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Georg C. Lichtenberg quotes (75)

A book is a mirror: if an ape looks into it an apostle is hardly likely to look out.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

A handful of soldiers is always better than a mouthful of arguments.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

A person reveals his character by nothing so clearly as the joke he resents.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Actual aristocracy cannot be abolished by any law: all the law can do is decree how it is to be imparted and who is to acquire it.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Be wary of passing the judgment: obscure. To find something obscure poses no difficult, elephants and poodles find many things obscure.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Delight at having understood a very abstract and obscure system leads most people to believe in the truth of what it demonstrates.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Doubt must be no more than vigilance, otherwise it can become dangerous.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Erudition can produce foliage without bearing fruit.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Even truth needs to be clad in new garments if it is to appeal to a new age.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Every man has his moral backside which he refrains from showing unless he has to and keeps covered as long as possible with the trousers of decorum.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Everyone is a genius at least once a year. The real geniuses simply have their bright ideas closer together.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category: Intelligence

God created man in His own image, says the Bible; philosophers reverse the process: they create God in theirs.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

He who is in love with himself has at least this advantage - he won't encounter many rivals.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

He who says he hates every kind of flattery, and says it in earnest, certainly does not yet know every kind of flattery.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Here take back the stuff that I am, nature, knead it back into the dough of being, make of me a bush, a cloud, whatever you will, even a man, only no longer make me me.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

I am convinced we do not only love ourselves in others but hate ourselves in others too.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

I believe that man is in the last resort so free a being that his right to be what he believes himself to be cannot be contested.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is they must change if they are to get better.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

If all else fails, the character of a man can be recognized by nothing so surely as by a jest which he takes badly.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

If people should ever start to do only what is necessary millions would die of hunger.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

If the little bit you have is nothing special in itself, at least find a way of saying it that is a little bit special.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

If you are going to build something in the air it is always better to build castles than houses of cards.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

It is a question whether, when we break a murderer on the wheel, we do not fall into the error a child makes when it hits the chair it has bumped into.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

It is almost everywhere the case that soon after it is begotten the greater part of human wisdom is laid to rest in repositories.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

It is in the gift for employing all the vicissitudes of life to one's own advantage and to that of one's craft that a large part of genius consists.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Just as the performance of the vilest and most wicked deeds requires spirit and talent, so even the greatest demand a certain insensitivity which under other circumstances we would call stupidity.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Just as we outgrow a pair of trousers, we outgrow acquaintances, libraries, principles, etc., at times before they're worn out and times - and this is the worst of all - before we have new ones.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Man is a masterpiece of creation if for no other reason than that, all the weight of evidence for determinism notwithstanding, he believes he has free will.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Man is to be found in reason, God in the passions.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Man loves company - even if it is only that of a small burning candle.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Many things about our bodies would not seem to us so filthy and obscene if we did not have the idea of nobility in our heads.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Men still have to be governed by deception.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Much can be inferred about a man from his mistress: in her one beholds his weaknesses and his dreams.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Never undertake anything for which you wouldn't have the courage to ask the blessings of heaven.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Nothing can contribute more to peace of soul than the lack of any opinion whatever.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinion at all.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Nothing makes one old so quickly as the ever-present thought that one is growing older.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Nowadays three witty turns of phrase and a lie make a writer.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Once we know our weaknesses they cease to do us any harm.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

One might call habit a moral friction: something that prevents the mind from gliding over things but connects it with them and makes it hard for it to free itself from them.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

One must judge men not by their opinions, but by what their opinions have made of them.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Perhaps in time the so-called Dark Ages will be thought of as including our own.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category: Society

Prejudices are so to speak the mechanical instincts of men: through their prejudices they do without any effort many things they would find too difficult to think through to the point of resolving to do them.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Sickness is mankind's greatest defect.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

That man is the noblest creature may also be inferred from the fact that no other creature has yet contested this claim.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

The American who first discovered Columbus made a bad discovery.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

The fly that doesn't want to be swatted is most secure when it lights on the fly-swatter.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

The Greeks possessed a knowledge of human nature we seem hardly able to attain to without passing through the strengthening hibernation of a new barbarism.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

The human tendency to regard little things as important has produced very many great things.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

The most dangerous untruths are truths slightly distorted.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

The most perfect ape cannot draw an ape; only man can do that; but, likewise, only man regards the ability to do this as a sign of superiority.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

The noble simplicity in the works of nature only too often originates in the noble shortsightedness of him who observes it.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

The pleasures of the imagination are as it were only drawings and models which are played with by poor people who cannot afford the real thing.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

The sure conviction that we could if we wanted to is the reason so many good minds are idle.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

There are people who possess not so much genius as a certain talent for perceiving the desires of the century, or even of the decade, before it has done so itself.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

There are very many people who read simply to prevent themselves from thinking.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

There exists a species of transcendental ventriloquism by means of which men can be made to believe that something said on earth comes from Heaven.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

There is no greater impediment to progress in the sciences than the desire to see it take place too quickly.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

To be content with life or to live merrily, rather all that is required is that we bestow on all things only a fleeting, superficial glance; the more thoughtful we become the more earnest we grow.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

To do the opposite of something is also a form of imitation, namely an imitation of its opposite.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

To err is human also in so far as animals seldom or never err, or at least only the cleverest of them do so.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

To grow wiser means to learn to know better and better the faults to which this instrument with which we feel and judge can be subject.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

To receive applause for works which do not demand all our powers hinders our advance towards a perfecting of our spirit. It usually means that thereafter we stand still.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

Virtue by premeditation isn't worth much.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

We accumulate our opinions at an age when our understanding is at its weakest.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

We are obliged to regard many of our original minds as crazy at least until we have become as clever as they are.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

We cannot remember too often that when we observe nature, and especially the ordering of nature, it is always ourselves alone we are observing.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

We have no words for speaking of wisdom to the stupid. He who understands the wise is wise already.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

We say that someone occupies an official position, whereas it is the official position that occupies him.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category:

What is called an acute knowledge of human nature is mostly nothing but the observer's own weaknesses reflected back from others.
Georg C. Lichtenberg   Category: