Motives

Pure motives do not insure perfect results.

In general, we do well to let an opponent’s motives alone. We are seldom just to them. Our own motives on such occasions are often worse than those we assail.

If you try to subdue your selfish motives - anger and so forth - and develop more kindness and compassion for others, ultimately you yourself will benefit more than you would otherwise. So sometimes I say that the wise selfish person should practice this way. Foolish selfish people are always thinking of themselves, and the result is negative. Wise selfish people think of others, help others as much as they can, and the result is that they too receive benefit.

We must not inquire too curiously into motives. They are apt to become feeble in the utterance.

Contempt of others is the truest symptom of a base and bad heart, while it suggests itself to the mean and the vile, and tickles their little fancy on every occasion, it never enters the great and good mind but on the strongest motives; nor is it then a welcome guest - affording only an uneasy sensation, and bringing always with it a mixture of concern and compassion.

The biggest gap in the world is the gap between the justice of a cause and the motives of the people pushing it.

It is universally acknowledged that there is a great uniformity among the actions of men, in all nations and ages, and that human nature remains still the same, in its principles and operations. The same motives always produce the same actions: the same events follow the same causes. Ambition, avarice, self-love, vanity, friendship, generosity, public spirit: these passions, mixed in various degrees, and distributed through society, have been from the beginning of the world, and still are, the source of all the actions and enterprises, which have ever been observed among mankind.

Bad passions become more odious in proportion as the motives to them are weakened; and gratuitous vice cannot be too indignantly exposed to reprehension. No man ever arrived suddenly at the summit of vice.

Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided.

Get to know two things about a man - how he earns his money and how he spends it - and you have a clue to his character, for you have a searchlight that shows up the inmost recesses of his soul. You know all you need to know about his standards, his motives, his driving desires, his real religion.

We judge ourselves by our motives and others by their actions.

All truth is safe and nothing else is safe, and he who keeps back the truth, or withholds it from men, from motives of expediency, is either a coward or a criminal or both.

Love transcends normal needs and motives, revealing a unity among people and things more fundamental than any differences between them. It is its own reward.

The time which passes over our heads so imperceptibly makes the same gradual change in habits, manners and character as in personal appearance. At the revolution of every five years we find ourselves another and yet the same - there is a change of views and no less of the light in which we regard them; a change of motives as well as of action.

The four great motives which move men to social activity are hunger, love, vanity, and fear of superior powers. If we search out the causes which have moved men to war we find them under each of these motives or interests.

Man’s actions proceed from his innate character and the motives acting upon him. What is conscience and the perception of right and wrong in actions that follows from the consciousness of freedom? That is a question for ethics.

With the exception of the instinct of self-preservation, the propensity for emulation is probably the strongest and most alert and persistent of the economic motives proper.

In our thinking we must preserve an open and enquiring mind, an ability to see things through the eyes of our opponents, a skill for understanding the motives and thoughts of those whom we oppose. Yet we must act in the light of the best knowledge and reason available to us at the moment.

Knowledge does not comprise all which is contained in the large term of education. The feelings are to be disciplined; the passions are to be restrained; true and worthy motives are to be inspired; a profound religious feeling is to be instilled, and pure morality inculcated under all circumstances. All this is comprised in education.

Motives are better than actions. Men drift into crime. Of evil they do more than they contemplate, and of good they contemplate more than they do.