Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Germany
28 Aug 1749 // 22 Mar 1832
Poet / Novelist / Humanist / Scientist / Philosopher

Texts



All Love Is Connected With Presence (1)

All love is connected with presence; what is agreeable to us by its presence always shows itself to us when it is absent and constantly makes us want its renewed presence, and, when this wish is gran...

Experience versus Theory (2)

Experience can be extended into infinity; in not quite the same sense theory can be purified and perfected. To the former the universe is open in all directions; the latter remains locked within the ...

Growing Older Means Taking Up a New Business (3)

You often say to yourself in the course of your life that you ought to avoid havind too much business, «polypragmosyne», and, more especially, that the older you get, the more you ought to avoid ente...

Liberal Ideas (4)

When I hear talk about liberal ideas, I'm always amazed how people like to delude themselves with the sound of empty words: an idea is not allowed to be liberal! Let it be forceful, doughty, self-enc...

Books Experience (5)

Books, we find, are like new acquaintances. To begin with, we are highly delighted if we find an area of general agreement, if we feel a friendly response concerning some important aspect of our life...

Achievements and Change (6)

Quite often, as life goes on, when we feel completely secure as we go on our way, we suddenly notice that we are trapped in error, that we have allowed ourselves to be taken in by individuals, by obj...

About Visitors (7)

I find it almost natural that we have all manner of things to criticize about visitors, and that when they leave we judge them not all that charitably; for in a way we have a right to measure them by...


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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays