Quotations about   openness

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At some point I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth. If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves with all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and as artist, we have to know all we can abou each other, and we have to be willing to go naked.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
Journal of a Solitary, “January 5th” (1973)
Added on 16-Nov-21 | Last updated 16-Nov-21
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Candor is always a double-edged sword; it may heal or it may separate.

Wilhelm Stekel (1868-1940) Austrian physician, psychologist
Marriage at the Crossroads (1931)
Added on 4-Nov-20 | Last updated 4-Nov-20
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For virtue, not secrecy, is sought by good men.

[Honesta enim bonis viris, non occulta quaeruntur.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 3, ch. 9 / sec. 38 (44 BC) [tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Original Latin. Alt. trans.:
  • "For good men desire to be virtuous and honest, and not to be secret, that so they may sin without danger." [tr. Cockman (1699)]
  • "What is honorable, and not what is concealed, is the object of pursuit with wise men." [tr. McCartney (1798)]
  • "For it is right things, not hidden things, that are sought by good men." [tr. Peabody (1883)]
  • "For good men aim to secure not secrecy but the right." [tr. Miller (1913)]
  • "Honorable things, not secretive things, are sought by good men."
Added on 2-Nov-20 | Last updated 4-Jan-21
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In meditation we should not look for a “method” or “system,” but cultivate an “attitude,” and “outlook”: faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, supplication, trust, and joy.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) French-American religious and writer [a.k.a. Fr. M. Louis]
Contemplative Prayer (1973)
Added on 5-Sep-19 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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If someone knows of a problem and conceals it from me, I get more upset from that than from the problem itself. I tell our people time and time again: Bad news first.

Donald Regan (1918-2003) American financier, government executive
In Bernard Weintraub, “How Donald Regan Runs the White House,” New York Times Magazine (5 Jan 1986)
Added on 7-Mar-16 | Last updated 7-Mar-16
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Let’s work hard at being real. This means we are free to question, to admit failure or weakness, to confess wrong, to declare the truth. When a person is authentic, he or she does not have to win or always be in the top ten or make a big impression or look super-duper pious. […] Authentic people usually enjoy life more than most. They don’t take
themselves so seriously. They actually laugh and cry and think more freely because they have nothing to prove — no big image to protect, no role to play. They have no fear of being found out, because they’re not hiding anything.

Charles Rozell "Chuck" Swindoll (b. 1934) American evangelist, author, educator
Strengthening Your Grip, “On Priorities” (1982)
Added on 31-Oct-14 | Last updated 31-Oct-14
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No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, American Newspaper Publishers Association (27 Apr 1961)
Added on 25-Aug-14 | Last updated 25-Aug-14
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It seems to me what is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to new ideas. Obviously those two modes of thought are in some tension. But if you are able to exercise only one of these modes, whichever one it is, you’re in deep trouble.

If you are only skeptical, then no new ideas make it through to you. You never learn anything new. You become a crotchety old person convinced that nonsense is ruling the world. (There is, of course, much data to support you.) But every now and then, maybe once in a hundred cases, a new idea turns out to be on the mark, valid and wonderful. If you are too much in the habit of being skeptical about everything, you are going to miss or resent it, and either way you will be standing in the way of understanding and progress.

On the other hand, if you are open to the point of gullibility and have not an ounce of skeptical sense in you, then you cannot distinguish useful ideas from the worthless ones. If all ideas have equal validity then you are lost, because then, it seems to me, no ideas have any validity at all.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996) American scientist and writer
“The Burden of Skepticism,” Pasadena lecture (1987)

Reprinted in The Skeptical Inquirer (Fall 1987).
Added on 9-Mar-10 | Last updated 28-Sep-20
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So then, I am simply in favor of intellectual hospitality — that is all. You come to me with a new idea. I invite you into the house. Let us see what you have. Let us talk it over. If I do not like your thought, I will bid it a polite “good day.” If I do like it, I will say: “Sit down; stay with me, and become a part of the intellectual wealth of my world.” That is all.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Limits of Toleration,” debate at the Nineteenth Century Club, New York (8 May 1888)
Added on 3-Jul-08 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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I bet you if I had met him and had a chat with him, I would have found him a very interesting and human fellow, for I never yet met a man that I didn’t like.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
Saturday Evening Post (6 Nov 1926)

On Leon Trotsky. Earliest formulation of Rogers' motto found in print.

Another cited reference:  "When I die, my epitaph or whatever you call those signs on gravestones is going to read, 'I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident like [sic].' I am so proud of that I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved." -- Talk at a Boston church (Jun 1930), in Ben Yagoda, Will Rogers: A Biography, ch. 10 (1993)
Added on 1-May-08 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“The Critic as Artist” [Gilbert] (1891)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 23-Oct-20
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