The concept of truth is a fundamental part of our collective and individual consciousness as humans. It drives our science and philosophy, pushes us toward new discoveries, and informs or influences every aspect, big and small, of our daily lives. We seek it, tell it, bend it, and hide it. It can be concrete or questioned, fixed or subjective.
It’s no surprise, then, that truth as both an idea and an ideal has long been a common subject in art and in discourse. Its very nature has been questioned and debated in everything from ancient texts to the New Testament to The Matrix. And while the truth is generally considered a good and noble thing, it’s not always easy to hear.
That conflict is evident in these 19 quotes about the truth and our pursuit of it, from philosophers, poets, politicians, and more.
Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love the truth. Those who love the truth are not equal to those who delight in it.
And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
— John 8:32
It is said that truth is often eclipsed but never extinguished.
— Livy, Roman historian
Truth is truth to the end of reckoning.
— William Shakespeare
Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believed.
— William Blake
Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
— John Keats
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
— Henry David Thoreau
There’s nothing so kingly as kindness, and nothing so royal as truth.
— Alice Cary, poet
Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.
— Leo Tolstoy
The fact that a great many people believe something is no guarantee of its truth.
— W. Somerset Maugham
Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.
— Mark Twain
The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it; malice may distort it, but there it is.
— Winston Churchill
Anyone who doesn’t take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
— Albert Einstein
One thing took deep root in me — the conviction that morality is the basis of things, and that truth is the substance of all morality.
— Mahatma Gandhi
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
— Martin Luther King Jr.
I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against.
— Malcolm X
The truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is.
— Nadine Gordimer, Nobel Prize-winning author
This is what I am learning, at 82 years old, the main thing is to be in love with the search for truth.
— Maya Angelou
We learned about honesty and integrity — that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.
— Michelle Obama
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