A database of quotes
Ahad HaAm, pen name, born Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg
Wise men weigh the advantages of any course of action against its drawbacks, and move not an inch until they can see what the result of their action will be; but while they are deep in thought, the men with self-confidence ‘come and see and conquer.’
Action | Character | Confidence | Men | Self | Self-confidence | Thought | Will | Wise |
Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson
It is when we detect our own weaknesses that we come to pity or despise mankind. The human nature from which we then turn away is the human nature we have discovered in the depths of our own being. The evil is so well screened, the secret so universally kept, that in this case each individual is the dupe of all: however severely we may profess to judge other men, at bottom we think them better than ourselves. On this happy illusion much of our social life is grounded.
Better | Character | Despise | Evil | Happy | Human nature | Illusion | Individual | Life | Life | Mankind | Men | Nature | Pity | Think |
Khajah Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Abu Ismaïl Abdullah ibn Abi-Mansour Mohammad or Khajah Abdullah Ansari of Herat
Desire for knowledge is the path of honor: desire for wealth is the path of dishonor. Wealth is the chain that slaves wear; knowledge the kingly crown.
Character | Desire | Dishonor | Honor | Knowledge | Wealth |
I live in the world, but I seem to myself not of it!.. Natural phenomena are but the shadows of the spirit form which they spring, as the human face changes under the influence of love, hatred or fear... When, O when, shall I be able to reveal its poetry? I see everywhere and in ever object unceasing motion, and in that motion a creative force forever and forever repeating and re-repeating the same simple process as to infinity. Through all nature the grand rhythms roll and heaven and earth are filled with the melody. Men are but boys chasing shadows. The spiritual significance of the world none seem to see - the infinite simplicity of its process are none care to understand.
Boys | Care | Character | Earth | Fear | Force | Heaven | Influence | Love | Melody | Men | Nature | Object | Phenomena | Poetry | Simplicity | Spirit | World |
Just as a tested and rugged virtue of the moral hero is worth more than the lovely, tender, untried innocence of the child, so is the massive strength of a soul that has conquered truth for itself worth more than the soft peach-bloom faith of a soul that takes truth on trust.
Character | Faith | Hero | Innocence | Soul | Strength | Trust | Truth | Virtue | Virtue | Worth |
More than all, and above all Washington was master of himself. If there be one quality more than another in his character which may exercise a useful control over the men of the present hour, it is the total disregard of self when in the most elevated positions for influence and example.
Character | Control | Example | Influence | Men | Present | Self |
The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.
Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus
Of human life the time is a point, and the substance is in a flux, and the perception dull, and the composition of the whole body subject to putrefaction, and the soul a whirl, and fortune hard to divine, and fame a thing devoid of judgment. And, to say all in a word, everything which belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and a vapor, and life is a warfare and a stranger’s sojourn, and after-fame is oblivion.
Body | Character | Fame | Fortune | Judgment | Life | Life | Oblivion | Perception | Soul | Time |
In every community there is a class of people profoundly dangerous to the rest. I don't mean the criminals. For them we have punitive sanctions. I mean the leaders. Invariably the most dangerous people seek the power. While in the parlors of indignation the right-thinking citizen brings his heart to a boil. In here, the human bosom -- mine, yours, everybody's -- there isn't just one soul. There's a lot of souls. But there are two main ones, the real soul and a pretender soul. Now! Every man realizes that he has to love something or somebody. He feels that he must go outward. 'If thou canst not love, what art thou?' Are you with me?
Art | Character | Heart | Indignation | Love | Man | People | Power | Rest | Soul | Art |
If men would wound you with injuries, meet them with patience: hasty words rankle the wound, soft language, dresses it, forgiveness cures it, and oblivion takes away the scar. It is more noble by silence to avoid an injury than by argument to overcome it.
Argument | Character | Forgiveness | Language | Men | Oblivion | Patience | Silence | Words | Forgiveness |