Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Dag Hammarskjöld

Swedish Statesman, Secretary General of United Nations, Governor of the Riksbank (the central bank of Sweden), State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Minister Without Portfolio and a member of the Swedish Academy

"Our love becomes impoverished if we lack the courage to sacrifice its object."

"The ‘great’ commitment is so much easier than the ordinary everyday one - and can all too easily shut our hearts to the latter. A willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice can be associated with, and even produce, a great hardness of heart."

"The chooser’s happiness lies in his congruence with the chosen, the peace of iron-filings, obedient to the forces of the magnetic field. Calm is the soul that is emptied of all self, in a restful harmony. This happiness is here and now, in the eternal moment of co-inherence. A happiness within you - but not yours."

"The responsibility for our mistakes is ours, but not the credit for our achievements. Man’s freedom is a freedom to betray God. God may love us - yes - but our response is voluntary."

"The longest journey is the journey inwards. Of him who has chosen his destiny, who has started upon his quest for the source of his being (Is there a source?). He is still with you, but without relation, isolated in your feeling like one condemned to death or one whom imminent farewell prematurely dedicates to the loneliness which is the final lot of all. Between you and him is distance, uncertainty - care."

"The only kind of dignity which is genuine is that which is not diminished by the indifference of others."

"To reach perfection, we must all pass one by one, through the death of self-effacement."

"Treat others as ends, never as means."

"There is a profound causal relation between the height of a man’s ambition and the depth of his possible fall."

"What makes loneliness an anguish is not that I have no one share my burden, but this: I have only my own burden to bear."

"Forgiveness breaks the chain of causality because he who forgives you -- out of love--takes upon himself the consequences of what you have done. Forgiveness, therefore, always entails a sacrifice."

"When you are irritated by his ‘pretentiousness’, you betray the character of your own: it is just as it should be that he increases while you decrease. Choose your opponents. To the wrong ones, you cannot afford to give a thought, but you must help the right ones, help them and yourself in a contest without tension."

"Never, for the sake of peace and quiet, deny your own experience or convictions."

"Time goes by; reputation increases, ability declines."

"The longest journey is the journey inwards of him who has chosen his destiny."

"We cannot afford to forget any experience, even the most painful."

"To let oneself be bound by a duty from the moment you see it approaching is part of the integrity that alone justifies responsibility."