The Examined Life

Published: August 3, 2009

By Jim Lichtman
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Ever since I started searching the Internet I started collecting quotes.  I opened a file and every time I came across a quote that made a connection, I’d add it to the file.  It didn’t take long to discover a pattern – that true wisdom knows no period in history, religion, culture, race, age, gender or TV channel.

Here are just a few of my favorites.

“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
– Confucius (500 B.C.), Chinese philosopher, teacher

“When you perceive that an act done to another is done to yourself, you have understood the great truth.”  
– Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher, father of Taoism

“Do not hurt your neighbor, for it is not him you harm, but yourself.”
– Shawnee Proverb

“The object of the superior man is truth.”
– Confucius

“If you add to the truth, you subtract from it.”
– The Talmud, ancient Jewish spiritual text

“You can’t handle the truth.”
– Col. Nathan R. Jessep, from A Few Good Men by Aaron Sorkin

“It does not require many words to speak the truth.”
– Chief Joseph, Native American Chief, Nez Perce

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
– Sir Winston Churchill, English Prime Minister

“What about the breathing, the panting, the moaning, the screaming?
“Fake, fake, fake, fake.”
“That whole thing, the whole production, it was all an act?”
“Pretty good, huh?”
– Jerry and Elaine after telling him that she sometimes faked it, in “The Mango,” Seinfeld

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, American poet

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
– Edmund Burke, English philosopher

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher, author

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
– Robert Frost, American Poet

“Someone once asked me, ‘Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?’ and I replied, ‘Why do you assume I see two roads’?”
– Unknown

“Adversity introduces a man to himself.”
– Anonymous

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
– Abraham Lincoln, 16th American president

“The gem cannot be polished without friction.”
– Chinese proverb

“We cannot learn without pain.”
– Aristotle, Ancient Greek philosopher

“I’ll hold the ball Charlie Brown and you come running up and kick it.”
– Lucy Van Pelt, from Peanuts by Charles Schulz

“Fall seven times. Stand up eight.”
– Japanese proverb

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.”
– Jimi Hendrix, rock guitarist

“Every man is a damn fool for at least five minutes of every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.”
– Elbert Hubbard, American writer, philosopher

“No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”
– Edmund Burke, Irish statesman, writer

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt, American first lady

“Well done is better than well said.”
– Benjamin Franklin 

“Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.”
– Henri Bergson, French philosopher, Nobel laureate

“We must become the change we want to see.”
– Mohandas Gandhi, Indian political leader


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