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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


 

Certainty

 


 

 

“If we begin with certainties, we shall end in doubts; but if we begin with doubts, and are patient in them, we shall end in certainties.” Francis Bacon

 

Editor's 1-Minute Essay: Certainty

 

 

 

John F. Kennedy: “The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain.”

Josh Billings: “I have lived in this world just long enough to look carefully the second time into things that I am the most certain of the first time.”

Christian Huygens: “I believe that we do not know anything for certain, but everything probably.”

 

 

Robert Burns: “There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.”

Bertrand Russell: “What men want is not knowledge, but certainty.”

Will Durant: “Inquiry is fatal to certainty.”

David Hume: “In our reasonings concerning matters of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.”

 

 

 

Mark Twain: “Education is the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.”

William Butler Yeats: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Albert Camus: “We are not certain, we are never certain. If we were we could reach some conclusions, and we could, at last, make others take us seriously.”

Tony Schwartz: “Let go of certainty. The opposite isn't uncertainty. It's openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.”

 

 

Thomas Carlyle: “One must verify or expel his doubts, and convert them into the certainty of Yes or NO.”

Benjamin Franklin: “Certainty? In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Voltaire: “Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one.”

Charles Darwin: “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.”

John Keats: “I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections, and the truth of imagination.”

 

withholding judgment in the absence of evidence

 

Rudyard Kipling: “A woman's guess is much more accurate than a man's certainty.”

George Meredith: “Ah, what a dusty answer gets the soul when hot for certainties in this our life!”

Friedrich Nietzsche: “Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”

Arthur Schopenhauer: “The present is the only reality and the only certainty.”

Pliny the Elder: “The only certainty is that nothing is certain.

Bertrand Russell: “In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.”

Walt Whitman: “I like the scientific spirit—the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingness to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine—it always keeps the way beyond open—always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake—after a wrong guess.”

 

 

Editor's last word: