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On Truth...


Truth and reality are what critics call at our ideas, but their truth is not our truth. When you have a new idea you often have to create new truths that people can believe. And in the end, if you can physically demonstrate your truths, it will be impossible to deny them.

See also

belief*, certainty*, doubt, experimenting, fragility, illumination, learning, rationality, science, understanding*


‘Facts are stubborn things.’

John Adams

‘An error is the more dangerous in proportion to the degree of truth which it contains.’

Henri-Frédéric Amiel

‘The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousand-fold.’


‘No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage-ground of truth.’

Francis Bacon

‘Truth emerges more readily from error than from confusion.’

Francis Bacon

‘As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.’

Josh Billings

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

William Blake

‘There are two kinds of truth, small truth and great truth. You can recognize a small truth, because its opposite is falsehood. The opposite of a great truth is another great truth.’

Niels Bohr

Art remains the one way possible of speaking truth.’

Robert Browning

‘Truth makes on the ocean of nature no one track of light; every eye, looking on, finds its own.’

Edward Robert Bulwer-Lytton

‘Truth is always strange — stranger than fiction.’

George Byron

‘Truth may be stretched but cannot be broken. It always gets above falsehood as oil does above water.’

Miguel de Cervantes

‘Truths turn into dogmas the minute they are disputed.’

G. K. Chesterton

‘Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.’

Winston Churchill

‘A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.’

Winston Churchill

‘Our minds possess by nature an insatiable desire to know the truth.’

Marcus Tullius Cicero

‘Truth is a good dog; but always beware of barking too close to the heels of an error, lest you get your brains kicked out.’

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

‘Only in man’s imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.’

Joseph Conrad

‘If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.’

René Descartes

‘How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?’

Arthur Conan Doyle

‘The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.’

Albert Einstein

Experience alone can decide on truth.’

Albert Einstein

‘Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.’

Albert Einstein

‘The search for truth is more precious than its possession.’

Albert Einstein

‘Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.’

Albert Einstein

‘If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.’

Albert Einstein

‘Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘The finest and noblest ground on which people can live is truth; the real with the real; a ground on which nothing is assumed.’

Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘The truth always turns out to be simpler than you thought.’

Richard P. Feynman

‘From error to error one discovers the entire truth.’

Sigmund Freud

Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.’

Sigmund Freud

‘Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favour.’

Robert Frost

‘Truth resides in every human heart, and one has to search for it there, and to be guided by truth as one sees it. But no one has a right to coerce others to act according to his own view of truth.’

Mahatma Gandhi

‘All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.’

Galileo Galilei

‘An idea is a putting truth in check-mate.’

José Ortega Y Gasset

‘The scholar seeks truth, the artist finds.’

André Gide

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.’

André Gide

‘Nothing is more damaging to the truth than an old error.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘Truth is a torch but a tremendous one. That is why we hurry past it, shielding our eyes, indeed, in fear of getting burned.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it.’

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

‘Pretty much all the honest truth-telling there is in the world is done by children.’

Oliver Wendell Holmes

‘It will never be possible by pure reason to arrive at some absolute truth.’

Werner Heisenberg

‘Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.’

Aldous Huxley

‘Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.’

Thomas Huxley

‘The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths.’

William James

Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom.’

Thomas Jefferson

Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes what is wrong.’

Thomas Jefferson

‘I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of imagination.’

John Keats

‘Let us learn to dream, gentlemen; then we shall perhaps find the truth.’

Friedrich Kekulé

‘We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda, it is a form of truth.’

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

‘The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived, and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.’

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

‘I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion, does not justify or excuse him.’

Abraham Lincoln

‘Who dares
To say that he alone has found the truth?.’

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

‘Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one.’

Konrad Lorenz

‘Truth certainly would do well enough, if she were once left to shift for herself...She is not taught by laws, nor has she any need of force, to procure her entrance into the minds of men.’

John Locke

‘The greatest homage we can pay to truth, is to use it.’

James Russell Lowell

‘A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth.’

Thomas Mann

‘Anyone can tell the truth, but only very few of us can make epigrams.’

W. Somerset Maugham

‘The man who boasts that he habitually tells the truth is simply a man with no respect for it. It is not a thing to be thrown about loosely, like small change; it is something to be cherished and hoarded and disbursed only when absolutely necessary. The smallest atom of truth represents some man’s bitter toil and agony; for every ponderable chunk of it there is a brave truth-seeker’s grave upon some lonely ash-dump and a soul roasting in Hell.’

H. L. Mencken

‘I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.’

H. L. Mencken

‘Truth would quickly cease to become stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.’

H. L. Mencken

‘The gulf between knowledge and truth is infinite.’

Henry Miller

Perception is a prediction, not a truth.’

Ross Mooney

‘I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.’

Isaac Newton

‘What then is truth? A movable host of metaphors, metonymies, and; anthropomorphisms: in short, a sum of human relations which have been poetically and rhetorically intensified, transferred, and embellished, and which, after long usage, seem to a people to be fixed, canonical, and binding.’

Friedrich Nietzsche

‘Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.’

Friedrich Nietzsche

‘Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth—to see it like it is, and tell it like it is—to find the truth, to speak the truth, and to live the truth.’

Richard Nixon

‘Give me the fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself.’

Vilfredo Pareto

Imagination is the deceptive part in man, the mistress of error and falsehood.’

Blaise Pascal

‘We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth.’

Pablo Picasso

‘The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I’m looking for the truth." and so it goes away. Puzzling.’

Robert Pirsig

‘Facts are stupid things.’

Ronald Reagan

‘The truth is cruel, but it can be loved and it makes free those who have loved it.’

George Santayana

‘I believe in general in a dualism between facts and the ideas of those facts in human heads.’

George Santayana

‘All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.’

Arthur Schopenhauer

Time discovers truth.’

Lucius Seneca

‘All great truths begin as blasphemies.’

George Bernard Shaw

‘Though I can make my extravaganzas appear credible, I cannot make the truth appear so.’

George Bernard Shaw

‘Truth comes as conqueror only to those who have lost the art of receiving it as friend.’

Rabindranath Tagore

‘It takes two to speak the truth — one to speak, and another to hear.’

Henry David Thoreau

‘I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most
obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.’

Leo Tolstoy

‘Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy of it.’

Mark Twain

‘Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.’

Mark Twain

‘When in doubt, tell the truth.’

Mark Twain

‘It is as fatal as it is cowardly to blink facts because they are not to our taste.’

John Tyndall

‘In all science, error precedes the truth, and it is better it should go first than last.’

Hugh Walpole

‘Heresies are experiments in man’s unsatisfied search for truth.’

H. G. Wells

‘Everyone wishes to have truth on his side, but not everyone wishes to be on the side of truth.’

Richard Whately

‘Heaven knows what seeming nonsense may not tomorrow be demonstrated truth.’

Alfred North Whitehead

‘There are no whole truths: All truths are half-truths.’

Alfred North Whitehead

‘There are no whole truths. All truths are half truths. It is trying to treat them as whole truths that plays the devil.’

Oscar Wilde

‘The truth is rarely pure and never simple.’

Oscar Wilde

‘Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.’

Oscar Wilde

‘The truth is more important than the facts.’

Frank Lloyd Wright

‘If a man is in too big a hurry to give up an error he is liable to give up some truth with it.’

Wilbur Wright



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