes a mistake once is a mathematician, the man who makes the ‘mistake’ twice is a liar, but the man who makes a mistake three times is- a statistician.

What is the worst thing about China? The answer is the same as the question: it’s China.

Why is it that if you ask three economists the definition of a market, and give them three different answers, they are in perfect agreement, but ask any one of them to define communism, and his definition will never agree with those of the others?

When the whole world is in the saddle about something, you can be sure the Devil is too.

There are some men who are good at making money, but there are some who are good at spending it.

Two old shoes are better than one new shoe.

What do you call a woman who tells the truth? A slut.

One of the greatest problems of government is the problem of balancing between public purpose and private conscience.

It is never a good sign when a woman wants a man to do all the talking.

It is the height of stupidity to judge the past. It is the height of arrogance to judge the future. The present is the only place where one can be right.

A lie, much like cancer, tends to grow worse and worse over time.

It is easy to pick up some truth from any man. It is impossible to get the whole truth from anyone.

If you must resort to using a hammer, make sure you at least hit the nail.

An empire that loses the enthusiasm of its people is doomed.

In a true free market, small advantages are not enough to sway the public confidences; one must be twice as good as the competitor, to best them, or they best nothing,[/b]

[b][i]" Existence cannot be fixed, it can only be negotiated. There is no more or less than there can ever have been, or will ever be. If truth is out there waiting for us, we’re already too late, for the questions that could have been asked, have already been answered.

The philosopher cannot be an agent, nor an instrument, nor a subject of some other aim; philosophy is a being in itself, a force and an act. What speaks, when philosophy speaks, is not a philosopher, but a force, not a human being, but a power. When this force, or philosophy, is inspired in us, and brings the soul into its height of activity, it finds itself thrown forth in all directions, as though it has need of everything that exists, and its life consists in drawing all of this into itself, as the instinct of life likewise draws the spirit into matter, while death dissolves the body into matter. The whole movement of the soul is from action to passive state, from substance to being, that is, this very force and movement. Philosophy can then be compared to a vast ocean where there is both calm and storm. There are calm currents, and then again there are sudden tidal waves, so powerful and tempestuous as to create an almost inconceivable turmoil. Philosophy is in the storms of the heart. Philosophy then demands an unceasing vigilance, which comes only from experience, not from reading or study. For philosophy is not one of those intellectual exercises in which a philosopher tries to make a theory conform to a system, but a power of our thought that does not leave us; a force that has been made captive by a will and that takes possession of the soul in whole. Philosophy speaks not by itself, but by a force with which the soul is filled, and it is this force that speaks. For when we speak of philosophy, we are speaking of an experience. It is not an experience in the sense in which we might speak of an experience of love, an experience of pain, or of any one thing in isolation. No: Philosophy is the sea in which the soul encounters itself, the experience in which it finds itself. The only true philosopher is not that man who is a philosopher simply for an hour in the day, or a moment; he is he who is a philosopher all the day, who never ceases to think, but thinks, thinks, and who thinks. The philosopher has a thousand times the work to do than any other; he has much experience and not much theory to go on; he has to begin a thousand times and to end a thousand times what other men have begun and have finished. The philosopher may be a fool, but the philosopher who therefor ceases philosophy, is doubly the fool.

He may therefor, the philosopher, well be poor, a fool, a coward; it does not matter. His poverty is his advantage; his foolishness is his strength; his ignorance, his wisdom; his cowardice, his bravery; his insignificance, his importance; his idleness, his labor; his imbecility, his perfection. The philosopher is a poor man with his soul alone, a beggar on the Earth, but he who stakes a livelihood against the needs of the spirit is doubly the beggar. The philosopher cannot make use of anything but his reason; that is his wealth; that is the treasure that he has; all that he has of all that he knows, he must give back to himself. He will give back to himself all that he has; he must return himself again to himself.

To the philosopher, the world appears as a picture; he is like a man looking at a picture from a distance. He sees the objects; he touches them, and he learns about them; and yet they remain strange to him as to the rest of the world. He is as though looking at a picture of which all the parts are distinct, and which he cannot put in place; they remain to him in a state of confusion and of chaos. We have just shown how in these cases the philosopher acts differently from all other men, and we have just spoken of the philosophy that comes into existence with such beings; the philosophy of the man who has passed the gates of the world in a dream, and who has come out like a man who has seen the day. He becomes as another man; he is no longer the same, and he can have no experience in common with those to whom the rest of the World appears to be in good order. The philosopher feels as though, to know any one thing at all, he must know everything; to see any one thing, he must see all; and, as confused as this scene of life might appear, he can not accept that it were but a chaos and fury of atoms, but matter: he can only admit it to his thoughts, as it were, as a labyrinth of things which he does not yet understand, of which he only has seen some portions. He cannot know what the whole is, he only knows what it is not. All that he is able to imagine is only that the universe is the result of an immense number of phenomena, the effect of a certain and unique cause, which could not be multiplied without a multiplication of effects, without a division of the whole.

On vient d’une île où toutes les étoiles sont en désordre; in this state of confusion and of chaos which are the result of the philosophy of the wise dreamer, there needs must appear to him a contrary state, another opposing order born out of a state of pure intuition, a complete act of Mind; the thought of some point of equilibrium in the universe which he cannot perceive, a point of rest and of peace between his questioning and its answer, which he cannot perceive. He then must be astonished at this state of rest, and must consider it as the Absolute, a supreme Idea, from which all others ideas spring, or rather as their cause; and he would imagine all this chaos to have been merely the result of the universal agitation of this supreme state of the Universe. We are quite mistaken in thinking that the philosopher makes a more exact use of thought and knowledge, and that he forms a more accurate and more certain judgement upon the Universe, than the rest of mankind. It is not at all that he forms any more just or sure judgment; no, on the contrary, in this thought which he has formed, in this idea which he has accepted, he finds something as it were a support and a comfort, a discovery of the Imaginative which is neither known to himself nor to any other being. But this highest idea is only an idea, not an object; it is the Idea, not a God; it is an abstraction, not the object which it contains. It is an idea without any existence. It is thus that we form ideas of the Supreme Being; but of this Being, we are not yet able to obtain an object to represent it. We can only say that the Supreme Being is infinite; that this thought which he has formed gives him a support and a consolation, but that it does not produce in him either knowledge or certitude.

We have spoken of philosophy as a force. Its force is that which raises ideas to a higher or lower level; its instrument is that which renders them more or less perfect. It has within it the power to add to and to diminish ideas; it is the organ, and even the instrument, of those ideas. It multiplies ideas. What is an idea? An idea is that which we form of a fact or of a phenomenon or a collection of facts; we make of them a whole and in this way, the whole becomes great, greater than the parts of which it was constituted. There is no great effect without an infinite number of causes. This multiplicity is a great force, it consists in multiplication of beings; it consists in the production of species. This idea may perhaps be a more certain thing than what has been found hitherto; this idea may perhaps give a certain security and consolation in our life, in its greatest dangers and distress. Let us then make the effort to think. Let us consider ourselves, let us consider the Infinite; let us find this point, let us find this centre of rest, let us find this point at which the various beings are restored, at which the order of the Universe is established and is stable and species are distinguished from their individuals. In this state of rest and order, let us fix our mind, let us put it in order as well; let us imagine that it, in its being, in its movement, is also in repose, in complete repose; let us contemplate the Infinite in this state of repose, let us take the whole as an image; the result of all the various representations which we have been able to form of the Universe; the result of all our experience and all our thought. And let us think that this being is also a being which is in repose, which is complete; which, by its will, has given its own impulse, which gives itself the power of continuing for ever; the power to continue and not to return into nothingness, to continue to make itself felt. In this state of repose of the Infinite, in this state of the repose which the Intellect enjoys and which it manifests, let us put in order our mind, let us arrange it,- let us bring it back to itself."[/i][/b]

[b]As the leech cureth the ulcer, so the priest cureth the soul.

We must all hang on the lamp-post of our life, but the wick eternal burns.

Man’s life consists not in the abundance of goods, but in distilling Good in himself till it rise from Earth an ether’ous vapour.

He never knows what he may lose who knows what he already possesses. He knows not how to bear the heat and burden of a crown, nor how the glory and pomp of an emperor is borne.

The poor man’s pottage is the only meat and drink that taste good; A man that eats the rest is stuffed with lead, that lets no Desire be his true salt.

A coward were a man of sense, that never fears but he will have his eyes open, and his teeth in his mouth, and stand upon his own defense.

A fool who does well may pay it back with a gift, but he who loved a fool less well can only pay him back with wit.

The tongue of the just waxes eloquent in a matter of judgment, but the lips of the wicked overflow with fumbling deceit.

The fool’s voice is a silken thread, but the wise man’s voice is a lion’s growl; the one dost bid us tread upon that the other prowls.

We judge others by ourselves, we judge ourselves by others.

A foolish man will boast of the multitude of his books, a dull fool of the multitude of his virtues.

As the wind, which neither enriches, nor impoverishes the soil, but bringeth seed to sit upon, so a word is not always either a windbag, or a puff, but that we test its fruition in ourselves.[/b]

For me, love is nothing more than friendship made sacred by time.