Inspiring Thoughts on Truth & Honesty

Thomas Jefferson


“Honesty is the first chapter

in the book of wisdom.”

Thomas Jefferson


“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” ―Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” —John Adams

“I don’t know anything. I never did know anything, but now I know I don’t know anything!” —Ebenezer Scrooge, in a Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

Thor: “You know, I had it all backwards. I had it all wrong.”  Erik Selvig: “It’s not a bad thing finding out that you don’t have all the answers. You start asking the right questions.” Thor: “For the first time in my life, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do.” Erik Selvig: “Anyone who’s ever going to find his way in this world has to start by admitting he doesn’t know where … he is.” —Thor

Edwards: “Why the big secret? People are smart. They can handle it.” Kay: “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.” —Men in Black

“A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” ―Mark Twain

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” ―Mahatma Gandhi

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” ―Winston Churchill

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” ―Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.” ―François de La Rochefoucauld

“Love truth, but pardon error.” ―Voltaire

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” ―George Washington

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” —Buddha

“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.” —Mahatma Gandhi

“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” —Arthur Schopenhauer

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived and dishonest—but the myth—persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.” —John F. Kennedy

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble; it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” —Mark Twain

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” —George Orwell

“Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.” —Mahatma Gandhi

“If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.” —C. S. Lewis

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” —Winston Churchill

“Truth will ultimately prevail where there are pains to bring it to light.” —George Washington

“Stand upright, speak thy thoughts, declare The truth thou hast, that all may share; Be bold, proclaim it everywhere: They only live who dare.” —Voltaire

“I believe that it is better to tell the truth than a lie. I believe it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe it is better to know than to be ignorant.” —H. L. Mencken

“Half a truth is often a great lie.” —Benjamin Franklin

Bryan Bedford: “Which is worse: A lie that draws a smile or a truth that draws a tear?” —Miracle on 34th Street

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” —William Shakespeare

“The truth which has made us free will in the end make us glad, also.” —Felix Adler

“A lie has speed, but truth has endurance. A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future.” —Edgar J. Mohn

“We tell lies when we are afraid … afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.” —Tad Williams

“Where is there dignity unless there is honesty?” —Cicero

“It is necessary to the happiness of man, that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.” —Thomas Paine

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” —Jesus Christ (John 8:32)

Then say, what is truth? 'Tis the last and the first,
For the limits of time it steps o'er.
Tho the heavens depart and the earth's fountains burst,
Truth, the sum of existence, will weather the worst,
Eternal, unchanged, evermore.


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