Great Throughts Treasury

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


"To love without criticism is to be betrayed." - Djuna Chappell Barnes

"Criticism and dissent are the indispensable antidote to major delusions." - Alan Barth

"The most destructive criticism is indifference." - E. W. Howe, fully Edgar Watson Howe

"Criticism is a study by which men grow important and formidable at very small expense." -

"Both the saint and the scientist must possess the same qualities in order to attain their ideals. But these qualities are selfless devotion, a meticulous love of truth, infinite patience, thoroughness, and a depth of mind which does not resent criticism. Without these qualities neither of the two can reach his goal. It is my firm belief that the goal which both science and religion reach by different routes is one and the same." - B. C. Kher

"People ask for criticism, but they only want praise." -

"The greater one's love for a person the less room for flattery. The proof of true love is to be unsparing in criticism." - Molière, pen name of Jean Baptiste Poquelin NULL

"We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticizes us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"The exercise of criticism always destroys for a time our sensibility to beauty by leading us to regard the work in relation to certain laws of construction. The eye turns from the charms of nature to fix itself upon the servile dexterity of art." - Archibald Alison

"Imitation is criticism." - William Blake

"Only paper flowers are afraid of the rain. We are not afraid of the noble rain of criticism because with it will flourish the magnificent garden of music." - Konstanin Dankevich or Dankevych

"The mere observing of a thing is no use whatsoever. Observing turns into beholding, beholding to thinking, thinking into establishing connections, so that one may say that every attentive glance we cast on the world is an act of theorizing. However, this ought to be done consciously, with self-criticism, with freedom, and, to use a daring word, with irony." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The test of democracy is freedom of criticism." -

"Love without criticism is not love." - Jose ben Hanina, or Rabbi Yossi bar Hanina

"Education: To be at home in all lands and ages; to count Nature as a familiar acquaintance and Art an intimate friend; to gain a standard for the appreciation of other men's work and the criticism of one's own; to carry the keys of the world's library in one's pocket, and feel its resources behind one in whatever task he undertakes; to make hosts of friends among the men of one's own age who are the leaders in all walks of life; to lose oneself in general enthusiasms and co-operate with others for common ends." - William De Witt Hyde

"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger." -

"Let us be clear: censorship is cowardice… It masks corruption. It is a school of torture: its teaches, and accustoms one to the use of force against an idea, to submit thought to an alien “other.” But worst still, censorship destroys criticism, which is the essential ingredient of culture." - Pablo Antonio Cuadra

"Bitter is the criticism for which, with the best of wills, we can derive no benefit." -

"Every new idea will… be troublesome to [the individual’s] entire being. He will defend himself against it because it threatens to destroy his certainties. He thus actually comes to hate everything opposed to what propaganda has made him acquire. Propaganda has created in him a system of opinions and tendencies which may not be subjected to criticism… Incidentally, this refusal to listen to new ideas usually takes on a vigorous propaganda will declare that all new ideas are propaganda." - Jacques Ellul

"The trite saying that honesty is the best policy is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy." -

"We know tradition as a living social process constantly changing, constantly in need of criticism, but constant also as the continuing memory, value system and habit structure of a society." - Richard Niebuhr, fully Helmut Richard Niebuhr

"All instruction, all criticism, every reduction in choice, every manifestation of hierarchy, every act of secrecy subtly lowers people’s self-belief. Coaching, trust, openness, respect, authentic praise, freedom of choice and, of course, success raise it." - John Whitmore, fully Sir John Whitmore

"A lively, disinterested, persistent looking for truth is extraordinarily rare. Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not to be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism or doubt" -

"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

"I know quite certainly that I myself have no special talent; curiosity, obsession and dogged endurance, combined with self-criticism have brought me to my ideas." - Albert Einstein

"To escape criticism - do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." -

"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." -

"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger." - Franklin P. Jones

"It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of high maturity, to rise to the level of self-criticism." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I have yet to find the man, however exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism." - Charles Schwab, fully Charles R. "Chuck" Schwab

"You have to remain cool under fire and let criticism roll off you. Good leaders handle conflict easily and bad ones are eaten up by it." - Donald Trump

"Self-criticism is the secret weapon of democracy." - Adlai Ewing Stevenson

"Self-criticism is the secret weapon of democracy." -

"Self-criticism is the secret weapon of democracy." -

"Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departures as a criticism of themselves. They will pardon much unconventionality in a man who has enough jollity and friendliness to make it clear, even to the stupidest, that he is not engaged in criticizing them." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"The test of democracy is freedom of criticism." - David Ben-Gurion, born David Grün

"The chief must form time to time familiarize himself with the whole record; he must consider opposing views, put forward as much as possible. He must examine the proponents vigorously and convince them that he knows the record, is intolerant of superficiality or of favor-seeking, and not only welcomes but demands criticism." - Dean Acheson, fully Dean Gooderham Acheson

"To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." - Elbert Green Hubbard

"To escape criticism--do nothing, say nothing, be nothing." - Elbert Green Hubbard

"Tomes of aesthetic criticism hang on a few moments of real delight and intuition." - George Santayana

"You do not get a man's most effective criticism until you provoke him. Severe truth is expressed with some bitterness." - Henry David Thoreau, born David Henry Thoreau

"Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies in dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive." - Henry Steele Commager

"If our democracy is to flourish, it must have criticism; if our government is to function it must have dissent." - Henry Steele Commager

"Doubtless criticism was originally benignant, pointing out the beauties of a work rather than its defects. The passions of men have made it malignant, as the bad heart of Procrustes turned the bed, the symbol of repose, into an instrument of torture." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"The foundation of irreligious criticism is this: man makes religion; religion does not make man. Religion is, in fact, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet gained himself or has lost himself again... The wretchedness of religion is at once an express of and a protest against real wretchedness. Religion is the sigh of the opposed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." - Karl Marx

"Science must begin with myths: with the criticism of myths." - Karl Popper, fully Sir Karl Raimund Popper

"Miserable indeed is a world in which we have knowledge without understanding, criticism without appreciation, beauty without love, truth without passion, righteousness without mercy, and courtesy without a warm heart!" - Lin Yutang

"Art is a criticism of society and life, and I believe that if life became perfect, art would be meaningless and cease to exist." - Naguib Mahfouz

"Our civilization has been founded on the notion of criticism: there is nothing sacred or untouchable except the freedom to think. Without criticism, that is to say, without rigor and experimentation, there is no science; without criticism there is no art or literature. I would also say that without criticism there is no healthy society." - Octavio Paz, born Octavio Paz Lozano

"Works of art are of an infinite solitariness, and nothing is less likely to bring us near to them than criticism. Only love can apprehend and hold them, and be just toward them." - Rainer Maria Rilke, full name René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke