John Locke Quotes


Curiosity in children is but an appetite for knowledge.

Curiosity should be as carefully cherish'd in children as other appetites suppress'd.

If the Gospel and the Apostles may be credited no man can be a Christian without charity and without that faith which works not by force but by love.

The visible mark of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of creation.

Not time is the measure of movement but: ...each constant periodic appearance of ideas.

Where all is but dream reasoning and arguments are of no use truth and knowledge nothing.

It is one thing to persuade another to command; one thing to press with arguments another with penalties.

Anger is uneasiness or discomposure of the mind upon the receipt of any injury with a present purpose of revenge

Liberty is to be free from restraint and violence from others

Logic is the anatomy of thought.

Who are we to tell anyone what they can or can't do?

Untruth being unacceptable to the mind of man there is no other defence left for absurdity but obscurity.

It is one thing to show a man that he is in an error and another to put him in possession of the truth.

He that makes use of another's fancy or necessity to sell ribbons or cloth dearer to him than to another man at the same time cheats him.

The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its author; salvation for its end and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure.

The chief art of learning is to attempt but a little at a time.

You shall find that there cannot be a greater spur to the attaining what you would have the eldest learn and know himself than to set him upon teaching it his younger brothers and sisters.

Affectation is an awkward and forced imitation of what should be genuine and easy wanting the beauty that accompanies what is natural.

What humanity abhors custom reconciles and recommends to us.

Memory is the power to revive again in our minds those ideas which after imprinting have disappeared or have been laid aside out of sight.

It is vain to find fault with those arts of deceiving wherein men find pleasure to be deceived.

Faith is the assent to any proposition not made out by the deduction of reason but upon the credit of the proposer.

Knowledge being to be had only of visible and certain truth error is not a fault of our knowledge but a mistake of our judgment giving assent to that which is not true.

One unerring mark of the love of truth is not entertaining any proposition with greater assurance than the proofs it is built upon will warrant.

Though the familiar use of things about us take off our wonder yet it cures not our ignorance.

The only defense against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.

Who lies for you will lie against you.

The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it.

I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.

Action is the great business of mankind and the whole matter about which all laws are conversant.

The difference so observable in men's understandings and parts does not arise so much from their natural faculties as acquired habits.

Firmness or stiffness of the mind is not from adherence to truth but submission to prejudice.

The end of law is not to abolish or restrain but to preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all the states of created beings capable of law where there is no law there is no freedom.

There is no such way to gain admittance or give defence to strange and absurd Doctrines as to guard them round about with Legions of obscure doubtful and undefin'd Words.

[H]e that thinks absolute power purifies men's blood and corrects the baseness of human nature need read the history of this or any other age to be convinced to the contrary.

Any one reflecting upon the thought he has of the delight which any present or absent thing is apt to produce in him has the idea we call love.

In the beginning all the world was America.

To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality.

As people are walking all the time in the same spot a path appears.

Certain subjects yield a general power that may be applied in any direction and should be studied by all.

Virtue is everywhere that which is thought praiseworthy; and nothing else but that which has the allowance of public esteem is called virtue.

Try all things hold fast that which is good.

The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it which obliges every one: and reason which is that law teaches all mankind who will but consult it.

All mankind... being all equal and independent no one ought to harm another in his life health liberty or possessions.

An excellent man like precious metal is in every way invariable; A villain like the beams of a balance is always varying upwards and downwards.

Parents wonder why the streams are bitter when they themselves have poisoned the fountain.

It is practice alone that brings the powers of the mind as well as those of the body to their perfection.

A sound mind in a sound body is a short but full description of a happy state in this world.

God is the place of spirits as spaces are the places of bodies.

Whoso sheddeth man's blood by man shall his blood be shed.

No man's knowledge here can go beyond his experience.

Beware how in making the portraiture thou breakest the pattern: for divinity maketh the love of ourselves the pattern; the love of our neighbours but the portraiture.

Truth like gold is not less so for being newly brought out of the mine.

Some eyes want spectacles to see things clearly and distinctly: but let not those that use them therefore say nobody can see clearly without them.

Many a good poetic vein is buried under a trade and never produces any thing for want of improvement.

I esteem it above all things necessary to distinguish exactly the business of civil government from that of religion and to settle the just bounds that lie between the one and the other.

With books we stand on the shoulders of giants.

To give a man full knowledge of morality I would send him to no other book than the New Testament.

The picture of a shadow is a positive thing.

The discipline of desire is the background of character.

Every man must some time or other be trusted to himself.

Knowledge is grateful to the understanding as light to the eyes.

Children (nay and men too) do most by example.

In my opinion understanding who your target audience is and what they want and writing to them (and only them!) is the most important component of being successful as an author.

Error is none the better for being common nor truth the worse for having lain neglected.

New opinions are always suspected and usually opposed without any other reason but because they are not already common.

The care of souls cannot belong to the civil magistrate.

Education begins the gentleman but reading good company and reflection must finish him.

Wherever Law ends Tyranny begins.

Our incomes are like our shoes; if too small they gall and pinch us; but if too large they cause us to stumble and to trip.

He that denies any of the doctrines that Christ has delivered to be true denies him to be sent from God and consequently to be the Messiah; and so ceases to be a Christian.

Man is not permitted without censure to follow his own thoughts in the search of truth when they lead him ever so little out of the common road.

The senses at first let in particular Ideas and furnish the yet empty Cabinet: And the Mind by degrees growing familiar with some of them they are lodged in the Memory and Names got to them.

A man may live long and die at last in ignorance of many truths which his mind was capable of knowing and that with certainty.

We are like chameleons we take our hue and the color of our moral character from those who are around us.

The Church which taught men not to keep faith with heretics had no claim to toleration.

It is ambition enough to be employed as an under-labourer in clearing the ground a little and removing some of the rubbish that lies in the way to knowledge.

Don't tell me what I can't do!

It is easier for a tutor to command than to teach.

Justice and truth are the common ties of society

In transgressing the law of nature the offender declares himself to live by another rule than that of reason and common equity.

The thoughts that come often unsought and as it were drop into the mind are commonly the most valuable of any we have.

For those who either perceive but dully or retain the ideas that come into their minds but ill who cannot readily excite or compound them will have little matter to think on.

Our Business here is not to know all things but those which concern our conduct.

There is not so contemptible a plant or animal that does not confound the most enlarged understanding.

That which is static and repetitive is boring. That which is dynamic and random is confusing. In between lies art.

Practice conquers the habit of doing without reflecting on the rule.

Consciousness is the perception of what passes in man's own mind.

MEN being as has been said by nature all free equal and independent no one can be put out of this estate and subjected to the political power of another without his own consent.

Things of this world are in so constant a flux that nothing remains long in the same state.

When Fashion hath once Established what Folly or craft began Custom makes it Sacred and 'twill be thought impudence or madness to contradict or question it.

What worries you masters you.

Good and evil reward and punishment are the only motives to a rational creature

To be rational is so glorious a thing that two-legged creatures generally content themselves with the title.

Crooked things may be as stiff and unflexible as streight: and Men may be as positive and peremptory in Error as in Truth.

As much land as a man tills plants improves cultivated and can use the product of so much is his property. He by his labour does as it were enclose it from the common.

There cannot be greater rudeness than to interrupt another in the current of his discourse.

That which parents should take care of... is to distinguish between the wants of fancy and those of nature.

Our deeds disguise us. People need endless time to try on their deeds until each knows the proper deeds for him to do. But every day every hour rushes by. There is no time.

There is frequently more to be learned from the unexpected questions of a child than the discourses of men.

In the discharge of thy place set before thee the best examples; for imitation is a globe of precepts.

We should have a great fewer disputes in the world if words were taken for what they are the signs of our ideas only and not for things themselves.

Though the water running in the fountain be every ones yet who can doubt but that in the pitcher is his only who drew it out?

The least and most imperceptible impressions received in our infancy have consequences very important and of long duration.

If all be a Dream then he doth but dream that he makes the Question; and so it is not much matter that a waking Man should answer him.

This is my destiny "? I'm supposed to do this dammit! Don't tell me what I can and can't do!

The dread of evil is a much more forcible principle of human actions than the prospect of good.

There cannot any one moral rule be proposed whereof a man may not justly demand a reason.

The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first our own increase of knowledge; secondly to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.

Inuring children gently to suffer some degrees of pain without shrinking is a way to gain firmness to their minds and lay a foundation for courage and resolution in the future part of their lives.

The people cannot delegate to government the power to do anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves.

It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean.

The reservedness and distance that fathers keep often deprive their sons of that refuge which would be of more advantage to them than an hundred rebukes or chidings.

He that in the ordinary affairs of life would admit of nothing but direct plain demonstration would be sure of nothing in this world but of perishing quickly.

[Individuals] have a right to defend themselves and recover by force what by unlawful force is taken from them.

I am sure zeal or love for truth can never permit falsehood to be used in the defense of it.

It is labour indeed that puts the difference on everything.

Mathematical proofs like diamonds are hard and clear and will be touched with nothing but strict reasoning.

I doubt not but from self-evident Propositions by necessary Consequences as incontestable as those in Mathematics the measures of right and wrong might be made out.

The mind is furnished with ideas by experience alone

I have spent more than half a lifetime trying to express the tragic moment.

Children generally hate to be idle; all the care then is that their busy humour should be constantly employed in something of use to them

The greatest part of mankind ... are given up to labor and enslaved to the necessity of their mean condition; whose lives are worn out only in the provisions for living.

The reason why men enter into society is the preservation of their property.

All men are liable to error; and most men are in many points by passion or interest under temptation to it.

'Tis true that governments cannot be supported without great charge and it is fit everyone who enjoys a share of protection should pay out of his estate his proportion of the maintenance of it.

Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.

Men in great fortunes are strangers to themselves and while they are in the puzzle of business they have no time to tend their health either of body or mind.

Habits wear more constantly and with greatest force than reason which when we have most need of it is seldom fairly consulted and more rarely obeyed

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.

The necessity of pursuing true happiness is the foundation of all liberty- Happiness in its full extent is the utmost pleasure we are capable of.

Is it worth the name of freedom to be at liberty to play the fool?

Where there is no law there is no freedom.

Since the great foundation of fear is pain the way to harden and fortify children against fear and danger is to accustom them to suffer pain.

Fashion for the most part is nothing but the ostentation of riches.

I find every sect as far as reason will help them make use of it gladly: and where it fails them they cry out It is a matter of faith and above reason.

Reverie is when ideas float in our mind without reflection or regard of the understanding.

Success in fighting means not coming at your opponent the way he wants to fight you.

If by gaining knowledge we destroy our health we labour for a thing that will be useless in our hands.

The great art to learn much is to undertake a little at a time.

Government has no other end but the preservation of property.

Reason must be our last judge and guide in everything.

Till a man can judge whether they be truths or not his understanding is but little improved and thus men of much reading though greatly learned but may be little knowing.

All rising to great place is by a winding stair; and if there be factions it is good to side a man's self whilst he is in the rising and to balance himself when he is placed.

He that will have his son have respect for him and his orders must himself have a great reverence for his son.

But there is only one thing which gathers people into seditious commotion and that is oppression

When we know our own strength we shall the better know what to undertake with hopes of success...

How long have you been holding those words in your head hoping to use them?

What if everything that happened here happened for a reason?

To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world and the seed-plot of all other virtues.

Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses.

Where there is no desire there will be no industry.

I pretend not to teach but to inquire.

Where there is no property there is no injustice.

He that judges without informing himself to the utmost that he is capable cannot acquit himself of judging amiss

The body of People may with Respect resist intolerable Tyranny.

So difficult it is to show the various meanings and imperfections of words when we have nothing else but words to do it with.

Words in their primary or immediate signification stand for nothing but the ideas in the mind of him who uses them.

I thought that I had no time for faith nor time to pray then I saw an armless man saying his Rosary with his feet.

All wealth is the product of labor.

He that uses his words loosely and unsteadily will either not be minded or not understood.

To prejudge other men's notions before we have looked into them is not to show their darkness but to put out our own eyes.

The rising unto place is laborious and by pains men come to greater pains; and it is sometimes base and by indignities men come to dignities.

There are two sides two players. One is light the other is dark.

When the sacredness of property is talked of it should be remembered that any such sacredness does not belong in the same degree to landed property.

The most precious of all possessions is power over ourselves.

Men's happiness or misery is [for the] most part of their own making.

God when he makes the prophet does not unmake the man.

If punishment reaches not the mind and makes not the will supple it hardens the offender.

Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to but himself.

There are a thousand ways to Wealth but only one way to Heaven.

Don't let the things you don't have prevent you from using what you do have.

He that will make good use of any part of his life must allow a large part of it to recreation.

To ask at what time a man has first any ideas is to ask when he begins to perceive; having ideas and perception being the same thing.

Revolt is the right of the people

Let not men think there is no truth but in the sciences that they study or the books that they read.

Struggle is nature's way of strengthening it

As usurpation is the exercise of power which another has a right to so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right which nobody can have a right to.

I have no reason to suppose that he who would take away my Liberty would not when he had me in his Power take away everything else.

The greatest part cannot know and therefore they must believe.