Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Ability

"It is the desire of the good people of the whole country that sectionalism as a factor in our politics should disappear." - Rutherford B. Hayes, fully Rutherford Birchard Hayes

"Take God for your spouse and friend and walk with him continually, and you will not sin and will learn to love, and the things you must do will work out prosperously for you." - Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez NULL

"Do I believe in arbitration? I do. But not in arbitration between the lion and the lamb, in which the lamb is in the morning found inside the lion. I believe in arbitration between two lions or two lambs. When a man puts a pistol to my head and tells me to deliver, there is no arbitration. There can be arbitration only between equals. Let us organize: then we will stand on an equal footing with the employers." - Samuel Gompers

"They call for love but are met with hate.." - Samuel Ullman

"If you want to enjoy the movie, you should know that it is the combination of film and light and white screen, and that the most important thing is to have a plain, white screen." - Shunryu Suzuki, also Daisetsu Teitaro or D.T. Suzuki or Suzuki-Roshi

"Every goal, every action, every thought, every feeling one experiences, whether it be consciously or unconsciously known, is an attempt to increase one's level of peace of mind." - Sidney Madwed

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives." - Sidney Madwed

"Life does not need to mutilate itself in order to be pure." - Simone Weil

"To will freedom and to will to disclose being are one and the same choice; hence, freedom takes a positive and constructive step which causes being to pass to existence in a movement which is constantly surpassed." - Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

"Hence, something than which a greater cannot be thought exists so truly that it cannot even be thought not to exist. And You are this [being], 0 Lord our God. Therefore, 0 Lord my God, You exist so truly that You cannot even be thought not to exist. And this is rightly the case. For if any mind could think of something better than You, the creature would rise above the Creator and would sit in judgment over the Creator—something which is utterly absurd. Indeed, except for You alone, whatever else exists can be thought not to exist. Therefore, You alone exist most truly of all and thus most greatly of all; for whatever else exists does not exist as truly [as do You] and thus exists less greatly [than do You]. Since, then, it is so readily clear to a rational mind that You exist most greatly of all, why did the Fool say in his heart that God does not exist?1—why [indeed] except because [he is] foolish and a fool!" - Anselm of Canterbury, aka Saint Anselm or Archbishop of Canterbury NULL

"The more we are afflicted in this world, the greater is our assurance in the next; the more sorrow in the present, the greater will our joy be in the future." - Isidore of Seville, fully Saint Isidore of Seville NULL

"A person is at the beginning of a prayer when he succeeds in removing distractions which at the beginning beset him. He is at the middle of the prayer when the mind concentrates only on what he is meditating and contemplating. He reaches the end when, with the Lord, the prayer enraptures him." - John Climacus, fully Saint John Climacus, aka John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus and John Sinaites

"The truth of a thing is the feel of it, not the think of it." - Stanley Kubrick

"Love for life in all its forms is the basic ethic of Witchcraft." - Starhawk, born Miriam Simos NULL

"The first virtue of a young man today - that is, for the next fifty years perhaps, as long as we live in fear, and religion has regained its powers - is to be incapable of enthusiasm and not to have much in the way of brains." - Stendhal, pen name of Marie Henn Beyle or Marie-Henri Beyle NULL

"If I choose to impose individual blame for all past social ills, there will be no one left to like in some of the most fascinating periods of our history. For example […] if I place every Victorian anti-Semite beyond the pale of my attention, my compass of available music and literature will be pitifully small. Though I hold no shred of sympathy for active persecution, I cannot excoriate individuals who acquiesced passively in a standard societal judgment. Rail instead against the judgment, and try to understand what motivates men of decent will." - Stephan Jay Gould

"Independent derivation meshed beautifully with the triumph, from the 1930's on, of a strict version of Darwinism based on the near ubiquity of adaptive design built by natural selection... Arthropods and vertebrates do share several features of functional design. But those similarities only reflect the power of natural selection to craft optimal structures independently in a world of limited biomechanical solutions to common functional problems - an evolutionary phenomenon called convergence." - Stephan Jay Gould

"It has certainly been true in the past that what we call intelligence and scientific discovery have conveyed a survival advantage. It is not so clear that this is still the case: our scientific discoveries may well destroy us all, and even if they don’t, a complete unified theory may not make much difference to our chances of survival. However, provided the universe has evolved in a regular way, we might expect that the reasoning abilities that natural selection has given us would be valid also in our search for a complete unified theory, and so would not lead us to the wrong conclusions." - Stephen Hawking

"The best reason for having dreams is that in dreams no reasons are necessary." - Stephen LaBerge

"All men desire to be immortal." - Theodore Parker

"Yet, if he would, man cannot live all to this world. If not religious, he will be superstitious. If he worship not the true God, he will have his idols." - Theodore Parker

"A just war is in the long run far better for a nation's soul than the most prosperous peace obtained by acquiescence in wrong or injustice." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"But it is not possible ever to insure prosperity merely by law. Something for good can be done by law, and a bad law can do an infinity of mischief; but, after all, the best law can only prevent wrong and injustice, and give to the thrifty, the farseeing, and the hard-working a chance to exercise to best advantage their special and peculiar abilities." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"Political parties exist to secure responsible government and to execute the will of the people. From these great tasks both of the old parties have turned aside. Instead of instruments to promote the general welfare they have become the tools of corrupt interests, which use them impartially to serve their selfish purposes. Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.To destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem, it will avail us little to solve all others." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"You ask that Mr. Taft shall let the world know what his religious belief is. This is purely his own private concern; it is a matter between him and his Maker, a matter for his own conscience; and to require it to be made public under penalty of political discrimination is to negative the first principles of our Government, which guarantee complete religious liberty, and the right to each to act in religious affairs as his own conscience dictates. Mr. Taft never asked my advice in the matter, but if he had asked it, I should have emphatically advised him against thus stating publicly his religious belief. The demand for a statement of a candidate’s religious belief can have no meaning except that there may be discrimination for or against him because of that belief. Discrimination against the holder of one faith means retaliatory discrimination against men of other faiths. The inevitable result of entering upon such a practice would be an abandonment of our real freedom of conscience and a reversion to the dreadful conditions of religious dissension which in so many lands have proved fatal to true liberty, to true religion, and to all advance in civilization." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"The fact is that when you make the other suffer, he will try to find relief by making you suffer more. The result is an escalation of suffering on both sides." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"Our present urgency is to recover a sense of the primacy of the Universe as our fundamental context, and the primacy of the Earth as the matrix from which life has emerged and on which life depends. Recovering this sense is essential to establishing the framework for mutually enhancing human-Earth relations for the flourishing of life on the planet." - Thomas Berry

"No book that will not improve by repeated readings deserves to be read at all." - Thomas Carlyle

"From this ignorance of how to distinguish dreams and other strong fancies from vision and sense, did arise the greatest part of the religion of the Gentiles in time past that worshipped satyrs, fawns, nymphs, and the like; and now-a-days the opinion that rude people have of fairies, ghosts, and goblins, and of the power of witches. For as for witches, I think not that their witchcraft is any real power; but yet that they are justly punished for the false belief they have that they can do such mischief, joined with their purpose to do it if they can; their trade being nearer to a new religion than to a craft or science. And for fairies and walking ghosts, the opinion of them has, I think, been on purpose either taught, or not confuted, to keep in credit the use of exorcism, of crosses, of holy water, and other such inventions of ghostly men. Nevertheless there is no doubt but God can make unnatural apparitions,; but that He does it so often as men need to fear such things more than they fear the stay or change of the course of nature, which He also can stay and change, is no point of Christian faith. But evil men, under pretext that God can do anything, are so bold as to say anything when it serves their turn, though they think it untrue; it is the part of a wise man to believe them no farther than right reason makes that which they say appear credible. If this superstitious fear of spirits were taken away, and with it prognostics from dreams, false prophecies, and many other things depending thereon, by which crafty ambitious persons abuse the simple people, men would be much more fitted than they are for civil obedience." - Thomas Hobbes

"The fact is that everyone is much too busily preoccupied with himself to be able to form a serious opinion about another person. The indolent world is all too ready to treat any man with whatever degree of respect corresponds to his own self-confidence." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"In actual fact, conventions are the death of real tradition as they are of all real life. They are parasites which attach themselves to the living organism of tradition and devour all its reality, turning it into a hollow formality. Tradition is living and active, but convention is passive and dead. Tradition does not form us automatically: we have to work to understand it. Convention is accepted passively, as a matter of routine. Therefore, convention easily becomes an evasion of reality. It offers us only pretended ways of solving the problems of living - a system of gestures and formalities. Tradition really teaches us to live and shows us how to take full responsibility for our own lives. Thus tradition is often flatly opposed to what is ordinary, to what is mere routine. But convention, which is a mere repetition of familiar routines, follows the line of least resistance. One goes through an act, without trying to understand the meaning of it all, merely because everyone else does the same. Tradition, which is always old, is at the same time ever new because it is always reviving - born again in each new generation, to be lived and applied in a new and particular way. Convention is simply the ossification of social customs. The activities of conventional people are merely excuses for NOT acting in a more integrally human way. Tradition nourishes the life of the spirit; convention merely disguises its interior decay." - Thomas Merton

"Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair." - Thomas Merton

"The gate of heaven is everywhere." - Thomas Merton

"Successful teachers are vital and full of passion. They love to teach as a painter loves to paint, as a writer loves to write, as a singer loves to sing. They have a serious purpose and yet enjoy enormously what they do. They teach their subject -- politics, physics, psychology, or whatever -- as if it really mattered. They can get excited about their subject no matter how many times they have held forth on it. They vivify their subject and rise well above the mechanical, dry, or routine. They push themselves just as they push their students, and their courses become memorable learning experiences." - Thomas Cronin, fully Thomas Edward Cronin

"For some extraordinary reason, the Church moves in an atmosphere of antiquity. I have no doubt that it makes for dignity; I have also no doubt that there are times when it makes for complete irrelevance; for, if there is one thing that is true of religion it is that it must always be expressible in contemporary terms. Religion fails if it cannot speak to men as they are." - William Barclay

"Every form of government tends to perish by excess of its basic principles." - Will Durant, fully William James "Will" Durant

"Forget mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you're going to do now and do it." - Will Durant, fully William James "Will" Durant

"No man can frequent the company of the great philosophers without changing his mind and widening his views on a thousand vital points." - Will Durant, fully William James "Will" Durant

"Forget mistakes. Forget failure. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it. Today is your lucky day." - Will and Ariel Durant

"Most history is guessing, and the rest is prejudice." - Will and Ariel Durant

"One of the lessons of history is that 'nothing' is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say." - Will and Ariel Durant

"The family is the nucleus of civilization." - Will and Ariel Durant

"English is such a deliciously complex and undisciplined language, we can bend, fuse, distort words to all our purposes. We give old words new meanings, and we borrow new words from any language that intrudes into our intellectual environment." - Willard Gaylen

"Experience is a safe light to walk by, and he is not a rash man who expects to succeed in future from the same means which have secured it in times past." - Wendell Phillips

"Pride and dignity come when you reach in your pocket and find money, not a hole." - Whitney Young, fully Whitney Moore Young, Jr.

"Toscanini was hailing a great artist, but that voice was more than a magnificent personal talent. It was the religious voice of a whole religious people — probably the most God-obsessed (and man-despised) people since the ancient Hebrews." - Whittaker Chambers, born Jay Vivian Chambers, aka Jay David Whittaker Chambers

"If "freedom" means, first of all, the responsibility of every individual for the rational determination of his own personal, professional and social existence, then there is no greater fear than that of the establishment of general freedom. Without a thoroughgoing solution of this problem there never will be a peace lasting longer than one or two generations. To solve this problem on a social scale, it will take more thinking, more honesty and decency, more conscientiousness, more economic, social and educational changes in social mass living than all the efforts made in previous and future wars and post-war reconstruction programs taken together." - Wilhelm Reich

"People don't care what you know. They just want to know that you care." - Walt Disney, fully Walter Elias "Walt" Disney

"Poverty is an anomaly to rich people. It is very difficult to make out why people who want dinner do not ring the bell." - Walter Bagehot