Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Forgetfulness

"Remembrances embellish life but forgetfulness alone makes it possible." - Enrico Cialdini, Duca di Gaeta

"Beautiful is the activity that works for good, and the stillness that waits for good; blessed the self-sacrifice that waits for good; blessed the self-sacrifice of the one, and the self-forgetfulness of the other." - Robert Collyer

"It is only in beholding and loving God that we can learn forgetfulness of self, measure duly the nothingness which has dazzled us, and accustom ourselves thankfully to decrease beneath that great Majesty which absorbs all things. Love God and you will be humble; love God and you will throw off the love of self; love God and you will love all that He gives you to love for love of Him." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"A happy life is made up of little things in which smiles and small favors are given habitually. A gift sent, a letter written, a call made, a recommendation given, transportation provided, a cake made, a book lent, a check sent - things which are done without hesitation. Kindness isn't sacrifice so much as it is being considerate for the feelings of others, sharing happiness, the unselfish thought, the spontaneous and friendly act, forgetfulness of our own present interests." - Carl Holmes

"Memory, in point of fact, is impeded by the body: even as things are, addition often brings forgetfulness; with thinning and clearing away, memory will often revive. The soul is stability; the shifting and fleeting thing which body is can be a cause only of its forgetting not of its remembering - Lethe stream may be understood in this sense - and memory is a fact of the soul." - Plotinus NULL

"The cure [remedy] for wrongs is forgetfulness." - Publius Syrus

"We bury love; forgetfulness grows over it like grass; that is a thing to weep for, not the dead." - Alexander Smith

"Forgetfulness of self is remembrance of God. Whoever knows God through God becomes alive, and whoever knows God through self becomes dead." - Abu Yazid Tayfur ibn 'Isa ibn Surushan al-Bismtami

"Peace comes only from loving, from mutual self-sacrifice and self-forgetfulness. Few today have humility or wisdom enough to know the world's deep need of love. We are too much possessed by national and racial and cultural pride." - Horace William Baden Donegan

"Love dies by satiety, and forgetfulness inters it." - Du Coeur NULL

"A woman is more responsive to a man's forgetfulness than to his attentions." - Jules Janin

"Lost wealth may be restored by industry, the wreck of health regained by temperance, forgotten knowledge restored by study, alienated friendship smoothed into forgetfulness, even forfeited reputation won by penitence and virtue. But who ever looked upon his vanished hours, recalled his slighted years, stamped them with wisdom, or effaced from Heaven's record the fearful blot of wasted time?" - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"There is a noble forgetfulness - that which does not remember injuries." - Charles Simmons

"The rich and luxurious may claim an exclusive right to those pleasures which are capable of being purchased by pelf, in which the mind has no enjoyment, and which only afford a temporary relief to languor by steeping the senses of forgetfulness; but in the precious pleasures of the intellect, so easily accessible by all mankind, the great have no exclusive privilege; for such enjoyments are only to be procured by our own industry." - Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann

"Forgetfulness is the way to exile.  Remembrance is the way to redemption." - Holocaust Memorial, Yad Vashem in Israel NULL

"Man can become part of God’s unity, which is eternal, only by forgetfulness of self." -

"In the day of prosperity there is a forgetfulness of affliction; and in the day of affliction there is no more remembrance of prosperity." - Ben Sira

"Do not others expect from children more perfect conduct then they themselves exhibit? If a gracious child should lose his temper or act wrongly in some trifling thing through forgetfulness, straight-away he is condemned as a little hypocrite by those who are a long way from being perfect themselves." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"God pardons like a mother who kisses the offence into everlasting forgetfulness." - Henry Ward Beecher

"The discovery of the alphabet will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves... You give your disciples not truth but only the semblance of truth; they will be heroes of many things, and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing." - Socrates NULL

"Reality has three natures: imagination, interdependence, and the nature of ultimate perfection One considers interdependence. Because of forgetfulness and prejudices, we generally cloak reality with a veil of false views and opinions. This is seeing reality through imagination. Imagination is an illusion of reality which conceives of reality as an assembly of small pieces of separate entities and selves." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"Spiritual realization is theoretically the easiest thing and in practice the most difficult thing there is. It is the easiest because it is enough to think of God. It is the most difficult because human nature is forgetfulness of God." - Fritjhof Schuon

"Let pessimism once take hold of the mind, and life is all topsy-turvy, all vanity and vexation of spirit. There is no cure for individual or social disorder, except in forgetfulness and annihilation. "Let us eat, drink and be merry," says the pessimist, "for to-morrow we die." If I regarded my life from the point of view of the pessimist, I should be undone. I should seek in vain for the light that does not visit my eyes and the music that does not ring in my ears. I should beg night and day and never be satisfied. I should sit apart in awful solitude, a prey to fear and despair. But since I consider it a duty to myself and to others to be happy, I escape a misery worse than any physical deprivation." - Helen Keller. aka Helen Adams Keller

"Let the past be content with itself, for man needs forgetfulness as well as memory." - James Stephens

"To give heart and mind to God, so that they are ours no longer - to do good without being conscious of it, to pray ceaselessly and without effort as we breathe - to love without stopping to reflect upon our feelings - such is the perfect forgetfulness of self, which casts us upon God, as a babe rests upon its mother's breast. " - Jean Grou, fully Jean Nicholas Grou

"Man can become part of God’s unity, which is eternal, only by forgetfulness of self." - Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman NULL

"It is customary to consider forgetfulness a disadvantage. I believe it is an advantage. Knowing to forget, means loosening the troubles of the past." - Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman NULL

"Pardon is voluntary forgetfulness, while forgetfulness is involuntary pardon." - Pierre-Jules Hetzel, wrote under pen name P. J. Stahl

"Rabbi Eleazar ha-Kappar used to say: “Jealousy, lust, and ambition remove man from the world… They who have been born are destined to die. They that are dead are destined to be made alive. They who live are destined to be judged, that men may know and make known and understand that He is G-d, He is the maker, He is the creator, He is the discerner, He is the judge, He is the witness, He is the complainant, and it is He who will in the future judge, blessed be He, in whose presence is neither guile nor forgetfulness nor respect of persons nor taking of bribes; for all is His. And know that everything is according to the reckoning. And let not your evil nature assure you that the grave will be your refuge: for despite yourself you were fashioned, and despite yourself you were born, and despite yourself you live, and despite yourself you die, and despite yourself shall you are destined to give account and reckoning before the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.”" - Pirke Avot, "Verses of the Fathers" or "Ethics of the Fathers" NULL

"Rabbi Eleazar ha-Kappar used to say: “Jealousy, lust, and ambition remove man from the world… They who have been born are destined to die. They that are dead are destined to be made alive. They who live are destined to be judged, that men may know and make known and understand that He is G-d, He is the maker, He is the creator, He is the discerner, He is the judge, He is the witness, He is the complainant, and it is He who will in the future judge, blessed be He, in whose presence is neither guile nor forgetfulness nor respect of persons nor taking of bribes; for all is His. And know that everything is according to the reckoning. And let not your evil nature assure you that the grave will be your refuge: for despite yourself you were fashioned, and despite yourself you were born, and despite yourself you live, and despite yourself you die, and despite yourself shall you are destined to give account and reckoning before the supreme King of kings, the Holy One, blessed be He.”" - Pirke Avot, "Verses of the Fathers" or "Ethics of the Fathers" NULL

"If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks. What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder. And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only its semblance, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much, while for the most part they know nothing, and as men filled, not with wisdom, but with the conceit of wisdom, they will be a burden to their fellows. " - Plato NULL

"Wine maketh the band quivering, the eye watery, the night unquiet, lewd dreams, a stinking breath in the morning, and an utter forgetfulness of all things... Wine takes away reason, engenders insanity, leads to thousands of crimes, and imposes such an enormous expense on nations." - Pliny the Elder, full name Casus Plinius Secundus NULL

"It is customary to consider forgetfulness a disadvantage. I believe it is an advantage. Knowing to forget means loosening the troubles of the past." - Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav or Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Nachman from Uman NULL

"I have never seen such extreme partisanship, such bitter partisanship, and such forgetfulness of the fate of our fathers and of the Constitution." - Robert Byrd, fully Robert Carlyle Byrd

"The kinds of spiritual practices we can undertake are limitless. However, ultimately the form is less important than these factors: the commitment to practice, the ability to keep returning to the intention, the attitude one brings to the uncontrollable and the ability to transfer the benefits of the practice into how we live our lives, how we relate to ourselves and others, how free we become to embody the values and ideals we embrace in our minds, how we deal with temptations of all sorts. In other words we practice to live with the wisdom and compassion, which we already possess. We practice to actualize the pure soul, which God has planted with us." - Sheila Peltz Weinberg

"Any kind of thought or meditation or pleasure would impede and disturb the soul and would introduce noise into the deep silence which the soul should observe in order to hear the deep and delicate voice in which God speaks to the heart in this secret place. When the soul is led into silence, it must forget even the practice of loving advertence… it must practice that advertence only when it is not conscious of being brought into solitude or interior rest or forgetfulness. Pure contemplation consists in receiving. The soul approaches God more nearly by not understanding than by understanding. Faith is darkness to the understanding. God brought them to this solitude and emptiness of their faculties and operations that He may speak to their hearts. God is leading you through the state of solitude and recollection and withdrawing you from your labors of sense. Return not to sense again. Lay aside your operations for they will now be a great obstacle and hindrance to you, since God is granting you the grace of Himself working within you. God is bearing the soul in His arms… and thus, although it is making progress at the rate willed by God Himself, it is not conscious of such movement. Three kinds of love: 1. the soul now loves God, not through itself but through Himself. 2. the soul is absorbed in the love of God and God surrenders Himself to the soul with great vehemence. 3. the soul love Him for Who He is." - Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez NULL

"If you purify your soul of attachment to and desire for things, you will understand them spiritually. If you deny your appetite for them, you will enjoy their truth, understanding what is certain in them." - Saint John of the Cross, born Juan de Yepes Álvarez NULL

"The afflicted are not listened to. They are like someone whose tongue has been cut out and who occasionally forgets the fact. When they move their lips no ear perceives any sound. And they themselves soon sink into impotence in the use of language, because of the certainty of not being heard." - Simone Weil

"Her love was entire as a child's, and though warm as summer it was fresh as spring." - Thomas Hardy

"Love has no middle term; either it destroys, or it saves. They were living in that ravishing condition that might be called the dazzling of one soul by another." - Victor Hugo