Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Related Quotes

James Beattie

Let us cherish sympathy. By attention and exercise it may be improved in every man. It prepares the mind for receiving the impressions of virtue; and without it there can be no true politeness. Nothing is more odious than that insensibility which wraps a man up in himself and his own concerns, and prevents his being moved with either the joys or the sorrows of another.

Attention | Character | Man | Mind | Nothing | Sympathy | Virtue | Virtue |

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis "Lew" Alcinder, Jr.

The reason we’re here is to exercise personal responsibility, to evolve the higher self and to influence that development in others.

Character | Influence | Reason | Responsibility | Self |

John Abercrombie

The sound and proper exercise of the imagination may be made to contribute to the cultivation of all that is virtuous and estimable in the human character.

Character | Cultivation | Imagination | Sound |

Charles Francis Adams II

More than all, and above all Washington was master of himself. If there be one quality more than another in his character which may exercise a useful control over the men of the present hour, it is the total disregard of self when in the most elevated positions for influence and example.

Character | Control | Example | Influence | Men | Present | Self |

Harry Blackmun, fully Harold "Harry" Andrew Blackmun

With our finite minds we cannot presume to know if there is a Purpose. We sense, however, the presence of something greater than we can comprehend, a force as yet unknown to us - perhaps even to be unknown. So we accept our situation, learn from it, and do the best we can, resting on faith, despair, or cynicism, depending on the individual. Overriding all this must be an obligation - self-imposed or externally impressed - to do the best one can for others, to relieve suffering and to exercise compassion. We are all in this together, for life is a common, not an individual, endeavor.

Character | Compassion | Cynicism | Despair | Faith | Force | Individual | Life | Life | Obligation | Purpose | Purpose | Self | Sense | Suffering | Learn |

Andrei Bitov, fully Andrei Georgiyevich Bitov

Life has neither material nor idealistic secrecy or mystery about it. Life is equal to itself only, hence perceiving its meaning is out of the question... The exaggeration of our mental abilities has given rise to what we perceive as “the problem” of discerning life’s purpose... If it is beyond our powers to disembowel love and beauty - we can only ravish them - it means that they are given to us not for cognition but for reflection. Similarly, the freedom of choice granted to man, a freedom denied the rest of the living species, is man’s task, a duty to exercise and fulfill, not merely an opportune option.

Beauty | Character | Choice | Duty | Exaggeration | Freedom | Life | Life | Love | Man | Meaning | Means | Mystery | Purpose | Purpose | Question | Reflection | Rest | Secrecy | Beauty |

David A. Brandon

Helping is less a task-oriented activity than an indication of a way of living and being.

Character |

Kenneth Burke

If decisions were a choice between alternatives, decisions would become easy. Decision is the selection of alternatives.

Character | Choice | Decision |

William Ellery Channing

Men are never very wise and select in the exercise of a new power.

Character | Men | Power | Wise |

George Canning

Active beneficence is a virtue of easier practice than forbearance after having conferred, or than thankfulness after having received a benefit. I know not, indeed, whether it be a greater and more difficult exercise of magnanimity for the one party to act as if he had forgotten, or for the other as if he constantly remembered the obligation.

Character | Forbearance | Magnanimity | Obligation | Practice | Thankfulness | Virtue | Virtue |

Robert Collyer

Beautiful is the activity that works for good, and the stillness that waits for good; blessed the self-sacrifice that waits for good; blessed the self-sacrifice of the one, and the self-forgetfulness of the other.

Character | Forgetfulness | Good | Sacrifice | Self | Self-sacrifice | Blessed |

George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

Only those who know the supremacy of the intellectual life - the life which has a seed of ennobling thought and purpose within it - can understand the grief of one who falls from the serene activity into the absorbing soul wasting struggle.

Character | Grief | Life | Life | Purpose | Purpose | Soul | Struggle | Thought | Thought | Understand |

William J. Donovan, fully William Joseph "Wild Bill" Donovan

Our moral strength is in ourselves, in our patience, in our courage, in our decision and in our resolution.

Character | Courage | Decision | Patience | Resolution | Strength |

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Forget not that the man who cannot enjoy his own natural gifts is silence, and find his reward in the; exercise of them, will generally find himself badly off.

Character | Man | Reward | Silence | Will | Wisdom |

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I am fully convinced that the soul is indestructible, and that its activity will continue through eternity. It is like the sun, which, to our eyes, seems to set at night; but it has in reality only gone to diffuse its light elsewhere.

Character | Eternity | Light | Reality | Soul | Will | Wisdom |

Owen Feltham

The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of ordinary qualities. These for the most part be summed in these two - common sense and perseverance.

Character | Common Sense | Life | Life | Means | Perseverance | Qualities | Sense |

Arnold Geulincx

My will does not produce the motive power to move my limbs. Rather, he who imparted motion to matter, and ordained its laws, shaped my will also; he thus joined together two utterly different things - the movement of matter and the decision of my will in such a way that whenever my will desires some action, the desired bodily movement will occur and vice versa, without there being any causation involved, or any influence of the one upon the other. It is just as if there were two clocks appropriately adjusted with reference to each other and the time of day in such a way that when one struck the hour the other immediately did likewise.

Action | Character | Day | Decision | Influence | Power | Time | Will | Vice |

John Andrew Holmes

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting up people.

Better | Character | Heart | People |

Thomas Haliburton, fully Thomas Chandler Haliburton, pseudonym "Sam Slick"

Whatever can lead an intelligent being to the exercise or habit of mental enjoyment, contributes more to his happiness than the highest sensual or mere bodily pleasures. The one feeds the soul, while the other, for the most part, only exhausts the frame, and too often injures the immortal part... Let all seen enjoyments lead to the unseen fountain from whence they flow.

Character | Enjoyment | Habit | Soul | Happiness |

Aldous Leonard Huxley

Deliverance is out of time into eternity, and is achieved by obedience and docility to the eternal Nature of Things. We have been given free will, in order that we may will our self-will out of existence and so come to live continuously in a “state of grace.” All our actions must be directed, in the last analysis, to making ourselves passive in relation to the activity and the being of divine Reality. We are, as it were, aeolian harps, endowed with the power either to expose themselves to the wind of the Spirit or to shut themselves away from it.

Character | Docility | Eternal | Eternity | Existence | Free will | Grace | Nature | Obedience | Order | Power | Reality | Self | Spirit | Time | Will |