Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Disobedience

"The failure of our modern world, with its moral and ethical collapse, may be traced directly to our spiritual ignorance and moral disobedience. The ethical conditions under which we live are disgracefully unsanitary. It is futile to expect peace and goodwill on earth while our homes are infested with the germs of selfishness, irreverence and lust. The world-wide epidemic of hatred, cruelty, murder and war is the inevitable result of our moral and spiritual disobedience. We cannot break the laws of the universe with impunity." - Allen E. Claxton

"The attempted transformation of the Indian by the white man and the chaos that has resulted are but the fruits of the white man’s disobedience of a fundamental and spiritual law. “Civilization” has been thrust upon me since the days of reservations, and it has not added one whit to my sense of justice, to my reverence for the rights of life, to my love of truth, honesty, and generosity, or to my faith in Wakan Tanka, God of the Lakotas. For after all the great religions have been preached and expounded, or have been revealed by brilliant scholars, or have been written in fine books and embellished in fine language with finer covers, man - all man - is still confronted with the Great Mystery." - Chief Luther Standing Bear

"Intellectual and spiritual leaders hailed the cause of civil rights and gave little thought to where the civil disobedience road might end. But defiance of the law, even for the best reasons, opens a tiny hole in the dike and soon a trickle becomes a flood... And while no thinking person denies that social injustice exits, no thinking person can condone any group, for any reason, taking justice into his own hands. Once this is permitted, democracy dies; for democracy is sustained through one great premise: the premise that civil rights are balanced by civil responsibilities." - Spiro T. Agnew, fully Spiro Theodore Agnew

"Human history begins with man's act of disobedience which is at the same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason." -

"Whenever there is authority, there is a natural inclination to disobedience." - Thomas Haliburton, fully Thomas Chandler Haliburton, pseudonym "Sam Slick"

"There is nothing wrong with questioning the teachings of one’s religion. It is an act of spiritual maturity, not of disobedience or disrespect. Religions may have been inspired by God, but they have evolved as human institutions. So, they are not infallible." - Tom Gregory

"It is not God that is worshipped but the group or the authority that claims to speak in His name. Sin becomes disobedience to authority and not violation of integrity." - Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, fully Sir or Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

"Human history begins with man's act of disobedience which is at the very same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason." -

"Disobedience, the rarest and most courageous of virtues, is seldom distinguished from neglect, the laziest and commonest of vices." - George Bernard Shaw

"Democracy is not just a counting up of votes – it is a counting up of actions. Without those on the bottom acting out there desires for justice – as the government acts out its needs, and those with power and privilege act out theirs – the scales of democracy will be off. That is why civil disobedience is not just to be tolerated – if we are to have a truly democratic society it is a necessity." - Howard Zinn

"Disobedience is the infant’s first step toward autonomy." - Lewis Mumford

"Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion." - Oscar Wilde, pen name for Fingal O'Flahertie Wills

"Now, we shall be able to judge the extent of the spiritual undernourishment if we look at all these movements from another angle: not as errors but rather as attempts to find healing. I use this comparison: For a long time medical men combated fever as if it itself constituted the illness. Medicine today inclines rather to respect it, not only as a symptom of the disease but of the struggle of the organism against the disease. True, it is this struggle which makes it ill, and yet this very struggle is also the proof of its vitality and is the necessary way to healing." - Paul Tournier

"Most illnesses do not, as is generally thought, come like a bolt out of the blue. The ground is prepared for years, through faulty diet, intemperance, overwork, and moral conflicts, slowly eroding the subject’s vitality. And when at last the illness suddenly shows itself, it would be a most superficial medicine which treated it without going back to its remote causes, to all that I call “personal problems.” There are personal problems in every life. There are secret tragedies in every heart. “Man does not die,” a doctor has remarked. “He kills himself”... Every act of physical, psychological, or moral disobedience of God’s purpose is an act of wrong living and has its inevitable consequences." - Paul Tournier

"Human history begins with man's act of disobedience which is at the very same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"There is the past and its continuing horrors: violence, war, prejudices against those who are different, outrageous monopolization of the good earth's wealth by a few, political power in the hands of liars and murderers, the building of prisons instead of schools, the poisoning of the press and the entire culture by money. It is easy to become discouraged observing this, especially since this is what the press and television insist that we look at, and nothing more. But there is also the bubbling of change under the surface of obedience: the growing revulsion against endless wars, the insistence of women all over the world that they will no longer tolerate abuse and subordination… There is civil disobedience against the military machine, protest against police brutality directed especially at people of color." - Howard Zinn

"You assist an unjust administration most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil administration never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"All great rebellions are born of private acts of civil disobedience that inspire rebel bands to plot together. And so there is now a new revolution under way, one aimed at rolling back the almost comical overprotectiveness and overinvestment of moms and dads. The insurgency goes by many names — slow parenting, simplicity parenting, free-range parenting — but the message is the same: Less is more; hovering is dangerous; failure is fruitful. You really want your children to succeed? Learn when to leave them alone. When you lighten up, they'll fly higher. We're often the ones who hold them down." - Nancy Gibbs

"That soul is not in the image of God in which God is not always present." - Saint Ambrose, born Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

"That soul is not in the image of God in which God is not always present." - Ambrose, aka Saint Ambrose, fully Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

"Yes. There's really only one question that can be answered, Genry, and we already know the answer....The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next." - Ursula Le Guin, fully Ursula Kroeber Le Guin