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A cucumber is bitter? Throw it away. There are briars in the road? Turn aside from them. This is enough. Do not add, “Why were such things made in the world?”
Happiness is no other than soundness and perfection of the mind.
We are free only so far as we are not dupes of ourselves, our pretexts, our instincts, our temperament. We are freed by energy and the critical spirit — that is to say, by detachment of soul, by self-government. So that we are enslaved, but susceptible of freedom; we are bound, but capable of shaking off our bonds.
He who floats with the current, who does not guide himself according to higher principles, who has no ideal, no convictions — such a man is… a thing moved, instead of a living and moving being — an echo, not a voice. The man who has no inner life is a slave of his surroundings, as the barometer is the obedient servant of the air.
Do you wish to be praised by a man who curses himself three times an hour? Do you wish to please a man who cannot please himself?
Things stand outside us, themselves by themselves, neither knowing anything of themselves, nor expressing any judgment. What is it, then, which makes judgement about them? Your ruling faculty.
As the great ocean has only one taste, the taste of salt, so my doctrine has only one flavor, the flavor of emancipation.
The slanderer is like one who flings dust at another when the wind is contrary; the dust does but return on him who threw it. The virtuous man cannot be hurt and the misery that the other would inflict comes back on himself.
Let no man think lightly of good, saying in his heart, “It will not benefit me.” As by the falling of raindrops a jar of water is filled, so the wise man becomes full of good, even though he collects it little by little.
We are enslaved by the laws we set up for our protection, which have become our oppression.
Human life changes not from the alteration of external forms, but only from the internal work of each man upon himself.
Even the strongest current of water cannot add a drop to a cup which is already full.
The true critic strives for a clear vision of things as they are… his effort is to get free from himself, so that he may in no way distort that which he wishes to understand or reproduce. His superiority to the common herd lies in this effort… He distrusts his own senses, he sifts his own impressions, by returning upon them from different sides and at different times, by comparing, moderating, shading, distinguishing, and so endeavouring to approach more and more nearly to the formula which represents the maximum of truth.
The individual fears ridicule above all things, and ridicule is the certain result of originality. No one, therefore, wishes to make a party of his own; everyone wishes to be on the side of all the world.
The man who has no refuge in himself, who lives, so to speak, in his front rooms, in the outer whirlwind of things and opinions, is not properly speaking a personality at all; he is not distinct, free, original, a cause — in a word, someone. He is one of the crowd, a taxpayer, an elector, an anonymity, but not a man.
Liberty in submission: what a problem! And yet that is what we must always come back to.
What is your aim? To be good? And how is this accomplished except by general principles, some about the nature of the universe, and others about the proper constitution of man.
To be upset at anything which happens to us is a separation of ourselves from nature.
You who suffer from the tribulations of life, you who have to struggle and endure, you who yearn for a life of truth, rejoice at the glad tidings! There is balm for the wounded, and there is bread for the hungry. There is water for the thirsty, and there is hope for the despairing. There is light for those in darkness, and there is inexhaustible blessing for the upright.
The world is built for the truth, but false combinations of thought misrepresent the true state of things and bring forth errors. Errors can be fashioned as it pleases those who cherish them, therefore they are pleasant to look upon, but they are unstable and contain the seeds of dissolution. Truth cannot be fashioned… Truth is the essence of life… Happy are those who walk in it.