Truth word on group of stones on the sand

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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Most of the change we think we see in life Is due to truths being in and out of favor.

— Robert Frost

Defending the truth is not something one does out of a sense of duty or to allay guilt complexes, but is a reward in itself.

— Simone de Beauvoir

I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for the truth; and truth rewarded me.

— Simone de Beauvoir

I do not understand those who take little or no interest in the subject of religion. If religion embodies a truth, it is certainly the most important truth of human experience. If it is largely error, then it is one of monumentally tragic proportions – and should be vigorously opposed.

— Steve Allen

In the most general terms, the Enlightenment goes back to Plato’s belief that truth and beauty and goodness are connected; that truth and beauty, disseminated widely, will sooner or later lead to goodness. (While we’re making an effort at truth and goodness, beauty reminds us what we’re holding out for.)

— Susan Neiman

As a citizen of the world, I stand only with Truth and my conscience is my only leader. This is the only way to peace and justice on earth. To always do the right thing, be the right person, and stand with whoever is right always and forever.

— Suzy Kassem

Aware of the suffering caused by un-mindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am determined to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I will not spread news that I do not know to be certain and will not criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure …. I am determined to make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching, Chapter Twelve, Right Speech

Aware that words can create suffering or happiness, we are committed to learning to speak truthfully and constructively, using only words that inspire hope and confidence. We are determined not to say untruthful things for the sake of personal interest or to impress people, nor to utter words that might cause division or hatred. We will not spread news that we do not know to be certain nor criticize or condemn things of which we are not sure. We will do our best to speak out about situations of injustice, even when doing so may threaten our safety.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, Interbeing: Fourteen Guidelines for Engaged Buddhism

Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now.

— Thomas Edison

Hell is truth seen too late.

— Thomas Hobbes

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

— Thomas Jefferson

The great reason why the real apostles of truth don’t make any more impression is this — the moment any person among us begins to broach any ‘new views’ and intimate that all things arent exactly right, the conservatives lose no time in holding up their fingers and branding him an unsafe person — fanatic, visionary, insane. If every man who is accused of having a crack in his brain is to be silenced, which of us is safe?

— Thomas Wentworth Higginson

I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.

— Umberto Eco

Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.

— W. Clement Stone

The best servants of the people, like the best valets, must whisper unpleasant truths in the master’s ear. It is the court fool, not the foolish courtier, whom the king can least afford to lose.

— Walter Lippmann, A Preface to Politics

If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics.

— Will Rogers

A remark generally hurts in proportion to its truth.

— Will Rogers

Truth crushed to earth will rise again.

— William Cullen Bryant

Truth does not reside in exact recording of every detail. It never has. Instead, it resides in myth — generalizing myths that direct attention to what is common amid diversity by neglecting trivial differences of detail.

— William H. NcNeill

So far as I can see, coalescence of faith and truth has not been achieved anywhere in the world, not even in American departments of economics…

— William H. NcNeill

New truth is always a go-between, a smoother-over of transitions. It marries old opinion to new fact so as ever to show a minimum of jolt, a maximum of continuity.

— William James

Genius in truth means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.

— William James

When a thing is new, people say: ‘It is not true.’ Later, when its truth becomes obvious, they say: ‘It is not important.’ Finally, when its importance cannot be denied, they say: ‘Anyway, it is not new.’

— William James

Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some, they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing, until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now, women forget all those things they don’t want to remember and remember everything they don’t want to forget. The dream is the truth. They then act and do things accordingly.

— Zora Neale Hurston
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