Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

About Visitors

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 our own standards. In such cases even sensible and fair-minded people can hardly refrain from sharp censure.
If we, however, have been visiting others and have seen them in their setting, in their ways, in their necessary unavoidable circumstances, how they operate or how they fit in, then we really must be obtuse and malevolent if we find laughable what in more senses than one should appear venerable.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in "Maxims and Thoughts"


On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
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."