Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Contrast

"How mysterious in this human life, with all its diversities of contrast and compensation; this web of checkered destinies,; this sphere of manifold allotment, where man lives in his greatness and grossness, a little lower than the angels, a little higher than the brutes." - Henry Giles

"Nothing serves better to illustrate a man’s character than the things which he finds ridiculous. the ridiculous arises from a moral contrast which is innocently placed before the senses. The sensual man will often laugh when there is nothing to laugh at. Whatever it may be that moves him, he will always reveal the fact that he is pleased with himself." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"I have often seen individuals who simply outgrow a problem which had destroyed others. This ‘outgrowing’, revealed itself on further experience to be the raising of the level of consciousness. Some higher or wider interest arose on the person’s horizon, and through the widening of his view, the insoluble problem, lost its urgency. It was not solved logically in its own terms, but faded out in contrast to a new and strong life-tendency. It was not repressed and made unconscious, but merely appeared in a different light, and so became different itself. What, on a lower level, had led the wildest conflicts and emotions full of panic, viewed from the higher level of the personality, now seemed like a storm in the valley seen from a high mountain top. This does not mean that the thunderstorm is robbed of its reality; it means that instead of being in it, one is now above it." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"Marriage is not a union merely between two creatures - it is a union between two spirits; and the intention of that bond is to perfect the nature of both, by supplementing their deficiencies with the force of contrast, giving to each sex those excellencies in which it is naturally deficient; to the one, strength of character and firmness of moral will; to the other, sympathy, meekness, tenderness; and just so solemn and glorious as these ends are for which the union was intended, just so terrible are the consequences if it be perverted and abused; for there is no earthly relationship which has so much power to ennoble and exalt." -

"It is one thing... to remember, another to know. To remember is to safeguard something entrusted to your memory, whereas to know, by contrast, is actually to make each item your own, and not to be dependent on some original an be constantly looking to see what the master said." -

"One of the favorite maxims of my father was the distinction between the two sorts of truths, profound truths recognized by the fact that the opposite is also a profound truth, in contrast to trivialities where opposites are obviously absurd." - Niels Bohr, fully Aage Niels Bohr

"The more a man desirous to pass at a value above his worth, and can, by dignified silence, contrast with the garrulity of trivial minds, the more will the world give him credit for the wealth he does not possess." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"We are so made, that we can only derive intense enjoyment from a contrast, and only very little from a state of things." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"It is impossible to conceive any contrast more entire and absolute than that which exists between a heart glowing with love to God, and a heart in which the love of money has cashiered all sense of God - His love, His presence, His glory; and which is no sooner relieved from the mockery of a tedious round of religious formalism than it reverts to the sanctuaries where its wealth is invested, with an intenseness of homage surpassing that of the most devout Israelite who ever, from a foreign land, turned his longing eyes toward Jerusalem." - Richard Fuller

"Humor results from the contrast between a thing as it is and a thing smashed out of shape, as it ought not to be." - Melvin "Mel" Helitzer

"The sphere of poetry does not lie outside the world as a fantastic impossibility spawned by a poet’s brain: it desires to be just the opposite, the unvarnished expression of the truth, and must precisely for that reason discard the mendacious finery of that alleged reality of the man of culture. The contrast between this real truth of nature and the lie of culture that poses as if it were the only reality is similar to that between the eternal core of things, the thing-in-itself, and the whole world of appearances." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"[Paraphrase from “Brain and Mind” article] “Local” healing reflects information from subtle bioenergy fields. By contrast, healing that appears non-local in space and time may be mediated by “information associated with conscious intention”... In electromagnetic healing... the living human organism contains many highly sensitive natural oscillators that join to form a collective “biofield.” This field is “a collective property of the organism and cannot be reduced to biomolecular events.” In this case, information is transmitted by external fields of similar frequency, with healing occurring through a “tuning” effect... “Information is about relationship and exists only in relationship.” Therefore, information grounded in love - “the highest-quality relationship” - may produce healing by overcoming information originated from the more mechanical levels of physical organization... “For science and medicine to embrace life’s full capacity and the full human potential we need to go beyond mechanical concepts that were developed for machines.”" - Beverly Rubik

"In its purest form music is not a representational but rather a nonobjective, nonverbal world, it is a world of its own, almost a creatio ex hihilo, an occasion for immediacy of experience, a nonreducible mode of beauty, of contrast and resolution, of order and ecstasy flowing through and beyond the order. Order, and ecstasy rooted in order: that sounds like the relation between law and love, law and gospel." - James Luther Adams

"While good habits are hard to acquire, they become easy to live with; in contrast, bad habits come slowly and easily abut are hard to live with. You acquire bad habits by choices – choose good habits and they make you. Choose bad habits and they break you." - Tom Butler-Bowdon

"So long as all the increased wealth which modern progress brings goes but to build up great fortunes, to increase luxury and make sharper the contrast between the House of Have and the House of Want, progress is not real and cannot be permanent. The reaction must come. The tower leans from its foundation, and every new story but hastens the final catastrophe." - Henry George

"For the seeker, contrast is the mother of clarity." - Os Guiness

"The divine in the creation is only adequately represented when the whole of the time-process is gathered up into its final meaning and purpose, when, in fact, the mode of becoming is united with the mode of being. This I conceive to be the eternal world – not a world of immobility in contrast with a world of change, but a world in which the antinomy of becoming and being, of motion and rest, is transcended." - William Ralph Inge

"In business, the chief focus is on profitability. Government, by contrast, has no simple bottom line but rather a vast array of interests and priorities, many of which exist in a state of tension or conflict. For that reason, decision making in government is vastly more complex." - Robert Edward Rubin, aka Eddy Rubin

"What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"In contrast to symbiotic union, mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality. Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. In love, the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two." -

"stands in the sharpest possible contrast to freedom," - Alan Wolfe

"A race preserves its vigor so long as it harbors a real contrast between what has been and what may be, and so long as it nerved by the vigor to adventure beyond the safeties of the past. Without adventure, civilization is in full decay." - Alfred North Whitehead

"Opposed elements stand to each other in mutual requirement. In their unity, they inhibit or contrast. God and the World stand to each other in this opposed requirement. God is the infinite ground of all mentality, the unity of vision seeking physical multiplicity. The World is the multiplicity of finites, actualities, seeking a perfected unity. Neither God, nor the World, reaches static completion. Both are in the grip of the ultimately metaphysical ground, the creative advance into novelty. Either of them, God and the World, is the instrument of novelty for the other." - Alfred North Whitehead

"A race preserves its vigor so long as it harbors a real contrast between what has been and what may be, and so long as it is nerved by the vigor to adventure beyond the safeties of the past. Without adventure, civilization is in full decay." - Alfred North Whitehead

"The whole record of civilization is a record of the failure of money as a higher incentive. The enormous majority of men never make any serious effort to get rich. The few who are sordid enough to do so easily become millionaires with a little luck, and astonish the others by the contrast between their riches and their stupidity... The belief in money as an incentive is founded on the observation that people will do for money what they will not do for anything else." - George Bernard Shaw

"The notion that there is and can be but one time, and that half of it is always intrinsically past and the other half always intrinsically future, belongs to the normal pathology of an animal mind: it marks the egoistical outlook of an active being endowed with imagination. Such a being will project the moral contrast produced by his momentary absorption in action upon the conditions and history of that action, and upon the universe at large. A perspective of hope and one of reminiscence divide for him a specious eternity; and for him the dramatic centre of existence, though always a different point in physical time, will always be precisely in himself." - George Santayana

"As satisfying as pleasure is, it is also transitory and superficial. Pleasure is an event. In contrast, happiness is a process. Pleasure is material. Happiness is spiritual. Pleasure is self-involved. Happiness involves others." - Laura Schlesinger, fully Laura Catherine Schlessinger, aka Dr. Laura

"Creative people have always felt separated from their societies. It’s as if they see too well the contrast between what is and what could be." - Marilyn Ferguson

"No poet, no artist, of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead. I mean this as a principle of aesthetic, not merely historical, criticism. The necessity that he shall conform, that he shall cohere, is not one-sided; what happens when a new work of art is created is something that happens simultaneously to all the works of art which preceded it. The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which is modified by the introduction of the new (the really new) work of art among them." - T. S. Eliot, fully Thomas Sterns Eliot

"Philosophy is concerned with that which is, in contrast with that which seems to be. Its aim is to reveal the reality which underlies appearance." - John Grier Hibben

"In contrast to symbiotic union, mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality. Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. In love, the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two. " - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"Among most Christians the Old Testament is little read in comparison to the New Testament. Furthermore, much of what is read is often distorted by prejudice. Frequently the Old Testament is believed to express exclusively the principles of justice and revenge, in contrast to the New Testament, which represents those of love and mercy; even the sentence, "Love your neighbor as yourself,” is thought by many to derive from the New, not the Old Testament. Or the Old Testament is believed to have been written exclusively in the spirit of narrow nationalism and to contain nothing of supranational universalism so characteristic of the New Testament." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"Wisdom is passionless. But faith by contrast is what Kierkegaard calls a passion." - Ludwig Wittgenstein, fully Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein

"As society is only possible if everyone, while living his own life, at the same time helps others to live; if every individual is simultaneously means and end; if each individual's well-being is simultaneously the condition necessary to the well-being of others, it is evident that the contrast between I and thou, means and end, automatically is overcome." - Ludwig von Mises, fully Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises

"But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. The large house in which we live demands that we transform this world-wide neighborhood into a world – wide brotherhood. Together we must learn to live as brothers or together we will be forced to perish as fools. We must work passionately and indefatigably to bridge the gulf between our scientific progress and our moral progress. One of the great problems of mankind is that we suffer from a poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Mysticism intends a state of "possession," not action, and the individual is not a tool but a "vessel" of the divine. Action in the world must thus appear as endangering the absolutely irrational and other-worldly religious state. Active asceticism operates within the world; rationally active asceticism, in mastering the world, seeks to tame what is creatural and wicked through work in a worldly "vocation" (inner-worldly asceticism). Such asceticism contrasts radically with mysticism, if the latter draws the full conclusion of fleeing from the world (contemplative flight from the world). The contrast is tempered, however, if active asceticism confines itself to keeping down and to overcoming creatural wickedness in the actor's own nature. For then it enhances the concentration on the firmly established God-willed and active redemptory accomplishments to the point of avoiding any action in the orders of the world (asceticist flight from the world). Thereby active asceticism in external bearing comes close to contemplative flight from the world. The contrast between asceticism and mysticism is also tempered if the contemplative mystic does not draw the conclusion that he should flee from the world, but, like the inner-worldly asceticist, remain in the orders of the world (inner-worldly mysticism). In both cases the contrast can actually disappear in practice and some combination of both forms of the quest for salvation may occur. But the contrast may continue to exist even under the veil of external similarity. For the true mystic the principle continues to hold: the creature must be silent so that God may speak." - Max Weber, formally Maximilian Carl Emil Weber

"The contrast between Leonardo and Michelangelo is an allegory of the arts of modern times. Leonardo left copious notes of his observations on nature and the world around him, but little about his feelings or his inner life. Michelangelo, in his letters, his poetry, in biographies by his friends and students Vasari and Condivi, in conversations with Francisco de Hollanda and others, left us vivid revelations and eloquent chronicles of himself. Leonardo, the self-styled "disciple of experience," was a hero of the effort to re-create the world from the shapes and forms and sensations out there. But Michelangelo, prophet of the sovereign self, found mysterious resources within. These two greatest figures of Italian Renaissance art dramatized a modern movement from craftsman to artist. If Leonardo could be called the Aristotle—practical-minded organizer and surveyor of experience—Michelangelo would be the Plato, seeker after the perfect idea." - Michelangelo Antonioni, Cavaliere di Gran Croce

"I do not cite the contrast between the world of ideas and the world of practice as a reason for either dismay or pessimism; on the contrary…there always is and always has been a long lag between a change in the climate of opinion and a change in actual policy." - Milton Friedman, fully John Milton Friedman

"We do not have to construct elaborate rationales to explain why human beings ought to treat one another as positively as our situation permits. Ethical life is not separate from and alien to the physical world. Because we human beings are in the world, not mere spectators watching from outside it, our social instincts and the reflective elaboration of them are also in the world. Pragmatists and care theorists agree on this. The ought – better, the “I ought” – arises directly in lived experience. “Oughtness,” one might say, is part of our “isness.”… In contrast “ethical” caring does have to be summoned. The “I ought” arises but encounters conflict: An inner voice grumbles, “I ought but I don’t want to,” or “Why should I respond?” or “This guy deserves to suffer, so why should I help?” On these occasions we need not turn to a principle; more effectively we turn to our memories of caring and being cared for and a picture or ideal of ourselves as carers… Ethical caring’s great contribution is to guide action long enough for natural caring to be restored and for people once again to interact with mutual and spontaneous regard. " - Nel Noddings

"My whole life is woven of threads which are in blatant contrast to my principles. … I love self-chosen poverty, and live among rich people; I avoid all honors, and yet some have come to me. … I believe that illusions are necessary to man, yet live without illusion; I believe that the passions are more profitable than reason, and yet no longer know what passion is." - Nicolas Chamfort,fully Sébastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort, also spelled Nicholas

"So we find that the three possible solutions of the great problem of increasing human energy are answered by the three words: food, peace, work. Many a year I have thought and pondered, lost myself in speculations and theories, considering man as a mass moved by a force, viewing his inexplicable movement in the light of a mechanical one, and applying the simple principles of mechanics to the analysis of the same until I arrived at these solutions, only to realize that they were taught to me in my early childhood. These three words sound the key-notes of the Christian religion. Their scientific meaning and purpose now clear to me: food to increase the mass, peace to diminish the retarding force, and work to increase the force accelerating human movement. These are the only three solutions which are possible of that great problem, and all of them have one object, one end, namely, to increase human energy. When we recognize this, we cannot help wondering how profoundly wise and scientific and how immensely practical the Christian religion is, and in what a marked contrast it stands in this respect to other religions. It is unmistakably the result of practical experiment and scientific observation which have extended through the ages, while other religions seem to be the outcome of merely abstract reasoning. Work, untiring effort, useful and accumulative, with periods of rest and recuperation aiming at higher efficiency, is its chief and ever-recurring command. Thus we are inspired both by Christianity and Science to do our utmost toward increasing the performance of mankind. This most important of human problems I shall now specifically consider." - Nikola Tesla

"Kriya, controlling the mind directly through the life force, is the easiest, most effective, and most scientific avenue of approach to the Infinite. In contrast to the slow, uncertain ‘bullock cart’ theological path to God, Kriya Yoga may justly be called the ‘airplane’ route." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"The source of wisdom and power, of love and beauty, is within ourselves, but not within our egos. It is within our consciousness. Indeed, its presence provides us with a conscious contrast which enables us to speak of the ego as if it were something different and apart: it is the true Self whereas the ego is only an illusion of the mind. " - Paul Brunton, born Hermann Hirsch, wrote under various pseudonyms including Brunton Paul, Raphael Meriden and Raphael Delmonte

"What had already been done for music by the end of the eighteenth century has at last been begun for the pictorial arts. Mathematics and physics furnished the means in the form of rules to be followed and to be broken. In the beginning it is wholesome to be concerned with the functions and to disregard the finished form. Studies in algebra, in geometry, in mechanics characterize teaching directed towards the essential and the functional, in contrast to apparent. One learns to look behind the façade, to grasp the root of things. One learns to recognize the undercurrents, the antecedents of the visible. One learns to dig down, to uncover, to find the cause, to analyze." - Paul Klee

"As we move nearer and nearer to contemporary art, we are well-nigh shocked by the contrast we encounter. Art becomes increasingly a commodity manufactured primarily for the market ...aimed almost exclusively at utility, relaxation, diversion and amusement, the stimulation of jaded nerves, or sexual excitation. ...It has to disregard virtually all religious and moral values, because these are rarely `amusing' and `entertaining' in the same sense as wine and women. Hence it comes to be more and more divorced from truly cultural values and turns into an empty art... at once amoral, nonreligious, and nonsocial, and often antimoral, antireligious and antisocial - a mere gilded shell to toy with in moments of relaxation." - Pitirim A. Sorokin, fully Pitirim Alexandrovich (Alexander) Sorokin

"Given the cultural barriers to intersex conversation, the amazing thing is that we would even expect women and men to have anything to say to each other for more than ten minutes at a stretch. The barriers are ancient -- perhaps rooted, as some paleontologist may soon discover, in the contrast between the occasional guttural utterances exchanged in male hunting bands and the extended discussions characteristic of female food-gathering groups. " - Barbara Ehrenreich, born Barbara Alexander

"While men represent powerful activity as assertion and aggression, women in contrast portray acts of nurturance as acts of strength." - Carol Gilligan

"A little reflection soon shows how inconceivable it is really to love others (not merely to need them), if one cannot love oneself as one really is. And how could a person do that if, from the very beginning, he has had no chance to experience his true feelings and to learn to know himself? For the majority of sensitive people, the true self remains deeply and thoroughly hidden. But how can you love something you do not know, something that has never been loved? So it is that many a gifted person lives without any notion of his or her true self. Such people are enamored of an idealized, conforming, false self. They will shun their hidden and lost true self, unless depression makes them aware of its loss or psychosis confronts them harshly with that true self, whom they now have to face and to whom they are delivered up, helplessly, as to a threatening stranger. In the following pages I am trying to come closer to the origins of this loss of the self. While doing so, I shall not use the term narcissism. However, in my clinical descriptions, I shall speak occasionally of a healthy narcissism and depict the ideal case of a person who is genuinely alive, with free access to the true self and his authentic feelings. I shall contrast this with narcissistic disorders, with the true self's solitary confinement within the prison of the false self. This I see less as an illness than as tragedy, and it is my aim in this book to break away from judgmental, isolating, and therefore discriminating terminology." - Alice Miller, née Rostovski

"It strikes me as unfair, and even in bad taste, to select a few of them for boundless admiration, attributing superhuman powers of mind and character to them. This has been my fate, and the contrast between the popular estimate of my powers and achievements and the reality is simply grotesque." - Albert Einstein

"Is Humanism a religion, perhaps, the next great religion? Yes, it must be so characterized, for the word, religion, has become a symbol for answers to that basic interrogation of human life, the human situation, and the nature of things---which every human being, in some degree and in some fashion, makes. What can I expect from life? What kind of universe is it? Is there, as some say, a friendly Providence in control of it? And, if not, what then? The universe of discourse of religion consists of such questions, and the answers relevant to them. Christian theism and Vedantic mysticism are but historic frameworks in relation to which answers have in the past been given to these poignant and persistent queries. But there is nothing sacrosanct and self-certifying about these frameworks. What Humanism represents is the awareness of another framework, more consonant with wider and deeper knowledge about man and his world. The Humanist movement is engaged in formulating answers, with what wisdom it can achieve, to these basic questions. It would be absurd to expect complete novelty in either framework or answers. Many people throughout the ages have had a shrewd suspicion that established beliefs were insecurely based. Humanism at its best represents a growth and a maturing of its perspective...I fear that the orthodox idea of religion is something static and given---once for all. The Humanist thinks of his answers as responsible ones, that is, responsible to the best thought and knowledge on the subjects involved. He [they are] is always ready for honest debate... I want to contrast the perspective of Humanism with that of traditional rationalism...There is no Humanist who does not appreciate with respect and admiration the moving story of the Gospels. Seen as one of the culminations of Judaism in the setting of the Roman Empire, it speaks to us of nobility of soul, human love, pity, and comradeship; and this among everyday people fired by moral and religious leadership of high quality. The heroic and the earthly touch meet, and mingle; and so it has been ever since... What have the intervening centuries made possible? The gradual disentangling of ethical principle and example from both the early framework of belief and the later ecclesiastical development of power and dogma which supervened. But the notes of love and self-sacrifice remain as perennial chords. This also, is greatly human. The older rationalism was on the defensive. And so it expressed itself too often in negative terms: not this; not that; not God; not revelation; not personal immortality. What Humanism signified was a shift from negation to construction. There came a time when naturalism no longer felt on the defensive. Rather, supernaturalism began, it its eyes, to grow dim and fade out despite all the blustering and rationalizations of its advocates." - R. W. Sellars, fully Roy Wood Sellars