Great Throughts Treasury

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

Related Quotes

Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

Ezra was right half the time, and when he was wrong, he was so wrong you were never in any doubt about it.

Art | Philosophy | Art |

Étienne Gilson, fully Étienne Henry Gilson

The Greek gods are the crude but telling expression of this absolute conviction that since man is somebody, and not merely something, the ultimate explanation for what happens to him should rest with somebody, and not merely with somethingÂ… Mythology is not the first step on the path to true philosophy. In fact, it is no philosophy at all. Mythology is a first step on the path to true religion: it is religious in its own right.

Philosophy | Rebellion | Thinking | Truth |

Étienne Gilson, fully Étienne Henry Gilson

So we must try to distinguish between two questions that are often confused in this discussion. Is the existence of God a truth demonstrable by natural reason, so that it is knowable and known with certitude? Without a doubt the answer to this first question is “yes.” The second question is whether everyone can consider his natural reason infallible in its effort to demonstrate rationally the existence of God? The merciless criticism of the proofs of St. Augustine, St. Anselm, Descartes, Malebranche and many others are timely reminders of the need for modesty. Are we keener philosophers than they? That is the whole question. Modesty is not skepticism. So we should not be afraid to let our mind pursue the proof of God’s existence until we reach the greatest possible certitude, but we should keep intact our faith in the word that reveals this truth to the most simple folk as well as to the most learned. Here it is well to meditate on the very complex and nuanced passage in ST 2-2.2.4: “Is it necessary to believe what can be proved by natural reason?” The answer is in the affirmative: “We must accept by faith not only what is above reason but also what can be known by reason.”

Beginning | Body | Experience | Giving | Life | Life | Looks | Philosophy | Wisdom | Learn |

Étienne Gilson, fully Étienne Henry Gilson

Human reason feels at home in a world of things, whose essences and laws it can grasp and define in terms of concepts; but shy and ill at ease in a world of existences, because to exist is an act, not a thing.

Philosophy | Solitude |

Étienne Gilson, fully Étienne Henry Gilson

No man can, at one and the same time, both philosophize and indulge in such ways of life as are incompatible with philosophical thinking.

Ends | Philosophy |

Étienne Gilson, fully Étienne Henry Gilson

The knowledge of GodÂ’s existence thereby acquires a universal significance and absolute certitude. Indeed, even those who do not understand the philosophical proofs of the existence of God are informed about this truth by divine revelation. Philosophers or not, everyone to whom his word is communicated through the preaching of scripture and who receives it as coming from him, in this way knows that God exists. Philosophers themselves need to remember that God has revealed his existence and to hold onto that truth by faith.

Absolute | Man | Philosophy | Rest |

Étienne Gilson, fully Étienne Henry Gilson

We can recognize the absolute transcendence of revelation by the curious fact of the philosophical and theological multiple meanings of the texts of scripture. When St. Thomas was looking for a sed contra for his question on the existence of God, he does not seem to have found a text in which Yahweh says in so many words, “I exist.” So he had recourse to the statement of Exodus: Ego sum qui sum. But that statement is a reply to the question Moses put to God: When the people ask me who has sent me to them, what shall I answer?

Existence | God | Philosophy | Reason | Sacred | Simplicity | Work | God |

Eugene V. Debs, fully Eugene Victor Debs

The elimination of rent, interest, profit and the production of wealth to satisfy the wants of all the people. That is the demand.

Equality | Philosophy | Principles | Race |

Eugenio Montale

I do not go in search of poetry. I wait for poetry to visit me.

Capacity | Extreme | Fault | Philosophy | Work | Fault | Think |

Evelyn Underhill

Living in the present means squarely accepting and responding to it as God's moment for you now while it is called "today" rather than wishing it were yesterday or tomorrow.

Absolute | Beginning | Language | Love | Mysticism | Philosophy | Truth |

Feisal Abdul Rauf

I was completely surrounded by religion from a young time. I was taught by my father. I engaged in discussions with him and many of these scholars who visited and came around the dining table, the lunch table, and attended many lectures with my dad. And so I learned the apprentice way.

Knowledge | Philosophy |

Ezra Taft Benson

That great and wise American, Thomas Jefferson, warned us of the danger of conferring unwarranted power upon our government administrators in these sobering words: “Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go. . . . In questions of power, then, let not more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

Government | People | Philosophy | Policy | Government |

Italian Proverbs

One is never too old to yearn.

Hate | Love | Philosophy | Reform | Will |

Italian Proverbs

Who excuses himself accuses himself.

People | Philosophy |

J. B. Priestly, fully John Boynton Priestly

In plain words; now that Britain has told the world she has the H-Bomb, she should announce as early as possible that she has done with it, that she proposes to reject, in all circumstances, nuclear warfare. This is not pacifism. There is no suggestion here of abandoning the immediate defence of this island...No, what should be abandoned is the idea of deterrence-by-threat-of-retaliation. There is no real security in it, no decency in it, no faith, hope, nor charity in it.

Earth | Experience | Need | Revolution | Sacred | Will | Value |

Italian Proverbs

You surround your vineyard with thorns - place doors and locks on your mouth. You will never have a friend if you must have one without faults.

Change | Human nature | Life | Life | Nature | Reality | Religion | Truth | Will |

J. B. Priestly, fully John Boynton Priestly

Comedy, we may say, is society protecting itself - with a smile.

Experience | God | Human nature | Life | Life | Nature | Sense | God |

J. B. Priestly, fully John Boynton Priestly

I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.

Faith | People | Purpose | Purpose | Reading | Science | Thought | Time | Thought |