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





We cannot remember too often that when we observe nature, and especially the ordering of nature, it is always ourselves alone we are observing.


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


What is called an acute knowledge of human nature is mostly nothing but the observer's own weaknesses reflected back from others.


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


The Laws of Nature are just, but terrible. There is no weak mercy in them. Cause and consequence are inseparable and inevitable. The elements have no forbearance. The fire burns, the water drowns, the air consumes, the earth buries. And perhaps it would be well for our race if the punishment of crimes against the Laws of Man were as inevitable as the punishment of crimes against the Laws of Nature -- were Man as unerring in his judgments as Nature.


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1819-1892, American poet)


Lightning is the shorthand of a storm, and tells of chaos.


Eric MacKay


There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life -- happiness, freedom and peace of mind -- are always attained by giving them to someone else.


General Peyton C. March


It is absolutely impossible to transcend the laws of nature. What can change in historically different circumstances is only the form in which these laws expose themselves.


Karl Marx (1818-1883, German political theorist, social philosopher)


Men have an extraordinarily erroneous opinion of their position in nature; and the error is ineradicable.


W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965, British novelist, playwright)


The tendency of human nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards. All people have this tendency to good, just as all water flows downwards. Now, by striking water and causing it to leap up, you may make it go over your forehead, and, by damming and leading it, you may force it up a hill;  -- but are such movements according to the nature of water? It is just the force applied that causes them. When people are made to do what is not good, their nature is being dealt with in this same way.


Mencius (Mengzi Meng-tse) (c.370-300 BC,  Chinese philosopher)


It is easy to replace man, and it will take no great time, when Nature has lapsed, to replace Nature.


Alice Meynell (1847-1922, British poet, essayist)


Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.


John Stuart Mill (1806-1873, British philosopher, economist)


Man has demonstrated that he is master of everything -- except his own nature.


Henry Miller (1891-1980, American author)


I have never, in all my various travels, seen but two sorts of people I mean men and women, who always have been, and ever will be, the same. The same vices and the same follies have been the fruit of all ages, though sometimes under different names.


Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762, British society figure, letter writer)


Let Nature have her way; she understands her business better than we do.


Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.


John Muir (1838-1914, Lothian born American naturalist, conservationist)


If winds are the spirit of the sky's ocean, the clouds are the texture. Theirs is easily the most uninhibited dominion of the earth. Nothing in physical shape is too fantastic for them. They can be round as apples or as fine as string, as dense as a jungle, as wispy as a whiff of down, as mild as puddle water or as potent as the belch of a volcano. Some are thunderous anvils formed by violent updrafts from the warm earth. Some are ragged coattails of storms that have passed. Some are stagnant blankets of warm air resting on cold. I have seen clouds in the dawn that looked like a pink sultan with his pale harem maidens and a yellow slob of eunuch lolling impotent in the background.


Guy Murchie


Let us beware of saying there are laws in nature. There are only necessities: there is no one to command, no one to obey, no one to transgress. When you realize there are no goals or objectives, then you realize, too, that there is no chance: for only in a world of objectives does the word "chance" have any meaning.


Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900, German philosopher)


Our nature consist in motion; complete rest is death.


Blaise Pascal (1623-1662, French scientist, religious philosopher)


Touching the earth equates to having harmony with nature.


Native American Proverb (Sayings of Native American origin)


When a man moves from nature, his heart becomes hard.


Native American Proverb (Sayings of Native American origin)


Man, as he is, is not a genuine article. He is an imitation of something, and a very bad imitation.


Peter Demianovich Ouspensky (1878-1947, Russian philosopher)


Human nature is not of itself vicious.


Thomas Paine (1737-1809, Anglo-American political theorist, writer)


Nature is an infinite sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.


Blaise Pascal (1623-1662, French scientist, religious philosopher)


Nature is unfair? So much the better, inequality is the only bearable thing, the monotony of equality can only lead us to boredom.


Francis Picabia (1878-1953, French painter, poet)


Nature uses human imagination to lift her work of creation to even higher levels.


Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936, Italian author, playwright)


All nature is but art unknown to thee.


Alexander Pope (1688-1744, British poet, critic, translator)


No sight is more provocative of awe than is the night sky.


Llewelyn Powys (1884-1939, British essayist, novelist)


The house roof fights the rain, but the person who is sheltered ignores it.


African Proverb (Sayings of African origin)


In nature, there is no such thing as a lawn.


Albanian Proverb


Human nature is the same all the world over.


American Proverb (Sayings of American origin)


Nature is the true law.


English Proverb (Sayings of British origin)


The person in a hurry usually arrives late.


Georgian Proverb


Nature breaks through the eyes of the cat.


Irish Proverb (Sayings of Irish origin)


Meanings, moods, the whole scale of our inner experience finds in nature the "correspondence" through which we may know our boundless selves.


Kathleen Raine


Of all the things that oppress me, this sense of the evil working of nature herself -- my disgust at her barbarity -- clumsiness -- darkness -- bitter mockery of herself -- is the most desolating.


John Ruskin (1819-1900, British critic, social theorist)


The sky is the part of creation in which nature has done for the sake of pleasing man.


John Ruskin (1819-1900, British critic, social theorist)


Nature, who for the perfect maintenance of the laws of her general equilibrium, has sometimes need of vices and sometimes of virtues, inspires now this impulse, now that one, in accordance with what she requires.


Marquis De Sade (1740-1814, French author)


My nature is subdued to what it works in, like the dyer's hand.


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


Could we know what men are most apt to remember, we might know what they are most apt to do.


George Savile


From our earliest hour we have been taught that the thought of the heart, the shaping of the rain-cloud, the amount of wool that grows on a sheep's back, the length of a drought, and the growing of the corn, depend on nothing that moves immutable, at the heart of all things; but on the changeable will of a changeable being, whom our prayers can alter. To us, from the beginning, Nature has been but a poor plastic thing, to be toyed with this way or that, as man happens to please his deity or not; to go to church or not; to say his prayers right or not; to travel on a Sunday or not. Was it possible for us in an instant to see Nature as she is -- the flowing vestment of an unchanging reality?


Olive Schreiner


If you live according to the dictates of nature, you will never be poor; if according to the notions of man, you will never be rich.


Marcus Annaeus Seneca (BC 3-65 AD, Roman philosopher, dramatist, statesman)


How quickly nature falls into revolt, when gold becomes her object!


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


There is nothing that can be changed more completely than human nature when the job is taken in hand early enough.


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950, Irish-born British dramatist)


Only nature knows how to justly proportion to the fault the punishment it deserves.


Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822, British poet)


See one promontory, one mountain, one sea, one river and see all.


Socrates (BC 469-399, Greek philosopher of Athens)


See one promontory, one mountain, one sea, one river and see all.


Socrates (BC 469-399, Greek philosopher of Athens)


Nature in America has always been suspect, on the defensive, cannibalized by progress. In America, every specimen becomes a relic.


Susan Sontag (1933-, American essayist)


All breathing, existing, living, sentient creatures should not be slain nor treated with violence, nor abused, nor tormented, nor driven away. This is the pure unchangeable law.




The sun will set without thy assistance.


The Talmud (BC 500?-400? AD, Jewish archive of oral tradition)


I know no subject more elevating, more amazing, more ready to the poetical enthusiasm, the philosophical reflection, and the moral sentiment than the works of nature. Where can we meet such variety, such beauty, such magnificence?


James Thomson (1700-1748, Scottish poet)


We can never have enough of nature. We must be refreshed by the sight of inexhaustible vigor, vast and titanic features, the sea-coast with its wrecks, the wilderness with its living and its decaying trees, the thunder-cloud, and the rain which lasts three weeks and produces freshets. We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862, American essayist, poet, naturalist)


It is an enduring truth, which can never be altered, that every infraction of the Law of nature must carry its punitive consequences with it. We can never get beyond that range of cause and effect.


Thomas Troward


However much you knock at nature's door, she will never answer you in comprehensible words.


Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883, Russian author)


There is a great deal of human nature in people.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Warm summer sun, shine kindly here. Warm southern wind, blow softly here. Green sod above, lie light, lie light. Good night, dear Heart, Good night, good night.


Mark Twain (1835-1910, American humorist, writer)


Give a small boy a hammer and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.


Author Unknown


It is a pleasure to give advice, humiliating to need it, normal to ignore it.


Author Unknown


It is almost impossible to smile on the outside without feeling better on the inside.


Author Unknown


Nature surpasses nurture.


Author Unknown


The exact sciences also start from the assumption that in the end it will always be possible to understand nature, even in every new field of experience, but that we may make no a prior assumptions about the meaning of the word understand.


Author Unknown


The law of nature is the strictest expression of necessity.


Author Unknown


Too many people confine their exercise to jumping to conclusions, running up bills, stretching the truth, bending over backward, lying down on the job, sidestepping responsibility and pushing their luck.


Author Unknown


Our task is not to rediscover nature but to remake it.


Raoul Vaneigem (1934-, Belgian situationist philosopher)


The law cannot equalize mankind in spite of nature.


Marquis De Vauvenargues (1715-1747, French moralist)


The nature of peoples is first crude, then severe, then benign, then delicate, finally dissolute.


Giambattista Vico (1688-1744, Italian philosopher, historian)


After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, and so on -- have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear -- what remains? Nature remains.


Walt Whitman (1819-1892, American poet)


I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars.


Walt Whitman (1819-1892, American poet)


The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes. Change is the one quality we can predicate of it. The systems that fail are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development. The error of Louis XIV was that he thought human nature would always be the same. The result of his error was the French Revolution. It was an admirable result.


Oscar Wilde (1856-1900, British author, wit)


Really I don't like human nature unless all candied over with art.


Virginia Woolf (1882-1941, British novelist, essayist)


For I have learned to look on nature, not as in the hour of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes the still, sad music of humanity.


William Wordsworth (1770-1850, British poet)


Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.


William Wordsworth (1770-1850, British poet)


She seemed a thing that could not feel the touch of earthly years.


William Wordsworth (1770-1850, British poet)


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