Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Self

"The relationship between moral action and spiritual knowledge is circular, as it were, and reciprocal. Selfless behavior makes possible an accession of knowledge, and the accession of knowledge makes possible the performance of further and more genuinely selfless actions, which in their turn enhance the agent’s capacity for knowing... A man undertakes right action (which includes, of course, right consciousness and right meditation), and this enables him to catch a glimpse of the Self that underlies his separate individuality. Having seen his own self as the Self, he becomes selfless (and therefore acts selflessly) and in virtue of selflessness he is to be conceived as unconditioned." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Without self-knowledge there can be no true humility." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Only one-fourth of the sorrow in each man's life is caused by outside uncontrollable elements, the rest is self-imposed by failing to analyze and act with calmness." -

"A man’s Self is the sum-total of all that he can call his, not only his body, and his psychic powers, but this clothes and his house, his wife and children, his ancestors and friends, his reputation and works, his land and horse and yacht and bank account." - William James

"Love is the purification of the heart from self; it strengthens and ennobles the character; gives higher motive and nobler aim to every action of life, and makes both man and woman strong, noble, and courageous. The power to love truly and devotedly is the nobles gift with which a human being can be endowed; but it is a sacred fire that must not be burned to idols." - Maria Jane Jewsbury

"Increasing your self-esteem is easy. You simply do good things, and remember that you did them." - John-Roger & Peter McWilliams NULL

"All censure of a man's self is oblique praise." -

"Happiness is not found in self-contemplation, it is perceived only when it is reflected from another." -

"Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings." -

"Wisdom and virtue are by no means sufficient, without the supplemental laws of good-breeding, to secure freedom from degenerating into rudeness, or self-esteem from swelling into insolence. A thousand incivilities may be committed, and a thousand offices neglected, without any remorse of conscience or reproach from reason." -

"[Conscience] is the voice of our ideal self, our complete self, our real self, laying its call upon the will." - Rufus Jones, fully Rufus Matthew Jones

"Our culture needs a great deal more than a changed lifestyle. In the Western mind, thought-structures and the relationship between consciousness and matter are badly out of balance, so that our world has become wholly pervaded by a materialism that is threatening to squash us to death. We are in a state of materialistic hypertrophy, and our eventual self-destruction would in fact be no more than the logical consequence of our attitudes." - Holger Kalweit

"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

"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

"Since human beings have a moral conscience, a spiritual self and a physical self, we can choose among various options. And we are responsible for the consequences of our choices. We can put the common interests of humankind above the conflicts of ideological, racial, religious and national groups. We can bring together thought and feeling, politics and moral values, women and men, the underprivileged and the privileged.... The essence of life is to search for happiness. To realize this end, we must become one with the human family, one with the universe... We should live as if we were to die today. We should die as if we live forever." - Petra Kelly, fully Petra Karin Kelley

"The God-relationship determines what love is between man and man, then love is kept from pausing in any self-deception or illusion, while certainly the demand for self-abnegation and sacrifice is again made more infinite. The love which does not lead to God, the love which does not have this as its sole goal, to lead the lovers to love God, stops at the purely human judgment as to what love and what love’s sacrifice and submission are; it stops and thereby escapes the possibility of the last and most terrifying horror of the collision: that in the love relationship there are infinite differences in the idea of what love is." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one's self. And to venture in the highest sense is precisely to become conscious of one's self." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"Humility is part of wisdom, and is most becoming in men. But let no one discourage self-reliance; it is, of all the rest, the greatest quality of true manliness." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"... an emerging world based on cooperation rather than on competition, on affirmation rather than on competition, on affirmation of the human spirit rather than on self-doubt, and on the certainty that all humanity is connected." - Hal and Linda Kramer

"Reality comes into being only when the mind is still, not made still. Therefore, there must be no disciplining of the mind to be still. When you discipline yourself, it is merely a projected desire to be in a particular state. Such a state is not the state of passivity... Liberation is from moment to moment in the understanding of what is, when the mind is free, not made free. It is only a free mind that can discover, not a mind molded by a belief or shaped according to a hypothesis. Such a mind cannot discover. There can be no freedom is there is conflict, for conflict is the fixing of the self in relationship." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Right thinking, surely, is entirely different from right thought. Right thought is static... Right thinking is the understanding of relationship from moment to moment, which uncovers the whole process of the self." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Self-knowledge brings tranquillity to the mind, and then only can truth come into being. Truth cannot be sought after. Truth is the unknown, and that which you seek is already known. Truth comes into being unsought when the mind is without prejudice, when there is the understanding of the whole process of ourselves." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"The self is revealed only in relationship." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"What is important is to free ourselves from ideas, from nationalism, from all religious beliefs and dogmas, so that we can act, not according to a pattern or an ideology, but as needs demand... It is only when the mind is free of idea and belief that it can act rightly... and freedom from ideas can take place only through self-awareness and self-knowledge." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Virtue must be the result of self-culture; the gods do not take pupils." - Madame de Krüdener, Baroness Barbara Juliane von Krüdener

"Men universally are ungrateful toward him who instructs them, unless, in the hours or in the intervals of instruction, he presents a sweet cake to their self-love." - Walter Savage Landor

"Do not see with your eyes, don't hear with your ears, don't think with your mind, embrace the primal one, no knowledge, no self, go with nature, participate in nature, be one with nature and a long life will come naturally." -

"He who is self-approving does not shine. He who boasts has no merit. He who exalts himself does not rise high." -

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

"Every desire for power, ability, wisdom, harmony, life, greatness will impress itself upon the subconscious and will cause the thing desired to be produced in the great within. What is produced in the within will come forth into expression in the personality; therefore, by knowing how to impress the subconscious, man may give his personal self any quality desired, in any quantity desired. What man may desire to become, that he can become, and the art of directing and impressing the subconscious is the secret. The perpetual awakening of the great within will produce a greatness, because to the powers and the possibilities of the great within there is no limit, neither is there any end." - Christian D. Larson

"The policy of adapting one’s self to circumstances makes all ways smooth." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"Black women... are trained from childhood to become workers, and expect to be financially self-supporting for most of their lives. They know they will have to work, whether they are married or single; work to them, unlike to white women, is not a liberating goal, but rather an imposed lifelong necessity." -

"After the death of a close relative, thoughts of sorrow and pain frequently enter a person’s mind even after the mourning period. When such thoughts arise, one should try to strengthen oneself to accept the Almighty’s judgment. Every time you successfully conquer self-pitying thoughts, you elevate yourself." - Yechezkail Levenstein

"Anyone who works on self-improvement will find faults. An honest look at ourselves will show we are not on as high a spiritual level as we thought. Do not be excessively upset about this for it is a universal experience and should not disturb your peace of mind to the degree it will prevent you from further growth." - Yechezkail Levenstein

"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

"There is no right without parallel duty, no liberty without the supremacy of the law, no high destiny without earnest perseverance, no greatness without self-denial." - Francis Lieber

""Know thyself" means: devote time each day to studying yourself... ferreting out your weakness, working at self-improvement, purifying your immortal soul." - Israel Salanter Lipkin

"I think there cannot any one moral rule be proposed whereof a man may not justly demand a reason: which would be perfectly ridiculous and absurd if they were innate; or so much as self-evident, which every innate principle must needs be, and not need any proof to ascertain its truth, nor want any reason to gain its approbation." - John Locke

"Perception, thinking, doubting, believing, reasoning, knowing, willing, and all the different actings of our own minds; which we being conscious of, and observing in ourselves, do from these receive into our understanding as do from these receive into our understanding as distinct ideas as we do from bodies affecting our senses. This source of ideas every man has wholly in himself; and though it be not sense, as having nothing to do with external objects, yet it is very like it, and might properly enough be called internal sense. But as I call the other sensation, so I call this reflection, the ideas it affords being such only as the mind gets by reflecting on its own operation within self... These two, I say, vis. external material things, as the objects of sensation, and the operations of our own minds within, as the objects of reflection, are to me the only originals from whence all our ideas take their beginnings." - John Locke

"We must consider what person stands for; - which, I think, is a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself, the same thinking thing, in different times and places; which it does only by that consciousness which is inseparable from thinking, and, as it seems to me, essential to it: it being impossible for any one to perceive without perceiving that he does perceive. When we see, hear, smell, taste, feel, meditate, or will anything, we know that we do so. Thus it is always as to our present sensations and perceptions: and by this every one is to himself that which he calls self." - John Locke

"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

"All men who know not where to look for truth, save in the narrow well of self, will find their own image at the bottom, and mistake it for what they are seeking." - James Russell Lowell

"Selfishness is a vice utterly at variance with the happiness of him who harbors it, and as such, condemned by self-love." - James Mackintosh, fully Sir James Mackintosh

"The self is the metaphoric construct of identity and agency, the hypothetical piece of turf on which we construct our strategies for survival, the notion around which we focus our instincts for self-preservation, our needs for self-approval, and the boundaries of our self-interest." - Joanna Macy, fully Joanna Rogers Macy

"It is a common sense and self-interest to refrain from lashing out immediately to avenge an injury. A higher level of humanity is entirely overcoming feelings of vengeance in one’s heart. This is the glory of the morally wise man." - Leibush Malbim, aka Malbim, Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yehiel Michal "the Malbim", Meïr Leibush ben Jehiel Michel Weiser

"Self-praise and self-depreciation are alike absurd." -

"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

"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." -