Truth Quotes

** I’m a keen collector of quotations, & also pretty keen about truth-telling. Lots & lots of gems here!!

“Telling the truth is like making oxygen.” – Joanna Macy (in Toronto, June 19, 2009)

“There is not much truth being told in the world. There never was. This has proven to be a major disappointment to some of us.” – Anne Lamott in the prelude to Grace (Eventually) – Thoughts on Faith

“Acknowledging despair, on the other hand, involves nothing more mysterious than telling the truth about what we see and know and feel is happening to our world. When corporate-controlled media keep the public in the dark, and power-holders manipulate events to create a climate of fear and obedience, truth-telling is like oxygen. It enlivens and returns us to health and vigor.” – Joanna Macy, in this item, ‘The greatest danger.’

“It is truth that liberates, not your effort to be free.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Knowing nothing is cripping.jpg

“So, here's the truth about the truth. It hurts. So.... we lie.” – the character Meredith in an episode of the Netflix series Greys Anatomy (the end of season 2, episode 14)

“Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with the truth.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” – Soren Kierkegaard

2 ways to be fooled.jpg

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Sagan on truth copy.jpg

“If a thing is never spoken between people who know each other well, and each knows the thing well, maybe it’s not a secret. …. It’s a powerful thing, that ability to tell the truth when the truth is upon you, but it has another power entirely when you don’t tell it.” – Stephen Jenkinson in Die Wise – A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul

“Say what you know, do what you must, come what may.” – Sofia Kovalevskaya, 19th century Russian mathematician

“At twenty-one, I still believed that if you could only get to see the sunrise at Stonehenge, or full moon at the Taj Mahal, you would be nabbed by truth. And then you would be well, and able to relax and feel fully alive. But I actually knew a few true things. I had figured out that truth and freedom were pretty much the same. And that almost everyone was struggling to wake up, to be loved, and not feel so afraid all the time. That’s what the cars, degrees, booze, and drugs were about.” – Anne Lamott in the Prelude to Grace (Eventually) – Thoughts on Faith

“The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” – George Orwell

“4 Rules for Life:

  • Show up.

  • Pay attention.

  • Tell the truth.

  • Don’t be attached to the results.” – Angeles Arrien, U.S. teacher, author (1940 - )

“The truth is that we never conquered the world, never understood it; we only think we have control.  We do not even know why we respond a certain way to other organisms, and need them in diverse ways, so deeply.” – E.O. Wilson

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.  Concerning all acts of initiative, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance that no-one could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” ~ Goethe

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain

“The truth is, who we are is more important than what we do.  And who we are is: someone designed to be a blessing to this planet Earth.” – Richard Nelson Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute?

“It is the attempt to separate intellect from emotion that is monstrous...” – Anthropologist Gregory Bateson on the perils of relying too heavily upon the vaunted value-free truths of modern science (David Suzuki's words in Wisdom of the Elders

“Beauty is truth, beauty – that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.” – John Keats

“We have art in order not to perish of truth” – Nietzsche

“In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame, even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear not change or accident.” – Henry David Thoreau

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” – Schopenhauer

“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it.” – Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf

“I do contend that we have put poisonous and biologically potent chemicals into the hands of persons largely or wholly ignorant of their potentials for harm. When the public protests, confronted with some obvious evidence of damaging results of pesticide applications, it is fed little tranquilizing pills of half truth.” – Rachel Carson in Silent Spring

“Socialism collapsed because it did not allow prices to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow prices to tell the ecological truth.” – Doystein Dahle, former Exxon vice president for Norway and the North Sea

“In truth, we are each the weaver on the loom of our own making, weaving the weft of our affections and aspirations, antipathies and desires on the warp of our character that we have built through many lives, and which will be the foundation for incarnations to come.” – Grace F. Knoche, 1997

“Falsehood has an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being .” ~ Jean Jacques Rousseau

“The right to search for truth implies also a duty.” – Albert Einstein

“When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it. Always.” – Gandhi

“What magnifies a voice is its human character, its compassion, honesty, and intelligence, and against the weight of things as they are the best resource is the imaginative labor of trying to tell the truth.” – Lewis Lapham, Harper’s Magazine

“All great truths begin as blasphemies.” – George Bernard Shaw

“When in doubt, speak the truth.” – Mark Twain

“A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” – John F. Kennedy, former U.S. president

Journalist Bill Moyers: “The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free - not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism, and the answer to those faces looking back at me from those photographs on my desk. What we need to match the science of human health is what the ancient Israelites called ‘hocma’ - the science of the heart.....the capacity to feel....and then to if the future depended on you. Believe me, it does.”

“Never be discouraged from being an activist because people tell you that you will not succeed. You have already succeeded if you’re out there representing truth or justice or compassion or fairness or love.” – Doris Haddock (Granny D), who walked across America at the age of 89, to highlight the need for campaign finance reform

“The future belongs to those who truly love Earth, its seed and its children. It is a passion that will overcome the addictive death wish of our current greedy and reckless culture. I have always believed that life is stronger than death. Death only leads the way when we are kept in the dark… The truth will not be paralysing – it will set you free.” – Rosalie Bertell in Sweeping the Earth – Women Taking Action for a Healthy Planet

“There is nothing so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the application of a rough truth.” – Edward Bulwer-Lytton, writer (1803-1873)

“The intensist light of reason can not shed blazonings upon the deeper truths of man.” – Hermann Melville, quoted in Wishing Well – Making Your Every Wish Come True, by Paul Pearsall, Ph.D.

“The world is too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but love.” – William Sloane Coffin

“The open-minded see the truth in different things; the narrow-minded see only the differences.” – Source unknown

“The truth is that no combination of solar, wind & nuclear power, ethanol, biodiesel, tar sands & used French-fry oil will allow us to power Wal-Mart, Disney World & the interstate highway system or even a fraction of these things in the future. We have to make other arrangements.” ~ James Howard Kunstler, author of World Made by Hand, in an article published in the Washington Post on May 30th, 2008.

“Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit… No truth so sublime but it may be trivial tomorrow in the light of new thoughts.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Truth comes only to those who must have it, who want it badly enough. And gifts of healing come only to those willing to change.” – Doris Janzen Longacre in the Foreword to her book Living More with Less

“I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“What is laid down, ordered, factual is never enough to embrace the whole truth: life always spills over the rim of every cup.” – Boris Pasternak

“Our own life is the instrument with which we experiment with the truth.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn to us.” – Paul Valery

“Lies are infinite in number, and the truth so small and singular.” – from The Lacuna, a fascinating novel by Barbara Kingsolver (pg. 247)

“But people desire fair government. You say that constantly.”

“They want to believe in heroes, also. And villains. Especially when frightened. It’s less taxing than the truth.” – conversation between Trotsky & book’s main character, in The Lacuna, a fascinating novel by Barbara Kingsolver (pg. 244)

“We tell lies when we are afraid … afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.”  Science-fiction author Tad Williams, quoted in Deep Truth – Igniting the Memory of Our Origin, History, Destiny, and Fate, by Gregg Braden

“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.” – G. K. Chesterton

“Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.” – Buddha

“If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people.” – Virginia Woolf, 1882-1941

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

“Truth is the only safe ground to stand on.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton

 “Does the truth heal? Yes, because the truth sets my soul free in a world hungry for authentic soulfulness. One person speaking the truth emboldens the souls of others. Therefore, it is an act of healing to speak from my own true voice with love and conviction – to care less about what others think of me and more about what I know is good and right.” – Elizabeth Lesser in her book Marrow – Love, Loss, and What Matters Most (in the chapter ‘Same-Same, but Different’)

(& here are a few gems about lying, from a posting I did called 'Lies, Liars, Lying':

“We tell lies when we are afraid … afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” Science-fiction author Tad Williams, quoted in Deep Truth – Igniting the Memory of Our Origin, History, Destiny, and Fate, by Gregg Braden

“The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.” – George Bernard Shaw, Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 – 1950). (Hooey, now there’s a real zinger for you!)

“Of all the lies in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears.” – Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), English poet & writer

“Trust is not a renewable resource.” – Safecast, apparently. Though I cannot find it on their site. & yes, I get that the word truth is not involved here. But trust is totally related to truth. & when people (or institutions) lie routinely, how can they possibly expect us to trust them? I mean…?????

** Quotes about silence here. Yes. Lying - the opposite of truth - can involve silence as well as spoken words.

Silence is the voice of complicity.JPG