Quotations about   spirit

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You are not a human being having a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being having a human experience.

Wayne Dyer
Wayne Dyer (1940-2015) American self-help author, motivational speaker
You’ll See It When You Believe It: The Way to Your Personal Transformation, ch. 2, epigraph (1989)
    (Source)

A variant of the phrase is also included in the Introduction to the book: "That you are not a human being having a spiritual experience , but rather a spiritual being having a human experience."

Dyer also used a variation of this ("Can you see yourselves as spiritual beings having a human experience, rather than human beings who may be having a spiritual experience?") the previous year in "A Letter to the Next Generation," an advertisement by Volkswagen.

Also attributed to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Georges I. Gurdjieff.

More discussion: You Are Not a Human Being Having a Spiritual Experience. You Are a Spiritual Being Having a Human Experience – Quote Investigator.
Added on 19-Apr-22 | Last updated 19-Apr-22
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Indifference is the acid of life. It erodes all the spirit that’s in us and makes us useless to anyone else. We all have to stand for something, or our souls cease to breathe.

Joan D. Chittister (b. 1936) American Benedictine nun, author and lecturer
In a High Spiritual Season (1995)
Added on 20-Jan-22 | Last updated 20-Jan-22
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Next t’ a circus ther haint nothin’ that packs up an’ tears out any quicker’n th’ Christmus spirit.

[Next to a circus, there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out any quicker than the Christmas spirit.]

Kin Hubbard (1868-1930) American caricaturist and humorist [Frank McKinney Hubbard]
Abe Martin’s Back Country Sayings, ch. 7 (1917)
    (Source)

Often misquoted as "tears out faster than".
Added on 27-Dec-21 | Last updated 27-Dec-21
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Poor child, most tried of men, Persephone, daughter of Zeus, is not deceiving you in any way; this is the law that rules all mortals at their death. For just as soon as life has left the white bones, and the sinew no longer hold together bones and flesh, when the erupting force of blazing fire undoes the body, then the spirit wanders: much like a dream, it flits away and hovers, now here, now there.

[‘ὤ μοι, τέκνον ἐμόν, περὶ πάντων κάμμορε φωτῶν,
οὔ τί σε Περσεφόνεια Διὸς θυγάτηρ ἀπαφίσκει,
ἀλλ᾽ αὕτη δίκη ἐστὶ βροτῶν, ὅτε τίς κε θάνῃσιν:
οὐ γὰρ ἔτι σάρκας τε καὶ ὀστέα ἶνες ἔχουσιν,
ἀλλὰ τὰ μέν τε πυρὸς κρατερὸν μένος αἰθομένοιο
δαμνᾷ, ἐπεί κε πρῶτα λίπῃ λεύκ᾽ ὀστέα θυμός,
ψυχὴ δ᾽ ἠύτ᾽ ὄνειρος ἀποπταμένη πεπότηται.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Odyssey [Ὀδύσσεια], Book 11, l. 216ff (11.216) (c. 700 BC) [tr. Mandelbaum (1990)]
    (Source)

Anticleia, Odysseus' mother, responding to him when he's unable to embrace her shade in the Underworld. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

O son, she answer’d, of the race of men
The most unhappy, Our most equal Queen
Will mock no solid arms with empty shade,
Nor suffer empty shades again t’ invade
Flesh, bones, and nerves; nor will defraud the fire
Of his last dues, that, soon as spirits expire
And leave the white bone, are his native right,
When, like a dream, the soul assumes her flight.
The light then of the living with most haste,
O son, contend to.
[tr. Chapman (1616)]

Oh no, quoth she, my son, she’d no intent
T’ abuse you. ’Tis the nature of the dead.
We are no longer sinews, flesh, and bones,
We are substances incorporeal,
All that ’s consumed i’ th’ fun’ral fire; when once
That’s done, it in itself stands several;
Flies like a dream.
[tr. Hobbes (1675), l. 203ff]

O son of woe, the pensive shade rejoin'd;
O most inured to grief of all mankind!
"'Tis not the queen of hell who thee deceives;
All, all are such, when life the body leaves:
No more the substance of the man remains,
Nor bounds the blood along the purple veins:
These the funereal flames in atoms bear,
To wander with the wind in empty air:
While the impassive soul reluctant flies,
Like a vain dream, to these infernal skies.
[tr. Pope (1725)]

Ah, son! thou most afflicted of mankind!
On thee, Jove’s daughter, Proserpine, obtrudes
No airy semblance vain; but such the state
And nature is of mortals once deceased.
For they nor muscle have, nor flesh, nor bone;
All those (the spirit from the body once
Divorced) the violence of fire consumes,
And, like a dream, the soul flies swift away.
[tr. Cowper (1792), l. 258ff]

O my child,
'Tis not Persephone deludes thee here.
This is their portion who, from light exiled,
Dying descend into these regions drear,
Sinewless, fleshless, boneless. On the bier
All substance was burnt out by force of fie,
When first the spirit, her cold flight to steer,
Left the white bones , and fluttering from the pyre
Straight to these shadowy realms did like a dream retire.
[tr. Worsley (1861), st. 32]

Alas! my child! thou most ill-starred of all men!
'Tis not Persephone--Zeus' daughter, fools thee!
But this is the way with mortals, when they're dead.
Their powers no more are clothed with flesh and bones;
But these the mighty strength of the blazing fire
Consumes, when once life's left the calcined bones,
And the soul, like a dream, on wings hath fled away.
[tr. Bigge-Wither (1869), l. 217ff]

Ah me, my child, of all men most ill-fated, Persephone, the daughter of Zeus, doth in no wise deceive thee, but even on this wise it is with mortals when they die. For the sinews no more bind together the flesh and the bones, but the great force of burning fire abolishes these, so soon as the life hath left the white bones, and the spirit like a dream flies forth and hovers near.
[tr. Butcher/Lang (1879)]

O me, my child, my darling, most hapless man of men,
Persephone, daughter of Zeus, beguileth thee nought hereby,
But this is the lot of mortals when at last they come to die;
For no longer then the sinews hold together flesh and bone,
But they by the might of the fire bright-flaming are undone,
When first from the white bones wendeth the soul and living breath,
And the soul as a dream forth flieth and flitting hovereth.
[tr. Morris (1887)]

Ah, my own child, beyond all men ill-fated! In no wise is Persephone, daughter of Zeus, beguiling you, but this is the way of mortals when they die: the sinews no longer hold the flesh and bones together; for these the strong force of the flaming fire destroys, when once the life leaves the white bones, and like a dream the spirit flies away.
[tr. Palmer (1891)]

My son, she answered, most ill-fated of all mankind, it is not Proserpine that is beguiling you, but all people are like this when they are dead. The sinews no longer hold the flesh and bones together; these perish in the fierceness of consuming fire as soon as life has left the body, and the soul flits away as though it were a dream. [tr. Butler (1898)]

But this is the appointed way with mortals when one dies. For the sinews no longer hold the flesh and the bones together, but the strong might of blazing fire destroys these, as soon as the life leaves the white bones, and the spirit, like a dream, flits away, and hovers to and fro.
[tr. Murray (1919)]

Alas my hapless child! Here is no mockery from Persephone, daughter of Zeus: it is the common judgment upon all mortals when they die. Then the nerves will no more bind flesh and frame into one body, for the terrible intensity of the searing fire subdues them till they vanish, as the quickening spirit vanishes from the white bones and the soul flies out, to hover like a dream.
[tr. Lawrence (1932)]

My child, my child! came her reply. What man on earth has more to bear than you? This is no trick played on you by Persephone, Daughter of Zeus. You are only witnessing here the law of our mortal nature, when we come to die. We no longer have sinews keeping the bones and flesh together, but once the life-force has departed from our white bones, all is consumed by the fierce heat of the blazing fire, and the soul slips away like a dream and flutters on the air.
[tr. Rieu (1946)]

O my child -- alas,
most sorely tried of men -- great Zeus' daughter,
Persephone, knits no illusion for you.
All mortals meet this judgment when they die.
No flesh and bone are here, none bound by sinew,
since the bright-hearted pyre consumed them down --
the white bones long exanimate -- to ash;
dreamlike the soul flies, insubstantial.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1961)]

Oh my child, ill-fated beyond all other mortals, this is not Persephone, daughter of Zeus, beguiling you, but it is only what happens, when they die, to all mortals. The sinews no longer hold the flesh and the bones together. The queens of the past and once the spirit has left the white bones, all the rest of the body is made subject to the fire's strong fury, but the soul flitters out like a dream and flies away.
[tr. Lattimore (1965)]

My son, my son, the unluckiest man alive!
This is no deception sent by Queen Persephone,
this is just the way of mortals when we die.
Sinews no longer bind the flesh and bones together --
the fire in all its fury burns the body down to ashes
once life slips from the white bones, and the spirit,
rustling, flitters away ... flown like a dream.
[tr. Fagles (1996)]

O my child, most ill-fated of men,
It is not that Persephone is deceiving you.
This is the way it is with mortals.
When we die, the sinews no longer hold
Flesh and bones together. The fire destroys these
As soon as the spirit leaves the white bones,
And the ghost flutters off and is gone like a dream.
[tr. Lombardo (2000)]

Alas, my child, came my revered mother's reply, ill-fated above all men! This is no trick played on you by Persephone, Daughter of Zeus. It is the law of our mortal nature, when we come to die. We no longer have sinews keeping the bones and flesh together; once life has departed from our white bones, all is consumed by the fierce heat of the blazing fire, and the soul slips away like a dream and goes fluttering on its ways.
[tr. DCH Rieu (2002)]

Ah my child, ill-fated beyond all men! It is not that Persephone, daughter of Zeus, is deceiving you, but it is the law that touches all mortal beings when they die: no longer do they have sinews that bind flesh and bone together, for as soon as the spirit departs from their white bones, the fierce heat of the blazing fire destroys everything, and their shade flies off, fluttering like a dream.
[tr. Verity (2016)]

Oh, my child! You are the most unlucky man alive. Persephone is not deceiving you. Thsi is the rule for mortals when we die. Our muscles cease to hold the flesh and skeleton together; as soon as life departs our white bones, the force of blazing fire destroys the corpse. The spirit flies away and soon is gone, just like a dream.
[tr. Wilson (2017)]

Alas, my child, ill-fated beyond all other mortals, Persephonē, daughter of Zeus, is in no way beguiling you. No, this is the fixed law for mortals, when anyone dies: The sinews no longer keep flesh and bones together, they're destroyed by the powerful force of blazing fire as soon as the spirit departs from the white bones and the soul, like a dream, flies fluttering off, is gone.
[tr. Green (2018)]

My child, of all men most unfortunate,
no, dread Persephone, daughter of Zeus,
is not deceiving you. Once mortals die,
this is what’s ordained for them. Their sinews
no longer hold the flesh and bone together.
The mighty power of a blazing fire
destroys them, once our spirit flies from us,
from our white bones. And then it slips away,
and, like a dream, it flutters to and fro.
[tr. Johnston (2019), l. 268ff]

Added on 22-Sep-21 | Last updated 19-Jan-22
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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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When great causes are on the move in the world, stirring all men’s souls, drawing them from their firesides, casting aside comfort, wealth, and the pursuit of happiness in response to impulses at once awe-striking and irresistible, we learn that we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time, and beyond space and time, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
BBC Radio broadcast (16 Jun 1941)
    (Source)

First published in the Imperial Review (28 Jun 1941).
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But if physical death is the price that a man must pay to free his children and his white brethren from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing could be more redemptive. This is the type of soul force that I am convinced will triumph over the physical force of the oppressor.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness,” Speech, National Urban League, New York (6 Sep 1960)
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The way to avoid evil is not by maiming our passions, but by compelling them to yield their vigor to our moral nature. Thus they become, as in the ancient fable, the harnessed steeds which bear the chariot of the sun.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Life Thoughts (1858)
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Added on 10-Jul-17 | Last updated 10-Jul-17
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Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage.

Richard Lovelace (1617-1657) English poet
“To Althea, from Prison,” l. 25 (1649)
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And perhaps, after all, it is better that the lad should break his neck than that you should break his spirit.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish essayist, novelist, poet
The Amateur Emigrant (1880)
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So give me the political economist, the sanitary reformer, the engineer; and take your saints and virgins, relics and miracles. The spinning-jenny and the railroad, Cunard’s liners and the electric telegraph, are to me, if not to you, signs that we are, on some points at least, in harmony with the universe; that there is a mighty spirit working among us, who cannot be your anarchic and destroying Devil, and therefore may be the Ordering and Creating God.

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman, historian, essayist, novelist (pseud. "Parson Lot")
Yeast: A Problem, ch. 5 (1848)
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Added on 21-Jul-16 | Last updated 21-Jul-16
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I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
(Attributed)
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It’s so wrong to think that spectacular courage is the best bravery. The noblest bravery is battling against these dreadful daily assaults, often very minor, on one’s spirit.

Trollope - noblest bravery - wist_info

Joanna Trollope (b. 1943) British writer [pseud. Caroline Harvey]
The Rector’s Wife (1991)
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An able man shows his Spirit by gentle words and resolute actions.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (15 Jan 1753)
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Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
1 Peter 3:3-4 [NIV]

Alt. trans.:

  • "Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." [KJV]
  • "You should not use outward aids to make yourselves beautiful, such as the way you fix your hair, or the jewelry you put on, or the dresses you wear. Instead, your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God's sight." [TEV]
  • "Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight." [NRSV]
Added on 24-Dec-14 | Last updated 24-Dec-14
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Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast,
And each will wrestle for the mastery there.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust, 1, “Outside the City Gate” (1808-1832) [tr. Wayne (1959)]
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The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Strength to Love, 7.3 (1963)
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It behooves all men who wish to excel the other animals to strive with might and main not to pass through life unheralded, like the beasts, which Nature has fashioned groveling and slaves to the belly. All our power, on the contrary, lies in both mind and body; we employ the mind to rule, the body rather to serve; the one we have in common with the Gods, the other with the brutes. Therefore I find it becoming, in seeking renown, that we should employ the resources of the intellect rather than those of brute strength, to the end that, since the span of life which we enjoy is short, we may make the memory of our lives as long as possible.

[Omnis homines qui sese student praestare ceteris animalibus summa ope niti decet ne vitam silentio transeant veluti pecora, quae natura prona atque ventri oboedientia finxit. Sed nostra omnis vis in animo et corpore sita est; animi imperio, corporis servitio magis utimur; alterum nobis cum dis, alterum cum beluis commune est. Quo mihi rectius videtur ingeni quam virium opibus gloriam quaerere et, quoniam vita ipsa qua fruimur brevis est, memoriam nostri quam maxume longam efficere.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Bellum Catilinae [The War of Catiline; The Conspiracy of Catiline], ch. 1, sent. 1-3 [tr. Rolfe (1931)]
    (Source)

Original Latin. Alt. trans.:

"To maintain the dignity of human nature is the true ambition of man; and to that end it becomes the duty of all, who aspire to distinguish themselves from the race of inferior animals, to exert their most strenuous efforts, lest they pass their days in silence, like the herds of the field, formed by nature prone to the earth, and governed altogether by the incitements of appetite. Man is composed of mind and body, and in the exercise of both consists the energy of his nature. The mind is the directing principle; the body is subservient. The former we participate with the gods; the latter we hold in common with the brute creation. Hence the fame acquired by our intellectual powers has ever appeared to me the truest glory, far superior to all that can be achieved by mere corporeal vigor; and since the life we enjoy is frail and transitory, it should be the endeavour of every man to extend his fame, and leave a lasting memorial of his existence." [tr. Murphy (1807)]

"Men who would act up to the dignity of their nature ought not to pass their lives in obscurity, like the beasts of the field, formed with bodies prone to the earth, and under necessary subjection to their appetites. Now, our faculties are twofold; those of the soul, and those of the body: the soul was designed for sovereign command, the body for subjection: the former we enjoy in common with the gods, the latter with the brute creation. So that to me it appears more agreeable to nature to pursue glory by the abilities of the mind than those of the body; and as our lives are but of short duration, it should be our study to render our memory immortal." [tr. Rose (1831)]

"It becomes all men, who are anxious that they should excel other animals, to strive with their utmost might that they may not pass their life in silence like cattle, which nature has formed with their faces downwards, and slaves to their belly. But all our vigour is placed in the mind and in the body. We for the most part make use of the government of the mind, the submission of the body. The one we have in common with the gods, and the other with brutes. Wherefore it appears to me more proper to seek for glory by the abilities of the mind rather than by those of mere force; and since that life which we enjoy is short, to make the memory of ourselves as lasting as possible." [Source (1841)]

"It becomes all men, who desire to excel other animals, to strive, to the utmost of their power, not to pass through life in obscurity, like the beasts of the field, which nature has formed groveling and subservient to appetite. All our power is situated in the mind and in the body. Of the mind we rather employ the government; of the body, the service. The one is common to us with the gods; the other with the brutes. It appears to me, therefore, more reasonable to pursue glory by means of the intellect than of bodily strength, and, since the life which we enjoy is short, to make the remembrance of us as lasting as possible." [tr. Watson (1867)]

"Every man who is anxious to excel the lower animals should strive with all his power not to pass his life in obscurity like the brute beasts, whom nature has made the grovelling slaves of their belly. Now our whole ability resides jointly in our mind and body. In the case of the mind it is its power of guidance, in the case of the body its obedient service that we rather use, sharing the former faculty with the gods, the latter with the brute creation. This being so, I think it right to seek repute by my powers rather of intellect than of strength, and since the very life which we enjoy is short, to make the memory of us as abiding as may be." [tr. Pollard (1882)]

"All persons who are enthusiastic that they should transcend the other animals ought to strive with the utmost effort not to pass through a life of silence like the cattle, which nature has fashioned to be prone and obedient to their stomachs. Our entire power resides in the mind as well as the body: we use the mind to command, the body to serve; the former we share wit the gods, the latter with the beasts. Therefore it seems to me more correct to seek glory with our intellectual rather than with our physical resources, and, because the very life that we enjoy is short, to ensure that a recollection of ourselves lasts as long as possible. [tr. Woodman (2007)]
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In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.

Camus - invincible summer - wist_info quote

Albert Camus (1913-1960) Algerian-French novelist, essayist, playwright
“Return to Tipasa,” Summer (1954)
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My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance — but for us, not for God.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
Letter, unsent (1927)

Written (in German) on a letter from a Colorado banker (5 Aug 1927), asking about the question of God. Quoted in H. Dukas, B. Hoffman (eds.), Albert Einstein: The Human Side (1981).
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No other touchstone can test the heart of a man,
The temper of his mind and spirit, till he be tried
In the practice of authority and rule.

[ἀμήχανον δὲ παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἐκμαθεῖν
ψυχήν τε καὶ φρόνημα καὶ γνώμην, πρὶν ἂν
ἀρχαῖς τε καὶ νόμοισιν ἐντριβὴς φανῇ.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 175ff [Creon] (441 BC) [tr. Watling (1947)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:

There is no man whose soul and will and meaning
Stand forth as outward things for all to see,
'Till he has shown himself by practice versed
In ruling under law and making laws.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

But hard it is to learn
The mind of any mortal or the heart,
Till he be tried in chief authority.
Power shows the man.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

Yet 'tis no easy matter to discern
The temper of a man, his mind and will,
Till he be proved by exercise of power.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

Now, it is impossible to know fully any man's character, will, or judgment, until he has been proved by the test of rule and law-giving.
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

Never can man be known.
His mind, his will, his passion ne'er appear,
Till power and office call them forth.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

No man can be fully known, in soul and spirit and mind, until he hath been seen versed in rule and law-giving.
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

I am aware, of course, that no Ruler can expect complete loyalty from his subjects until he has been tested in office.
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939)]

You cannot learn of any man the soul,
the mind, and the intent until he shows
his practice of the government and law.
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

There is no art that teaches us to know
The temper, mind, or spirit of any man
Until he has been proved by government
And lawgiving.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

Of course you cannot know a man completely,
his character, his principles, sense of judgment,
not till he's shown his colors, ruling the people,
making laws. Experience, there's the test.
[tr. Fagles (1982), l. 194ff]

No man has a mind that can be fully known,
In character or judgment, till he rules and makes law.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

Now, there is no way to learn thoroughly the essence
of the whole man as well as his thought and judgment
until he has been seen engaged in ruling and making laws.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

It’s impossible
to really know a man, to know his soul,
his mind and will, before one witnesses
his skill in governing and making laws.
[tr. Johnston (2005), ll. 198-201]

It is impossible to really learn a man’s
mind, thought and opinion before he’s been initiated
into the offices and laws of the state.
[tr. @sentantiq (2020)]
Added on 30-Jun-08 | Last updated 21-Dec-20
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More quotes by Sophocles

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. This insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it may be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms — this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.

Einstein - sense of the mysterious - wist_info quote

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“What I Believe,” Forum and Century (Oct 1930)
    (Source)

Einstein crafted and recrafted his credo multiple times in this period, and specifics are often muddled by differing translations and by his reuse of certain phrases in later writing. The Forum and Century entry appears to be the earliest. Some important variants:

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery -- even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man.

— "The World As I See It [Mein Weltbild]" [tr. Bargmann (1954)]


The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. It was the experience of mystery -- even if mixed with fear -- that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms -- it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.

— "The World As I See It [Mein Weltbild]" [tr. Harris (1934)]


The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavor in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious.

[Das Schönste und Tiefste, was der Mensch erleben kann, ist das Gefühl des Geheimnisvollen. Es liegt der Religion sowie allem tieferen Streben in Kunst und Wissenschaft zugrunde. Wer dies nicht erlebt hat, erscheint mir, wenn nicht wie ein Toter, so doch wie ein Blinder. Zu empfinden, dass hinter dem Erlebbaren ein für unseren Geist Unerreichbares verborgen sei, dessen Schönheit und Erhabenheit uns nur mittelbar und in schwachem Widerschein erreicht, das ist Religiosität. In diesem Sinne bin ich religiös.]

Variant in "My Credo [Mein Glaubensbekenntnis]" (Aug 1932)


See parallel sentiments here, here, and here.
Added on 22-Aug-07 | Last updated 21-Feb-21
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More quotes by Einstein, Albert

So, whatsoever that be within us which feels, thinks, desires, and animates us, it is something celestial, divine, and, consequently, imperishable.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
(Attributed)
    (Source)

The earliest reference to this text that I can find is in Louis Alphonse Cahagnet, Magnétisme: The Celestial Telegraph (1850), who attributes it to Cicero's "Explanation of the Doctrines of Aristotle." It is unclear which of Cicero's actual works this refers to, and it doesn't come across as Aristotelian (or even Ciceronian), and, given the source, may be distorted, poorly translated, or bogus.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-May-21
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More quotes by Aristotle

Let us be silent, — so we may hear the whisper of the gods.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Friendship,” Essays: First Series (1841)

Sometimes misquoted as "whispers of the gods."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Feb-22
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More quotes by Emerson, Ralph Waldo