Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"No man prays in faith who thinks he knows better than God; or who, not knowing, wishes that his ignorance may overrule God's wisdom." - William Gurnall

"Every man wishes to pursue his occupation and to enjoy the fruits of his labors and the produce of his property in peace and safety, and with the least possible expense. When these things are accomplished, all the objects for which government ought to be established are answered." - Thomas Jefferson

"Every man wishes to be wise, and they who cannot be wise are almost always cunning." -

"The main of life is composed of small incidents and petty occurrences; of wishes for objects not remote, and grief or disappointments of no fatal consequence." -

"We are poor, indeed, when we have no half-wishes left us. The heart and the imagination close the shutters the instant they are gone." - Walter Savage Landor

"Wishes run over in loquacious impotence; will presses on with laconic energy." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery is a good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself." - Abraham Lincoln

"Men are more ready to offend one who desires to be beloved than one who wishes to be feared." - Niccolò Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

"Every one is poorer in proportion as he has more wants, and counts not what he has, but wishes only for what he has not." - Manilius, fully Marcus Manilius NULL

"He who praises you for what you lack wishes to take from you what you have." - Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena

"Crime rarely fails to make the headlines. How one wishes there were some way of featuring and dramatizing good living and high thinking." - Robert J. McCracken, D.D.

"Reading affords the opportunity to everyone - the poor, the rich, the humble, the great - to spend as many hours as he wishes in the company of the noblest men and women that the world has ever known." - David O. McKay

"No matter how happily a woman may be married, it always pleases her to discover that there is a nice man who wishes she were not." - H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

"He guards his own property who wishes the common property to be safe." - Publius Syrus

"Union does everything when it is perfect; it satisfies desires, it simplifies needs, it foresees the wishes of the imagination; it is an aisle always open, and becomes a constant fortune." - Étienne Pivert de Senancour

"If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place. He put in your heart wishes and plans; in my heart he put other and different desires. Each man is good in the sight of the Great Spirit. It is not necessary for eagles to be crows. Now we are poor but we are free. No white man controls our footsteps. If we must die, we die defending our rights." -

"When a child begins to move in the midst of the objects that surround him, he is instinctively led to appropriate to himself everything that he can lay his hands upon; he has no notion of the property of others; but as he gradually learns the value of things and begins to perceive that he may in his turn be despoiled, he becomes more circumspect, and he ends by respecting those rights in others which he wishes to have respected in himself. The principle which the child derives from the possession of his toys is taught to the man by the objects which he may call his own." - Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"One ought to love society, if he wishes to enjoy solitude. It is a social nature that solitude works upon with the most various power. If one is misanthropic, and betakes himself to loneliness that he may get away from hateful things, solitude is a silent emptiness to him." - Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann

"We protract the career of time by employment, we lengthen the duration of our lives by wise thoughts and useful actions. Life to him who wishes not to have lived in vain is thought and action." - Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann

"Few people do know what they want. Humans may be a bundle of wishes and wants, but unless we hone these hankerings to a sharp point we will forever drift in a sea of unfulfillment." - Tom Butler-Bowdon

"When asked what are the desirable qualifications for any young person who wishes to become a politician, Churchill replied: It is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen." - Winston Churchill, fully Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

"If humanity wishes to strive to exist and if it wishes happiness and prosperity, then it must have mutual friendship and ought not to rely upon force for mutual extermination." - Li Dazhao

"Biology… has thus revealed man’s place in nature. Hs is the highest form of life produced by the evolutionary process on this planet, the latest dominant type, and the only organism capable of further advance or progress. Whether he knows it or not, whether he wishes it or not, he is now the main agency for the further evolution of the earth and its inhabitants. In other words, his destiny is to realize new possibilities for the whole terrestrial sector of the cosmic process, to be the instrument of further evolutionary progress on this planet." - Julian Huxley, fully Sir Julian Sorell Huxley

"The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself… not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps trans-humanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature… I believe in trans-humanism: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Peking man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny." - Julian Huxley, fully Sir Julian Sorell Huxley

"The truly religious man is always more concerned about what God will do in him that what He will do to him; in this intense desire for purification of his motives he almost wishes that heaven and hell were blotted out, that he might serve God for Himself alone." - William Ralph Inge

"Great minds have purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them." - Washington Irving

"Faith is the song of life. Woe to him who wishes to rob life of its splendid poetry. The whole mass of prosaic literature and knowledge is of value only when it is founded on the perception of the poetry of life." - Abraham Isaac Kook

"Theoretically, religion wishes to make men serene and inwardly peaceful by reaching a loving and forgiving god. But in practice, there is too much undissolved wrath and punishment in most religions." -

"Built me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak and when he is afraid... whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee... whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men." - Douglas MacArthur

"A prince… who wishes to guard against conspiracies should fear those on whom he has heaped benefits quite as much, and even more, than those whom he has wronged; for the latter lack the convenient opportunities which the former have in abundance. The intention of both is the same for the thirst of dominion is as great as that of revenge, and even greater. A prince, therefore, should never bestow so much authority upon his friends but that there should always be a certain distance between them and himself, and that there should always be something left for them to desire." - Niccolò Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

"The life of an honest man must be an apostasy and a perpetual desertion... For the man who wishes to remain faithful to truth must make himself continually unfaithful to all the continual, successive, indefatigable renascent errors." - Charles Pierre Péguy

"Religion indeed wishes to be useful and beautiful, but it also means to be true." - James Bisset Pratt

"Human happiness does not consist in satisfying one’s personal wishes but in the certainty of being needed, in having the visions of goals still unattained." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"Hell is the ego, sated with its own satisfied wishes, having to consume itself forever with no hope of release." - Fulton Sheen, fully Archbishop Fulton John Sheen

"Human beings can attain a worthy and harmonious life only if they are able to rid themselves, within the limits of human nature, of striving to fulfill wishes of the material kind." - Albert Einstein

"Facts exist independent of our wishes, and responsible moral thinking begins when we try to see things as they are." - James Rachels

"Plenty of people wish to become devout, but no one wishes to be humble." -

"We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified." - Aesop NULL

"We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified." -

"We would often be sorry if our wishes were gratified." -

"Know what work you want to do and go after it. The young man who gets ahead must decide for himself what he wishes to do. From his own tastes, his own enthusiasm, how he must get the motive and the inspiration which are to start him on his way to a successful life." - Alexander Graham Bell

"Man knows the world is not made on the human scale – and he wishes it were." - André Malraux

"All art is a revolt against man's fate. " - André Malraux

"Compared with the short span of time they live, men of great intellect are like huge buildings, standing on a small plot of ground. The size of the building cannot be seen by anyone, just in front of it; nor, for an analogous reason, can the greatness of a genius be estimated while he lives. but when a century has passed, the world recognizes it and wishes him back again." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"When a man has reached a condition in which he believes that a thing must happen because he does not wish it, and that what he wishes to happen can never be, this is really the state called desperation." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"Compared with the short span of time they live, men of great intellect are like huge buildings, standing on a small plot of ground. The size of the building cannot be seen by anyone, just in front of it; nor, for an analogous reason, can the greatness of a genius be estimated while he lives. But when a century has passed, the world recognizes it and wishes him back again." - Arthur Schopenhauer

"If one wishes to advocate a free society - that is, capitalism - one must realize that its indispensable foundation is the principle of individual rights." - Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum

"He who wishes to revenge injuries by reciprocated hatred will live in misery." -

"Art is not based on actuality, but on the wishes, dreams and aspirations of a people." - Bernard Berenson

"The fact that the majority of a community dislikes an opinion gives it no right to interfere with those who hold it. And the fact that the majority of a community wishes not to know certain facts gives it no right to imprison those who wish to know them." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell