Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Aspiration

"Faith is love taking the form of aspiration." - William Ellery Channing

"Aspiration sees only one side of every question; possession, many." - James Russell Lowell

"Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible; but the world of pure reason knows no compromise, no practical limitations, no barrier to the creative activity embodying in splendid edifices the passionate aspiration after the perfect from which all great works springs. Remote from human passions, remote even from the pitiful facts of nature, the generations have gradually created an ordered cosmos, where pure thought can dwell as in its natural home, and where one, at least, of our nobler impulses can escape from the dreary exile of the actual world." -

"There is evil in the world, but it can be overcome through repentance and aspiration, and therein lies the true meaning and adventure in life." - Abba Hillel Silver

"Vision looks inward and becomes duty. Vision looks outward and becomes aspiration. Vision looks upward and becomes faith." - Stephen Samuel Wise

"We are weak today in ideal matters because intelligence is divorced from aspiration. The bare force of circumstance compels us onwards in the daily detail of our beliefs and acts, but our deeper thoughts and desires turn backwards. When philosophy shall have co-operated with the course of events and made clear and coherent the meaning of the daily detail, science and emotion will interpenetrate, practice and imagination will embrace. Poetry and religious feeling will be the unforced flowers of life. To further this articulation and revelation of the meanings of the current course of events is the task and problem of philosophy in days of transition." - John Dewey

"Just as a cautious businessman avoids tying up all his capital in one concern, so, perhaps, worldly wisdom will advise us not to look for the whole of our satisfaction from a single aspiration." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"I drink the wine of aspiration and the drug of illusion." - John Galsworthy

"Religion is the answer to that cry of Reason which nothing can silence, that aspiration of the soul which no created thing can meet, that want of the heart which all creation cannot supply." - Isaac Thomas Hecker

"Whether a man accepts from fortune her spade and will look downward and dig, or from aspiration her axe and cord, and will scale the ice, the one and only success which it is his to command is to bring to his work a mighty heart." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"The enduring value of religion is in its challenge to aspiration and hope in the mind of man." - Ernest Martin Hopkins

"For the most part, we should pray rather in aspiration than petition, rather by hoping than requesting; in which spirit also we may breathe a devout wish for a blessing on others upon occasions when it might be presumptuous to beg it." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"Aspirations after the holy, the only aspiration in which the human soul can be assured that it will never meet with disappointment." - Maria Jane M’Intosh

"The mere aspiration is partial realization." - Anna Cora Mowatt

"The artist is content with aspiration, whereas the mediocre must have beauty. And yet the artist attains beauty without willing it, for he is only striving after truthfulness." - Arnold Schoenberg

"An aspiration is a joy for ever, a possession as solid as a landed estate, a fortune which we can never exhaust and which gives us year by year a revenue of pleasure activity." - Robert Louis Stevenson, fully Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson

"Truth should be the first lesson of the child and the last aspiration of manhood; for it has been well said that the inquiry of truth, which is the love-making of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature." - John Greenleaf Whittier

"All good and beneficial prayer is… at bottom nothing else than an energy of aspiration towards the eternal not ourselves that makes for righteousness, of aspiration towards it, and of cooperation with it." -

"Prayer is a way of increasing our sensitivity to the spiritual aspects of life. From this point of view, it is very much like exercise. A man’s muscles become responsive by training... The soul is stretched and enlarged by prayer just as the body is stretched and enlarged by physical exercise... Prayer is a way of aspiration. It is a way of lifting ourselves, of getting a higher look, of transcending self. For when a man looks at life only from inside himself, or only from within the walls of his home, or profession, seeing the world as though it were all in terms of his special interests, then he is “too full of himself to have any room for God.” But in prayer, he... relates his own little life and his own little needs and life of humanity. He lifts himself up by prayer, and achieves a high spiritual stature." - Robert I. Kahn

"The Bible is primarily not man’s vision of God but God’s vision of man. The Bible is not man’s theology but God’s anthropology, dealing with man and what He asks of him rather than with the nature of God. God did not reveal to the prophets eternal mysteries but His knowledge and love of man. It was not the aspiration of Israel to know the Absolute but to ascertain what He asks of man; to commune with His will rather than with His essence." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"The 'preferred future' - an image of aspiration - [is] a powerful guidance mechanism… When people plan present actions by working backward from what is really desired, they develop energy, enthusiasm, optimism and high commitment." - Marvin Weisbord

"Vision looks inward and becomes duty. Vision looks outward and becomes aspiration. Vision looks upward and becomes faith." -

"May every soul that touches mine - be it the slightest contact - get there from some good; some little grace; one kindly thought; one aspiration yet unfelt; one bit of courage for the darkening sky; one gleam of faith to brave the thickening ills of life; one glimpse of brighter skies beyond the gathering mists - to make this life worth while." -

"A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself, and a mean man by one which is lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other, ambition. Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Selfishness is the only real atheism; aspiration, unselfishness, the only real religion." - Israel Zangwill

"Aspiration is achievement." - Israel Zangwill

"You will become as small as your controlling desire; as great as your dominant aspiration." -

"You will become as small as your controlling desire; or as great as your dominate aspiration." -

"Every temptation that is resisted, every noble aspiration that is encouraged, every sinful thought that is repressed, every bitter word that is withheld,, adds its little item to the impetus of that great movement which is bearing humanity onward toward a richer life and higher character." - John Fiske

"Happiness is a myth we seek, if manifested surely irks; like river speeding to the plain, on its arrival slows and murks. For man is happy only in his aspiration to the heights; when he attains his goal, he cools and longs for other distant flights." - Kahlil Gibran

"There are tens of millions of Americans who are beyond the welfare state. Taken as a whole there is a culture of poverty... bad health, poor housing, low levels of aspiration and high levels of mental distress. Twenty per cent of a nation, some 32,000,000." - Michael Harrington, fully Edward Michael "Mike" Harrington

"Commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Aspiration shows us the goal and the distance to it; inspiration encourages with a view to how far we have come. Aspiration gives us the map of the journey; inspiration furnishes the music to keep us marching." - Ralph Washington Sockman

"Real life is, to most men, a long second-best, a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible; but the world of pure reason knows no compromise, no practical limitations, no barrier to the creative activity embodying in splendid edifices the passionate aspiration after the perfect from which all great works springs. Remote from human passions, remote even from the pitiful facts of nature, the generations have gradually created an ordered cosmos, where pure thought can dwell as in its natural home, and where one, at least, of our nobler impulses can escape from the dreary exile of the actual world." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"May every soul that touches mine - be it the slightest contact - get there from some good; some little grace; one kindly thought; one aspiration yet unfelt; one bit of courage for the darkening sky; one gleam of faith to brave the thickening ills of life; one glimpse of brighter skies beyond the gathering mists - to make this life worthwhile. " - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"The aspiration to truth is more precious than its assured possession." - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

"He who possesses liberty otherwise than as an aspiration possesses it soulless, dead. One of the qualities of liberty is that, as long as it is being striven after, it goes on expanding. Therefore, the man who stands still in the midst of the struggle and says, "I have it," merely shows by so doing that he has just lost it. Now this very contentedness in the possession of a dead liberty is characteristic of the so-called State, and, as I have said, it is not a good characteristic." - Henrik Ibsen, aka Henrik Johan Ibsen

"Man’s task is to reconcile liberty with service, reason with faith. This is the deepest wisdom man can attain. It is our destiny to serve, to surrender. We have to conquer in order to succumb; we have to acquire in order to give away; we have to triumph in order to be overwhelmed. Man has to understand in order to believe, to know in order to accept. The aspiration is to obtain; the perfection is to dispense. This is the meaning of death: the ultimate self-dedication to the divine. Death so understood will not be distorted by the craving for immortality, for this act of giving away is reciprocity on man’s part for God’s gift of life. For the pious man it is a privilege to die." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"The deepest wisdom man can attain is to know that his destiny is to aid, to serve. We have to conquer in order to succumb; we have to acquire in order to give away; we have to triumph in order to be overwhelmed. Man has to understand in order to believe, to know in order to accept. The aspiration is to obtain; the perfection is to dispense. This is the meaning of death: the ultimate self-dedication to the divine. Death so understood will not be distorted by the craving for immortality, for the act of giving away is reciprocity on man’s part for God’s gift of life. For the pious man it is a privilege to die." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Revolution is necessarily inspired in justice and carries with it the aspiration for justice that every honest man has in his heart." - Mariano Azuela, fully Mariano Azuela González

"All good and beneficial prayer is… at bottom nothing else than an energy of aspiration towards the eternal not ourselves that makes for righteousness, of aspiration towards it, and of cooperation with it." - Matthew Arnold

"Divine desperateness is the beginning of spiritual awakening because it gives rise to the aspiration for God-realisation." - Meher Baba, born Merwan Sheriar Irani

"As the peculiar faculty of the eye is to see form and colour, and of the ear to hear sweet tones and voices, so is aspiration peculiar to the soul. To relax from ceaseless aspiration is sin. This energy of aspiration directed to and grasping God, as far as is possible for the creature, is called Hope, which is also a divine virtue. Through this faculty the soul acquires such great confidence that she deems nothing in the Divine Nature beyond her reach." - Meister Eckhart, formally Meister von Hochheim

"It takes a certain level of aspiration before one can take advantage of opportunities that are clearly offered." - Michael Harrington, fully Edward Michael "Mike" Harrington

"The division of mankind into races is for purposes of identification only. The Islamic form of association in prayer, besides its cognitive value, is further indicative of the aspiration to realize this essential unity of mankind as a fact in life by demolishing all barriers which stand between man and man." - Mohamed Iqbal or Sir Muhammad Iqbal, aka Allama Iqbal

"The foundation of righteousness and the root of perfection in the service of G-d lies in a man's coming to see clearly and to recognize as a truth the nature of his duty in the world and the end towards which he should direct his vision and his aspiration in all of his labors all the days of his life" - Moshe Chayim Luzzatto, also Moses Hayyim Luzzato, known by Hebrew acronym RaMCHal

"Now is the only time. How we relate to it creates the future. In other words, if we're going to be more cheerful in the future, it's because of our aspiration and exertion to be cheerful in the present. What we do accumulates; the future is the result of what we do right now." - Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown

"The task of an executive is not to change human beings. Rather as the Bible tells us in the parable of the talents, the task is to multiply the performance capacity of the whole by putting to use whatever strength, whatever health, whatever aspiration there is in individuals." - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker

"When delicate and feeling souls are separated, there is not a feature in the sky, not a movement of the elements, not an aspiration of the breeze, but hints some cause for a lover's apprehension." - Richard Brinsley Sheridan

"Desolation is a file, and the endurance of darkness is preparation for great light." - Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez NULL