Plato: "As a young man I reflected a lot about how society could be improved ... but I refrained from action."
[Inscription on his tombstone:] "Here lies a high-minded man famed for temperance and moral virtue and the justice of his character."
Timon of Phlius: "Plato was a sweet-voiced speaker ... pouring forth a prose as delicate as a lily."
C.G. Jung: "[Plato] is one of those who have come closest to the truth."
Carl Gustav Jung
Jung: "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being."
Jung: "The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but ... from inner necessity."
Jung: "Women are far more 'psychological' than men, who are usually satisfied with logic alone."
Sigmund Freud [in a personal letter to Jung:] "I have always felt that there is something about my personality ... that people find ... repelling, whereas all hearts open to you."
Physicist, mentor of Heisenberg
Bohr: "Every valuable human being must [aim] to make things better than they are."
Bohr: "We must [turn to the] problems with which already thinkers like Buddha and Lao Tzu have been confronted, when trying to harmonize our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence."
Bohr: "[We must take a] stand for an open world, with ... common enlightenment and mutual understanding."
Suzanne Gieser: "Bohr's personality and that of Jung show many similarities. They have both been labelled [as] mystics ... 'gurus' [who] inspire by personal contact."
Werner Heisenberg: "I find it difficult that ... a great man like Bohr cannot separate thinking [from] feeling." [Upon meeting Bohr in 1941.]
Campaigner for the independence of India
Gandhi: "My life is an indivisible whole, and all my activities run into one another ... they all have their rise in my insatiable love of mankind."
Gandhi: "I pride myself on my yielding nature in non-vital matters."
Gandhi: "I am indeed a practical dreamer. ... I want to convert my dreams into realities as far as possible."
Gandhi: "Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Gandhi: "In a gentle way, you can shake the world."
Gandhi: "The quality of the heart cannot come by an appeal to the brain."
U.S. President and author of the Declaration of Independence
Jefferson: "In stating rules ... I must not omit the important one of never entering into argument with another. I never saw an instance of disputants convincing each other by argument."
Jefferson: "Delay is preferable to error."
Jefferson: "Self-love ... [leads] us [to violate] our moral duties to others."
Jefferson: "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."
Richard Brookhiser: "There was a too-good-for-this-world streak in Jefferson's character that showed itself in many ways, from his mountaintop house, to his dislike of face-to-face argument."
Wittgenstein: "One of the most misleading representational techniques in our language is the use of the word 'I'."
Rudolf Carnap: "He was of a sympathetic temperament and very kind, but [also] hypersensitive." [Upon meeting Wittgenstein in 1927.]
Rudolf Carnap: "His point of view and his attitude ... were much more similar to those of a creative artist than to those of a scientist; one might almost say, similar to those of a religious prophet or a seer."
Friedrich Hayek: "What struck me most ... was [his] radical passion for truthfulness in everything. ... I sometimes felt that he took a perverse pleasure in discovering falsehood in his own feelings and that he was constantly trying to purge himself of all fraud."
Atheist campaigner and author
Harris: "Consider it: every person you have ever met ... is going to ... lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?"
Harris: "The conventional sense of self is an illusion. ... There are logical and scientific reasons to accept this claim, but recognizing it to be true is not a matter of understanding these."
Harris: "Bin Laden is giving a very plausible interpretation of Islam. He's not the Reverend Jim Jones of the Muslim world."
The Washington Post: "[In person] Harris seems utterly placid, which is a surprise. Reading his book, you envision a firebrand."
Sharon Salzberg: "[Even when he was young] his passion was for deep philosophical questions, and he could talk for hours and hours. Sometimes you'd want to say to him, 'What about the Yankees?'"
Linguist and left-wing commentator, mentor of Steven Pinker
Chomsky: "If you quietly accept and go along no matter what your feelings are, ultimately you internalize what you're saying."
Raziel Abelson: "Chomsky's morally impassioned ... denunciation of American aggression ... is the most moving political document I have read since ... Trotsky."
Osama bin Laden: "Chomsky is amongst the greatest [thinkers] of the West."
The Guardian: "Far from being some sort of brutal, domineering, 'alpha-male' ... Chomsky ... is one of the most soft-spoken and unfailingly civil ... political advocates on the planet."
The Guardian: "One would be hard-pressed to find someone as prominent as he who is as steadfastly polite and considerate."
Poet and author of 'The Divine Comedy'
Dante: "Consider your origins; you were not meant to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge."
Dante: "[I have a] prophetic spirit."
Dante: "I saw within [the] depths how [the one] conceives all things in a single volume bound by Love, of which the universe is the scattered leaves."
Napoleon Bonaparte: "Dante has not deigned to take his inspiration from any other. He has wished to be himself, himself alone. ... [He has a] sublime mind. He is ... gracious. He has imagination, warmth, and enthusiasm."
C.G. Jung: "Dante got his ideas from the same archetypes [that influenced me]."
Simone de Beauvoir
Philosopher, dated Jean-Paul Sartre
Beauvoir: "One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others."
Beauvoir: "For me the most important thing [is] to ... shape minds and souls."
Beauvoir: "At every moment ... the truth comes to light; the truth of life and death, of my solitude and my bond with the world, of my freedom and my servitude, of the insignificance and the sovereign importance of each man and all men. ... [We must accept] our fundamental ambiguity."
Lisa Appiganesi: "[Her philosophy spoke of] authenticity, and difficult choices."
Author of crime novels
Christie: "A woman who doesn't lie is a woman without imagination and without sympathy."
Christie: "Very few of us are what we seem."
Christie: "Everything that has existed, lingers in the Eternity."
Christie: "Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more."
Gary Lachman: "Jung had little use for most modern literature, but apparently was a fan of Agatha Christie."
Wollstonecraft: "I am a strange compound of weakness and resolution!"
Wollstonecraft: "In how many ways do I wish, from the purest benevolence, to impress [my] truth on [the world]."
Wollstonecraft: "[People] of sensibility doubt whether the expansion of intellect produces a greater portion of happiness or misery."
Wollstonecraft: "Rousseau celebrates barbarism. ... Had he mounted one step higher in his investigation ... [he would have] contemplated the perfection of man in ... true civilization, instead of taking his ferocious flight back to the night of sensual ignorance."
Camilla Jebb: "She was a woman singularly original in thought and noble in character."
Spinoza: "Man's highest good is common to all."
Spinoza: "I have labored carefully, not to mock or lament ... but to understand human actions."
Albert Einstein: "How much do I love [Spinoza] ... more than I could tell with words."
Gilles Deleuze: "Spinoza is very very good-natured ... and doesn't think at all like a rationalist."
Bertrand Russell: "Spinoza is the noblest and most lovable of the great philosophers. Intellectually, some others have surpassed him, but ethically he is supreme."
Schopenhauer: "There is an underlying unity in all things."
Ernst Hanfstaengl: "Schopenhauer [had an] almost Buddhist gentleness."
Irvin Yalom: "Already as a teenager [Schopenhauer could] distance himself and view things from a cosmic perspective."
Hermann Rollett: "Schopenhauer displays an introverted nature." [Upon meeting Schopenhauer in 1864.]
C.G. Jung: "One day people ... will build monuments to Schopenhauer!"
Author of 'War and Peace'
Tolstoy: "My vocation is to forward the recognition and the realization of the ideals of humanity."
Tolstoy: "Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness."
Tolstoy: "The striving of men's souls towards unity, and the submissive behavior to one another that results therefrom, represents the highest ... law of life."
Tolstoy: "Is it only Schopenhauer and I who are wise enough to understand the senselessness and evil of life?"
Author of 'Crime and Punishment'
Dostoevsky: "I have seen the truth; I have seen and I know that people can be beautiful and happy. ... I will not and cannot believe that evil is the normal condition of mankind."
Dostoevsky: "Nothing in this world is harder than speaking the truth, nothing easier than flattery."
Friedrich Nietzsche: "The only person who ever taught me anything about psychology was Dostoevsky."
Ann Coulter: "Dostoevsky is my favourite author! He teaches us how to be Christians."
Joseph Goebbels: "Dostoevsky is ahead of his time."
Chancellor of Nazi Germany, dated Eva Braun
Hitler: "I hate to disappoint people."
John Tolland: "He was respectful, even diffident ... and very careful to adhere to the forms of address."
C.G. Jung: "The secret to Hitler's power is ... that his unconscious has exceptional access to his conscious."
Otto Strasser: "Hitler responds to the vibration of the human heart with the delicacy of a seismograph."
Grand Ayatollah of Iran
Khomeini: "[There is a] mystical path that one must walk if one is to become the Perfect Man [who will] guide society toward perfection through right policies and a government of absolute justice."
Khomeini: "Plato was known for the [same] Oneness and divine wisdom that influenced me."
Michel Foucault: "[Khomeini has] a mythical dimension and mysterious link with the people. [He is] is not a politician, but an almost mythical personality."
Edward Willett: "Khomeini lived quietly [and conducted] rather unusual studies of philosophy and mysticism."
Osama bin Laden
Founder and leader of al-Qaeda
Bin Laden: "Reciprocal treatment is a part of justice."
Thomas R. Mockaitis: "Friends and teachers remember [bin Laden] as being introverted [and] courteous. Far from being inherently violent, he ... avoided confrontation."
Najwa bin Laden: "He was a mystery to his cousins, yet we all liked him because he was very quiet and gentle in his manners."
Najwa bin Laden: "He was proud, but not arrogant. He was delicate, but not weak. He was grave, but not severe."
Revolutionary and Soviet Commissar
Trotsky: "My life was rather full of 'adventures.' However, by natural inclination, I have nothing in common with seekers after adventure. ... I like and appreciate discipline and system."
Trotsky: "[Watching the workmen where I grew up] I had an intense realization of the complicated mechanics of their relations."
Trotsky: "[There is a] natural coarseness [to] many aspects of human relationships."
Trotsky: "The feeling of the supremacy of ... theory over personal experience took root in my mind at an early age and gained increasing strength as the years advanced."
Leader of Nationalist China
Chiang: "[We must] strive to make [China] a lighthouse for mankind. ... To advance peace and happiness for all mankind. ... [We do so with] the great moral ideas our people possess."
Chiang: "We must all be of one mind. ... Victory or defeat depends on the spirit shown."
Chiang: "If you sympathize with [civilians] in their sufferings ... then soldiers and civilians will form a closely knit body. ... There will be no cause for traitors to spring up, and the enemy will meet with defeat everywhere."
Jay Taylor: "Chiang was shy but emotional. ... He thought of himself as moral [and] sincere... and he was motivated ... by a vision of a unified ... China."
Dictator of Zimbabwe
Mugabe: "I urge you ... to join me in a new pledge to forget our grim past, forgive others and forget, join hands in a new amity, together."
Mugabe: "Bush rode roughshod over the U.N. and international opinion. ... Yet he dares lecture [the world] on tyranny. ... He should mend his ways before he clambers up the pulpit to deliver pieties of democracy."
Heidi Holland: "An introspective child ... he began to adopt a lofty attitude towards his siblings and fellow students."
[Childhood priest:] "[He had] unusual gravitas ... an exceptional mind and an exceptional heart."
Leader of the 9/11 terrorist group
Atta: "Tame your soul, purify it, convince it, make it understand, and incite it."
[College classmate:] "Mohamed was an incredible human being. ... He could not have a black spot in his character. He was so solid and pure, good to the roots."
Time Magazine: "The overriding impression is one of a reserved and gentle man."
[His father:] "[He] was almost like an angel ... in his politeness and shyness. ... He was soft-spoken."
9/11 Commission Report: "Bin Laden [personally] chose [Atta] to lead the group."
INFJs in popular culture
Lars von Trier
Von Trier: "I take a lot of responsibility, practically no matter who I'm with. Even for an interview to go well. ... I am very polite and well-mannered. Pretty shy of conflict, actually. ... But deep down I don't like my polite side."
Von Trier: "[Disparaging people] has become a hero role [to me] where I think I do it on behalf of what I believe to be just."
Von Trier: "[Hitler]'s not what you would call a good guy, but I understand much about him, and I sympathize with him a little bit."
Fincher: "[The plots of] my movies are fairly obvious. [But the characters] process the information from [a] singular, subjective point of view. And that becomes the subtext."
Fincher: "As much as people pretend [to] fit in ... there [is] always ... that sense of loneliness ... of not fitting in or being out of depth."
Lynn Hirschberg: "In Fincher's version of the world, the heroes often fuse with the villains, creating ... ambiguity."
Scott Rudin: "He's capable of taking any point of view and dismantling it until he comes to the conclusion that, for him, makes perfect sense."
Cohen: "[My songs] have to have [a] kind of balance of truth and lies, light and dark."
Cohen: "I think that we have a natural affinity for each other and we are all deeply connected, but we get into this illusion that we are separate, alone, abandoned. This ... produces suffering."
Cohen: "We have to transcend the side we're on and understand that we are creatures of a higher order."
The Telegraph: "[He has] gentle humility and [a] gentlemanly poise ... openness and kindness to strangers, and [a] fantastic eloquence, wisdom and humor."
Manson: "I have the idealism to start a revolution."
Manson: "The name Marilyn Manson [is about] male and female, beauty and ugliness. ... It's about the paradox [and] diametrically opposed archetypes."
Manson: "I incorporate a lot of philosophies into what I'm about, including Christianity. ... I try to open people's minds to [the fact that] there are different ways of looking at things."
Manson: "I'm definitely very shy. People believe that artists are extroverted ... but that is not true in all cases."
Pacino: "You don't want to say the wrong thing. I've seen [people] hurt for years over something that was unnecessary and didn't have to be said."
Pacino: "I see good and bad in all of us."
Pacino: "My first language was shy. It's only by having been thrust into the limelight that I have learned to cope with my shyness."
[Asked if he is gentle at heart:]
The Guardian: "[He has] tremendous gravitas [and] he's incredibly polite."
Pacino identifies himself as an introvert.
Day-Lewis: "My chief goal is to find a way to make [what I do] meaningful to other people."
Day-Lewis: "Very often there's this misapprehension about actors being people that need to display themselves, to reveal themselves in public. The paradox is that very often it's the sense of losing yourself in that public situation which is the drug."
Day-Lewis: "It's very hard to explain [what I do], even to myself. It's a paradox. Given the chance to enter into areas of one's soul ... there's great joy in the exploration of that."
Time Magazine: "Day-Lewis is a bit shy and soft-spoken in person - endearingly so - but warm and affable and exquisitely courteous."
New York Times: "His demeanor is courtly ... [and has] a quality of grace."
Actor, dated Salma Hayek
Norton: "[I] project myself into the given circumstances by using my ... empathic talent ... for understanding how other people express their emotions."
Norton: "Everybody goes through certain experiences and, if you're lucky, even with the worst things, you come out of them and they induce in you an altered perspective on the relative importance of things."
[On the book 'Mountains Beyond Mountains':]
Brody: "I've spent a lifetime understanding and connecting to emotions - not only my own, but [those of] other people."
Brody: "I [enjoy] creating illusions and pulling the wool over people's eyes."
Brody: "[Acting] is definitely the closest thing to a real spiritual experience that I can describe. It's like I connect to the emotional state of another being that's other than my own and that is very freeing."
Brody: "A little bit of attention and kindness can totally change a whole life, and a lack of that can do the same."
The Observer: "[He is] highly empathic."
Blanchett: "I think it's a myth that actors are all extroverts. I don't think that's true. I think something happens in those five seconds before you walk on stage."
Blanchett: "[I am] observant of other people's emotional states."
Blanchett: "[When my father died I saw] it from other people's perspective. I could see that my sister was so young, and I felt it was tragic that she might not remember him. I could see how it affected my brother [and] I saw what a struggle it was for my mother. I [thought] about my father and how sad it was that he never had grandchildren."
Vanity Fair: "She is cordial and cooperative."
Pfeiffer: "I always felt a little like an outsider looking in."
Pfeiffer: "There are participants in life and there are observers, and I've always been an observer."
Pfeiffer: "The more prepared I am, the more I'm able to kind of let go."
Pfeiffer: "I'm very stubborn. ... I'm probably at times a bit tunnel-visioned, but I'm strong."
Mara: "I have a pretty vivid imagination."
Mara: "I'm kind of obsessive and a perfectionist."
Mara: "I can understand wanting to be invisible and mistrusting people and wanting to understand everything before you engage with the world."
Mara: "I'm someone who overthinks everything and really needs to investigate every part of something before I'm ready to do it."
Mara: "It's easy to let people walk all over you ... because you don't want to be difficult."
Mara identifies herself as an introvert.
Mulligan: "Most of [my characters] have been emotionally articulate."
[Asked if she was a rebellious teenager:]
Time Magazine: "[She has] a warm gaze with laser intensity."
The Guardian: "[She is a] watchful Miss Marple in the guise of a limpid ingenue."
Actor and director
Schwimmer: "I walk through the world as an observer of life and of people."
Schwimmer: "I spend half my time just living my life, and the other half analyzing it."
Schwimmer: "I've got a real dark side. I'm very drawn to darkness. If I were given a choice between two films and one was dark and explored depraved [and] sick aspects of our culture, I would always opt for that."
Rosanna Greenstreet: "Schwimmer's favorite author is Fyodor Dostoevsky."
Actor and director
Radnor: "Obsessive worry and guilt are universal feelings."
Radnor: "The people in [my] movie have legitimate problems, and they learn to shift their perspective and find grace in the middle of those problems."
Radnor: "I accidentally read [a] book [Alicia Silverstone] gave me ... and that turned me into a vegetarian for about two years."
Brown: "Each of us is leading a difficult life, and when we meet people we are seeing only a tiny part of the thinnest veneer of their complex, troubled existences."
Brown: "To practice anything other than kindness towards [others], to treat them in any way save generously, is to quietly deny their humanity."
Brown: "I have retained a belief that it is the popular sporty kids at school who grow up to have the least interesting lives, and the unhappy young souls who develop into the most extraordinary adults. ... Hold on, misfits, your day will come."
Pick-up artist and magician, mentor of Neil Strauss
Mystery: "When I was younger, I was actually an extremely shy person."
Mystery: "The more prepared I [am], the less fear I [have]."
Mystery: "Wouldn't it be nice to have someone in your corner that would remove the weight of the world from your shoulders?"
[Interviewer: "When you start looking at women as 'targets', do you lose any intellectual respect?"]
Jimmy Kimmel: "He is a sexual Yoda."
Swinton: "I find fascinating the question, 'How do we identify ourselves, and how do we settle into other people's expectations for our identity?'"
Swinton: "I think people do what they can. Everyone's doing their best [in life]."
Swinton: "[My character] Gabriel's rationale [is] essentially, 'My job is to get as many souls as possible to heaven, and I have noticed that you are at your most spiritually open when the place is in flames, so I'm going to torch the joint.' It's a beautiful piece of reasoning."
Singer-songwriter, married to Andy Samberg
Newsom: "[When] you go through your day ... you can make a decision to be kind, to greet people kindly ... and connect, or you can make a decision to be mean, and every decision you make has these ripples."
Newsom: "[Archetypal elements] come up again and again in [my] songs, but it's not intentional ... [it's] just what I view as an accurate reflection of real life on this planet."
Newsom: "[Uniqueness is the] reconciliation of two or more seemingly incommensurable stylistic elements. That's all art or science can do now; synthesize."
Washington Post: "[Her music is a] wildly ambitious ... lengthy ... stream-of-consciousness reverie."
Stevens: "We all contain multitudes and have the potential for extreme kindness and vengeance at the same time."
Stevens: "There is far greater joy ... in giving than receiving. ... The will of humankind ... contains this boundless capacity for immeasurable generosity and love."
Stevens: "I don't want to get caught up in self-doubt anymore. ... [My] existential conundrums are really circuitous and ... unproductive."
Stevens: "I'm involved in everything I do which isn't always efficient. ... But in that sense, everything I do has a comprehensiveness to it."
Harrison: "You can be standing right in front of the truth and not necessarily see it. People only get it when they're ready to get it."
Harrison: "If you want to know anything in this life, you just have to knock on the door. [As] I was lucky to find: It's all within."
Cumberbatch: "Our daily lives are so mundane, we get taken over by what is immediately in front of us and we don't see beyond that."
Cumberbatch: "[I try to] be a kinder, considerate person."
Cumberbatch: "I love having context that's so much bigger than I can fathom. It's fantastic to realize how insignificant you are."
Jane Graham: "[He comes across] like a benign, dutiful priest ready to attend. His voice is ... authoritative [and] reassuring."
Elle Magazine: "He's struggling to walk a line between being genuine and people-pleasing ... veering between honesty and courtesy."
Connelly: "It's ... in my nature to [try to] understand why we are here and communicate with people."
Connelly: "People are really important. And, for me, the connections we have to one another are more important than anything."
Connelly: "I appreciate inconsistencies and contradictions. ... Everyone I know has contradictions in their personalities. I'm absolutely drawn to that."
Vogue Magazine: "She has a regal, almost patrician bearing."
Allure Magazine: "[Her] good manners can be mistaken for cold seriousness."
Ron Howard: "She [is] a person who's not a joiner, who follows her own path. It's not aloofness - that implies a kind of disdain. ... It's [more] of a singular perspective on the world."