Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Extreme

"The essence of envy is a deep desire to be someone else. In its extreme form it is a complete nullification of oneself." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"Incredulity is not wisdom, but the worst kind of folly. It is folly, because it causes ignorance and mistake, with all the consequents of these; and it is very bad, as being accompanied with disingenuity, obstinacy, rudeness, uncharitableness, and the like, bad dispositions; from which credulity itself, the other extreme sort of folly, is exempt." - Isaac Barrow

"Extreme vanity sometimes hides under the garb of ultra modesty." - Anna Jameson

"In truth, knowledge is a great and very useful quality; those who despise it give evidence enough of their stupidity. But yet I do not set its value at that extreme measure that some attribute to it, like Herillus the philosopher, who placed in it the sovereign good, and held that it was in its power to make us wise and content. That I do not believe, nor what others have said, that knowledge is the mother of all virtue, and all vice is produced by ignorance. If that is true, it is subject to a long interpretation." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"One will seldom go wrong if one attributes extreme actions to vanity, average ones to habit, and petty ones to fear." -

"One extreme produces another." -

"To lose one’s self in revery, one must be either very happy or very unhappy. Revery is the child of extreme." -

"It is an extreme evil to depart from the company of the living before you die." -

"Extreme happiness invites religion almost as much as extreme misery." - Dodie Smith, fully Dorothy Gladys "Dodie" Smith

"Extreme old age is childhood; extreme wisdom is ignorance, for so it may be called, since the man whom the oracle pronounced the wisest of men professed that he knew nothing; yea, push a coward to the extreme and he will show courage; oppress a man to the last, and he will rise above oppression." - J. Beaumont

"Partial culture runs to the ornate; extreme culture to simplicity." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"In extreme danger fear feels no pity." -

"Extreme terror gives us back the gestures of our childhood." -

"Extreme exactness is the sublime of fools." - Fred Cozzens, formally Frederick S. Cozzens

"Mankind likes to think in terms of extreme opposites. It is given to formulating its beliefs in terms of Either-Ors, between which it recognizes no intermediate possibilities. When forced to recognize that the extremes cannot be acted upon, it is still inclined to hold that they are all right in theory but that when it comes to practical matters circumstances compel us to compromise." - John Dewey

"It is more common to see an extreme love than a perfect friendship." - Du Coeur NULL

"When a man thinks he is reading the character of another, he is often unconsciously betraying his own; and this is especially the case with those persons whose knowledge of the world is of such sort that it results in extreme distrust of men." - Joseph Farrell, fully Joseph Patrick Farrell

"Fools, in avoiding vice, run to the opposite extreme." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"The principle of democracy is corrupted not only when the spirit of equality is extinct, but likewise when they fall into a spirit of extreme equality, and when each citizen would fain to be upon a level with those whom he has chosen to command him. Then the people, incapable of bearing the very power they have delegated, want to manage everything themselves, to debate for the senate, to execute for the magistrate, and to decide for the judges." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"Nature I believe in. True art aims to represent men and women, not as my little self would have them, but as they appear. My heroes and heroines I want not extreme types, all good or all bad; but human, mortal—partly good, partly bad. Realism I need. Pure mental abstractions have no significance for me. " - Ouida, pseudonym of Maria Louise Ramé, preferred to be called Marie Louise de la Ramée NULL

"Small crimes always precede great crimes. Whoever has been able to transgress the limits set by law may afterwards violate the most sacred rights; crime, like virtue, has its degrees, and never have we seen timid innocence pass suddenly to extreme licentiousness." - Jean Racine, baptismal name Jean-Baptiste Racine

"The great inequality in manner of living, the extreme idleness of some, and the excessive labor of others, the easiness of exciting and gratifying our sensual appetites, the too exquisite foods of the wealthy which overheat and fill them with indigestion, and, on the other hand, the unwholesome food of the poor, often, bad as it is, insufficient for their needs, which induces them, when opportunity offers, to eat voraciously and overcharge their stomachs; all these, together with sitting up late, and excesses of every kind, immoderate transports of every passion, fatigue, mental exhaustion, the innumerable pains and anxieties inseparable from every condition of life, by which the mind of man is incessantly tormented; these are too fatal proofs that the greater part of our ills are our own making, and that we might have avoided them nearly all by adhering to that simple, uniform and solitary manner of life which nature prescribed." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Evolutionism, purporting to explain all and everything solely and exclusively by natural selection for adaption and survival, is the most extreme product of the materialistic utilitarianism of the nineteenth-century. The inability of twentieth-century thought to rid itself of this imposture is a failure which may well cause the collapse of the Western civilization." -

"I know of nothing more opposite to revolutionary attitudes than commercial ones. Commerce is naturally adverse to all the violent passions; it loves to temporize, takes delight in compromise, and studiously avoids irritation. It is patient, insinuating, flexible, and never has recourse to extreme measures until obliged by the most absolute necessity. Commerce renders men independent of one another, gives them a lofty notion of their personal importance, leads them to seek to conduct their own affairs, and teaches how to conduct them well; it therefore prepares men for freedom, but preserves them from revolutions." - Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"Learning to forgive is much more useful than merely picking up a stone and throwing it at the object of one’s anger, the more so when the provocation is extreme. For it is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others." -

"The evolution of consciousness requires a wide range of opportunities and a playing field that affords almost unlimited options for development. If human life represents a learning process, then society is the ideal school that affords an extremely wide range of options for numerous levels of consciousness to develop, progress, define, identify, and grasp endless subtleties as well as learn more gross lessons. The ego is extremely tenacious and therefore often seems to require extreme conditions before it lets go of a positionality. It often takes the collective experience of millions of people over many centuries to learn even what appears upon examination to be a simple and obvious truth, namely, that peace is better than war or love is better than hate." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"Extreme rationalism may be defined as the failure of reason to understand itself." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"In extreme youth, in our most humiliating sorrow, we think we are alone. When we are older we find that others have suffered too." - Suzanne Moarny

"In a moment of extreme danger things can be done which have previously been thought impossible. Mortal danger is an effective antidote for fixed ideas." - Erwin Rommel, fully Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel

"I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress...It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitude is right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me." - Charles Swindoll

"Extreme justice is often extreme injustice." -

"Every political good carried to the extreme must be productive of evil." -

"Our senses will not admit anything extreme. Too much noise confuses us, too much light dazzles us, too great distance or nearness prevents vision, too great prolixity or brevity weakens an argument, too much pleasure gives pain, too much accordance annoys." - Blaise Pascal

"We should manage our fortune as we do our health - enjoy it when good, be patient when it is bad, and never apply violent remedies except in an extreme necessity." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"Men love to hear of their power, but have an extreme disrelish to be told their duty." - Edmund Burke

"Are we only able to see who we actually are at life’s beginnings and endings? Do only extreme circumstances reveal ordinary truths? Are we otherwise blind to our genuine selves? This is the key lesson of life: to find our authentic selves, and to see the authenticity in others." - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

"The most important preliminary to the task of arranging one's life so that one may live fully and comfortably within one's daily budget of 24 hours is the calm realization of the extreme difficulty of the task, of the sacrifices and the endless effort which it demands." -

"Every extreme attitude is a flight from the self." - Eric Hoffer

"Assassination is an extreme form of censorship." - George Bernard Shaw

"Extremes, though contrary, have the like effect; extreme heat mortifies, like extreme cold; extreme love breeds satiety, as well as extreme hatred." - George Chapman

"Justice without mercie were extreme iniurie." - John Lyly or Lilly or Lylie

"In the end, science as we know it has two basic types of practitioners. One is the educated man who still has a controlled sense of wonder before the universal mystery, whether it hides in a snails eye or within the light that impinges on that delicate organ. The second kind of observer is the extreme reductionist who is so busy stripping things apart that the tremendous mystery has been reduced to a trifle, to intangibles not worth troubling one’s head about." - Loren Eiseley

"In my experience, very few politicians have solid principles that they are unwilling to sell out for the sake of winning elections. They are, most of them, "the hollow men, stuffed men" of whom T. S. Eliot wrote, and in Clinton we have perhaps as extreme an embodiment of this professional deformation as can be unearthed." - Norman B. Podhoretz

"We would not be human if we did not miss loved ones; but in feeling lonesome for them we don’t want selfish attachment to be the cause of keeping them earthbound. Extreme sorrow prevents a departed soul from going ahead toward greater peace and freedom." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents." - Robert Kennedy, fully Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy

"If you would fall into any extreme, let it be on the side of gentleness. The human mind is so constructed that it resists rigor, and yields to softness." - Saint Francis de Sales NULL

"Those who entertain an extreme and inordinate dread of being damned, show that they have more need of humility and submission than of understanding." - Saint Francis de Sales NULL

"All the riches of the world and the glory of creation, compared with the wealth of God, are extreme and abject poverty." - Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez NULL

"The Way is perfect like vast space where nothing is lacking and nothing is in excess. Indeed, it is due to our choosing to accept or reject that we do not see the true nature of things. Live neither in the entanglements of outer things, nor in the inner feeling of emptiness. Be serene in the oneness of things, nor in the inner feeling of emptiness. Be serene in the oneness of things and such erroneous views will disappear by themselves. When you try to stop activity to achieve passivity your very efforts fills you with activity. As long as you remain in one extreme or the other, you will never know Oneness." - Sosan Zenji, aka Chien-chih Seng-Tsan or Ch'an Seng-ts'an