United States Supreme Court Justice
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. quotes:
Greatness is not in where we stand, but in what direction we are moving. We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it -- but sail we must and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
All life is an experiment.
We need education in the obvious more than investigation of the obscure.
Have faith and pursue the unknown end.
I think it not improbable that man, like the grub that prepares a chamber for the winged thing it has never seen but is to be - that man may have cosmic destines that he does not understand. And so beyond the vision of battling races and an impoverished earth.
The mode by which the inevitable comes to pass is effort.
The mind stretched by a new idea, never returns to its former shape.What lies behind you, and what lies ahead of you is of very little importance when it is compared to what lies within you.
A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience.
There's nothing that keeps its youth,
So far as I know, but a tree and truth.
The root of joy, as of duty, is to put all one's powers towards some great end.
Life is painting, not doing a sum.
The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater, and causing a panic. . . . The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.
Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprang up.
Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.
I find that the great things in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.
To act is to affirm the worth of the end.
Young men, the secret of my success is that at a young age I discovered I was not God.
It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. . . . Three generations if imbeciles are enough.
It is now the moment when by common consent we pause to become conscience of our national life and to rejoice in it, to recall what our country has done for each of us, and to ask ourselves what we can do for our country in return.
We do not inquire what the legislature meant; we ask only what the statute means.
The character of every act depends upon the circumstances in which it is done.
I have not found juries specially inspired for the discovery of truth. . . . I have not found them freer from prejudice than an ordinary judge would be.
Continuity with the past is not a duty, only a necessity.
Life is a roar of bargain and battle, but in the very heart of it there rises a mystic spiritual tone that gives meaning to the whole. It transmutes the dull details into romance. It reminds us that our only but wholly adequate significance is as parts of the unimaginable whole. It suggests that even while we think that we are living to ends outside ourselves.
If a man is is a minority of one, we lock him up.
Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.
The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.
A second-class intellect, but a first-class temperament. (on President Franklin D Roosevelt)
I think it is a less evil that some criminals should escape than that the Government should play an ignoble part.
The law is the witness and external deposit of our moral life. Its history is the history of the moral development of the race.
Philosophers are men hired by the well-to-do to prove that everything is all right.
The measure of power is obstacles overcome.
To have doubted one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man.
Trouble creates a capacity to handle it.
Every calling is great when greatly pursued.
War? War is an organized bore.
To think great thoughts you must be heroes as well as idealists.
The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make the facts live.
Everywhere the basis of principle is tradition. Most of the things we do, we do for no better reason than that our fathers have done them or our neighbors do them, and the same is true of a larger part that what we suspect of what we think.
I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.
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