Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Beginning

"He who reforms himself, has done much toward reforming others; and one reason why the world is not reformed, is, because each would have others make a beginning, and never thinks of himself doing it." - Thomas Adams

"From the very beginning of a person’s life one learns that the purpose of life is not uninterrupted pleasure. Every infant suffers pains and illnesses. We should not perceive illness and pain as negative. Suffering teaches us humility. We learn that we do not have complete power over ourselves." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"He who is silent is forgotten; he who abstains is taken at his word; he who does not advance falls back; he who stops is overwhelmed, distanced, crushed; he who ceases to grow greater becomes smaller; he who leaves off, gives up; the stationary condition is the beginning of the end." -

"A small error in the beginning is a great one in the end." -

"I saw there was no boundary lines between vegetable and animal life, and hence no beginning nor end to either... All physical phenomena, at their best, are dull and murky till they come up into spiritual life. As an illustration that every law has its universality take the familiar law or principle that action and reaction are equal. What is this but reaping the whirlwind after one has sown the wind, or how does natural law differ from this teaching: ‘Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap?’ Are they aught but different strains in the great cosmic melody?" - H. B.

"Regeneration is the beginning of holiness in the soul, and admits of no progression; sanctification is carried on progressively in the heart of the renewed, and will be continued until it is completed in the concluding moments of life." - Charles Backus

"You would hardly appreciate the comic if you felt yourself isolated from others. Laughter appears to stand in need of an echo. Listen to it carefully: it is not an articulate, clear, well-defined sound; it is something which would fain be prolonged by reverberating from one to another, something beginning with a crash, to continue in successive rumblings, like thunder in a mountain. still, this reverberation cannot go on for ever. It can travel within as wide a circle as you please: the circle remains, none the less, a closed one." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"The beginning and the end of love are both marked by embarrassment when the two find themselves alone." - Jean de La Bruyère

"In politeness, as in many other things connected with the formation of character, people in general begin outside, when they should begin inside; instead of beginning with the heart, and trusting that to form the manners, they begin with the manners, and trust the heart to chance influences." -

"The meaning of life is to become inseparably one with God the transcendental Bliss and God the universal Peace. The meaning of life is to achieve unconditional self-giving and a self-giving will... complete faith in oneself and a birthless and deathless faith in God. Life is love... Life needs a dream and a goal... Transcendence is the glorious beginning of human perfection... Who am I? I am my life’s unfinished God-manifestation." - Sri Chinmoy, born Chinmoy Kumar Ghose

"Many men who spend an hour a day in physical exercises to keep fit refuse to spend an hour a week in the cultivation of their morals and their ethics. We have put so little emphasis on developing our souls that our children are beginning to doubt if we have any souls at all." - Allen E. Claxton

"It often falls out, that the end of passion is the beginning of repentance." - Owen Feltham

"A daring beginning is half way to winning." - Heinrich Heine

"He that will do anything for his pleasure, must engage himself to suffer all the pains annexed to it; and these pains, are the natural punishments of those actions, which are the beginning of more harm than good. And hereby it comes to pass that intemperance is naturally punished with diseases; rashness with mischances; injustice with the violence of enemies: Pride, with ruin; cowardice, with oppression; negligent government of princes, with rebellion; and rebellion, with slaughter." - Thomas Hobbes

"To flee from vice is the beginning of virtue." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"It is universally acknowledged that there is a great uniformity among the actions of men, in all nations and ages, and that human nature remains still the same, in its principles and operations. The same motives always produce the same actions: the same events follow the same causes. Ambition, avarice, self-love, vanity, friendship, generosity, public spirit: these passions, mixed in various degrees, and distributed through society, have been from the beginning of the world, and still are, the source of all the actions and enterprises, which have ever been observed among mankind." - David Hume

"Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom." - George Iles

"Fear, either as a principle or a motive, is the beginning of all evil." - Anna Jameson

"In morals, what begins in fear usually ends in wickedness; in religion, what begins in fear usually ends in fanaticism. Fear, either as a principle or a motive, is the beginning of all evil." - Anna Jameson

"Character is the beginning and the end of all things. Without it, we have only the ashes of a people's failure; with it, we have the rainbow of civilization's desires." - Eric Allen Johnston

"Structures that were hitherto believed to be objective and beginning to dissolve - that “inside” and “outside,” “I” and “you” are so interrelated that they cannot be disentangled and there is no way of measuring the objective “external” world, because all we are measuring are our own yardsticks so that our measurements are no more than observations of our own consciousness." - Holger Kalweit

"The fool exposes the limitations of human criteria, confronts us anew with the undefined nature of our cosmic existence, leads us backstage to make us aware of the artificiality of our cultural values, and then shows us a world without limit, because it is neither categorized nor ordered in accordance with artificial opposites. The sick jester removes these opposites, tears down external and internal barriers and causes us to tumble head over heels from our tailor-made world of lines and demarcations into a more comprehensive and holistic dimension that has no beginning or end." - Holger Kalweit

"Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners, and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere, and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, or in a hurried manner. No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

"Myth is the foundation of life, it is the timeless pattern, the religious formula to which life shapes itself... There is no doubt about it, the moment when the storyteller acquires the mythical way of looking at things, that moment marks a beginning in his life." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man’s affections center in himself, and excludes all others from partaking in them, than the desire of accumulating possessions. When the desire has once gotten hold of the heart, it shuts out all other considerations, but such as may promote its views. In its zeal for the attainment of its end, it is not delicate in the choice of means. As it closes the heart, so also it clouds the understanding. It cannot discern between right and wrong; it takes evil for good, and good for evil; it calls darkness light, and light darkness. Beware, then, of the beginning of covetousness, for you know not where it will end." - Richard Mant

"Custom is a violent and treacherous school mistress. She, by little and little, slyly and unperceived, slips in the foot of her authority; but having by this gentle and humble beginning, with the benefit of time, fixed and established it, she then unmasks a furious and tyrannic countenance, against which we have no more the courage or the power so much as to lift up our eyes." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"The beginning of greatness is to be little, the increase of greatness is to be less, and the perfection of greatness is to be nothing." -

"Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning." - Charles B. Newcomb

"Fear not that your live shall come to an end but rather that it shall never have a beginning." -

"It is in life that we have to ‘perfect’ ourselves. If we limit ‘this life’ to one single journey between birth and death there is not enough time. People give up trying, just because of this appearance of things. They do not bend the life round in a circle, but leave the whole matter to the ‘hereafter’. We cannot grasp that beyond the ‘end’ lies the beginning... Beyond our life we meet - our life. We cannot turn in any other direction!" - Maurice Nicoll

"The beginning of research is curiosity, its essence is discernment, and its goal truth and justice." - Isaac Halevi Satanov, fully Isaac ben Moses Halevi Satanov

"The true order of learning should be: first, what is necessary; second, what is useful, and third, what is ornamental. To reverse this arrangement is like beginning to build at the top of an edifice." - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"If a man would register all his opinions upon love, politics, religion, learning, etc., beginning from his youth, and so go to old age, what a bundle of inconsistencies and contradictions would appear at last!" - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence." -

"Sincerity is the fulfillment of our own nature, and to arrive at it we need only follow our true self. Sincerity is the beginning and end of existence; without it, nothing can endure. Therefore the mature person values sincerity above all things." - Tzu-Ssu or Zisi, born Kong Ji NULL

"The investigation of the meaning of words is the beginning of education." - Antisthenes NULL

"Praise is especially destructive to children, for they readily grasp the fact that praise is based on identification with their actions. Thus, they automatically blame themselves every time they make a mistake. This is the beginning of their lack of Self-Esteem." - L. S. Barksdale

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies." - J.M. Barrie, fully Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet

"Instead of rising rapidly in the beginning and flattening out later, the earnings curve of most of those who eventually became millionaires was the reverse; their income increased slowly, if at all, for many years. And then, after two to three decades, it suddenly went through the roof." - Srully Blotnick

"To regret nothing is the beginning of all wisdom." - Ludwig Börne, fully Karl Ludwig Börne

"At the beginning of love and at its end the lovers are embarrassed to be left alone." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Successful parenthood is built on three great principles which cut deep into the foundations of a structure, support and stimulate the right formation of habit in the building of life. They are love, discipline, and security. Without all these, a child's life is stunted from the very beginning." - Elsie Landon Buck

"In beginning the world, if you don't wish to get chafed at every turn, fold up your pride carefully, and put it under lock and key, and only let it out to air on grand occasions. It is a garment all stiff brocade outside, and all grating sackcloth on the side next to the skin. Even kings do not wear the dalmaticum except at a coronation." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Every day is a fresh beginning, Listen, my soul, to the glad refrain, and spite of old sorrow, and older sinning, and troubles forecasted, and possible pain, take heart with the day, and begin again." - Susan Coleridge

"The great thing is the start - to see an opportunity for service, and to start doing it, even though in the beginning you serve but a single customer - and him for nothing." - Robert Collier

"It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms, Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being evolved." - Charles Darwin, fully Charles Robert Darwin

"First you write down your goal; your second job is to break down your goal into a series of steps, beginning with steps which are absurdly easy." - Fitzhugh Dodson

"Innovators and men of genius have almost always been regarded as fools at the beginning (and very often at the end) of their careers." - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski