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Creative quotes and quotations
On Illumination...


Sometimes you have to grope for ideas in the dark and sometimes they shine with a light of their own, beckoning you on. Light is a common metaphor for thinking and ideas and is mostly used to indicate understanding, often sudden.

See also

discovery, ideas*, incubation, leaping, subconscious, surprise, thinking, understanding*


‘You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light.’

Edward Abbey

‘Light tomorrow with today.’

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

‘A man should learn to detect and foster that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within far more than the lustre of the whole firmament without. Yet he dismisses without notice his peculiar thought because it is peculiar.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied: ‘Only stand out of my light. ‘Perhaps some day we shall know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light.’

John W. Gardner

‘Where there is much light, the shadows are deepest.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘If you look in the eyes of the young, you see flame. If you look in the eyes of the old, you see light.’

Victor Hugo

‘A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.’

Oliver Wendell Holmes

‘Most new discoveries are suddenly-seen things that were always there. A new idea is a light that illuminates presences which simply had no form before the light fell on them.’

Susan Langer

‘Where the light is brightest, the shadows are deepest.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘An age is called dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.’

James Michener

‘We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.’


‘Most striking at first is the appearance of sudden illumination, a manifest sign of long unconscious prior work.’

Henri Poincaré

‘When we try to make everything clear, we make everything confused. If, however, we admit one mysterious thing in the universe, then everything else becomes clear in the light of that. The sun is so bright, so mysterious, that one cannot look at it, and yet in the light of the sun everything else is seen.’

Fulton Sheen

‘There are two kinds of light—the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.’

James Thurber



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