Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Related Quotes

Washington Irving

An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather.

Character | Good nature | Good | Heaven | Mind | Nature | Thought |

William James

We can act as if there were a God; feel as if we were free; consider Nature as if she were full of special designs; lay plans as if we were to be immortal; and we find then that these words do make a genuine difference in our moral life.

Character | God | Life | Life | Nature | Words |

Holger Kalweit

The fool exposes the limitations of human criteria, confronts us anew with the undefined nature of our cosmic existence, leads us backstage to make us aware of the artificiality of our cultural values, and then shows us a world without limit, because it is neither categorized nor ordered in accordance with artificial opposites. The sick jester removes these opposites, tears down external and internal barriers and causes us to tumble head over heels from our tailor-made world of lines and demarcations into a more comprehensive and holistic dimension that has no beginning or end.

Beginning | Character | Existence | Nature | Tears | World |

Christoph Ernst Luthardt

Truth is by its very nature intolerant, exclusive, for every truth is the denial of its opposing error.

Character | Error | Nature | Truth |

Niccolò Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

It is a true observation of ancient writers, that as men are apt to be cast down by adversity, so they are easily satiated with prosperity, and that joy and grief produce the same effects. For whenever men are not obliged by necessity to fight they fight from ambition, which is so powerful a passion in the human breast that however high we reach we are never satisfied.

Adversity | Ambition | Character | Grief | Joy | Men | Necessity | Observation | Passion | Prosperity |

Chief Luther Standing Bear

Everything was possessed of personality, only different from us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that was to feel beauty... Observation was certain to have its rewards. Interest, wonder, admiration grew, and the fact was appreciated that life was more than mere human manifestation; it was expressed in a multitude of forms. This appreciation enriched Lakota existence. Life was vivid and pulsating; nothing was casual and commonplace. The Indian lived - lived in every sense of the word - from his first to his last breath.

Admiration | Appreciation | Beauty | Blessings | Books | Character | Earth | Existence | Knowledge | Life | Life | Nature | Nothing | Observation | Personality | Sense | Wonder | World | Appreciation |

Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison to the second. By that law of our nature which makes food necessary to the life of man, the effects of these two unequal powers must be kept equal. This implies a strong and constantly operating check on population from the difficulty of subsistence. This difficulty must fall somewhere and must necessarily be severely felt by a large portion of mankind.

Acquaintance | Character | Difficulty | Law | Life | Life | Man | Mankind | Nature | Power | Will |

John Locke

The highest perfection of intellectual nature lies in a careful and constant pursuit of true and solid happiness; so the care of ourselves that we mistake not imaginary for real happiness, is the necessary foundation of our liberty.

Care | Character | Liberty | Mistake | Nature | Perfection |

James Russell Lowell

Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm, eloquence produces conviction for the moment; but it is only by truth to Nature and the everlasting institutions of mankind that those abiding influences are won that enlarge from generation to generation.

Character | Enthusiasm | Mankind | Nature | Truth |

Johann Kaspar Lavater

The enemy of art is the enemy of nature; art is nothing but the highest sagacity and exertions of human nature; and what nature will be honor who honors not the human?

Art | Character | Enemy | Honor | Human nature | Nature | Nothing | Sagacity | Will | Art |

Colin McGinn

Our concepts of the empirical world are fundamentally controlled by the character of our perceptual experience and by the introspective access we enjoy to our own minds. Thus our concepts of consciousness are constrained by the specific form of our own consciousness, so that we cannot form concepts for quite alien forms of consciousness possessed by other actual and possible creatures. Similarly, our concepts of the body, including the brain, are constrained by the way we perceive these physical objects; we have, in particular, to conceive of them as spatial entities essentially similar to other physical objects in space... But now these two forms of conceptual closure operate to prevent us from arriving at concepts for the property or relation that intelligibly links consciousness to the brain. For, first, we cannot grasp other forms of consciousness, and so we cannot grasp the theory that explains these other forms: that theory must be general, but we must always be parochial in our conception of consciousness. It is as if we were trying for a general theory of light but only could grasp the visible part of the spectrum. And, second, it is precisely the perceptually controlled conception of the brain that we have which is so hopeless in making consciousness an intelligible result of brain activity. No property we can ascribe to the brain on the basis of how it strikes us perceptually, however inferential the ascription, can be the crucible from which subjective consciousness emerges fully formed. That is why the feeling is so strong in us that there has to be something magical about the mind-brain relation.

Body | Character | Consciousness | Experience | Light | Mind | Property | Space | Wisdom | World |

Thomas Merton

The more one seeks ‘the good’ outside oneself as something to be acquired, the more one is faced with the necessity of discussing, studying, understanding, analysing the nature of good. the more, therfore, one becomes involved in abstractions and in the confusion of divergent opinions. The more ‘the good’ is objectively analysed, the more it is treated as something to be attained by special virtuous techniques, the less real it becomes.

Character | Good | Nature | Necessity | Understanding |

Julius Mark

Man's conquest of nature has been astonishing. His failure to conquer human nature has been tragic.

Character | Conquest | Failure | Human nature | Man | Nature | Wisdom | Failure |

Michael Murphy

Exceptional abilities develop most fully in cultures that prize them... no aspect of human nature is immune to social influence.

Character | Human nature | Influence | Nature |

Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

The truth is that it is contrary to the nature of love if it is not violent, and contrary to the nature of violence if it is constant.

Character | Love | Nature | Truth |