Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Desire

"True friendship... always involves the dominance of benevolent impulses, tending toward the benefit of the beloved, whereas the counterfeits of friendship spring primarily or purely from acquisitive desire - seeking something for one’s self." - Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren

"The essence of envy is a deep desire to be someone else. In its extreme form it is a complete nullification of oneself." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"When you have desires to do something wrong, you might feel so embarrassed with yourself for not being on a higher level that you try to repress those desires and forget about them. This is a mistake since it is not dealing with the problem but covering it up. Ignoring your inner feelings and reactions is dangerous. Be aware of what you desire, and have a dialogue with yourself to overcome it." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"Perfection does not exist. To understand it is the triumph of human intelligence; to desire to possess it is the most dangerous kind of madness." -

"Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. they have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the will." -

"Desire for knowledge is the path of honor: desire for wealth is the path of dishonor. Wealth is the chain that slaves wear; knowledge the kingly crown." - Khajah Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Abu Ismaïl Abdullah ibn Abi-Mansour Mohammad or Khajah Abdullah Ansari of Herat

"If we desire to live securely, comfortably, and quietly, that by all honest means we should endeavor to purchase the good will of all men, and provoke no man’s enmity needlessly; since any man’s love may be useful, and every man’s hatred is dangerous." - Isaac Barrow

"The true way to gain much, is never to desire to gain too much. He is not rich that possesses much, but he that covets no more; and he is not poor that enjoys little, but he that wants too much." - Francis Beaumont

"Man transcends death by finding meaning in his life... It is the burning desire for the creature to count... What man really fears is not so much extinction, but extinction with insignificance." - Ernest Becker

"Pride makes us esteem ourselves; vanity makes us desire the esteem of others." - Hugh Blair

"The trouble of the many and various aims of mortal men bring them much care, and herein they go forward by different paths but strive to reach one end, which is happiness. And that good is that, to which if any man attain, he can desire nothing further... Happiness is a state which is made perfect by the union of all good things. This end all men seek to reach, as I said, though by different paths. For there is implanted by nature in the minds of men a desire for the true good; but error leads them astray towards false goods by wrong paths." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"I had the opportunity to deliver babies... In each of these numinous moments, I knew that life had meaning; each experience was accompanied by an upwelling of gratitude and humility. These moments, which can be called an experience of the self, or archetype of meaning, are akin to the act of finally seeing the Holy Grail after a long quest... It is through these moments of grace and gratitude that we acquire a sense of meaning and a desire to live a meaningful life. The personal challenge is now." - Jean Shinoda Bolen

"Those who, from the desire of our perfection, have the keenest eye for our faults generally compensate for it by taking a higher view of our merits than we deserve." -

"Coquetry is the desire to inspire love without experiencing it yourself." -

"Most people spend most of their days doing what they do not want to do in order to earn the right, at times, to do what they may desire." -

"The greater the obstacle, the stronger the desire." - Jean de La Bruyère

"We believe easily what we fear or what we desire." - Jean de La Bruyère

"A thousand logical statements will be destroyed in the face of one light desire. When a person’s desires overcome his intellect, he becomes an idiot... It is a daily occurrence that people who follow their desires do foolish things that will destroy them both in this world and the next." - Yehuda Leib Chasman

"At times, laziness is the root of taking action. When we feel an urge to give in to a desire, we might hear a whisper telling us that something is not right. Laziness, however, prevents us from fighting that desire and we give in to our bad habit." - Chazon Ish, named Rabbi Avraham Yeshayahu Karelitz

"It is a shame for a man to desire honor because of his noble progenitors, and not to deserve it by his own virtue." - John Chrysostom, fully Saint John Chrysostom

"The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency." -

"In reality a major part of pleasure in obtaining things is overcoming the obstructions that stood in our way. Once we realize this, we will be able to decrease our desire for those things that are spiritually or physically harmful just by examining them objectively and seeing that we are not missing so much. At the same time, we can gain more pleasure from spiritual accomplishments by focusing on how much we are missing in this area and can feel the sense of accomplishment in overcoming the necessary difficulties." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"It is better to desire the things we have than to have the things we desire." - Henry Van Dyke, fully Henry Jackson Van Dyke

"Friendship is held to be the severest test of character. It is easy, we think, to be loyal to family and clan, whose blood is in our own veins. Love between man and woman is founded on the mating instinct and is not free from desire and self-seeking. But to have a friend, and to be true under any and all trials, is the mark of a man!" - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"The vital force in business life is the honest desire to serve. Business, it is said, is the science of service. He profits most who serves best. At the very bottom of the wish to render service must be honesty of purpose, and, as I go along through life, I see more and more that honesty in word, thought, and work means success. It spells a life worth living and in business clean success." - Abba Eban, born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban

"Exaggerated respect for athletics, an excess of coarse impressions brought about by the technical discoveries of recent years, the increased severity of the struggle for existence due to the economic crisis, the brutalization of political life: all these factors are hostile to the ripening of the character and the desire for real culture, and stamp our age as barbarous, materialistic and superficial." - Albert Einstein

"Perhaps the summary of good-breeding may be reduced to this rule. “Behave unto all men as you would they should behave to you.” This will most certainly oblige us to treat all mankind with the utmost civility and respect, there being nothing that we desire more than to be treated so by them." - Henry Fielding

"The constant desire of pleasing, which is the peculiar quality of some, may be called the happiest of all desires in this, that it scarcely ever fails of attaining its ends, when not disgraced by affection." - Henry Fielding

"To be seeing the world made new every morning, as if it were the morning of the first day, and then to make the most of it for the individual soul, as if it were the last day - is the daily curriculum of the mind's desire." - John H. Finley

"On its highest level man's contemporary desire to escape responsibility expresses itself not in emphasis on luck, or in emotional submission to fate, but in a thoroughgoing deterministic theory, ascribing all personal qualities to heredity and environment." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"The search for truth is, as it always has been, the noblest expression of the human spirit. Man's insatiable desire for knowledge about himself, about his environment and the forces by which he is surrounded, gives life its meaning and purpose, and clothes it with final dignity... And yet we know, deep in our hearts, that knowledge is not enough... Unless we can anchor our knowledge to moral purposes, the ultimate result will be dust and ashes - dust and ashes that will bury the hopes and monuments of men beyond recovery." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"The educability of a young person as a rule comes to an end when sexual desire breaks out in its final strength. Educators know this and act accordingly; but perhaps they will yet allow themselves to be influenced by the results of psycho-analysis so that they will transfer the main emphasis in education to the earliest years of childhood, from the suckling period onward. The little human being is frequently a finished product in his fourth or fifth year, and only gradually reveals in later years what lies buried in him." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"What we give out as scientific truth is only the product of our own needs and desires, as they are formulated under varying external conditions; that is to say, it is illusion once more. Ultimately we find only what we need to find, and see only what we desire to see. We can do nothing else. And since the criterion of truth, correspondence with an external world, disappears, it is absolutely immaterial what views we accept. All of them are equally true and false. And no one has a right to accuse any one else of error." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"The silent influence of books, is a mighty power in the world; and there is a joy in reading them known only to those who read them with desire and enthusiasm. Silent, passive, and noiseless though they be, they yet set in action countless multitudes and change the order of nations." - Henry Giles

"There are two kinds of artist in this world; those that work because the spirit is in them, and they cannot be silent if they would, and those that speak from a conscientious desire to make apparent to other the beauty that has awakened their own admiration." - Anna Katherine Green

"Are there things valuable because desired, or desired because valuable?... Desire is not blind. Understanding is not bloodless. Neither is the slave of the other. There is no priority." - James Patrick Griffin

"Desire is the major cause of every transgression. When a person does something improper, it is because he has a specific desire that was aroused by some trait such as envy, lust, or honor-seeking." - Avraham Grodzinski

"The awakening of our best sympathies, the cultivation of our best and purest tastes, strengthening the desire to be useful and good, and directing youthful ambition to unselfish ends, such are the objects of true education." - J. T. Headley, fully Joel T. Headley

"Nirvana is interpreted by Western nations as the actual annihilation of human desire or passion; but this is a mistake. Nirvana is nothing else than universal reason." - Kinza M. Hirai, fully Kinza Ringe M. Hirai

"Continual success in obtaining those things which a man form time to time desireth, that is to say, continual prospering, is that men call felicity; I mean the felicity of this life. For there is no such thing as perpetual tranquillity of mind, while we live here; because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense." - Thomas Hobbes

"Our nature is inseparable from desires, and the very word “desire” (the craving for something not possessed) implies that our present felicity is not complete." - Thomas Hobbes

"There is no such thing as perpetual tranquillity of mind, while we live here; because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense." - Thomas Hobbes

"I take them to be the only rich man that lives upon what he has, owes nothing, and is contented; for there is no determinate sum of money, nor quantity of estate, that can denote a man rich, since no man is truly rich that has not so much as perfectly satiates his desire of having more; for the desire of more is want, and want is poverty." - E. W. Howe, fully Edgar Watson Howe

"The end of all moral speculations is to teach us our duty; and, by proper representations of deformity of vice, and beauty of virtue, beget correspondent habits, and engage us to avoid the one and embrace the other. But is this ever to be expected from inferences and conclusions of the understanding, which of themselves have no hold of the affections, or set in motion the active powers of men? They discover truths: but where the truths which they discover are indifferent, and beget no desire or aversion, they can have no influence on conduct and behavior." - David Hume

"A large amount of physical pain and suffering is caused by one’s thoughts and behaviors. The desire for food causes people to overeat and consume food that is harmful to their health. Envy, anger, and honor-seeking lead to diseases of the heart, high blood pressure, nervous tension and excessive stress. Moreover, even when you pain is basically caused by physical symptoms, your mental attitude towards the pain can greatly increase or decrease the actual amount of suffering you experience. The pain you suffer from illnesses and injuries is frequently more psychological than physical. A person who learns to master a calm and serene attitude towards life trains himself to tolerate physical pain and the actual suffering is greatly lessened." - Pinchos Hurwitz

"Many people are mistaken about how they can improve their situation. They think they will have peace of mind only when they have obtained everything they desire. But this is erroneous. Gratifying desires does not bring lasting satisfaction. The only path to achieve satisfaction is to stop desiring more things. As long as a person is unable to control his desiring, his problems will not be overcome... The only way to find real satisfaction in life is to stop desiring what is beyond your reach." - Yosef Y. Hurwitz

"Mortifications have their reward in a state of consciousness that corresponds, on a lower level, to spiritual beatitude. The artist - and the philosopher and the man of science are also artists - knows the bliss of aesthetic contemplation, discovery and non-attached possession. The goods of the intellect, the emotions and the imagination are real goods; but they are not the final good, and when we treat them as ends in themselves, we fall into idolatry. Mortification of will, desire and action is not enough; there must also be mortification in the fields of knowing, thinking feeling and fancying." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"The human species... capacity for good is infinite, since they can, they desire, make room within themselves for divine Reality. But at the same time their capacity for evil is, not indeed infinite (since evil is always ultimately self-destructive and therefore temporary), but uniquely great. Hell is total separation from God, and the devil is the will to that separation... To be diabolic on the grand scale, one must, like Milton’s Satan, exhibit in a high degree all the moral virtues, except only charity and wisdom." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Humility collects the soul into a single point by the power of silence. A truly humble man has no desire to be known or admired by others, but wishes to plunge from himself into himself, to become nothing, as if he had never been born. When he is completely hidden to himself in himself, he is completely with God." - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"A desire without a deed is a dead end." - Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla