There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. ~ First Epistle of John
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. ~ Marie Curie
He who has overcome his fears will truly be free. ~ Aristotle
It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, — always do what you are afraid to do. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear. ~ Baruch Spinoza
Fear is the foundation of most governments. ~ John Adams
Let them hate, so long as they fear. ~ Lucius Accius
Everybody's afraid, but to do your job in combat you have to put your fear down. If you're not afraid in combat, you're either a fool or a liar. ~ George S. Patton IV
Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other. ~ Francis Bacon
Fear, ...can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy. If you're afraid you don’t commit yourself to life completely; fear makes you always, always hold something back. ~ Phillip K. Dick
I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. ~ Frank Herbert

Fear is a basic emotional sensation and response system ("feeling") initiated by an aversion to some perceived risk or threat.


  • Oderint dum metuant.
    • Let them hate, so long as they fear.
    • Lucius Accius from Atreus, quoted in Seneca, Dialogues, Books III–V "De Ira", I, 20, 4.
  • From remote times people have been accustomed to fear so-called death. They were always intimidated by hell, and at the same time were not told about the meaning of perfectment. One cannot ask people to be brave if they do not know why they are on Earth, and where they will be directed when liberated. We entrust Our co-workers to repeat as much as they can to people about the great Eternity and the continuity of life... We know what devastation fear produces in the human organism. Earthly physicians should distinguish a special kind of sickness caused by fear... Let them understand how harmful is fear.
  • Fear, imposed from the top down- from shareholder to senior executive, senior executive to executive, and so on down the chain right to the maximally squeezed Manpower temp- is the dominant trope in the post-Reagan corporate culture. One of the simplest ways to instill this fear is to make employees acutely aware that their jobs are never safe.
    • Mark Ames, Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond (2005), p. 103
  • He who has overcome his fears will truly be free.
    • Variant: I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies.
    • Aristotle, Quoted in Florilegium by Joannes Stobaeus


  • Nothing is terrible except fear itself.
    • Francis Bacon, De Augmentis Scientiarum, Book II, Fortitudo (1623).
  • The fear that I heard in my father’s voice, for example, when he realized that I really believed I could do anything a white boy could do, and had every intention of proving it, was not at all like the fear I heard when one of us was ill or had fallen down the stairs or strayed too far from the house. It was another fear, a fear that the child, in challenging the white world’s assumptions, was putting himself in the path of destruction.
  • Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.
  • Fear is the product of ignorance, and in its initial stages it is not the product of wrong thinking. It is basically instinctual, and is found dominating in the non-mental animal kingdom, as well as in the human kingdom... But in the human, its power is increased potently through the powers of the mind, and through memory of past pain and grievance, and through anticipation of those we foresee, the power of fear is enormously aggravated by the thoughtform we ourselves have built of our own individual fears and phobias. This thoughtform grows in power as we pay attention to it, for "energy follows thought", till we become dominated by it.
    • Alice Bailey, The Way of the Disciple [1934]. ISBN 978-0-85330-123-3.
  • Far too many people have been swept into the post-9/11 system of fear that is the basis of all public policy these days.
  • Fear is real and there is nothing you can do about it except to keep functioning, keep your hands and legs and body moving, your mind focused on the task at hand.
    • Alvah Bessie, Men in Battle: A Story of Americans in Spain (1939), p. 241
  • Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.
    • Louis Brandeis, concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 376 (1927).
  • All our times have come
    Here but now they're gone
    Seasons don't fear the reaper
    Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain... we can be like they are
    Come on baby... don't fear the reaper
    Baby take my hand... don't fear the reaper
    We'll be able to fly... don't fear the reaper
    Baby I'm your man...
  • The greatest weakness of all weaknesses is to fear too much to appear weak.
    • Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Politique Tirée de l'Écriture Sainte (Politics Drawn from the Very Words of Holy Scripture) (1679 - published 1709).
  • No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
    • Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1756).
  • The concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.
    • Edmund Burke, Second Speech on Conciliation with America. The Thirteen Resolutions (March 22, 1775).
  • Early and provident fear is the mother of safety.
    • Edmund Burke, speech on the petition of the Unitarians, House of Commons (May 11, 1792); in The Works of the Right Honorable Edmund Burke (1899), vol. 7, p. 50.
  • There is a courageous wisdom; there is also a false, reptile prudence, the result not of caution but of fear.
    • Attributed to Edmund Burke; reported as unverified in Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations (1989).
  • The fear of some divine and supreme powers keeps men in obedience.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Part III, Section 4, member 1, subsec. 2 (1621-1651).


  • They are the driven crowds that makes the army of the authoritarian overlord; they are the stuffing of conservatism ... mediocrity is their god. They fear the stranger, they fear the new idea; they are afraid to live, and scared to die.
  • Surrendering to fear and allowing ourselves to be paralyzed by peril isn't something most of us can afford to do.
  • The point is, we can decry the dangers we face or ignore them or even allow ourselves to be paralyzed by fear.
  • Myths are themselves a very important kind of proof. Myths preserve the history of human thought - dreams, nightmares, and memories - as well as the history of human deeds. And tangible proof aside, the legendary Amazons have been an almost universal male nightmare. Men have believed in them. Psychologically speaking, we don't fear something that doesn't exist, something that never happened, something that never could happen - any more than people forbid or regulate something that no one wants to do anyway.
  • So much of "normal, civilized" life is bull that you can't imagine. … What frightens you, doesn't frighten me, what frightens me, you'd laugh at.
  • Not living in fear is a great gift, because certainly these days we do it so much. And do you know what I like about comedy? You can’t laugh and be afraid at the same time—of anything. If you're laughing, I defy you to be afraid.
  • Like one that on a lonesome road
    Doth walk in fear and dread,
    And having once turned round walks on,
    And turns no more his head;
    Because he knows, a frightful fiend
    Doth close behind him tread.
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Part VI, st. 10 (1798).
  • Who is all-powerful should fear everything.
  • The stress which exists in the world today is a result of competition and fear, the fear of failure, disease, death, war, calamity, and economic disruption. The pressure that these fears put on humanity inevitably results in psychosomatic diseases. The cure lies in a re-establishing of equilibrium. When we establish equilibrium in our lives through a restructuring of our political, economic and social institutions, we will find that the health of humanity will improve dramatically.
    • Benjamin Creme in Maitreya's Mission Vol. III, Share International Foundation (1997)
  • Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
    • Marie Curie, As quoted in Our Precarious Habitat (1973) by Melvin A. Benarde, p. v.


  • Où serait le mérite, si les héros n'avaient jamais peur?
    • Where would be the merit if heroes were never afraid?
    • Alphonse Daudet, Tartarin de Tarascon (1872); French cited from Tartarin de Tarascon (Paris: E. Flammarion, 1887), p. 204; translation from the Webster's French Thesaurus edition (San Diego: Icon, 2008), p. 80.
  • Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
  • The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
  • God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
  • As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
  • The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
  • Death in itself is nothing; but we fear
    To be we know not what, we know not where.


  • Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.
    The soul that knows it not, know no release
    From little things;
    Knows not the livid loneliness of fear,
    Nor mountain heights where bitter joy can hear
    The sound of wings.
  • Always believe that God is with you, and fear nothing.
    • Eliezer, The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day Volume 2, edited by Isidore Singer, Cyrus Adler, (Dec 31, 1903), p.386.
  • It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, — always do what you are afraid to do.
  • O friend, never strike sail to a fear! Come into port greatly, or sail with God the seas.
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Heroism", Essays: First Series (1903; vol. 2 of The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson), p. 259–60.
  • Quem metuunt oderunt; quem quisque odit, perisse expetit.
    • Whom they fear, they hate; and whom they hate they want dead.
      • Ennius as quoted by Cicero in De Officiis, Book II, Chapter 23


  • Quite an experience, to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave.
    • Roy Batty in Blade Runner (1982), script by Hampton Fancher & David Peoples
  • Depend on me; never fear your enemies. Ill warrant We make more noise than they.
    • Henry Fielding, The Universal Gallant : Or, the Different Husbands, A Comedy (1735).
  • The road remains wide open while your dreams are alive. Only fear can block the way. Let fear propel you forward. Do not look back. Do not let failure stifle you.
  • None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.
    • Ferdinand Foch, As quoted in Encarta Book of Quotations (2000) by Bill Swainson and Anne H. Soukhanov, p. 338.


  • Fear, fear, she's the mother of violence
Making me tense to watch the way she breed
Fear, she's the mother of violence
You know self-defense is all you need
It's getting hard to breathe
It's getting so hard to believe
To believe in anything at all


  • The fear of death is born with man, though this is the only thing he knows is certain to happen to him. Attachment to material things makes man cling to life. When you chant the Name of the Divine, when you are one with the divine, you accept death. While you are attached to life and afraid of death, you die with that fear and that weight clinging to you. If you have attained liberation you are free from death (you accept inevitable). You die without fear and by remembering the Name of God, your soul leaves the body free of that fear and attachment. If you are reborn, your soul is still free from that fear. If you die in 'unity', you are free from rebirth, unless you will it.
  • I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
  • The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don't ask for their love; only for their fear.
    • Heinrich Himmler, as quoted in Visions of Reality: A Study of Abnormal Perception and Behavior (2007) by Alberto Rivas, p. 162
  • It is when power is wedded to chronic fear that it becomes formidable.
  • You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
    • Eric Hoffer, The Passionate State Of Mind, and Other Aphorisms Section 222 (1955).
  • Never fear your, enemies. A bold fight is the best: we should advance, and not retrograde.
    • William Alanson Howard, Official Proceedings of the National Republican Conventions of 1868, 1872, 1876, and 1880 (1903), p. 250.
  • Our work for peace must begin within the private world of each one of us. To build for man a world without fear, we must be without fear. To build a world of justice, we must be just. And how can we fight for liberty if we are not free in our own minds? How can we ask others to sacrifice if we are not ready to do so?… Only in true surrender to the interest of all can we reach that strength and independence, that unity of purpose, that equity of judgment which are necessary if we are to measure up to our duty to the future, as men of a generation to whom the chance was given to build in time a world of peace.


  • Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
    • William James, in "Is Life Worth Living?" The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (1897).
  • When the attendant of the man of the true God rose early and went outside, he saw that an army with horses and war chariots was surrounding the city. At once the attendant said to him: “Alas, my master! What are we to do?” But he said: “Do not be afraid! For there are more who are with us than those who are with them.”
  • Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.
  • φόβος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ, ἀλλ’ ἡ τελεία ἀγάπη ἔξω βάλλει τὸν φόβον, ὅτι ὁ φόβος κόλασιν ἔχει, ὁ δὲ φοβούμενος οὐ τετελείωται ἐν τῇ ἀγάπῃ.
    • There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
    • First Epistle of John 4:18 NIV.
  • Don’t be afraid, my Lord. My father always says that fear is the devil’s hairbrush, although no one knows quite what he means by it.


  • Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
    • John F. Kennedy, inaugural address (January 20, 1961); in The Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, p. 2.
  • Fear is an emotion that makes us blind. How many things are we afraid of? We're afraid to turn off the lights when our hands are wet. We're afraid to stick a knife into the toaster to get the stuck English muffin without unpluggin it first. We're afraid of what the doctor may tell us when the physical exam is over; when the airplane suddenly takes a great unearthly lurch in midair. We're afraid that the oil may run out, that the good air will run out, the good water, the good life. When the daughter promised to be in by eleven and it's now quarter past twelve and sleet is spatting against the window like dry sand, we sit and pretend to watch Johnny Carson and look occasionally at the mute telephone and we feel the emotion that makes us blind, the emotion that makes a stealthy ruin of the thinking process.
  • Fear makes us blind, and we touch each fear with all the avid curiousity of self-interest, trying to make a whole out of a hundred parts, like the blind men with their elephant. We sense the shape. Children grasp it easily, forget it, and relearn it as adults. The shape is there, and most of us come to realize what it is sooner or later: it is the shape of a body under a sheet. All our fears add up to one great fear, all our fears are part of that great fear - an arm, a leg, a finger, an ear. We're afraid of the body under the sheet. It's our body. And the great appeal of horror fiction through the ages is that it serves as a rehearsal for our own deaths.
  • Roger: But if there's something that frightens you, there are those that turn their eyes away and there are those who try to see through the fear and conquer it.
    • Chiaki Konaka, The Big O, Under Ground Terror, (2001-04-05)


  • Even the fear of death is nothing compared to the fear of not having lived authentically and fully.
  • I've grown certain that the root of all fear is that we've been forced to deny who we are.
  • The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
  • They are slaves who fear to speak
    For the fallen and the weak.
  • Fear. Fear attracts the fearful. The strong. The weak. The innocent. The corrupt. Fear. Fear is my ally.
  • Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.
    • Yoda in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)., written by George Lucas
  • Alike were they free from
    Fear, that reigns with the tyrant, and envy, the vice of republics.
  • For as children tremble and fear everything in the blind darkness, so we in the light sometimes fear what is no more to be feared than the things children in the dark hold in terror and imagine will come true.
    • Lucretius, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things), Book II, l. 87.


  • From this arises the question whether it is better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both: but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.
  • I must say a word about fear. It is life's only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life.
  • I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
  • There's no shame in fear, my father told me, what matters is how we face it.
  • To use fear as the friend it is, we must retrain and reprogram ourselves… We must persistently and convincingly tell ourselves that the fear is here--with its gift of energy and heightened awareness--so we can do our best and learn the most in the new situation.
    • Peter McWilliams, Life 101 (1995).
  • The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it's goodbye to the Bill of Rights.
    • H.L. Mencken, "A Time to be Wary" (1933), collected in A Carnival of Buncombe.
  • C'est de quoi j'ai le plus de peur que la peur.
  • We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we… remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes which were, for the moment unpopular.
  • There is a mental fear, which provokes others of us to see the images of witches in a neighbor's yard and stampedes us to burn down this house. And there is a creeping fear of doubt, doubt of what we have been taught, of the validity of so many things we had long since taken for granted to be durable and unchanging. It has become more difficult than ever to distinguish black from white, good from evil, right from wrong.
  • As long as I have a pen in my hand and a revolver in my pocket, I fear no one.
    • Benito Mussolini, 1914. Quoted in Paolo Monelli, Mussolini:the intimate life of a demagogue, Vanguard Press, 1954.


  • One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed to vanity, ordinary actions to habit, and mean actions to fear.
  • To show pity is felt as a sign of contempt because one has clearly ceased to be an object of fear as soon as one is pitied.
  • The broad effects which can be obtained by punishment in man and beast are the increase of fear, the sharpening of the sense of cunning, the mastery of the desires; so it is that punishment tames man, but does not make him "better."


  • There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized.


  • Everybody's afraid, but to do your job in combat you have to put your fear down. If you're not afraid in combat, you're either a fool or a liar.
    • George S. Patton IV, as quoted in The Bad War: An Oral History of the Vietnam War (1987) by Kim Willenson, p. 79
  • I don't know about angels, but it's fear that gives men wings.
  • The wise man, fearing, keeps himself from evil; but the foolish man goes on in his pride, with no thought of danger.
    • Proverbs 14:16, Bible in Basic English
  • Let the fear of a danger be a spur to prevent it: He that fears otherwise, gives advantage to the danger.


  • In all your actions, words and thoughts, always regard yourself as standing before Hashem, with His Shechinah above you, for His glory fills the whole world. Speak with fear and awe, as a slave standing before his master. Act with restraint in front of everyone. When someone calls you, don't answer loudly, but gently and softly, as one who stands before his master.
    • Iggeres Ha Ramban, translation by
  • The surest way to prevent war is not to fear it.
    • John Randolph, speech in the House of Representatives (March 5, 1806).
  • Most intellectual people do not believe in God, but they fear him just the same.
    • Wilhelm Reich, in James Lee Christian Philosophy : An Introduction to the Art of Wondering, (2005), p. 556.
  • The only thing you fear is fearlessness.
    The bigger the weapon, the greater the fear.
  • Hatred does not exist as a basic psychological structure. It is, however, the result of psychological manipulation of fear; and fear is not a basic psychological structure.
    • Jane Roberts, The Early Sessions: Book 2, Session 75, Page 271.
  • L'amour de la justice n'est en la plupart des hommes que la crainte de souffrir l'injustice.
    • The love of justice is simply in the majority of men the fear of suffering injustice.
    • François de La Rochefoucauld, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims, Maxim 78 (1665–1678).
  • Notre repentir n'est pas tant un regret du mal que nous avons fait, qu'une crainte de celui qui nous en peut arriver.
    • Our repentance is not so much sorrow for the ill we have done as a fear of the ill that may befall us.
    • François de La Rochefoucauld, Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims, Maxim 180 (1665–1678).
  • Fear was my father, Father Fear.
    His look drained the stones.
  • Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, inaugural address (March 4, 1933); in The Public Papers and Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933 (1938), p. 11.
  • We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want… everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear… anywhere in the world.
  • You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." …You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
  • Fear doesn't shut you down; it wakes you up.
  • There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.
  • Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
  • No man is liberated from fear who dare not see his place in the world as it is; no man can achieve the greatness of which he is capable until he has allowed himself to see his own littleness.
  • Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear.
    • Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian (1927), "Fear, the Foundation of Religion".
  • To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
  • Christianity offers reasons for not fearing death or the universe, and in so doing it fails to teach adequately the virtue of courage. The craving for religious faith being largely an outcome of fear, the advocates of faith tend to think that certain kinds of fear are not to be deprecated. In this, to my mind, they are gravely mistaken. To allow oneself to entertain pleasant beliefs as a means of avoiding fear is not to live in the best way. In so far as religion makes its appeal to fear, it is lowering to human dignity.
  • There are two ways of coping with fear: one is to diminish the external danger, and the other is to cultivate Stoic endurance. The latter can be reinforced, except where immediate action is necessary, by turning our thoughts away from the cause of fear. The conquest of fear is of very great importance. Fear is in itself degrading; it easily becomes an obsession; it produces hate of that which is feared, and it leads headlong to excesses of cruelty. Nothing has so beneficent an effect on human beings as security. …Fear, at present, overshadows the world. …If matters are to improve, the first and essential step is to find a way of diminishing fear.
    • Bertrand Russell, Nobel Lecture: What Desires Are Politically Important? (11 December, 1950).
  • Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
    • Bertrand Russell, "A Liberal Decalogue", New York Times Magazine (16 December, 1951).


  • In any case, we do not advance the human cause by refusing to consider ideas that make us frightened.
  • Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
    When little fears grow great, great love grows there.
  • Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind;
    The thief doth fear each bush an officer.
  • O God of battles! steel my soldiers' hearts;
    Possess them not with fear; take from them now
    The sense of reckoning, if the opposèd numbers
    Pluck their hearts from them.
  • Things done well,
    And with a care, exempt themselves from fear;
    Things done without example, in their issue
    Are to be feared.
  • It is the part of men to fear and tremble,
    When the most mighty gods by tokens send
    Such dreadful heralds to astonish us.
  • For I am sick and capable of fears,
    Oppress'd with wrongs, and therefore full of fears,
    A widow, husbandless, subject to fears,
    A woman, naturally born to fears.
  • Ere we will eat our meal in fear, and sleep
    In the affliction of these terrible dreams
    That shake us nightly.
  • You can behold such sights,
    And keep the natural ruby of your cheeks,
    When mine is blanch'd with fear.
  • His flight was madness: when our actions do not,
    Our fears do make us traitors.
  • The weariest and most loathed worldly life
    That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
    Can lay on nature is a paradise
    To what we fear of death.
  • Extreme fear can neither fight nor fly.
  • To fear the foe, since fear oppresseth strength,
    Gives in your weakness strength unto your foe.
  • They spake not a word;
    But, like dumb statues or breathing stones,
    Gazed each on other, and look'd deadly pale.
  • What terrified me will terrify others; and I need only describe the spectre which had haunted my midnight pillow.
  • Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
  • Fear cannot be without hope nor hope without fear.
  • The fear of death is more to be dreaded than death itself.


  • The person you are the most afraid to contradict is yourself.
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2010) Preludes, p.3.
  • Fear needn’t be grounded in fact to cause problems.
  • Man’s basic anxiety … drives the anxious subject to establish objects of fear. Anxiety strives to become fear, because fear can be met by courage. … Horror is ordinarily avoided by the transformation of anxiety into fear of something, no matter what. The human mind is not only, as Calvin has said, a permanent factory of idols, it is also a permanent factory of fears—the first in order to escape God, the second in order to escape anxiety. … But ultimately the attempts to transform anxiety into fear are vain. The basic anxiety, the anxiety of a finite being about the threat of nonbeing, cannot be eliminated. It belongs to existence itself.
  • Is it that they fear the pain of death, or could it be they fear the joy of life?
  • As you are run by the egoic mind, you are part of the collective insanity. Perhaps you haven't looked very deeply into the human condition in its state of dominance by the egoic mind. Open your eyes and see the fear, the despair, the greed, and the violence that are all-pervasive. See the heinous cruelty and suffering on an unimaginable scale that humans have inflicted and continue to inflict on each other as well as on other life forms on the planet. You don't need to condemn. Just observe. That is sin. That is insanity.
  • Any action is often better than no action, especially if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a long time. If it is a mistake, at least you learn something, in which case it's no longer a mistake. If you remain stuck, you learn nothing. Is fear preventing you from taking action? Acknowledge the fear, watch it, take your attention into it, be fully present with it. Doing so cuts the link between the fear and your thinking. Don't let the fear rise up into your mind. Use the power of the Now. Fear cannot prevail against it.
    If there is truly nothing that you can do to change your here and now, and you can't remove yourself from the situation, then accept your here and now totally by dropping all inner resistance. The false, unhappy self that loves feeling miserable, resentful, or sorry for itself can then no longer survive. This is called surrender. Surrender is not weakness. There is great strength in it. Only a surrendered person has spiritual power.
  • Are you worried? Do you have many "what if" thoughts? You are identified with your mind, which is projecting itself into an imaginary future situation and creating fear. There is no way that you can cope with such a situation, because it doesn't exist. It's a mental phantom. You can stop this health- and life-corroding insanity simply by acknowledging the present moment. Become aware of your breathing. Feel the air flowing in and out of your body. Feel your inner energy field. All that you ever have to deal with, cope with, in real life - as opposed to imaginary mind projections – is this moment. Ask yourself what "problem' you have right now, not next year, tomorrow, or five minutes from now. What is wrong with this moment? You can always cope with the Now, but you can never cope with the future -nor do you have to. The answer, the strength, the right action or the resource will be there when you need it, not before, not after.
  • Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave; it is merely a loose application of the word. Consider the flea! — incomparably the bravest of all the creatures of God, if ignorance of fear were courage.


  • Take the so-called politics of fear — the constant reference to risks, from hoodies on the street corner to international terrorism. Whatever the truth of these risks and the best ways of dealing with them, the politics of fear plays on an assumption that people cannot bear the uncertainties associated with them. Politics then becomes a question of who can better deliver an illusion of control.
  • Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis.
    • Whatever it is, I fear Greeks even when they bring gifts.
    • Virgil, The Aeneid, Book II, l. 49.
  • Be a hero. Always say, “I have no fear.” Tell this to everyone—“Have no fear.”


  • The workplace is never free of fear- and it shouldn't be. Indeed, fear can be a powerful management tool.
    • Wall Street Journal, "Manager's Journal: Fear Is Nothing To Be Afraid Of," January 27, 1997. As quoted by Mark Ames in Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond (2005), p. 103
  • When I can read my title clear
    To mansions in the skies,
    I'll bid farewell to every fear,
    And wipe my weeping eyes.
    • Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, Book II, hymn 65.
  • The only thing I am afraid of is fear.
  • I think there's a lot of people out there who say we must not have horror in any form, we must not say scary things to children because it will make them evil and disturbed... That offends me deeply, because the world is a scary and horrifying place, and everyone's going to get old and die, if they're that lucky. To set children up to think that everything is sunshine and roses is doing them a great disservice. Children need horror because there are things they don't understand. It helps them to codify it if it is mythologized, if it's put into the context of a story, whether the story has a happy ending or not. If it scares them and shows them a little bit of the dark side of the world that is there and always will be, it's helping them out when they have to face it as adults.
    • Joss Whedon to Michael Silverberg of NPR; quote featured in the Buffy Monster Book (2000)
  • I am a member of a party of one, and I live in an age of fear. Nothing lately has unsettled my party and raised my fears so much as your editorial, on Thanksgiving Day, suggesting that employees should be required to state their beliefs in order to hold their jobs. The idea is inconsistent with our constitutional theory and has been stubbornly opposed by watchful men since the early days of the Republic.
    • E. B. White, letter to the New York Herald Tribune (November 29, 1947).
  • There is no governor anywhere; you are all absolutely free. There is no restraint that cannot be escaped. We are all absolutely free. If everybody could go into dhyana at will, nobody could be controlled — by fear of prison, by fear of whips or electroshock, by fear of death, even. All existing society is based on keeping those fears alive, to control the masses. Ten people who know would be more dangerous than a million armed anarchists.
  • Fair seedtime had my soul, and I grew up
    Fostered alike by beauty and by fear.


  • On my way from school to home I heard a man saying “I will kill you.” I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 267-70.
  • No one loves the man whom he fears.
  • Crux est si metuas quod vincere nequeas.
    • It is tormenting to fear what you cannot overcome.
    • Ausonius, Septem Sapientum Sententiæ Septenis Versibus Explicatæ, VII. 4.
  • The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
    For that were stupid and irrational;
    But he, whose noble soul its fear subdues,
    And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from.
  • An aching tooth is better out than in,
    To lose a rotten member is a gain.
  • Dangers bring fears, and fears more dangers bring.
  • The fear o' hell's the hangman's whip
    To laud the wretch in order;
    But where ye feel your honor grip,
    Let that aye be your border.
  • Fear is an ague, that forsakes
    And haunts, by fits, those whom it takes;
    And they'll opine they feel the pain
    And blows they felt, to-day, again.
  • His fear was greater than his haste:
    For fear, though fleeter than the wind,
    Believes 'tis always left behind.
  • In summo periculo timor misericordiam non recipit.
    • In extreme danger fear feels no pity.
    • Julius Caesar, Bellum Gallicum, VII. 26.
  • Timor non est diuturnus magister officii.
    • Fear is not a lasting teacher of duty.
    • Cicero, Philippicæ, II. 36.
  • Like one, that on a lonesome road
    Doth walk in fear and dread,
    And having once turned round, walks on,
    And turns no more his head;
    Because he knows a frightful fiend
    Doth close behind him tread.
  • His frown was full of terror, and his voice
    Shook the delinquent with such fits of awe
    As left him not, till penitence had won
    Lost favor back again, and clos'd the breach.
  • The clouds dispell'd, the sky resum'd her light,
    And Nature stood recover'd of her fright.
    But fear, the last of ills, remain'd behind,
    And horror heavy sat on every mind.
  • We are not apt to fear for the fearless, when we are companions in their danger.
    • George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss (1860), Book VII, Chapter V.
  • Fear is the parent of cruelty.
  • Quia me vestigia terrent
    Omnia te adversum spectantia, nulla retrorsum.
    • I am frightened at seeing all the footprints directed towards thy den, and none returning.
    • Horace, Epistles, I. 1. 74.
  • You are uneasy, * * * you never sailed with me before, I see.
  • Shame arises from the fear of men, conscience from the fear of God.
  • De loin, c'est quelque chose; et de prés, ce n'est rien.
    • From a distance it is something; and nearby it is nothing.
    • Jean de La Fontaine, Fables, IV. 10.
  • Major ignotarum rerum est terror.
    • Apprehensions are greater in proportion as things are unknown.
    • Livy, Annales, XXVIII. 44.
  • Oh, fear not in a world like this,
    And thou shalt know ere long,—
    Know how sublime a thing it is
    To suffer and be strong.
  • They are slaves who fear to speak
    For the fallen and the weak.
  • The direst foe of courage is the fear itself, not the object of it; and the man who can overcome his own terror is a hero and more.
  • Wink and shut their apprehensions up.
  • The thing in the world I am most afraid of is fear, and with good reason; that passion alone, in the trouble of it, exceeding all other accidents.
  • Imagination frames events unknown,
    In wild, fantastic shapes of hideous ruin,
    And what it fears creates.
  • Quem metuit quisque, perisse cupit.
    • Every one wishes that the man whom he fears would perish.
    • Ovid, Amorum (16 BC), II. 2. 10.
  • Membra reformidant mollem quoque saucia tactum:
    Vanaque sollicitis incutit umbra metum.
    • The wounded limb shrinks from the slightest touch; and a slight shadow alarms the nervous.
    • Ovid, Epistolæ Ex Ponto, II. 7. 13.
  • Terretur minimo pennæ stridore columba
    Unguibus, accipiter, saucia facta tuis.
    • The dove, O hawk, that has once been wounded by thy talons, is frightened by the least movement of a wing.
    • Ovid, Tristium, I. 1. 75.
  • Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,
    And screams of horror rend th' affrighted skies,
    Not louder shrieks to pitying Heaven are cast,
    When husbands, or when lap dogs, breathe their last;
    Or when rich China vessels fallen, from high,
    In glittering dust and painted fragments lie.
  • A lamb appears a lion, and we fear
    Each bush we see's a bear.
  • Fain would I climb, yet fear I to fall.
    • Walter Raleigh, written on a window pane for Queen Elizabeth to see. She wrote under it "If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all." Thomas Fuller, Worthies of England, Volume I, p. 419.
  • Ad deteriora credenda proni metu.
  • Ubi explorari vera non possunt, falsa per metum augentur.
    • When the truth cannot be clearly made out, what is false is increased through fear.
    • Quintus Curtius Rufus, De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni, IV, 10, 10.
  • Ubi intravit animos pavor, id solum metuunt, quod primum formidare cœperunt.
    • When fear has seized upon the mind, man fears that only which he first began to fear.
    • Quintus Curtius Rufus, De Rebus Gestis Alexandri Magni, IV, 16, 17.
  • Quem neque gloria neque pericula excitant, nequidquam hortere; timor animi auribus officit.
    • The man who is roused neither by glory nor by danger it is in vain to exhort; terror closes the ears of the mind.
    • Sallust, Catilina, LVIII.
  • Wer nichts fürchtet ist nicht weniger mächtig, als der, den Alles fürchtet.
    • The man who fears nothing is not less powerful than he who is feared by every one.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Die Räuber, I. 1.
  • Wenn ich einmal zu fürchten angefangen
    Hab' ich zu fürchten aufgehört.
    • As soon as I have begun to fear I have ceased to fear.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Don Carlos, I. 6. 68.
  • Ich weiss, dass man vor leeren Schrecken zittert;
    Doch wahres Unglück bringt der falsche Wahn.
    • I know that oft we tremble at an empty terror, but the false phantasm brings a real misery.
    • Friedrich Schiller, Piccolomini, V. 1. 105.
  • Scared out of his seven senses.
  • Necesse est multos timeat, quem multi timent.
  • Si vultis nihil timere, cogitate omnia esse timenda.
    • If you wish to fear nothing, consider that everything is to be feared.
    • Seneca the Younger, Quæstionum Naturalium, VI. 2.
  • Tunc plurima versat
    Pessimus in dubiis augur timor.
    • Then fear, the very worst prophet in misfortunes, anticipates many evils.
    • Statius, Thebais, III. 5.
  • Primus in orbe deos fecit timor.
    • Fear in the world first created the gods.
    • Statius, Thebais, III. 661.
  • Do you think I was born in a wood to be afraid of an owl?
  • Etiam fortes viros subitis terreri.
    • Even the bravest men are frightened by sudden terrors.
    • Tacitus, Annales (AD 117), XV. 59.
  • Bello in si bella vistà anco è l'orrore,
    E di mezzo la tema esce il diletto.
    • Horror itself in that fair scene looks gay,
      And joy springs up e'en in the midst of fear.
    • Torquato Tasso, Gerusalemme, XX. 30.
  • Fear
    Stared in her eyes, and chalk'd her face.
  • Desponding Fear, of feeble fancies full,
    Weak and unmanly, loosens every power.
  • Obstupui, steteruntque comæ, et vox faucibus hæsit.
    • I was astounded, my hair stood on end, and my voice stuck in my throat.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), II. 774, and III. 48.
  • Degeneres animos timor arguit.
    • Fear is the proof of a degenerate mind.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), IV. 13.
  • Pedibus timor addidit alas.
    • Fear gave wings to his feet.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), VIII. 224.
  • Full twenty times was Peter feared,
    For once that Peter was respected.
  • Less base the fear of death than fear of life.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night V, line 441.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert's Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • When you have overcome one temptation, you must be ready to enter the lists with another. As distrust, in some sense, is the mother of safety, so security is the gate of danger. A man had need to fear this most of all, that he fears not at all.
  • There is a virtuous fear, which is the effect of faith; and there is a vicious fear, which is the product of doubt. The former leads to hope, as relying on God, in whom we believe; the latter inclines to despair, as not relying on God, in whom we do not believe. Persons of the one character fear to lose God; persons of the other character fear to find Him.
  • Nothing so demoralizes the forces of the soul as fear. Only as we realize the presence of the Lord does fear give place to faith.
    • Sarah Smiley, p. 243.
  • It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man.

See also

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