Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Force

"When a thing is done again and again, it seems to proceed from a deliberate judgment of reason. Accordingly, custom has the force of a law, abolishes law, and is the interpreter of law." -

"I live in the world, but I seem to myself not of it!.. Natural phenomena are but the shadows of the spirit form which they spring, as the human face changes under the influence of love, hatred or fear... When, O when, shall I be able to reveal its poetry? I see everywhere and in ever object unceasing motion, and in that motion a creative force forever and forever repeating and re-repeating the same simple process as to infinity. Through all nature the grand rhythms roll and heaven and earth are filled with the melody. Men are but boys chasing shadows. The spiritual significance of the world none seem to see - the infinite simplicity of its process are none care to understand." - H. B.

"Love has to spring spontaneously from within. It is no way amenable to any form of inner or outer force. Love and coercion can never go together; but though Love cannot be forced on anyone, It can be awakened in him through Love itself. Love is essentially self-communicative. Those who do not have It catch It from those who have It. True love is unconquerable and irresistible; and It goes on gathering power and spreading Itself, until eventually It transforms everyone whom It touches." - Meher Baba, born Merwan Sheriar Irani

"Even the best of men get knocked down many times in a lifetime. Occasional knocks aren't anything to be afraid of. In fact, they make the game of life interesting; they are the hazards and the bunkers and sandtraps that force us to keep our mind on the game and play our best." -

"With our finite minds we cannot presume to know if there is a Purpose. We sense, however, the presence of something greater than we can comprehend, a force as yet unknown to us - perhaps even to be unknown. So we accept our situation, learn from it, and do the best we can, resting on faith, despair, or cynicism, depending on the individual. Overriding all this must be an obligation - self-imposed or externally impressed - to do the best one can for others, to relieve suffering and to exercise compassion. We are all in this together, for life is a common, not an individual, endeavor." - Harry Blackmun, fully Harold "Harry" Andrew Blackmun

"Strict punctuality is, perhaps, the cheapest virtue which can give force to an otherwise utterly insignificant character." -

"Self-interest is the most ingenious and persuasive of all the agents that deceive our consciences, while by means of it our unhappy and stubborn prejudices operate in their greatest force." - William Cullen Bryant

"A religion giving dark views of God, and infusing superstitious fear of innocent enjoyment, instead of aiding sober habits, will, by making men abject and sad, impair their moral force and prepare them for intemperance as a refuge from depression or despair." - William Ellery Channing

"All that a man does outwardly is but the expression and completion of his inward thought. To work effectually, he must think clearly; to act nobly, he must think nobly. Intellectual force is a principal element of the soul’s life, and should be proposed by every man as the principal end of his being." - William Ellery Channing

"Man was sent into the world to be a growing and exhaustless force. The world was spread out around him to be seized and conquered. Realms of infinite truth burst open above him, inviting him to tread those shining coasts which Newton dropped his plummet, and Herschel sailed, a Columbus of the skies." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Envy is an ill-natured vice, and is made up of meanness and malice. It wishes the force of goodness to be strained, and the measure of happiness abated. It laments over prosperity, and sickens at the sight of health. It oftentimes wants spirit as well as good nature." - Jeremy Collier

"The vital force in business life is the honest desire to serve. Business, it is said, is the science of service. He profits most who serves best. At the very bottom of the wish to render service must be honesty of purpose, and, as I go along through life, I see more and more that honesty in word, thought, and work means success. It spells a life worth living and in business clean success." - Abba Eban, born Aubrey Solomon Meir Eban

"We may make our future by the best use of the present. There is no moment like the present; not only so, but, moreover, there is no moment at all, that is; no instant force and energy, but in the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards." - Maria Edgeworth

"Any power must be an enemy of mankind which enslaves the individual by terror and force whether it arises under the Fascist or the Communist flag. All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual." - Albert Einstein

"Our best hope for the future is that the intellect - the scientific spirit, reason - should in time establish a dictatorship over the human mind. The very nature of reason is a guarantee that it would not fail to concede to human emotions, and to all that is determined by them, the position to which they are entitled. But the common pressure exercised by such a domination of reason would prove to be the strongest unifying force among men, and would prepare the way for further unifications. Whatever, like the ban laid upon thought by religion, opposes such a development is a danger for the future of mankind." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"If we look back upon the usual course of our feelings, we shall find that we are more influenced by the frequent recurrence of objects than by their weight and importance; and that habit has more force in forming our habits than our opinions have. The mind naturally takes its tone and complexion from what it habitually contemplates." - Robert Hall

"We accept the verdict of the past until the need for change cries out loudly enough to force upon us a choice between the comforts of further inertia and the irksomeness of action." -

"The force of selfishness is as inevitable and as calculable as the force of gravitation." -

"To this war of every man, against every man, this is also consequent that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law: where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues. Justice, and injustice, are none of the faculties neither of the body, nor mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his sense, and passions. They are qualities, that relate to men in society, not in solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition, that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine and thing distinct; but only that to be every man’s, that he can get; and for so long, as he can keep it." - Thomas Hobbes

"War some day will be abolished by the will of man. This assertion does not in any way invalidate the truth that war is fundamentally caused by impersonal, political, economic and social forces. But it is the destiny of man to master and control such force, even as it is his destiny to harness rivers, chain the lightning and ride the storm. It is human will, operating under social forces, that has abolished slavery, infanticide, dueling, and a score of other social enormities. Why should it not do the same for war?" - John Haynes Holmes

"Jealousy is a painful passion; yet without some share of it, the agreeable affection of love has difficulty to subsist in its full force and violence." - David Hume

"The chief and most confounding objection to excessive skepticism, that no durable good can ever result from it; while it remains in its full force and vigor. We need only ask such a skeptic, what his meaning is? And what he proposes by all these curious researches? He is immediately at a loss, and knows not what to answer." - David Hume

"We may begin with considering a-new the nature and force of sympathy. The minds of all men are similar in their feelings and operations, nor can any one be actuated by any affection, of which all others are not, in some degree, susceptible. As in strings equally bound up, the motion of one communicates itself to the rest; so all the affections readily pass from one person to another, and beget correspondent movements in every human creature." - David Hume

"An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of a revelation." - William James

"Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves - to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterdays by our today, to do our work with more force than ever before." - Stewart B. Johnson

"Injuries may be atoned for, and forgiven; but insults admit of no compensation. They degrade the mind in its own esteem, and force it to recover its level by revenge." -

"No man can force the harp of his own individuality into the people’s heart; but every man may play upon the chords of the people’s heart, who draws his inspiration from the people’s instinct." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"All duties are matter of conscience, with this restriction that a superior obligation suspends the force of an inferior one." - Roger L'Estrange, fully Sir Roger L'Estrange

"If we have need of a strong will in order to do good, it is more necessary still for us in order not to do evil; from which it often results that the most modest life is that where the force of will is most exercised." - Louis-Mathieu Molé, aka Count Molé , Comte Molé or Mathieu Molé

"Through a fatality inseparable from human nature, moderation in great men is very rare: and as it is always much easier to push on force in the direction in which it moves than to stop its movement, so in the superior class of the people, it is less difficult, perhaps, to find men extremely virtuous, than extremely prudent." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"There is nothing a man can less afford to leave at home than his conscience or his good habits; for it is not to be denied that travel is, in its immediate circumstances, unfavorable to habits of self-discipline, regulation of thought, sobriety of conduct, and dignity of character. Indeed, one of the great lessons of travel is the discovery how much our virtues owe to the support of constant occupation, to the influence of public opinion, and to the force of habit; a discovery very dangerous, if it proceed from an actual yielding to temptations resisted at home, and not from a consciousness of increased power put forth in withstanding them." - Richardson Pack or Packe

"The force, the mass of character, mind, heart or soul that a man can put into any work is the most important factor in that work." - Andrew Preston Peabody

"Vigilance in watching opportunity; tact and daring in seizing upon opportunity; force and persistence in crowding opportunity to its utmost possible achievement - these are the martial virtues which must command success." - Austin Phelps

"Our purpose is to consciously, deliberately evolve toward a wise, more liberated and luminous state of being. Deep down, all of us are probably aware that some kind of mystical evolution is our true task. Yet we suppress the notion with considerable force because to admit to it is to admit that most of our political gyrations, religious dogmas, social ambitions and financial ploys are not merely counterproductive but trivial. Our mission is to jettison those pointless preoccupations and take on once again the primordial cargo of inexhaustible ecstasy." - Tom Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins

"Marriage is not a union merely between two creatures - it is a union between two spirits; and the intention of that bond is to perfect the nature of both, by supplementing their deficiencies with the force of contrast, giving to each sex those excellencies in which it is naturally deficient; to the one, strength of character and firmness of moral will; to the other, sympathy, meekness, tenderness; and just so solemn and glorious as these ends are for which the union was intended, just so terrible are the consequences if it be perverted and abused; for there is no earthly relationship which has so much power to ennoble and exalt." -

"The less reasonable a cult is, the more men seek to establish it by force." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

""Free thought" means thinking freely... To be worthy of the name [freethinker] he must be free of two things: the force of tradition and the tyranny of his own passions. No one is completely free from either, and in the measure of a man's emancipation he deserves to be called a free thinker." -

"Education is, as a rule, the strongest force on the side of what exists and against fundamental change: threatened institutions, while they are still powerful, possess themselves of the educational machine, and instill a respect for their own excellence into the malleable minds of the young." -

"Ethical metaphysics is fundamentally an attempt, however disguised, to give legislative force to our own wishes." -

"Without the consent of the world, a scandal doth not go deep; it is only a slight stroke upon the injured party, and returneth with the greater force upon those that gave it." - George Savile, fully Sir George Savile, 1st Marquis of Halifax

"All life is initiation. Each experience, each act, deed, especially thoughts, are a portion of initiation. Initiation then is the process whereby the entity - the soul force, is given the opportunity to develop spiritually. This means, that when the soul chooses to improve itself - to move towards a greater light, the soul body so changes its vibration as to remove from its spiritual fabric those attachments detrimental to its path upward." - Gordon-Michael Scallion

"Whatever may happen in the future, I know that I have learned three things which will remain forever convictions of my heart as well as my mind. Life, even the hardest life, is the most beautiful, wonderful and miraculous treasure in the world. Fulfillment of duty is another beautiful thing, making life happy and giving to the soul an unconquerable force to sustain ideals. This is my second conviction, and my third is that cruelty, hatred, and injustice never can and never will be able to create a mental, moral or material millennium." - Pitirim A. Sorokin, fully Pitirim Alexandrovich (Alexander) Sorokin

"Life, moral or physical, is not a completed fact, but a continual process, depending for its movement upon two contrary forces, the force of resistance and that of expression. Dividing these forces into two mutually opposing principles does not help us, for the truth dwells not in the opposition but in its continual reconciliation." -

"When the heat and motion of blind impulses and passions distract it on all sides, we can neither give nor receive anything truly. But when we find our centre in our soul by the power of self-restraint, by the force that harmonises all warring elements and unifies those that are apart, then all our isolated impressions reduce themselves to wisdom, and all our momentary impulses of heart find their completion in love; then all the petty details of our life reveal an infinite purpose, and all our thoughts and deeds unite themselves inseparably in an internal harmony." -

"When we accept any discipline for ourselves, we try to avoid everything except that which is necessary for our purpose; it is this purposefulness, which belongs to the adult mind, that we force upon school children. We say, “Never keep your mind alert, attend to what is before you, what has been given you.” This tortures the child because it contradicts nature’s purpose, and nature, the greatest of all teachers, is thwarted at every step by the human teacher who believes in machine-made lessons rather than life lessons, so that the growth of the child’s mind is not only injured, but forcibly spoiled." -

"Error is the force that welds men together; truth is communicated to men only by deeds of truth." -

"Man’s free will differs from every other force in that man is directly conscious of it, but in the eyes of reason it in no way differs from any other force. The forces of gravitation, electricity, or chemical affinity are only distinguished from one another in that they are differently defined by reason." -

"True courage is not the brutal force of vulgar heroes, but the firm resolve of virtue and reason." - Paul Whitehead

"It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber." - Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom NULL

"Facts, when combined with ideas, constitute the greatest force in the world. They are greater than armaments, greater than finance, greater than science, business and law because they constitute the common denominator of all of them." - Carl William Ackerman