Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Silence

"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose." - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"The most effective way to silence our guilty conscience is to convince ourselves and others that those we have sinned against are indeed depraved creatures, deserving every punishment, even extermination. We cannot pity those we have wronged, nor can we be indifferent toward them. We must hate and persecute them or else leave the door open to self-contempt." - Eric Hoffer

"Silence is the virtue of a fool." - Francis Bacon

"The true test of being comfortable with someone else is the ability to share silence." - Frank Tyger

"Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn." - George Bernard Shaw

"If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence." -

"More have repented speech than silence." - George Herbert

"Let us all resolve, first, to attain the grace of silence; second, to deem all fault-finding that does not good a sin, and to resolve, when we are ourselves happy, not to poison the atmosphere for our neighbors by calling upon them to remark every painful and disagreeable feature in their daily life, third, to practice the grace and virtue of praise." - Harriet Beecher Stowe

"Silence is a fence around wisdom." - Hebrew Proverbs

"Silence is the communion of a conscious soul with itself." - Henry David Thoreau, born David Henry Thoreau

"Speech is fractional, silence is integral." - Henry David Thoreau, born David Henry Thoreau

"Silence and solitude, the soul’s best friends." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"How absolute and omnipotent is the silence of night! And yet the stillness seems almost audible! From all the measureless depths of air around us some a half-sound, a half-whisper, as if we could hear the crumbling and falling away; of earth and all created things, in the great miracle of nature, decay and reproduction, ever beginning, never ending, the gradual lapse and running of the sand in the great hour-glass of Time." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"If spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake, and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change! But now the silent succession suggests nothing but necessity. To most men only the cessation of the miracle would be miraculous, and the perpetual exercise of God’s power seems less wonderful than its withdrawal would be." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"If spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake, and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change! But now the silent succession suggests nothing but necessity. To most men only the cessation of the miracle would be miraculous, and the perpetual existence of God's power seems less wonderful than its withdrawal would be." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Silence is a great peacemaker." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"If spring came but once in a century instead of once a year, or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Sorrow and silence are strong and patient, endurance is God-like." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Do not be afraid because the community teems with excitement. Silence and death are dreadful. The rush of life, the vigor of earnest men, the conflict of realities, invigorate, cleanse, and establish the truth." - Henry Ward Beecher

"The gravest events dawn with no more noise than the morning star makes in rising. All great developments complete themselves in the world, and modestly wait in silence, praising themselves never, and announcing themselves not at all. We must be sensitive, and sensible, if we would see the beginnings and endings of great things." - Henry Ward Beecher

"After speech, silence is the greatest power in the world." - Jean Baptiste Lacordaire, fully Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire

"Meditation is the action of silence." -

"The best apology against false accusers is silence." - John Milton

"In true silence strength is renewed, and the mind is weaned from all things, save as they may be enjoyed in the Divine will; and a lowliness in outward living, opposite to worldly honour, becomes truly acceptable to us." - John Woolman

"Silence never shows itself to so great an advantage as when it is made the reply to calumny and defamation, provided that we give no just occasion for them." - Joseph Addison

"(Silence) ... One of the hardest arguments to refute." - Josh Billings, pen name for Henry Wheeler Shaw, aka Uncle Esek

"Great truth that transcends Nature does not pass from one being to another by way of human speech. Truth chooses Silence to convey her meaning to loving souls." - Kahlil Gibran

"I abstain from the people who consider insolence bravery and tenderness cowardice. And I abstain from those who consider chatter wisdom and silence ignorance." - Kahlil Gibran

"Silence illuminates our souls, whispers to our hearts, and brings them together. Silence separates us from ourselves, makes us sail the firmament of spirit, and brings us closer to Heaven; it makes us feel that bodies are no more than prisons and that this world is only a place of exile." - Kahlil Gibran

"There is something greater and purer than what the mouth utters. Silence illuminates our souls, whispers to our hearts, and brings them together. Silence separates us from ourselves, makes us sail the firmament of spirit, and brings us closer to Heaven; it makes us feel that bodies are no more than prisons and that this world is only a place of exile." - Kahlil Gibran

"I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers." - Kahlil Gibran

"Charity has no label, compassion no religion, wisdom no dogma, empathy no rules. Integrity needs no laws, enlightenment no temples. Living in total harmony with Tao is beyond culture, oneness with Tao beyond philosophy. Emptiness and silence cannot be defined. The Way has no name, for it is Tao." -

"The silence of a stupid man looks like wisdom." - Latin Proverbs

"No danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the process of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence." - Louis D. Brandeis, fully Louis Dembitz Brandeis

"Nothing in the universe is so like God as silence." - Meister Eckhart, formally Meister von Hochheim

"The soul that would experience this birth must detach herself from all outward things: within herself completely at one with herself... You must have an exalted mind an a burning heart in which, nevertheless, reign silence and stillness." - Meister Eckhart, formally Meister von Hochheim

"The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace." - Mother Teresa, born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu NULL

"Plainly this is not an age of the meditative man. It is a squinting, sprinting, shoving age. Substitutes for repose are million dollar business. Silence, already a nation's most critical shortage, is almost a nasty word. Modern man may or may not be obsolete, but he is certainly wired for sound." - Norman Cousins

"Mind and night will meet, though in silence, like forbidden lovers." - Philip James Bailey

"Sticks and stones are hard on bones, aimed with angry art, words can sting like anything. But silence breaks the heart." - Phyllis McGinley

"Full oft is silence the wisest thing for a man to heed." - Pindar NULL

"Not every truth is the better for showing its face undisguised; and often silence is the wisest thing for a man to heed." - Pindar NULL

"Philosophy finds talkativeness a disease very difficult and hard to cure. For its remedy, conversation, requires hearers: but talkative people hear nobody, for they are ever prating. And the first evil this inability to keep silence produces is an inability to listen." - Plutarch, named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after becoming Roman citizen NULL

"Silence is the fence around wisdom." -

"Talking comes by nature, silence by wisdom." -

"Silence is more profitable than abundance of speech." - Ptah-hotep, aka Ptahhotpe or Ptah-Hotep NULL

"Be silent, or say something better than silence." - Pythagoras, aka Pythagoras of Samos or Pythagoras the Samian NULL

"It is better either to be silent or to say things of more value than silence. Sooner throw a pearl at hazard than an idle or useless word; and do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few." - Pythagoras, aka Pythagoras of Samos or Pythagoras the Samian NULL