Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Aims

"The trouble of the many and various aims of mortal men bring them much care, and herein they go forward by different paths but strive to reach one end, which is happiness. And that good is that, to which if any man attain, he can desire nothing further... Happiness is a state which is made perfect by the union of all good things. This end all men seek to reach, as I said, though by different paths. For there is implanted by nature in the minds of men a desire for the true good; but error leads them astray towards false goods by wrong paths." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"Hypocrisy is folly. It is much easier, safer, and pleasanter to be the thing which a man aims to appear, than to keep up the appearance of what he is not." - Richard Cecil

"High aims form high characters, and great objects bring out great minds." - Tyron Edwards

"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

"The lazy man aims at nothing, and generally hits it." -

"Ultimately there can be no freedom for self unless it is vouchsafed for others; there can be no security where there is fear, and democratic society presupposes confidence and candor in the relations of men with one another and eager collaboration for the larger ends of life instead of the pursuit of petty, selfish or vainglorious aims." - Felix Frankfurter

"I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all the mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufficiently understand their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Life begins each morning... Each night of life is a wall between to-day and the past. Each morning is the open door to a new world - new vistas, new aims, new tryings." - Leigh Mitchell Hodges

"The man who aims at his own agrandisement underrates everything else." -

"He who wishes to fulfill his mission in the world must be a man of one idea, that is of one great overmastering purpose, overshadowing all his aims, and guiding and controlling his entire life." - Julius Bate

"Peace is not the elimination of the causes of war. Rather it is a mastery of great human forces and the creation of an environment in which human aims may be pursued constructively." - James Herbert Case, Jr.

"Ethics is the vital principle of Judaism. Its religion aims to be, and is, moral doctrine. Love of God is knowledge of God, and that is knowledge of the ultimate moral purpose of mankind." - Hermann Cohen

"We crave freedom, but freedom is never an end in itself; it is a means to be used for further aims. Its value lies in the extent to which it can assist the development of life. To possess freedom with no life for which to use it is but the bitterest farce. Life never means complete freedom, and every action and relation is an added bond. Life is to be attained, not through a non-moral freedom of caprice, but through a glad welcoming and loyal fulfillment of every bond and obligation which comes in the daily path of life." - Edward Howard Griggs

"The years are going. Let the chaff and the evil part of this life pass with them. As men load the wagon with the sweepings of the street, and, carrying it far to the ocean, cast it into the deep abyss, so bring together all your hatreds, weaknesses, unkindnesses, jealousies, all passions, ingratitudes, and embittering memories, and, tying them into one bundle, let the old ;year sweep them out and drop them into the gulf of oblivion. Expel from your life all sins and sordid aims. Carry into the new year only the choicest thoughts and aspirations. As in the olden days when men approached the Parthenon they cleansed their persons and arrayed themselves in white robes before entering that glorious temple, so cleanse your garments from transgression, clothe yourself with aspirations. Farewell to the past! Welcome and all hail to the future." -

"Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is "man" in a higher sense- he is "collective man" - one who carries and shapes the unconscious, psychic forms of mankind." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"Civilization aims at making all good things... accessible even to cowards." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"Nature I believe in. True art aims to represent men and women, not as my little self would have them, but as they appear. My heroes and heroines I want not extreme types, all good or all bad; but human, mortal—partly good, partly bad. Realism I need. Pure mental abstractions have no significance for me. " - Ouida, pseudonym of Maria Louise Ramé, preferred to be called Marie Louise de la Ramée NULL

"Egotism erects its center in itself: love places it out of itself in the axis of the universal whole. Love aims at unity, egotism at solitude. Love is the citizen ruler of a flourishing public, egotism is a despot in a devastated creation. Egotism sows for gratitude, love for the ungrateful. Love gives, egotism lends; and love does this before the throne of judicial truth, indifferent if for the enjoyment of the following moment, or with the view of a martyr’s crown - indifferent whether the reward is tin this life or in the next." - Friedrich Schiller, fully Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

"Many a meandering discourse one hears, in which the preacher aims at nothing, and - hits it." - Richard Whately

"The first step on the road to success is good character. The second is openness to new perspectives. The third is ensuring that daily action is shaped by higher aims, with the knowledge that you always reap what you sow." - Tom Butler-Bowdon

"We narratively represent our selves in part in order to answer certain questions of identity. It is useful to distinguish two different aims of self-representation that in the end are deeply intertwined. First, there is self-representation for the sake of self-understanding. This is the story we tell ourselves to understand ourselves for who we are. The ideal here is convergence between self-representation and an acceptable version of the story of our actual identity. Second, there is self-representation for public dissemination, whose aim is underwriting successful social interaction." - Owen Flanagan

"The player of the inner game comes to value the art of relaxed concentration above all other skills; he discovers a true basis for self-confidence; and he learns that the secret to winning any game lies in not trying too hard. He aims at the kind of spontaneous performance which occurs only when the mind is calm and seems at one with the body, which finds its own surprising ways to surpass its own limits again and again." - Tim Gallwey, fully W. Timothy Gallwey

"In all ages, literature aims at the interpretation of the universe and a deep perception of humanity by means of language." - Yukio Mishima

"Evolution is not necessarily a reductive theory: it does not explain away or reduce meaningfulness and value, any more than it explains away or reduces mathematics, economics, or even sociobiology itself. It aims to provide a naturalistic explanation of biological characteristics, including the capacities that enable us to recognize value and meaning. Giving a causal explanation of the origin of capacities is not the same as giving an account of the relevant meaning or content." - Garrett Thomson

"In summary, goals or end-states are not intrinsically valuable, even though they direct and explain action. Although having aims or goals is an important and unavoidable aspect of life, it is a mistake to confuse those goals with non-instrumental value because this would imply that activities are merely instrumentally valuable. It is the goals of our activities that are instrumentally valuable; they are valuable to achieve because they lead to further worthwhile activities." - Garrett Thomson

"Goodness must be denied a place among the aims of art. For Goodness is a qualification belonging to the constitution of reality, which in any of its individual actualizations is better or worse. Good and evil lie in depths and distances below and beyond appearance. They solely concern inter-relations within the real world. The real world is good when it is beautiful. Art has essentially to do with perfections attainable by purposeful adaptation of appearance." - Alfred North Whitehead

"No man can ever rise above that at which he aims." - Archibald Alexander Hodge

"We must grasp the number of aims entertained by those who argue as competitors, and rivals to the death. These are five in number, refutation, fallacy, paradox, solecism, and fifthly to reduce the opponent in the discussion to babbling - i.e. to constrain him to repeat himself a number of times; or it is to produce the appearance of each of these things without the reality." - Aristotle NULL

"Comedy aims at representing men as worse, and tragedy as better than in real life." - Aristotle NULL

"Every state is a community of some kind, and every community is established with a view to some good; for mankind always act in order to obtain that which they think good. But, if all communities aim at some good, the state or political community, which is the highest of all, and which embraces all the rest, aims at good in a greater degree than any other, and at the highest good." - Aristotle NULL

"A wise reserve seasons the aims and matures the means." - Baltasar Gracián

"Almost all education has a political motive: It aims at strengthening some group, national or religious or even social, in the competition with other groups. It is the motive, in the main, which determines the subjects taught, the knowledge offered and the knowledge withheld, and also decides what mental habits the pupils are expected to acquire. Hardly anything is done to foster the inward growth of mind and spirit; in fact, those who have most education are very often atrophied in their mental and spiritual life." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"When a man lacks discrimination, his will wanders in all directions, after innumerable aims. Those who lack discrimination may quote the letter of the scripture; but they are really denying its inner truth. They are full of worldly desires and hungry for the rewards of heaven. They use beautiful figures of speech; they teach elaborate rituals, which are supposed to obtain pleasure and power for those who practice them. But, actually, they understand nothing except the law of Karma that chains men to rebirth. Those whose discrimination is stolen away by such talk grow deeply attached to pleasure and power. And so they are unable to develop that one-pointed concentration of the will, which leads a man to absorption in God." - Bhagavad Gītā, simply known as Gita NULL

"The religious concentration of the soul appears in the form of feeling; it nevertheless passes also into reflection; a form of worship is a result of reflection. The second form of the union of the objective and subjective in the human spirit is art. This advances farther into the realm of the actual and sensuous than religion. In its nobles walk it is occupied with representing, not indeed, the spirit of God, but certainly the form of God; and in its secondary aims, that which is divine and spiritual generally. Its office is to render visible the divine; presenting it to the imaginative and intuitive faculty. but the true is the object not only of conception and feeling, as in religion - and of intuition, as in art - but also of the thinking faculty; and this gives us the third form of the union in question - philosophy." - Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"Passions, private aims, and the satisfaction of selfish desires, are… most effective springs of action. Their power lies in the fact that they would respect none of the limitations which justice and morality would impose on them; and [they] have a more direct influence over man than the artificial and tedious discipline that tends to order and self-restraint, law and morality." - Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like cuttlefish squirting out ink." - George Orwell, pen name of Eric Arthur Blair

"What are the aims which are at the same time duties? They are the perfecting of ourselves, and the happiness of others." - Immanuel Kant

"In view of the complete systematic unity of reason, there can only be one ultimate end of all the operations of the mind. To this all other aims are subordinate, and nothing more than means for its attainment. This ultimate end is the destination of man, and the philosophy which relates to it is termed moral philosophy." - Immanuel Kant

"The whole course of our life must be subject to moral maxims; but this is impossible, unless with the moral law, which is a mere idea, reason connects an efficient cause which ordains to all conduct which conforms to the moral law an issue either in this or another life, which is in exact conformity with our highest aims." - Immanuel Kant

"The world is a single whole. Everything is linked with everything else. The world 'sounds'. It is a 'chord'. The imagination and freedom necessary for feeling, experiencing, and living through - rather than merely knowing - these are more likely to be associated with an ana-logical process of perception than with logical thinking. Logic aims at security. The ana-logician has the courage to embark on risk and adventure. Logic is goal-oriented and passes judgment. Analogy ponders and establishes relationships. The logician sees. The ana-logician listens... The eye glimpses surfaces and is attached to them, always remaining superficial (on the surface). The ear penetrates deep into the realms it investigates through hearing." - Joachim-Ernst Berendt

"When a man's desires are boundless, his labors are endless. They will set him a task he can never go through, and cut him out work he can never finish. The satisfaction he seeks is always absent, and the happiness he aims at is ever at a distance." - John Balguy

"Nothing about his life is more strange to [man] or more unaccountable in purely mundane terms than the stirrings he finds in himself, usually fitful but sometimes overwhelming, to look beyond his animal existence and not be fully satisfied with its immediate substance. He lacks the complacency of the other animals: he is obsessed by pride and guilt, pride at being something more than a mere animal, built at falling short of the high aims he sets for himself." - Lewis Mumford

"The fact is that old age is respectable just as long as it asserts itself, maintains its proper rights, and is not enslaved to any one. For as I admire a young man who has something of the old man in him, so do I an old one who has something of a young man. The man who aims at this may possibly become old in body - in mind he never will." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"God sends children for another purpose than merely to keep up the race - to enlarge our hearts, to make us unselfish, and full of kindly sympathies and affections; to give our souls higher aims, and to call out all our faculties to extended enterprise and exertion; to bring round our fireside bright faces and happy smiles, and loving, tender hearts. My soul blesses the Great Father every day, that He has gladdened the earth with little children." - Mary Howitt

"Education has two branches - one of gymnastic, which is concerned with the body, and the other of music, which is designed for the improvement of the soul. And gymnastic has also two branches - dancing and wrestling; and one sort of dancing imitates muscial recitation, and aims at preserving dignity and freedom, the other aims at producing health, agility, and beauty in the limbs and parts of the body, giving the proper flexion and extension to each of them, a harmonious motion being diffused everywhere, and forming suitabile accompaniment to the dance." - Plato NULL

"Never yet did there exist a full faith in the Divine Word (by whom light as well as immortality was brought into the world) which did not expand the intellect, while it purified the heart - which did not multiply the aims and objects of the understanding, while it fixed and simplified those of the desires and passions." -

"Pursue worthy aims." - Solon NULL

"He is of the earth, but his thoughts are with the stars. Mean and petty his wants and desires; yet they serve a soul exalted with grand, glorious aims, - with immortal longings, with thoughts which sweep the heavens and wander through eternity. A pigmy standing on the outward crest of this small planet, his far-reaching spirit stretches outward to the infinite, and there alone finds rest." - Thomas Carlyle

"For the aims of my own career, I want to promote the increase of natural knowledge, and to forward the application of scientific methods of investigation to all the problems of life, in the conviction that there is no alleviation for the sufferings of mankind except veracity of thought and action, and the resolute facing of the world as it is, when the garment of make-believe is stripped off." - Thomas Henry Huxley, aka T.H. Huxley and Darwin's Bulldog