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Perspective

  • So easy it is to see the errors of past ages, so difficult to acknowledge our own!

  • From the vantage point of the continent's original residents, or, for example, the captive African laborers who made America a great agricultural power, our 'traditional values' have always been bigotry, greed, and belligerence, buttressed by wanton appeals to a God of love.

  • The habit of dwelling on the past, has a narrowing as well as a debilitating influence. Behind us, there is a small, — an almost insignificant measure of time; before us, there is an eternity. It is the natural tendency of the mind to magnify the one, and to diminish the other ...

    • Harriet Martineau,
    • "Proper Use of the Retrospective Faculty," Miscellanies, vol. 1 ()
  • I am a person; she is a personality. I perform; she's a performer. I have character; she is one. I help; she hypes.

  • All the best things are seen first of all at a far distance.

  • No use in taking a cat's opinion of a dog.

  • Ah! the difference, whether the hearse stands before one's own door, or one's neighbor's.

  • Colors seen by candle-light / Will not look the same by day.

  • Persons appear to us according to the light we throw upon them from our own minds.

  • I am firm. You are obstinate. He is a pig-headed fool.

  • There is no real evil in life, except great pain; all the rest is imaginary, and depends on the light in which we view things.

    • Madame de Sévigné,
    • 1680, Letters of Madame de Sévigné to Her Daughter and Her Friends, vol. 6 ()
  • Everyone can master a grief but he that has it.

  • Which is bigger? A baby eagle or a giant crow?

  • Often continuity is visible only in retrospect.

  • When we describe what the other person is really like, I suppose we often picture what we want. We look through the prism of our need.

  • We all know we are unique individuals, but we tend to see others as representatives of groups.

  • ... if something bad happens to me or to others with whom I identify, it is owing to brute luck, but if it happens to anyone else, it is owing to unwise choices.

  • It all depends on the way you look at it. The point of view is everything in this world.

  • Better never means better for everyone, he says. It always means worse, for some.

  • The older we grow, the less chance we have of really seeing a thing when we look at it; what we see is a composite of all the opinions we have ever formed about it. That, of course, is experience. It is also, however, hardening of the aesthetic arteries.

  • It is often true that those who sit in the wings can see more than the players.

  • No man ever looks at the world with pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and institutions and ways of thinking.

  • Most of us suffer from a kind of myopia. We see only the things that fit in with our beliefs about the world.

  • ... every way of seeing is also a way of not seeing ...

  • Just as the definition of a nymphomaniac is a person who has more sex than you, an overscheduled child is one enrolled in more classes than yours.

  • There are three points of view to everything — mine, yours, and the truth.

  • New perspectives give birth to new historic ages. Humankind has had many dramatic revolutions of understanding — great uses of fire and the wheel, language and writing. We found that the earth only seems flat, the sun only seems to circle the earth, matter only seems solid.

  • We never remember what is important, only what matters to us.

  • The definition of minor surgery is surgery done on someone else.

    • Kathleen Peratis,
    • in Letty Cottin Pogrebin, How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who's Sick ()
  • It's so easy to look around and notice what's wrong. It takes practice to see what's right.

  • When a small thing upset someone my grandmother used to say, 'Nonsense! That would never be noticed from a trotting horse.'

    • Emily Kimbrough,
    • "On Seeing Clearly," in William Nichols, ed., Words to Live By ()
  • Rosiness is not a worse windowpane than gloomy gray when viewing the world.

  • Except for our higher order of minds we are like the little moles under the earth carrying out blindly the work of digging, thinking our own dark passage-ways constitute all there is to the world.

  • There is a law which decrees that two objects may not occupy the same place at the same time — result: two people cannot see things from the same point of view, and the slightest difference in angle changes the thing seen.

  • The temper of mind that sees tragedy in life has not for its opposite the temper that sees joy. The opposite pole to the tragic view of life is the sordid view.

  • Fact One: Cataract surgery is simple, painless and (except with implants) risk free ... the whole procedure is common, routine and nothing to worry about. Fact Two: Fact One applies only to cataracts on the eyes in somebody else's head.

  • He who is in the grasp of the cobra can smile at the lightning's forked tongue.

  • It is very, very curious / How one may either be / A cat that nibbles a moment, / Or a mouse in eternity.

    • Paula Lecler,
    • "Perspective," in Eastern Star of Michigan ()
  • When I measure myself by the grasses / Then I am good and tall; / When I measure myself by the mountains / I do not exist at all.

    • Paula Lecler,
    • "Perspective," in Eastern Star of Michigan ()
  • It's the Point of Your View that Decides What You See — / One Man's Flop Is Another Man's Hit. / From Manners to Movies, the Picture Keeps Changing / Depending Upon Where You Sit.

  • Time is the mother of perspective.

  • Another person's life, observed from the outside, always has a shape and definition that one's own life lacks.