Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Absolute

"Part of human nature resents change, loves equilibrium, while another part welcomes novelty, loves the excitement of disequilibrium. There is no formula for the resolution of this tug-of-war, but it is obvious that absolute surrender to either of them invites disaster." - Wernher von Braun, fully Wernher Magnus Maximilian, Freiherr von Braun

"There is no permanent absolute unchangeable truth; what we should pursue is the most convenient arrangement of our ideas." - Samuel Butler

"The very nearest approach to domestic happiness on earth is in the cultivation on both sides of absolute unselfishness. Never both be angry at once. Never talk at one another, either alone or in company. Never speak loud to one another unless the house is on fire. Let each; one strive to yield oftenest to the wishes of the other. Let self-denial be the daily aim and practice of each. Never find fault unless it is perfectly certain that a fault has been committed, and always speak lovingly. Never taunt with a past mistake. Neglect the whole world besides rather than one another. Never allow a request to be repeated. Never make a remark at the expense of each other, it is a meanness. Never part for a day without loving words to think of during absence. Never meet without a loving welcome. Never let the sun go down upon any anger or grievance. Never let any fault you have committed go by until you have frankly confessed it and asked forgiveness. Never forget the happy hours of early love. Never sigh over what might have been, but make the best of what is. Never forget that marriage is ordained of God, and that His blessing alone can make it what it should ever be. Never be contented till you know you are both walking in the narrow way. Never let your hopes stop short of the eternal home." - Edward Watke, Jr.

"The first American mingled with her pride a singular humility. Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching. He never claimed that his power of articulate speech was proof of superiority over “dumb creation”; on the other hand, speech to him is a perilous gift. He believes profoundly in silence - the sign of perfect equilibrium. silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The an who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence - not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree, not a ripple upon the surface of the shining pool - his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life." - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"Well-being and happiness never appeared to me as an absolute aim. I am even inclined to compare such moral aims to the ambitions of a pig." - Albert Einstein

"Man can never escape the ideal or absolute; he can merely exchange one absolute for another. He can ignore anything beyond his needs only by making an ideal out of the fulfillment of his needs themselves. In short, man cannot be an animal; he can only be a philosopher or anthropologist who asserts that men are animals and ought to live like them. It is not necessary to point out that this is just to set up another absolute." - Emil Fackenheim, fully Emil Ludwig Fackenheim

"Perfection is immutable. But for things imperfect, change is the way to perfect them. It gets the name of willfulness when it will not admit of a lawful change to the better. Therefore constancy without knowledge cannot be always good. In things ill it is not virtue, but an absolute vice." - Owen Feltham

"Your true nature is not lost in moments of delusion, nor is it gained at the moment of enlightenment. It was never born and can never die. It shines through the whole universe, filling emptiness, one with emptiness. It is without time or space, and has no passions, actions, ignorance, or knowledge. In it there are no things, no people, and no Buddhas; it contains not the smallest hairbreadth of anything that exists objectively; it depends on nothing and is attached to nothing. It is all-pervading, radiant beauty: absolute reality, self-existent and uncreated. How then can you doubt that the Buddha has no mouth to speak with and nothing to teach, or that the truth is learned without learning, for who is there to learn? It is a jewel beyond all price." - Huang Po, also Huángbò Xīyùn

"The practice of a totally unreserved awareness is the road to absolute inner acceptance. This acceptance unblocks the space where selfless love and fearlessness are revealed. And the inner peace from which they arise is the way to effective outer peacemaking." - Karl Jones

"Personality is the supreme realization of the innate individuality of a particular living being. Personality is an act of the greatest courage in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, and the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom of personal decision." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"When distant and unfamiliar and complex things are communicated to great masses of people, the truth suffers a considerable and often a radical distortion. The complex is made over into the simple, the hypothetical into the dogmatic, and the relative in to an absolute." - Walter Lippmann

"The sole philosophy open to those who doubt the possibility of truth is absolute silence - even mental." - Jacques Maritain

"There is no such thing as absolute truth... People are less deceived by failing to see the truth than by failing to see its limits." - Gabriel Sénac de Meilhan

"What is then liberty? To be born is at once to be born in the world and to the world. The world is already constituted, but never completely. Under the first rapport, we are solicited, under the second we are open to an infinity of possibilities. But this analysis is still abstract, because we exist under these two relations at once. There is therefore never determinism and never absolute choice; I am never a thing and never naked consciousness." - Maurice Merleau-Ponty

"It is an absolute perfection to know how to get the very most out of one's individuality." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Knowledge has three degrees: opinion, science, illumination. The means or instrument of the first is sense; of the second, dialectic; of the third, intuition. To the last I subordinate reason. It is absolute knowledge founded on the identity of the mind knowing with the object known." - Plotinus NULL

"Theology and Absolute Ethics are two famous subjects which we have realized to have no real objects." - Frank Plumpton Ramsey

"Calmness is the rarest quality in human life. It is the moral atmosphere of a life self-reliant and self-controlled. Calmness is absolute confidence and conscious power, ready to be focused in an instant to meet any crisis." -

"It is not for man to rest in absolute contentment. He is born to hopes and aspirations as the sparks fly upward, unless he has brutified his nature and quenched the spirit of immortality which is his portion." - Robert Southey

"The question why there is evil in existence is the same as why there is imperfection... But this is the real question we ought to ask: Is this imperfection the final truth, is evil absolute and ultimate?" -

"The absolute demonstration of man’s mastery of fate and command of all condition - the victory of man - all men in this racial man, this elder brother of mankind in his triumph over sin, fear and death! But one thing had remained in my mind as necessary to prove to the mass of men to-day man’s absolute supremacy over death in all its forms as an attribute of his oneness with God, with Eternal Life, Perfect Love, Perfect Justice, Omniscience and Omnipotence." - Paul Tyner

"For this cause he came into the world; that he might be a witness to the truth; a living, unimpeachable witness of the truth that shall make us free - the truth of man’s religion (reunion) with God, through absolute spiritual self consciousness - with God - with the Eternal, Omnipotent and Omniscient Source and Fountain of Life, “in whom we live and move and have our being,” without whom we are not!" - Paul Tyner

"Intellectuals cannot tolerate the chance event, the unintelligible; they have a nostalgia for the absolute, for a universally comprehensive scheme." -

"The humorous man recognizes that absolute purity, absolute justice, absolute logic and perfection are beyond human achievement and that men have been able to live happily for thousands of years in a state of genial frailty." - Brooks Atkinson, fully Justin Brooks Atkinson

"Security is never absolute... The government of a free people must take certain chances for the sake of maintaining freedom which the government of a police state avoids because it holds freedom to be of no value." - Alan Barth

"Our life is always absolute: that’s all there is. The truth is not somewhere else. But we have minds that are trying to burn the past or the future. The living present - Buddhahood - is rarely encountered." - Charlotte Joko Beck

"Happiness is a resultant of the relative strengths of positive and negative feelings rather than an absolute amount of one or the other." - Norman Bradburn

"For the poor of this world, two major ways of expiring are available: either by the absolute indifference of your fellow-men in peace-time, or by the homicidal passion of these same when war breaks out." - Louis-Ferdinand Céline, pen name Louis-Ferdinand Destouches

"The very nearest approach to domestic happiness on earth is in the cultivation on both sides of absolute unselfishness. Never both be angry at once. Never talk at one another, either alone or in company. Never speak loud to one another unless the house is on fire. Let each; one strive to yield oftenest to the wishes of the other. Let self-denial be the daily aim and practice of each. Never find fault unless it is perfectly certain that a fault has been committed, and always speak lovingly. Never taunt with a past mistake. Neglect the whole world besides rather than one another. Never allow a request to be repeated. Never make a remark at the expense of each other, it is a meanness. Never part for a day without loving words to think of during absence. Never meet without a loving welcome. Never let the sun go down upon any anger or grievance. Never let any fault you have committed go by until you have frankly confessed it and asked forgiveness. Never forget the happy hours of early love. Never sigh over what might have been, but make the best of what is. Never forget that marriage is ordained of God, and that His blessing alone can make it what it should ever be. Never be contented till you know you are both walking in the narrow way. Never let your hopes stop short of the eternal home." -

"If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave God?" -

"Time, to the nation as to the individual, is nothing absolute; its duration depends on the rate of thought and feeling." - John William Draper

"How different the peace of god from that of the world! It calms the passions, preserves the purity of conscience, is inseparable from righteousness, unites us to God and strengthens us against temptations. The peace of the soul consists in an absolute resignation to the will of God." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Considering the unforeseen events of this world, we should be taught that no human condition should inspire men with absolute despair." - Henry Fielding

"It is impossible to conceive any contrast more entire and absolute than that which exists between a heart glowing with love to God, and a heart in which the love of money has cashiered all sense of God - His love, His presence, His glory; and which is no sooner relieved from the mockery of a tedious round of religious formalism than it reverts to the sanctuaries where its wealth is invested, with an intenseness of homage surpassing that of the most devout Israelite who ever, from a foreign land, turned his longing eyes toward Jerusalem." - Richard Fuller

"When the mystic enters into the pure and absolute unicity of the One and into the kingdom of the One and Alone, mortals reach the end of their ascent. For there is no ascent beyond it, since ascent involves multiplicity, and implies an ascent from somewhere to somewhere, and when multiplicity has been eliminated, unity is established and relationships ceases, signs are effaced, there remains neither height nor depth, nor anyone to descend or ascend. No higher ascent is possible for the soul, for there is no height beyond the highest and no multiplicity in the face of unity, and since multiplicity has been effaced, no further ascent." -

"The figures prove that the absolute easiest way to be poor is to be born out of wedlock to a young woman. If you need a statistic to memorize, try this one: 92.8 percent of all children in black, single female-headed families where the mother is under thirty and did not complete high school, are in poverty." - Ellen Goodman

"I had a "near death experience" and remember thinking, "If only people knew what it was like to die, they wouldn't be afraid." I reached a point at which a voice began to ask me if I thought I'd completed what I'd come to do. was I going to leave my son, then age three, behind? There was no sense of threat or coercion. An absolute acceptance that whatever I did was all right, but pointing out that the moment of choice was now. The relief and release from the fear of dying changed my life. The reminder that "I am not my body" freed me to live my life in a different way. The understanding that no matter what is going on in our bodies, the essence of who we are is unaffected; this wisdom has enabled me to help other see their bodies in a different way. To see the body in illness not as an enemy, but as a faithful fried, programmed by; the soul to react in that exact way. To see illness as a confrontation in the physical of what one is reluctant to confront on the mental or emotional levels. In other words, a message, a communication, a time to listen and therefore a unique and powerful opportunity for transformation." - Soozi Holbeche

"Everything begins with an idea. Your thoughts are the blueprint for your life. Your thoughts today create your world of tomorrow. Change your thoughts and you will change your world. Through the power of your thinking, you are continuously drawing kinds of events into your life. You have absolute control over your reactions." - Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla

"Overcoming of all the usual barriers between the individual and the Absolute is the great mystic achievement. In mystic states we both become one with the Absolute and we become aware of our oneness." - William James

"The problem of our purpose is a religious problem... Our purpose is derived from faith and is imposed onto reality by our own souls. But faith and religious truth themselves are not absolute. They are relative. Thus the answers one gives to questions about the purpose of life must necessarily be relative to a time, a place, a tradition... To know and worship God means, in Baha’ullah’s words, to promote the unity of the human race and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men”... Someday there will be a global society in which humanity will realize its spiritual and moral potential... The destiny of mankind, actually, is the ultimate creation of the world civilization. It is only in the service of such a cause that I find the meaning and purpose of life." - Firuz Kazemzadeh

"The uprooting of human beings from the land, the concentration in cities, the breakdown of the authority of family, of tradition, and of moral conventions, the complexity and the novelty of modern life, and finally the economic insecurity of our industrial system have called into being the modern social worker. They perform a function in modern society which is not a luxury but an absolute necessity." - Walter Lippmann

"Freedom from absolute, arbitrary power is so necessary to, and closely joined with, a man’s preservation, that he cannot part with it but by what forfeits his preservation and life together. For a man, not having the power of his own life, cannot by contract or his own consent enslave himself to any one, nor put himself under the absolute, arbitrary power of another to take away his life when he pleases. Nobody can give more power than he has himself, and he that cannot take away his own life cannot give another power over it." - John Locke

"The fundamental rights, like the right to existence and life; the right to personal freedom or to conduct one’s own life as master of oneself and of one’s acts, responsible for them before God and the law of the community; the right to the pursuit of the perfection of moral and rational human life; the right to keep one’s body whole; the right to private ownership of material goods, which is a safeguard of the liberties of the individual; the right to marry according to one’s choice and to raise a family which will be assured of the liberties due it; the right of association, the respect for human dignity in each individual, whether or not he represents an economic value for society - all these rights are rooted in the vocation of the person (a spiritual and free agent) to the order of absolute values and to a destiny superior to time." - Jacques Maritain

"When we consider absolute reality, there is no end, no beginning; emptiness is the same as fulfillness, just seen from a different perspective. We say that this coffee cup is empty; but empty means filled with space, filled with possibilities, ready for anything: milk, water, tea wine. Every moment of time, every point in space, is completely empty, completely open for what wants to come. That is why it can be filled." - Stephen Mitchell

"All ideas require preparation for their meaning to engage the soul... There is no question whether they are true or not. One buys for oneself. There is no absolute truth. All truth is relative - relative to one’s needs, relative to one’s position in psychological space." - Maurice Nicoll

"What is the standpoint of materialism?... We look outwards (via the senses) for the explanation and cause of everything. We start from phenomena as absolute truth... Materialism gives sense and physical matter priority over mind or idea... The customary standpoint of scientific materialism is that primary matter is dead - and the universe is dead and nature is dead - and a dead nature can, of course, aim at nothing. It cannot be teleological." - Maurice Nicoll

"What, then, is the nature of the reality that we believe in evidentially? Transiency is the main reality. We appear to live in an ever-perishing world. It seems that our life is confined to a single instant at a time. We see everything passing away - for ever, as we say, without having the slightest idea of what we mean by this expression. Where does everything go - for ever? Where do our lives go? Certainly they are not contained in a space of three dimensions. We witness, apparently, events, people, and things disappearing into total extinction, into an absolute nothingness, as the result of passing-time. This is the reality of appearances as registered by our senses. There goes with it a particular understanding of life." - Maurice Nicoll

"Joyous distrust is as sign of health. Everything absolute belongs to pathology." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"There are no eternal facts, as there are no absolute truths." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"The more a man enters the light of understanding, the more aware he is of his own ignorance. And when the light reveals itself fully and unites with him and draws him into itself, so that he finds himself alone in a sea of light, then he is emptied of all knowledge and immersed in absolute knowing." - Symeon the New Theologian, fully Saint Symeon the New Theologian NULL