Great Throughts Treasury

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


"It is our duty to give meaning to the life of future generations by sharing our knowledge and experience; by teaching an appreciation of work well done and a respect for nature, the source of all life; by encouraging the young to venture off the beaten path and avoid complacency by challenging their emotions." - Paul Bocuse

"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

"Moral stimulation is good but moral complacency is the most dangerous habit of mind we can develop, and that danger is serious and ever-present." - Joseph Grew, fully Joseph Clark Grew

"Mutual complacency is the atmosphere of conjugal love." -

"Complacency is the enemy of study. We cannot really learn anything until we rid ourselves of complacency." -

"Pride looks back upon its past deeds, and calculating with nicety what it has done, it commits itself to rest; whereas humility looks to that which is before, and discovering how much ground remains to be trodden, it is active and vigilant. Having gained one height, pride looks down with complacency on that which is beneath it; humility looks up to a higher and yet higher elevation. The one keeps us on this earth, which is congenial to its nature; the other directs our eye, and tends to lift us up to heaven." - James McCosh

"Self-complacency is the companion of ignorance." - Solomon Schecter

"Complacency is the enemy of progress." - David Stutman

"It is said that it is far more difficult to hold and maintain leadership (liberty) than it is to attain it. Success is a ruthless competitor for it flatters and nourishes our weaknesses and lulls us into complacency." -

"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

"It is said that it is far more difficult to hold and maintain leadership [liberty] than it is to attain it. Success is a ruthless competitor for it flatters and nourishes our weaknesses and lulls us into complacency." -

"For Goebbels, anxiety was a double-edged sword: too much anxiety could produce panic and demoralization, too little could lead to complacency and inactivity. An attempt was constantly made, therefore, to achieve a balance between the two extremes." - Leonard W. Doob, fully Leonard William Doob

"Opulence breeds complacency. The more things we have all around us, the less individual meaning any of them has." - Kenneth Hanson, aka Ken Hanson

"In the midst of our applauding the feats of civilization, the Bible flings itself like a knife slashing our complacency; remind us that God, too, has a voice in history." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"It is only in the depths of crisis and despair that the fear of losing one’s personality breeds millennial hopes of rescue: otherwise, complacency prevails." - Stanley Hoffmann and Inge Hoffmann

"People are either driven to action or complacency, mission or rust. You’re either participating in the Game of Life or you’re watching it from the grandstands. Herein lies a crucial difference. A champion plays the game: a spectator observes, criticizes and never really gets to live. A champion knows what he or she wants and goes after it with carefully calculated goals and no-holds-barred action. A spectator feels that his or her life is not their own. They let others dictate their destiny. They become victims of life instead of masters of it.”" - Bruce Jenner, fully William Bruce Jenner

"It is in the nature of political bodies always to see the evil in the opposite group, just as the individual has an ineradicable tendency to get rid of everything he does not know and does not want to know about himself by foisting it off on somebody else… Nothing has a more diverse and alienating effect upon society than this moral complacency and lack of responsibility, and nothing promotes understanding and rapprochement more than the mutual withdrawal of projections." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"Complacency is the enemy. We cannot really learn anything until we rid ourselves of complacency. Our attitude towards ourselves should be “insatiable in learning” and towards others to be “tireless in teaching.”" - Mao Tse-tung, alternatively Zedong, Ze dong, aka Chairman Mao

"The tragedy of life is not found in failure but complacency. Not in you doing too much, but doing too little. Not in you living above your means, but below your capacity. Never failure but low aim, is life greatest tragedy." - Benjamin E. Mayes

"Complacency is the enemy. We cannot really learn anything until we rid ourselves of complacency. Our attitude towards ourselves should be "insatiable in learning" and towards others to be "tireless in teaching."" -

"Today. Mend a quarrel. Search out a friend. Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust. Write a love letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in a word or deed. Keep a promise. Find the time. Forego a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand. Flout envy. Examine demands on others. Think first of someone else. Appreciate, be kind, be gentle. Laugh a little more. Deserve confidence. Take up arms against malice. Decry complacency. Express your gratitude. Worship your God. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it again. Still speak it again. Speak it still once again." - Author Unknown NULL

"Nothing about his life is more strange to [man] or more unaccountable in purely mundane terms than the stirrings he finds in himself, usually fitful but sometimes overwhelming, to look beyond his animal existence and not be fully satisfied with its immediate substance. He lacks the complacency of the other animals: he is obsessed by pride and guilt, pride at being something more than a mere animal, built at falling short of the high aims he sets for himself." - Lewis Mumford

"The final test of religious faith... is whether it will enable men to endure insecurity without complacency or despair, whether it can so interpret the ancient verities that they will not become mere escape hatches from responsibilities but instruments of insights into what civilization means." - Reinhold Niebuhr, fully Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

"The tragedy of ignorance is its complacency." - Robert Quillen, fully Verni Robert Quillen

"Complacency makes one as guilty as those who destroy the Earth." - Tom Brown, Jr.

"Overcoming complacency is crucial at the start of any change process, and it often requires a little bit of surprise, something that grabs attention at more than an intellectual level. You need to surprise people with something that disturbs their view that everything is perfect." - John Kotter, fully John Paul Kotter

"My dear friend, clear your mind of can't." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Only when we see ourselves in our true human context, as members of a race which is intended to be one organism and “one body,” will we begin to understand the positive importance not only of the successes but of the failures and accidents in our lives. My successes are not my own. The way to them was prepared by others. The fruit of my labors is not my own: for I am preparing the way for the achievements of another. Nor are my failures my own. They may spring from failure of another, but they are also compensated for by another’s achievement. Therefore the meaning of my life is not to be looked for merely in the sum total of my own achievements. It is seen only in the complete integration of my achievements and failures with the achievements and failures of my own generation, and society, and time." - Thomas Merton

"I often wish I'd got on better with your father,' he said." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"The abjectly poor, and all those person whose energies are entirely absorbed by the struggle for daily sustenance, are conservative because they cannot afford the effort of taking thought for the day after tomorrow; just as the highly prosperous are conservative because they have small occasion to be discontented with the situation as it stands today." - Thorstein Veblen, fully Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born Torsten Bunde Veblen

"I shall attempt to prove two things: first, that the actions and dispositions of mankind are the offspring of circumstances and events, and not of any original determination that they bring into the world; and, secondly, that the great stream of our voluntary actions essentially depends, not upon the direct and immediate impulses of sense, but upon the decisions of the understanding." - William Godwin

"Five are the varieties of obstruction; the varieties of infirmity due to organic defect are twenty-eight; complacency is nine-fold and attainment is eight-fold." - Ishvarakrishna, aka Iśvarakṛṣṇa NULL

"Formed for the sake of the purpose of the Self (purusha), the subtle body (linga) appears in different roles like adramatic performer, owing to the connection of causes and effects and through conjunction with the universal power of Nature (prakriti)." - Ishvarakrishna, aka Iśvarakṛṣṇa NULL

"Non-discriminativeness and the rest are proved by the existence of the three gunas and by the non-existence of these in their absence. The unmanifest is demonstrated by the effect possessing the properties of the cause." - Ishvarakrishna, aka Iśvarakṛṣṇa NULL

"This Secret Doctrine (guhya) leading to the emancipation of the Self, and wherein the origin, duration and dissolution of beings has been considered, has been fully expounded by the great Seer (paramarishi) Kapila." - Ishvarakrishna, aka Iśvarakṛṣṇa NULL