Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Gordon Willard Allport

American Contemporary Author, Psychologist

"In the concentration camp every circumstance conspires to make the prisoner lose his hold. All the familiar goals in life are snatched away. What alone remains is "the last of human freedoms" - the ability to "choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances.""

"It is ominous for the future of a child when the discipline he receives is based on the emotional needs of the disciplinarian rather than on any consideration of the child’s own needs."

"Religion is the search for a value underlying all things, and as such is the most comprehensive of all the possible philosophies of life."

"A case might be made for the potentiality superior humor of the religious person who has settled once and for all what things are of ultimate value, sacred and untouchable. For then nothing else in the world need be taken seriously."

"The central theme of existentialism: to live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering. If there is no purpose in life at all, there must be a purpose in suffering and in dying. But no man can tell another what this purpose is. Each must find out for himself, and must accept the responsiblity that his answer prescribes. If he succeeds he will continue to gorow in spite of all indiginities."

"All the great religions of the world supply, for those who can subscribe to their arguments and affirmations, a world-conception that has logical simplicity and serene majesty."

"So many tangles in life are ultimately hopeless that we have no appropriate sword other than laughter. "

"If a person is capable of rectifying his erroneous judgments in the light of new evidence he is not prejudiced. Prejudgments become prejudices only if they are reversible when exposed to new knowledge. A prejudice, unlike a simple misconception, is actively resistant to all evidence that would unseat it. We tend to grow emotional when a prejudice is threatened with contradiction. Thus the difference between ordinary prejudgments and prejudice is that one can discuss and rectify a prejudgment without emotional resistance."

"Love–incomparably the greatest psychotherapeutic agent–is something that professional psychiatry cannot of itself create, focus, nor release."

"People who are aware of, and ashamed of, their prejudices are well on the road to eliminating them. "