SHAFTESBURY, Anthony Ashley Cooper Quotes
3d Earl (1671-1713), English philosopher
Giving advice is sometimes only showing our wisdom at the expense of another.
The most natural beauty in the world is honesty and moral truth.—For all beauty is truth.—True features make the beauty of the face; true proportions, the beauty of architecture; true measures, the beauty of harmony and music.
Never did any soul do good, but it came readier to do the same again, with more enjoyment. Never was love, or gratitude, or bounty practised, but with increasing joy, which made the practiser still more in love with the fair act.
True courage is cool and calm.—The bravest of men have the least of a brutal, bullying insolence, and in the very time of danger are found the most serene and free.
Of all the adult male criminals in London, not two in a hundred have entered upon a course of crime who have lived an honest life up to the age of twenty.—Almost all who enter on a course of crime do so between the ages of eight and sixteen.
The greatest of fools is he who imposes on himself, and thinks certainly he knows that which he has least studied, and of which he is most profoundly ignorant.
The taste of beauty, and the relish of what is decent, just, and amiable, perfect the character of the gentleman and the philosopher. And the study of such a taste or relish will be ever the great employment and concern of him who covets as well to be wise and good as agreeable and polite.
Never did any soul do good, but it came readier to do the same again, with more enjoyment. Never was love, or gratitude, or bounty practised but with increasing joy, which made the practiser still more in love with the fair act.
To love the public, to study universal good, and to promote the interest of the whole world, as far as it lies in our power, is the height of goodness, and makes that temper which we call divine.
Gravity is the very essence of imposture; it not only mistakes other things, but is apt perpetually to mistake itself.
A grain of honesty and native worth is of more value than all the adventitious ornaments, estates, or preferments, for the sake of which some of the better sort so oft turn knaves.
It was the saying of an ancient sage that humor was the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor.
Reason and virtue alone can bestow liberty.
As a malicious censure, carefully worded and pronounced with assurance, is apt to pass with mankind for shrewd wit, so a virulent maxim in bold expressions, though without any justness of thought, is readily received for true philosophy.
In nature, all is managed for the best with perfect frugality and just reserve, profuse to none, but bountiful to all; never employing on one thing more than enough, but with exact economy retrenching the superfluous, and adding force to what is principal in everything.
A man is by nothing so much himself, as by his temper and the character of his passions and affections. If he loses what is manly and worthy in these, he is as much lost to himself, as when he loses his memory and understanding.
Pedantry and bigotry are millstones, able to sink the best book which carries the least part of their dead weight. The temper of the pedagogue suits not with the age; and the world, however it may be taught, will not be tutored.
To philosophize in a just sense, is but to carry good breeding a step higher. For the accomplishment of breeding is, to learn what is decent in company or beautiful in arts; and the sum of philosophy is to learn what is just in society, and beautiful in nature and the order of the world.
It is not a head merely, but a heart and resolution, which complete the real philosopher.
Pleasure and pain, beauty and deformity, good and ill, seemed to me everywhere interwoven; and one with another made a pretty mixture, agreeable enough in the main. 'Twas the same, I fancied, as in some of those rich stuffs where the flowers and ground were oddly put together, with such irregular work and contrary colors, as looked ill in the pattern, but natural and well in the piece.
In poetry, which is all fable, truth still is the perfection.
Prejudice is a mist, which in our journey through the world often dims the brightest and obscures the best of all the good and glorious objects that meet us on our way.
It was the saying of an ancient sage that humor was the only test of gravity, and gravity of humor; for a subject that would not bear raillery was suspicious, and a jest that would not bear a serious examination was certainly false wit.
The greatest of fools is he who imposes on himself, and in his greatest concerns thinks he knows that which he has least studied, and of which he is profoundly ignorant.
Through certain humors or passions, and from temper merely, a man may be completely miserable, let his outward circumstances be ever so fortunate.
Temper, if ungoverned, governs the whole man.
It is the hardest thing in the world to be a good thinker without being a good self-examiner.
The most natural beauty in the world is honesty and moral truth; for all beauty is truth. True features make the beauty of a face; and true proportions the beauty of architecture; as true measures that of harmony and music. In poetry, which is all fable, truth still is the perfection.
Truth is the most powerful thing in the world, since even fiction itself must be governed by it, and can only please by its resemblance.
It is the same with understanding as with eyes; to a certain size and make just so much light is necessary, and no more. Whatever is beyond, brings darkness and confusion.
I would be virtuous for my own sake, though nobody were to know it; as I would be clean for my own sake, though nobody were to see me.