Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"Without the free spirit, affluence is only a form of slavery to undisciplined desires." - Kenneth Boulding, fully Kenneth Ewart Boulding

"There is only one object... for which we have at present the strength... and that is the moral object -the emancipation of ourselves from the inner slavery and spiritual degradation which assimilation has produced within us." -

"A man who feels that his religion is a slavery has not begun to comprehend the real nature of religion." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"War some day will be abolished by the will of man. This assertion does not in any way invalidate the truth that war is fundamentally caused by impersonal, political, economic and social forces. But it is the destiny of man to master and control such force, even as it is his destiny to harness rivers, chain the lightning and ride the storm. It is human will, operating under social forces, that has abolished slavery, infanticide, dueling, and a score of other social enormities. Why should it not do the same for war?" - John Haynes Holmes

"Whether happiness or unhappiness, freedom or slavery, in short whether good or evil results from an improved environment depends largely upon how the change has been brought about, upon the methods by which the physical results have been reached, and in what spirit and for what purpose the fruits of that change are used. Because a higher standard of living, a greater productiveness and a command over nature are not good in and of themselves do not mean that we cannot make good of them, that they cannot be a source of inner strength." -

"Who are happy in marriage? Those with so little imagination that they cannot picture a better state, and those so shrewd that they prefer quiet slavery to hopeless rebellion." - H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

"They set the slave free, striking off his chains. Then he was as much of a slave as ever. He was still chained to servility. He was still manacled to indolence and sloth, he was still bound by fear and superstition, by ignorance suspicion and savagery. His slavery was not in the chains, but in himself. They can only set free men free. And there is no need of that. Free men set themselves free." - José Joaquín de Olmedo, fully José Joaquín de Olmedo y Maruri

"Debt is bitter slavery to an honorable man." - Publius Syrus

"To feel shame is a sort of slavery." - Publius Syrus

"Freedom means mastery of your world. Fear and greed are common sources of bondage. We are afraid, beset by anxiety. We do not know what tomorrow will bring. We seem so helpless over against the forces that move now without apparent thought for men. And our inner freedom is destroyed by greed. We think that if we only had enough goods we should be free, happy, without care. And so there comes the lust for money, and slavery to the world of things. The world can enslave; it can never make us free." - H. F. Rall, fully Harris Franklin

"Behold the wretched and dismal slavery of him who is in thrall to pleasures and pains, those utterly capricious and tyrannical master. We, however, must escape to freedom. But this is only possible if we are indifferent to Fortune. Then we shall attain that one overriding blessing - the serenity and exhaltation of a firmly anchored mind. For when error is banished, we shall have the great and satisfying joy that comes from the discovery of truth, plus a kind of disposition and cheerfulness of mind. The source of our pleasure in these things will not derive from their being good, but that they emerge from a good that is one’s own." -

"Life without the courage for death is slavery." -

"Slavery is but half abolished, emancipation is but half completed, while millions of freemen with votes in their hands are left without education. Justice to them, the welfare of the States in which they live, the safety of the whole Republic, the dignity of the elective franchise, - all alike demand that the still remaining bonds of ignorance shall be unloosed and broken, and the minds as well as the bodies of the emancipated go free." - Robert C. Winthrop,fully Robert Charles Winthrop

"Those who rage today against the ideals of reason and of individual freedom, and seek to impose an insensate state of slavery by means of brutal force, rightly see in the Jews irreconcilable opponents." - Albert Einstein

"I believe in the dignity of being and, even more so, of becoming... Death may not be an end but only a passage, a dimensional leap. And what if, once free of the slavery of three and four dimensions, once released from space and time, we were to discover unimaginable realities beyond our poor five senses?" - Stefania Follini

"Slavery is an atrocious debasement of human nature." - Benjamin Franklin

"The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall. He frees himself and shows the way to others. Freedom and slavery are mental states." -

"To teach people to read without teaching them not to believe everything they read is only to prepare them for a new slavery." - Jean Guéhenno, given name Marcel-Jules-Marie Guéhenno

"Slavery destroys, or vitiates, or pollutes, whatever it touches. No interest of society escapes the influence of its clinging curse." - Hinton Rowan Helper

"Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery is a good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself." - Abraham Lincoln

"If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong." - Abraham Lincoln

"Where slavery is, there liberty cannot be; and where liberty is, there slavery cannot be." - Abraham Lincoln

"The perfect condition of slavery... is nothing else but the state of war continued between a lawful conqueror and a captive, for if once compact enter between them, and make an agreement for a limited power on the one side, and obedience on the other, the state of war and slavery ceases as long as the compact endures; for, as has been said, no man can by agreement pass over to another that which hath not in himself - a power over his own life." - John Locke

"Today we are not put up on the platforms and sold at the courthouse square. But we are forced to sell our strength, our time, our souls during almost every hour that we live. We have been freed from one kind of slavery only to be delivered into another." -

"Not merely an absence of noise, Real Silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws form the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary. The exodus from slavery toward the possession of the Kingdom." - Peter Minard

"Coercion created slavery, the cowardice of the slaves perpetuated it." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The money which a man possesses is the instrument of freedom; that which we eagerly pursue is the instrument of slavery." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"A great fortune is a great slavery." -

"What difference does it make how many masters a man has? Slavery is only one, and yet the person who refuses to let the thought of it affect him is a free man no matter how great the swarm of masters around him." -

"If the Day of Judgment came tomorrow, and God asked us what we had made of His revelation, of His grace and our freedom… we would be hard put to it to explain the advantages of a machine civilization whose highest efficiency is used for murder and slavery." - R. L. Bruckberger, fully Raymond Léopold Bruckberger

"Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, None but ourselves can free our minds." - Bob Marley

"A good mind possesses a kingdom: a great fortune is a great slavery." -

"Weapons didn't defeat slavery. Nor did war, nor politics, nor even the Emancipation Proclamation. Slavery fell because it offended the human spirit, broke the human heart, and thus could not stand." - Aaron Freeman

"Poverty and slavery are… only two forms of – one might almost say two words for – the same thing, the essence of which is that a man’s energies are expended for the most part not on his own behalf but on that of others; the outcome being partly that he is overloaded with work, partly that his needs are very inadequately met." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"Freedom and slavery! the one is the name of virtue, and the other of vice, and both are acts of the will." - Epictetus "the Stoic" NULL

"A strict belief, fate is the worst kind of slavery; on the other hand there is comfort in the thought that God will be moved by our prayers." - Epicurus NULL

"To adhere to man’s absolute freedom - one aspect of the matter - is eo ipso to condemn slavery. Yet if a man is a slave, his own will is responsible for his slavery, just as it is its will which is responsible if a people is subjugated. Hence the wrong of slavery lies at the door not simply of enslavers or conquerors but of the slaves and the conquered themselves. Slavery occurs in man’s transition from the state of nature to genuinely ethical conditions; it occurs in a world where a wrong is still right. At that stage wrong has validity and so is necessarily in place." - Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"Enslave a man and you destroy his ambition, his enterprise, his capacity. In the constitution of human nature, the desire of bettering one’s condition is the mainspring of effort. The first touch of slavery snaps this spring." - Horace Mann

"The distinguishing sign of slavery is to have a price, and be bought for it." - John Ruskin

"To yield reverence to another, to hold ourselves and our lives at his disposal, is not slavery; often, it is the noblest state in which a man can live in this world." - John Ruskin

"The naturalist fallacy draws a conclusion about what ought to be, based on what is. The fact that people believe something to be true, whether it be the flatness of the earth or the morality of slavery, does not make it true or moral." - Judith A. Boss

"They have exiled me now from their society and I am pleased, because humanity does not exile except the one whose noble spirit rebels against despotism and oppression. He who does not prefer exile to slavery is not free by any measure of freedom, truth and duty." - Kahlil Gibran

"Accumulation of wealth at one pole is... at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole, i.e., on the side of the class that produces its own product in the form of capital." - Karl Marx

"All temporal or human authority stems directly from spiritual and/or divine authority. But authority is the negation of freedom. God, or rather the fiction of God, is the consecration and the intellectual and moral source of all slavery on earth, and the freedom of mankind will never be complete until the disastrous and insidious fiction of a heavenly master is annihilated." - Mikhail Bakunin, fully Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin

"The origin of all wars is the pursuit of wealth, and we are forced to pursue wealth because we live in slavery to the cares of the body." - Plato NULL

"Debt is the slavery of the free " -

"We rail at trade, but the historians of the world will see that it was the principle of liberty; that it settled America and destroyed feudalism, and made peace and keeps peace; that it will abolish slavery." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We shall one day learn to supersede politics by education. What we call our root-and-branch reforms of slavery, war, gambling, intemperance, is only medicating the symptoms. We must begin higher up, namely, in education." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"For all our penny-wisdom, for all our soul-destroying slavery to habit, it is not to be doubted that all men have sublime thoughts; that all men value the few real hours of life; they love to be heard; they love to be caught up in the vision of principles." - Ralph Waldo Emerson