Talk:Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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The alternative name "Göthe" is wrong, since "von Goethe" is the german name itself. --84.164.9.132 23:17, 29 January 2006 (UTC) (from Germany)

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."

This quote is widely attributed to Goethe - it is not his. It seems to be from W. H. Murray in The Scottish Himalaya Expedition, 1951 as outlined by the Goethe Society.

http://www.goethesociety.org/pages/quotescom.html


Missattributed Quote?
"The way you see people is the way you treat them. And the way you treat them is what they become."
This Quote is widely attributed to Goethe by english speaking people. Is it his? In affirmative case: wich is the context? And the original Language version?
I couldn't find any similar phrase in deutsch.
In negative case it would be interesting to find the real author and (if it belongs to a German author) the version in deutsch, in order to include it in the Missatributed section of both, german and english Wikiquote's Goethe Article.
--200.55.67.72 19:14, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

This seems to come from Apprenticeship. From the Bartleby translation:

‘When we take people,’ thou wouldst say, ‘merely as they are, we make them worse; when we treat them as if they were what they should be, we improve them as far as they can be improved.’

--Twifkak (talk) 20:31, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

"Nothing is worth more than this day." Is this quote misattributed? I can't find it anywhere except lame quote websites which list only his name and never the source work. I'd be disappointed if it were actually from some new wave guru jerk, since I really like the quote. 72.75.101.88 02:46, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Unsourced[edit]

Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote on this list please move it to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. --Antiquary 19:30, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Choose well; your choice is brief, and yet endless. [Quoted by Starbucks on some of their cardboard tabs attached to tea bags. I don't think it's in Faust, which is where I'd expect it to be if it's a genuine quote, but...who knows. 199.3.246.231 16:44, 10 April 2014 (UTC) ]
  • A collection of anecdotes and maxims is the greatest of treasures for the man of the world, for he knows how to intersperse conversation with the former in fit places, and to recollect the latter on proper occasions.
  • A man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days.
  • A reasonable man needs only to practice moderation to find happiness.
  • Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then it will gradually yield to him.
  • All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is all my own.
  • As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
  • Correction does much, but encouragement does more.
    • Sourced as Instruction does much, but encouragement everything
  • Destiny grants us our wishes, but in its own way, in order to give us something beyond our wishes.
  • Distrust those in whom the desire to punish is strong.
    • Also rendered: Mistrust all in whom the desire to punish is imperative. (Similar statements have definitely been made by Nietzsche, and attributed to Dostoevsky)
  • Divide and rule, a sound motto. Unite and lead, a better one.
  • Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.
  • Even the lowliest, provided he is whole, can be happy, and in his own way, perfect.
  • Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.
  • Everything in the world may be endured except continued prosperity.
  • Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than you imagine.
  • He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
  • He who wishes to exert a useful influence must be careful to insult nothing. Let him not be troubled by what seems absurd, but concentrate his energies to the creation of what is good. He must not demolish, but build.
  • How can you come to know yourself? Never by thinking, always by doing. Try to do your duty, and you'll know right away what you amount to.
  • If any man wish to write in a clear style, let him be first clear in his thoughts; and if any would write in a noble style, let him first possess a noble soul.
  • 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.
  • If Switzerland were flat as a pancake, it would be larger than Prussia.
  • If you must tell me your opinions, tell me what you believe in. I have plenty of doubts of my own.
  • In art the best is good enough.
  • It's not that age brings childhood back again, age merely shows what children we remain.
  • Joy and sorrow both have part in my solitude.
  • Know thyself? If I knew myself, I'd run away.
  • Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
  • Live dangerously and you live right.
  • Man is not born to solve the problem of the universe, but to find out what he has to do; and to restrain himself within the limits of his comprehension.
  • Many people take no care of their money till they come nearly to the end of it.
  • Mathematicians are [like] a sort of Frenchmen; if you talk to them, they translate it into their own language, and then it is immediately something quite different.
  • Men show their characters in nothing more clearly than in what they think laughable.
  • One has only to grow older to become more tolerant. I see no fault that I might not have committed myself.
  • Only when we know little do we know anything; doubt grows with knowledge.
  • [Prague is the] prettiest gem in the stone crown of the world...
  • Reason can never be popular. Passions and feelings may become popular, but reason will always remain the sole property of a few eminent individuals.
  • Should I not be proud, when for twenty years I have had to admit to myself that the great Newton and all the mathematicians and noble calculators along with him were involved in a decisive error with respect to the doctrine of color, and that I among millions was the only one who knew what was right in this great subject of nature?
  • Talent develops in quiet places, character in the full current of human life.
  • The best genius is that which absorbs and assimilates everything without doing the least violence to its fundamental destiny — that which we call character — but rather improving it and enhancing it as far as possible.
  • The deed is everything, the glory naught.
  • The effects of good music are not just because it's new; on the contrary music strikes us more the more familiar we are with it.
  • The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth.
  • The highest happiness of man as a thinking being is to have probed what is knowable and quietly to revere what is unknowable.
    • Maxims and Reflections, 1907
  • The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.
    • Sometimes phrased as: An intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, a wise man hardly anything.
  • The decline in literature indicates a decline in the nation. The two keep pace in their downward tendency.
  • The man is born with a talent which he has meant to use finds his greatest happiness in using it.
  • The phrases that men hear or repeat continually, end by becoming convictions and ossify the organs of intelligence.
  • There are two things children should get from their parents: roots and wings.
  • Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.
  • Thinking is more interesting than knowing, but less interesting than looking.
  • To be pleased with one's limits is a wretched state.
  • To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything.
  • We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.
  • We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.
  • We lay aside letters never to read them again, and at last we destroy them out of discretion, and so disappears the most beautiful, the most immediate breath of life, irrecoverable for ourselves and for others.
  • What one knows, one sees.
    • Variant translation: What man knows, man sees.
  • When a man stops to ponder his physical or moral condition, he generally finds he is ill.
  • When ideas fail, words come in very handy.
  • Whoever, in middle age, attempts to realize the wishes and hopes of his early youth, invariably deceives himself. Each ten years of a man's life has its own fortunes, its own hopes, its own desires.
  • You must be either the servant or the master, the hammer or the anvil.
  • There is nothing more dreadful than imagination without taste.
  • Create, artist! Do not talk!
    • Saying
  • Without haste, but without rest.
    • Motto
  • Mehr licht.
    • More light!
    • Last words.
  • To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.
  • [at the end of a long letter] I have no time to make it short
  • Not Goethe, this is actually by Blaise Pascal, "Lettres provinciales", letter 16, 1657
  • However, given as Goethe in Der grosse Duden, vol. 2, Stilwoerterbuch, 1963, p.14: "Da ich keine Zeit habe, Dir einen kurzen Brief zu schreiben, schreibe ich Dir einen langen."
  • It is quite beyond me how anyone can believe God speaks to us in books and stories. If the world does not directly reveal to us our relationship to it, if our hearts fail to tell us what we owe ourselves and others, we shall assuredly not learn it from books, which are at best designed but to give names to our errors.
  • Since I have heard often enough that everyone in the end has his own religion, nothing seemed more natural to me than to fashion my own.
  • Truth is a torch but a tremendous one. That is why we hurry past it, shielding our eyes, indeed, in fear of getting burned.
  • Hypotheses are lullabies for teachers to sing their students to sleep. The close and thoughtful observer more and more learns to recognize his limitations. He realizes that with the steady growth of knowledge more and more new problems keep on emerging.

Misunderstandings[edit]

This page gives:

[…] misunderstandings and neglect create more confusion in this world than trickery and malice. At any rate, the last two are certainly much less frequent.

February 10 translates the same quote to:

And I have again observed, my dear friend, in this trifling affair, that misunderstandings and neglect occasion more mischief in the world than even malice and wickedness. At all events, the two latter are of less frequent occurrence.

I consider "confusion" and "mischief" as quite different. Can someone verify that "confusion" is a correct translation? [1] gives "mischief". --Chealer (talk) 02:18, 9 July 2012 (UTC)

Irrelevant paintings[edit]

I don't see any relevance for the paintings chosen to accompany these quotes, particularly the one about the inherent virtue of art. 199.3.246.231 16:43, 10 April 2014 (UTC)