Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Birth

"The astonishing thing about him [man] is his range of vision; his gaze into the infinite distance; his lonely passion for ideas and ideals, far removed from his material surroundings and animal activities, and in no way suggested by them, yet for which, such is his affection, he is willing to endure toils and privations, to sacrifice pleasures, to disdain griefs and frustrations. The inner truth is that every man is himself a creator, by birth and nature, an artist, an architect and fashioner of worlds." - W. Macneile Dixon, fully William Macneile Dixon

"Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality." -

"A good character is, in all cases, the fruit of personal exertion. It is not inherited from parents, it is not created by external advantages, it is no necessary appendage of birth, wealth, talents or station; but it is the result of one’s own endeavors." - Joel Hawes

"This spectacle of old age would be unendurable if we did not know that our psyche reaches into a region held captive neither by change in time nor by limitation of place. In that form of being our birth is a death and our death is a birth. The scales of the whole hang balanced." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"Birth is nothing without virtue, and we have no claim to share in the glory of our ancestors unless we strive to resemble them." - Molière, pen name of Jean Baptiste Poquelin NULL

"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 Universe is governed by divine laws, which, unlike those of man’s making, are immutable, inviolable and an end to themselves, not instruments for the attainment of particular objects. The love of God is man’s only true good. From other passions we can free ourselves, but not from love, because for the weakness of our nature we could not subsist without the enjoyment of something that may strength us by our union with it. Only the knowledge of God will enable us to subdue the hurtful passions, This, as the source of all knowledge, is the most perfect of all; and inasmuch as all knowledge is derived from the knowledge of God, we may know god better than we know ourselves. This knowledge in time leads to the love of God, which is the soul’s union with Him. The union of the soul with God is its second birth, and therein consists man’s immortality and freedom." -

"Have I met the hour patiently, without fear, at the portal? Now is my name called, of the lip of my love has spoken: Do I mistake you, O divine Signaler? is it after all some other soul that is hailed. My self is my answer: there’s that in my heart responds, meeting the call with equal voice, establishing forever the unspeakable bond! Bond that does not bind - bond that frees - bond that discovers and bestows. Look! I am flushed with inexhaustible possessions! The old measures vanish, I am expanded to infinite sweep... Before birth, seeing birth, after life seeing life!... This minute grown infinite, the far worlds spread before me, the endless drift of soul..." - Horace Traubel

"The happiest lot for a an as far as birth is concerned, is that it should be such as to give him but little occasion to think much about it." - Richard Whately

"There seem to be some persons, the favorites of fortune and darlings of nature, who are born cheerful. “A star danced” at their birth. It is no superficial visibility, but a bountiful and beneficent soul that sparkles in their eyes and smiles on their lips. Their inborn geniality amounts to genius, the rare and difficult genius which creates sweet and wholesome character, and radiates cheer." - Edwin Percy Whipple

"It is the responsibility of free men to trust and to celebrate what is constant - birth, struggle, and death are constant - and so is love, though we may not always think so - and to apprehend the nature of change, to be able and willing to change. I speak of change not on the surface but in the depths - change in the sense of renewal. But renewal becomes impossible if one supposes things to be constant that are not - safety, for example, or money or power. One clings then to chimeras, but which one can only be betrayed, and the entire hope - the entire possibility - of freedom disappears." -

"There are but three events which concern men: birth, life and death. They are unconscious of their birth, they suffer when they die, and they neglect to live." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Ah is the shortest of human cries, Oh the longest. Man is born in an Ah and dies in an Oh, for birth is immediate and death is like an airplane taking off." -

"If by saying that all men are born free and equal, you mean that they are all equally born; it is true, but true in no other sense; birth, talent, labor, virtue, and providence, are forever making differences." - David Eugene Edwards

"Some political and social activities of the Catholic Church are detrimental and even dangerous for the community as a whole... [e.g.] the fight against birth control at a time when overpopulation [is] a serious obstacle to peace." - Albert Einstein

"The universal of an atom containing emptiness and existence. This means that the atom has no intrinsic nature, so it is empty; yet its illusory characteristics are evident, so it is existent. Indeed, because illusory form has no essence, it must be no different from emptiness, and real emptiness contains qualities permeating to the surface of existence. Seeing that form is empty produces great wisdom and not dwelling in birth-and-death; seeing that emptiness is form produces great compassion and not dwelling in nirvana. When form and emptiness are nondual, compassion and wisdom are not different; only this is true seeing." - Fazang, also Fa-Tsang or Fāzàng NULL

"All death in nature is birth, and at the moment of death appears visibly the rising of life. There is no dying principle in nature, for nature throughout is unmixed life, which, concealed behind the old, begins again and develops itself. Death as well as birth is simply in itself, in order to present itself ever more brightly and more like to itself." -

"What is so wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote, and brings to birth in us also the creative impulse." - E. M. Forster, fully Edward Morgan Forster

"Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is." -

"Life and death are but phases of the same thing, the reverse and obverse of the same coin... I want you all to treasure death and suffering more than life and to appreciate their cleansing and purifying character. Death which is an Eternal verity is revolution, as birth and after is slow and steady evolution. Death is as necessary for man's growth as life itself... All fear is a sign of want of faith... Hate the sin and love the sinner." -

"Set happiness before you as an end, no matter in what guise of wealth, or fame, or oblivion even, and you will not attain it. But renounce it and seek the pleasure of God, and that instant is the birth of you own." - Arthur Sherburne Hardy

"Happiness is the legitimate fruitage of love and service. Set happiness before you as an end, no matter in what guise of wealth, or fame, or oblivion even, and you will not attain it. But renounce it and seek the pleasure of God, and that instant is the birth of your own." - Arthur Sherburne Hardy

"A good character is, in all cases, the fruit of personal exertion. It is not inherited from parents; it is not created by external advantages; it is no necessary appendage of birth; wealth, talents, or station; but it is the results of one's good principles manifested in a course of virtuous and honorable action." - Josiah Johnson "J." Hawes

"Twin-sister of natural and revealed religion, and of heavenly birth, science will never belie her celestial origin, nor cease to sympathize with all that emanates from the same pure home. Human ignorance and prejudice may for a time seem to have divorced what God has joined together; but human ignorance and prejudice shall at length pass away, and then science and religion shall be seen blending their parti-colored rays into one beautiful bow of light, linking heaven to earth and earth to heaven." - Roswell Dwight Hitchcock

"Vital is the relation between earthly sorrow and eternal satisfaction. The travail to which God’s saints are subjected results in the birth of nobler natures and more sanctified spirits. Pain always promotes progress, and suffering invariably ensures success." -

"All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of primordial night. There he is still the whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all ego-hood. Out of these all-uniting depths arises the dream, be it never so childish, grotesque, and immoral... Death is psychologically as important as birth... Shrinking away from it is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"We live in a hemisphere whose own revolution has given birth to the most powerful force of the modern age - the search for the freedom and self-fulfillment of man." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Birth and death are like two ships in a harbor. There is no reason to rejoice at the ship setting out on a journey [birth], not knowing what she may encounter on the high seas, but we should rejoice at the ship returning to port [death] safely." - Leone Levi

"For it is unknown what is the real nature of the soul, whether it be born with the bodily frame or be infused at the moment of birth, whether it perishes along with us, when death separates the soul and body, or whether it visits the shades of Pluto and bottomless pits, or enters by divine appointment into other animals." - Lucretius, fully Titus Lucretius Carus NULL

"Society's preservation and man's happiness depend on illusion. Nature itself, which certainly represents the will of God, deludes us in many respects, as when it leads us by the cords of love to reproduce the race. If a youth would consider the trouble in rearing a family, not one in a thousand would marry, but nature closes our eyes to the future (and indeed, wherever popular knowledge rises, the birth rate declines). The same is true of the other passions, which nature utilizes to deceive man and goad them toward the attainment of ends which, when attained, turn out to be but vanity." - Samuel David Luzzatto, aka by acronym of SHaDaL or SHeDaL

"We know that we are not limited by the accident of our birth or the timing of it, and we recognize the truth that we have always been around. We can reinhabit time and own our story as a species. We were present back there in the fireball and the rains that streamed down on this still molten planet, and in the primordial seas. We remember that in our mother’s womb, where we wear vestigial gills and tail and fins for hands. We remember that. That information is in us and there is a deep, deep kinship in us, beneath the outer layers of our neocortex or what we learned in school. There is a deep wisdom, a bondedness with our creation, and an ingenuity far beyond what we think we have. And when we expand our notions of what we are to include this story, we will have a wonderful time and we will survive." - Joanna Macy, fully Joanna Rogers Macy

"Poverty at birth has never hampered great minds." - William Maginn, aka Billy Maginn

"Death is, to us here, the most terrible word we know. But when we have tasted its reality, it will mean to us birth, deliverance, a new creation of ourselves." - George S. Merriman

"Let him speak of his own deeds, and not of those of his forefathers. High birth is mere accident, and not virtue." - Metastasio, aka Pietro Petastasio, pseudonymn for Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi NULL

"Education is no longer thought of as a preparation for adult life, but as a continuing process of growth and development from birth until death." - Stephen Mitchell

"What really is? That which is eternal: that is to say, what never had birth, nor will ever have an end; to which time never brings any change. For time is a mobile thing, which appears as in a shadow, together with matter, which is ever running and flowing, without ever remaining stable or permanent... Wherefore we must conclude that God is - not at all according to any measure of time, but according to an eternity immutable and immobile, not measured by time or subject to any decline." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Thoughts give birth to a creative force that is neither elemental nor sidereal... Thoughts create a new heaven, a new firmament, a new source of energy, from which new arts flow. When a man undertakes to create something, he establishes a new heaven, as it were, and from it the work that he desires to create flows into him... For such is the immensity of man that he is greater than heaven and earth." -

"It is this earth that, like a kind mother, receives us at our birth, and sustains us when born; it is this alone, of all the elements around us, that is never found an enemy of man." - Pliny the Younger, full name Casus Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo NULL

"Bound only by birth and death, life is both the ultimate mystery and the process of solving it. Life is a dance, a leap into the unknown. After you jump and before you land, is God. God is ecstasy: that state of being when everything comes together, nothing is missing, and it’s all vibrating and electric. Life is an excuse for ecstasy." - Gabrielle Roth

"Astronomy was born of superstition; eloquence of ambition, hatred, falsehood, and flattery; geometry of avarice; physics of an idle curiosity; and even moral philosophy of human pride. Thus the arts and sciences owe their birth to our vices." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"[The earth] is so small and so fragile and such a precious little spot in that universe that you can block it out with your thumb, and you realize that on that small spot, that little blue and white thing, is everything that means anything to you - all of history and music and poetry and art and death and birth and love." - Russell Schweikart, fully Russell Louis "Rusty" Schweickart aka Schweikart

"Our purpose is to live in harmony with those cycles [birth, growth, death and regeneration] to develop our peculiar organs of consciousness and creativity to add to the beauty, love, humor, diversity and general interest of the world." - Starhawk, born Miriam Simos NULL

"High birth is a thing which I never knew any one to disparage except those who had it not; and I never knew any; one to make a boast of it who had anything else to be proud of." - William Warburton

"Nothing is ever really lost, or can be lost, no birth, identity, form - no object of the world. Nor life, nor force, nor any visible thing; appearance must not foil, nor shifted sphere confuse thy brain. Ample are time and space - ample the fields of Nature. The body, sluggish, aged, cold - the embers left from earlier fires, the sun now low in the west rises for mornings and for noons continual; to frozen clods ever the spring’s invisible law returns, with grass and flower and fruits and corn." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"While man is growing, life is in decrease, and cradles rock us nearer to the tomb; our birth is nothing but our death begun." - Edward Young

"Pain in the human world is the birth of personality, its fight for its own nature." - Nikolai Berdyaev, fully Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev, also spelled Nichlas Berdiaev

"The pangs of pain, of failure, in this mortal lot, are the birth-throes of transition to better things." - John Elof Boodin

"I believe in life after birth." - Maxie D. Dunnam

"Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"Every one of us is endowed at birth with all sorts of magnificent possibilities and potentialities. There is a capacity for idealism, a yearning for truth and beauty and nobility, a sensitivity to the hurt of others and to the dreams and needs of our fellow man. In the hopeful dawn of youth we feel these stirrings within us and we promise to bring them to life. And yet so often as the years pass by we permit these promises to be swept under the rug of expediency. We chalk them up to immaturity and we go on to live “more realistically.”" - Sidney Greenberg