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Art Quotes on Emotion


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The actor cannot afford to look only to his own life for all his material nor pull strictly from his own experience to find his acting choices and feelings. (Stella Adler)

The first thing about a song is that it has to be real, be lived; it has to be emotional, and melancholic. I don't mean sad. Melancholy is sort of a comfort. Melancholy has a sort of beauty to it. This attracts me to every other form of art... (Keren Ann)

-Salvor Hardin, Foundation and Empire...
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. (Isaac Asimov)

Art is one of the sources through which the soul expresses itself and inspires others. But to express art thoroughly, one must have the inner emotions opened thoroughly. (Meher Baba)

All of our actions take their hue from the complexion of the heart, as landscapes their variety from light. (Francis Bacon)

Very few people have a natural feeling for painting, and so, of course, they naturally think that painting is an expression of the artist's mood. But it rarely is. Very often he may be in greatest despair and be painting his happiest paintings. (Francis Bacon)

Before I start painting I have a slightly ambiguous feeling: happiness is a special excitement because unhappiness is always possible a moment later. (Francis Bacon)

My house is my refuge, an emotional piece of architecture, not a cold piece of convenience. (Luis Barragan)

I don't bother with my negative emotions. I don't trust them; I don't listen to them. (Theresa Bayer)

Emotional intelligence, more than any other factor, more than I.Q. or expertise, accounts for 85% to 90% of success at work... I.Q. is a threshold competence. You need it, but it doesn't make you a star. Emotional intelligence can. (Warren G. Bennis)

Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls. (Ingmar Bergman)

Agonies thrilled through me as if my blood were running ice cold in my veins. I stopped composing. My mind became feebler as my feelings grew more intense. (Hector Berlioz)

Learn to reverence night and to put away the vulgar fear of it, for, with the banishment of night from the experience of man, there vanishes as well a religious emotion, a poetic mood, which gives depth to the adventure of humanity. (Henry Beston)

-My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut...
There's no such thing as emotion. It's only body chemistry in action. (Toba Beta)

All painting should be emotional painting. (Judi Betts)

You cannot live by feelings and emotions; you have to live by your intuition and consciousness. (Yogi Bhajan)

emotion, n. A prostrating disease caused by a determination of the heart to the head. It is sometimes accompanied by a copious discharge of hydrated chloride of sodium from the eyes. (Ambrose Bierce)

The state of our heart at the moment of applying paint to canvas gets into the mix somehow. What our audience actually 'gets' when they regard our work is simply how we felt while we were doing it. (Eleanor Blair)

Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps. (William Blake)

But our gusty emotions say to me that we have / Tasted heaven many times: these delicacies / Are left over from some larger party. (Robert Bly)

Draw what you see; paint what you feel. (Francis Boag)

The artist who paints the emotions creates an enclosed world... the picture... which, like a book, has the same interest no matter where it happens to be. (Pierre Bonnard)

Logic will never change emotion or perception. (Edward de Bono)

Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions. (David Borenstein)

I had to resign myself, many years ago, that I'm not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things. But my music does it for me, it really does. (David Bowie)

Emotion doesn't have to be happiness. (Rex Brandt)

Rage properly channeled can definitely give birth to good even great theater. Disgust, a more passive and distancing emotion, is far less likely to. Would you rush to a play called Look Back in Queasiness? (Ben Brantley)

Emotion should not be rendered by an excited trembling; it can neither be added on nor be imitated. It is the seed, the work is the flower. (Georges Braque)

Better to be without logic than without feeling. (Charlotte Bronte)

Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish, / How could I seek the empty world again? (Emily Bronte)

I often start writing in order to excite an expansive emotion. (James Broughton)

Many artists like to rush forward thinking that their pure 'emotions' are more important on the paper than good proportions... eventually having to return into clumsy areas and correct, correct, correct. That's when the freshness disappears. (Harley Brown)

You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings. (Pearl S. Buck)

People are disturbed not by things but by the view they take of them. They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel. (Carl W. Buechner)

The heart of a man's like that delicate weed, / Which requires to be trampled on, boldly indeed / Ere it gives forth the fragrance you wish to extract. (Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton)

We must not imitate the externals of nature with so much fidelity that the picture fails to evoke that wonderful teasing recurrence of emotion that marks the contemplation of a work of art. (John F. Carlson)

-The Song of the Lark, 1915
I tell you there is such a thing as creative hate! (Willa Cather)

A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art. (Paul Cezanne)

If the emotion is strong enough, so is the painting. Orgasmic painting? I think, if truth be told, we all know what that is. (Jane Champagne)

One makes use of pigments, but one paints with one's feelings. (Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin)

Crying's always been a way for me to get things out which are buried deep, deep down. When I sing, I often cry. Crying is feeling, and feeling is being human. (Ray Charles)

Our full range of emotions is our palette with which we bring color to our lives. (Anne Copeland)

Never lose the first impression which has moved you. (Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot)

There is something wrong with you if you don't get angry about something. (Elvis Costello)

There are three things we cry about in life: things that are lost, things that are found, and things that are magnificent. (Doug Coupland)

How much has to be explored and discarded before reaching the naked flesh of feeling. (Claude Debussy)

Look within. The heart is the foundation of virtue; and it is for eternity ready to do virtuous works. (Paul Delaroche)

It is fascinating that all kinds of moods can result in really good works... not just during the highs or 'on a roll' moods. Surrender to the process. And it will envelop you. (Jack Dickerson)

-appeal made to artists...
First of all move me, surprise me, rend my heart; make me tremble, weep, shudder; outrage me; delight my eyes afterwards if you can. (Denis Diderot)

A painting is good not because it looks like something but rather because it feels like something. (Phil Dike)

Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth. (Benjamin Disraeli)

Personally, I believe very much in values of savagery; I mean: instinct, passion, mood, violence, madness. (Jean Dubuffet)

Poets deal in writing about feelings and trying to find the language and images for intense feelings. (Carol Ann Duffy)

Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you. (Roger Ebert)

It is a myth, not a mandate, a fable not a logic, and symbol rather than reason by which men are moved. (Irwin Edman)

Love is that first feeling you feel before all the bad stuff gets in the way. (Eight-year-old)

The emotional state that leads to achievements resembles that of a worshipper or the lover. (Albert Einstein)

Artistic inevitability lies in the complete adequacy of the external to the emotion. (T. S. Eliot)

In the general mess of imprecision of feeling, / Undisciplined squads of emotion. (T. S. Eliot)

In art the hand can never execute anything higher than the heart can inspire. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

What your heart thinks great is great. The soul's response is always right. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

If you want to make someone feel emotion, you have to make them let go. (Brian Eno)

I'm hopefully making the reader feel a lot about the characters and then about their own life. (Jeffrey Eugenides)

I want to draw and study a few things closely by feeling, not thinking. (Joanna Field)

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold. (Zelda Fitzgerald)

When we as artists paint from our heart, we feed the world... our art promotes calm and colors our fears with hope... Paint with your soul wide open and what will come forth will be a statement beyond any other. (Gwen Fox)

When you are moved by what you see - you have a chance to move other people by what you paint. (Jerry Fresia)

The painter must give a completely free rein to any feeling or sensations he may have and reject nothing to which he is naturally drawn. (Lucian Freud)

If the artist sees nothing within him, then he should also refrain from painting what he sees before him. (Caspar David Friedrich)

Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions. (Elizabeth Gilbert)

I want to touch people with my art. I want them to say, 'He feels deeply, he feels tenderly.' (Vincent van Gogh)

The feeling for things themselves, for reality, is more important than the feeling for the picture. (Vincent van Gogh)

The emotional brain responds to an event more quickly than the thinking brain. (Daniel Goleman)

Feelings are self-justifying, with a set of perceptions and 'proofs' all their own. (Daniel Goleman)

The greatest artist is one who expresses what is felt by everybody. (Lama Govinda)

No one is a better authority on your feelings than you are. (Irwin Greenberg)

Sentimentality - that's what we call the sentiment we don't share. (Henry Graham Greene)

It's hard to get to the heart of the matter in matters of the heart. (Dr. Mardy Grothe)

Brush and ink are only servants of thoughts and emotion. They should follow your emotion and change with the emotion. (Wu Guan-Zhong)

Paint from your soul. Paint what touches your heart and paint it in a way that lifts your spirit. Then not only will you be sharing a part of yourself with others, you will stir the viewer's emotion. This is what people remember – not how cleverly you have painted something... (Susan Harrison-Tustain)

How often our bosom swells and our temples throb to a thought which proves itself not to be worth anything but for the exaltation we feel while the swelling and throbbing are going on, which after all is something. (Henry S. Haskins)

If you are not going to get a thrill, how can you give someone else one? You must feel the beauty of the thing before you start. (Charles Hawthorne)

-on William Faulkner...
Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? (Ernest Hemingway)

You will never draw the sense of a thing unless you are feeling it at the time you work. (Robert Henri)

Once we artists have completed all of our formal art training and mastered our skills in drawing, composition, color and the rest of the technical foundation needed for creating good art, it is then important to look inward... we must paint what we feel. (Sidney Hermel)

-Steppenwolf...
A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. (Hermann Hesse)

-b.460 BC d.ca.370 BC...
Men ought to know that from the brain and from the brain only arise our pleasures, joys, laughter, and jests as well as our sorrows, pains, griefs and tears... It is the same thing which makes us mad or delirious, inspires us with dread and fear, whether by night or by day, brings us sleeplessness, inopportune mistakes, aimless anxieties, absent-mindedness and acts that are contrary to habit... (Hippocrates)

In defense of emotions, as artists, can we ask ourselves, 'Is there beauty in anxiety?' (Teresa Hitch)

As a viewer, my own work elicits strong emotional reaction from me. (Jim Hodges)

A lot of people... are afraid of pictures which have visible emotions in them. They feel calmer in front of pictures which are placid. (Howard Hodgkin)

When you look up at the sky, you have a feeling of unity which delights you and makes you giddy. (Ferdinand Hodler)

To experience visually, and to transform our visual experience into plastic terms, requires the faculty of empathy. (Hans Hofmann)

It's important to avoid being controlled by your emotions. You need to be aware of what you are feeling, but those feelings should not determine what you do. (Steve Hovland)

Allow motion to equal emotion. (Elbert Hubbard)

Abused as we abuse it at present, dramatic art is in no sense cathartic; it is merely a form of emotional masturbation... (Aldous Huxley)

Behavior shapes emotions. (A.J. Jacobs)

A lot of very good work is done on the basis of unresolved tension, and the key word is unresolved. (Cassandra James)

Everything and everyone that you hate is engraved upon your heart; if you want to let go of something, if you want to forget, you cannot hate. (C. Joybell C.)

The art which speaks to a universal audience concerns itself with the 'big' questions of life and death, and delivers its message with unrelenting and powerful emotion. (Scott Kahn)

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, it's just possible you haven't grasped the situation. (Jean Kerr)

The nature of anguish is translated into different forms. (Franz Kline)

No longer diverted by other emotions, I work the way a cow grazes. (Kathe Kollwitz)

What I'm trying to do is create moments of recognition - to try to detonate some kind of feeling or understanding of lived experience. (Barbara Kruger)

Every artistic form reflects the dynamism that is constantly building up the life of feeling. (Suzanne Langer)

People don't ask for facts in making up their minds. They would rather have one good, soul-satisfying emotion than a dozen facts. (Robert Keith Leavitt)

My aim is a continuous, sustained, uncontrived image, motivated by nothing but passion. (Rico Lebrun)

Draw from your gut. (Robert Levers)

It is now an accepted fact that the expression of emotion through painting... is a source of deep psychological satisfaction... It is a system which can also in some measure, even compensate for the lack of emotional fulfilment in human relationships... (Mervyn Levy)

When I feel what I see, I paint what I feel. (Dick Lewis)

I wanted my work to look programmed or impersonal but I don't really believe I am being impersonal when I do it. And I don't think you could do this. (Roy Lichtenstein)

There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive. (Jack London)

There are moments in life, when the heart is so full of emotion / That if by chance it be shaken, or into its depths like a pebble / Drops some careless word, it overflows, and its secret, / Spilt on the ground like water, can never be gathered together. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge. (Audre Lorde)

The mood you see in my paintings was never there. It was superimposed from another place. (Tom Lynch)

Sentimentality is the emotional promiscuity of those who have no sentiment. (Norman Mailer)

The artist can't paint, sing, or dance without emotion: if he does, he is a machine masquerading as a person. (Eric Maisel)

The appearances of natural objects are in themselves meaningless; the essential thing is feeling - in itself and completely independent of the context in which it has been evoked. (Kasimir Malevich)

The hand cannot reach higher than does the heart. (Orison Swett Marden)

My feelings can perhaps be imagined, but they can hardly be described. (Yann Martel)

Art is the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings. (Agnes Martin)

Works of art are made of concept, material... and feeling. (Kenneth Martin)

We must learn to think with our feelings, and feel with our thoughts. (Mick Maslen)

I shan't get free of my emotion by copying the tree faithfully, or by drawing its leaves one by one in the common language, but only after identifying myself with it. (Henri Matisse)

I am unable to make any distinction between the feeling I get from life and the way I translate that feeling into painting. (Henri Matisse)

Hatred, rancor, and the spirit of vengeance are useless baggage to the artist. His road is difficult enough for him to cleanse his soul of everything which could make it more so. (Henri Matisse)

Ecstasy is the accurate term for the intensity of consciousness that occurs in the creative act. (Rollo May)

I feel terrific things when I put a hole through a work. I am really making doorways and that is something with which I have always been fascinated. (Elza Mayhew)

My heart shall be thy garden. (Alice Meynell)

Keep your exclamation points under control! (Henry Miller)

The most important thing is to get emotion out of an inert object. (Ronald Miller)

The painter doesn't try to reproduce the scene before him... he simplifies and eliminates until he knows exactly what stirred him, sets this down in color and line as simply and as powerfully as possible and so translates his impression into an aesthetic emotion. (David Milne)

Sometimes I found that in my happy moments I could not believe that I had ever been miserable. (Marion Milner)

Curves are so emotional. (Piet Mondrian)

I suppose all this sounds very crazy - all these terrible emotions always do sound foolish when we put them into our inadequate words. They are not meant to be spoken - only felt and endured. (Lucy Maud Montgomery)

Be willing that any feeling can visit your house. (Mooji)

The game is organizing states of feeling. (Robert Motherwell)

The way one sees is also dependent upon one's emotional state of mind. This is why a motif can be looked at in so many ways, and this is what makes art so interesting. (Edvard Munch)

The most despairing songs are the most beautiful, and I know some immortal ones that are pure tears. (Alfred de Musset)

We have lost contact with man's natural desire for the exalted, for a concern with our relation to absolute emotions. (Barnett Newman)

One ends up with a landscape one has never seen before but it is presumably the landscape you were feeling as you started the painting. (Sidney Nolan)

There's always been anger in the making of music or literature or dance. (Michael Ondaatje)

Like fragile ice anger passes away in time. (Ovid)

Now and then art gives that particular emotion, ecstasy, which is of so priceless a quality that there is no standard by which to measure it, one of those rare emotions which redeem life from monotony, triviality and futility. (Lockie Parker)

The heart has its reasons which reason does not know. (Blaise Pascal)

Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow. (Norman Vincent Peale)

Science strives to achieve unity of fact. Art strives to achieve unity of feeling. (Stephen Pepper)

A landscape painting is essentially emotional in origin. It exists as a record of an effect in nature whose splendour has moved a human heart, and according as it is well or ill done it moves the hearts of others. (Walter J. Phillips)

What I want is that my picture should evoke nothing but emotion. (Pablo Picasso)

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a passing shape, from a spider's web. (Pablo Picasso)

I want to express my feelings, not illustrate them. (Jackson Pollock)

Nude is so much more about feelings of freedom, and naked about the fear of seeing, being seen or being sinful. Nude is about exaltation and the greatness of the Creator, naked about guilt, anxiety and self-loathing. (Bernard Poulin)

I have never known anyone worth a damn who wasn't irascible. (Ezra Pound)

I have a horror of sunsets; they're so romantic, so operatic. (Marcel Proust)

Throw your heart into the picture and then jump in after it. (Howard Pyle)

Color is the most emotional element that we, as painters, have. And if it is used well, color can go a long way toward expressing an artist's intention or enhancing a mood. (Stephen Quiller)

I have a feeling only for shadows. (Odilon Redon)

Art is about emotion; if art needs to be explained it is no longer art. (Pierre-Auguste Renoir)

The true test of all the arts is not solely whether the production is a true copy of nature, but whether it answers the end of art, which is to produce a pleasing effect upon the mind. (Sir Joshua Reynolds)

All feelings that concentrate you and lift you up are pure; only that feeling is impure which grasps just one side of your being and thus distorts you. (Rainer Maria Rilke)

Take control of your consistent emotions and begin to consciously and deliberately reshape your daily experience of life. (Anthony Robbins)

The intellect is always fooled by the heart. (Francois de La Rochefoucauld)

I grant you that the artist does not see Nature as she appears to the vulgar, because his emotion reveals to him the hidden truths beneath appearances. (Auguste Rodin)

Disgust and resolve are two of the great emotions that lead to change. (Jim Rohn)

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. (Theodore Roosevelt)

My heart is like a singing bird. (Christina Rossetti)

I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions. And the fact that a lot of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate these basic human emotions. (Mark Rothko)

It is often said that my heart is too open for my own good. (Henri Rousseau)

It is when we lose control that we repress the emotions, not when we are in control. (Don Miguel Ruiz)

Only from the heart / Can you touch the sky. (Rumi)

We may fight against what is wrong, but if we allow ourselves to hate, that is to insure our spiritual defeat and our likeness to what we hate. (George William Russell)

Whatever makes an impression on the heart seems lovely in the eye. (Sa'di)

I want feelings to be expressed, to be open, to be natural, not to be looked on as strange. It's not weird if you feel deeply. (May Sarton)

Ecstasy is a glimpse of the infinite; horror is full disclosure. (Kirk Schneider)

Hatred is an affair of the heart; contempt that of the head. (Arthur Schopenhauer)

It is said that there are only two real emotions one experiences in life. Fear and love. All others come from these two. (Jann Semkow)

To make an artwork good enough to enter people's hearts is like what ancient Chinese called 'making stone into gold.' It is alchemy. (Li Shan)

I despise Shakespeare when I measure my mind against his... It would positively be a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him. (George Bernard Shaw)

How mutable are our feelings, and how strange is that clinging love we have of life even in the excess of misery. (Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley)

There is a quality of murky grandeur we give ourselves in having our own feelings, recoiling, separate from other things... To feel that we can care for ourselves without seeing our feelings as objects, and liking them as objects, is to be wrong about our care for ourselves. (Eli Siegel)

In matters of the heart, nothing is true except the improbable. (Madame de Stael)

Sentimentality is a failure of feeling. (Wallace Stevens)

Sentimentality is a failure of feeling. (Wallace Stevens)

Breathing determines emotion. Emotion determines breathing. (Linda Stone)

The professional must learn to be moved and touched emotionally, yet at the same time stand back objectively: I've seen a lot of damage done by tea and sympathy. (Anthony Storr)

I haven't understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it. (Igor Stravinsky)

The accuracy of the image becomes less important if the feel of the subject can be emulated. This can be achieved through well-planned composition and a free application of the medium. (Ken Strong)

Light breaks where no sun shines; / Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart / Push in their tides. (Dylan Thomas)

One does not paint just for the look of it but for the feel of it. (Helena Tiainen)

People don't necessarily want to learn from art. They want to connect to it emotionally. (Aleksander Titovets)

Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously by means of certain signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that others are infected by those feelings and experience them. (Leo Tolstoy)

Make a game of finding something positive in every situation. Ninety-five percent of your emotions are determined by how you interpret events to yourself. (Brian Tracy)

-on Bastien-Lepage...
What tasks the man did set himself in the painting of a white apron with which he was as much in love as the face of a person. (John H. Twachtman)

And how moving is the eloquence of the untaught when it is the heart that is speaking! (Mark Twain)

It is easier to manufacture seven facts than one emotion. (Mark Twain)

I'm painting an idea not an ideal. Basically I'm trying to paint a structured painting full of controlled, and therefore potent, emotion. (Euan Uglow)

Existence itself does not feel horrible; it feels like an ecstasy, rather, which we have only to be still to experience. (John Updike)

The human heart feels things the eyes cannot see, and knows what the mind cannot understand. (Robert Vallett)

Emotions have taught mankind to reason. (Marquis de Vauvenargues)

When I am alone with my notes, my heart pounds and the tears stream from my eyes, and my emotion and my joys are too much to bear. (Giuseppe Verdi)

There is nothing that deceives us more than our own judgment when used to give an opinion on our own works. It is sound in judging the work of our enemies but not that of our friends, for hate and love are two of the most powerfully motivating factors found among living things. (Leonardo da Vinci)

How nice - to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive. (Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.)

I got 19th century's spirit. Falling back on that feeling leads my mind and formulates the outcome of what I am going to experience before the work. (Milos Vujasinovic)

-Brother West: Living and Loving Out Loud, A Memoir...
I'm a bluesman moving through a blues-soaked America, a blues-soaked world, a planet where catastrophe and celebration - joy and pain - sit side by side. (Cornel West)

Art should be independent of all clap-trap - should stand alone, and appeal to the artistic sense of eye or ear, without confounding this with emotions entirely foreign to it, as devotion, pity, love, patriotism and the like. All these have no kind of concern with it; and that is why I insist on calling my works 'arrangements' and 'harmonies.' (James Abbot McNeill Whistler)

I love the way art moves people emotionally. I love the fact that when someone purchases art it is the one thing that will last for generations. (Jack White)

A sentimentalist is simply one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it. (Oscar Wilde)

The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray. (Oscar Wilde)

All mankind's inner feelings eventually manifest themselves as an outer reality. (Stuart Wilde)

Follow your heart and your mind will create. (Ray Wilkins)

The artist must conceive with warmth yet execute with coolness. (Winkelmann)

- The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test...
Don't just describe an emotion, arouse it, make them experience it, by manipulating the symbol of the emotion, and sometimes we have to come into awareness through the back door. (Tom Wolfe)

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility. (William Wordsworth)

The only business of the head in the world is to bow a ceaseless obeisance to the heart. (William Butler Yeats)

Those masterful images because complete / Grew in pure mind, but out of what began? / A mound of refuse or the sweepings of a street... Now that my ladder's gone, / I must lie down where all my ladders start, / In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart. (William Butler Yeats)

When the emotions are strong... one should paint bamboo; in a light mood one should paint the orchid. (Chueh Yin)

-from Seat of the Soul...
The human emotional system can be broken down into roughly two elements: fear and love. Love is of the soul. Fear is of the personality. (Gary Zukav)


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Last modified: April 20, 2014