Great Throughts Treasury

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


"History is a combination of reality and lies. The reality of History becomes a lie. The unreality of the fable becomes the truth." - Jean Cocteau

"Life is this simple: We are living in a transparent world and God shines through in every moment. This is not just a fable or a nice story, it is living truth. If we remember God, abandon ourselves to God, and forget ourselves, we may see this truth: God manifests everywhere, in everything. We cannot be without God. It's impossible. It's simply impossible." - Thomas Merton

"There is, in sanest hours, a consciousness, a thought that rises, independent, lifted out from all else, calm, like the stars, shining eternal. This is the thought of identity – yours for you, whoever you are, as mine for me. Miracle of miracles, beyond statement, most spiritual and vaguest of earth’s dreams, yet hardest basic fact, and only entrance to all facts. In such devout hours, in the midst of the significant wonders of heaven and earth, (significant only because of the Me in the center), creeds, conventions, fall away and become of no account before this simple idea. Under the luminousness of real vision, it alone takes possession, takes value. Like the shadowy dwarf in the fable, once liberated and look’d upon, it expands over the whole earth, and spreads to the roof of heaven." -

"The way to avoid evil is not by maiming our passions, but by compelling them to yield their vigor to our mortal nature. Thus they become, as in the ancient fable, the harnessed steeds which bear the chariot of the sun." - Henry Ward Beecher

"History is but a fable [a set of lies] agreed upon." - Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I

"What is history but a fable agreed upon?" - Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I

"I can find my biography in every fable that I read." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The real vice of a civilized republic is in the Turkish fable of the dragon with man heads and the dragon with many tails. The many heads hurt each other, and the many tails obey a single head which wants to devour everything." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"It is a myth, not a mandate, a fable not a logic, and symbol rather than a reason by which men are moved. " - Irwin Edman

"The poor man, while he apes the wealthy, effects his own ruin. [The fable of frog and the cow.]" - Periander, aka Periander The Great NULL

"That the grace of fable stirs the mind... and... the perusal of excellent books is, as it were, to interview with the noblest men of past ages" - René Descartes

"That earlier hope had, if fulfilled, Been but child's pap and toothless meat — And meaning blunt and deed unwilled, And we but motes that dance in light And in such light gleam like the core Of light, but lightless, are in right Blind dust that fouls the unswept floor For, no: not faith by fable lives, But from the faith the fable springs — It never is the song that gives Tongue life, it is the tongue that sings; And sings the song. Then, let the act Speak, it is the unbetrayable Command, if music, let the fact Make music's motion; us, the fable. " - Robert Penn Warren

"Then let us turn now — you to me And I to you — and hand to hand Clasp, even though our fable be Of strangers met in a strange land Who pause, perturbed, then speak and know That speech, half lost, can yet amaze Joy at the root; then suddenly grow Silent, and on each other gaze. " - Robert Penn Warren

"Oblivion is a second death, which great minds dread more than the first." - Stanislas de Boufflers, fully Marquis Stanislas-Jean de Boufflers, Chevalier de Boufflers

"And to preserve their independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude." - Thomas Jefferson

"The Bank of the United States is one of the most deadly hostilities existing, against the principles and form of our Constitution. An institution like this, penetrating by its branches every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government. I deem no government safe which is under the vassalage of any self-constituted authorities, or any other authority than that of the nation, or its regular functionaries. What an obstruction could not this bank of the United States, with all its branch banks, be in time of war! It might dictate to us the peace we should accept, or withdraw its aids. Ought we then to give further growth to an institution so powerful, so hostile?" - Thomas Jefferson

"The days of life are consumed, one by one, without an object beyond the present moment; ever flying from the ennui of that, yet carrying it with us; eternally in pursuit of happiness, which keeps eternally before us. If death or bankruptcy happen to trip us out of the circle, it is matter for the buzz of the evening, and is completely forgotten by the next morning." - Thomas Jefferson

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." - Thomas Jefferson

"Living is not thinking. Thought is formed and guided by objective reality outside us. Living is the constant adjustment of thought to life and life to thought in such a way that we are always growing, always experiencing new things in the old and old things in the new. Thus life is always new." - Thomas Merton

"A Song : The Sparkling Eye - The sparkling eye, the mantling cheek, The polished front, the snowy neck, How seldom we behold in one! Glossy locks, and brow serene, Venus' smiles, Diana's mien, All meet in you, and you alone. Beauty, like other powers, maintains Her empire, and by union reigns; Each single feature faintly warms: But where at once we view displayed Unblemished grace, the perfect maid Our eyes, our ears, our heart alarms. So when on earth the god of day Obliquely sheds his tempered ray, Through convex orbs the beams transmit, The beams that gently warmed before, Collected, gently warm no more, But glow with more prevailing heat. " - William Cowper

"Direct and easy communications — freedom of speech in all forms and in its broadest sense — has become vital to the very survival of a civilized humanity." - Walt Disney, fully Walter Elias "Walt" Disney

"I just make what I like - warm and human stories, ones about historic characters and events, and about animals. If there is a secret, I guess it's that I never make the pictures too childish, but always try to get in a little satire of adult foibles." - Walt Disney, fully Walter Elias "Walt" Disney

"Oh Me! Oh Life! of the questions recurring, Answer - That you are here - that life exists and identity, that the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"He'll be cross if he sees I have been crying. They don't like you to cry. He doesn't cry. I wish to God I could make him cry. I wish I could make him cry and tread the floor and feel his heart heavy and big and festering in him. I wish I could hurt him like hell. He doesn't wish that about me. I don't think he even knows how he makes me feel. I wish he could know, without my telling him. They don't like you to tell them they've made you cry. They don't like you to tell them you're unhappy because of them. If you do, they think you're possessive and exacting. And then they hate you. They hate you whenever you say anything you really think. You always have to keep playing little games. Oh, I thought we didn't have to; I thought this was so big I could say whatever I meant. I guess you can't, ever. I guess there isn't ever anything big enough for that." - Dorothy Parker