Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Discontent

"Discontent is the source of all trouble, but also of all progress in individuals and in nations." - Berthold Auerbach

"Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress." -

"Noble discontent is the path to heaven." - Thomas Wentworth Higginson

"There is no surer formula for discontent than to try to satisfy our cravings for the ocean of Infinite Love from the teacup of finite satisfactions." - Fulton Sheen, fully Archbishop Fulton John Sheen

"Man hath a weary pilgrimage, as through the world he wends; on every stage, from youth to age, still discontent attends." - Robert Southey

"I will this day try to live a simple, sincere, and serene life; repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement, impurity, and self-seeking; cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity, and the habit of holy silence; exercising economy in expenditure, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust, and a childlike trust in God." - John H. Vincent, fully John Heyl Vincent

"Discontent is the source of trouble, but also of progress." - Berthold Auerbach

"Discontent is like ink poured into water, which fills the whole fountain full of blackness. It casts over the mind, and renders it more occupied about the evil which disquiets than about the means of removing it." - Owen Feltham

"Aristotle said that all creative people are dissatisfied because they are looking for happiness in perfection and seeking for things that do not exist. This is one of the hopes of the world. There is no progress where people are satisfied. Discontent is perhaps the most potent challenge to improvement." - Clarence Edwin Flynn

"Those who are versed in the history of their country, in the history of the human race, must know that rigorous state prosecutions have always preceded the era of convulsion; and this era, I fear, will be accelerated by the folly and madness of our rulers. If the people are discontented, the proper mode of quieting their discontent is, not by instituting rigorous and sanguinary prosecutions, but by redressing their wrongs and conciliating their affections. Courts of justice, indeed, may be called in to the aid of ministerial vengeance; but if once the purity of their proceedings is suspected, they will cease to be objects of reverence to the nation; they will degenerate into empty and expensive pageantry, and become the partial instruments of vexatious oppression. Whatever may become of me, my principles will last forever. Individuals may perish; but truth is eternal. The rude blasts of tyranny may blow from every quarter; but freedom is that hardy plant which will survive the tempest and strike an everlasting root into the most unfavorable soil." - Joseph Gerrald

"There are two kinds of discontent in this world: The discontent that works, and the discontent that wrings its hands. The first gets what it wants, and the second loses what it has. There's no cure for the first but success; and there's no cure at all for the second." - Gordon Graham

"We live in the future. Even the happiness of the present is made up mostly of that delightful discontent which the hope of better things inspires." -

"The aim of a true philosophy must lie, not in futile efforts towards the complete accommodation of man to circumstances in which he chances to find himself, but in the maintenance of a kind of candid discontent, in the face of the very highest achievement." -

"The thirst to know and understand, a large and liberal discontent; these are the goods in life's rich hand, the things that are more excellent." - William Watson, fully Sir William Watson

"The love of solitude, when cultivated in the morn of life, elevates the mind to a noble independence, but to acquire the advantages which solitude is capable of affording, the mind must not be impelled to it by melancholy and discontent, but by a real distaste to the idle pleasures of the world, a rational contempt for the deceitful joys of life, and just apprehensions of being corrupted and seduced by its insinuating and destructive gayeties." - Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann

"It’s easier to succeed because failure exacts a high price in terms of time when you have to do a job over. It’s easier to succeed because success eliminates the agony and frustration of defeat. It’s easier to succeed because money spent to fail must be spent again to succeed. It’s easier to succeed because a person’s credibility decreases with each failure, making it harder to succeed the second time. And it’s easier to succeed because joy and expressions of affirmation come from succeeding, whereas feelings of discouragement and discontent accompany failure." - S. Truett Cathy

"Discontent is the first necessity of progress." - Thomas Edison, fully Thomas Alva Edison

"Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I will show you a failure. I believe that restlessness is discontent, and discontent is merely the first necessity of progress." - Thomas Edison, fully Thomas Alva Edison

"And from the discontent of man The world's best progress springs." - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Discontent is at the root of the creative process… the most gifted members of the human species are at their creative best when they cannot have their way, and must compensate for what they miss by realizing and cultivating their capacities and talents." - Eric Hoffer

"There is probably nothing more sublime than discontent transmuted into a work of art, a scientific discovery, and so on." - Eric Hoffer

"To secure one’s own happiness is a duty, at least indirectly; for discontent with one’s condition, under a pressure of many anxieties and amidst unsatisfied wants, might easily become a great temptation to transgression of duty." - Immanuel Kant

"The root of all discontent is self-love." - James Freeman Clarke

"We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth's creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take in the idea of dying unable to sit still." - Lewis Thomas

"Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation." - Oscar Wilde, pen name for Fingal O'Flahertie Wills

"Indulgence in constant thoughts of fear, anger, melancholy, remorse, envy, sorrow, hatred, discontent, or worry; and lack of the necessities for normal and happy living, such as right food, proper exercise, fresh air, sunshine, agreeable work and a purpose in life, all are causes of nervous disease." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"Discontent is the want of self-reliance; it is infirmity of will." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"What is more miserable than discontent?" -

"The splendid discontent of God With chaos made the world. And from the discontent of man The worlds best progress springs. " - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"When electricity was invented people became discontent with oil lamps. And so our missionaries employ this sound business principle: Show the people something better and they’ll want it." - Horace William Baden Donegan

"Discontentment is human, contentment is divine. Animals know neither contentment nor discontentment; they simply go on living mechanically, unconsciously. It is the great privilege of human being to be aware of discontent. To be aware of discontent means there is a possibility to grow towards contentment. But very few people make any effort towards inner growth. Their whole life is rooted in a misunderstanding. They think that if they have a bigger house or more money or more power or more prestige they will be contented; that if they become famous, if their name is known all over the world, then they will be contented. That is sheer nonsense." - Osho, born Chandra Mohan Jain, also known as Acharya Rajneesh and Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh NULL

"Happiness is not a synonym for self-satisfaction, complacency, or smugness. Self-satisfaction breeds futility and despair. All that is creative in man stems from a seed of endless discontent. New insight begins when satisfaction comes to an end, when all that has been seen, said, or done looks like a distortion. The aim is the maintenance and fanning of a discontent with our aspirations and achievements, the maintenance and fanning of a craving that knows no satisfaction. Man’s true fulfillment depends upon communion with that which transcends him." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"We live in the future. Even the happiness of the present is made up mostly of that delightful discontent which the hope of better things inspires." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"Men seek retreats for themselves, houses in the country, sea-shores, and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very much. But this is altogether a mark of the most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere either with more quiet or more freedom from trouble does a man retire than into his own soul, particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking into them he is immediately in perfect tranquility; and I affirm that tranquility is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind. Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself; and let thy principles be brief and fundamental, which, as soon as thou shalt recur to them, will be sufficient to cleanse the soul completely, and to send thee back free from all discontent with the things to which thou returnest." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"The Couch of Death - The veiled evening walked solitary down the western hills, and Silence reposed in the valley; the birds of day were heard in their nests, rustling in brakes and thickets; and the owl and bat flew round the darkening trees: all is silent when Nature takes her repose.—In former times, on such an evening, when the cold clay breathed with life, and our ancestors, who now sleep in their graves, walked on the steadfast globe, the remains of a family of the tribes of Earth, a mother and a sister, were gathered to the sick bed of a youth. Sorrow linked them together; leaning on one another’s necks alternately—like lilies dropping tears in each other’s bosom—they stood by the bed like reeds bending over a lake, when the evening drops trickle down. His voice was low as the whisperings of the woods when the wind is asleep, and the visions of Heaven unfold their visitation. ‘Parting is hard and death is terrible; I seem to walk through a deep valley, far from the light of day, alone and comfortless! The damps of death fall thick upon me! Horrors stare me in the face! I look behind, there is no returning; Death follows after me; I walk in regions of Death, where no tree is, without a lantern to direct my steps, without a staff to support me.’ Thus he laments through the still evening, till the curtains of darkness were drawn. Like the sound of a broken pipe, the aged woman raised her voice. ‘O my son, my son, I know but little of the path thou goest! But lo! there is a God, who made the world; stretch out thy hand to Him.’ The youth replied, like a voice heard from a sepulchre, ‘My hand is feeble, how should I stretch it out? My ways are sinful, how should I raise mine eyes? My voice hath used deceit, how should I call on Him who is Truth? My breath is loathsome, how should He not be offended? If I lay my face in the dust, the grave opens its mouth for me; if I lift up my head, sin covers me as a cloak. O my dear friends, pray ye for me! Stretch forth your hands that my Helper may come! Through the void space I walk, between the sinful world and eternity! Beneath me burns eternal fire! O for a hand to pluck me forth!’ As the voice of an omen heard in the silent valley, when the few inhabitants cling trembling together; as the voice of the Angel of Death, when the thin beams of the moon give a faint light, such was this young man’s voice to his friends. Like the bubbling waters of the brook in the dead of night, the aged woman raised her cry, and said, ‘O Voice, that dwellest in my breast, can I not cry, and lift my eyes to Heaven? Thinking of this, my spirit is turned within me into confusion! O my child, my child, is thy breath infected? so is mine. As the deer wounded, by the brooks of water, so the arrows of sin stick in my flesh; the poison hath entered into my marrow.’ Like rolling waves upon a desert shore, sighs succeeded sighs; they covered their faces and wept. The youth lay silent, his mother’s arm was under his head; he was like a cloud tossed by the winds, till the sun shine, and the drops of rain glisten, the yellow harvest breathes, and the thankful eyes of the villagers are turned up in smiles. The traveller, that hath taken shelter under an oak, eyes the distant country with joy. Such smiles were seen upon the face of the youth: a visionary hand wiped away his tears, and a ray of light beamed around his head. All was still. The moon hung not out her lamp, and the stars faintly glimmered in the summer sky; the breath of night slept among the leaves of the forest; the bosom of the lofty hill drank in the silent dew, while on his majestic brow the voice of Angels is heard, and stringed sounds ride upon the wings of night. The sorrowful pair lift up their heads, hovering Angels are around them, voices of comfort are heard over the Couch of Death, and the youth breathes out his soul with joy into eternity." - William Blake

"The main thing about being a hero is to know when to die." - Will Rogers, fully William Penn Adair "Will" Rogers

"A farmer, as one of his farmer correspondents once wrote to Liberty Hyde Bailey, is a dispenser of the 'Mysteries of God.' The husband, unlike the manager or the would-be objective scientist, belongs inherently to the complexity and the mystery that is to be husbanded, and so the husbanding mind is both careful and humble." - Wendell Berry

"In our attitude towards the war, which under the new government of Lvov and Co. unquestionably remains on Russia’s part a predatory imperialist war owing to the capitalist nature of that government, not the slightest concession to “revolutionary defensism” is permissible." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"It is stupid to tolerate "Nikola;" all Chekists have to be on alert to shoot anyone who doesn't turn up to work because of "Nikola."" - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"A fine gentleman like that, they said, had no need of books. Let him leave books, they said, to the palsied or the dying. But worse was to come. For once the disease of reading has laid hold upon the system it weakens it so that it falls an easy prey to that other scourge which dwells in the ink pot and festers in the quill. The wretch takes to writing." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Now it is the time of night That the graves, all gaping wide, Every one lets forth his sprite, In the churchway paths to glide. A Midsummer Night's Dream (Puck at V, i)" -

"Women have crucified the Mary Wollstonecrafts, the Fanny Wrights, and the George Sands of all ages. Men mock us with the fact and say we are ever cruel to each other." - Elizabeth Cady Stanton

"‎Civilization has been a continuous struggle of the individual or of groups of individuals against the State and even against society, that is, against the majority subdued and hypnotized by the State and State worship." - Emma Goldman

"If it is a fact that after working for George M. Pullman for many years you appear two weeks after your work stops, ragged and hungry, it only emphasizes that the charge I made before this community, and Pullman stands before you a self-confessed robber....The paternalism of Pullman is the same as the self-interest of a slave-holder in his human chattels. You are striking to avert slavery and degradation." - Eugene V. Debs, fully Eugene Victor Debs

"It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it." - Eugene V. Debs, fully Eugene Victor Debs