Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Foresight

"The essential problem of freedom, it seems to me, is the problem of the relation of choice and unimpeded effective action to each other... There is an intrinsic connection between choice as freedom and power of action as freedom. A choice which intelligently manifests individuality enlarges the range of action, and this enlargement in turn confers upon our desires greater insight and foresight, and makes choice more intelligent." - John Dewey

"The principle of self-interest rightly understood produces no great acts of self-sacrificed, but it suggest daily small acts of self-denial. By itself it cannot suffice to make a man virtuous; but it disciplines a number of person sin habits of regularity, temperance, moderation, foresight, self-command; and if it does not lead men straight to virtue by the will, it gradually draws them in that direction by their habits. If the principle of interest rightly understood were to sway the whole moral world, extraordinary virtues would doubtless be more rare; but I think that gross depravity would then also be less common. The principle of interest rightly understood perhaps prevents men from rising far above the level of mankind, but a great number of other men, who were falling far below it, are caught and restrained by it." -

"The principle of self-interest rightly understood produces no great acts of self-sacrifice, but it suggests daily small acts of self-denial. By itself it cannot suffice to make a an virtuous; but it disciplines a number of persons in habits of regularity, temperance, moderation, foresight, self-command; and, if it does not lead men straight to virtue by the will, it gradually draws them in that direction by their habits. Observe some few individuals, they are lowered by it; survey mankind, it is raised." -

"What helps luck is a habit of watching for opportunities, of having a patient, but restless mind, of sacrificing one's ease or vanity, of uniting a love of detail to foresight, and of passing through hard times bravely and cheerfully." - Victor Cherbuliez

"Mighty is the force of motherhood! It transforms all things by its vital heat; it turns timidity into fierce courage, and dreadless defiance into tremulous submission; it turns thoughtlessness into foresight, and yet stills all anxiety into calm content; it makes selfishness become self-denial, and gives even to hard vanity the glance of admiring love." - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"Very few live by choice. Every man is placed in his present condition by causes which acted without his foresight, and with which he did not always willingly cooperate; and therefore you will rarely meet one who does not think the lot of his neighbor better than his own." -

"Business more than any other occupation is a continual dealing with the future; it is a continual calculation, an instinctive exercise in foresight." - Henry Robinson Luce

"Humans have the ability to act consciously, and collectively, [exercising foresight to] choose their own evolutionary path. In our crucial epoch we cannot leave the selection of the next step in the evolution of human society and culture to chance. We must plan for it, consciously and purposefully." -

"If a person's foresight were as good as their hindsight, we would all get somewhere." - American Proverbs

"Pity is a sense of our own misfortunes in those of another man; it is a sort of foresight of the disasters which may befall ourselves. We assist others, in order that they may assist us on like occasions; so that the services we offer to the unfortunate are in reality so many anticipated kindnesses to ourselves." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"There are three material things, not only useful, but essential to life. No one “knows how to live” till he has got them. These are pure air, water and earth. There are three immaterial things, not only useful, but essential to life. No one knows how to live till he has got them also. These are admiration, hope and love. Admiration - the power of discerning and taking delight in what is beautiful in visible form and lovely in human character; and, necessarily, striving to produce what is beautiful in form and to become what is lovely in character. Hope - the recognition, by true foresight, of better things to be reached hereafter, whether by ourselves or others; necessarily issuing in the straightforward and undisappointable effort to advance, according to our proper power, the gaining of them. Love - both of family and neighbor, faithful and satisfied." - John Ruskin

"Hitherto it is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day’s toil of any human being. They have enabled a greater population to live the same life of drudgery and imprisonment, and an increased number of manufacturers and others to make fortunes. They have increased the comforts of the middle classes. But they have not yet begun to effect those great changes in human destiny, which it is in their nature and in their futurity to accomplish. Only when, in addition to just institutions, the increase of mankind shall be under the deliberate guidance of judicious foresight, and the conquests made form the powers of nature by the intellect and energy of scientific discoverers, become the common property of the species, and the means of improving and elevating the universal lot." - John Stuart Mill

"Vengeance has no foresight." -

"The principle of self-interest rightly understood produces no great acts of self-sacrificed, but it suggest daily small acts of self-denial. By itself it cannot suffice to make a man virtuous; but it disciplines a number of person sin habits of regularity, temperance, moderation, foresight, self-command; and if it does not lead men straight to virtue by the will, it gradually draws them in that direction by their habits. If the principle of interest rightly understood were to sway the whole moral world, extraordinary virtues would doubtless be more rare; but I think that gross depravity would then also be less common. The principle of interest rightly understood perhaps prevents men from rising far above the level of mankind, but a great number of other men, who were falling far below it, are caught and restrained by it." - Alexis de Tocqueville, fully Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville

"Humans have the ability to act consciously, and collectively, [exercising foresight to] choose their own evolutionary path. In our crucial epoch we cannot leave the selection of the next step in the evolution of human society and culture to chance. We must plan for it, consciously and purposefully." - Ervin László

"There is not any present moment that is unconnected with some future one. The life of every man is a continued chain of incidents, each link of which hangs upon the former. The transition from cause to effect, from event to event, is often carried on by secret steps, which our foresight cannot divine, and our sagacity is unable to trace. Evil may at some future period bring forth good; and good may bring forth evil, both equally unexpected. " - Joseph Addison

"Once more, in the matter of wealth: if thou throw thine all on a chance, Men will come around thee, and wait, and watch the turning of the wheel; And if, in the lottery of life, thou draw a splendid prize, What foresight hadst thou, and skill! yea, what enterprize and wisdom! But, if it fall out against thee, and thou fail in thy perilous endeavour, Behold, the simple did sow, and hath reaped the right harvest of his folly. And the world will be gladly excused, nor will reach out a finger to help; For why should this speculative dullard be a whirlpool to all around him? Go to, let him sink by himself: we knew what the end of it would be. For the man hath missed his mark, and his fellows look no further." - Martin Tupper, fully Martin Farquhar Tupper

"Mentor: Someone whose hindsight can become your foresight " - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker

"It is by the aid of iron that we construct houses, cleave rocks, and perform so many other useful offices of life. But it is with iron also that wars, murders, and robberies are effected, and this, not only hand to hand, but from a distance even, by the aid of missiles and winged weapons, now launched from engines, now hurled by the human arm, and now furnished with feathery wings. This last I regard as the most criminal artifice that has been devised by the human mind; for, as if to bring death upon man with still greater rapidity, we have given wings to iron and taught it to fly. ... Nature, in conformity with her usual benevolence, has limited the power of iron, by inflicting upon it the punishment of rust; and has thus displayed her usual foresight in rendering nothing in existence more perishable, than the substance which brings the greatest dangers upon perishable mortality. " - Pliny the Elder, full name Casus Plinius Secundus NULL

"It would certainly be better if a writer like Leacock knew always what was best to do and what would look best in the eyes of posterity, but such unnatural foresight cannot be required of any man." - Robertson Davies

"But little Mouse, you are not alone, In proving foresight may be vain: The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often askew, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy! Still you are blest, compared with me!" - Robert Burns, aka Rabbie Burns, Scotland's favourite son, the Ploughman Poet, Robden of Solway Firth, the Bard of Ayrshire and in Scotland as simply The Bard

"For this reason David, as a pilgrim, hastens to this common fatherland of all saints, seeking, on account of the uncleanness of this dwelling, that his sins be forgiven before he departs this life. For whoever has not received forgiveness of sins here will not be there. He will not be there because he will not be able to come to eternal life, because eternal life is the forgiveness of sins." - Saint Ambrose, born Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

"God by nature is uncompounded, joined to nothing, composed of nothing, to whom nothing happens by accident; but only possessing in His own nature that which is divine, enclosing all things, Himself closed out of nothing, penetrating all things, Himself never penetrable, everywhere complete, everywhere present at the same time, whether in heaven or on earth or in the depths of the sea, incapable of being seen or measured by our senses, to be followed only by faith and venerated in our religion." - Ambrose, aka Saint Ambrose, fully Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

"The first and fundamental law of Nature, which is, to seek peace and follow it." - Thomas Hobbes

"Rooted in freedom, bonded in the fellowship of danger, sharing everywhere a common human blood, we declare again that all men are brothers, and that mutual tolerance is the price of liberty." - Will Durant, fully William James "Will" Durant

"It is sometimes asserted that a surgical operation is or should be a work of art ... fit to rank with those of the painter or sculptor. ... That proposition does not admit of discussion. It is a product of the intellectual innocence which I think we surgeons may fairly claim to possess, and which is happily not inconsistent with a quite adequate worldly wisdom." - Wilfred Trotter, fully Wilfred Batten Lewis Trotter

"Between levity and cheerfulness there is a wide distinction; and the mind which is most open to levity is frequently a stranger to cheerfulness. It has been remarked that transports of intemperate mirth are often no more than flashes from the dark cloud; and that in proportion to the violence of the effulgence is the succeeding gloom. Levity may be the forced production of folly or vice; cheerfulness is the natural offspring of wisdom and virtue only. The one is an occasional agitation; the other a permanent habit. The one degrades the character; the other is perfectly consistent with the dignity of reason, and the steady and manly spirit of religion. To aim at a constant succession of high and vivid sensations of pleasure is an idea of happiness perfectly chimerical. Calm and temperate enjoyment is the utmost that is allotted to man. Beyond this we struggle in vain to raise our state; and in fact depress our joys by endeavoring to heighten them. Instead of those fallacious hopes of perpetual festivity with which the world would allure us, religion confers upon us a cheerful tranquillity. Instead of dazzling us with meteors of joy which sparkle and expire, it sheds around us a calm and steady light, more solid, more equal, and more lasting." - Hugh Blair