capacity of humans to exercise introspection and to attempt to learn more about their fundamental nature, essence and limitations
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Reflection can refer to many forms of contemplation, meditation, introspection or observation.


  • REFLECTION, n. An action of the mind whereby we obtain a clearer view of our relation to the things of yesterday and are able to avoid the perils that we shall not again encounter.
  • When we see a great man desiring power instead of his real goal we soon recognize that he is sick, or more precisely that his attitude to his work is sick. He overreaches himself, the work denies itself to him, the incarnation of the spirit no longer takes place, and to avoid the threat of senselessness he snatches after empty power. This sickness casts the genius on to the same level as those hysterical figures who, being by nature without power, slave for power, in order that they may enjoy the illusion that they are inwardly powerful, and who in this striving for power cannot let a pause intervene, since a pause would bring with it the possibility of self-reflection and self-reflection would bring collapse.
  • The next time you go out to a smoking party, young feller, fill your pipe with that 'ere reflection.
  • Grace causes the Christian to act, reason the philosopher. Other men are carried away by their passions, their actions not being preceded by reflection: these are the men who walk in darkness. On the other hand, the philosopher, even in his passions, acts only after reflection; he walks in the dark, but by a torch.
    • Denis Diderot in the article on Philosophy, Vol. 25, p. 667, in L'Encyclopédie (1751 - 1766).
  • The action of freedom, through which the form turns into the form of the form as its content and returns into itself, is called "reflection."
    • Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Complete Works, volume 1, p. 67, as translated in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings: Volume 1, 1913-1926 (1996), p. 122.
  • The solitary side of our nature demands leisure for reflection upon subjects on which the dash and whirl of daily business, so long as its clouds rise thick about us, forbid the intellect to fasten itself.
  • Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company, and reflection must finish him.
    • John Locke, as quoted in The Book-Lover's Enchiridion (1884) by Alexander Ireland, p. 94.
  • To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.
    • Henri Poincaré in Preface, Dover abridged edition (1952), p. xxii, in Science and Hypothesis (1901).
  • For take thy ballaunce if thou be so wise,
    And weigh the winde that under heaven doth blow;
    Or weigh the light that in the east doth rise;
    Or weigh the thought that from man's mind doth flow.
    • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1589-96), Book V, Canto II, Stanza 43.
  • A soul without reflection, like a pile
    Without inhabitant, to ruin runs.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night V, line 596.

See also

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