"When you realize how hard it is to know the truth about yourself, you understand that even the most exhaustive and well-meaning autobiography, determined to tell the truth, represents, at best, a guess. There have been times in my life when I felt incredibly happy. Life was full. I seemed productive. Then I thought,"Am I really happy or am I merely masking a deep depression with frantic activity?" If I don't know such basic things about myself, who does?"
"My bad head cannot adjust itself to the way things are.... If I want to depict spring, it has to be in wintertime; if I want to describe a beautiful landscape, I must be enclosed within walls; and I have said a hundred times that if I were put in the Bastille, there I would paint a picture of liberty."
"When we do not know the truth of a thing, it is of advantage that there should exist a common error which determines the mind of man.... For the chief malady of man is restless curiosity about things which he cannot understand; and it is not so bad for him to be in error as to be curious to no purpose."
"Our senses perceive no extreme. Too much sound deafens us; too much light dazzles us; too great distance or proximity hinders ourview. Too great length and too great brevity of discourse tends to obscurity; too much truth is paralyzing.... In short, extremes are for us as though they were not, and we are not within their notice. They escape us, or we them."
"Man is, then, only disguise, falsehood, hypocrisy--both in himself and in regard to others. He does not wish any one to tell him the truth; he avoids telling it to others; and all these dispositions, so removed from justice and reason, have a natural root in his heart."
"But the house of the prudent countryman will be, of course, a place of honest manners; and Demeter Thesmophoros is the guardian ofmarried life, the deity of the discretion of wives. She is therefore the founder of civilised order."
"All the followers of science are fully persuaded that the processes of investigation, if only pushed far enough, will give one certain solution to each question to which they can be applied.... This great law is embodied in the conception of truth and reality. The opinion which is fated to be ultimately agreed to by all who investigate is what we mean by the truth, and the object represented in this opinion is the real."
"Consider what effects which might conceivably have practical bearings we conceive the object of our conception to have. Then our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object."
"Truth is that concordance of an abstract statement with the ideal limit towards which endless investigation would tend to bring scientific belief, which concordance the abstract statement may possess by virtue of the confession of its inaccuracy and one-sidedness, and this confession is an essential ingredient of truth."