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On Belief...


Belief is one of the most powerful forces in the human universe. In fact many psychologists believe (!) that our whole world is created internally from what we believe. The good news is that you can change your beliefs, although it is not necessarily that easy.

See also

attitude, doubt*, children, education, mind, passion, perception, thinking, success, wisdom


‘If ye have faith as a grain of mustard-seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove.’

— Matthew, 17:20

‘For what a man would like to be true, that he more readily believes.’

Francis Bacon

‘The investigator should have a robust faith–and yet not believe.’

Claude Bernard

‘Every thing possible to be believ’d is an image of truth.’

William Blake

People readily believe what they want to believe.’

Julius Caesar

‘If you believe in an idea, you don’t own you, it owns you.’

Raymond Chandler

‘Man is what he believes.’

Anton Chekhov

‘The modern world is filled with men who hold dogmas so strongly that they do not even know they are dogmas.’

G. K. Chesterton

‘Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume there is no hope, you guarantee there will be no hope. If you assume there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance you may contribute to making a better world. The choice is yours.’

Noam Chomsky

‘They conquer who believe they can.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in very difficulty.’

Winston Churchill

‘The bigotry of the nonbeliever is for me nearly as funny as the bigotry of the believer.’

Albert Einstein

‘Whether you believe you can or whether you believe you cannot, you are absolutely right.’

Henry Ford

‘To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also believe.’

Anatole France

‘Emancipation of belief is the most formidable of the tasks of reform and the one on which all else depends.’

John Kenneth Galbraith

‘believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.’

André Gide

‘We are so constituted that we believe the most incredible things; and, once they are engraved upon the memory, woe to him who would endeavour to erase them!’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘belief is not the beginning but the end of all knowledge.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory.’

William Hazlitt

‘belief gets in the way of learning.’

Robert Heinlein

Knowledge of divine things for the most part is lost to us by incredulity.’


‘The man who believes he can do it is probably right.’

Claude-Adrien Helvétius

Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.’

Thomas Huxley

‘There can be no progress if people have no faith in tomorrow.’

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

‘believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.’

Charles F. Kettering

‘The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.’

Abraham Lincoln

‘An idea isn’t responsible for the people who believe in it.’

Don Marquis

‘The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind.’

H. L. Mencken

‘The more a man dreams, the less he believes.’

H. L. Mencken

‘Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.’

H. L. Mencken

‘One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interests.’

John Stuart Mill

‘I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.’

Wilson Mizner

‘Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.’

Michel de Montaigne

‘A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.’

Friedrich Nietzsche

‘A very popular error: having the courage of one’s convictions; rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one’s convictions.’

Friedrich Nietzsche

‘It is hard to let old beliefs go. They are familiar. We are comfortable with them and have spent years building systems and developing habits that depend on them. Like a man who has worn eyeglasses so long that he forgets he has them on, we forget that the world looks to us the way it does because we have become used to seeing it that way through a particular set of lenses.’

Kenichi Ohmae

‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’

Eleanor Roosevelt

‘I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.’

Bertrand Russell

‘belief is no substitute for arithmetic.’

Henry Spencer

‘That which has been believed by everyone, always and everywhere, has every chance of being false.’

Paul Valéry

‘If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.’


‘Man can believe the impossible, but can never believe the improbable.’

Oscar Wilde

‘To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing. To be on the alert is to live, to be lulled into security is to die.’

Oscar Wilde

‘At the core of all well-founded belief, lies belief that is unfounded.’

Ludwig Wittgenstein

‘The thing you really believe in always happens...And the belief in a thing makes it happen.’

Frank Lloyd Wright

‘It takes visions and courage to create. It takes faith and courage to prove.’

Owen D. Young

‘What ardently we wish, we soon believe.’

Edward Young



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