Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Of all ennobling sentiments, patriotism may be the most easily manipulated. On the one hand, it gives powerful expression to what is best in a nation’s character: a commitment to principle, a willingness to sacrifice, a devotion to the community by the choice of the individual. But among its toxic fruits are intolerance, belligerence and blind obedience, perhaps because it blooms most luxuriantly during times of war." - Nancy Gibbs

"God’s love is the reason for our creation, a free, gratuitous love, a love without limits... Our duty is to translate this love into acts of solidarity and commitment." - Gustavo Gutiérrez

"Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Help your children understand that excellence in education cannot be achieved without intellectual and moral integrity coupled by hard work and commitment." - National Commission on Excellence in Education NULL

"What you owe the world is this: to move all goodwill to an enthusiastic, personal, and sensible commitment. Therein lies the great problem. Whatever you do toward this end will arouse people of goodwill throughout the world and encourage them to lend a hand in other countries." - Albert Schweitzer

"Reading and what it can contribute to one's life is not something that pertains only to the ego and its conscious mind; it is also deeply rooted in the unconsciousness. Those who retain all through life a deep commitment to the literary harbor in their consciousness some residue of their earlier conviction that reading is an art permitting access to magic worlds, although very few of them are aware that they subconsciously believe this to be so." - Bruno Bettelheim

"Freedom is not free. Shaping and preserving society necessarily involves personal commitment, costly risk and constant effort; the cultivation of civil liberty can be no more passive than the cultivation of a farm. A man can inherit the land on which he lives, he can even inherit the first crop of produce after he takes over from those who came before him. But then if he stops, everything stops, and begins to crumble. Nothing grows, nothing ripe and rewarding comes to him, unless he plows, plants and tends the soil and unless he keeps it fertile year after year with the chemistry of effort and forethought." - Edmond Cahn, fully Edmond Nathaniel Cahn

"If you make the unconditional commitment to reach your most important goals, if the strength of your decision is sufficient, you will find the way and the power to achieve your goals." - Robert Conkin, aka Bob Conkin

"Marriage today must... be concerned not with the inviolable commitment of constancy and unending passion, but with the changing patterns of liberty and discovery." - Carolyn Gold Heilbrun, pen name Amanda Cross

"We are each a cell in the common body. When we choose to create, to activate the Godness within us, our movements affect and influence the whole. But until we really know this at a cellular level, our commitment to our own awakening remains an act of faith." - Gloria D. Karpinski

"Clearly a man’s commitment to God shows itself in the language he uses, not only about God, but about the world and his general behavior." - D. Z. Phillips, fully Dewi Zephaniah Phillips

"Religion is devoted and loyal commitment to the best that reason and insight can discover. The liberal understands what loyalty means as the authoritarian never can." - Julius Seelye Bixler

"Blind obedience is itself an abuse of human morality. It is a misuse of the human soul in the name of religious commitment. It is a sin against individual conscience. It makes moral children of the adults from whom moral agency is required. It makes a vow, which is meant to require religious figures to listen always to the law of God, beholden first to the laws of very human organizations in the person of very human authorities. It is a law that isn't even working in the military and can never substitute for personal morality." - Joan Chittister, fully Sister Joan D. Chittister

"The first things to be disputed by our commitment to nonviolence will be not the system but our own lives." - James W. Douglass

"Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes... but no plans." - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker

"There is not even one single thing we value when we restrict the question to ethical values. Instead, there is a plurality of different things we value, but in ethics and in life in general. In life we value pleasure, human interaction, achievement and contact with reality. In ethics we value human flourishing but also commitment and justice per se… No single set of rules seems adequate to the irreducible plurality of incommensurable things that we value." - Patrick Grim

"I believe that, for the rest of the world, contemporary America is an almost symbolic concentration of all the best and the worst of our civilization. On the one hand, there are its profound commitment to enhancing civil liberty and to maintaining the strength of its democratic institutions, and the fantastic developments in science and technology which have contributed so much to our well-being; on the other, there is the blind worship of perpetual economic growth and consumption, regardless of their destructive impact on the environment, or how subject they are to the dictates of materialism and consumerism, or how they, through the omnipresence of television and advertising, promote uniformity, and banality instead of a respect for human uniqueness." - Václav Havel

"Life without commitment is not worth living." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Religion has become an impersonal affair, an institutional loyalty. It survives on the level of activities rather than in the stillness of commitment." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Most of the inmates of mental hospitals have been committed as the result of a petition by a family member. Psychiatric commitment is often the result of an acute or prolonged family disruption, which results in the exclusion and isolation of one member (usually the least powerful). Psychiatric commitment therefore serves to relieve intolerable family conflicts by removing one member from the group." - Ron Leifer, fully Ronald Leifer

"What the schools can teach is what we value as a community… love, empathy, caring, cooperation, commitment to others, spiritual and ethical sensitivity, respect for difference, self-discipline, tolerance and honesty." - Michael Lerner

"Reflection is easy and commitment is easy; but the two together - that is an educational task demanding the highest powers." - Howard Lowry

"The quality of a person’s life is directly proportional to the degree of responsibility he takes for his own life and the commitment he makes to change for the better. Don’t be afraid of pains and sufferings. They are divine gifts for our growth." - Bibhuti Mazumder

"The true problems of living – in politics, economics, education, marriage, etc. – are always problems of overcoming or reconciling opposites. They are divergent problems and have no solution in the ordinary sense of the word. They demand of man not merely the employment of his reasoning powers but the commitment of his whole personality." - E. F. Schumacher, fully Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher

"Commitment means that it is impossible for a man to yield the nerve center of his consent to a purpose or cause, a movement or an ideal, which may be more important to him than whether he lives or dies." -

"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

"You know how to take charge of your life and transform yourself into the person you want to be, all you have to do is make the commitment to yourself and believe in yourself enough to keep your commitment." - Fred D. Anderson

"National leaders who find themselves wilting under the withering criticisms by members of the media, would do well not to take such criticism personally but to regard the media as their allies in keeping the government clean and honest, its services efficient and timely, and its commitment to democracy strong and unwavering." - Corazon Aquino

"A good case can be made for the proposition that, although involved or passionate commitment to some cause or ideal is normally healthy and happiness-producing, devout, pious, or fanatic commitment to the same kind of cause or ideal is potentially pernicious and frequently (though not always) does much more harm than good." - Albert Ellis

"Without ethical commitment, the world cannot survive." - Georges Enderle

"What makes the United States special in the history of nations is our commitment to the rule of law and our carefully constructed system of checks and balances. Our national distrust of concentrated power and our devotion to openness and democracy are what have led us as a people to consistently choose good over evil in our collective aspirations." - Al Gore, Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr.,

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence regardless of their chosen field of endeavor." - Vince Lombardi, fully Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi

"I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life's greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent." - Anthony "Tony" Robbins

"True commitment begins when we reach the point of not knowing how we can possibly go on, and decide to do it anyway." - Author Unknown NULL

"Humanity is not an accident, and life has profound meaning... We discover the true meaning of life only when we turn to God in faith and commitment." - Billy Graham, formally William Franklin "Billy" Graham

"The ‘great’ commitment is so much easier than the ordinary everyday one - and can all too easily shut our hearts to the latter. A willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice can be associated with, and even produce, a great hardness of heart." - Dag Hammarskjöld

"This metaphor of a mountain path allows us to reconcile an ancient paradox about whether we truly have free will or whether our life is somehow predestined. At the moment of birth we are each given a specific inner mountain to climb, reflecting the force of predestination. How we climb and the time we take are up to us, reflecting the power of free will. In other words, we're given the playing field, but we choose how to play the game. We always have the power of choice, discipline, responsibility and commitment. No life path is harder or easier, better or worse, than any other, except to the degree we make it so." - Dan Millman, born Daniel Jay Millman

"Happiness depends not on what happens, but on how we handle what happens. Our happiness is determined by how we interpret, perceive, and integrate what happens into our state of mind. And how we perceive things is determined by our commitment… Happiness comes from experiencing moments of happiness… Making comparisons is probably the shortest route to unhappiness. We can never be happy if we compare ourselves to others." - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"We are all afraid - for our confidence, for the future, for the world. That is the nature of the human imagination. Yet every man, every civilization has gone forward because of its engagement with what it has set itself to do. The personal commitment and the emotional commitment working together as one, has made the Ascent of Man." - Jacob Bronowski

"A life without surrender is a life without commitment." - Jerry Rubin

"Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather, it condemns the oppression or persecution of others." -

"Genuine love implies commitment and the exercise of wisdom." - M. Scott Peck, fully Morgan Scott Peck

"Optimism is just a useful adjunct to wisdom. By itself it cannot provide meaning. Optimism is a tool to help the individual achieve the goals he has set for himself. It is in the choice of the goals themselves that meaning - or emptiness - resides. When learned optimism is coupled with a renewed commitment to the commons [common good], our epidemic of depression and meaninglessness may end." - Martin Seligman, Martin E. P. "Marty" Seligman

"The moment you commit and quit holding back, all sorts of unforseen incidents, meetings and material assistance will rise up to help you. The simple act of commitment is a powerful magnet for help" - Napoleon Hill

"The author who penetrates the deepest into the human soul is the one who has the strongest respect for the awakening power of conscience and the stretching power of commitment." - Norman Cousins

"Sharpen your thinking about goal setting. Be realistic about the amount of time and effort that might be necessary. Make a commitment to excellence. Learn to distinguish between a goal and a wish. Prepare for ultimate goals by achieving your interim goals. Choose goals that will benefit others as well as yourself." - Norman Vincent Peale

"Experiences are fleeting. Sometimes one has a strong awareness of the ultimate mystery of the divine, and sometimes one is troubled by what mystics call periods of dryness. For me the main point is that the experience of faith is a total attitude toward the mystery of God and life which includes commitment, love, and hope." -

"If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas, it is having an excess of commitment to some special and constricting idea." - Richard Hofstadter

"We live in a world that trusts logic, and from that commitment we distrust desire; but if we lived in a world that validated desire, we would know how to trust it." - Thomas Moore

"Truth is not really a soul word; souls is after insight more than truth. Truth is a stopping point asking for commitment and defense. Insight is a fragment of awareness that invites further exploration. Intellect tends to enshrine its truth, while soul hopes that insights will keep coming until some degree of wisdom is achieved." - Thomas Moore