Great Throughts Treasury

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


"Virtue, the strength and beauty of the soul, is the best gift of heaven; a happiness that, even above the smiles and frowns of fate, exalts great Nature’s favorites; a wealth that ne’er encumbers, nor can be transferr’d." - John Armstrong

"Man yields to custom as he bows to fate - in all things, ruled, mind, body, and estate." - George Crabbe

"Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men - above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men." - Albert Einstein

"On its highest level man's contemporary desire to escape responsibility expresses itself not in emphasis on luck, or in emotional submission to fate, but in a thoroughgoing deterministic theory, ascribing all personal qualities to heredity and environment." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody." - Buckminster Fuller, fully Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller

"It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul... Out of the night that covers me, black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul." - William Henley, fully William Ernest Henley

"Must helpless man, in ignorance sedate, roll daring down the torrent of his fate?" -

"That which we do not confront in ourselves we will meet as fate." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"The future is not in the hands of fate but in ours." - Jean Jules Jusserand, fully Jean Adrien Antoine Jules Jusserand

"Life cannot be controlled. It is a mystery inviting us to participate, to risk, to trust fate, to accept the blank rune stone, the unknown. Surrender teaches us not so much to understand as to inhabit the mystery... Once we can accept the larger mystery of Life, we can consciously create within it." - Gloria D. Karpinski

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

"When fate is adverse, a wise man can always strive for happiness and sail against the wind to attain it." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The slave is doomed to worship Time and Fate and Death, because they are greater than anything he finds in himself, and because all his thoughts are of things which they devour. But, great as they are, to think of them greatly, to feel their passionless splendor, is greater still. And such thought makes us free men." -

"Who is wise? The man who can learn something from every man. Who is strong? The man who overcomes his passion. Who is rich? The man who is content with his fate. Whom do men honor? The man who honors his fellow man." - Sayings of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot or Pirqe Aboth) NULL

"The aim that comedy has in view is the same as that of the highest destiny of man, and this consists in liberating himself from the influence of violent passions, and taking a calm and lucid survey of all that surrounds him, and also of his own being, and of seeing everywhere occurrence rather than fate or hazard, and ultimately rather smiling at the absurdities than shedding tears and feeling anger at sight of the wickedness of man." - Friedrich Schiller, fully Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

"Nobody becomes guilty by fate." -

"Vain man would trace the mystic maze with foolish wisdom, arguing, charge his God, his balance hold, and guide his angry rod, new-mould the spheres, and mend the skies’ design, and sound th’ immense with his short scanty line. Do thou, my soul, the destined period wait, when God shall solve the dark decrees of fate, His now unequal dispensation clear, and make all wise and beautiful appear." - Thomas Tickell

"The absolute demonstration of man’s mastery of fate and command of all condition - the victory of man - all men in this racial man, this elder brother of mankind in his triumph over sin, fear and death! But one thing had remained in my mind as necessary to prove to the mass of men to-day man’s absolute supremacy over death in all its forms as an attribute of his oneness with God, with Eternal Life, Perfect Love, Perfect Justice, Omniscience and Omnipotence." - Paul Tyner

"Happy the man who has learned the cause of things and has put under his feet all fear, inexorable fate, and the noisy strife of the hell of greed." - Virgil, also Vergil, fully Publius Vergilius Maro NULL

"The immortal mind, superior to his fate, amid the outrage of external things, firm as the solid base of this great world, rests on his own foundation. Blow, ye winds! Ye waves! Ye thunders! Roll your tempests on! Shake, ye old pillars of the marble sky! Till at its orbs and all its worlds of fire be loosen'd from their seats; yet still serene, the unconquer'd mind looks down upon the wreck; and ever stronger as the storms advance, firm through the closing ruin holds is way, when nature calls him to the destin'd goal." - Mark Akenside

"Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow, make yourself good while life and power are still yours." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"There is no Fate... Man is the creator of his destiny." - Erich Auerbach

"If there is free will, all things do not happen according to fate; if all things do not happen according to fate, there is not a certain order of causes; and if there is not a certain order of causes, neither is there a certain order of things foreknown by God - for things cannot come to pass except they are preceded by efficient causes - but if there is no fixed and certain order of causes foreknown by God, all things cannot be said to happen according as He foreknew that they would happen... But it does not follow that, though there is for God a certain order of all causes, there must therefore be nothing depending on the free exercise of our own wills, for our wills themselves are included in that order of causes which is certain to God and is embraced by His foreknowledge, for human wills are also causes of human actions; and He Who foreknew all the causes of things would certainly among those causes not have been ignorant of our wills." - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"The road is pre-destined, but the way we walk it, the attitude with which we bear our fate, can be of great influence over events." - Richard Beer-Hoffmann

"I want to seize fate by the throat." -

"Providence is the very divine reason which arranges all things, and rests with the supreme disposer of all; while fate is that ordering which is a part of all changeable things, and by means of which Providence binds all things together in their own order. Providence embraces all things equally, however different they may be, even however infinite: when they are assigned to their own places, forms, and times, Fate sets them in an orderly motion; so that this development of the temporal order, unified in the intelligence of the mind of God, is Providence. The working of this unified development in time is called Fate. These are different, but the one hangs upon the other. For this order, which is ruled by Fate, emanates from the directness of Providence." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"What, after all, is heaven, but a transition from dim guesses and blind struggling with a mysterious and adverse fate to the fullness of all wisdom - from ignorance, in a word, to knowledge, but knowledge of what order?" - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"The artist must penetrate into the world, feel the fate of human beings, of peoples, with real love. There is not art for art's sake. One must be interested in the entire realm of life." - Marc Chagall, born Moishe Shagal

"I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act." - G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"The worst fate for a poet is to be admired without being understood." - Jean Cocteau

"Despair is the offspring of fear; of laziness, and impatience; it argues a defect of spirit and resolution, and often of honesty too. I would not despair unless I saw my misfortune recorded in the book of fate; and signed and sealed by necessity." - Jeremy Collier

"Memory is a paradise out of which fate cannot drive us." - Alexander Dumas

"Concern for man himself and his fate must always form the chief interest of all technical endeavor. Never forget this in the midst of your diagrams and equations." - Albert Einstein

"He who submits to fate without complaint is wise." - Euripedes NULL

"Thoughts! what are they? They are my constant friends, who, when harsh fate its dull brow bends, uncloud me with a smiling ray, and in the depth of midnight force a day." - Thomas Flatman

"Man is his own star, and the soul that can render an honest and a perfect man commands all light, all influence, all fate." - John Fletcher

"It is easy enough to endow the Matterhorn with another and less exalted meaning. The scale of 1:50,000 may be roughly the proportion in which fate fulfills our wishes, and in which we ourselves carry out our good intentions." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Man's feet are his fate: they lead him to where he is wanted." - Hama ben Hanina

"In life’s small things be resolute and great to keep thy muscle trained: know’st thou when Fate thy measure takes, or when she’ll say to thee, “I find thee worthy; do this deed for me?”" - James Russell Lowell

"All art is a revolt against man's fate." -

"The paranormal suffers the inevitable fate of becoming the normal in process of time." - Omananda Puri, aka Swami Omananda Puri, born Maud MacCarthy

"Man has the capacity of almost complete control of fate. It he fails it will be by the ignorance or folly of men." -

"Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow, make yourself good while life and power are still yours." -

"Fate is something outside of us. What really plays the dickens with us is something in ourselves. Something that makes us go on doing the same sort of fool things, however many chances we get." -

"Providence embraces all things equally, however different they may be, even however infinite; when they are assigned to their own places, forms and times, Fate sets them in an orderly motion; so that this development of the temporal order, unified in the intelligence of the mind of God, is Providence." -

"Excessive thinking harms life; we should go where fate leads, and ride on the waves of the Great Flux without joy and without fear. If life must end, then let it end; there is no need to be full of anxieties." - Ch'ien, fully T'ao Chien or Tao Qian, aka Tao Yuan-ming NULL

"Is there any doctrine of immortality that can say anything more simple yet definitive about man’s fate after death? He has come from God and returns to God. From the very beginning, man is bound up with God; and this bond continues to exist, unaffected by death which befalls the body only. God’s creation of man’s spirit, then, must be understood as a principle whose consequence is immortality." - Hermann Cohen

"Either for God or against God… Upon that choice hangs the fate of the world. In every department of life, in politics and economics, in the sciences and arts, in the State and in domestic life we follow God’s laws to peace or bypass them into chaos." -