Is an intelligent human being likely to be much more than a large-scale manufacturer of misunderstanding?
Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everybody agrees that it is old enough to know better.
Rarely an hour passed that they didn’t argue about something. They had lived together for so many years that they mistook their arguments for conversations.
If other people are going to talk, conversation becomes impossible.
“Don’t introduce me to him,” said Charles Lamb, when a friend offered to present a man whom Lamb had for a long time disliked by hearsay. “I want to go on hating him, and I can’t do that to a man I know.”
It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love my brothers. The more solitary I am, the more affection I have for them. Solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say.
One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.
In a quarrel, each side is right.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
The kindest word in the world is the unkind word, unsaid.
We have become terribly vulnerable, not because we suffer but because we have separated ourselves from each other. A patient once told me that he had tried to ignore his own suffering and the suffering of other people because he had wanted to be happy. Yet becoming numb to suffering will not make us happy. The part in us that feels suffering is the same as the part that feels joy.
Human beings cling to their delicious tyrannies and to their exquisite nonsense, till death stares them in the face.
The older I grow, the more I listen to people who don’t talk much.
Forgiveness is not simply the absolving of an enemy, or one who has done us wrong. Forgiveness must encompass all those things which disturb the tranquility of our soul: the barking dog that robs you of sleep, the heat of summer, the cold of winter. Forgive the ingrown toenail, the flea that bites; forgive the cranky child, wrinkles, a forgotten birthday.
It could be that there’s only one word and it’s all we need. It’s here in this pencil. Every pencil in the world is like this.
Tenderness contains an element of sadness. It is not the sadness of feeling sorry for yourself or feeling deprived, but it is a natural situation of fullness. You feel so full and rich, as if you were about to shed tears. Your eyes are full of tears, and the moment you blink, the tears will spill out of your eyes and roll down your cheeks. In order to be a good warrior, one has to feel this sad and tender heart.
The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.
Another plan I have is World Peace through Formal Introductions. The idea is that everyone in the world would be required to meet everyone else in the world, formally, at least once. You’d have to look the person in the eye, shake hands, repeat their name, and try to remember one outstanding physical characteristic. My theory is, if you knew everyone in the world personally, you’d be less inclined to fight them in a war: “Who? The Malaysians? Are you kidding? I know those people!”