Truth is that which is in accord with reality, fact, and experience, that which is authentic. Truth can include facts, and truth can include a coherence with experience. The word in English derives from an older word similar to that meaning faithful (truth is that which is faithful to reality or experience), and ultimately is derived from a root meaning tree. To be truthful is to be as straight and strong as a tree. Other languages have words for truth (veritas, pravda, etc.) that have different derivations.

These quotations explore aspects of truth and truth-telling.

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There is a price to pay for speaking the truth. There is a bigger price for living a lie.

— Cornel West

You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy does not reserve a plot for weeds.

— Dag Hammarskjöld

It would be better for us to have some doubts in an honest pursuit of truth, than it would be for us to be certain about something that was not true.

— Daniel Wallace

Part of adult faith is being able to look truth in the eye, to take responsibility for it, and to not get stuck by the fact that it’s not an easy story.

— Danya Ruttenberg

In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark’d, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surpriz’d to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ‘tis necessary that it shou’d be observ’d and explain’d; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.

— David Hume, known as the naturalistic fallacy

In our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence.

— David Hume

Truth springs from argument amongst friends.

— David Hume

A wise man proportions his beliefs to the evidence.

— David Hume

Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.

— Demosthenes

What has not been examined impartially has not been well examined. Skepticism is therefore the first step towards truth.

— Denis Diderot

Protest is this idea of telling the truth in public.

— Deray McKesson

Never does hatred cease by hating in return; only through love can hatred come to an end. Victory breeds hatred; the conquered dwell in sorrow and resentment. They who give up all thought of victory or defeat may be calm and live happily at peace. Let us overcome violence by gentleness; let us overcome evil by good; Let us overcome the miserly by liberality; let us overcome the liar by truth.

— Dhammapada

Life is full of awe and grace and truth, mystery and wonder. I live in that atmosphere.

— Dion DiMucci

There’s a hell of a distance between wise-cracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wise-cracking is simply callisthenics with words.

— Dorothy Parker

There is nothing to fear except the persistent refusal to find out the truth, the persistent refusal to analyze the causes of happenings.

— Dorothy Thompson

Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.

— Edgar Allan Poe

No matter how plain a woman may be, if truth and honesty are written across her face, she will be beautiful.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

The ultimate aim of the human mind, in all its efforts, is to become acquainted with Truth.

— Eliza Farnham

For all his attention to my historical education, my father had neglected to tell me this: history’s terrible moments were real. I understand now, decades later, that he could never have told me. Only history itself can convince you of such a truth. And once you’ve seen that truth – really seen it – you can’t look away.

— Elizabeth Kostova

I think that taking life seriously means something such as this: that whatever man does on this planet has to be done in the lived truth of the terror of creation, of the grotesque, of the rumble of panic underneath everything. Otherwise it is false. Whatever is achieved must be achieved with the full exercise of passion, of vision, of pain, of fear, and of sorrow. How do we know … that our part of the meaning of the universe might not be a rhythm in sorrow?

— Ernest Becker

Truth is the first casualty in war.

— Ethel Snowden, misattributed to Hiram Johnson

Sometimes it seem like to tell the truth today is to run the risk of being killed. But if I fall, I’ll fall five feet four inches forward in the fight for freedom. I’m not backing off.

— Fannie Lou Hamer

The truth which has made us free will in the end make us glad also.

— Felix Adler

Theories of what is true have their day. They come and go, leave their deposit in the common stock of knowledge, and are supplanted by other more convincing theories. The thinkers and investigators of the world are pledged to no special theory, but feel themselves free to search for the greater truth beyond the utmost limits of present knowledge. So likewise in the field of moral truth, it is our hope, that men in proportion as they grow more enlightened, will learn to hold their theories and their creeds more loosely, and will none the less, nay, rather all the more be devoted to the supreme end of practical righteousness to which all theories and creeds must be kept subservient.

— Felix Adler

Let us found religion upon a basis of perfect intellectual honesty. Religion, if it is to mean anything at all, must stand for the highest truth. How then can the cause of truth be served by the sacrifice, more or less disguised, of one’s intellectual convictions?

— Felix Adler

Though aware that our knowledge is incomplete, that our truth is partial, that our love is imperfect, we believe that new light is ever waiting to break through individual hearts and minds.

— First Unitarian Church of Chicago, Statement of Faith

The contemplation of things as they are, without substitution or imposture, without error or confusion, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention.

— Francis Bacon

The truth is more important than the facts.

— Frank Lloyd Wright

Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous.

— Frederick Douglass
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