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quotations about fear

Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish

If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living.

SENECA, Epistles

The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

NELSON MANDELA, Autobiography

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself--nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT, First Inaugural Address, Mar. 4, 1933

The concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.

EDMUND BURKE, speech on conciliation with America

Father, O father! what do we here
In this land of unbelief and fear?

WILLIAM BLAKE, The Land of Dreams

When we fear things I think that we wish for them ... every fear hides a wish.


Fear is the parent of cruelty.

JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE, Short Studies on Great Subjects

Cowards die many times before their deaths
The valiant never taste of death but once.


Is it that they fear the pain of death, or could it be they fear the joy of life?


Fear not, but trust in Providence
Wherever thou may'st be.


It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.

AUNG SAN SUU KYI, Freedom from Fear

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.

EDMUND BURKE, On the Sublime and Beautiful

Fear is the enemy of logic.

FRANK SINATRA, quoted in The Way You Wear Your Hat

Fear quote

Living fearlessly is not the same thing as never being afraid. It's good to be afraid occasionally. Fear is a great teacher.

MICHAEL IGNATIEFF, O Magazine, Apr. 2007

Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.

YODA, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

T.S. ELIOT, The Waste Land

To him who is in fear everything rustles.

SOPHOCLES, Acrisius [fragment]

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.


How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
In a believer's ear!
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.

JOHN NEWTON, Olney Hymns

All is well, tho' faith and form
Be sunder'd in the night of fear.


There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid.

L. FRANK BAUM, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

BIBLE, Ecclesiastes 12:13

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

H.P. LOVECRAFT, Supernatural Horror in Literature

If there is one thing which I would banish from the earth it is fear.

HENRY FORD, Theosophist Magazine, Feb. 1930

Fear has many eyes and can see things underground.


Fearlessness requires attention and receptivity--it takes focus to stand in the still eye of a tornado and not be swept away by it.

SUSAN PIVER, O Magazine, Apr. 2007

The big lesson in life, baby, is never be scared of anyone or anything.

FRANK SINATRA, quoted in The Way You Wear Your Hat

Life is made of fear. Some people eat fear soup three times a day. Some people eat fear soup all the meals there are. I eat it sometimes. When they bring me fear soup to eat, I try not to eat it, I try to send it back. But sometimes I'm too afraid to and have to eat it anyway.

MARTIN AMIS, Other People

Fear can't hurt you any more than a dream.

WILLIAM GOLDING, Lord of the Flies

If you turned the fabric of our lives over, I imagined the design on the backside would be woven in the bleak grays of doubt and fear.


You see something scary, you should stand up and step toward it, not away from it. Instinctively, reflexively, in a raging fury.

LEE CHILD, Echo Burning

Fear is contagious. You can catch it.

NEIL GAIMAN, The Graveyard Book

Fear will keep you alive; indifference won't.

LAURELL K. HAMILTON, The Killing Dance

Always use the proper names for things. Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.

J. K. ROWLING, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

You are frightened of everything. You call it caution. You call it common sense. You call it practicality. You call it playing the odds, but that's only because you're afraid to call it by its real name, and its real name is fear.


That's all it takes, one drop of fear to curdle love into hate.

JAMES M. CAIN, Double Indemnity

I was as afraid as the next man in my time and maybe more so. But with the years, fear had come to be regarded as a form of stupidity to be classed with overdrafts, acquiring a venereal disease or eating candies. Fear is a child's vice and while I loved to feel it approach, as one does with any vice, it was not for grown men and the only thing to be afraid of was the presence of true and imminent danger in a form that you should be aware of and not be a fool if you were responsible for others.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY, True at First Light

You can't stop being afraid just by pretending everything that scares you isn't there.


Fear is never an actuality; it is either before or after the active present. When there is fear in the active present, is it fear? It is there and there is no escape from it, no evasion possible. There, at that actual moment, there is total attention at the moment of danger, physical or psychological. When there is complete attention there is no fear. But the actual fact of inattention breeds fear; fear arises when there is an avoidance of the fact, a flight; then the very escape itself is fear.


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.


Fear is a distorting mirror in which anything can appear as a caricature of itself, stretched to terrible proportions; once inflamed, the imagination pursues the craziest and most unlikely possibilities. What is most absurd suddenly seems the most probable.

STEFAN ZWEIG, The Post Office Girl

We build castles with our fears and sleep in them like kings and queens.

CHRISTOPHER POINDEXTER, Remington Typewriter Poetry

Oh, we can populate the dark with horrors, even we who think ourselves informed and sure, believing nothing we cannot measure or weigh. I know beyond all doubt that the dark things crowding in on me either did not exist or were not dangerous to me, and still I was afraid.

JOHN STEINBECK, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

I understand that fear is my friend, but not always. Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON, Kingdom of Fear

A thing may be dreaded as long as it has not overtaken you.

CHANAKYA, Vridda-Chanakya

Man now needs for his salvation only one thing: to open his heart to joy, and leave fear to gibber through the glimmering darkness of a forgotten past.

BERTRAND RUSSELL, New Hopes for a Changing World

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