combat writing badge C O M B A T
the Literary Expression of Battlefield Touchstones
ISSN 1542-1546 Volume 01 Number 03 Summer ©Jul 2003

Analects on Truth
Analecta Veritas

[bef AD900; deriv ME treuthe, OE treowth loyal or trustworthy; cf: trow to believe or think.]
1. the true state of a matter or its actual condition. 2. conformity with fact or reality; verity. 3. a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like. 4. the state or character of being true. 5. actuality or actual existence. 6. an obvious or accepted fact; truism. 7. honesty; integrity. 8. ideal or fundamental reality apart from and transcending perceived experience. 9. agreement with a standard or original. 10. accuracy, as of position or adjustment. 11. [archaic] fidelity or constancy. 12. [in truth] in reality; in fact; in actuality; actually. [nb: Medieval alchemists and soothsayers were often referred to as "puffers" to distinguish their bogus propositions from the true knowledge and science of philosophers.]

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32 Bible

The truth, it endureth, and is always strong; it liveth and conquereth for evermore.
I Esdras 4:38 Apocrypha (cf: Ezra at Douay Bible)

Great is truth, and mighty above all things.
I Esdras 4:41 Apocrypha (cf: Ezra at Douay Bible)

Truth is tough.
by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr

There is nothing so powerful as truth — and often nothing so strange.
by Daniel Webster

Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne.
by James Russell Lowell

All men by nature desire knowledge.
by Aristotle

All genuine knowledge originates in direct experience.
by Mao Tse-Tung / Mao Zedong

All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.
by Walter Benjamin

All knowledge is ambiguous.
by J.S. Habgood

Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.
by W.B. Yeats

The most casual student of history knows that, as a matter of fact, truth does not necessarily vanquish [its opposition].... The cause of truth must be championed, and it must be championed dynamically.
by William F. Buckley Jr

Do the hardest thing in the world for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.
by Katherine Mansfield

An identity is questioned only when it is menaced, as when the mighty begin to fall, or when the wretched begin to rise, or when the stranger enters the gates, never, thereafter, to be a stranger .... Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self: in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one's nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned. This trust in one's nakedness is all that gives one the power to change one's robes.
by James Baldwin

A man may be in as just possession of truth as of a city, and yet be forced to Surrender.
by Sir Thomas Browne

Above all things truth beareth away the victory.
I Esdras 3:12 Apocrypha (cf: Ezra at Douay Bible)

Truth crushed to earth shall rise again.
by William Cullen Bryant

Truth is always the first casualty of war.
The first casualty of war is always truth.
variously attributed to Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides, or Thespis without citation

In war opinion is nine parts in ten.
by Jonathan "Isaac Bickerstaff" Swift

Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.
attributed to Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens]

In time of war the first casualty is truth.
by Boake Carter

Among the calamities of war may be justly numbered the diminution of the love of truth by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages. A peace will equally leave the warrior and the relator of wars destitute of employment; and I know not whether more is to be dreaded from streets filled with soldiers accustomed to plunder, or from garrets filled with scribblers accustomed to lie.
by Samuel Johnson [The Idler #11 (24 June 1758); later abridged in The Idler #30 (11 Nov 1758)]

Truth may be the first casualty of war, but perspective is the last and lingering corpse.

It is a pleasure to stand upon the shore, and to see ships tost upon the sea: a pleasure to stand in the window of a castle, and to see a battle and the adventures thereof below: but no pleasure is comparable to standing upon the vantage ground of truth ... and to see the errors, and wanderings, and mists, and tempests, in the vale below.
by Francis Bacon (Baron Verulam, Viscount Saint Albans)

So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for everything one has a mind to do.
by Benjamin Franklin

Scholarship is dear to me, but dearer still is truth.
attributed to Aristotle

The first casualty when war comes is truth.
by Hiram Johnson [attributed to 1918 senatorial speech, but not recorded in The Congressional Record]

There are truths which one can only say after having won the right to say them.
by Jean Cocteau

No man is prejudiced in favor of a thing knowing it to be wrong. He is attached to it on the belief of it being right.
by Thomas Paine

A truth that's told with bad intent / Beats all the lies you can invent.
by William Blake

Man associates ideas not according to logic or verifiable exactitude, but according to his pleasure and interests. It is for this reason that most truths are nothing but prejudices.
by Rémy de Gourmont

An idea isn't responsible for the people who believe in it.
by Donald Robert Perry "Don" Marquis

There is no prejudice so strong as that which arises from a fancied exemption from all prejudice.
by William Hazlitt

Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, ... meditate on these things.
Philippians 4:8 Bible

To die for an idea: it is unquestionably noble. But how much nobler would it be if men died for ideas that were true.
by H.L. Mencken

When I tell any truth it is not for the sake of convincing those who do not know it, but for the sake of defending those who do.
by William Blake

Whenever, therefore, people are deceived and form opinions wide of the truth, it is clear that the error has slid into their minds through the medium of certain resemblances to that truth.
by Socrates

Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
by Thomas Jefferson

You can't shoot an idea.
by Thomas E. Dewey

A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.
by John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Men are mortal; but ideas are immortal.
by Walter Lippman

To the living we owe respect, but to the dead we owe only the truth.
by Fran‡ois Marie Arouet Voltaire

Prejudices are so to speak the mechanical instincts of men: through their prejudices they do without any effort many things they would find too difficult to think through to the point of resolving to do them.
by G.C. Lichtenberg

A lie is an abomination unto the Lord and an ever present help in time of need.
by John A. Tyler Morgan [re: Panama Canal project]

Mendacity is the system we live in.
by Tennessee Williams

Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. Any man who has once proclaimed violence as his method is inevitably forced to take the lie as his principle.
by Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

No one has ever succeeded in keeping nations at war except by lies.
by Salvador de Madariaga

The first combat casualty is always the battle plan.
leadership maxim

When war is declared, truth is the first casualty.
by Arthur Ponsonby [epigraph to Falsehood in Wartime (1928)]

There are no whole truths; all truths are half-truths.
by Alfred North Whitehead

There are only half-truths, and one-and-a-half-truths.
attributed to Karl Kraus

Who dares / To say that he alone has found the truth?
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is.
by Nadine Gordimer

I died for beauty — but was scarce / Adjusted in the tomb / When one who died for truth was lain / In an adjoining room / ... / And so, as kinsmen, met at night, / We talked between the rooms / Until the moss had reached our lips / And covered up — our names.
by Emily E. Dickinson

History fades into fable; fact becomes clouded with doubt and controversy; the inscription molders from the tablet; the statue falls from the pedestal. Columns, arches, pyramids, what are they but heaps of sand; and their epitaphs, but characters written in the dust?
by Washington Irving

I consider the true history of the American Revolution, and the establishment of our present Constitution, as lost forever; and nothing but misrepresentations, or partial accounts of it, will ever be recovered.
by John Adams

No prepared picture, no elaborated poem, no after-narrative could be what the thing itself was.
by Walt Whitman

The time is not come for impartial history. If the truth were told just now, it would not be credited.
by Robert E. Lee

Future books will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background of countless minor scenes and [lurid] interiors (not the official surface courteousness of the generals, not the few great battles) of the Secession War; and it is best they should not. The real war will never get in the books.
by Walt Whitman

Between us no one is so tired of Confederate history as the Confederates — they do not want to tell the truth or to hear it.
by Varina Davis [25 March 1885 letter to Mary Boykin Chestnut]

In the mushy influences of current time, too, the fervid atmosphere and typical events of those years are in danger of being totally forgotten.
by Walt Whitman

The actual truth has never been written about any war, and this [Boxer Rebellion] will be no exception.
by George Lynch

A true account of the actual is the rarest poetry, for common sense always takes a hasty and superficial view.
by Henry David Thoreau

And, after all, what is a lie? 'Tis but / The truth in masquerade.
by Lord Byron [George Gordon]

Someone who always has to lie discovers that every one of his lies is true.
by Elias Canetti

To the rulers of the state then, if to any, it belongs of right to use falsehood, to deceive either enemies or their own citizens, for the good of the state: and no one else may meddle with this privilege.
by Plato

Someone who knows too much finds it hard not to lie.
by Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein

In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
by Winston L.S. Churchill

There is an old adage that the first casualty of war is the truth. If offering up this casualty can spare you real casualties in lives, it is worth sacrificing some truth. I heard it said the other day, by a very accomplished analyst of the Middle East, that this is not the time for too deep an analysis. There is something to be said for that: the focus must be on winning. Yet, it is still important to get basic assumptions right, and not to let certain untruths ... let us call them myths ... go unchecked for too long. Practicing certain economies of truth is supposed to handicap the enemy. But if these turn into our own myths, they could wind up handicapping us.
by Robert B. Satloff ["War on Terror: The Middle East Dimension" p17 (2002)]

Lies were the stuff from which armies built morale.
by Daniel Poling

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than from the arguments of its opposers.
by William Penn

In politics, yesterday's lie is attacked only to flatter today's.
by Jean Rostand

The truth is balance, but the opposite of truth, which is unbalance, may not be a lie.
by Susan Sontag

Such truth, as opposeth no man's profit, nor pleasure, is to all men welcome.
by Thomas Hobbes

In this world, only those people who have fallen to the lowest degree of humiliation, far below beggary, who are not just without any social consideration but are regarded by all as being deprived of that foremost human dignity, reason itself — only those people, in fact, are capable of telling the truth. All the others lie.
by Simone Weil

How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.
by Karl Kraus

When one is frightened of the truth ... then it is never the whole truth that one has an inkling of.
by Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein

Truth, but not the whole truth, must be the invariable principle of every man who hath either religion, honour, or prudence. Those who violate it, may be cunning, but they are not able. Lies and perfidy are the refuge of fools and cowards.
by Philip Dormer Stanhope (Lord Chesterfield)

It is always the best policy to speak the truth, unless of course you are an exceptionally good liar.
by Jerome K. Jerome [The Idler (Feb 1892)]

The best way to lie convincingly is to tell the truth unconvincingly.
by Robert A. Heinlein

As there is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it, so reasonable arguments, challenges to magnanimity, and appeals to sympathy or justice, are folly when we are dealing with human crocodiles and boa-constrictors.
by William James

The ultimate truth is penultimately always a falsehood. He who will be proved right in the end appears to be wrong and harmful before it.
by Arthur Koestler

All vital truth contains the memory of all that for which it is not true.
by D.H. Lawrence

When the truth is so well established and so highly venerated, so old and popular, so indisputable, it can hardly be distinguished from a lie.
paraphrase of Henrik Ibsen [act 4 An Enemy of the People]

There are no new truths, but only truths that have not been recognized by those who have perceived them without noticing. A truth is something that everybody can be shown to know and to have known, as people say, all along.
by Mary Terese McCarthy

Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process.
by William James

Truth is what stands the test of experience.
by Albert Einstein

The truth has never been of any real value to any human being — it is a symbol for mathematicians and philosophers to pursue. In human relations kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.
by Graham Greene

Some men, who imagine themselves witty or humorous, will utter a seeming truth only so as to effectively ridicule its context.
paraphrase of Philip Dormer Stanhope (Lord Chesterfield)

By the time you've been through enough hard times and bad experiences to know the truth, you don't care anymore ... all you want are your broken dreams restored.

We are in fact convinced that if we are ever to have pure knowledge of anything, we must get rid of the body and contemplate things by themselves with the soul by itself. It seems, to judge from the argument, that the wisdom which we desire and upon which we profess to have set our hearts will be attainable only when we are dead and not in our lifetime.
by Socrates

There can be no knowledge without emotion. We may be aware of a truth, yet until we have felt its force, it is not ours. To the cognition of the brain must be added the experience of the soul.
by Arnold Bennett

A man who believes in nothing is capable of anything.
by James Hynes

It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes. It may even lie on the surface; but we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course for us is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions — especially selfish ones.
by Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

How do you live a life made of nothing but lies? ... nothing but deceit and lies? If I don't believe in the same truths as you, it follows that I don't believe in the same lies. Don't you realize that you're living with lies too? Your own people have deceived you again and again. Your government is the greatest lie of all. Sometimes you have to deceive yourself.
by James Patterson

Truth is jagged, sharp, and menacing. In its fragmentary form, truth exists as small pieces that eventually extend themselves into a conglomerated whole. Lies share this piecemeal trait, except their fragmentary form must be endlessly adjusted to make each minor bit fit precisely into the larger matrix.

There are moments when very little truth would be enough to shape opinion. One might be hated at extremely low cost.
by Jean Rostand

Sometimes truth is a little overrated ... doesn't fit [with the authorized version of reality].
by Joseph Kanon [The Good German (2001)]

Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth, and every other man has a right to knock him down for it. Martyrdom is the test.
by Samuel Johnson

The first casualty of war is innocence.

If it were true what in the end would be gained? Nothing but another truth. Is this such a mighty advantage? We have enough old truths still to digest, and even these we would be quite unable to endure if we did not sometimes flavor them with lies.
by G.C. Lichtenberg

Truth is the one thing that nobody will believe.
by George Bernard Shaw

I am no longer an artist, interested and curious. I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on for ever. Feeble, inarticulate, will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth, and may it bum their lousy souls.
by Paul Nash

The heroes of obtrusiveness, people with whom no soldier would lie down in the trenches, though he has to submit to being interviewed by them, break into recently abandoned royal castles so that they can report, "We got there first!" It would be far less shameful to be paid for committing atrocities than for fabricating them.
by Karl Kraus

What we believe is more important than our material existence, therefore warfare is a legitimate extension of values.
by Edward Johnson

If an historian be an unbeliever in all heroism, if he be a man who brings every thing down to the level of a common mediocrity, depend upon it, the truth is not found in such a writer.
by Matthew Arnold

Truth is like stubbing your toe on a projecting stone, and upon examination, discovering that it is attached to an entire city, now magnificently revealed.
attributed to Archimedes

The first casualty of war is youth ... that transitory age of naïve trust, sincere virtue, and unselfish hope is relentlessly destroyed for base motives. An everlasting age of enmity marks the face of battle as thoroughly as stench permeates a corpse.

Youth is the first victim of war; the first fruit of peace. It takes twenty years or more of peace to make a man; it takes only twenty seconds of war to destroy him.
by Baudouin I of Belgium [12 May 1959 address to Congress]

Man is made for something better than disturbing dirt.
by Oscar Wilde [Fingal O'Flahertie Wills]

There is no way of conveying to the corpse the reasons you have made him one; you have the corpse, and you are, thereafter, at the mercy of a fact which missed the truth, which means that the corpse has you.
by James Baldwin

I had supposed until that time that it was quite common for parents to love their children, but the war persuaded me that it is a rare exception. I had supposed that most people liked money better than almost anything else, but I discovered that they liked destruction even better. I had supposed that intellectuals frequently loved truth, but I found here again that not ten per cent of them prefer truth to popularity.
by Bertrand A.W. Russell

What for centuries raised man above the beast is not the cudgel but the irresistible power of unarmed truth.
by Boris Leonidovich Pasternak

Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth — to see it like it is, and tell it like it is — to find the truth, to speak the truth, and to live the truth.
by Richard Milhous Nixon [9 Aug 1968 speech]

There are many truths. Some valid for one, some for another. Things are not what they seem. It is a lesson we must learn and re-learn, because we keep searching for certainty, and certainty does not exist.
by Harrison Salisbury

If there were only one truth, then it couldn't be depicted so many different ways ... each one subject to many more interpretations.
paraphrase of Pablo Picasso

A truth ceases to be true when more than one person believes in it.
by Oscar Wilde [Fingal O'Flahertie Wills]

The truth is always something that is told, not something that is known. If there were no speaking or writing, there would be no truth about anything. There would only be what is.
by Susan Sontag

It takes two to speak the truth — one to speak and another to hear.
by Henry David Thoreau

Everything has been said yet few have taken advantage of it. Since all our knowledge is essentially banal, it can only be of value to minds that are not.
by Raoul Vaneigem

The utmost extent of man's knowledge, is to know that he knows nothing.
by Joseph Addison

There are innumerable questions to which the inquisitive mind can in this state receive no answer ....
by Samuel Johnson

There are all kinds of truths, each one different; but behind them all is the one absolute truth that there is no [ultimate] truth.
paraphrase of Mary Flannery O'Connor

Questions tempt you to tell lies, particularly when there is no answer.
by Pablo Picasso

Some questions don't have answers, which is a terribly difficult lesson to learn.
by Katharine Graham

The epistemology of truth is subject to belief. The phenomenology of truth is subject to interpretation. The ontology of truth is subject to substantiation. The cosmology of truth is subject to differentiation. There are no absolute, inherent, or innate truths.

Whom shall I ask as arbiter between us? If I ask someone who takes your view, he will side with you. How can such a one arbitrate between us? If I ask someone who takes my view, he will side with me. How can such a one arbitrate between us? If I ask someone who differs from both of us, he will be equally unable to decide between us, since he differs from both of us. And if I ask someone who agrees with both of us, he will be equally unable to decide between us, since he agrees with both of us. Since then you and I and other men cannot decide, how can we depend upon another? The words of arguments are all relative; if we wish to reach the absolute, we must harmonize them by means of the unity of God, and follow their natural evolution, so that we may complete our allotted span of life. But what is it to harmonize them by means of the unity of God? It is this. The right may not be really right. What appears so may not be really so. Even if what is right is really right, wherein it differs from wrong cannot be made plain by argument. Even if what appears so is really so, wherein it differs from what is not so, also cannot be made plain by argument.
by Chuang-Tzu

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle [ch 6 The Sign of Four (1889)]

Facts speak for themselves. Truth is unutterable. Words are for lies. Reality is fabulous enough that nothing is indisputable.

The truth is really an ambition which is beyond us.
by Peter Ustinov

The only way into truth is through one's own annihilation; through dwelling a long time in a state of extreme and total humiliation.
by Simone Weil

There is no such source of error as the pursuit of absolute truth.
by Samuel Butler

The Truth is One; people call it by various names.

There are many path, to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.
Chinese proverb

The search for Truth goes on in many ways, like different paths wandering over the mountain to merge at the summit. Just as all streams arise from different sources to flow together into the sea, all paths lead by inimitable routes to the top of the mountain. The Truth remains true, despite its appearance in various guises to different people. If people fight over their interpretations, then they have not perceived the Whole Truth. Although its elemental form is subject to being fractured and refracted, Pure Light remains the same. But one unique aspect cannot substitute for any other, for each contributes its essence to the Whole without relinquishing its own particular features, its own character, its own sense. In their quest for Ultimate Truth, people ought not sample widely and superficially, but in a thorough and intensive specificity.
paraphrase of Vedanta and Vedas

I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect.
by Jiddu Krishnamurti

The truth is a snare: you cannot have it, without being caught. You cannot have the truth in such a way that you catch it, but only in such a way that it catches you.
by Søren Kierkegaard

You cannot have both truth and what you call civilisation.
by Iris Murdoch

God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please — you can never have both.
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Certainty generally is an illusion, and repose is not the destiny of man.
by Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr

The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.
by Erich Fromm

It was not reason that besieged Troy; it was not reason that sent forth the Saracen from the desert to conquer the world; that inspired the crusades; that instituted the monastic orders; it was not reason that produced the Jesuits; above all, it was not reason that created the French Revolution. Man is only great when he acts from the passions; never irresistible but when he appeals to the imagination.
by Benjamin Disraeli

We suffer primarily not from our vices or our weaknesses, but from our illusions. We are haunted, not by reality, but by those images we have put in place of reality.
by Daniel J. Boorstin

We have no organ at all for knowledge, for "truth": we "know" (or believe or imagine) precisely as much as may be useful in the interest of the human herd, the species: and even what is here called "usefulness" is in the end only a belief, something imagined and perhaps precisely that most fatal piece of stupidity by which we shall one day perish.
by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

There is nothing so subject to the inconstancy of fortune as war.
by Miguel de Cervantes [Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra]

Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace.
by Eugene G. O'Neill

Falsehood is invariably the child of fear in one form or another.
by Aleister Crowley

O, what a tangled web we weave, / When first we practise to deceive!
by Sir Walter Scott

O, what a tangled web we weave, / When first we practise to deceive! / But when we've practised quite a while / How vastly we improve our style.
recast of Sir Walter Scott by J.R. Pope

Time passes, and little by little everything that we have spoken in falsehood becomes true.
by Marcel Proust

Who were the fools who spread the story that brute force cannot kill ideas? Nothing is easier. And once they are dead they are no more than corpses.
by Simone Weil

The great mass of people ... will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.
by Adolf Hitler

How many of our daydreams would darken into nightmares, were there a danger of their coming true!
by Logan Pearsall Smith

All that we see or seem / Is but a dream within a dream.
by Edgar Allan Poe

Unfortunately, the balance of nature decrees that a super- abundance of dreams is paid for by a growing potential for nightmares.
by Peter Ustinov

Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.
by Oscar Wilde [Fingal O'Flahertie Wills]

Whoso regardeth dreams is like him that catcheth at a shadow, and followeth after the wind.
Ecclesiasticus 34:2 Apocrypha

Once upon a time, I, Chuang Chou (Kwang K'u), dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was Chou. Soon I awakened, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man. Between a man and a butterfly there is necessarily a distinction.
by Chuang-Tzu

We wake from one dream into another dream.
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here is dust remembers it was a rose / one time and lay in a woman's hair. / Here is dust remembers it was a woman / one time and in her hair lay a rose. / Oh things one time dust, what else now is it / you dream and remember of old days?
by Carl Sandburg

Humankind / Cannot bear very much reality.
by T.S. Eliot

Truth is a pain which will not stop. And the truth of this world is to die. You must choose: either dying or lying.
by Louis-Ferdinand (Destouches) Céline

Truth indeed rather alleviates than hurts, and will always bear up against falsehood, as oil does above water.
by Miguel de Cervantes [Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra]

Perhaps our only sickness is to desire a truth which we cannot bear rather than to rest content with the fictions we manufacture out of each other.
by Lawrence Durrell

Most of the change we think we see in life / Is due to truths being in and out of favor.
by Robert Frost

Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it.
by Emily E. Dickinson [Aug 1870 letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson]

Great nations like great men, should keep their word.
by Hugo Black

Man may aspire to virtue, but he cannot reasonably aspire to truth.
by Sébastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort

As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.
by Josh Billings

The man who finds a truth lights a torch.
by Robert G. Ingersoll

Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much; / Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
by William Cowper

Tell all the truth, but tell it slant — / The truth must dazzle gradually — / Or every man be blind.
by Emily E. Dickinson

What does it matter how one comes by the truth so long as one pounces upon it and lives by it?
by Henry Miller

If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions for or against anything.
by Third Zen Patriarch

He who knows [the Way of Life] / does not [care to] speak [about it]; / he who is [ever ready to] speak about it / does not know it.
by Lao-Tzu ["Tao Te Ching" aphorism 56; tr by James Legge (1891)]

And so we ask for peace for the gods of our fathers, for the gods of our native land. It is reasonable that whatever each of us worships is really to be considered one and the same. We gaze up at the same stars, the sky covers us all, the same universe compasses us. What does it matter what practical systems we adopt in our search for the truth. Not by one avenue only can we arrive at so tremendous a secret.
by Quintus Aurelius Symmachus [AD384 letter to Valentinian II]

Heaven covers all equally. Earth supports all equally.
by Chuang-Tzu

Your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Matthew 5:45 Bible

Wilt Thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?
Genesis 18:23 Bible

He [God] destroys both the blameless and the wicked.
Job 9:22 RSV Bible

Both the great and the small shall die in this land.
Jeremiah 16:6 Bible

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Ecclesiastes 1:18 Bible

They who know of no purer sources of truth, who have traced up its stream no higher, stand, and wisely stand, by the Bible and the Constitution, and drink at it there with reverence and humility; but they who behold where it comes trickling into this lake or that pool, gird up their loins once more, and continue their pilgrimage toward its fountainhead.
by Henry David Thoreau [On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849)]

My sword I give to him that shall succeed me in my pilgrimage, and my courage and skill to him that can get it.
by John Bunyan

The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions ... but by iron and blood.
by Otto von Bismarck

Regarding History as the slaughter-bench at which the happiness of peoples, the wisdom of States, and the virtue of individuals have been victimized — the question involuntarily arises — to what principle, to what final aim these enormous sacrifices have been offered.
by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

The questions which one asks oneself begin, at last, to illuminate the world, and become one's key to the experience of others.
by James Baldwin

The essence of intelligent inquiry is: when you ask an impertinent question, you are on the way to a pertinent answer.
paraphrase of Jacob Bronowski [ch 4 The Ascent of Man (1973)]

If you don't ask the right questions, you don't get the right answers.
by Edward Hodnett

Truth fears no question.

compiled by Ed Staff