On Simplicity – Quotations


– Quotations on the necessity of inner simplicity, from writers, mystics, and artists.

Leonardo da Vinci:

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Michel de Montaigne:

Others study how to elevate their minds and hoist them up tight; I, how to humble mine and lay it to rest.


This is the most difficult thing of all, though it would seem the easiest: to see that which is before one’s eyes.

Nothing is more difficult than to pull oneself out of the confusion and entanglement to the simple, and once having grasped it, not to run into the danger of losing it again.

T.S. Eliot, “Four Quartets: Little Gidding”

Quick now, here, now, always-
A condition of complete simplicity,
(costing not less than everything)

Shaker hymn, “Simple Gifts”

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free
‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come ’round right.


God is simple and loves simplicity.


This Valley is not so easy to cross as you in your simplicity perhaps think. Even when the blood of your heart shall fill the ocean, you will only be able to make the first stage. Even if you were to journey over all the ways of the world you would still find yourself at the first step, no traveller has seen the limit of this journey neither has he found a remedy for love. If you halt you are petrified, or you may even die; if you continue on your way, always advancing, you will hear until eternity the cry: ‘Go still further.’