Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Awe

"To be loved, we should merit but little esteem; all superiority attracts awe and aversion." - Claude-Adrien Helvétius

"What a power has Death to awe and hush the voices of this earth! How mute we stand when that presence confronts us, and we look upon the silence he has wrought in a human life! We can only gaze, and bow our heads, and creep with our broken stammering utterances under the shelter of some great word which God has spoken, and in which we see through the history of human sorrow the outstretching and overshadowing of the eternal arms." - W. W. Battershall

"I use the Scriptures, not as an arsenal to be resorted to only for arms and weapons, but as a matchless temple, where I delight to contemplate the beauty, the symmetry, and the magnificence of the structure, and to increase my awe and excite my devotion to the Deity there preached and adored." - Robert Boyle

"He to whom this emotion is a stranger; who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed. " - Albert Einstein

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity." - Albert Einstein

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder, and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed... To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the ranks of devoutly religious men." - Albert Einstein

"Don’t let us rejoice in punishment, even when the hand of God alone inflicts it. The best of us are but poor wretches, just saved from shipwreck. Can we feel anything but awe and pity when we see a fellow-passenger swallowed by the waves?" - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"The shaman typically experiences ineffable joy in what he sees, an awe of the beautiful and mysterious worlds that open before him... He is a self-reliant explorer of the endless mansions of a magnificent hidden universe. Finally, he brings back his discoveries to build his knowledge and help others." - Michael Harner

"Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"We teach children how to measure, how to weigh. We fail to teach them how to revere, how to sense wonder and awe. The sense of the sublime, the sign of the inward greatness of the human soul and something which is potentially given to all men, is now a rare gift." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal." - Hitopadesa or The Hitopadesa or Hitopadesha NULL

"We teach children how to measure, how to weigh. We fail to teach them how to revere, how to sense wonder and awe. The sense of the sublime, the sign of the inward greatness of the human soul and something which is potentially given to all men, is now a rare gift." - Hitopadesa or The Hitopadesa or Hitopadesha NULL

"Every tradition grows continually more venerable, and the more remote its origin, the more this is lost sight of. The veneration paid the tradition accumulates from generation to generation, until at last becomes holy and excites awe." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"Tradition grows ever more venerable - the more remote its origin the more confused the origin is. The reverence due to it increases from generation to generation, until it becomes holy and inspires awe." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"Modern technology has lost its magic. No longer do people stand in awe, thrilled by the onward rush of science, the promise of a new day. Instead, the new is suspect. It arouses our hostility as much as it used to excite our fancy. With each breakthrough there are recurrent fears and suspicion. How will the advance further pollute our lives; modern technology is not merely what it first appears to be. Behind the whitecoats, the disarming jargon, the elaborate instrumentation, and a the core of what has often seemed an automatic process, one finds what Dorothy found in Oz: modern technology is human after all." - David Franklin Noble

"When you forget the beginner’s awe, you start decaying." - Nobuko Albery

"It is a man listening through a tornado for the Still Small Voice… a soul standing in awe before the mystery of the Universe… a hungry heart seeking for love… Time flowing into Eternity… IT is a man climbing the altar stairs to God." - Dwight Bradley

"When great causes are on the move in the world, stirring all men’s souls, drawing them from their firesides, casting aside comfort, wealth and the pursuit of happiness in response to impulses at once awe-striking and irresistible, we learn that we are spirits, not animals." - Winston Churchill, fully Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

"In spite of the fact that religion looks backward to revealed truth while science looks forward to new vistas and discoveries, both activities produce a sense of awe and a curious mixture of humility and arrogance in practitioners. All great scientists are inspired by the subtlety and beauty of the natural world that they are seeking to understand. Each new subatomic particle, every unexpected object, produces delight and wonderment. In constructing their theories, physicists are frequently guided by arcane concepts of elegance in the belief that the universe is intrinsically beautiful." - Paul Davies

"The beginning of faith is not a feeling for the mystery of living or a sense of awe, wonder, or fear. The root of religion is the question what to do with the feeling for the mystery of living, what to do with awe, wonder, or fear. Religion, the end of isolation, begins with a consciousness that something is asked of us. It is in that tense, eternal asking in which the soul is caught and in which man’s answer is elicited." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Things not only are what they are but also stand, however remotely, for something supreme. Awe is a sense for the transcendence, for the reference everywhere to mystery beyond all things. It enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"How can the divine Oneness be seen? In beautiful forms, breathtaking wonders, awe-inspiring miracles? The Tao is not obliged to present itself in this way. If you are willing to be lived by it, you will see it everywhere, even in the most ordinary things." - Lao Tzu, ne Li Urh, also Laotse, Lao Tse, Lao Tse, Lao Zi, Laozi, Lao Zi, La-tsze

"We feel God present in nature, whether in its awe or its beauty; and in human history, whether in its justice or its weird mysteriousness; and in the life of a good man, or the circumstances of a generous or noble act. Most of all we feel Him near when conscience, His inward messenger, speaks plainly and decisively to us." -

"The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring - the earth from here is a vast ovation to the big vastness of space." - Jim Lovell, fully James "Jim" Arthur Lovell

"In Totalitaria, jails and concentration camps by the score are built in order to provoke fear and awe among the population… In these centers of fear, nobody is really corrected; he is, as it were, expelled from humanity, wasted, killed – but too quickly, lest the terrorizing influence be diminished. The truth of the matter is that these jails are built not for real criminals, but rather for their terrorizing effect on the bystanders, the citizens of Totalitaria." - Joost Meerloo. fully Joost Abraham Maurits Meerlo

"Contemplation is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life... It is gratitude for life, for awareness and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being proceed from an invisible, transcendent and infinitely abundant Source." - Thomas Merton

"To the reverent scientist… the simplest features of the world about us are in themselves so awe-inspiring that there seems no need to seek new and greater miracles as evidences of God’s care." - Carl Wallace Miller

"In the end, we must always return to our beliefs. From the mundane to the mystical, they inform us about reality and they shape our future lives. And if the ultimate reality remains a mystery, so much the better, for it is the questions that give us meaning, that drive us forward and fill us with transcendent awe." - Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman

"Transcendent, mystical, and spiritual experiences have a real biological component. The neurological changes that occur during meditation disrupt the normal processes of the brain – perceptually, emotionally, and linguistically – in ways that make the experience indescribable, awe-inspiring, unifying, and indelibly real. In fact, the intensity of such experiences often gives the practitioner a sense that a different or higher level of reality exists beyond our everyday perceptions of the world." - Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman

"Fear is the anticipation and expectation of evil or pain, as contrasted with hope which is the anticipation of good. Awe, on the other hand, is the sense of wonder and humility inspired by the sublime or felt in the presence of mystery. Fear is “a surrender of the succors which reason offers,” awe is the acquisition of insights which the world holds in store for us. Awe, unlike fear, does not make us shrink from the awe-inspiring object, but, on the contrary, draws us near to it. That is why awe is compatible with both love and joy." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"The roots of ultimate insights are found not on the level of discursive thinking, but on the level of wonder and radical amazement, in the depth of awe, in our sensitivity to the mystery, in our awareness of the ineffable. It is the level on which the great things happen to the soul, where the unique insights of art, religion, and philosophy come into being." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"Three correlative pairs: the sublime and wonder, mystery and awe, the glory and faith." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"If death is one mystery, life is another, greater one… We can only fee awe before a mystery that both is what we are and surpasses our understanding." - Jonathan Schell, fully Jonathan Edward Schell

"The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is good as dead." - Albert Einstein

"Respect is not fear and awe; it...is the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me." -

"Ideas, when vented in a book, carry with them a kind of dignity and certainty which awe many into implicit belief." - Amos Bronson Alcott

"The mind of the thinker and the student is driven to admit, though it be awe-struck by apparent injustice, that this inequality is the work of God. Make all men equal today, and God has so created them that they shall be all unequal tomorrow." - Anthony Trollope

"We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears. We must not demean life by standing in awe of death." - David Sarnoff

"One wonders whether a generation that demands satisfaction of all its needs and instant solutions of the world's problems will produce anything of lasting value. Such a generation, even when equipped with the most modern technology, will be essentially primitive - it will stand in awe of nature, and submit to the tutelage of medicine men." - Eric Hoffer

"The conqueror is regarded with awe, the wise man commands our esteem, but it is the benevolent man who wins our affection." - French Proverbs

"Leaders are people we as followers want to regard with awe as the fullest flowering of our own possibilities." - Gail Sheehy

"Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and awe, the oftener and the more steadily we reflect on them: the starry heavens above and the moral law within." - Immanuel Kant

"Science does not have appropriate tools for the dissection of the spirit. How sad it would be, I thought, if we humans ultimately were to lose all sense of mystery, all sense of awe, if our left brains were utterly to dominate the right so that logic and reason triumphed over intuition and alienated us absolutely from our innermost being, from our hearts, from our souls." - Jane Goodall, fully Dame Jane Morris Goodall, born Valerie Jane Morris-Goodall

"At the moment that you are most in awe of all there is about life that you don’t understand, you are closer to understanding it all than at any other time." - Jane Wagner

"The highest point a man can attain is not Knowledge, or Virtue, or Goodness, or Victory, but something even greater, more heroic and more despairing: Sacred Awe!" - Nikos Kazantzakis

"Life hath more awe than death." - Philip James Bailey

"Character gives splendor to youth, and awe to wrinkled skin and gray hairs." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We have to treat others as part of who awe are, rather than as a ‘them’ with whom we are in constant competition." - Robert Bellah, fully Robert Neelly Bellah

"Be fearful only of thyself, and stand in awe of none, more than of thine own conscience... And he that reverences this judge will seldom do anything he need repent of." - Robert Burton

"Be fearful only of thyself; and stand in awe of none more than thine own conscience." - Thomas Fuller