Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"The essence of all education is self-discovery and self-control. When education helps an individual to discover his own powers and limitations and, shows him how to get out of his heredity its largest and best possibilities, it will fulfill its real function, when children are taught not merely to know things but particularly to know themselves, not merely how to do things but especially how to compel themselves to do things, they may be said to be really educated. For this sort of education there is demanded rigorous discipline of the powers of observation, of the reason, and especially of the will." - William Congreve

"On its highest level man's contemporary desire to escape responsibility expresses itself not in emphasis on luck, or in emotional submission to fate, but in a thoroughgoing deterministic theory, ascribing all personal qualities to heredity and environment." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"Life consists not simply in what heredity and environment do to us but in what we make out of what they do to us." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"Nothing is constant but change! All existence is a perpetual flux of "being and becoming"! That is the broad lesson of the evolution of the world... The belief in the freedom of the will is inconsistent with the truth of evolution. Modern philosophy shows clearly that the will is never really free in man or animal, but determined by the organization of the brain; and that in turn acquires its individual character by the laws of heredity and the influence of environment." - Ernst Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel

"We do not know, in most cases, how far social failure and success are due to heredity, and how far to environment. But environment is the easier of the two to improve." - J. B. S. Haldane, fully John Burdon Sanderson Haldane

"Epigenesis, originally a biological concept, means the development of an organism under the joint influence of heredity and environment. Epigenetic rules… are innate operations in the sensory system and brain. They are rules of thumb that allow organisms to find rapid solutions to problems encountered in the environment. They predispose individuals to view the world in a particular innate way and automatically to make certain choices as opposed to others" -

"Do not forget the most important fact that neither heredity nor environment is a determining factor. Both are giving only the frame and the influences which are answered by the individual in regard to his styled creative power." - Alfred Adler

"The principle of heredity succession is universal; but the order has been variously established by convenience or caprice, by the spirit of national institutions, or by some partial example which was originally decided by fraud or violence." - Edward Gibbon

"There are two struggles - inner-world struggle and outer-world struggle, but never can these two make contact, to make data for the third world. Not even God gives this possibility for contact between inner- and outer-world struggles; not even your heredity. Only one thing - you must make intentional contact between outer-world struggle and inner-world struggle; only can you make data for the third world of Man, sometimes called World of the Soul. Understand?" - George Gurdjieff, fully George Ivanovich Gurdjieff

"Heredity is a splendid phenomenon that relieves us of responsibility for our shortcomings." - Doug Larson

"We know from our clinical experience in the practice of medicine that in diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment, the individual and his background of heredity are just as important, if not more so, as the disease itself." - Paul Dudley White

"All versions written for nonscientists speak of fused males as the curious tale of the anglerfish—just as we so often hear about the monkey swinging through the trees, or the worm burrowing through soil. But if nature teaches us any lesson, it loudly proclaims life's diversity. There ain't no such abstraction as the clam, the fly, or the anglerfish. Ceratioid anglerfishes come in nearly 100 species, and each has its own peculiarity." - Stephan Jay Gould

"I do not think that, practically or morally, we can defend a policy of saving every distinctive local population of organisms. I can cite a good rationale for the preservation of species, for each species is a unique and separate natural object that, once lost, can never be reconstituted. But subspecies are distinctive local populations of species with broader geographic range. Subspecies are dynamic, interbreedable, and constantly changing: what then are we saving by declaring them all inviolate?" - Stephan Jay Gould

"But few besides medical men are aware that MAN, in the course of his individual formation, passes through a series of transformations which are not less surprising and wonderful than the familiar metamorphoses of the butterfly." - Ernst Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel

"The common origin of man and the other mammals from a single ancient stem-form can no longer be questioned; nor can the immediate blood-relationship of man and the ape." - Ernst Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel