An aphorism is nothing else but the slightest
form of writing raised to the highest level of expressive communication. Carl William Brown






The most intellectual of men are moved quite as much by the circumstances which they are used to as by their own will. The active voluntary part of a man is very small, and if it were not economized by a sleepy kind of habit, its results would be null.


Walter Bagehot (1826-1977, British economist, critic)


The liberated man is not the one who is freed in his ideal reality, his inner truth, or his transparency; he is the man who changes spaces, who circulates, who changes sex, clothes, and habits according to fashion, rather than morality, and who changes opinions not as his conscience dictates but in response to opinion polls.


Jean Baudrillard (French postmodern philosopher, writer)


Whereas the Greeks gave to will the boundaries of reason, we have come to put the will's impulse in the very center of reason, which has, as a result, become deadly.


Albert Camus (1913-1960, French existential writer)


The will is never free -- it is always attached to an object, a purpose. It is simply the engine in the car -- it can't steer.


Joyce Cary (1888-1957, British author)


Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.


Aleister Crowley (1875-1947, British occultist)


God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.


Billy Graham (1918-, American evangelist)


A man may be a pessimistic determinist before lunch and an optimistic believer in the will's freedom after it.


Aldous Huxley (1894-1963, British author)


Fatalism, whose solving word in all crises of behavior is "All striving is vain," will never reign supreme, for the impulse to take life strivingly is indestructible in the race. Moral creeds which speak to that impulse will be widely successful in spite of inconsistency, vagueness, and shadowy determination of expectancy. Man needs a rule for his will, and will invent one if one be not given him.


William James (1842-1910, American psychologist, professor, author)


Man is a masterpiece of creation if for no other reason than that, all the weight of evidence for determinism notwithstanding, he believes he has free will.


Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799, German physicist, satirist)


We are all bound to the throne of the Supreme Being by a flexible chain which restrains without enslaving us. The most wonderful aspect of the universal scheme of things is the action of free beings under divine guidance.


Joseph De Maistre (1753-1821, French diplomat, philosopher)


I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


The strongest knowledge (that of the total freedom of the human will) is nonetheless the poorest in successes: for it always has the strongest opponent, human vanity.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it's remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver's license.


P. J. O'Rourke (1947-, American journalist)


Will power is only the tensile strength of one's own disposition. One cannot increase it by a single ounce.


Cesare Pavese (1908-1950, Italian poet, novelist, translator)


There are no galley-slaves in the royal vessel of divine love -- every man works his oar voluntarily!


St. Francis De Sales (1567-1622, Roman Catholic bishop, writer)


We defy augury. There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'Tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all.


William Shakespeare (1564-1616, British poet, playwright, actor)


We human beings do have some genuine freedom of choice and therefore some effective control over our own destinies. I am not a determinist. But I also believe that the decisive choice is seldom the latest choice in the series. More often than not, it will turn out to be some choice made relatively far back in the past.


Arnold Toynbee (1852-1883, British economic historian and social reformer)


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