"I learned early to understand that there is no such condition in human affairs as absolute truth. There is only truth as people see it, and truth, even in fact, may be kaleidoscopic in its variety. The damage such perception did to me I have felt ever since ... I could never belong entirely to one side of any question."
"We don't arrive at it by standing on one leg or on the first day of our setting out--but though we may jostle one another on the way that is no reason why we should strike or trample--elbowing's enough."
"You see, a person of my acquaintance used to divide people into three categories: those who would prefer to have nothing to hide than have to lie, those who would rather lie than have nothing to hide, and finally those who love both lies and secrets."
"The investigation of the truth is in one way hard, in another easy. An indication of this is found in the fact that no one is ableto obtain the truth adequately, while on the other hand, no one fails entirely, but everyone says something true about the nature of things, and while individually they contribute little or nothing to the truth, by the union of all a considerable amount is amassed. Therefore, since the truth seems to be like the proverbial door, which no one can fail to hit, in this way it is easy, but the fact that we can have a whole truth, and not the particular part we aim at shows the difficulty of it."
"A poet's object is not to tell what actually happened but what could or would happen either probably or inevitably.... For this reason poetry is something more scientific and serious than history, because poetry tends to give general truths while history gives particular facts."
"Is it true or false that Belfast is north of London? That the galaxy is the shape of a fried egg? That Beethoven was a drunkard? That Wellington won the battle of Waterloo? There are various degrees and dimensions of success in making statements: the statements fit the facts always more or less loosely, in different ways on different occasions for different intents and purposes."
"'What is truth?' said jesting Pilate, and would not stay for an answer. Pilate was in advance of his time. For 'truth' itself is an abstract noun, a camel, that is, of a logical construction, which cannot get past the eye even of a grammarian. We approach it cap and categories in hand: we ask ourselves whether Truth is a substance ... or a quality ... or a relation.... But philosophers should take something more nearly their own size to strain at. What needs discussing rather is the use, or certain uses, of the word 'true.' In vino, possibly, 'veritas,' but in a sober symposium 'verum.'"
"It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tossed upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, andto see a battle and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to standing upon the vantage ground of truth ... and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below."