Quotations about   emotion

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What a strange machine man is! You fill him with bread, wine, fish, and radishes, and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams.

Nikos Kazantzakis (1883-1957) Greek writer and philosopher
Zorba the Greek, ch. 23 (1946)
Added on 9-Nov-20 | Last updated 9-Nov-20
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Newton and Descartes started to try and prove that God existed in the same way as they would try and prove something in the laboratory or with their mathematics … And when you try and mix science and religion you get bad science and bad religion. The two are doing two different things. … Science can give you a diagnosis of cancer. It can even cure your disease, but it cannot touch your grief and disappointment, nor can it help you to die well.

Karen Armstrong (b. 1944) British author, comparative religion scholar
“The Reason of Faith,” Interview with Michael Brunton, Ode (Sep-Oct 2009)
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Added on 26-Oct-20 | Last updated 26-Oct-20
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A woman should never take a lover without the consent of her heart; nor a husband without the concurrence of her reason.

Anne "Ninon" de l'Enclos (1620-1705) French author, courtesan, patron of the arts [Ninon de Lenclos, Ninon de Lanclos]
The Memoirs of Ninon de L’Enclos, Vol. 1, “Life and Character” (1761)
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Added on 18-Aug-20 | Last updated 18-Aug-20
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NEMO: What you fail to understand is the power of hate. It can fill the heart as surely as love can.

Earl Felton (1909-1972) American screenwriter
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, screenplay (1954) [with Richard Fleischer]
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Explaining his campaign on wagers of war. Based on the novel by Jules Verne (1870). The words are not in the novel.
Added on 29-Jun-20 | Last updated 29-Jun-20
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Political campaigns tend to be exercises in progressive degeneration. The steady increase, week after week, in excitement and strain and weariness produces an oversimplification of issues, an over dramatization of alternatives, a growing susceptibility to extreme and catastrophic statements. Candidates find themselves shouting things in the fall that they would never dream of whispering in the summer.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917-2007) American historian, author, social critic
The Age of Roosevelt, ch. 33, sec. 8 (1960)
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Added on 30-Apr-20 | Last updated 30-Apr-20
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One must not always think that feeling is everything. Art is nothing without form.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) French writer, novelist
Letter to Louise Colet (12 Aug 1846)
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Added on 19-Mar-20 | Last updated 19-Mar-20
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Never apologize for showing feeling, my friend. Remember that when you do so, you apologize for truth.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) English politician and author
Contarini Fleming, ch. 13 (1832)
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Added on 16-Apr-19 | Last updated 16-Apr-19
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We have all heard enough to fill a book about Dr. Johnson’s incivilities. I wish they would compile another book consisting of Dr. Johnson’s apologies. There is no better test of a man’s ultimate chivalry and integrity than how he behaves when he is wrong; and Johnson behaved very well. He understood (what so many faultlessly polite people do not understand) that a stiff apology is a second insult. He understood that the injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) English journalist and writer
“The Real Dr. Johnson,” The Common Man (1950)
Added on 6-Mar-19 | Last updated 6-Mar-19
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Prejudices are what fools use for reason.

voltaire-prejudices-fool-reason-wist_info

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
(Attributed)
Added on 6-Dec-16 | Last updated 6-Dec-16
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If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married’’, then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships?

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity, “Christian Marriage” (1952)
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What we call ‘being in love’ is a glorious state, and, in several ways, good for us. It helps to make us generous and courageous, it opens our eyes not only to the beauty of the beloved but to all beauty, and it sub-ordinates (especially at first) our merely animal sexuality; in that sense, love is the great conqueror of lust. No one in his senses would deny that being in love is far better than either common sensuality or cold self-centredness.

But, as I said before, ‘the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of our own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs’. Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called ‘being in love’ usually does not last.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity, Book 3, ch. 6 “Christian Marriage” (1952)
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Added on 4-Oct-16 | Last updated 4-Oct-16
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Hearts can break. Yes. Hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don’t.

Stephen King (b. 1947) American author
Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
Added on 21-Sep-16 | Last updated 21-Sep-16
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Our Passions, Ambition, Avarice, Love, Resentment &c possess so much metaphysical Subtilty and so much overpowering Eloquence, that they insinuate themselves into the Understanding and the Conscience and convert both to their Party. And I may be deceived as much as any of them, when I Say, that Power must never be trusted without a Check.

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Thomas Jefferson (2 Feb 1816)
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Added on 3-Aug-16 | Last updated 3-Aug-16
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Reason! reason! … As much as you like; but beware of thinking that it answers to everything, suffices for everything, satisfies everything. This mother loses her child: will reason comfort her? Does cool reason counsel the inspired poet, the heroic warrior, the lover? Reason guides but a small part of man, and that the least interesting. The rest obeys feeling, true or false, and passion, good or bad.

Joseph Roux (1834-1886) French Catholic priest
Meditations of a Parish Priest: Thoughts, ch. 4, #95 (1886)
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Added on 25-Apr-16 | Last updated 25-Apr-16
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I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
Free Inquiry (Spring 1982)
Added on 12-Apr-16 | Last updated 12-Apr-16
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Emotion, whether of ridicule, anger, or sorrow, — whether raised at a puppet show, a funeral, or a battle, — is your grandest of levelers. The man who would be always superior should be always apathetic.

Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) English novelist and politician
Devereux, Book 2, ch. 1 (1829)
Added on 22-Mar-16 | Last updated 18-Mar-16
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Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives, and we obey them without realizing it.

Van Gogh - emotions - wist_info

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) Dutch painter
Letter to Theo Van Gogh (Jul 1889)
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Added on 10-Nov-15 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
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He failed to realized that the public is bored by foreign affairs until a crisis arises; and that then it is guided by feelings rather than thoughts.

Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) English diplomat, author, diarist, politician
The Evolution of Diplomacy, 4.3 (1954)
Added on 13-Oct-15 | Last updated 13-Oct-15
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Endow the Living — with the Tears —
You squander on the Dead.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American poet
“Endow the Living — with the Tears –” (1862)
Added on 12-Oct-15 | Last updated 12-Oct-15
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Between grief and nothing I will take grief.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
The Wild Palms (1939)
Added on 5-Oct-15 | Last updated 5-Oct-15
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The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason.
The passionless cannot change history.

Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004) Polish-Lithuanian poet, essayist, diplomat
“The Child of Europe” (1946)
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Added on 16-Sep-15 | Last updated 16-Sep-15
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Reasoning will never make a man correct an ill opinion, which by reasoning he never acquired.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Letter to a Young Clergyman” (9 Jan 1720)
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Added on 20-Aug-15 | Last updated 20-Aug-15
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In short, we can judge by nothing but Appearances, and they are very apt to deceive us. Some put on a gay chearful Outside, and appear to the World perfectly at Ease, tho’ even then, some inward Sting, some secret Pain imbitters all their Joys, and makes the Balance even: Others appear continually dejected and full of Sorrow; but even Grief itself is sometimes pleasant, and Tears are not always without their Sweetness: Besides, Some take a Satisfaction in being thought unhappy, (as others take a Pride in being thought humble,) these will paint their Misfortunes to others in the strongest Colours, and leave no Means unus’d to make you think them thoroughly miserable; so great a Pleasure it is to them to be pitied; Others retain the Form and outside Shew of Sorrow, long after the Thing itself, with its Cause, is remov’d from the Mind; it is a Habit they have acquir’d and cannot leave.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
“A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity” (1725)
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Added on 11-Aug-15 | Last updated 11-Aug-15
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Nothing for preserving the body like having no heart.

Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn (1792-1870) French-Swiss poet
(Attributed)
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Added on 16-Jul-15 | Last updated 16-Jul-15
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The man who has no tincture of philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which have grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent of his deliberate reason.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
The Problems of Philosophy, ch. 15 “The Value of Philosophy” (1912)
Added on 19-Jun-15 | Last updated 19-Jun-15
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The ruling passion, be it what it will,
The ruling passion conquers reason still.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Moral Essays 3.153 (1731-1735)
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That thro certain Humours or Passions, and from Temper merely, a Man may be completely miserable; let his outward Circumstances be ever so fortunate.

Anthony Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1713) English politician and philosopher
“An Inquiry Concerning Virtue, or Merit”
Added on 28-Nov-14 | Last updated 28-Nov-14
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Happiness is not an ideal of reason but of imagination.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) German philosopher
Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals [Grundlegung zur Metaphysik der Sitten] (1785)
Added on 9-Jan-14 | Last updated 25-Sep-15
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All this was inspired by the principle —  which is quite true in itself — that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods.

Adolph Hitler (1889-1945) German leader
Mein Kampf [My Struggle], Vol. 1, ch. 10 (1925)
Added on 10-Nov-10 | Last updated 13-Oct-20
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The more important the emotion is, the fewer words required to express it:
Will you go out with me?
I think I like you.
I care for you.
I love you.
Marry me.
Goodbye.

J. Michael (Joe) Straczynski (b. 1954) American screenwriter, producer, author [a/k/a "JMS"]
rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated, “A Quote by JMS” (31 Jan 2008)
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Straczynski is quoting something he'd previously written on the death of Andreas Katsulas (Feb 2006). A variant of the quote can be found as a sig line at least as far back as Sep 2007:

I had this theory that the more important and intimate the emotion, the fewer words are required to express it.

First it's in dating: "Will you go out with me?" Six words.
"Honey, I care for you." Five words.
"You matter to me." Four words.
"I love you." Three words.
"Marry me." Two words.

But what's left? What's the one most important and intimate word you can ever say to somebody?

It's "goodbye."
Added on 12-Feb-10 | Last updated 17-Jul-20
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We are constantly railing against the passions; we ascribe to them all of man’s afflictions, and we forget that they are also the source of all his pleasures.

Denis Diderot (1713-1784) French editor, philosopher
Pensées Philosophiques [Philosophical Thoughts] (1746)

Alt. trans.: "One declaims endlessly against the passions; one imputes all of man's suffering to them. One forgets that they are also the source of all his pleasures."
Added on 9-Oct-08 | Last updated 2-Aug-16
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Once you touch the biographies of human beings, the notion that political beliefs are logically determined collapses like a pricked balloon.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
A Preface to Morals (1913)
Added on 1-Apr-08 | Last updated 6-Oct-20
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We live in deeds, not years:
In thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs.
He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.

Philip James Bailey (1816-1902) English poet
Festus, Sc. 5 “A Country Town” (1839)

Often misattributed to Aristotle.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 18-Sep-19
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I stir in it for the sad reason that no other mortal will move, and if I do not, why, it is left undone. The amount of it, be sure, is merely a Scream; but sometimes a scream is better than a thesis.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (1838)

Referring to his attempts to stop the US Government's forced expulsion of the Cherokee from their land.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Oct-16
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Keep me from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh, and the greatness which does not bow before children.

Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931) Lebanese-American poet, writer, painter [Gibran Khalil Gibran]
Mirrors of the Soul (1965)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 18-Oct-16
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