Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

People

"In the practical use of our intellect, forgetting is as important as remembering... A great many people think they are thinking when they are rearranging their prejudices... the difference between a good man and a bad one is the choice of cause." - William James

"Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul's resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger. Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed." - William James

"The blindness in human beings... is the blindness with which we all are afflicted in regard to the feelings of creatures and people different from ourselves." - William James

"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education." - Thomas Jefferson

"Men are naturally divided into two parties: (1) those who fear and distrust the people... (2) those who identify themselves with people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider than as the most honest and safe." - Thomas Jefferson

"A man should be careful never to tell tales of himself to his own disadvantage; people may be amused, band laugh at the time, but they; will be remembered, and brought up against him upon some subsequent occasion." -

"Luxury, so far as it reaches the people, will do good to the race of people; it will strengthen and multiply them. Sir, no nation was ever hurt by luxury for, as I said before, it can reach but a very few." -

"Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor, but, even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it." -

"The martial character cannot prevail in a whole people but by the diminution of all other virtues." -

"Character is the beginning and the end of all things. Without it, we have only the ashes of a people's failure; with it, we have the rainbow of civilization's desires." - Eric Allen Johnston

"There is an aliveness in people who are living life and not merely observing or intellectualizing it... During the time of catastrophic change, each individual has the opportunity to feel fully alive and resource-filled-awake far beyond the daily soporific states of consciousness in which most of us reside. Living on an edge heightens the human awareness. It does not dull it." - W. Brugh Joy, fully William Brugh Joy

"The aim [of education] is to develop a sincere faith in the holiness of life and sense of responsibility for enabling the... people to make its contribution to the achievement of a good life." -

"Self-knowledge is the primary step in conscious evolutionary change. When people confront and integrate their individual fears and limitations, they facilitate the confrontation and integration of our racial, national, and planetary fears. Lasting social change is only possible when individual consciousness has first been changed." - Gloria D. Karpinski

"To know and to serve God, of course, is why we’re here, a clear truth that like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard... Even in time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people. If we had no other purpose in life, it would be good enough to simply take care of them and goose them once in a while." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

"Many people know so little about what is beyond their short range of experience. They look within themselves - and find nothing! Therefore they conclude that there is nothing outside themselves." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

"Peace does not rest in charters and covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of the people." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Wealth is the mans, and the people are the ends. All our material riches will avail us little if we do not use them to expand the opportunities of our people." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"The more people who believe something, the more apt it is to be wrong. The person who's right often has to stand alone." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"It may well be that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition is not the glaring noisiness of the so-called bad people, but the appalling silence of the so-called good people. It may be that our generation will have to repent not only for the diabolical actions and vitriolic words of the children of darkness, but also for the crippling fears and tragic apathy of the children of light." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"No man can force the harp of his own individuality into the people’s heart; but every man may play upon the chords of the people’s heart, who draws his inspiration from the people’s instinct." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"To know a people’s character, we must see it at its homes, and look chiefly to the humbler abodes where that portion of the people dwells which makes the broad basis of the national prosperity." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"One sign of maturity is the ability to be comfortable with people who are not like us." - Virgil A. Kraft

"Ideologies, beliefs, organized religions, separate people." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Relationship means contact, communion. There cannot be communion where people are divided by ideas. A belief may gather a group of people around itself. Such a group will inevitably breed opposition and so form another group with a different belief. Ideas postpone direct relationship with the problem." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"The distinction between men’s and women’s language is a symptom of a problem in our culture, not the problem itself. Basically it reflects the fact that men and women are expected to have different interests and different roles, hold different types of conversations, and react differently to other people." - Robin Lakoff, fully Robin Tolmach Lakoff

"We have kept our children so busy with “useful” and “improving” activities that we are in danger of raising a generation of young people who are terrified of silence, of being alone with their own thoughts." - Eda J. LeShan

"The history of an oppressed people is hidden in the lies and the agreed-upon myth of its conquerors." - Meridel Le Sueur, born Meridel Wharton

"A person is a success if he works on the trait of sincerely desiring other people’s success. It is easy to talk as if you wish someone success but inwardly hope he fails. In general you should know that without hard work and wisdom it is impossible to reach any virtue, and you will remain with your natural tendencies and behavior." - Yechezkail Levenstein

"People become so used to being unhappy they are unaware of the needless misery they cause themselves. They imprison themselves by filling their minds with thoughts of resentment, hatred, envy, and desires. It is amazing how they tolerate living such a life. The only reason they do tolerate it is because they have become so used to living with such thoughts they fell it is the normal picture of life. They mistakenly think it is impossible for life to be any different." - Yeruchem Levovitz, aka The Mashgiach

"When a person is born, he finds the world in a certain organized fashion. As he grows up, he tries to adjust himself to the assumptions that are accepted in the world. He views each event that occurs with the same perspective as the other people of his generation. These perspectives originated in the past and have been handed down from parents to children. These assumptions are taken for granted to such an extent that most people react to the accepted perspective of the world as if they were laws of the universe that cannot be changed. They are accepted as reality and are not challenged. Only a small minority of people obtain the necessary wisdom to look at the world with complete objectivity. They take a critical look at teach and every thing and try to understand everything as it really is instead of accepting the general prevalent outlook. Those who try to investigate the origin of every perspective will perceive everything in a much different light than is commonly accepted." - Yeruchem Levovitz, aka The Mashgiach

"Who is a righteous man and who is an evil man? Many people think a righteous man is one who does not transgress, and the evil person is one who constantly transgresses. But even the very righteous also transgress and even the very wicked perform good deeds. The essential difference between the two is that a righteous person tries to overcome his desires to do wrong and the evil person does not." - Yeruchem Levovitz, aka The Mashgiach

"Often those who seek only license for their plundering, cry “liberty.” In the guise of this Old American ideal, men of vast economic domain would destroy what little liberty remains to those who toil. The liberty we seek is different. It is liberty fro common people - freedom from economic bondage, freedom from the oppressions of the vast bureaucracies of great corporations; freedom to regain again some human initiative, freedom that arises from economic security and human self-respect." - John L. Lewis, fully John Llewellyn Lewis

"A people cannot be destroyed except from within." - Ludwig Lewisohn

"Ah, how happy would many lives be if individuals troubled themselves as little about other people’s affairs as about their own!" - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"To many people virtue consists chiefly in repenting faults, not in avoiding them." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"With most people, doubt about one thing is simply blind belief in another." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"The machine that frees a man’s back of drudgery does not thereby make his spirit free. Technology has mad us more productive, but it does not necessarily enrich our lives. Engineers can build us great dams, but only great people make a valley great. There is no technology of goodness. Men must make themselves spiritually free." -

"When distant and unfamiliar and complex things are communicated to great masses of people, the truth suffers a considerable and often a radical distortion. The complex is made over into the simple, the hypothetical into the dogmatic, and the relative in to an absolute." - Walter Lippmann

"Moaning over what cannot be helped is a confession of futility and fear, of emotional stagnation - in fact, of selfishness and cowardice. The best way to "snap out of it" is to stop thinking about yourself, and start thinking about other people. You can lighten your own load by doing something for someone else. By the simple device of doing an outward, unselfish act today, you can make the past recede. The present and future will again take on their true challenge and perspective." - Frederick Loomis, fully Sir Frederick Oscar Warren Loomis

"Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the face, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-interest, fear, despair - these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust." - Watterson Lowe

"Envy comes from foolishness and a lack of understanding. When you are envious of someone, you do not gain anything and o not cause a loss to the person you envy. The only person who loses out is you. There are some people whose foolishness is so strong that whenever they see someone else they know have some good fortune, they feel pain and suffering They are so pained by what others have they derive no pleasure from what they themselves possess." - Moshe Chayim Luzzatto, also Moses Hayyim Luzzato, known by Hebrew acronym RaMCHal

"Honor-seeking pushes people to do things more than any other desire in the world. If a person would give up his demands for status, he would be content as long as his minimum needs for food, clothing, and shelter were met." - Moshe Chayim Luzzatto, also Moses Hayyim Luzzato, known by Hebrew acronym RaMCHal

"Every good act is charity. Your smiling in your brother's face, is charity; an exhortation of your fellow-man to virtuous deeds, is equal to alms-giving; your putting a wanderer in the right road, is charity; your removing stones, and thorns, and other obstructions from the road, is charity; your giving water to the thirsty, is charity. A man's true wealth hereafter, is the good he does in this world to his fellow-man. When he dies, people will say, "What property has he left behind him?" but the angels will ask, "What good deeds has he sent before him."" -

"It is not enough to show people how to live better: there is a mandate for any group with enormous powers of communication to show people how to be better." - Marya Mannes

"New ideas have a hard time in science. They tend to be suppressed by arrogance - condemnation by acknowledged leaders in the field... Dogmatism restrains, iconoclasm liberates. Vanity, powermongering, avariciousness, pride, dedication, love, industry, sadism and most other attributes of people apply to science and to scientists as well." - Lynn Margulis and Carl Lindegren

"Self-respect is at the bottom of all good manners. They are the expression of discipline, of good-will, of respect for other people's rights and comfort and feelings." - Edward Sanford Martin

"There is only one sound method of moral education. It is teaching people to think." - Everett Dean Martin

"People ask for criticism, but they only want praise." -

"The common idea that success spoils people making them vain, egotistic and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them for the most part, humble, tolerant and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter." -