Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Joseph Joubert

French Essayist, Moralist

"Superstition is the only religion of which base souls are capable."

"Taste is the literary conscience of the soul."

"The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress."

"The direction [guidance] of the mind is more important than its progress."

"The beautiful! It is beauty seen with the eye of the soul."

"The joy which is caused by truth and noble thoughts shows itself in the words by which they are expressed."

"The evening of a well-spent life brings its lamps with it."

"The mind is the atmosphere of the soul."

"The sound of the drum drives out thought; for that very reason it is the most military of instruments."

"The pain of a dispute greatly outweighs its uses."

"The voice is a human sound which nothing inanimate can perfectly imitate. It has an authority and an insinuating property which writing lacks. It is not merely so much air, but air modulated and impregnated with life."

"There is always some levity even in excellent minds; they have wings to rise, and also to stray."

"To teach is to learn twice."

"We use up in our passions the stuff that was given us for happiness."

"When one has too great a dread of what is impending, one feels some relief when the trouble has come."

"What can one possibly introduce into a mind that is already full, and full of itself?"

"When we love, it is the heart that judges."

"Which is more misshapen - religion without virtue, or virtue without religion?"

"Whence? whither? why? how? - these questions cover all philosophy."

"Words, like glass, obscure when they do not aid vision."

"You will find poetry nowhere unless you bring some with you."

"It is an element of all happiness to fancy that we deserve it."

"Let your cry be for free souls rather than for freedom. Moral liberty is the only really important liberty."

"Morality is made up of customs and habits. Custom makes public morality, and habit individual morality."

"Nations love dangers, and when there are none to be found create them to fill the want."

"Religion is neither theology nor a theosophy; it is more than that; it is a discipline, a law, a yoke, an indissoluble engagement."

"Poetry has no utility save for the soul’s delight."

"The end of argument or discussion should be, not victory, but enlightenment."

"The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress."

"He who has imagination without learning has wings but no feet."

"To be capable of respect is almost as rare as to be worthy of it."

"Imagination is the eye of the soul. "

"Ask the young. They know everything. "

"Innocence is always unsuspicious. "

"A part of kindness consists in loving people more than they deserve."

"Misery is almost always the result of thinking"

"The passions of the young are vices in the old."

"Space is to place as eternity is to time."

"The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk."

"It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it."

"We must respect the past, and mistrust the present, if we wish to provide for the safety of the future."

"Without the spiritual world the material world is a disheartening enigma."