Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Quotes

Goethe 2

“Man is not born to solve the problems of the universe, but to find out where the problems begin, and then to take his stand within the limits of the intelligible.” (Goethe)

“The greatest evil that can befall man is that he should come to think ill of himself.”

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

“If I accept you as you are, I will make you worse; however, if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you become that.”

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

“Do I live only in order to think about life? Must I prevent myself from enjoying the present moment, that I may be sure of the one that follows, and then waste that one, too, in cares and useless worries?…Does the sun illuminate me today, that I may ponder what happened yesterday? That I may guess at and arrange that which cannot be guessed nor arranged: the fate of the oncoming day?”

“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward. They may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.”

“Character develops itself in the stream of life.”

“We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.”

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

“No one is willing to believe that adults too, like children, wander about this earth in a daze and, like children, do not know where they come from or where they are going, act as rarely as they do according to genuine motives, and are as thoroughly governed as they are by biscuits and cake and the rod.”

“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.”

“Know thyself? If I knew myself, I’d run away.”

“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.”

“Lose this day loitering – ‘twil be the same story
Tomorrow – and the next more dilatory.
Then indecision brings its own delays.
And days are lost lamenting over days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute –
What you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Courage has genius, power and magic in it;
Only engage, and then the mind grows heated –
Begin it and the work will be completed.”