Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"We live in an age to which self-restraint is hateful. Our emphasis is placed on achievement. Restraint without achievement is nothing, but achievement without restraint is worse." - Ralph Tyler Flewelling

"There are limits to self-indulgence, non to self-restraint." -

"The secret of all success is to know how to deny yourself. Prove that you can control yourself, and you are an educated man; and without this all other education is good for nothing... To you self-denial may only mean weariness, restraint, ennui; but it means, also, love, perfection, sanctification." - Roswell Dwight Hitchcock

"In this age when there can be no losers in peace and no victors in war, we must recognize the obligation to match national strength with national restraint." - Lyndon Johnson, fully Lyndon Baines Johnson, aka LBJ

"In managing human affairs, there is no better rule than self-restraint." -

"We are not immortal, but our acts are... The question is not why we exist but whether we deserve to exist as supposedly rational beings if we act like conquerors rather than caring beings willing to share the planet with all those who are less powerful, and to act with restraint in respecting the needs of others and all life to come. As a species, we are on trial to see whether rationality was an advance or a tragic mistake." - Michael McCloskey

"Reason at its best shuns all extremes: even in wisdom we must exert restraint." - Molière, pen name of Jean Baptiste Poquelin NULL

"Perpetual aiming at wit is a very bad part of conversation. It is done to support a character: it generally fails; it is a sort of insult on the company, and a restraint upon the speaker." - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"When the heat and motion of blind impulses and passions distract it on all sides, we can neither give nor receive anything truly. But when we find our centre in our soul by the power of self-restraint, by the force that harmonises all warring elements and unifies those that are apart, then all our isolated impressions reduce themselves to wisdom, and all our momentary impulses of heart find their completion in love; then all the petty details of our life reveal an infinite purpose, and all our thoughts and deeds unite themselves inseparably in an internal harmony." -

"The long fight to save wild beauty represents democracy at its best. It requires citizens to practice the hardest of virtues - self-restraint." -

"A man who raises himself by degrees to wealth and power, contracts, in the course of this protracted labor, habits of prudence and restraint which he cannot afterwards shake off. A man cannot gradually enlarge his mind as he does his house." -

"The new three R’s: responsibility, restraint, respect." - Montel Williams

"What is it that every man seeks? To be secure, to be happy, to do what he pleases without restraint, and without compulsion." -

"In this age when there can be no losers in peace and no victors in war - we must recognize the obligation to match national strength with national restraint." - Lyndon Johnson, fully Lyndon Baines Johnson, aka LBJ

"Self-government requires qualities of self-denial and restraint." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Plainly, the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy. A majority, held in restraint by constitutional checks, and imitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible; the rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy, or despotism in some form, is all that is left." - Abraham Lincoln

"If there are two moral stances that our times call for, they are precisely these, self-restraint and compassion." -

"By thoughtfulness, by restraint and self-control, the wise man may make for himself an island which no flood can overwhelm." - Dhammapada NULL

"It is earnestly desired that each man should be wise enough to govern himself without the intervention of any compulsory restraint; and, since government, even in its best state, is an evil, the object principally to be aimed at is that we should have as little of it as the general peace of human society permit." - William Godwin

"Weapons are tools of fear; a decent man will avoid them except in the direst necessity and, if compelled, will use them only with the utmost restraint. Peace is the highest value." - Lao Tzu, ne Li Urh, also Laotse, Lao Tse, Lao Tse, Lao Zi, Laozi, Lao Zi, La-tsze

"Let a wise man, like a driver of horses, exert diligence in restraint of his senses, straying among seductive sensual objects." - Laws of Manu, Manava-dharma-sastra NULL

"Few are those who err on the side of self-restraint." - Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

"Restraint of discipline, emulation, examples of virtue and of justice, form the education of the world." - Edmund Burke

"Government is a contrivance of human wisdom to provide for human wants. Men have a right that these wants should be provided for, (including) the want of sufficient restraint upon their passions." - Edmund Burke

"The long fight to save wild beauty represents democracy at its best. It requires citizens to practice the hardest of virtues - self-restraint." - Edwin Way Teale

"Passions, private aims, and the satisfaction of selfish desires, are… most effective springs of action. Their power lies in the fact that they would respect none of the limitations which justice and morality would impose on them; and [they] have a more direct influence over man than the artificial and tedious discipline that tends to order and self-restraint, law and morality." - Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"If peace teaches anything it is that there can be no peace without equilibrium and no justice without restraint." - Henry Kissinger, fully Henry Alfred Kissinger

"Absolute liberty is absence of restraint; responsibility is restraint; therefore, the ideally free individual is responsible to himself." -

"Restraint does not mean weakness. It does not mean giving in." - Jawaharlal Nehru

"God sure esteems the growth and completing of one virtuous person, more than the restraint of ten vicious." - John Milton

"Obedience is, indeed, founded on a kind of freedom, else it would become mere subjugation, but that freedom is only granted that obedience may be more perfect; and thus while a measure of license is necessary to exhibit the individual energies of things, the fairness and pleasantness and perfection of them all consist in their restraint." - John Ruskin

"The intelligence of affection is carried on by the eye only; good-breeding has made the tongue falsify the heart, and act a part of continued restraint, while nature has preserved the eyes to herself, that she may not be disguised or misrepresented." - Joseph Addison

"Culture is a massive exercise in restraint, inhibition, and curtailment of joy on behalf of pseudo-safety and grim necessities. We live out our lives in the long shadows it casts." - Joseph Chilton Pearce, aka Joe

"Transcendence is a movement into the unknown, the ability to rise and go beyond limitation and restraint… it is our biological birthright, built into us genetically and blocked by our enculturation." - Joseph Chilton Pearce, aka Joe

"Leadership consists not in degrees of technique but in traits of character; it requires moral rather than athletic or intellectual effort, and it imposes on both leader and follower alike the burdens of self-restraint." - Lewis H. Lapham

"A man who raises himself by degrees to wealth and power, contracts, in the course of this protracted labor, habits of prudence and restraint which he cannot afterwards shake off. A man cannot gradually enlarge his mind as he does his house. " - Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"If there are two moral stances that our times call for, they are precisely these, self-restraint and compassion." - Daniel Goleman

"Voluntary simplicity involves both inner and outer condition. It means singleness of purpose, sincerity and honesty within, as well as avoidance of exterior clutter, of many possessions irrelevant to the chief purpose of life. It means an ordering and guiding of our energy and our desires, a partial restraint in some directions in order to secure greater abundance of life in other directions. It involves a deliberate organization of life for a purpose. Of course, as different people have different purposes in life, what is relevant to the purpose of one person might not be relevant to the purpose of another....The degree of simplification is a matter for each individual to settle for himself." - Duane Elgin

"Great American power and responsibility are not unprecedented, and have been used with restraint and great benefit in the past. We have not assumed that super strength guarantees super wisdom, and we have consistently reached out to the international community to ensure that our own power and influence are tempered by the best common judgment. Within our country, ultimate decisions are made through democratic means, which tend to moderate radical or ill-advised proposals. Constrained and inspired by historic constitutional principles, our nation has endeavored for more than two hundred years to follow the now almost universal ideals of freedom, human rights, and justice for all." - Jimmy Carter, fully James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr.

"To hell with reality! I want to die in music, not in reason or in prose. People don't deserve the restraint we show by not going into delirium in front of them. To hell with them!" - Louis-Ferdinand Céline, pen name Louis-Ferdinand Destouches

"When I speak of life and love as expanding with age, sex seems the least important thing. At any age we grow by the enlarging of consciousness, by learning a new language, or a new art or craft (gardening?) that implies a new way of looking at the universe. Love is one of the great enlargers of the person because it requires us to "take in" the stranger and to understand him, and to exercise restraint and tolerance as well as imagination to make the relationship work." - May Sarton, pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton

"When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"Restraint never ruins one's health. What ruins it,is not restraint but outward suppression. A really self-restrained person grows every day from strength to strength and from peace to more peace. The very first step in self-restraint is the restraint of thoughts." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

" I have freed myself from each and every restraint of religion, ethics, and social responsibility and the result is that I have made myself into a question mark. I cannot accept the old order. I cannot make a new order for myself. I wish I could be a plain and simple Socialist or Progressive. People generally take me to be a Progressive, and I call myself one too. But I am truly a decadent. The bitterness, despair, reclusiveness and extreme individuation in my story “ƒar≥mj≥dµ” is an example of that. I want to infuse my stories with a spirit that will create hope for a new world and a new life for humanity. But my stories are severing even the threads of hope that remain. I cannot grasp the spirit of unity. I am bonded with the spirit of disunity. So aren’t my stories harmful and poisonous for the new life? Aren’t sick temperaments my examples? Is it justifiable that I write such stories at a time when there is a battle going on for the fate of humanity? That I should write stories about the illusions and imagined narcissistic fancies of an utterly personal nature? […] I too have no “character.” My opinions and thoughts change with the wind. Only despair is my constant feeling." - Muhammad Hussan Askari

"For the Age has itself become vulgar, and most people have no idea to what extent they are themselves tainted. The bad manners of all parliaments, the general tendency to connive at a rather shady business transaction if it promises to bring in money without work, jazz and Negro dances as the spiritual outlet in all circles of society, women painted like prostitutes, the efforts of writers to win popularity by ridiculing in their novels and plays the correctness of well-bred people, and the bad taste shown even by the nobility and old princely families in throwing off every kind of social restraint and time-honored custom: all of these go to prove that it is now the vulgar mob that gives the tone. " - Oswald Spengler, fully Oswald Manuel Arnold Gottfried Spengler

"A certain degree of ceremony is a necessary outwork of manners, as well as of religion; it keeps the forward and petulant at a proper distance, and is a very small restraint to the sensible and to the well-bred part of the world." - Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"Our runaway judiciary is badly in need of restraint by Congress." - Phyllis Schlafly, fully Phyllis McAlpin Stewart Schlafly

"However, all scientific statements and laws have one characteristic in common: they are "true or false" (adequate or inadequate). Roughly speaking, our reaction to them is "yes" or "no." The scientific way of thinking has a further characteristic. The concepts which it uses to build up its coherent systems are not expressing emotions. For the scientist, there is only "being," but no wishing, no valuing, no good, no evil; no goal. As long as we remain within the realm of science proper, we can never meet with a sentence of the type: "Thou shalt not lie." There is something like a Puritan's restraint in the scientist who seeks truth: he keeps away from everything voluntaristic or emotional." - Albert Einstein

"Individuals who have too many children are penalized, not because the whole population goes extinct, but simply because fewer of their children survive.... There is no need for altruistic restraint in the birth-rate, because there is no welfare state in nature. Any gene for overindulgence is promptly punished: the children containing that gene starve....Contraception is sometimes attacked as 'unnatural'. So it is, very unnatural. The trouble is, so is the welfare state. I think that most of us believe the welfare state is highly desirable. But you cannot have an unnatural welfare state, unless you also have unnatural birth-control, otherwise the end result will be misery even greater than that which obtains in nature." - Richard Dawkins

"The sickness of love is not cured except by Your very presence and image. The soul that loves God lives more in the next life than in this." - Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez NULL