Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"The highest possible stage in moral culture is when we recognize that we ought to control our thoughts." - Charles Darwin, fully Charles Robert Darwin

"Philosophers have very justly remarked that the only solid instruction is that which the pupil brings from his own depths; that the true instruction is not that which transmits notions wholly formed, but that which renders him capable of forming for himself good opinions. That which they have said in regard to the intellectual faculties applies equally to the moral faculties. There is for the soul a spontaneous culture, on which depends all the real progress in perfection." - Joseph Marie, baron de Gérando, born Joseph Marie Degérando, also Joseph-Marie de Gérando

"Exaggerated respect for athletics, an excess of coarse impressions brought about by the technical discoveries of recent years, the increased severity of the struggle for existence due to the economic crisis, the brutalization of political life: all these factors are hostile to the ripening of the character and the desire for real culture, and stamp our age as barbarous, materialistic and superficial." - Albert Einstein

"Grief is the culture of the soul, it is the true fertilizer." - Madame Émile de Girardin, Delphine de Girardin, née Gay

"Gossip is always a personal confession either of malice or imbecility, and the young should not only shun it, but by the most thorough culture relieve themselves from all temptation to indulge in it." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"A dimension is missing from ourselves and our culture which is reflected in our inability to reconcile the competing demands of our inner and outer lives. As a result, most of us make use of a very small portion of our possible consciousness and of our soul’s resources... The destiny of mankind depends on something as personal and intimate as the way each one of us chooses to live, think and behave." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Our current neglect of Law is yet another of the many indications that twentieth-century educators have ceased to be concerned with questions of ultimate truth or meaning and (apart from mere vocational training) are interested solely in the dissemination of a rootless and irrelevant culture, and the fostering of the solemn foolery of scholarship for scholarship’s sake." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Our culture needs a great deal more than a changed lifestyle. In the Western mind, thought-structures and the relationship between consciousness and matter are badly out of balance, so that our world has become wholly pervaded by a materialism that is threatening to squash us to death. We are in a state of materialistic hypertrophy, and our eventual self-destruction would in fact be no more than the logical consequence of our attitudes." - Holger Kalweit

"We are raised on comparison; our education is based on it; so is our culture. So we struggle to be someone other than who we are." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Virtue must be the result of self-culture; the gods do not take pupils." - Madame de Krüdener, Baroness Barbara Juliane von Krüdener

"The distinction between men’s and women’s language is a symptom of a problem in our culture, not the problem itself. Basically it reflects the fact that men and women are expected to have different interests and different roles, hold different types of conversations, and react differently to other people." - Robin Lakoff, fully Robin Tolmach Lakoff

"The end of culture is right living." -

"There is no road to success but through a clear strong purpose. Nothing can take its place. A purpose underlies character, culture, position, attainment of every sort." - Theodore T. Munger

"Minds broken in two. Hearts broken. Conscience torn from acts. A culture split in a thousand pieces. That is segregation." - Lillian Smith, fully Lillian Eugenia Smith

"All man’s efforts, all his impulses to life, are only efforts to increase freedom. Wealth and poverty, fame and obscurity, power and subordination, strength and weakness, health and disease, culture and ignorance, work and leisure, repletion and hunger, virtue and vice, are only greater or lesser degrees of freedom." -

"The lack of awareness of sense and purpose has led culture to become increasingly shallow." - Victor Weisskopf, fully Victor "Viki" Frederick Weisskopf

"Television is the first truly democratic culture - the first culture available to everyone and entirely governed by what the people want. The most terrifying thing is what people do want." - Clive Barnes, fully Clive Alexander Barnes

"The acquiring of culture is the developing of an avid hunger for knowledge and beauty." -

"Partial culture runs to the ornate; extreme culture to simplicity." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"There do remain dispersed in the soil of human nature divers seeds of goodness, of benignity, of ingenuity, which being cherished, excited, and quickened by good culture, do by common experience thrust out flowers very lovely, and yield fruits very pleasant of virtue and goodness." -

"The only worthy end of all learning, of all science, of all life, in fact, is that human beings should love one another better. Culture merely for culture’s sake can never be anything but a sapless root, capable of producing at best a shriveled branch." -

"The sure foundations of the State are laid in knowledge, not in ignorance; and every sneer at education, at culture, at book learning, which is the recorded wisdom of the experience of mankind, is the demagogue’s sneer at intelligent liberty, inviting national degeneracy and ruin." - George William Curtis

"The hatred of the youth culture for adult society is not a disinterested judgment but a terror-ridden refusal to be hooked into the... ecological chain of birthing, growing and dying. It is the demand, in other words, to remain children." - Midge Decter, fully Midge Rosenthal Decter

"This which marks the difference between bestiality and humanity, between culture and merely physical nature, is because man remembers, preserving and recording his experiences." - John Dewey

"Tracing the progress of mankind in the ascending path of civilization, and moral and intellectual culture, our fathers found that the divine ordinance of government, in every stage of ascent, was adjustable on principles of the common reason to the actual condition of a people, and always had for its objects, in the benevolent councils of the divine wisdom, the happiness, the expansion, the security, the elevation of society, and the redemption of man. They sought in vain for any title of authority of man over man, except of superior capacity and higher morality." - William Maxwell Evarts

"The most distinctive mark of a cultured mind is the ability to take another's point of view; to put one's self in another's place, and see life and its problems from a point of view different from one's own. To be willing to test a new idea; to be able to live on the edge of difference in all matters intellectually; to examine without heat the burning question of the day; to have imaginative sympathy, openness and flexibility of mind, steadiness and poise of feeling, cool calmness of judgment, is to have culture." - A. H. R. Fairchild, fully Arthur Henry Rolph Fairchild

"The doctrine of foods is of great ethical and political significance. Food becomes blood, blood becomes heart and brain, thought and mind stuff. Human fare is the foundation of human culture and thought. Would you improve the people? Give them, instead of declamations against sin, better food. Man is what he eats." -

"Education... should concern itself primarily... with the liberation, organization, and direction of power and intelligence, with the development of taste, with culture." - Abraham Flexner

"No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive." -

"Altogether, national hatred is something peculiar. You always find it strongest and most violent where there is the lowest degree of culture." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The patriotism of antiquity becomes in modern societies a caricature. In antiquity, it developed naturally from the whole condition of a people, its youth, its situation, its culture - with us it is an awkward imitation. Our life demands, not separation from other nations, but constant intercourse; our city life is not that of the ancient city-state." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The steady pressure to consume, absorb, participate, receive, by eye, ear, mouth and mail involves a cruelty to intestines, blood pressure, and psyche unparalleled in history. We are being killed with kindness. We are being stifled with culture and material joys." - Herbert Gold

"Some people speak as if hypocrites were confined to religion; but they are everywhere; people pretending to wealth when they have not a sixpence, assuming knowledge of which they are ignorant; shamming a culture they are far removed from adopting opinions they don't hold." - Albert Goldrich

"Somehow feminists who want to transform our culture, not just adapt to it, have to convince young women that embracing feminism does not mean embracing victimhood, that you can be for others and still be for yourself, that you can “make it” in bed and in the marketplace, that women can indeed be visible without subjugating their souls behind traditional female - or male - masks." - Suzanne Gordon

"Culture is good, genius is brilliant, civilization is a blessing, education is a great privilege; but we may be educated villains. The thing that we want most of all is the precious gift of the Holy Ghost." - John Hall

"Central to the notion of masculinity is its rejection of everything that is defined by a culture as feminine and its legitimated control of whatever counts as the feminine... Gender is an asymmetrical category of human thought, social organization, and individual identity and behavior." - Sandra G. Harding

"We live in a spelling bee culture where the demand is factual accuracy and everybody overlooks the absence of art or meaning in what's said. Too many people sent letters to Nero telling him he was fingering his fiddle wrong. This passion for data is a way of avoiding coming to terms with things." - Mark Harris

"If you see in any given situation only what everybody else can see, you can be said to be so much a representative of your culture than you are a victim of it." - S. I. Hayakawa, fully Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa

"It is possible... for a culture to be overwhelmed physically but not culturally." - Jamake Highwater

"Whatever therefore is consequent to a tie of war, where every man is enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such a condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." - Thomas Hobbes

"How can man be intelligent, happy, or useful, without the culture and discipline of education? It is this that unlocks the prison-house of his mind, and releases the captive." - George Mogridge, aka "Old Humphrey"

"If it were not for the intellectual snobs who pay - in solid cash - the tribute which philistinism owes to culture, the arts would perish with their starving practitioners. Let us thank heaven for hypocrisy." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Real culture lives by sympathies and admirations, not by dislikes and disdains - under all misleading wrappings it pounces unerringly upon the human core." - William James

"A myth is a collective 'dream' of an entire people at a certain point in their history... But a myth not only lives in literature and imagination, it immediately finds its way into the behavior and attitudes of the culture - into the practical daily lives of the people." - Robert A. Johnson

"If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"All of us confronts limits of body, talent, temperament. But that is not all. We are, all of us, also constrained by our time, our place, our civilization. We are bound by the culture we have in common, that culture which distinguishes us from other people in other times. Cultural constraints condition and limit our choices, shaping our characters with their imperatives." - Jeane Kirkpatrick

"The search for the ultimate foundation is as much an unremovable part of human culture as it is the denial of the legitimacy of this search." -

"I think life is to do something for other tribesmen, save the culture and keep the circle going. And we must honor the separateness of each culture, tribe and language." - Padee Moothoo

"[There are] four destructive effects of religious and therapeutic disciplines: 1) A practice can reinforce limiting traits, preventing their removal or transformation. 2) A practice can support limiting beliefs, giving them greater power in the life of an individual or culture. 3) A practice can subvert balanced growth by emphasizing some virtues at the expense of others. 4) A practice can limit integral development when it focuses on partial though authentic experience of superordinary reality." - Michael Murphy