Pathways to Paradigms

In writing an autobiographical documentary outline last year, I reflected on sources that taught me with unique literary insight. I offer quotations from historic works of wisdom and trailblazers of conscious inquiry:


I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
Galileo Galilei
Astronomer and mathematician
Go out and paint the stars.
Vincent Van Gogh
Artist and painter
When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night,
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
William Shakespeare
Playwright and poet
Romeo and Juliet
Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.
Carl Jung
Psychiatrist and psychologist
And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.
Soldier, poet and playwright
I am, was, and always will be a catalyst for change.
Shirley Chisolm
Politician, educator and author
Remember that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.
Eleanor Roosevelt
Former First Lady and human rights activist
Death is not the enemy gentlemen. If we’re going to fight a disease, let’s fight one of the most terrible diseases of all, indifference.
Robin Williams
Comedian and actor
Patch Adams
For a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen: a gaseous nebula must collapse. So collapse. Crumble. This is not your destruction. This is your birth.
To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.
Winston Churchill
Political leader, author and artist
This above all: To thine own self, be true.
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
William Shakespeare
Playwright and poet
The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity to sacrifice. Ironically their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.
Ernest Hemingway
Novelist, short-story writer and journalist
We complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
Abraham Lincoln
16th President of the United States
There is no darkness but ignorance.
William Shakespeare
Playwright and poet
Twelfth Night
The free way of life proposes ends, but it does not prescribe means.
Robert F. Kennedy
Politician and younger brother of President John F. Kennedy, and champion of the civil rights movement
You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
Maya Angelou
Poet, memoirist and civil rights activist
Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.
Yousuf Karsh
Portrait photographer
The medium is the message.
Marshall McLuhan
Professor, philosopher and public intellectual
Painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us – and those around us – more effectively. Look for the learning.
Louisa May Alcott
Novelist and poet
Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha)
Religious leader and founder of Buddhism
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
Rene Descartes
Philosopher, mathematician and scientist
It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well.
If you would be a seeker of truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.
The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as the greatest virtues.
Cogito ergo sum. (I think; therefore I am.)
Bruce Lee
Actor, philosopher, filmmaker, martial artist and founder of Jeet Kune Do
All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.
Real living is living for others.
Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.
Obey the principles without being bound by them.
The possession of anything begins in the mind.
Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Mahatma Ghandi
Spiritual leader and social reformer
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Civil rights leader and clergyman
Men in general judge more by the sense of sight than by the sense of touch, because everyone can see but few can test by feeling. Everyone sees what you seem to be, few know what you really are; and those few do not dare take a stand against the general opinion.
Niccolo Macchiavelli
Statesman, political philosopher and author
The Prince
Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
“The Virtuous Woman”, Proverbs 31:25-26
The Bible
“Strong Woman”
By Maya Angelou
Poet, memoirist and civil rights activist
You may encounter many defeats,
but you must not be defeated.
In fact, it may be necessary to
encounter the defeats, so you can
know who you are, what you can
rise from, how you can still
come out of it.
Tao Te Ching (Chapter 56)
By Lao Tzu
Philosopher, writer, and founder of Taoism
Those who know do not talk.
Those who talk do not know.
Keep your mouth closed.
Guard your senses.
Temper your sharpness.
Simplify your problems.
Mask your brightness.
Be at one with the dust of the earth.
This is primal union.
He who has achieved this state
Is unconcerned with friends or enemies,
With good and harm, with honour and disgrace.
This therefore is the highest state of man.
Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.
St. Augustine of Hippo
Early Christian theologian and philosopher
The heart is the last frontier.
Isabel Wilkerson
Author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
By Kim Bragado for The Authentic Thinker