Quotes Categories

Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Quotes

(1841-1935), American Judge

The rule of joy and the law of duty seem to me all one.

Category: Duty

The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live.

Category: Education

Most of the things we do, we do for no better reason than that our father's have done them or our neighbors do them, and the same is true of a large part than what we suspect of what we think.

Category: Expectation

I confess that altruistic and cynically selfish talk seem to me about equally unreal. With all humility, I think whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, infinitely more important than the vain attempt to love one's neighbor as one's self. If you want to hit a bird on the wing you must have all your will in focus, you must not be thinking about yourself, and equally, you must not be thinking about your neighbor; you must be living with your eye on that bird. Every achievement is a bird on the wing.

Category: Humility

With all humility, I think, ''Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.'' Infinitely more important than the vain attempt to love one's neighbor as one's self. If you want to hit a bird on the wing, you must have all your will in focus, you must not be thinking about yourself, and equally, you must not be thinking about your neighbor: you must be living in your eye on that bird. Every achievement is a bird on the wing.

Category: Humility

Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.

Category: Law And Lawyers

Life is an end in itself, and the only question as to whether it is worth living is whether you have had enough of it.

Category: Life And Living

Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum.

Category: Life And Living

On the whole, I am on the side of the unregenerate who affirms the worth of life as an end in itself, as against the saints who deny it.

Category: Life And Living

Life is action and passion; therefore, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of the time, at peril of being judged not to have lived.

Category: Life And Living

We should be eternally vigilant against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe.

Category: Opinions

I have no respect for the passion of equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy.

Category: Passion

For I say unto you in all sadness of conviction that to think great thoughts you must be heroes as well as idealists. Only when you have worked alone -- when you have felt around you are a black gulf of solitude more isolating than that which surrounds the dying man, and in hope and despair have trusted to your own unshaken will -- then only can you gain the secret isolated joy of the thinker, who knows that a hundred years after he is dead and forgotten men who have never heard of him will be moving to the measure of his thought -- the subtle rapture of postponed power, which the world knows not because it has no external trappings, but which to his prophetic vision is more real than that which commands an army. And if this joy should not be yours, still it is only thus you can know that you have done what lay in you to do -- can say that you have lived, and be ready for the end.

Category: Purpose

Carve every word before you let it fall.

Category: Thoughts And Thinking

When I want to understand what is happening today or try to decide what will happen tomorrow, I look back.

Category: Understanding