Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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

Liberal Ideas

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-enclosed, so as to fulfil its God-given mission of being productive. Still less is a concept allowed to be liberal; for its comission is completely different. But where we have to look for liberality is in people's attitudes and these are their feelings come to life. Attitudes, however, are seldom liberal because an attitude springs directly from the person, his immediate context and his needs.

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."