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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

 

Goethe Quotes 1 2

 

Difficulties increase the nearer we approach the goal.
One never goes further than when they do not know where they are going.
Their is nothing so terrible as activity without insight.
What by a straight path cannot be reached by crooked ways is never won.
The best government is that which teaches us to govern ourselves.
Progress has not followed a straight ascending line, but a spiral with rhythms of progress and retrogression, of evolution and dissolution.
The phrases that men hear or repeat continually, end by becoming convictions and ossify the organs of intelligence.
A person is never happy till their vague strivings has itself marked out its proper limitations.
Happiness is a ball after which we run wherever it rolls, and we push it with our feet when it stops.
The highest happiness of man is to have probed what is knowable and quietly to revere what is unknowable.
Hatred is active, and envy passive dislike; there is but one step from envy to hate.
Hatred is something peculiar. You will always find it strongest and most violent where there is the lowest degree of culture.
Take care of your body with steadfast fidelity. The soul must see through these eyes alone, and if they are dim, the whole world is clouded.
One that does not think to highly of himself is more than he thinks.
Everywhere, we learn only from those whom we love.
In the end we retain from our studies only that which we practically apply.
I've studied now Philosophy and Jurisprudence, Medicine -- and even, alas! Theology -- from end to end with labor keen; and here, poor fool with all my lore I stand, no wiser than before.
No one as ever completed their apprenticeship.
The history of mankind is his character.
Be he a king or a peasant, he is happiest who finds peace at home.
He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
Where is the man who has the strength to be true, and to show himself as he is?
In all things it is better to hope than to despair.
Those who hope for no other life are dead even for this.
Man... knows only when he is satisfied and when he suffers, and only his sufferings and his satisfactions instruct him concerning himself, teach him what to seek and what to avoid. For the rest, man is a confused creature; he knows not whence he comes or whither he goes, he knows little of the world, and above all, he knows little of himself.
Objects in pictures should so be arranged as by their very position to tell their own story.
Napoleon affords us an example of the danger of elevating one's self to the absolute, and sacrificing everything to the carrying out of an idea.
Traveling is like gambling: it is always connected with winning and losing, and generally where it is least expected we receive, more or less than what we hoped for.
Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.
Whenever I hear people talking about liberal ideas, I am always astounded that men should love to fool themselves with empty sounds. An idea should never be liberal; it must be vigorous, positive, and without loose ends so that it may fulfill its divine mission and be productive. The proper place for liberality is in the realm of the emotions.
Girls we love for what they are; men for what they promise to be.
If the mass of people hesitate to act, strike with swiftly and with boldness, the brave heart that understands and seizes opportunity can everything.
There is nothing more frightful than imagination without taste.
Clever people are always the best conversations lexicon.
The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.
A judge who cannot punish, in the end associates themselves with the criminal.
Every offense is avenged on earth.
Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together.
Never by reflection, but only by doing is self-knowledge possible to one.
The greater the knowledge, the greater the doubt.
What is not fully understood is not possessed.
Those who know nothing of foreign languages, knows nothing of their own.
Nothing shows a man's character more than what he laughs at.''
Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them.
There is nothing in the world more shameful than establishing one's self on lies and fables.
Life is the childhood of our immortality.
Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.
There are nine requisites for contented living: HEALTH enough to make work a pleasure; WEALTH enough to support your needs; STRENGTH enough to battle with difficulties and forsake them; GRACE enough to confess your sins and overcome them; PATIENCE enough to toil until some good is accomplished; CHARITY enough to see some good in your neighbor; LOVE enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others; FAITH enough to make real the things of God; HOPE enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.
What is important in life is life, and not the result of life.
A person hears only what they understand.
People should talk less and draw more. Personally, I would like to renounce speech altogether and, like organic nature, communicate everything I have to say visually.
The decline in literature indicates a decline in the nation. The two keep pace in their downward tendency.
If I love you, what business is it of yours?
Love is an ideal thing, marriage a real thing; a confusion of the real with the ideal never goes unpunished.
That is the true season of love; when we believe that we alone can love, that no one could ever have loved as much before, and that no one will ever love in the same way again.
We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.
If each one does their duty as an individual and if each one works in their own proper vocation, it will be right with the whole.
When a wife has a good husband it is easily seen in her face.
We are the slaves of objects around us, and appear little or important according as these contract or give us room to expand.
The world is for thousands a freak show; the images flicker past and vanish; the impressions remain flat and unconnected in the soul. Thus they are easily led by the opinions of others, are content to let their impressions be shuffled and rearranged and evaluated differently.
In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.
Nature goes her own way and all that to us seems an exception is really according to order.
Nature understands no jesting. She is always true, always serious, always severe. She is always right, and the errors are always those of man.
The unnatural, that too is natural.
The right man is the one that seizes the moment.
Our passion are the true phoenixes; when the old one is burnt out, a new one rises from its ashes.
Passions are vices or virtues to their highest powers.
If you treat an individual... as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.
Superstition is the poetry of life.
The little man is still a man.
The human mind will not be confined to any limits.
We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.
In politics, as on the sickbed, people toss from side to side, thinking they will be more comfortable.
Out of moderation a pure happiness springs.
Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it, and others do just the same with their time.
Instruction does much, but encouragement does everything.
It is in human nature to relax, when not compelled by personal advantage or disadvantage.
Who is sure of their own motives can in confidence advance or retreat.
The effects of good music are not just because it's new; on the contrary music strikes us more the more familiar we are with it.
The little that is completed, vanishes from the sight of one who looks forward to what is still to do.
Nothing is worth more than this day. You cannot relive yesterday. Tomorrow is still beyond your reach
Since Time is not a person we can overtake when he is gone, let us honor him with mirth and cheerfulness of heart while he is passing.
We usually lose today, because there has been a yesterday, and tomorrow is coming.
What is not started today is never finished tomorrow.
Reason can never be popular. Passions and feelings may become popular, but reason will always remain the sole property of a few eminent individuals.
If a man or woman is born ten years sooner or later, their whole aspect and performance shall be different.
To hard necessity ones will and fancy must conform.
No two men see the world exactly alike, and different temperaments will apply in different ways a principle that they both acknowledge. The same man will, indeed, often see and judge the same things differently on different occasions: early convictions must give way to more mature ones. Nevertheless, may not the opinions that a man holds and expresses withstand all trials, if he only remains true to himself and others?
The most original of authors are not so because they advance what is new, but more because they know how to say something, as if it had never been said before.
There is no past that we can bring back by longing for it. There is only an eternally new now that builds and creates itself out of the Best as the past withdraws.
Austere perseverance, hash and continuous... rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistible greater with time.
We can always redeem the man who aspires and strives.
Oral delivery aims at persuasion and making the listener believe they are converted. Few persons are capable of being convinced; the majority allow themselves to be persuaded.
People have a peculiar pleasure in making converts, that is, in causing others to enjoy what they enjoy, thus finding their own likeness represented and reflected back to them.
Secrecy has many advantages, for when you tell someone the purpose of any object right away, they often think there is nothing to it.
To make converts is the natural ambition of everyone.
The philosopher must station themselves in the middle.
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.
I don't know a greater advantage, than to appreciate the worth of an enemy.
The people rate strength before everything.
Seldom in the business and transactions of ordinary life, do we find the sympathy we want.
Every man has enough power left to carry out that of which he is convinced.
Napoleon for the sake of a good name broke in pieces half the world.
He who has a task to perform must know how to take sides, or he is quite unworthy of it.
Upon the creatures we have made, we are, ourselves, at last, dependent.
Everything in the world may be endured except continual prosperity.
A collections of anecdotes and maxims is the greatest of treasures for the man of the world, for he knows how to intersperse conversation with the former in fit places, and to recollect the latter on proper occasions.
Deeply earnest and thoughtful people stand on shaky footing with the public.
A purpose you impart is no longer your own.
Be above it! Make the world serve your purpose, but do not serve it.
Every person above the ordinary has a certain mission that they are called to fulfill.
To the person with a firm purpose all men and things are servants.
What is my life if I am no longer useful to others.
If you want a wise answer, ask a reasonable question.
Anecdotes and maxims are rich treasures to the man of the world, for he knows how to introduce the former at fit place in conversation.
Everything has been thought of before, but the problem is to think of it again.
People do not mind their faults being spread out before them, but they become impatient if called on to give them up.
By seeking and blundering we learn.
A person can stand almost anything except a succession of ordinary days.
People may live as much retired from the world as they like, but sooner or later they find themselves debtor or creditor to some one.
A great revolution is never the fault of the people, but of the government.
We can offer up much in the large, but to make sacrifices in little things is what we are seldom equal to.
A great scholar is seldom a great philosopher.
Science has been seriously retarded by the study of what is not worth knowing and of what is not knowable.
The credit of advancing science has always been due to individuals and never to the age.
Whether a person shows themselves to be a genius in science or in writing a song, the only point is, whether the thought, the discovery, or the deed, is living and can live on.
Whoever wishes to keep a secret must hide the fact that he possesses one.
No one has ever learned fully to know themselves.
A person places themselves on a level with the ones they praise.
Trust yourself, then you will know how to live.
Know thyself? If I knew myself I would run away.
Self-knowledge comes from knowing other men.
Self-love exaggerates our faults as well as our virtues.
Taste is only to be educated by contemplation, not of the tolerably good but of the truly excellent. I therefore show you only the best works; and when you are grounded in these, you will have a standard for the rest, which you will know how to value, without overrating them.
The senses do not deceive us, but the judgment does.
Nothing is true, but that which is simple.
There is repetition everywhere, and nothing is found only once in the world.
To understand one thing well is better than understanding many things by halves.
I do not speak of what I cannot praise.
It is delivery that makes the orators success.
Stupidity is without anxiety.
On the pinnacle of success man does not stand firm long.
A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.
Talent develops in quiet places, character in the full current of human life.
What chance gathers she easily scatters. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.
All truly wise thoughts have been thoughts already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.
Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.
Thought expands, but paralyzes; action animates, but narrows.
Nothing is to be rated higher than the value of the day.
One always has time enough, if one will apply it well.
We always have time enough, if we will but use it aright.
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it.
So long as you live and work, you will be misunderstood; to that you must resign yourself once and for all. Be silent!
The man of understanding finds everything laughable.
To know someone here or there with whom you can feel there is understanding in spite of distances or thoughts expressed -- That can make life a garden.
Whatever you cannot understand, you cannot possess.
Some of our weakness is born in us, some of it comes through education; it is a big question as to which gives us the most trouble.
No one should be rich except those who understand it.
The wealth that cannot be administered is a burden.
Those that are firm in their will mold the world to themselves.
This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew.
Who is the wisest man? He who neither knows or wishes for anything else than what happens.
Wisdom is found only in truth.
We are never further from what we wish than when we believe that we have what we wished for.
The Woman-Soul leadeth us upward and on!
Be generous with kindly words, especially about those who are absent.
Every spoken word arouses our self-will.
When ideas fail, words come in very handy.
The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone who thinks and feels with us, and who, though distant is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.
The world remains ever the same.
Every author in some degree portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.
He who does not expect a million readers should not write a line.
If any man wishes to write a clear style, let him first be clear in his thoughts.
Great endowments often announce themselves in youth in the form of singularity and awkwardness.
Death is Nature's expert advice to get plenty of Life.
I love those who yearn for the impossible.
If I love you, what business is it of yours?
To be loved for what one is, is the greatest exception. The great majority love in others only what they lend him, their own selves, their version of him.
The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth.
We are shaped and fashioned by what we love
The coward threatens when he is safe.
All theory, dear friend, is gray, but the golden tree of life springs ever green.
One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words.
Wisdom is only found in truth.
This is the highest wisdom that I own; freedom and life are earned by those alone who conquer them each day anew.
All truly wise thoughts have been thought already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, till they take root in our personal experience.
Nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action.
Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago.
Mysteries are not necessarily miracles.

 



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