Great Throughts Treasury

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


"It is the whole soul, in fact, that gives rise to the free decision, and the act will be so much the freer the more the dynamic series with which it is connected tends to be the fundamental self... but the moments at which we thus grasp ourselves are rare, and that is why we are rarely free." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"How many of us are waiting for the opportunity to do some great thing for the betterment of our community, forgetting that the solution of the problem requires only the active intelligent fulfillment of individual civic duty. The only things which are wrong about our Government are the things which are wrong with you and me. Democracy is never a thing done; it is and always will be a goal to be achieved. It means action, not passive acquiescence in things as they are; it requires alertness to duty, a dynamic faith, a willingness to give for the good of all. It can live only as a result of loyalty and devotion to its principles expressed by daily needs." - Douglas L. Edmonds, fully Douglas Lyman Edmonds

"What a man accomplishes in a day depends upon the way in which he approaches his tasks. When we accept tough jobs as a challenge to our ability and wade into them with joy and enthusiasm miracles can happen. When we do our work with a dynamic conquering spirit we get things done." - Arland Gilbert

"Strong lives are motivated by dynamic purposes; lesser ones exist on wishes and inclinations." - Kenneth Hildebrand

"Our whole free dynamic society’s future depends upon a continued growth of our sense of responsibility and morality in direct proportion to the increase in our material wealth." - Walter H. Wheeler, Jr.

"It need not discourage us if we are full of doubts. Healthy questions keep faith dynamic. In fact, unless we start with doubts we cannot have a deep-rooted faith. One who believes lightly and unthinkingly has not much of a belief. He who has a faith which is not to be shaken has won it through blood and tears - has worked his way from doubt to truth as one who reaches a clearing through a thicket of brambles and thorns." -

"East can learn from West how to be dynamic and active, while West can learn from East how to be content and serene." - Shantananda Saraswathi, fully Swami Shantananda Saraswathi, born Chandrashekar

"In order to create there must be a dynamic force, and what force is more potent than love?" - Igor Feodorovitch Stravinsky, or Fyodorovich

""Help me!" is not as dynamic as "Help me to help myself!" Nor is it as lasting." - Greta Woodrew, Pseud. for Greta Andron Smolowe

"Our life purpose is a moving dynamic… If I am halfway awake, I’m cognizant of what I’m supposed to be doing in this moment." - Carol Adrienne

"In the religion which we shall call dynamic, prayer is independent of its verbal expression; it is an elevation of the soul that can dispense with speech." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"Morality is not static but a set of experiments, being gradually worked out by mankind, a dynamic, progressive instrument which we can help ourselves to forge." - Durant Drake

"Most often faith is understood as belief in certain propositional, doctrinal formulations that in some essential ands static way are supposed to “contain” truth. But if faith is relational, a pledging of trust and fidelity to another, and a way of moving into the force field of life trusting in dynamic center of value and power, then the “truth” of faith takes on a different quality. Truth is lived: it is a pattern of being in relation to others and to God. In this light, doctrines and creeds come to be seen as playing a different though still crucial role. Rather than being the repositories of truth, like treasure chests to be honored and assented to, they becomes guides for the construction of contemporary ways of seeing and being." - James W. Fowler III

"Religion: What at one time was a dynamic structure, mediating between man and his destiny and interpersonal responsibilities, has become mere mechanical ritual that dwarfs men rather than strengthens them." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"Speculating will not do. It takes the forward movement of deliberate, dynamic living to make this journey – especially the longest and most important journey of all, the journey from our heads to our hearts and from our hearts to our wills. If the journey is life, then only through living will truths gain force that are otherwise barren platitudes." - Os Guiness

"Faith implies no denial of evil, no disregard of danger, no whitewashing of the abominable… Faith is not a mechanical insurance but a dynamic, personal act, flowing between the heart of man and the love of God." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Prayer is an expression of man’s inner yearning for a response in the awful silence of the universe. It is a unique process of discovery whereby the searching ego affirms itself in the very moment of self-negation, and thus discovers its own worth and justification as a dynamic factor in the life of the universe." - Mohamed Iqbal or Sir Muhammad Iqbal, aka Allama Iqbal

"Change begins by not trying to change. What you imagine you must do in order to change yourself is often the very force that keeps you precisely the way you are… Beneath all the layers of wanting to be different, self-dissatisfaction, pretense, charade, and denial is a self. This self is a living, dynamic force within everyone. And if you could remain still long enough here, now, in this very place, you would discover who you are. And by discovering who you are, you would be at last free to discover who you yet also might be." - Lawrence Kushner

"That which is static and repetitive is boring. That which is dynamic and random is confusing. In between lies art." - John Locke

"Deity cannot be understood through a knowledge of timeless qualities of goodness and perfection, but only by sensing the living acts of God’s concern and his dynamic attentiveness in relation to man, who is the passionate object of his interest." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"A map is only a flat representation of what is, in truth, dynamic, changing, and full of the unexpected." - Richard “Rick” Stone

"To say that God exceeds the powers of our comprehension is not to say that we do not know God. We know empirically the actual, present, dynamic working of creativity in our midst, progressively creating, saving and transforming the personality of man when required conditions are present. Therefore we know God and know him more intimately than any other, because he is so deeply involved in our existence. But to know God thus does not mean that we can construct in our imagination a picture of him or comprehend the depth and fullness of his being." - Henry Nelson Wieman

"The dynamic tension between our drives and our fears creates the theater of our life." - Dan Millman, born Daniel Jay Millman

"Equity money is dynamic and debt money is static." - Edmund Burke

"Subatomic particles are dynamic patterns which have a space aspect and a time aspect. Their space aspect makes them appear as objects with a certain mass, their time aspect as processes involving the equivalent energy… When we observe them we never see any substance; what we observe are dynamic patterns continually changing into one another – a continuous dance of energy." - Fritjof Capra

"In order to create there must be a dynamic force, and what force is more potent than love." -

"The world will never have lasting peace so long as men reserve for war the finest human qualities. Peace, no less than war, requires idealism and self-sacrifice and a righteous and dynamic faith." - John Foster Dulles

"All systems are dynamics, intricately interdependent and interactive. Environment and genetics are a paired dynamic." - Joseph Chilton Pearce, aka Joe

"Think a dynamic future - work in a dynamic present." - Norman Vincent Peale

"[The human being] is always a dynamic self-actualizing process, always exploring, molding himself, and moving into the immediate future." - Rollo May, fully Rollo Reese May

"Brahman is a shoreless ocean. Shakti is the omnipresent, interdependent action of its waves... As long as Her inscrutable Will keeps consciousness manifest through the human form, one is tempted to think that there are two realities - the formless God and these confusing mirror images called the universe. But no, my friend, there are no such twoness whatsoever. There is no super-knowledge separate from or opposed to ordinary ignorance. There is not day as a reality apart from night. There is only wholeness or completeness - beyond night or day, beyond ignorance or knowledge, yet containing both, manifesting both. How to describe this dynamic plenitude? Not with words from any scripture or philosophy. What is simply is!" -

"Love is a dynamic motivation behind every worthy purpose; it is the upward thrust that lifts men to the heights... The art of love is God at work through you." - Wilferd Peterson, fully Wilferd Arlan Peterson

"Although it is undifferentiated, Brahman is dynamic and creative. From its ultimate 'being' comes the temporary 'becoming' of the manifest world, with its attributes, functions and relationships. The cycles of samsara [individual lifetimes] ... are the lila of Brahman: its play of ceaseless creation and dissolution. In Indian philosophy, absolute reality is the reality of Brahman. The manifest world enjoys but a derived, secondary reality and mistaking it for the real is the illusion of maya... The traditional Eastern conception differs from the view held by most people in the West... [that] reality is material. The things that truly exist are bits or particles of matter... Matter moves about in space, acted on by energy. Energy also enjoys reality (since it acts on matter), but space does not: space is merely the backdrop or the container... and is passive in itself... space is not experienced... it is only the precondition of experience... [this last comment exposes the Western reliance on sensory experience and therefore its entrapment within the illusion of the empirical world or Maya] The view that space is empty and passive, and not even real to boot, is in complete opposition to the view we get from contemporary physics... it is clear that what they describe as the unified vacuum – the seat of all the fields and forces of the physical world – is in fact the primary reality of the universe... What we think of as matter is but the quantised semi-stable bundling of the energies that spring from the vacuum. In the last count matter is but a waveform disturbance in the nearly infinite energy-sea that is the fundamental medium – and hence the primary reality – of this universe, and of all universes that ever existed and will ever exist." - Ervin László

"Information is entirely basic in the universe. In the latest conception the universe doesn't consist of matter and space; it consists of energy and information. Energy exists in the form of wave-patterns and wave-propagations in the quantum vacuum that fills space; in its various forms, energy is the "hardware" of the universe. The "software" is information. The universe is not an assemblage of bits of inert matter moving passively in empty space: it's a dynamic and coherent whole. The energy that constitutes its hardware is always and everywhere "in-formed." It's in-formed by what David Bohm called the implicate order and physicists now regard as the quantum vacuum or zero-point field (also called physical spacetime, universal field, or nuether). This is the "in-formation" that structures the physical world, the information we grasp as the laws of nature. Without information the energy-waves and patterns of the universe would be as random and unstructured as the behavior of a computer without its software. But the universe is not random and unstructured; it's precisely "in-formed." Would it be any the less precisely informed, complex systems could not have emerged in it, and we would not be here to ask how this on first sight highly improbable development could have come about." - Ervin László

"Anything that can go wrong, will—at the worst possible moment. Known as Finagle's Law of Dynamic Negatives" - Finagle’s Law NULL

"The Eastern mystics see the universe as an inseparable web, whose interconnections are dynamic and not static. The cosmic web is alive; it moves and grows and changes continually. Modern physics, too, has come to conceive of the universe as such a web of relations and, like Eastern mysticism, has recognised that this web is intrinsically dynamic. The dynamic aspect of matter arises in quantum theory as a consequence of the wave-nature of subatomic particles, and is even more essential in relativity theory, where the unification of space and time implies that the being of matter cannot be separated from its activity. The properties of subatomic particles can therefore only be understood in a dynamic context; in terms of movement, interaction and transformation. " - Fritjof Capra

"Modern physics then, pictures matter not at all as passive and inert, but being in a continuous dancing and vibrating motion whose rhythmic patterns are determined by the molecular, atomic and nuclear structures. This is also the way in which the Eastern mystics see the material world. They all emphasise that the universe has to be grasped dynamically, as it moves, vibrates and dances; that nature is not a static but dynamic equilibrium. " - Fritjof Capra

"Institutions can never conserve without betraying the movements from which they proceed. The institution is static, whereas its parent movement has been dynamic; it confines men within its limits, while the movement had liberated them from the bondage of institutions; it looks to the past, [although] the movement had pointed forward. Though in content the institution resembles the dynamic epoch whence it proceeded, in spirit it is like the [state] before the revolution. So the Christian church, after the early period, often seemed more closely related in attitude to the Jewish synagogue and the Roman state than to the age of Christ and his apostles; its creed was often more like a system of philosophy than like the living gospel." - Richard Niebuhr, fully Helmut Richard Niebuhr

"The Taoist and Zen conception of perfection... the dynamic nature of their philosophy laid more stress upon the process through which perfection was sought than upon perfection itself. True beauty could be discovered only by one who mentally completed the incomplete. The virility of life and art lay in its possibilities for growth." -

"The passion of rescue reveals the highest dynamic of the human soul." - Kurt Hahn, fully Kurt Martin "the rod" Hahn

"The primary function of art is not to imitate or represent or interpret, but to create a living thing; it is the reduction of all life to a perfectly composed and dynamic miniature – a microcosm where there is perfect balance of emotion and intellect, stress and strain resolving itself, form rhythmically poised in three dimensions." - Lawren Harris, fully Lawren Stewart Harris

"Number, as it were, lies behind the psychic realm as a dynamic ordering principle, the primal element of which Jung called spirit. As an archetype, number becomes not only a psychic factor, but more generally, a world-structuring factor. In other words, numbers point to a background reality in which psyche and matter are no longer distinguishable. " - Marie-Louise von Franz

"Number, as it were, lies behind the psychic realm as a dynamic ordering principle, the primal element of which Jung called spirit. As an archetype, number becomes not only a psychic factor, but more generally, a world-structuring factor. In other words, numbers point to a background reality in which psyche and matter are no longer distinguishable." - Marie-Louise von Franz

"Spiritual formation is that dynamic process of receiving through faith and appropriating through commitment, discipline, and action." - Maxie D. Dunnam

"Our intelligence depends upon the opportunity we take to experience and learn on our own. This self learning leads to full, dynamic living." - Moshé Feldenkreis, fully Moshé Pinchas Feldenkrais

"The inquiry method is motivated by Postman and Weingartner's recognition that good learners and sound reasoners center their attention and activity on the dynamic process of inquiry itself, not merely on the end product of static knowledge. They write that certain characteristics are common to all good learners saying that all good learners have: Self-confidence in their learning ability - Pleasure in problem solving - A keen sense of relevance - Reliance on their own judgment over other people's or society's - No fear of being wrong - No haste in answering - Flexibility in point of view - Respect for facts, and the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion - No need for final answers to all questions, and comfort in not knowing an answer to difficult questions rather than settling for a simplistic answer." - Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

"In the courageous standing of uncertainty, faith shows most visibly its dynamic character. " - Paul Tillich, fully Paul Johannes Tillich

"When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You're able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently. " - Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

"The laws which in the culture of art have become more and more determinate are the great hidden laws of nature which art establishes in its own fashion. It is necessary to stress the facts that these laws are more or less hidden behind the superficial aspects of nature. Abstract art is therefore opposed to a natural representation of things. But it is not opposed to nature as is generally thought. It is opposed to the raw primitive animal nature of man, but is one with true human nature. It is opposed to the conventional laws created during the culture of the particular form but it is one with the laws of the culture of pure relationships. First and foremost there is the fundamental law of dynamic equilibrium which is opposed to the static equilibrium necessitated by the particular form. The important task then of all art is to destroy the static equilibrium by establishing a dynamic one. Non-figurative art demands an attempt of what is a consequence of this task, the destruction of particular form and the construction of a rhythm of mutual relations, of mutual forms or free lines. We must bear in mind, however, a distinction between these two forms of equilibrium in order to avoid confusion; for when we speak of equilibrium pure and simple we may be for, and at the same time against, a balance in the work of art." - Piet Mondrian, fully Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian

"According to our laws, it is a great mistake to believe that one is practicing non-figurative art by merely achieving neutral forms or free lines and determinate relations. For in composing these forms one runs the risk of a figurative creation, that is to say one or more particular forms. Non-figurative art is created by establishing a dynamic rhythm of determinate mutual relations which excludes the formation of any particular form. We note thus, that to destroy particular form is only to do more consistently what all art has done." - Piet Mondrian, fully Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian