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The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in which direction we are moving.


Oliver Wendell Holmes

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Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom.
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The obvious matters are more imperceptible today.
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More Oliver Wendell Holmes

A man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimension...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES SR.
People talk fundamentals and superlatives and then make some changes of detail.
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The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.
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Life and language are alike sacred. Homicide and verbicide --that is, violent treatment of a word wi...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.
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This is an inquisitive age, and if we insist on piling up beyond a certain height knowledge which is...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return. But if a blow were given for such cause, and death...
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In walking, the will and the muscles are so accustomed to working together and performing their task...
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Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
And when you stick on conversation's burrs, don't strew your pathway with those dreadful urs.
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As life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action o...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Every now and then a man's mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to i...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
There never was an idea started that woke up men out of their stupid indifference but its originator...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
A great calamity is as old as the trilobites an hour after it has happened.
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Fresh air is good if you do not take too much of it; most of the achievements and pleasures of life ...
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Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
And Silence, like a poultice, comes
To heal the blows of sound.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The axis of the earth sticks out visibly through the centre of each and every town or city.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Simple people ... are very quick to see the live facts which are going on about them.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
I always say, as you know, that if my fellow citizens want to go to Hell I will help them. It's my j...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul ...
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Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum.
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The man who is always worrying whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn...
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Society is always trying in some way to grind us down to a single flat surface.
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The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Man has will, but woman has her way.
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A man may fulfil the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a...
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A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanging, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary...
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Every event that a man would master must be mounted on the run, and no man ever caught the reins of ...
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It is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscious of our national life and to...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
Man's mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.
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I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are movi...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
There are one-story intellects, two-story intellects, and three-story intellects with skylights. All...
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A pun does not commonly justify a blow in return. But if a blow were given for such cause, and death...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
The sound of a kiss is not so loud as that of a cannon, but its echo lasts a great deal longer.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are movi...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
The Amen of nature is always a flower.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Without wearing any mask we are conscious of, we have a special face for each friend.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
A few can touch the magic string, and noisy fame is proud to win them: Alas for those that never sin...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Science is the topography of ignorance.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
I like children; I like 'em, and I respect 'em. Pretty much all the honest truth-telling the...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
The mode by which the inevitable comes to pass is effort.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
Between two groups of people who want to make inconsistent kinds of worlds, I see no remedy but forc...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy - I don'...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
A new untruth is better than an old truth.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
It seems to me that at this time we need education in the obvious more than investigation of the obs...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary ...
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Chicago sounds rough to the maker of verse. One comfort we have - Cincinnati sounds worse.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
Truth, when not sought after, rarely comes to light.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Great constitutional provisions must be administered with caution. Some play must be allowed for the...
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I do not think the United States would come to an end if we lost our power to declare an Act of Cong...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
But the character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done. The most stringen...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
To live is to function. That is all there is in living.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
It is faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth looking at.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
On the whole, I am on the side of the unregenerate who affirms the worth of life as an end in itself...
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The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES SR.
Don't be 'consistent,' but be simply true.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
You commit a sin of omission if you do not utilize all the power that is within you. All men have cl...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
Nature, when she invented, manufactured, and patented her authors, contrived to make critics of the ...
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Self-abnegation, that rare virtue, that good men preach and good women practice
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
There is no such thing as a female punster
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
To be civilized is to be potentially master of all possible ideas, and that means that one has got b...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The very aim and end of our institutions is just this: that we may think what we like and say what w...
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I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would b...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Give us the luxuries of life and we'll dispense with the necessaries.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Death tugs at my ear and says: "Live, I am coming";
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
If I were dying my last words would be: Have faith and pursue the unknown end
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
This is a court of law, young man, not a court of justice.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will c...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
It seems to me that at this time we need education in the obvious more than the investigation of the...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
A thought is often original, though you have uttered it a hundred times.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES SR.
Do not be bullied out of your common sense by the specialist; two to one, he is a pedant.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Sweet is the scene where genial friendship plays the pleasing game of interchanging praise.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Memories, imagination, old sentiments, and associations are more readily reached through the sense o...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
People can be divided into two classes: those who go ahead and do something, and those who sit still...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms. Very often it does not know what to do w...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The greatest act of faith is when a man understands he is not God.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
All generous minds have a horror of what are commonly called facts. They are the brute beasts of the...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Most of the things we do, we do for no better reason than that our father's have done them or our ne...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
The rule of joy and the law of duty seem to me all one.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
Little-minded people's thoughts move in such small circles that five minutes conversation gives you ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
A child's education should begin at least one hundred years before he is born.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Good Americans when they die, go to Paris.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Man's mind, stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
It is by no means certain that our individual personality is the single inhabitant of these our corp...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
It is very lonely sometimes, trying to play God.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Man is born a predestined idealist, for he is born to act. To act is to affirm the worth of an end, ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The riders in a race do not stop when they reach the goal. There is a little finishing canter before...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
Stillness and steadiness of features are signal marks of good breeding. Vulgar persons can't sit sti...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Every man is an omnibus in which his ancestors ride.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Revolutions are not made by men in spectacles.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits them all.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The hat is the ultimatum moriens of respectability.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Of course everybody likes and respects self-made men. It is a great deal better to be made in that...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Then there is that glorious Epicurean paradox, uttered by my friend, the Historian in one of his fl...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Scarce one tall frigate walks the sea Or skirts the safer shores Of all that bore to victory ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
For him in vain the envious seasons roll, Who bears eternal summer in his soul.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passio...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The mode in which the inevitable comes to pass is through effort.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The books we read should be chosen with great care, that they may be, as an Egyptian king wrote over...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Don't flatter yourself that friendship authorizes you to say disagreeable things to your intimates....
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle that fits the all.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Knowledge and timber shouldn't be much used till they are seasoned.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
To be 70 years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be 40 years old.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Science is good furniture for one's upper chamber, if there is common sense below.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Civilization is the process of reducing the infinite to the finite.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
There's nothing that keeps its youth,
So far as I know, but a tree and truth.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will c...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
Our test of truth is a reference to either a present or imagined future majority in favour of our vi...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The great thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in which direction we are moving.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at the touch, nay, you may kick it about all day l...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
To obtain a man's opinion of you, make him mad.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts, but learning how to make fa...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
Fresh air is good if you do not take too much of it; most of the achievements and pleasures of life ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Sweet shadows of twilight! how calm their repose, While the dewdrops fall soft in the breast of t...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Memory is a net: one finds it full of fish when he takes it from the brook, but a dozen miles of wat...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Even for practical purposes theory generally turns out the most important thing in the end.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
Young man, the secret of my success is that at early age I discovered that I was not God.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not dri...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
There is no time like the old time, when you and I were young,
When the buds of April blossomed, ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
We must have a weak spot or two in our character before we can love it much.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Life is a romantic business. It is painting a picture, not doing a sumbut you have to make the roman...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
I confess that I do not understand the principle on which the power to fix a minimum for the wages o...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The riders in a race do not stop short when they reach the goal. There is a little finishing canter ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men - from mothers most of all, ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Old books, you know well, are books of the world's youth, and new books are the fruits of its age.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Every calling is great when greatly pursued.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
There is no friend like an old friend who has shared our morning days, no greeting like his welcome,...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
With effervescing opinions, the quickest way to let them get flat is to let them get exposed to the ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The best of a book is not the thought which it contains, but the thought which it suggests; just as...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
There are a good many real miseries in life that we cannot help smiling at, but they are the smiles...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.
OLIVER WENDELL-HOLMES
If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any o...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The very minute a thought is threatened with publicity it seems to shrink towards mediocrity
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Life is a great bundle of little things
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary ...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make fac...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Husband and wife come to look alike at last
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The longing for certainty... is in every human mind. But certainty is generally illusion.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
To think great thoughts, you must be heroes as well as idealists
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES SR.
Controversy equalizes fools and wise men - and the fools know it
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
The riders in a race do not stop when they reach the goal. There is a little finishing canter before...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
Some people are so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Apology is only egotism wrong side out.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Men must turn square corners when they deal with the Government.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
You commit a sin of omission if you do not utilize all the power that is within you. All men have cl...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
On the whole, I am on the side of the unregenerate who affirms the worth of life as an end in itself...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
We aim at the infinite, and when our arrow falls to earth it is in flames. [...] You have given me t...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
A goose flies by a chart which the Royal Geographical Society could not mend.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Any two philosophers can tell each other all they know in two hours.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES JR.
Truth is tough. It will not break, like a bubble, at a touch; nay, you may kick it about all day lik...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us t...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
Grow we must, if we outgrow all that loves us.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Controversy equalizes fools and wise men in the same way - and the fools know it.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
Talking is like playing on the harp; there is as much in laying the hand on the strings to stop thei...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES SR.
Insanity is often the logic of an accurate mind overtasked. Good mental machinery ought to break its...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES SR.
Ah, pensive scholar, what is fame? A fitful tongue of leaping flame; A giddy whirlwind's fickl...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
The mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any o...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not dri...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, SR.
You commit a sin of omission if you do not utilize all the power that is within you. All men have cl...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
What a comfort a dull but kindly person is, to be sure, at times! A ground-glass shade over a gas-la...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
I confess that altruistic and cynically selfish talk seem to me about equally unreal. With all humil...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES, JR.
Beware how you take away hope from another human being.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Every library should try to be complete on something, if it were only the history of pinheads.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Unpretending mediocrity is good, and genius is glorious; but a weak flavor of genius in an essential...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
What I call a good patient is one who, having found a good physician, sticks to him till he dies.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
... the hydrostatic paradox of controversy. Don't you know what that means? Well, I will tell you. Y...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Youth fades; love droops, the leaves of friendship fall;
A mother's secret hope outlives them al...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprung up.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
The greatest tragedy in America is not the destruction of our natural resources, though that tragedy...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Young men know the rules, but old men know the exceptions.
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES
Our dead brothers still live for us and bid us think of life, not death--of life to which in their y...
OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES