Great Throughts Treasury

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


"The purpose of suffering is to arouse a person to improve his ways and this is the greatest good for a person. This love of the Almighty manifest in suffering is not merely to save a person from retribution in the afterlife, but also to elevate a person and assist him in attaining more virtues." - Avraham Grodzinski

"A meaningful life is also not one that has merely instrumental value to some goal, even if the goal is divine. This suggests two important conclusions; First, meaningful activities are those that have a certain kind of non-instrumental value, and a meaningful life is one that consists of such activities. Second, derived from this, the meaning of a life must be in the living of it, or rather in the way it is lived. These are important conclusions, because they apply even if God has a purpose in mind for us and even if there is an everlasting afterlife. Even if there is a goal worth struggling for, the meaning is in the struggle." - Garrett Thomson

"In terms of religion, it is man’s duty to continue his quest for truth, especially with regard to the afterlife." - Francis Bacon

"Death may be a supreme spiritual act, turning oneself over to eternity: The moment of death, a moment of ecstasy. A moment of no return to vanity. Thus afterlife is felt to be a reunion and all life a preparation for it… Death is not sensed as a defeat but as a summation, an arrival, a conclusion." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"I didn’t die. In fact, although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found to my surprise that I was enjoying life in the present more than before." - Stephen Hawking

"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." - Stephen Hawking

"I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have created so far is purely destructive. We ve created life in our own image." - Stephen Hawking

"Quiet people have the loudest minds." - Stephen Hawking

"When the star had exhausted its nuclear fuel, there would be nothing to maintain the outward pressure, and the star would begin to collapse because of its own gravity. As the star shrank, the gravitational field at the surface would become stronger and the escape velocity would increase. By the time the radius had got down to 10 kilometers the escape velocity would have increased to 100,000 kilometers per second, the velocity of light. After that time any light emitted from the star would not be able to escape to infinity but would be dragged back by the gravitational field. According to the special theory of relativity nothing can travel faster than light, so that if light cannot escape, nothing else can either. The result would be a black hole: a region of space-time from which it is not possible to escape to infinity." - Stephen Hawking

"We are motivated more by aversion to the unpleasant than by a will toward truth, freedom, or healing. We are constantly attempting to escape our life, to avoid rather than enter our pain we, and we wonder why it is so difficult to be fully alive." - Stephen Levine