Quotations as Words to Live By

Several thinkers already have compiled scholarly quotations on communication phenomena. Although one easily finds many more than listed here, I would point briefly to five sources, all with some ties to the field of General Semantics, as models of inspiration and further reference. First, in the delightful now classic introduction to pedagogy, Teaching as a Subversive Activity (1969), Postman and Weingartner present a collection of quotations that emphasize the ubiquitous influence words and symbols have in our lives. Second, an array of interesting scholarly quotations can be found in Kenneth Johnson’s General Semantics: An Outline Survey. This slim volume offers a wealth of insight into language habits and their bearing upon human endeavors. Third, Susan Sontag presents a thoughtful “Anthology of Quotations” regarding the nature of representation–with special attention to visual communication–in her, On Photography (1977). Fourth, Richard Lederer’s The Miracle of Language provides of wide-ranging and provocative collection of quotations upon language, a few of which are included here. Finally, Lee Thayer’s On Communication (1987) presents an outstandingly provocative collection of quotations regarding process of human communication. In fact, his opening chapter, “The Idea of Communication: Looking for a Place to Stand,” inspired many ideas for the present collection.

As a final introductory note, the following quotations offer a wealth of valuable insight. In an attempt to conserve space, the quotations are listed way too close to one another. Although this saves on paper, it may lead to a rapid and thoughtless progression down these pages. Readers are encouraged to slowly appreciate each entry, to ruminate and consider each quotation. It may also help to discuss with other the everyday situations that bring out the wisdom(s) of each quotation. For convenience I also have left the citation information directly with the quotation wherever possible.  


St. Thomas Aquinas said: “Each receives according to his capacity.”

St. Augustine: “To understand, you must first believe.”




Henri Bergson: “In fact, there is no perception which is not full of memories…In most cases the memories supplant our actual perception, of which we then retain only a few hints, thus using them merely as ‘signs’ that recall to us former images” (In Memory and Matter. New York: Zone Books, 1991, p. 33).

William Blake from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: “Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believ’d.” (In Kenneth Burke’s Towards a Better Life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1983, p. 177-8).

Jacob Bohme: “Whatever the self describes, describes the self.”

Kenneth Burke writes, “Many of the “observations” are but implications of the particular terminology in terms of which the observations are made. In brief, much that we take as observations about reality may be but the spinning out of possibilities implicit in our particular choice of terms.” (In Language as Symbolic Action. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1966, p. 46).

“Spontaneous speech is not a naming at all, but a system of attitudes, of implicit exhortations. To call a man a friend or enemy is per se to suggest a program of action with regard to him.” (In Permanence and Change. Second edition, Bobbs-Merrill Co, 1954, p. 177).

“Words communicate to things the spirit that the society imposes upon the words which have come to be the ‘names’ for them. The things are in effect the visible tangible material embodiments of the spirit that infuses them through the medium of words. And in this sense, things become the signs of the genius that resides in words.” (In Language as Symbolic Action. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1966, p. 362).

And through Burke The Lord spoke to Satan: “And in any case, you will agree that, even if their ideas of divine perfection were reducible to little more than a language-using animals’ ultimate perception of its own linguistic forms, this could be a true inkling of the divine insofar as language itself happened to be made in the image of divinity.” (In The Rhetoric of Religion. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1970, p. 289-299).

“One talks about a thing by talking about something else.” (In Counter-Statement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1968, p. 141).


Ernst Cassirer: “Physical reality seems to recede in proportion as man’s symbolic activity advances. Instead of dealing with things themselves man is in a sense of constantly conversing with himself. He has so enveloped himself in linguistic forms, in artistic images, in mythical symbols or religious rites that he cannot see or know anything except by the interposition of this artificial medium.” (In An Essay on Man. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press, 1944, p. 25).

Cioran: “To exist is to plagiarize.”

Collingwood: “Understanding what someone says to you is thus attributing to him the idea which his words arouse in yourself.” (In The Principles of Art. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1938, p. 250).

Condillac once said, “Though we should soar to the heavens, though we should sink into the abyss, we never go out of ourselves; it is always our own thought we perceive.” (In Lee Thayer’s Communication and Communication Systems. University Press of America, 1986, p. 112).



Baba Ram Dass, formerly Richard Alpert: “Only that in you which is me can hear what I am saying.”

John Dewey writes: “The word symbolism however, is a product of reflection upon direct phenomena, not a description of what happens when so called symbols are potent. For the feature which characterizes symbolism is precisely that the thing which later reflection calls a symbol is not a symbol, but a direct vehicle, a concrete embodiment, a vital incarnation.” (In Experience and Nature, Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988/1925, p. 72).

“When the introspectionist thinks he has withdrawn into a wholly private realm of events disparate in kind from other events, made out of mental stuff, he is only turning his attention to his own soliloquy. And soliloquy is the product and reflex of converse with others; social communication not an effect of soliloquy.” (ibid., pp. 134-35).


Isak Dinesen: “It was no wonder that God had ceased to love him, for he had from his own free will exchanged the things of the Lord: the moon, the sea, friendships, fights for the words that describe them.” (In Winter’s Tales. 1942, p. 11).



From T. S. Eliot’s dissertation: “Our only way of showing that we are attending to an object is to show that it and ourselves are independent entities, and to do this we must have names…{thus} We have no objects without language.” (In Kenneth Burke’s Language as Symbolic Action. Berkeley, CA: University of California press, 1968, p. 61).

Ralph W. Emerson: “Your actions shout so loudly at me that I cannot hear what you are saying.”

“Man is only half himself–the other half is his expression.” (as cited in William H. Gass. Habitations of the Word. New York: Simon and Shuster, 1985, p. 206).



Paul Fussell: “Your social class is still most clearly visible when you say things…‘One’s speech is an unceasingly repeated public announcement about background and social standing,’ says John Brooks, translating into modern American Ben Johnson’s observation ‘Language most shows a man. Speak, that I may see thee.’”(In Class. New York: Ballantine Books, 1983, p. 175).


Hans-Georg Gadamer: “Every understanding of the intelligible that helps others to understanding has the character of language. To that extent, the entire experience of the world is linguistically mediated.” (In Philosophical Hermeneutics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1976, p. 99).

“A question is behind each statement that first gives it its meaning…For the ‘meaning’ of such a text is not motivated by an occasion, but on the contrary, claims to be understandable ‘anytime,’ that is, to be an answer always, and that means inevitably also to raise the question to which the text is an answer.” (ibid. pp. 89-90).

William H. Gass: “We fall upon cliché as if it were a sofa and not a sword…it is true that prefab conversation frees the mind, yet rarely does the mind have a mind left after these interconnected clichés have conquered it.” (In Habitations of the Word. New York: Simon and Shuster, 1985, p. 211).

“To an almost measureless degree, to know is to possess words, and all of us who live out in the world as well as within our own are aware that we inhabit a forest of symbols…Every photograph requires a thousand words.” (ibid, pp, 207-209).

Theodor Geiger: “Being confirmed by others frees me from being responsible for the absurdity of my belief.”(as cited in Lee Thayer On Communication. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1987, p. 9).

Kahlil Gibran–The Prophet–tells us,

“And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.

For thought is a bird of space, that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings, but cannot fly.” (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1923, p. 60).

Gibran again: “It takes only two to create a truth, one to utter it, and one to believe it.”

Erving Goffman speaks of what he call “prognosticative expression,” and further clarifies: “An open and friendly address conveys that overtures will be welcomed; a wary and stiff mien, that importunement will result in open rejection. Anyone wending his way through his daily round is guided not only by self-interest but also by these expressions.” (In Relations in Public: Microstudies of the Public Order, New York: Basic Books, 1971, p. 375).

According to Nelson Goodman, “We are tempted to say that the facts are determined when the framework is chosen; but then we must recognize that facts and frameworks differ only in scope, and that a mistake may be made in either. An astronomer miscalculating the position of a planet very likely has a wrong fact under a right framework, while a guard who shot prisoners ordered to stand still, explaining that they then moved rapidly around the sun, s ms to have a right fact under a wrong framework.” (In Of Mind and Other Matters. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984, p. 14).

“We are confined to ways of describing our descriptions of the world.”

Georges Gusdorf: “In fact, the life of the mind ordinarily begins not with the acquisition of language, but with the revolt against language once it is acquired. The child discovers the world through the established language, which those around prescribe for him. The adolescent discovers values in the revolt against the language he had until then blindly trusted and which seems to him, in the light of the crisis, destitute of all authenticity.” In Speaking (La Parole), trans. P. T. Brockelman. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1965, p. 40).


Abraham Heschel: “The truth of a theory of man is either creative or irrelevant, but never merely descriptive” (In Who is man? Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1965, p. 8).

“The image of man affects the nature of man. We become what we think of ourselves.” (ibid., p. 10)

Martin Heiddegger: “Any interpretation which is to contribute understanding must already have understood what is to be interpreted.” (In Being and Time. 1962, p. 194).

“Language is not a mere tool, one of the many which man possesses; on the contrary, it is only language that afford the very possibility of standing in the openness of the existent. Only where there is language, is there world…”(Hölderlin and the Essence of Poetry, trans. Douglas Scott, In Language and the world: a methodological synthesis of the writings of Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein, New Jersey, Humanities Press, 1974, p. 134).

“It is the custom to put speaking and listening in opposition: one man speaks, the other listens…Speaking is of itself a listening. Speaking is listening to the language we speak. Thus, it is a listening not while but before we are speaking…We do not merely speak the language–we speak by way of it. We can do so solely because we always have already listened to the language. What do we hear? We hear language speaking” (In On the Way to Language, Harper and Row, 1971, pp. 123-124).

Werner Heisenberg: “What we see in nature is not nature in itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” (In The Physicists Conception of Nature. trans. A.J. Pomerans. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1958).

Douglas Hofsteader puzzles with/on/over/from self-reflection: “If this sentence were in Chinese, it would say something else.” (In Metamagical Themas, New York: Bantam Books, 1985, p. 13).

“What would this sentence be like if it were not self-referential?” (ibid., p. 14).


William James: “Properly speaking, a man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him and carry an image of him in their mind.” (In Principles of Psychology, Vol. I. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 1890, p. 179).

“Why may not thought’s mission be to increase and elevate, rather than simply to imitate and reduplicate, existence?…The notion of a world complete in itself, to which thought comes as a passive mirror, adding nothing to fact, Lotze says, is irrational. Rather is thought itself a most momentous part of fact, and the whole mission of the pre-existing and insufficient world of matter may simply be to provoke thought to produce its far more precious supplement.” (In Pragmatism and other essays. New York: Washington Square Press, 1963, p. 175).



Earl Kelly: “Now it comes about that whatever we tell the learner, he will make something that is all his out if it, and it will be different from what we held so dear and attempted to ‘transmit.’…Thus he builds a world all his own, and what is really important is what he makes of what we tell him, not what we intended.” (as cited in Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s Teaching as a Subversive Activity, New York: Dell Publishing, 1969, p. 92).

Alfred Korzybski’s dictum of Non-Identification:

“Whatever I say a thing is, it is not.” (In Science and Sanity, Lakeville, CN: The international Non-Aristotelian Library Publishing company, 1958).

Remy Kwant: “One who wants to exercise thought control must control its embodiment in speech.” (In Phenomenology of Language. Pittsburg, PA: Duquesne University Press, 1965, p. 167).


D. Laing wrote, “By the time the sociologists study these projected-introjected reifications, they have taken on the appearance of things…we obey and defend beings that exist only insofar as we continue to invent and perpetuate them.” (In The Politics of Experience. New York: Pantheon Books, 1967, p. 78).

Susanne K. Langer writes, “Peaches are too good to act as words; we are too much interested in peaches themselves. But little noises are the ideal conveyers of concepts, for they give us nothing but their meaning…Vocables in themselves are so worthless that we can cease to be aware of their physical presence at all, and become conscious only of their connotations, denotations, or other meanings. Our conceptual activity seems to flow through them, rather than merely accompany them, as it accompanies other experiences that we endow with significance.” (In Philosophy in a New Key. New York: Mentor Books, 1948, pp. 61-62).

“In a sense language is conception, and conception is the frame of perception…Without words our imagination cannot retain distinct objects and their relations, but out of sight is out of mind…The transformation of experience into concepts…is the motive of language.”

Walter Lippman: “For the most part we do not first see, and then define, we define first and then see.” (In Public Opinion. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1922, p. 81).



Malinowski, Bronislaw: “A word is used when it can produce an action and not to describe one, still less to translate thoughts. The word therefore has a power of its own, it is a means of bringing things about, it is a handle to acts and objects and not a definition of them.” (as cited in Ogden & Richards’ The Meaning of Meaning. Harcourt, Brace & World: New York. Eighth Edition. 1932, p. 322).

According to Abraham Maslow “…the world can communicate to a person only that which he is worthy, that which he deserves or is “up to”; that to a large extent, he can receive from the world and, give to the world, only that which he himself is.” (In {eds.} F. W. Matson & A. Montagu. The Human Dialogue. New York: The Free Press, 1967, p. 195).

George Herbert Mead: “A person who is saying something is saying to himself what he says to others; otherwise he does not know what he is talking about.” (In Mind, Self, and Society. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1934, p. 147).

Maurice Merleau-Ponty: “The word, far from being the mere sign of objects and meanings, inhabits things and is the vehicle of meanings. Thus, speech, in the speaker, does not translate ready-made thought, but accomplishes it” (In Phenomenology of Perception. Trans. Colin Smith Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. 1962, p. 178).

“Word and speech must somehow cease to be a way of designating things or thoughts, and become the presence of that thought in the phenomenal world, and, moreover, not its clothing but its token or its body…the process of expression brings the meaning into being or makes it effective, and does not merely translate it…Thought is no ‘internal’ thing, and does not exist independently of the world and of words. What misleads us in this connection, and causes us to believe in a thought which exists for itself prior to expression, is thought already constituted and expressed, which we can silently recall to ourselves, and through which we acquire the illusion of an inner life.” (ibid., pp. 182-183).

“The wonderful thing about language is that it promotes its own oblivion: my eyes follow the lines on the paper, and from the moment I am caught up in their meaning, I lose sight of them.”(ibid., p. 401).

“Expressive operations take place between thinking language and speaking thought; not, as we thoughtlessly say, between thought and language.” (In Signs, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1964, p. 18).

“Speaking to others (or to myself), I do not speak of my thoughts, I speak them.” (Ibid., p. 19).

“One of the effects of language is to efface itself to the extent that its expression comes across…As I become engrossed in a book, I no longer see the letters on the page…all that remains is meaning. The perfection of language lies in its capacity to pass unnoticed…In the way it works, language hides itself from us.” (In The Prose of the World, Trans. John O’Neil. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1973, pp. 9-10).

“If we were to make completely explicit the architectonics of the human body, its ontological framework, and how it sees itself and hears itself, we would see that the structure of its mute world is such that all the possibilities of language are already given in it.”(In The Visible and the Invisible, Trans. A. Lingis. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1968. p. 155.)

Thomas Moore: “A symbol is the act of throwing together two incongruous things and living in the tension that exists between them, watching the images that emerge from that tension.” (In Care of the Soul. Harper Collins Pub. 1992, p. 161).

Dennis Mumby: “The most successful theories are judged not on their ability to reflect an objective reality, but on the extent to which they challenge us to engage in self-reflection and hence emancipation from conditions of discursive closure.” (In Communication and Power in Organizations: discourse, ideology and domination. 1988. Norwood, NJ: Ablex publishers., p. XV).

Lewis Mumford: “The physical universe is unable to behold itself, except through the eyes of man, unable to speak for itself, except through the human voice…” (In The Myth of the Machine. Vol.1: Technics and Human Development. New York: Harcourt Brace and Jovanich, publishers, 1967, p. 31).



Friedrich Nietzsche: “We always express our thoughts with the words that lie at hand… we have at any moment only the thought for which we have at hand the words.” (In Daybreak, Book IV, Para. 257. Cambridge University Press, 1982).

“Every idea originates through equating the unequal.” (In The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche: Early Greek Philosophy [VOL II]. New York: Russell & Russell, Inc..1964, p. 179).

“…truths are illusions of which one has forgotten that they are illusions. Worn-out metaphors which have become powerless to affect the senses; coins which have their obverse effaced and now are no longer of account as coins but merely as metal.” (ibid. p. 180)

“A period which suffers from a so-called high general level of liberal education but which is devoid of culture in the sense of a unity of style which characterizes all its life, will not quite know what to do with philosophy and wouldn’t, if the Genius of Truth himself were to proclaim it in the streets and the market places. During such times philosophy remains the learned monologue of the lonely stroller, the accidental loot of the individual, the secret skeleton in the closet, or the harmless chatter between senile academics and children” (In Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Co. p. 37)

“Valuing is creating: hear it, ye creating ones! Valuation itself is the treasure and jewel of the valued things. Through valuation only is there value; and without valuation the nut of existence would be hollow. Hear it, ye creating ones!” (In Thus Spake Zarathustra, Modern Library. p. 60).

“He is a thinker; that means, he knows how to make things simpler than they are.” (In The Gay Science. Trans. Kauffmann. Random House. Section 189, 1974, p. 205).



Octavio Paz tells us: “Man is a being who has created himself in creating a language. By means of the word, man is a metaphor of himself.”

Walker Percy: “The collision of two galaxies and the salivation of Pavlov’s dog, different as they are, are far more alike than either is like the simplest act of naming. Naming stands at a far greater distance from Pavlov’s dog than the latter does from a galactic collision.” (In The Message in the Bottle: How queer man is, how queer language is, and what one has to do with the other. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1954, p. 154.)

Michael Polanyi said that “Truth is something that can be thought of only by believing it.”

“We do not see things as they are; we see them as we are.” (In Teaching as a Subversive Activity. Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner, Dell Publishing Co., 1969).

“Truth does not, and never has, come unadorned.   It must appear in its proper clothing or it is not acknowledged, which is a way of saying that the “truth” is a kind of cultural prejudice…”(In Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death. New York: Penguin Books, 1985, p. 23).

Postman and Weingartner: “Scientists, particularly, are becoming increasingly aware that what anything ‘is’ depends on how who looks at what.” (Postman and Charles Weingartner’s Teaching as a Subversive Activity. Dell Publishing Co., 1969).

Plato: “When the mind is thinking; it is talking to itself.” (as cited in Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner’s Teaching as a Subversive Activity. Dell Publishing Co., 1969, p. 126).


Jurgen Reusch: “We are not interested in the way nature is constructed but in how the observer perceives it, and his method of perceiving.”   In “The Observer and the Observed: Human Communication Theory.” From R.R Grinker (eds.) Toward a Unified Theory of Human Behavior, New York: Basic Books, 1956, p. 36.  

“…the science of communication deals with the representation of outside events inside and of inside events outside.” (ibid., p. 41).

Bertrand Russell: “No matter how eloquently a dog may bark, he cannot tell you that his parents were poor but honest.” (as cited in Richard Lederer’s The Miracle of Language. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991, p. 235).



George Santayana: “I would agree with Spinoza where he says that other people’s idea of man is apt to be a better expression of their nature than of his.” (In Character and Opinion in the United States. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1956. p. v).

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “Whether you wish it or not, your meaning is made of others’ meanings, and your taste of others’ tastes…For you live not by the things, but by the meaning of the things.” (In The Wisdom of the Sands. {trans. S. Gilbert}  New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1948, p. 263).

“You give birth to that on which you fix your mind. For, by defining a thing, you cause it to be born, and then it seeks to nourish, perpetuate and augment itself.” (Ibid. p. 269).

“If you were to understand men, begin by never listening to them” (ibid., p. 219).

Jean-Paul Sartre: “Whether our language is overt or ‘internal’ our thoughts become more and better defined by means of it than we ourselves were able to make them; it teaches us something.” (In The Psychology of Imagination, New York: Citadel Press, 1991, p. 121).

Alfred Schutz: “the so-called ‘Thomas theorem’ well known to sociologists: ‘If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences’” (In Collected Papers, Vol. I The Problem of Social Reality, Martinus Nijhoff publ. 1962, p. 348).

George Sefler: “Language and the world are two sides of one and the same reality. The world I know is known inseparably from the language I use.” (In Language and the world: a methodological synthesis of the writings of Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1974. p. 188).

Liu Shao: “You cannot recognize in another a quality you do not have yourself.”

George Steiner: “Language is the main instrument of man’s refusal to accept the world as it is…Ours is the ability, the need, to gainsay or ‘un-say’ the world, to image and speak it otherwise…It is not, perhaps, ‘ a theory of information’ that will serve us best in trying to clarify the nature of language, but a ‘theory of misinformation.’”(In After Babel, New York: Oxford University Press, 1975, pp. 217-218).

“Language is not a description of ‘reality,’ but an answer to it, an evasion from it.” (In Psychology Today, February, 1973, p. 66).

Laurence Sterne: “Writers of my stamp have one principle in common with painters. Where an exact copying makes our pictures less striking, we choose the less evil; deeming it ever more pardonable to trespass against truth, than beauty.” (In The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, gentleman. {ed. Ian watt}. Houghton Mifflin Co. 1965, pp. 69-70)



Lee Thayer: “In secularizing the process {communication} and conceiving of it as strategy and tactics to be deployed as means to secular and rational ends, the later Greeks also ‘de-epistemologized’ the idea of communication. It therefore became possible to think of ‘knowledge’ or ‘information’ as a meaningful entity, substance, or commodity sui generis, as having legitimate human pertinence regardless of the ‘knower.’ Thus ‘knowledge’ became transcendent, and people became substitutable in the process.” (In On Communication. Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1987, p. 224).

“And what shall we say of that which doesn’t exist until we say it ? “

(ibid., p.12).

“Is a theory of communication to be a theory of ideas, or of living?

Or a theory of the difference?.

Or the difference itself?” (ibid., p. 15).


Thorstein Veblen: “Except where it is adopted as a necessary means of secret communication, the use of a special slang in any employment is probably to be accepted as evidence that the occupation in question is substantially make-believe” (In The Theory of the Leisure Class. {1899-Macmillan}, Dover publications, 1994, p. 157).

Eric Voegelin: “Human society is not merely a fact, or an event, in the external world to be studied by an observer like a natural phenomenon. Though it has externality as one of its important components, it is as a whole little world, a cosmion, illuminated with meaning from within by the human beings who continuously create and bear it as the mode and condition of their self-realization.” (In The New Science of Politics, An Introduction. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1952, p. 27).


Alan Watts: “The notion of a separate thinker, of an ‘I’ distinct from the experience, comes from memory and from the rapidity with which thought changes…There is not something or someone experiencing experience! You do not feel your feelings, think your thoughts, or sense your sensations any more than you hear hearing, see sight, or smell smelling.” (In The Wisdom of Insecurity. Vintage Books, 1951, p. 85).

“To say that certain events are causally connected is only a clumsy way of saying that they are features of the same event, like the head and tail of a cat.” (In The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are).

Paul Watzlawick: “If as he {Vico} says, the world that we experience and get to know is necessarily constructed by ourselves, it should not surprise us that it keeps relatively stable.” (In The Invented Reality, New York: Norton & Company, 1984, p. 29).

Allen Wheelis tells us: “We have to be something before we can know anything. And when we have become something…the something we can know is less then the something we have become.” (In The Moralist. Baltimore, MD: Penguin, 1974, p. 109).

“Man’s consciousness is as man standing before a mirror, asking the man he sees in the mirror what the man in the mirror is asking.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein: “To speak is to philosophize.”

“Many words in this sense then don’t have a strict meaning. But this is not a defect. To think it is would be like saying that the light of my reading lamp is no real light at all because it has no sharp boundary.” (In The Blue Book, the Blue and Brown Books: preliminary studies for the “Philosophical Investigations.” New York, Harper and Row Publishers, 1958, p. 27).

Benjamin Whorf: “The world is presented to us in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions which has to be organized by our minds…We cut nature up, organize it in concepts, ascribe significance to it, largely because we are parties to an agreement to do it in that way.” (“Science and Linguistics,” The Technology Review, 1940, 42, p. 231).

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