Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Darkness

"Thousands of men breathe, move, and live, pass off the stage of life, and are heard of no more. Why? they do not partake of good in the world, and none were blessed by them; none could point to them as the means of their redemption; not a line they wrote, not a word they spake, could be recalled; and so they perished: their light went out in darkness, and they were not remembered more than insects of yesterday. Will you thus live and die, O man immortal? Live for something. Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storm of time can never destroy. Write your name, in kindness, love, and mercy, on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year: you will never be forgotten. No! your name, your deeds, will be as legible on the hearts you leave behind you as the stars on the brow of evening. Good deeds will shine as the stars of heaven." - Thomas Chalmers

"It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness." - Christopher Society NULL

"Death is the tyrant of the imagination. His reign is in solitude and darkness, in tombs and prisons, over weak hearts and seething brains. He lives, without shape or sound, a phantasm, inaccessible to sight or touch - a ghastly and terrible apprehension." - Barry Cornwall, pseudonymn for Bryan Waller Procter

"A little light will dispel much darkness." - Shneur Zalman of Liadi

"The meaning of man's life lies in his perfecting the universe. He has to distinguish, father and redeem the sparks of holiness scattered throughout the darkness of the world. This service is the motive of all precepts and good deeds." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"To live exuberantly - to fully know and be fully known - we must be prepared to risk lighting a candle to illuminate the darkness of even our most intimate relationships, revealing ourselves and seeing clearly all that is revealed. To grow in our relationships and to expand as individuals within them, we must exchange the glorious unreality of the honeymoon for something even better..." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction... The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?" - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"It may well be that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition is not the glaring noisiness of the so-called bad people, but the appalling silence of the so-called good people. It may be that our generation will have to repent not only for the diabolical actions and vitriolic words of the children of darkness, but also for the crippling fears and tragic apathy of the children of light." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"The most precious of all possessions, is power over ourselves; power to withstand trial, to bear suffering, to front danger; power over pleasure and pain; power to follow convictions, however resisted by menace and scorn; the power of calm reliance in scenes of darkness an storms. He that has not a mastery over his inclinations; he that knows not how to resist the importunity of present pleasure or pain, for the sake of what reason tells him is fit to be done, wants the true principle of virtue and industry, and is in danger of never being good for anything." - John Locke

"There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man’s affections center in himself, and excludes all others from partaking in them, than the desire of accumulating possessions. When the desire has once gotten hold of the heart, it shuts out all other considerations, but such as may promote its views. In its zeal for the attainment of its end, it is not delicate in the choice of means. As it closes the heart, so also it clouds the understanding. It cannot discern between right and wrong; it takes evil for good, and good for evil; it calls darkness light, and light darkness. Beware, then, of the beginning of covetousness, for you know not where it will end." - Richard Mant

"What is the difference between mourning and sadness? Mourning takes hold of one’s heart, but not one’s mind, while sadness takes hold of the mind. Mourning leads to thinking, while sadness stops one’s thoughts. Mourning stems from the light in one’s soul, while sadness comes from the darkness of the soul. Mourning arouses one to life, while sadness brings to the opposite. The Torah obligates mourning when it is appropriate, while it forbids sadness and commands we serve the Almighty with joy." - Moshe Rosenstein, fully Moshe ben Chaim Rosenstein

"To try to be good, and disregard one's darkness, is to fall victim to the evil in ourselves whose existence we have denied." - John A. Sanford, aka Jack

"Eyes will not see when the heart wishes them to be blind. Desire conceals truth as darkness does the earth." -

"A man who is born blind will never know the meaning of darkness." - Veda NULL

"That advance we make after we have been devastated by love may be to be able simply to enter it freely once again, inspite of our suspicions, to draw ever closer to the darkness and hallowness that are mysteriously necessary in love." -

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy." -

"In every visible Creature there is a Body and a Spirit... or, more Active and more Passive Principle, which may fitly be termed Male and Female, by reason of that Analogy a Husband hath with his Wife. For as the ordinary Generation of Men requires a Conjunction and Co-operation of Male and Female; so also all Generations and Productions whatsoever they be, require an Union, and conformable Operation of those Two Principles, to wit, Spirit and Body; but the Spirit is an Eye or Light beholding its own proper Image, and the Body is a Tenebrosity or Darkness receiving that Image, when the Spirit looks thereinto, as when one sees himself in a Looking-Glass; for certainly he cannot so behold himself in the Transparent Air, nor in any Diaphanous Body, because the reflexion of an Image requires a certain opacity or darkness, which we call a Body: Yet to be a Body is not an Essential property of any Thing; as neither is it a Property of any Thing to be dark; for nothing is so dark that nothing else, neither differs any thing from a Spirit, but in that it is more dark; therefore by how much the thicker and grosser it is become, so much the more remote it is from the degree of Spirit, so that this distinction is only modal and gradual, not essential or substantial." - Anne Conway

"There are three wicks you know to the lamp of a man’s life: brain, blood, and breath. Press the brain a little, its light goes out, followed by both the others. Stop the heart a minute, and out go all three of the wicks. Choke the air out of the lungs, and presently the fluid ceases to supply the other centers of flame, and all is soon stagnation, cold and darkness." -

"All consciousness separates; but in dreams we put on the likeness of that more universal, truer, more eternal man dwelling in the darkness of primordial night. There he is still the whole, and the whole is in him, indistinguishable from nature and bare of all ego-hood. Out of these all-uniting depths arises the dream, be it never so childish, grotesque, and immoral... Death is psychologically as important as birth... Shrinking away from it is something unhealthy and abnormal which robs the second half of life of its purpose." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him more appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound." -

"In that fearful loneliness of spirit, when those who should have been his friends and counselors only frown upon his misgivings... and everything seems wrapped in hideous uncertainty, I know but one way in which a man may come forth from his agony scathless: it is by holding fast to those things which are certain still - the grand, simple landmarks of morality. In the darkest hour through which a human soul can pass, whatever is doubtful, this at least is certain. If there be no God and no future state, yet even then, it is better to be generous than selfish, better to be chaste than licentious, better to be true than false, better to be brave than to be a coward. Blessed beyond all earthly blessedness is the man who in the tempestuous darkness of the soul has dared to hold fast to these venerable landmarks." -

"It is the same with understanding as with eyes; to a certain size and make, just so much light is necessary, and no more. Whatever is beyond brings darkness and confusion." - Anthony Ashley Cooper, 3rd Earl of Shaftesbury

"To know our purpose for being here, we have to know who we are. To know who we are, we have to know God who created us... Through knowing God’s love, through prayer, we come to find our best self. Each of us has a call. No two of us are alike in our potential for growth and development... Sometimes we find our meaning from our successes. Sometimes suffering is the prelude to understanding, and we realize that eventually, out of darkness, comes light... I chose to try to know God and to find a deeper meaning in life through sharing my life with others, reaching out and being more vulnerable and open to the stranger, the one in need, the depressed and the ill... The specific purpose each one of us discovers along the way, we do have a common purpose. It is to become part of the life of God; to know, love and serve Him; to come to know and love our brothers and sisters; to be energized and made whole by God’s tremendous love for us in this life and the next, a love that binds us all together." - Gilmary Simmons, born Eileen Catherine Simmons

"Doubt is the disease of this inquisitive, restless age. It is the price we pay for our advanced intelligence and civilization - the dim night of our resplendent day. But as the most beautiful light is born of darkness, so the faith that springs from conflict is often the strongest and the best." - Robert James Turnbull

"Every individual existence is brought into rhythm by a pendulum to which the heart gives type and name. There is a time for expanding and a time for contraction; one provokes the other and the other calls for the return of the first... Never are we nearer the Light than when the darkness is deepest." -

"In Sleep we lie all naked and alone, in Sleep we are united at the heart of night and darkness, and we are strange and beautiful asleep; for we are dying in the darkness, and we know no death." - Thomas Wolfe, fully Thomas Clayton Wolfe

"After rain comes sunshine; after darkness comes the glorious dawn. There is no sorrow without its alloy of joy, there is no joy without its admixture of sorrow. Behind the ugly terrible mask of misfortune lies the beautiful soothing countenance of prosperity. So, tear the mask!" - Obafemi Awolowo, fully Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, commonly known as Awo

"No illumination can sweep all mystery out of the world. After the departed darkness the shadows remain." - Joseph Conrad

"Is it not Satan’s sophism for all time when he says to Eve: “You will be like God, knowing good and evil!” To possess all the light, you must also possess all the darkness! To “know life,” you must have abused it. To attain truth, you must experienced error." -

"We pray that we may come into this Darkness which is beyond light, and, without seeing and without knowing, to see and to know that which is above vision and knowledge." - Dionysus NULL

"The simple, absolute, and unchangeable mysteries of heavenly Truth lie hidden in the dazzling obscurity of the secret Silence, outshining all brilliance with the intensity of their darkness." - Dionysius the Areopagite, aka Saint Dionysius the Areopagite NULL

"The philosophical and religious West has been axial for almost 3,000 years. In the axial model, a sharp distinction was made between this world and a world beyond, and the idea arose that, although, we are in this world, we are not of this world. According to this model, human life is a journey that leads us from appearance to reality, bondage to liberation, confusion to insight, and darkness to light." - Stephen A. Erickson

"Only the conviction that it is the darkness within us which makes the darkness without, can restore the lost peace of our souls." - Friedrich Fröbel, fully Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel

"The darkness of history… conceals alight. Beyond the mystery is meaning. And the meaning is destined to be disclosed." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"When the light of the star which flows into my eyes as a drop of gold first pierced the darkness in space, there was not a single eye on earth looking at the sky." - Nâzım Hikmet

"As far we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"Our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"Religion floods our darkness with a divine light… Religion brings into the focus of attention the two supreme values - God and the human soul." - John A. O’Brien

"The higher part of contemplation, as it may be had here, hangeth all wholly in this darkness and in this cloud of unknowing; with a loving stirring and a blind beholding unto the naked being of God Himself only." - Cloud of Unknowing, full title The Cloud of Unknowing NULL

"I naturally believe there will be a future, but I do not waste my time imagining its radiant beauty… It seems tome that we ought to think first about the present. Even if the present is desperately dark, I do not wish to leave it. Will tomorrow be free from darkness? We’ll talk about that tomorrow." - Lu Xun, or Lu Hsün, pen name of Zhou Shuren

"There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle." - Robert Alden

"Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech. Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness, and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart, and a fruit upon the tree of humility." - Bahai’ Prayer NULL

"To become conscious of what is unconscious and thus to enlarge one's consciousness means to get in touch with reality, and - in this sense - with truth (intellect-ually and affectively). To enlarge consciousness means to wake up, to lift a veil, to leave the cave, to bring light into the darkness. Could this be the same experience Zen Buddhists call "enlightenment?"" -

"When in a room only lit by a candle and the wind blows, you can either enjoy the breeze or loath the darkness." - Rizwan Haroon

"All about me may be silence and darkness, yet within me, in the spirit, is music and brightness, and color flashes through all my thoughts." - Helen Keller. aka Helen Adams Keller

"To him that waits, all things reveal themselves, provided that he has the courage not to deny, in the darkness, what he has seen in the light." -

"It is better to light the candle than to curse the darkness." - Eleanor Roosevelt, fully Anna Eleanor Roosevelt

"To be a member of a crowd is an experience closely akin to alcoholic intoxication. Most human beings feel a craving to escape from the cramping limitations of their ego, to take periodical holidays from their all too familiar, all to squalid little selves. As they do not know how to travel upwards from personality into a region of super-personality and as they are unwilling, even if they do know, to fulfill the ethical, psychological and physiological conditions of self-transcendence, they turn naturally to the descending road, the road that leads down from personality to the darkness of subhuman emotionalism and panic animality." -