Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"The qualities of number appear to lead to the apprehension of truth. " - Plato NULL

"For him that would attain to true happiness which for the most part is placed in the qualities and disposition of the mind." - Plutarch, named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after becoming Roman citizen NULL

"Education and study, and the favors of the muses, confer no greater benefit on those that seek them than these humanizing and civilizing lessons, which teach our natural qualities to submit to the limitations prescribed by reason, and to avoid the wildness of extremes." - Plutarch, named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after becoming Roman citizen NULL

"Moral qualities rule the world, but at short distances the senses are despotic." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"At the beginning of the spiritual journey, many of us pushed away our humanity in an attempt to embrace our divinity... we've been learning to accept rather than reject our human qualities, creating a new partnership between the mundane and transcendent parts of ourselves." - Ram Dass, aka Baba Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert

"Perhaps more than any other single factor, the intimate alchemy between the healer and the patient helps mobilize the body's natural resources. The mere presence of a healer often evokes hope in the patient and an expectation of recovery. When the two people create a partnership based on compassion, trust, and shared decision-making, and when the relationship nurtures the patient's hope for a positive outcome, even seemingly incurable diseases sometimes go into remission.... insistently restoring the human heart to the practice of medicine. Rather than treating patients as disease processes, they risk bringing their full humanness to the therapeutic encounter. They not only call on their technological expertise, but on the inner qualities practiced by healers from time immemorial: patience, humility, compassion, and an ability to inspire and mobilize their patients' healing resources." - Ronald S. Miller

"Humility leads to the highest distinction, because it leads to self-improvement. Study your own characters; endeavor to learn and to supply your own deficiencies; never assume to yourselves qualities which you do not possess; combine all this with energy and activity, and you cannot predicate of yourselves, nor can others predicate of you, at what point you may arrive at last." - Benjamin Collins Brodie, fully Sir Benjamin Collins Brodie, 1st Baronet

"One should forgive, under any injury. It hath been said that the continuation of the species is due to man’s being forgiving. Forgiveness is holiness; by forgiveness the universe is held together. Forgiveness is the might of the mighty; forgiveness is sacrifice; forgiveness is the might of the mighty; forgiveness is sacrifice; forgiveness is quiet of mind. Forgiveness and gentleness are the qualities of the Self-possessed. They represent eternal virtue." - Mahabharata or The Mahabharata NULL

"A man should not act as a judge either for someone he loves or for someone he hates. For no man can see the guilt of someone he loves or the good qualities of someone he hates." - Talmud or The Talmud NULL

"There can be no substitute for elemental virtues... only by each of us steadfastly keeping in mind that there can be no substitute for the world-old commonplace qualities of truth, justice and courage, thrift, industry, common sense and genuine sympathy with the fellow feelings of others." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"Men are certainly not born free and equal in natural qualities; when they are born, the predicates “free” and “equal” I the political sense are not applicable to them; and as they develop year by year, the differences in the political potentialities with which they really are born, become more and more obviously converted into actual differences - the inequality of political faculty shows itself to be a necessary consequence of the inequality of natural faculty." - Thomas Henry Huxley, aka T.H. Huxley and Darwin's Bulldog

"A soul-oriented spirituality begins in a reevaluation of the qualities of soul: subtlety, complexity, ripening, worldliness, incompleteness, ambiguity, wonder." - Thomas Moore

"Envy is the most universal passion. We only pride ourselves on the qualities owe possess, or think we possess; but we envy the pretensions we have, and those which we have not, and do not even wish for. We envy the greatest qualities and every trifling advantage. We envy the most ridiculous appearance or affectation of superiority. We envy folly and conceit; nay, we go so far as to envy whatever confers distinction of notoriety, even vice and infamy." - William Hazlitt

"In love we never think of moral qualities, and scarcely of intellectual ones. Temperament and manner alone, with beauty, excite love." - William Hazlitt

"Let a man’s talents and virtues be what they may, we only feel satisfaction in his society as he is satisfied in himself. We cannot enjoy the good qualities of a friend if he seems to be none the better for them." - William Hazlitt

"Silence is one great art of conversation. He is not a fool who knows when to hold his tongue; and a person may gain credit for sense, eloquence, wit, who merely says nothing to lessen the opinion which others have of these qualities in themselves." - William Hazlitt

"Perseverance and tact are the two great qualities most valuable for all men who would mount, but especially for those who have to step out of the crowd." - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

"One generation of fearless women could transform the world, by bringing into it a generation of fearless children, not contorted into unnatural shapes, but straight and candid, generous, affectionate, and free. Their ardor would sweep away the cruelty and pain which we endure because we are lazy, cowardly, hard-hearted and stupid. It is education that gives us these bad qualities, and education that must give us the opposite virtues. Education is the key to the new world." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"The primary and most beautiful of Nature's qualities is motion, which agitates her at all times, but this motion is simply a perpetual consequence of crimes, she conserves it by means of crimes only." - Marquis de Sade, born Donatien Alphonse François de Sade

"Patience, kindness, love, good will, joy, happiness, wisdom and understanding are qualities which never grow old. Cultivate them and express them and remain young in mind and body" - Joseph Murphy

"There is a field of energy that permeates the universe. This is understood by science, and now what we're beginning to discover is that field of energy is alive. One of its qualities is sentience or consciousness, and we can interact with that field. We're not just closed off in our physical bodies. We have the capacity to interact with the larger field of consciousness; it permeates our lives and touches us day-in and day-out. If there is needless suffering happening in the world, it tinges and colors the ocean of consciousness that we swim in, and we imbibe this daily. So, if we can create a world without undue suffering--one where we're not killing off all of these species and harming one another--it will change the atmosphere of our lives." - Duane Elgin

"It is stated in the sacred Zohar that "When the tzaddik departs he is to be found in all worlds more than in his lifetime." Now this needs to be understood. For, granted that he is to be found increasingly in the supernal worlds, because he ascends to there; but how can he be found more in this world? ... This can be explained based on [the maxim] that the life of a tzaddik is not a physical life but a spiritual life, consisting wholly of faith, awe, and love of G‑d... While the tzaddik was alive on earth, these three qualities were contained in their physical vessel and garment (i.e. the body) on the plane of physical space... All his disciples receive but a reflection of these attributes, a ray radiating beyond this vessel by means of his holy utterances and thoughts... But after his passing... whoever is close to him can receive a [far loftier dimension] of these three qualities, since they are no longer confined within a [material] vessel, nor bounded by physical space... Thus it is very easy for his disciples to receive their part of their master's quintessential spirit, each according to the level of his loving attachment (hitkashrut) and closeness to the tzaddik during his lifetime and after his death." - Shneur Zalman of Liadi

"When a person feels he has not been able to make sense of his own life, he tries to make some sense of it in terms of the lives of his children. But one is bound to fail oneself and one's children. The former because the problem of existence can only be solved by each one only for himself, and not by proxy; the latter because one lacks in the very qualities which one needs to guide the children in their own search for an answer. " - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"By necrophilia is meant love for all that is violence and destruction; the desire to kill; the worship of force; attraction to death, to suicide, to sadism; the desire to transform the organic into the inorganic by means of "order." The necrophile, lacking the necessary qualities to create, in his impotence finds it easy to destroy because for him it serves only one quality: force." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"The fundamental qualities for good execution of a plan is first; intelligence; then discernment and judgment, which enable one to recognize the best method as to attain it; the singleness of purpose; and, lastly, what is most essential of all, will-stubborn will." - Ferdinand Foch

"Good governance never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders." - Frank Herbert, formally Franklin Patrick Herbert, Jr.

"Virtues are dangerous as vices insofar as they are allowed to rule over one as authorities and not as qualities one develops oneself. " - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"When one speaks of humanity, the idea is fundamental that this is something that separates and distinguishes man from nature. In reality, however, there is no such separation: ‘natural’ qualities and those called properly ‘human’ are indivisibly grown together. Man, in his highest and most noble capacities, is wholly nature and embodies its uncanny dual character. Those of his abilities which are awesome and considered inhuman are perhaps the fertile soil out of which alone all humanity... can grow. " - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"As the essence of Matter is Gravity, so, on the other hand, we may affirm that the substance, the essence of Spirit is Freedom. All will readily assent to the doctrine that Spirit, among other properties, is also endowed with Freedom; but philosophy teaches that all the qualities of Spirit exist only through Freedom; that all are but means for attaining Freedom; that all seek and produce this and this alone." - Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"We confess our bad qualities to others out of fear of appearing naive or ridiculous by not being aware of them." - Gerald Brenan, fully Edward FitzGerald "Gerald" Brenan

"Today is the day in which to express your noblest qualities of mind and heart, to do at least one worthy thing which you have long postponed." - Grenville Kleiser

"The truest art I would strive for in any work would be to give the page the same qualities as earth: weather would land on it harshly, light would elucidate the most difficult truths; wind would sweep away obtuse padding. Finally, the lessons of impermanence taught me this: loss constitutes an odd kind of fullness; despair empties out into an unquenchable appetite for life." - Gretel Ehrlich

"He who possesses liberty otherwise than as an aspiration possesses it soulless, dead. One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says, "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has just lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is characteristic of the so-called State, and, as I have said, it is not a good characteristic." - Henrik Ibsen, aka Henrik Johan Ibsen

"A great man is made up of qualities that meet or make great occasions. " - James Russell Lowell

"I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes." - Jean Vanier

"Men's fundamental attitudes toward the world are fixed by the scope and qualities of the activities in which they partake." - John Dewey

"There are three qualities a leader must exemplify to build trust: competence, connection, and character." - John C. Maxwell

"The 21 Indispensible Qualities of a Leader CHARACTER: Be a Piece of the Rock CHARISMA: The First Impression Can Seal the Deal. COMMITMENT: It Separates Doers from Dreamers. COMMUNICATION: Without It You Travel Alone. COMPETENCE: If You Build It, They Will Come. COURAGE: One Person with Courage Is a Majority. DISCERNMENT: Put an End to Unsolved Mysteries. FOCUS: The Sharper It Is, the Sharper You Are. GENEROSITY: Your Candle Loses Nothing When It Lights Another. INITIATIVE: You Won’t Leave Home Without It. LISTENING: To Connect with Their Hearts, Use Your Ears. PASSION: Take This Life and Love It. POSITIVE ATTITUDE: If You Believe You Can, You Can. PROBLEM SOLVING: You Can’t Let Your Problems Be a Problem. RELATIONSHIPS: If You Get Along, They’ll Go Along. RESPONSIBILITY: If You Won’t Carry the Ball, You Can’t Lead the Team. SECURITY: Competence Never Compensates for Insecurity. SELF-DISCIPLINE: The First Person You Lead Is You. SERVANTHOOD: To Get Ahead, Put Others First. TEACHABILITY: To Keep Leading, Keep Learning. VISION: You Can Seize Only What You Can." - John C. Maxwell

"Professional competence, political independence, and moral sensitivity would be required qualities of the guardian of moral discipline." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of the highest virtues. We shall be able to afford to dare to assess the money-motive at its true value. The love of money as a possession — as distinguished from the love of money as a means to the enjoyments and realities of life — will be recognised for what it is, a somewhat disgusting morbidity, one of those semi-criminal, semi-pathological propensities which one hands over with a shudder to the specialists in mental disease ... But beware! The time for all this is not yet. For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to everyone that fair is foul and foul is fair; for foul is useful and fair is not. Avarice and usury and precaution must be our gods for a little longer still. For only they can lead us out of the tunnel of economic necessity into daylight." - John Maynard Keynes

"I think that one may contribute (ever so slightly) to the beauty of things by making one's own life and environment beautiful, as far as one's power reaches.This includes moral beauty, one of the qualities of humanity, though it seems not to appear elsewhere in the universe. But I would have each person realize that his contribution is not important, its success not really a matter for exultation nor its failure for mourning; the beauty of things is sufficient without him." - Robinson Jeffers, fully John Robinson Jeffers

"There are many more shining qualities in the mind of man, but there is none so useful as discretion; it is this, indeed, which gives a value to all the rest, which sets them at work in their proper times and places, and turns them to the advantage of the person who is possessed of them. Without it, learning is pedantry, and wit impertinence ; virtue itself looks like weakness; the best parts only qualify a man to be more sprightly in errors, and active to his own prejudice." - Joseph Addison

"The most brilliant qualities become useless when they are not sustained by force of character." - Joseph Alexandre Pierre Ségur, Vicomte de

"It's far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help." - Judith Martin, née Perlman, pen name Miss Manners

"The scientist does not study nature because it is useful; he studies it because he delights in it, and he delights in it because it is beautiful. If nature were not beautiful, it would not be worth knowing, and if nature were not worth knowing, life would not be worth living. Of course I do not here speak of that beauty that strikes the senses, the beauty of qualities and appearances; not that I undervalue such beauty, far from it, but it has nothing to do with science; I mean that profounder beauty which comes from the harmonious order of the parts, and which a pure intelligence can grasp." - Henri Poincaré, fully Jules Henri Poincaré

"Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, control of the senses, control of the mind, happiness and distress, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame and infamy—all these various qualities of living beings are created by Me alone." - Krishna, also Kreeshna, Krsna, Lord Krishna NULL

"Nowadays, as before, the public declaration and confession of Orthodoxy is usually encountered among dull-witted, cruel and immoral people who tend to consider themselves very important. Whereas intelligence, honesty, straightforwardness, good-naturedness and morality are qualities usually found among people who claim to be non-believers." - Leo Tolstoy, aka Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy or Tolstoi

"I always tell our athletes, "The qualities you develop now, the things we're going to insist upon, will be with you for life, and they'll always be as sound and as good as they are now." All we're really talking about is a commitment to excellence." - Lou Holtz, fully Louis Leo "Lou" Holtz

"Pantheism makes God into a present, real, and material being; empiricism – to which rationalism also belongs – makes God into an absent, remote, unreal, and negative being. Empiricism does not deny God existence, but denies him all positive determinations, because their content is supposed to be only finite and empirical; the infinite cannot, therefore, be an object for man. But the more determinations I deny to a being, the more do I cut it of[ from myself, and the less power and influence do I concede to it over me, the freer do I make myself of it. The more qualities I possess, the more I am for others, and the greater is the extent of my influence and effects. And the more one is, the more one is known to others. Hence, each negation of an attribute of God is a partial atheism, a sphere of godlessness." - Ludwig Feuerbach, fully Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach

"Those three things - autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward - are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying." - Malcolm Gladwell