Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"The essence of all education is self-discovery and self-control. When education helps an individual to discover his own powers and limitations and, shows him how to get out of his heredity its largest and best possibilities, it will fulfill its real function, when children are taught not merely to know things but particularly to know themselves, not merely how to do things but especially how to compel themselves to do things, they may be said to be really educated. For this sort of education there is demanded rigorous discipline of the powers of observation, of the reason, and especially of the will." - William Congreve

"Wonder, connected with principle of rational curiosity, is the source of all knowledge and discovery, and it is a principle even of piety; but wonder which ends in wonder, and is satisfied with wonder, is the quality of an idiot." - Samuel Horsley

"Reason is the discovery of truth or falsehood. Truth or falsehood consists in an agreement or disagreement either to the real relations of ideas, or to real existence and matter of fact. Whatever, therefore, is not susceptible of this agreement or disagreement, is incapable of being true or false, and can never be an object of our reason. Now ‘tis evident our passions, volitions, and actions, are not susceptible of any such agreement or disagreement; being original facts and realities, complete in themselves, and implying no reference to other passions, volitions, and actions. ‘Tis impossible, therefore, they can be pronounced either true or false, and be either contrary or conformable to reason." - David Hume

"Vice and virtue, therefore, may be compar’d to sounds, colours, heat and cold, which, according to modern philosophy, are not qualities in objects, but perceptions in the mind: and this discovery in morals, like that other in physics, is to be regarded as a considerable advancement of the speculative sciences; tho’, like that too it has little or no influence on practice." - David Hume

"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 great revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives." - William James

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes." - William James

"Guilt is a poor, helpless, dependent being. Without the alliance of able, diligent, and let me add, fortunate fraud, it is inevitably undone. If the guilty culprit be obstinately silent, it forms a deadly presumption against him; if he speaks, talking tends only to his discovery, and his very defense often furnishes the materials for his conviction." -

"There is nothing a man can less afford to leave at home than his conscience or his good habits; for it is not to be denied that travel is, in its immediate circumstances, unfavorable to habits of self-discipline, regulation of thought, sobriety of conduct, and dignity of character. Indeed, one of the great lessons of travel is the discovery how much our virtues owe to the support of constant occupation, to the influence of public opinion, and to the force of habit; a discovery very dangerous, if it proceed from an actual yielding to temptations resisted at home, and not from a consciousness of increased power put forth in withstanding them." - Richardson Pack or Packe

"Nothing is better than to search for the true God, even if the discovery of Him eludes human capacity, since the very wish to learn, if earnestly entertained, produces untold joys and pleasures." - Philo, aka Philo of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew NULL

"The rout and destruction of the passions, while a good, is not the ultimate good; the discovery of Wisdom is the surpassing good. When this is found, all the people will sing." - Philo, aka Philo of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew NULL

"Behold the wretched and dismal slavery of him who is in thrall to pleasures and pains, those utterly capricious and tyrannical master. We, however, must escape to freedom. But this is only possible if we are indifferent to Fortune. Then we shall attain that one overriding blessing - the serenity and exhaltation of a firmly anchored mind. For when error is banished, we shall have the great and satisfying joy that comes from the discovery of truth, plus a kind of disposition and cheerfulness of mind. The source of our pleasure in these things will not derive from their being good, but that they emerge from a good that is one’s own." -

"To understand anything is to find in it something which is our own, and it is the discovery of ourselves outside us which makes us glad. This relation of understanding is partial, but the relation of love is complete. In love the sense of difference is obliterated and the human soul fulfills its purpose in perfection, transcending the limits of itself and reaching across the threshold of the infinite." -

"Greater even than the greatest discovery is to keep open the way to future discovery." - John Jacob Abel

"Scientific knowledge is constantly changing. A discovery of one year receives confirmation of the next or is thrown aside." - James R. Adams

"It is the modest, not the presumptuous inquirer, who makes a real and safe progress in the discovery of divine truths." - Henry Bolingbroke, Henry IV of England

"The basic discovery bout any people is the discovery of the relationship between its men and women." - Pearl S. Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu

"The moment you can make a very simple discovery, viz., that obligation to God is your privilege, and is not imposed as a burden, your experience will teach you many things - that duty is liberty, that repentance is a release from sorrow, that sacrifice is gain, that humility is dignity, that the truth from that which you hide is a healing element that bathes your disordered life, and that even the penalties and terrors of God are the artillery only to protection to His realm." - Horace Bushnell

"The discovery of nuclear reactions need not bring about the destruction of mankind any more than the discovery of matches." - Albert Einstein

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why. All great discoveries are made in this way." - Albert Einstein

"The process of scientific discovery is, in effect, a continual flight from wonder." - Albert Einstein

"What is the true end and aim of science but the discovery of the ultimate power - a seeking after God through the study of his ways." - William Henry Furness

"Marriage today must... be concerned not with the inviolable commitment of constancy and unending passion, but with the changing patterns of liberty and discovery." - Carolyn Gold Heilbrun, pen name Amanda Cross

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind." - William James

"The outstanding achievement of twentieth-century physics is not the theory of relativity with its welding together of space and time, or the theory of quanta with its present apparent negation of the laws of causation, or the dissection of the atom with the resultant discovery that things are not what they seem; it is the general recognition that we are not yet in contact with the ultimate reality. We are still imprisoned in our cave, with our backs to the light, and can only watch the shadows on the wall." -

"If scientific discovery has not been an unalloyed blessing, if it has conferred on mankind the power not only to create but also to annihilate, it has at the same time provided humanity with a supreme challenge and a supreme testing." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Wisdom is alone, but a lonely path does not lead to wisdom. Isolation is death, and wisdom is not found in withdrawal. There is no path to wisdom, for all paths are separative, exclusive. In their very nature, paths can only lead to isolation, though these isolations are called unity, the whole, the one, and so end is as the means. The means is not separate from the goal, the “what should be.” Wisdom comes with the understanding of one’s relationship with the field, with the passer-by, with the fleeting thought. To withdraw, to isolate oneself in order to find, is to put an end to discovery. Relationship leads to an aloneness that is not of isolation. There must be an aloneness, not of the enclosing mind, but of freedom. The complete is the alone, and incompleteness seeks the way of isolation." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"No man ever made a great discovery without the exercise of the imagination." - George Henry Lewes

"The visible marks of extraordinary wisdom and power appear so plainly in all the works of creation that a rational creature who will but seriously reflect on them cannot miss the discovery of a deity." - John Locke

"Nearly every discovery in science has come as the result of providing a new question rather than a new answer." - Paul A. Meglitsch, fully Paul Allen Meglitsch

"When the righteous man searches for the nature of things, he makes his own admirable discovery: that everything is God's grace." - Philo, aka Philo of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew NULL

"The only way to judge an event in life is to look at it from high enough, to see it in the order and dimension of the timeless. When we see pain, suffering and inequalities, we don’t understand or we jump to false conclusions. We see only the broken arc of a complete circle. Instead, life is a field for progress and progressive harmony. Each one of us has a part to play which he alone can execute. This role, based on our real nature - what Hindu scriptures call svabhava - can be discovered. An individual’s aim in life must be to find out the “law of his being” and act according to his svadharma. This discovery is no easy task. Normally, we are aware of our ego, the surface self that is a bundle of contradictory impulses. But we can find the true self, our best self, by a process of standing back and surveying our needs. Abandoning desire and self-assertion, accepting the challenges of life in a state of stable, unwavering peace will result in this supreme revelation. When life’s shocks turn our eyes inward, we rise above contingencies of time and place. Our perspective changes. The greatest sorrows is transformed into a luminous vibration. We see into the life of things. Life itself, a single, immense organism, moves toward a greater and higher harmony as more and more cells become conscious of their uniqueness. Life, then, is not Macbeths’s “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” It is a grand orchestra in which discordant notes contribute to the total harmony." - V. S. Seturaman

"We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success; we often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery." - Samuel Smiles

"Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in recognition." - Alexander Smith

"The excitement of tomorrow's science will be in the discovery of the amino acids' memory storage capacities." - Tauri NULL

"We are here because embedded in our human nature is the secret code for heaven’s self-realization. Heaven is certainly omnipresent, may even be omniscient, but is most likely not omnipotent. It needs our active participation to realize its own truth... Since we help heaven to realize itself through our self-discovery, and self-understanding in day-to-day living, the ultimate meaning of life is found in our ordinary, human existence." - Tu Weiming

"The discovery that one cannot well give back or be given back what one has given or been given in the same place is sometimes as painful as the discovery that one is being loved on principle and not from preference." - Charles Williams

"The young men of this land are called a "lost" race - they are a race that has never yet been discovered. And the whole secret, power, and knowledge of their own discovery is locked within them - they know it, feel it, have the whole thing in them - and they cannot utter it." - Thomas Wolfe, fully Thomas Clayton Wolfe

"Art is prayer - not the vulgarized notations handed down to us in the scriptures, but a fresh vital discovery of one's own special presence in the world." - Joseph Zinker, fully Joseph Chaim Zinker

"The book of nature is a fine and large piece of tapestry rolled up, which we are not able to see at once, but must be content to wait for the discovery of its beauty and symmetry little by little, as it gradually comes to be more unfolded." -

"No great discovery was ever made in science but by one who lifted his nose above the grindstone of details and ventured on a more comprehensive vision." - Albert Einstein

"One can organize to apply a discovery already made, but not to make one. Only a free individual can make a discovery." - Albert Einstein

"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why." - Albert Einstein

"Truth is like a vast tree which yields more and more fruit, the more you nurture it. The deeper the search in the mine of Truth, the richer the discovery of the gems buried there in the shape of opening for an ever greater variety of service." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"There is no such thing as the pursuit of happiness, but there is the discovery of joy." - Joyce Grenfell, fully Joyce Irene Grenfell née Phipps

"All are searching for a goal, but for the seeker, the openness to grow and change is a precondition for the successful discovery." - Os Guiness

"The decisive part of our seeking is not our human ascent to God, but his descent to us. Without God’s descent there is no human ascent. The secret of the quest lies not in our brilliance but in His grace. What puts us on the way is not the daring and ingenuity of our discovery of paths, but the disclosure of the one who has preceded us on all our paths." - Os Guiness

"One discovery after another has shown that what was previously taken as inert matter is in reality a center of intense activity." -

"Prayer is an expression of man’s inner yearning for a response in the awful silence of the universe. It is a unique process of discovery whereby the searching ego affirms itself in the very moment of self-negation, and thus discovers its own worth and justification as a dynamic factor in the life of the universe." - Mohamed Iqbal or Sir Muhammad Iqbal, aka Allama Iqbal