Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"You may dispute principles, not experiences." - Ludwig Börne, fully Karl Ludwig Börne

"Disagreement in morals, as in everything else, can occur only among people who, sharing a way of life, hold certain things in common which they do not consider to be in dispute." - D. Z. Phillips and H. O. Mounce

"Have you learn’d lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you and stood aside for you? Have you not learn’d great lessons from those who reject you, and brace themselves against you? or who treat you with contempt, or dispute the passage with you?" - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship. But man seeks to worship what is established beyond dispute, so that all men would agree at once to worship it. For these pitiful creatures are concerned not only to find what one or the other can worship, but to find something that all would believe and worship; what is essential is that all may be together in it. This craving for community of worship is the chief misery of every man individually and of all humanity form the beginning of time. For the sake of common worship they’ve slain each other with the sword. They have set up gods and challenged one another, “Put away your gods and come and worship ours, or we will kill you and your gods!”" - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

"They that are more frequent to dispute be not always the best able to determine." - Richard Hooker

"Religion is less a matter of holiness than an excuse for dispute." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting." -

"When Alexander had subdued the world, and wept that none were left to dispute his arms, his tears were an involuntary tribute to a monarchy that he knew not - man’s empire over himself." - Jane Porter

"We never are satisfied with our opinions, whatever we may pretend, till they are ratified and confirmed by the suffrages of the rest of mankind. We dispute and wrangle forever; we endeavor to get men to come to us, when we do not go to them." - Joshua Reynolds, fully Sir Joshua Reynolds

"The poet is the equable man, not in him but off from him things are grotesque, eccentric, fail of their full returns, nothing out of its place is good, nothing in its place is bad, he bestows on every object or quality its fit proportion, neither more nor less, he is the arbiter of the diverse, he is the key... As he sees the farthest he has the most faith, his thoughts are the hymns of the praise of things, in the dispute on God and eternity he is silent, he sees eternity less like a play with a prologue and denouement, he sees eternity in men and women, he does not see men and women as dreams or dots." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"When we dispute over dogmas we are divided. But when we take to the religious life of prayer and contemplation, we are brought together. The deeper the prayers, the more is the individual lost in the apprehension of the Supreme." - Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, fully Sir or Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

"That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and fears, his loves and beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual beyond the grave; that all the laborers of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man’s achievements must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins – all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"Some men think that the gratification of curiosity is the end of knowledge; some the love of fame; some the pleasure of dispute; some the necessity of supporting themselves by their knowledge; but the real use of all knowledge is this, that we should dedicate that reason which was given us by God to the use and advantage of man." - Francis Bacon

"The pain of a dispute greatly outweighs its uses." - Joseph Joubert

"The dispute between the theory of a predestined future and the theory of a free future is an endless dispute. This is so because both theories are too literal, too rigid, too material, and the one excludes the other... The opposites are both equally wrong because the truth lies in the unification of these two opposite understandings into one whole. At any given moment all the future of the world is predestined and existing - provided no new factor comes in. And a new factor can only come in from the side of consciousness and the will resulting from it." - P.D. Ouspensky, fully Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, also Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky

"A long dispute means that both parties are wrong." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting. " - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"There is this great danger in student life. Now, we rest all upon what Socrates said, or what Copernicus taught; how can we dispute authority which has come down to us, all established, for ages? We must at least question it; we cannot accept anything as granted, beyond the first mathematical formulae. Question everything else." - Maria Mitchell

"Humanity is not an aggregate of individuals, a community of thinkers, each of whom is guaranteed from the outset to be able to reach agreement with the others because all participate in the same thinking essence. Nor, of course, is it a single Being in which the multiplicity of individuals are dissolved and into which these individuals are destined to be reabsorbed. As a matter of principle, humanity is precarious: each person can only believe what he recognizes to be true internally and, at the same time, nobody thinks or makes up his mind without already being caught up in certain relationships with others, which leads him to opt for a particular set of opinions. Everyone is alone and yet nobody can do without other people, not just because they are useful (which is not in dispute here) but also when it comes to happiness." - Maurice Merleau-Ponty

"Between these two unique and symmetrical events, something happens whose ambiguity has left the historians of medicine at a loss: blind repression in an absolutist regime, according to some; but according to others, the gradual discovery by science and philanthropy of madness in its positive truth. As a matter of fact, beneath these reversible meanings, a structure is forming which does not resolve the ambiguity but determines it. It is this structure which accounts for the transition from the medieval and humanist experience of madness to our own experience, which confines insanity within mental illness. In the Middle Ages and until the Renaissance, man's dispute with madness was a dramatic debate in which he confronted the secret powers of the world; the experience of madness was clouded by images of the Fall and the Will of God, of the Beast and the Metamorphosis, and of all the marvelous secrets of Knowledge. In our era, the experience of madness remains silent in the composure of a knowledge which, knowing too much about madness, forgets it. But from one of these experiences to the other, the shift has been made by a world without images, without positive character, in a kind of silent transparency which reveals— as mute institution, act without commentary, immediate knowledge—a great motionless structure; this structure is one of neither drama nor knowledge; it is the point where history is immobilized in the tragic category which both establishes and impugns it." - Michel Foucault

"Better be mute, than dispute with the Ignorant." - Pythagoras, aka Pythagoras of Samos or Pythagoras the Samian NULL

"Four blind men went to see an elephant. One touched the leg of the elephant, and said, The elephant is like a pillar. The second touched the trunk, and said, The elephant is like a thick stick or club. The third touched the belly, and said, The elephant is like a big jar. The fourth touched the ears, and said, The elephant is like a winnowing basket. Thus they began to dispute amongst themselves as to the figure of the elephant. A passer-by seeing them thus quarrelling, said, What is it that you are disputing about? They told him everything, and asked him to arbitrate. That man said, None of you has seen the elephant. The elephant is not like a pillar, its legs are like pillars. It is not like a big water-vessel, its belly is like a water-vessel. It is not like a winnowing basket, its ears are like winnowing baskets. It is not like a thick stick or club, but its proboscis is like that. The elephant is the combination of all these. In the same manner those quarrel who have seen one aspect only of the Deity." - Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL

"I once had a dispute with a group of Swedish professors at the University of Uppsala as to which country, Sweden or Canada, was the dullest in the world. It was a draw; they claimed superiority because of their long history, and I claimed it because of Canada's immense land mass, which gives us space for tremendous expansion, even of such things as dullness." - Robertson Davies

"Command that your marshal be careful to be present over the household, and especially in the hall, to keep the household, within doors and without, respectable, without dispute or noise, or bad words." - Robert Grosseteste or Grossetete

"It must be understood that prime matter, and form as well, is neither generated nor corrupted, because every generation is from something to something. Now that from which generation proceeds is matter, and that to which it proceeds is form. So that, if matter or form were generated, there would be a matter for matter and a form for form, endlessly. Whence, there is generation only of the composite, properly speaking." - Saint Thomas Aquinas, aka Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis or Doctor Universalis

"The behavior of a human being in sexual matters is often a prototype for the whole of his other modes of reaction in life." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"It is not the case that Germany is rapidly approaching equality with us. Her real strength is not fifty per cent. of our strength in Europe to-day." - Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl of Bewdley

"Like all wage slaves, he had two crosses to bear: the people he worked for and the people he worked with." - Stephen Vizinczey, born István Vizinczey

"Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression." - Thomas Jefferson

"In the middle ages of Christianity opposition to the State opinions was hushed. The consequence was, Christianity became loaded with all the Romish follies. Nothing but free argument, raillery and even ridicule will preserve the purity of religion." - Thomas Jefferson

"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." - Thomas Jefferson

"Article 45 - In order to enable the United Nations to take urgent military measures, Members shall hold immediately available national air-force contingents for combined international enforcement action. The strength and degree of readiness of these contingents and plans for their combined action shall be determined within the limits laid down in the special agreement or agreements referred to in Article 43, by the Security Council with the assistance of the Military Staff Committee." - United Nations NULL

"Says Spinoza: When it seems to us anything in the nature funny or silly, obscure or evil it is because we do not have only little knowledge of things, and we are ignorant system of nature and cohesion as a whole, and we want to hold things according to our thinking and our opinions, even though what he sees as our mind bad or evil is not evil or bad for the system and the laws of nature comprehensive college. But in relation to the laws of our own nature separate. As for the word of good and evil, it does not indicate something positive in itself, because the one thing the same may be simultaneously good or evil, or neither such as music, for example, it is better for Almnaqbd self evil for Alnaúh sad and lost people seemed to be his. It is not good or evil for the Dead" - Will Durant, fully William James "Will" Durant

"With whole-hearted devotion to sew and to weave; to love not gossip and silly laughter; in cleanliness and order to prepare the wine and food for serving guests, may be called the characteristics of womanly work." - Ban Zhao, courtesy name Huiban

"And we had thought that our hard climb out of that cruel valley led to some cool, green, and peaceful, sunlit place but it's all jungle here, a wild and savage wilderness that's overrun with ruins." - Eldridge Cleaver, fully Leroy Eldridge Cleaver

"If thy heart fails thee, climb not at all." - Elizabeth II, born Elizabeth Alexandra May NULL

"There is small disproportion betwixt a fool who useth not wit because he hath it not and him that useth it not when it should avail him." - Elizabeth II, born Elizabeth Alexandra May NULL

"I had gone... to the smoke of cafes and nights when the room whirled and you needed to look at the wall to make it stop, nights in bed, drunk, when you knew that that was all there was, and the strange excitement of waking and not knowing who it was with you, and the world all unreal in the dark and so exciting that you must resume again unknowing and not caring in the night, sure that this was all and all and all and not caring. Suddenly to care very much and to sleep to wake with it sometimes morning and all that had been there gone and everything sharp and hard and clear and sometimes a dispute about the cost. Sometimes still pleasant and fond and warm and breakfast and lunch. Sometimes all niceness gone and glad to get out on the street but always another day starting and then another night. I tried to tell about the night and the difference between the night and the day and how the night was better unless the day was very clean and cold and I could not tell it; as I cannot tell it now. But if you have had it you know." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"Can this be achieved from one dusk to the next dawn, by the waving of a magic wand, by slogans or by Imperial declaration? Can this be imposed on our people, or be achieved solely by legislation? We believe not. All that we can do is provide a means for the development of procedures which, if all goes well, will enable an increasing measure and degree of what we seek for our nation to be accomplished." - Haile Selassie