Maxims and Reflections

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Reading Order: Book 38
Categories: 2017, Erik Rostad
Great Books, Non-Fiction
Pages: 54
Suggested By: Ed Cooke
Date Started: October 25, 2017
Date Finished: October 26, 2017
My Thoughts

This was a short book of sayings. At times, it had a similar feel to reading the Proverbs in the Bible. It’s wisdom sayings from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, author of Faust. The book is divided into 4 sections:

  1. Life and Character
  2. Literature and Art
  3. Science
  4. Nature: Aphorisms

There’s no story line or general arc to the book, so it’s one that you can pick up at any time, read some sayings or pages, and ponder. In light of that, I thought I’d share some of my favorite sayings from the book:

“Against criticism a man can neither protest nor defend himself; he must act in spite of it, and then criticism will gradually yield to him.”

“Everything of an abstract or symbolic nature, as soon as it is challenged by realities, ends by consuming them and itself. So credit consumes both money and itself.”

“No one is more of a slave than he who thinks himself free without being so.”

“Nothing is more highly to be prized than the value of each day.”

“When Nature begins to reveal her open secret to a man, he feels an irresistible longing for her worthiest interpreter, Art.”

“…architecture a speechless music.”

“There is nothing more odious than the majority; it consists of a few powerful men to lead the way; of accommodating rascals and submissive weaklings; and of a mass of men who trot after them, without in the least knowing their own mind.”

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