Great Throughts Treasury

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


"Doubt whom you will, but never yourself." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"When in doubt, lean to the side of mercy." - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"Many men who spend an hour a day in physical exercises to keep fit refuse to spend an hour a week in the cultivation of their morals and their ethics. We have put so little emphasis on developing our souls that our children are beginning to doubt if we have any souls at all." - Allen E. Claxton

"Seeking to know is only too often learning to doubt." - Antoinette Du Ligier de la Garde Deshoulières

"“Desiderata" Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." - Max Ehrmann

"The supreme fall of falls is this, the first doubt of one’s self." -

"Human knowledge is the parent of doubt." -

"The worst of worms: the dagger thoughts of doubt." - Heinrich Heine

"Your true nature is not lost in moments of delusion, nor is it gained at the moment of enlightenment. It was never born and can never die. It shines through the whole universe, filling emptiness, one with emptiness. It is without time or space, and has no passions, actions, ignorance, or knowledge. In it there are no things, no people, and no Buddhas; it contains not the smallest hairbreadth of anything that exists objectively; it depends on nothing and is attached to nothing. It is all-pervading, radiant beauty: absolute reality, self-existent and uncreated. How then can you doubt that the Buddha has no mouth to speak with and nothing to teach, or that the truth is learned without learning, for who is there to learn? It is a jewel beyond all price." - Huang Po, also Huángbò Xīyùn

"The mere reality of life would be inconceivably poor without the charm of fancy, which brings in its bosom, no doubt, as many vain fears as idle hopes, but lends much oftener to the illusions it calls up a gay flattering hue than one which inspires terror." -

"If we compare all these circumstances, we shall not doubt, that sympathy is the chief source of moral distinctions." - David Hume

"No greater joy than to resolve a doubt." - J. Y. Hurwitz

"Doubt is the beginning, not the end, of wisdom." - George Iles

"Doubt and mistrust are the mere panic of timid imagination, which the steadfast heart will conquer, and the large mind transcend." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

"... an emerging world based on cooperation rather than on competition, on affirmation rather than on competition, on affirmation of the human spirit rather than on self-doubt, and on the certainty that all humanity is connected." - Hal and Linda Kramer

"To doubt is an injury; to suspect a friend is breach of friendship; jealousy is a seed sown but in vicious minds; prone to distrust, because apt to deceive." - George Granville, 1st Baron Lansdowne

"With most people, doubt about one thing is simply blind belief in another." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the face, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-interest, fear, despair - these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust." - Watterson Lowe

"Should one tell you that a mountain has changed its place, you are at liberty to doubt it; but if any one tells you that a man has changed his character, do not believe it." -

"Myth is the foundation of life, it is the timeless pattern, the religious formula to which life shapes itself... There is no doubt about it, the moment when the storyteller acquires the mythical way of looking at things, that moment marks a beginning in his life." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"The sole philosophy open to those who doubt the possibility of truth is absolute silence - even mental." - Jacques Maritain

"It is easier to believe than to doubt." - Everett Dean Martin

"Give a good deed the credit of a good motive; and give an evil deed the benefit of the doubt." -

"Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt." - H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

"Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind. People grow old only by deserting their ideals and outgrowing the consciousness of youth. Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. You are as old as your doubt; your fear; your despair. The way to keep young is to keep your faith young. Keep your self-confidence young. Keep your hope young." - Luella F. Phelan

"The road to resolution lies by doubt." - Francis Quarles

"To believe is to be happy; to doubt is to be wretched. To believe is to be strong. Doubt cramps energy. Belief is power. Only so far as a man believes strongly, mightily, can he act cheerfully, or do any thing that is worth the doing." -

"To believe is to be strong. Doubt cramps energy. Belief is power." -

"Had I no other proof of the immortality of the soul than the oppression of the just and the triumph of the wicked in this world, this alone would prevent my having the least doubt of it. So shocking a discord amidst a general harmony of things would make me naturally look for a cause; I should say to myself we do not cease to exist with this life; everything reassumes its order after life." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Without doubt the greatest injury of all was done by basing morals on myth. For, sooner or later, myth is recognized for what it is, and disappears. Then morality loses the foundation on which it has been built." - Lord Samuel, Herbert Louis Samuel, First Viscount Samuel

"Religion isn’t yours firsthand until you doubt it right down to the ground." - Francis Bowes Sayre

"Doubt is not below knowledge, but above it." - Alain Pen name of Emile-Auguste Chartier

"Doubt is the accomplice of tyranny." -

"Doubt of the reality of love ends by making us doubt everything." -

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy." -

"For there are two modes of acquiring knowledge, namely, by reasoning and experience. Reasoning draws a conclusion and makes us grant the conclusion, but does not make the conclusion certain, nor does it remove doubt so that the mind may rest on the intuition of truth, unless the mind discovers it by the path of experience; since many have the arguments relating to what can be known, but because they lack experience they neglect the arguments, and neither avoid what is harmful nor follow what is good. For if a man who has never seen fire should prove by adequate reasoning that fire burns and injures things and destroys them, his mind would not be satisfied thereby, nor would he avoid fire, until he placed his hand or some combustible substance in the fire, so that he might prove by experience that which reasoning taught. But when he has had actual experience of combustion his mind is made certain and rests in the full light of truth. Therefore reasoning does not suffice, but experience does. " - Roger Bacon, scholastic accolade Doctor Mirabilis meaning "Wonderful Teacher"

"Doubt is an incentive to search for truth, and patient inquiry leads the way to it." - Kenneth Eldon Bailey

"Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is - it is her shadow." - Kenneth Eldon Bailey

"The dynamite of doubt is useful in wrecking old structures; but to build new buildings, we must have the dynamics of faith." - Joseph L. Baron

"No fine work can be done without concentration and self-sacrifice and toil and doubt." - Max Beerbohm, fully Sir Henry Maximilian "Max" Beerbohm

"All life, animal and vegetable, seems in its essence like an effort to accumulate energy and then to let it flow into flexible channels, changeable in shape, at the end of which it will accomplish infinitely varied kinds of work. That is what the vital impetus, passing through matter, would fain do all at once. It would succeed, no doubt, if its power were unlimited, or if some reinforcement could come to it from without. But the impetus is finite, and it has been given once for all. It cannot overcome all obstacles. The movement it starts is sometimes turned aside, sometimes divided, always opposed; and the evolution of the organized world is the unrolling of this conflict." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"No one who has ever brought up a child can doubt for a moment that love is literally the life-giving fluid of human existence." -

"Love is perfect kindness, which is born - there is no doubt - from the heart and eyes. The eyes make it blossom; the heart matures it." - Guiraut de Borneilh

"Doubt the man who swears to his devotion." -

"In my religion there would be no exclusive doctrine; all would be love, poetry and doubt." - Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

"When the creation of a genius collide with the mind of a layman, and produce an empty sound, there is little doubt as to which is at fault." - Salvador Dalí, fully Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech

"Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt." - Clarence Darrow, fully Clarence Seward Darrow

"Doubt, indugled and cherished, is in danger of becoming denial; but if honest, and bent on thorough investigation, it may soon lead to dull establishment in the truth" - Tyron Edwards

"Imperfect knowledge is the parent of doubt: thorough and honest research dispels it." - Tyron Edwards

"I have never heard anyone who I considered a good teacher claim that he or she is a good teacher - in the way that one might claim to be a good writer or surgeon or athlete. Self-doubt seems very much a part of the job of teaching: one can never be sure how well it is going." -