Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Capacity

"Happiness consists in the multiplicity of agreeable consciousness. A peasant has not capacity for having equal happiness with a philosopher." - James Boswell

"Knowledge is boundless, human capacity, limited." -

"Capacity never lacks opportunity." - William Bourke Cochran

"To act the part of a true friend requires more conscientious feeling than to fill with credit and complacency any other station or capacity in social life." - Sarah Ellis, fully Sarah Stickney Ellis

"Freedom does not consist in the dream of independence from natural laws, but in the knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives or systematically making them work towards definite ends. This holds good in relation both to the laws of external nature and to those which govern the bodily and mental existence of men themselves - two classes of laws which we can separate from each other at most only in thought but not in reality. Freedom of the will therefore means nothing but the capacity to make decisions with knowledge of the subject." - Friedrich Engels

"Maturity is the capacity to endure uncertainty." - John H. Finley

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." -

"Your capacity to keep you vow will depend on the purity of your life." -

"There are few who have at once thought and capacity for action. Thought expands, but lames; action animates, but narrows." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Responsibility walks hand in hand with capacity and power." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"The Godhead is impassable; for where there is perfection and unity, there can be no suffering. The capacity to suffer arises where there is imperfection, disunity and separation from an embracing totality; and the capacity is actualized to the extent that imperfection, disunity and separateness are accompanied by an urge towards the intensification of these creaturely conditions. For the individual who achieves unity within his own organism and union with the divine Ground, there is an end of suffering. The goal of creation is the return of all sentient beings out of separateness and that infatuating urge-to-separateness which results in suffering, through unitive knowledge, into the wholeness of eternal Reality." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"The human species... capacity for good is infinite, since they can, they desire, make room within themselves for divine Reality. But at the same time their capacity for evil is, not indeed infinite (since evil is always ultimately self-destructive and therefore temporary), but uniquely great. Hell is total separation from God, and the devil is the will to that separation... To be diabolic on the grand scale, one must, like Milton’s Satan, exhibit in a high degree all the moral virtues, except only charity and wisdom." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"The relationship between moral action and spiritual knowledge is circular, as it were, and reciprocal. Selfless behavior makes possible an accession of knowledge, and the accession of knowledge makes possible the performance of further and more genuinely selfless actions, which in their turn enhance the agent’s capacity for knowing... A man undertakes right action (which includes, of course, right consciousness and right meditation), and this enables him to catch a glimpse of the Self that underlies his separate individuality. Having seen his own self as the Self, he becomes selfless (and therefore acts selflessly) and in virtue of selflessness he is to be conceived as unconditioned." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"In every mind where there is a strong tendency to fear there is a strong capacity to hate. Those who dwell in fear dwell next door to hate; and I think it is the cowardice of women which makes them such intense haters." - Anna Jameson

"Wealth is nothing in itself, it is not useful but when it departs from us; its value is found only in that which it can purchase, which, if we suppose it put to its best use by those that posses it, seems not much to deserve the desire or envy of a wise man. It is certain that, with regard to corporal enjoyment, money can neither open new avenues to pleasure, nor block up the passages to anguish. Disease and infirmity still continue to torture and enfeeble, perhaps exasperated by luxury, or promoted by softness. With respect to the mind, it has rarely been observed, that wealth contributes much to quicken the discernment, enlarge the capacity, or elevate the imagination; but may, by hiring flattery, or laying diligence asleep, confirm error, and harden stupidity." -

"The ultimate creative capacity of the brain may be, for all practical purposes, infinite." - George Leonard, fully George Burr Leonard

"Real security... is to be found in its benevolent morality, in its exquisite adaption to the human heart, in the facility with which its scheme accommodates itself to the capacity of every human intellect, in the consolation which it bears to every house of mourning, in the light with which it brightens the great mystery of the grave." -

"What keeps persons down in the world, besides lack of capacity, is not a philosophical contempt of riches or honors, but thoughtlessness and improvidence, a love of sluggish torpor, and of present gratification. It is not from preferring virtue to wealth - the goods of the mind to those of fortune - that they take no thought for the morrow; but from want of forethought and stern self-command. The restless, ambitious man too often directs these qualities to an unworthy object; the contented man is generally deficient in the qualities themselves. The one is a stream that flows too often in a wrong channel, and needs to have its course altered, the other is a stagnant pool." -

"Find a purpose in life so big it will challenge every capacity to be at your best." - David O. McKay

"He who attempts to act and do things for others and for the world without deepening his own self-understanding, freedom, integrity, and capacity to love, will not have anything to give to others. He will communicate to them only the contagion of his own obsessions, his aggressiveness, his ego-centered ambitions, his delusions about ends and means, and his doctrinaire prejudices and ideas." - Thomas Merton

"The contemplative life has nothing to tell you except to reassure you and say that if you dare to penetrate your own silence and dare to advance without fear into the solitude of your own heart... you will truly recover the light and capacity to understand what is beyond words and beyond explanation because it is too close to be explained." - Thomas Merton

"Sincerity goes farther than capacity." - William Penn

"Nothing is better than to search for the true God, even if the discovery of Him eludes human capacity, since the very wish to learn, if earnestly entertained, produces untold joys and pleasures." - Philo, aka Philo of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew NULL

"Self-love leads men of narrow minds to measure all mankind by their own capacity." - Jane Porter

"Rules and precepts are of no value without natural capacity." - Quintilian, fully Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, also Quintillian and Quinctilian NULL

"The gates of wisdom and truth are forever closed to those who are wise in their own conceits; they have always opened before the expectancy of the humble and the teachable. The great need of the religious soul is the capacity to be receptive." -

"We are wrong to fear superiority of mind and soul; this superiority is very moral, for understanding everything makes a person tolerant and the capacity to feel deeply inspires great goodness." -

"To live, mankind must recover its essential humanness and its innate divinity; men must recover their capacity for humility, sanity and integrity; soldiers and civilians must see their hope in some other world than one completely dominated by the physical and chemical sciences." - George Stanley, fully George Francis Gillman Stanley

"Maturity is a quality of personality made up of a number of elements. It is stick-to-itiveness, the ability to stick to a job, to work on it and to struggle through it until it is finished, or until one has given all one has in the endeavor. It is the quality or capacity of giving more than is asked or required in a given situation. It is this characteristic that enables others to count on one; thus it is reliability. Persistence is an aspect of maturity; persistence to carry out a a goal in the face of difficulties. Endurance enters into the concept of maturity; the endurance of difficulties, unpleasantness, discomfort, frustration, hardship. The ability to size things up, make one's own decisions, is a characteristic of maturity. This implies a considerable amount of independence. A mature person is not dependent unless ill. Maturity includes a determination, a will to succeed and achieve, a will to live. Of course, maturity represents the capacity to cooperate; to work with others; to work in an organization and under authority. The mature person is flexible, can defer to time, persons, circumstances. He can show tolerance. He can be patient, and, above all, he has qualities of adaptability and compromise. Basically, maturity represents a wholesome amalgamation of two things: 1) Dissatisfaction with the status quo, which calls forth aggressive, constructive effort, and 2) Social concern and devotion. Emotional maturity is the morale of the individual." - Edward A. Strecker

"Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it." -

"The first half of life consists of the capacity to enjoy without the chance; the last half consists of the chance without the capacity." - Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens

"I believe the root of all happiness on this earth to life in the realization of a spiritual life with a consciousness of something wider than materialism; in the capacity to live in a world that makes you unselfish because you are not over anxious about your personal place; that makes you tolerant because you realize your own comic fallibility; that gives you tranquillity without complacency because you believe in something so much larger than yourself." - Hugh Walpole, fully Sir Hugh Seymour Walpole

"Show us the man who never makes a mistake and we will show you a man who never makes anything. The capacity for occasional blundering is inseparable from the capacity to bring things to pass." - Herman Lincoln Wayland

"There is no one who cannot find a place for himself in our kind of world. Each of us has some unique capacity waiting for realization. Every person is valuable in his own existence - for himself alone." - George H. Bender

"With monstrous weapons man already has, humanity is in danger of being trapped in this world by its moral adolescents. Our knowledge of science has already outstripped our capacity to control it. We have many men of science, too few men of God." -

"Man's knowledge of science has clearly outstripped his knowledge of man. Our only hope of making the atom servant rather than master lies in education, in a broad liberal education where each student within his capacity can free himself from trammels of dogmatic prejudice and apply his educational accouterment to besetting social and human problems." - Harry Woodburn Chase

"The artist (in literature) appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom; to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition - and, therefore, more permanently enduring. He speaks to our capacity for delight and wonder, to the sense of mystery surrounding our lives; to our sense of pity, and beauty, and pain." - Joseph Conrad, born Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski

"The result of the educative process is capacity for further education." - John Dewey

"In the beginning there was information. The word came later. the transition was achieved by the development of organisms with the capacity for selectively exploiting this information in order to survive and perpetuate their kind." - Fred Dretske, fully Frederick "Fred" Irwin Dretske

"Nothing will give permanent success in any enterprise of life, except native capacity cultivated by honest and persevering effort. Genius is often but the capacity for receiving and improving by discipline." - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"Tracing the progress of mankind in the ascending path of civilization, and moral and intellectual culture, our fathers found that the divine ordinance of government, in every stage of ascent, was adjustable on principles of the common reason to the actual condition of a people, and always had for its objects, in the benevolent councils of the divine wisdom, the happiness, the expansion, the security, the elevation of society, and the redemption of man. They sought in vain for any title of authority of man over man, except of superior capacity and higher morality." - William Maxwell Evarts

"The person who renders loyal service in a humble capacity will be chosen for higher responsibilities, just as the biblical servant who multiplied the one pound given him by his master was made rule over ten cities." - B. C. Forbes, fully Bertie Charles "B.C." Forbes

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at twenty or at eighty. Anyone who keeps on learning not only remains young but becomes constantly more valuable, regardless of physical capacity." - Henry Ford

"I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done." - Henry Ford

"Science had radically changed the conditions of human life on earth. It has expanded our knowledge and our power but not capacity to use them with wisdom." - James William Fulbright

"Civilization, in the real sense of the term, consists not in the multiplication, but in the deliberate and voluntary reduction of wants. This alone promotes real happiness and contentment, and increases the capacity for service." -

"No one has the capacity to judge God. We are drops in that limitless ocean of mercy." -

"The capacity of sorrow belongs to our grandeur; and the loftiest of our race are those who have had the profoundest grief, because they have had the profoundest sympathies." - Henry Giles

"Where a man has a passion for meditating without the capacity of thinking, a particular idea fixes itself fast, and soon creates a mental disease." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe