A Calendar of Wisdom

A Calendar of Wisdom (Russian: Круг чтения, Krug chtenia), or Path of life or A Cycle of Readings or Wise Thoughts for Every Day is a collection of insights and wisdom compiled by Leo Tolstoy between 1903 and 1910.

QuotesEdit

as translated by P. Sekirin (1997)
Each page has a date at the top, with the intention that one page will be read each day.
When aphorisms are loosely based on other thinkers, Tolstoy indicates this by including their names. This is preserved in the quotes below.
  • When I translated thoughts by German, French, or Italian thinkers, I did not strictly follow the original, usually making it shorter and easier to understand, and omitting some words. ... In some cases I even express the thought entirely in my own words. I did this because the purpose of my book is not to give exact, word-for-word translations of thoughts created by other authors, but to use the great and fruitful intellectual heritage created by different writers to present for a wide reading audience an easily accessible, everyday circle of reading which will arouse their best thought and feelings.
    • Introduction
  • I hope the readers of this book may experience the same benevolent and elevating feeling which I have experienced when I was working on its creation, and which I experience again and again, when I reread it every day, working on the enlargement and improvement of the previous edition.
    • Introduction
  • The difference between real material poison and intellectual poison is that most material poison is disgusting to the taste, but intellectual poison, which takes the form of cheap newspapers or bad books, can unfortunately sometimes be attractive.
    • January 1.
  • Those who know the rules of true wisdom are baser than those who love them. Those who love them are baser than those who follow them.
    • “Chinese proverb,” January 3.
  • Knowledge is real knowledge only when it is acquired by the efforts of your intellect, not by memory.
    • January 9.
  • Only when we forget what we are taught do we start to have real knowledge.
    • Thoreau, January 9.
  • A constant flow of thoughts expressed by other people can stop and deaden your own thought and your own initiative. ... That is why constant learning softens your brain. ... Stopping the creation of your own thoughts to give room for the thoughts from books reminds me of Shakespeare's remark about his contemporaries who sold their land in order to see other countries.
    • Schopenhauer, January 9.
  • Read less, study less, but think more.
    • January 9.
  • Learn from your teachers and from the books you read only those things which you really need and really want to know.
    • January 9.
  • Perfection is impossible without humility. Why should I strive for perfection, if I am already good enough?
    • January 11.
  • The most important feature of Christ's character was ... his confidence in the greatness of the human soul.
    • paraphrasing William Ellery Channing, A Calendar of Wisdom, January 11.
  • We would think a man insane who, instead of covering his house with a roof and putting windows in his window frames, goes out in stormy weather, and scolds the wind, the rain, and the clouds. But we all do the same when we scold and blame the evil in other people instead of fighting the evil which exists in us. It is possible to get rid of the evil inside of us, as it is possible to make a roof and windows for our house. This is possible. But it is not possible for us to destroy evil in this world, just as we cannot order the weather to change and the clouds to disappear. If, instead of teaching others, we would educate and improve ourselves, then there would be less evil in this world, and all people would live better lives.
    • January 21.
  • It seems to us that the most important work in the world is the work which we can see: building a house, plowing the land, feeding cattle, gathering fruits; and that the work which is invisible, the work done by our soul, is not important. But our invisible work at the improvement of our soul is the most important work in the world, and all other visible kinds of work are useful only when we do this major work.
    • January 21.
  • When people wanted to kill a bear in the ancient times, they hung a heavy log over a bowl of honey. The bear would push the log away in order to eat the honey. The log would swing back and hit the bear. The bear would become irritated and push the log even harder, and it would hit him harder in return. The would continue until the log killed the bear. People behave in the same way when they return evil of the evil they receive.
    • January 30.
  • An unbeliever says: “What is spirit? What I ate and what I enjoyed, this is what I posses, this is material and real!” And such a person, without thinking much, takes care only of the outer things, arranging in order only his own mean, dirty affairs; he becomes a liar, a snob, a slave, and does not feel any higher needs: freedom, truth, and love.
    • Alexander Arkhangelsky, February 1.
  • A man is free only when he lives in truth, and truth can be perceived only by the intellect.
    • February 4.
  • If you throw some nuts and cookies on a road, you will eventually see children come, pick them up, and start to argue and fight for them. Adults would not fight for such things. And even children would not pick up the nuts’ empty shells.
    For a wise man, the wealth, the glory and the rewards of this world are like sweets or empty shells on a road. Let the children pick them up and fight for them. Let them kiss the hands of the rich men, the rulers, and their servants. For the wise one, all these are but empty shells.
    • Epictetus, February 4.
  • Perhaps it is even more important to know what one should not think about than what one should think about.
    • February 5.
  • In order to change the nature of things, either within yourself or in others, one should change, not the events, but those thoughts which created whose events.
    • February 5.
  • If a man does not work at necessary and good things, then he will work at unnecessary and stupid things.
    • March 7.
  • Real wisdom is not the knowledge of everything, but the knowledge of which things in life are necessary, which are less necessary, and which are completely unnecessary to know. Among the most necessary knowledge is the knowledge of how to live well. ... At present, people study useless sciences, but forget to study this, the most important knowledge.
    • March 16.
  • A person who knows little likes to talk, and one who knows much mostly keeps silent. This is because a person who knows little thinks that everything he knows is important, and wants to tell everyone. A person who knows much also knows that there is much more he doesn’t know. That’s why he speaks only when it is necessary to speak, and when he is not asked questions, he keeps his silence.
    • Rousseau, March 16.
  • If you want to correct your own failings, you do not have the time to waste in blaming other people.
    • March 18.
  • When you are in company, do not forget what you have found out when you were thinking in solitude; and when you are meditating in solitude, think about what you found out by communicating with other people.
    • March 28.
  • Science can be divided into an infinite number of disciplines, and the amount of knowledge that can be pursued in each discipline is limitless. The most critical piece of knowledge, then, is the knowledge of what is essential to learn and what isn’t.
    • April 1.
  • Spiritual effort and the joy that comes from understanding life go hand in hand like physical exertion and rest. Without physical exertion, there is no joy in rest; without spiritual effort, there can be no joyful understanding of life.
    • April 2.
  • Life could be limitless joy, if we would only take it for what it is, in the way it is given to us.
    • April 4.
  • A truly wise man is always joyful.
    • April 4.
  • When joy disappears, look for your mistake.
    • April 4.
  • People involve themselves in countless activities which they consider to be important, but they forget about one activity which is more important and necessary than any other, and which includes all other things: the improvement of their soul.
    • April 6.
  • When we treat our neighbors as they deserve to be treated, we make them even worse; when we treat them as if they were who we wish they were, we improve them.
    • Goethe, April 7.
  • One can deny Christ in various ways: one can blaspheme rudely, or mock his greatness. But such ways are not dangerous. ... But there is another way to deny Christ: this is when you call Him your master and you claim to follow His commandments, but you suppress any free thought by quoting his words, and disguise all stupidities, all mistakes, and all sins of the people in his name. This second way is the truly dangerous one.
    • April 8.
  • We live in this world like a child who enters a room where a clever person is speaking. The child did not hear the beginning of the speech, and he leaves before the end; and there are certain things which he hears but does not understand.
    • April 9.
  • What is important is not the quantity of your knowledge, but its quality. You can know many things without knowing that which is most important.
    • April18.
  • It is a mistake to think that there are times when you can safely address a person without love.
    • April 21.
  • In the same way as you cannot work with bees without being cautious, you cannot work with people without being mindful of their humanity.
    • April 21.
  • The worst mistake which was ever made in this world was the separation of political science from ethics.
    • Percy Bysshe Shelley, April 21.
  • Give thanks to God, who made necessary things simple, and complicated things unnecessary.
    • Gregory Skovoroda, April 23.
  • Most of our spending is done to forward our efforts to look like others.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson, April 23.
  • Every great thing is done in a quiet, humble, simple way— ... you cannot do such things when there are thunder and lightning around you. Great and true things are always simple and humble.
    • April 23.
  • A bad mood is often the reason for blaming others; but very often blaming others causes bad feelings in us: the more we blame others, the worse we feel.
    • April 27.
  • It seems that it is impossible to live without discovering the purpose of your life. And the first thing which a person should do is to understand the meaning of life. But the majority of people who consider themselves to be educated are proud that they have reached such great height that they cease to care about the meaning of existence.
    • April 30.
  • If you do not know your place in the world and the meaning of your life, you should know there is something to blame; and it is not the social system, or your intellect, but the way in which you have directed your intellect.
    • April 30.
  • He who sees his life as a process of spiritual perfection does not fear external events.
    • May 1.
  • Clever people study in order to know more. Undeserving people study in order to be more known.
    • “Eastern Wisdom,” May 3.
  • Every person has only one purpose: to find perfection in goodness. Therefore, only that knowledge is necessary which leads to this.
    • May 3.
  • A person who tries to find good outside himself, wither in this life or in the one to come, is making a mistake.
    • May 7.
  • In the long run, there is only one subject worthy of study, and this is the different forms of transformation of the spirit.
    • Henri Amiel, May 10.
  • I can send my thoughts to many different people at once; they will cross the seas and they will go to different lands if there is God’s will, and the power of love and wisdom. My thoughts by themselves are a spiritual power; they can exist at the same time in thousands of places. My body, however, can only exist at one place at one time.
    • Lucy Malory, May 10.
  • A wise man sets requirements only for himself; an unwise man makes requirements for others.
    • “Chinese Wisdom,” May 13.
  • Only the truth which was acquired by your own thinking, through the efforts of your intellect, becomes a member of your own body, and only this truth really belongs to us.
    • Schopenhauer, May 13.
  • Fear nobody and nothing. That which is the most precious matter in you can be damaged by no one and by nothing.
    • May 14.
  • The quality of a really virtuous person is to be unknown to people, or misunderstood by people, but not to be disappointed by this.
    • “Chinese Wisdom,” May 17.
  • It only seems that people are busy with trade, with making agreements, negotiations and wars, science and the arts. There is in fact only one thing which people do; this is to search for the understanding of the moral law by which they live. And this understanding is not only the most important but the only real concern for all humankind.
    • May 19.
  • Your understanding of your inner self holds the meaning of your life.
    • May 20.
  • To be a person with high morals is to be a person with a liberated soul.
    • Confucius, May 20.
  • The growth of your desires is not the way to perfection, as many people think. To the contrary, the more a person limits himself, the better he can understand his human dignity, and the more free, the more brave he becomes.
    • May 23.
  • Very often, all the activity of the human mind is directed not in revealing the truth, but in hiding the truth.
    • May 27.
  • The court jury has, as it’s raison d’être, the task of preserving society as it exists now, and therefore, it persecutes and executes those who stand higher than the general level of society.
    • May 27.
  • People strive in this world, not for those things which are truly good, but for the possession of many things which they call their property.
    • May 30.
  • A person who has spoiled his stomach will criticize his meal saying that the food is bad; the same thing happens with people who are not satisfied with their lives.
    • May 31.
  • If it seems to us that we are not satisfied with life, we should see this as a reason to be unsatisfied with ourselves.
    • May 31.
  • Cruel people are busy all the time, as if to find justification for the cruelty of their dealings.
    • June 1.
  • He who is looking for wisdom is already wise; and he who thinks that he has found wisdom is a stupid man.
    • “Eastern Wisdom,” as cited in June 2.
  • The more respect that objects, customs, or laws are given, the more attentively you must question the right these things have to this respect.
    • June 4.
  • All material changes in our everyday life are small in comparison with those in our spiritual life.
    • June 11.
  • We regret losing a purse full of money, but a good thought which has come to us, which we’ve heard or read, a thought which we should have remembered and applied to our life, which could have improved the world—we lose this thought and promptly forget about it, and we do not regret it, although it is more precious than millions.
    • June 11.
  • The more strictly and mercilessly you judge yourself, the more just and kind you will be in the judgment of others.
    • Confucius, June 14.
  • A person who understands the law but who is far from the love of God is like a bank official who has the keys for the inside of the building but not the key for the front door.
    • The Talmud, June 15.
  • The commandments of God should be followed because of love of God, not because of fear of God.
    • The Talmud, June 15.
  • If you love a person without loving God, which is the goodness inside of him, then you plant the seeds for future disappointments and sufferings with this love.
    • June 15.
  • In order to feel complete love, we can either delude ourselves that some imperfect object of our love is “perfection” or we can love perfection, which is God.
    • June 15.
  • When you suffer, think not on how you can escape suffering, but concentrate your efforts on what kind of inner moral and spiritual perfection this suffering requires.
    • June 21.
  • I praise Christianity because it develops, strengthens, and elevates my intellectual nature.
    • William Ellery Channing, June 26.
  • In order not to pour out a vessel full of water, you should hold it evenly. In order to have a razor sharp, you should sharpen it. The same should happen with your soul if you are looking for real goodness.
    • Lao Tzu, June 27.
  • If there is something great in you, it will not appear on your first call. It will not appear and come to you easily, without any work and effort.
    • Emerson, June 27.
  • When everything you see appears in dark, gloomy shades, and seems baleful, and you want to tell others only bad and unpleasant things, do not trust your perceptions. Treat yourself as though you were drunk. Take no steps and actions until this state has disappeared.
    • June 29.
  • Instead of saving humanity, every person should save himself.
    • Alexander Herzen, June 30.
  • Every truth has its origin in God. When it is manifested in a man, this in not because it comes from him, but because he has such a quantity of transparency that he can reveal it.
    • Pascal, July 1.
  • Life is gives to us in the same way as a child is given to a nanny, so that is can be raised to maturity.
    • July 1.
  • A work of art makes a great impression on us only when it gives us something which, even with all the efforts of our intellect, we cannot understand completely.
    • Schopenhauer, July 2.
  • You cannot do anything wonderful driven by competition; you cannot do anything noble from pride.
    • John Ruskin, July 2.
  • Real science studies and makes accessible that knowledge which people at that period of history think important, and real art transfers this truth from the domain of knowledge to the domain of feelings.
    • July 2.
  • When you have no freedom, then your life becomes the life of an animal.
    • Giuseppe Mazzini, July 3.
  • A person has done evil, so another person, or a group of people, in order to fight this evil, cannot think of anything better than to create another evil, which they call punishment.
    • July 4.
  • Every punishment is based, not on logic or the feeling of justice, but on the desire to wish evil on those who have done evil to you or to another person.
    • July 4.
  • Everything about our present system of punishments and about all criminal law will be thought of by future generations in the same way that we think of cannibalism or human sacrifice to the pagan gods. “How did they not see the uselessness and cruelty of those things which they did?” our descendents will say about us.
    • July 4.
  • Follow the best way of life you possibly can, and habit will make this way suitable and pleasant to you.
    • July 5.
  • Pay bad people with you goodness; fight their hatred with you kindness. Even if you do not achieve victory over other people, you will conquer yourself.
    • Henri Amiel, July 8.
  • Do not fear the lack of knowledge, fear false knowledge.
    • July 9.
  • In the world today, real faith has in most case been re-placed by public opinion.
    • July 10.
  • Wise consumption is much more complicated than wise production.
    • July 13.
  • A person is higher than an animal because of his ability to speak, but he is lower than an animal if he cannot properly use this ability.
    • Muslih-Ud-Din Saadi, July 16.
  • Those people speak most who do not have much to say.
    • July 16.
  • People know little, because they try to understand those things which are not open to them for understanding: God, eternity, spirit; or those things which are not worth thinking about: how hot water becomes frozen, or a new theory of numbers, or how viruses can transmit illnesses. How to live your life is the only real knowledge.
    • July 27.
  • Repentance always precedes perfection.
    • July 28.
  • As rules go, “You should behave just as other people behave” is among the most dangerous; it almost always results in your behaving badly.
    • La Bruyère, August 7.
  • For the majority of mankind, religion is a habit, or, more precisely, tradition is their religion. Though it seems strange, I think that the first step to moral perfection is your liberation from the religion in which you were raised. Not a single person has come to perfection except by following this way.
    • Thoreau, August 8.
  • If we think every word in every holy book is true, then we have created an idol.
    • August 8.
  • If you suffer misfortunes in your life, look for their cause, not in your actions, but in the thoughts which inspired them, and try to improve these thoughts.
    • August 9.
  • You should not be upset by the sight of wisdom being criticized. Wisdom would not be wisdom if it did not reveal the stupidity of a bad life, and people would not be people if they endured this revelation without criticism.
    • August 13.
  • One hour of honest, serious thinking is more precious than weeks spent in empty talk.
    • August 21.
  • Mysterious language is not a sign of wisdom. The wiser a person is, the simpler the language he uses to express his thoughts.
    • Lucy Mallory, as sited in ** August 22.
  • Justice is achieved not in striving for justice, but with love.
    • August 26.
  • In order to be just, you should make a self-sacrifice, be unjust to yourself.
    • August 26.
  • A person who knows all sciences but does not know himself is a poor and ignorant person.
    • August 27.
  • When you feel the desire for power, you should stay in solitude for some time.
    • Thoreau, August 27.
  • The way to fame goes thorough the palaces, the way to happiness does through the markets, the way to virtue goes through the deserts.
    • “Chinese Proverb,” August 27.
  • As soon as the higher ideal is put before us, all false ideals will fade away as the stars fade away when they meet the sun.
    • August 30.
  • The creation and sale of most art today is pure prostitution.
    • August 31.
  • Real art can only rarely be created even by a real artist; like a child in a mother’s womb, it is the ripened fruit of his prior life. False art, though, can be ceaseless produced by craftsmen, according to the dictates of a market.
    • August 31.
  • True art comes out of an artist’s urgent need to express the feelings that have formed inside him, just as a mother needs to give birth to her baby. False art answers only to profit.
    • August 31.
  • You [may] not sell your talent, your genius; as soon as you do, you are a prostitute. You [may] sell your work, but not your soul.
    • John Ruskin, August 31.
  • Until they throw the money changers out of the temple of art, it will never be a real temple.
    • August 31.
  • Soldiers who stand idle in a shelter during a battle as reinforcements will try to involve themselves in almost any activity in order to distract themselves from the impending danger. It seems to me that people who want to save themselves from life behave like these soldiers: some distract themselves with vanity, some with cards, politics, laws, women, gambling, horses, hunting, wine, or state affairs.
    • September 1.
  • The closer people are to the truth, the more tolerant they are of the mistakes of others.
    • September 2.
  • Goodness lies in constantly striving for perfection.
    • September 4.
  • The further you progress, the higher the ideal of perfection toward which you strive rises.
    • September 4.
  • The strongest proof that in the name of “science” we pursue unworthy and sometimes even harmful things is the existence of a science of punishment.
    • September 5.
  • People jump back and forth in pursuit of pleasures only because they see the emptiness of their lives more clearly than they do the emptiness of whichever new entertainment attracts them.
    • Pascal, September 6.
  • A misconception remains a misconception, even when it is shared by the majority of people.
    • September 6.
  • There is a condition in which a person feels himself the architect of his life. It occurs when he concentrates all his efforts and all his intellect on the present moment.
    • September 7.
  • Science fulfills its purpose, not when it explains the reasons for the dark spots on the sun, but when it understands and explains the laws of our own life, and the consequences of violating these laws.
    • John Ruskin, September 9.
  • No matter how great our knowledge may be, it cannot help us fulfill our life’s major purpose—our moral perfection.
    • September 9.
  • The love of great wealth commands you, “Bring me your soul as a sacrifice,” and people do so.
    • Saint John Chrysostom, September 12.
  • Excessive dress prevents the body from moving freely. Excessive wealth interferes with the movements of our soul.
    • September 12.
  • You should treat your thoughts the way you treat yourself, and treat your wishes the way you treat your children.
    • “Chinese Wisdom,” September 13.
  • The more upset a person is with other people, and with circumstances, and the more satisfied he is with himself, the further he is from wisdom.
    • September 13.
  • Our life would become wonderful if we could see all the disgusting things which exist in it.
    • Thoreau, September 14.
  • In real life illusions can only transform our life for a moment, but in the domain of thoughts and the intellect, misconceptions may be accepted as truth for thousands of years, and make a laughingstock of whole nations, mute the noble wishes of mankind, make slaves from people and lie to them. These misconceptions are the enemies with which the wisest men in the history of mankind try to struggle. The force of truth is great, but its victory is difficult.
    • Schopenhauer, September 15.
  • A person cries out from pain when he takes up hard physical work after a period of idleness. Any rest from the struggle for spiritual improvement brings the same pain.
    • September 20.
  • We cannot prevent birds from flying over our heads, but we can keep them from making nests on top of our heads. Similarly, bad thoughts sometimes appear in our mind, but we can choose whether we allow them to live there, to create a nest for themselves, and to breed evil deeds.
    • Martin Luther, September 21.
  • Do not fear the lack of knowledge, but truly fear unnecessary knowledge which is acquired only to please vanity.
    • September 23.
  • It is not enough to be a hardworking person. Think: what do you work at?
    • Thoreau, September 25.
  • All thinking beings have the same basic intellect. Therefore, all wise men share the same idea of perfection.
    • Marcus Aurelius, September 26.
  • If you see that you are not behaving according to your inner desires, but because of some outer influence, stop and consider whether what drives you is good or bad.
    • September 28.
  • A sage ... is afraid of only one thing—to pretend to know the things which he does not know.
    • October 1.
  • Wealth will no give you satisfaction. The more your wealth grows, the more your requirements grow with it.
    • October 3.
  • It is difficult if not impossible to find some reasonable limit for acquiring more and more property.
    • Schopenhauer, October 3.
  • There are two ways not to suffer from poverty. The first is to acquire more wealth. The second is to limit your requirements. The first is not always within our power, but the second is always in our power.
    • October 3.
  • Your spirit must constantly assert itself because you body is constantly exerting itself.
    • October 5.
  • People are taught how to speak, but their major concern should be how to keep silent.
    • October 14.
  • Let your tongue become accustomed to the words “I do not know.”
    • “Eastern Wisdom,” October 14.
  • Who am I? What should I do? What should I believe in? What should I hope for? All of philosophy is in these question, said the philosopher Lichtenberg. But among all these question, the most important one is that which is in the middle. If a person knows what de should do, he will understand everything which he should know.
    • October 19.
  • Compassion expressed in response to rage is the same as water for fire. When you are in a rage, try to feel compassion for the other person, and then your rage will disappear.
    • “After Arthur Schopenhauer” October 24.
  • A king asked a holy man, “Do you remember about me?” The holy man answered, “Yes, I think about you when I forget about God.”
    • Muslih-ud-din Saadi, October 25.
  • Those who do not think independently are under the influence of somebody else who thinks for them. If you give your thoughts to somebody else, it is a more shameful slavery than if you give you body to someone to possess.
    • October 29.
  • People say that God created mankind after his image. This means that man created God after his image.
    • Lichtenberg, October 31.
  • The first and most difficult obstruction to the fulfillment of the law of God is that fact that our society’s existing laws are completely opposed to this law.
    • November 3.
  • The more urgently you want to speak, the more likely it is that you will say something foolish.
    • November 4.
  • Those who are lighthearted remind me of death.
    • “Buddhist Wisdom,” November 5.
  • There are many people who claim to be teachers of others who should themselves be taught first of all.
    • “Eastern Wisdom,” November 9.
  • The most important thing in life is the path to perfection, and what kind of perfection can exist if a person is proud and satisfied with himself?
    • November 9.
  • Outer consequences are not in our power to control; it is only possible to make an effort, and inner consequences always follow from our effort.
    • November 11.
  • The first rule of achieving goodness is this: think only about self-perfection.
    • “Chinese wisdom,” November 13.
  • It is harmful to eat if you are not hungry. it is even worse to have sex if you lack desire. But even more harmful is to try to think when you do not wish to, or to be engaged in meaningless intellectual activity. Many people do so when they want to improve their position.
    • November 14.
  • What is important in knowledge is not quantity, but quality. It is important to know what knowledge is significant, what is less so, and what is trivial.
    • November 14.
  • Why should a person be rich? Why should he have expensive horses, rich clothes, wonderful rooms, and the leisure to visit public places of entertainment? Because he does not have enough thoughts to accompany his intellect. Give this person the inner work of his intellect, and he will be happier than the richest man.
    • Emerson, November 15.
  • It is not a virtue, but a kind of deceitful similitude, to fulfill our duty for the purpose of its reward.
    • Cicero, November 18.
  • Persecution is precious because it reveal whether a person lives with real faith.
    • November 20.
  • Your whole life should be lived as a heroic deed.
    • November 21.
  • I am the tool with which God works. My virtue is to participate in this work, and I can do so if I keep the instrument which is given to me, namely my soul, in immaculate condition.
    • November 21.
  • It is as wrong for one person to rule many as for many to rule one.
    • Vladimir Chertkov, November 22.
  • Our soul’s perfection is our life’s purpose; any other purpose, keeping death in mind, has no substance.
    • November 23.
  • Until such time as people reject the power of government to govern, to legislate, and to punish, war will never stop.
    • November 25.
  • Just as one candle lights another and can light thousands of other candles, so one heart illuminates another heart and can illuminate thousands of other hearts.
    • November 26.
  • Beware of those who want to convince you that it is impossible to strive for good just because it is impossible to reach perfection.
    • John Ruskin, November 26.
  • What is important is not the length of life, but the depth of life. What is important is not to make life longer, but to take your soul out of time, as every sublime act does.
    • November 28.
  • People who try to force circumstances become their slaves.
    • The Talmud, November 30.
  • Emerson said that music helps people to find the greatness in their souls. The same can be said about any form of art.
    • December 3.
  • Religion and law try to escape from criticism, religion by saying that it is divine and law by showing that it is powerful.
    • Kant, December 5.
  • Ignorance cannot lead to evil, misconceptions lead to evil. It is not what people do know, it’s what they pretend they do.
    • Rousseau, December 6.
  • Every misconception is a poison: there are no harmless misconceptions.
    • Schopenhauer, December 6.
  • To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the ill in the hospital—these are acts of mercy, but there is one charitable deed which cannot be compared to them: to free your brother from misconception.
    • December 6.
  • One of the major obstacles impeding any positive future change in our lives is that we are too busy with our current work or activity.
    • John Ruskin, December 10.
  • False shame ... is even worse than false pride. Pride can support evil, but false shame stops goodness.
    • John Ruskin, December 10.
  • Only misconceptions need to be supported by elaborate arguments. Truth can always stand alone.
    • December 15.
  • All goodness is as nothing compared to the goodness of truth; all sweets are an nothing compared to the sweetness of truth. The bliss of truth surpasses all other joys in the world.
    • “Buddhist Wisdom,” December 15.
  • They who have decided to dedicate their lives to spiritual perfection will never be dissatisfied or unhappy, because all that they want is in their power.
    • Pascal, December 19.
  • At the highest level of consciousness, an individual is alone. Such solitude can seem strange, unusual, even difficult. Foolish people try to escape it by means of various dissipations in order to get away from this high point, to some lower point, but wise people remain at this high point, with the help of prayer.
    • December 21.

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Last modified on 11 April 2013, at 11:42