Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Good

"Among today’s adept practitioners, the lie has long since lost its honest function of misrepresenting reality. Nobody believes anybody, everyone is in the know. Lies are told only to convey to someone that one has no need either of him or his good opinion. the lie, once a liberal means of communication, has today become one of the techniques of insolence enabling each individual to spread around him the glacial atmosphere whose shelter he can thrive." -

"Success depends on faith and good deeds... not upon the knowledge of the proofs which lead to them." - Isaac Abravanel, fully Don Itshak ben Yehouda Abravanel

"Good and evil lie close together. Seek no artistic unity in character." - Lord Acton, John Emerich Dalberg-Acton

"All our first movements are good, generous, heroical; reflection weakens and kills them." - Louis-Aimé Martin

"Often have I heard it said, What good thing you can do, do not defer it." - Albertano of Brescia NULL

"The price of power is responsibility for the public good." - Winthrop Williams Aldrich

"That poverty which is not the daughter of the spirit is but the mother of shame and reproach; it is a disreputation that drowns all the other good parts that are in man; it is a disposition to all kind of evil; it is a man’s greatest foe." - Mateo Alemán, fully Mateo Alemán y de Enero

"There is no unmixed good in human affairs; the best principles, if pushed to excess, degenerate into fatal vices. Generosity is nearly allied to extravagance; charity itself may lead to ruin; the sternness of justice is but one step removed from the severity of oppression. It is the same in the political world; the tranquillity of despotism resembles the stagnation of the Dead Sea; the fever of innovation the tempests of the ocean It would seem as if, at particular periods, from causes inscrutable to human wisdom, a universal frenzy seizes mankind; reason, experience, prudence, are alike blinded; and the very classes who are to perish in the storm are the first to raise its fury." - Archibald Alison

"Another good thing in the heart of God is to pause before speaking." - Amen-em-apt NULL

"The company of a good man is the light of the soul, of an evil man the poison of life." - Khajah Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Abu Ismaïl Abdullah ibn Abi-Mansour Mohammad or Khajah Abdullah Ansari of Herat

"‘Tis precept and principle, not an estate, that makes a man good for something." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"A great estate is a great disadvantage to those who do not know hot to use it, for nothing is more common than to see wealthy persons live scandalously and miserably; riches do them no service in order to virtue and happiness; it is precept and principle, not an estate, that makes a man good for something." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Look within. Within is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Good is the cause of love, as being its object. But good is not the object of the appetite, except as apprehended. And therefore love demands some apprehension of the good that is loved... Accordingly knowledge is the cause of love for the same reason as good is, which can be loved only if known." -

"It is impossible for any created good to constitute man’s happiness. For happiness is the perfect good, which quiets the appetite altogether since it would not be the last end if something yet remained to be desired. Now the object of the will, that is, of man’s appetite, is the universal good, just as the object of the intellect is the universal true. Hence it is evident that nothing can quiet man’s will except the universal good. This is to be found not in any creature, but in God alone, because every creature has goodness by participation. Therefore God alone can satisfy the will of man." -

"Knowledge is loved not that any good may come to it but that it may be possessed." -

"Man does not choose of necessity... in all particular goods, the reason can consider an aspect of some good, and the lack of some good, which has the aspect of evil; and in this respect, it can apprehend any single one of such goods as to be chosen or to be avoided. The perfect good alone which is Happiness, cannot be apprehended by the reason as an evil, or as lacking in any way. Consequently man wills Happiness of necessity, nor can he will not to be happy, or to be unhappy. Now since choice is not of the end, but of the means... it is not of the perfect good, which is Happiness, but of other particular goods. Therefore man chooses not of necessity, but freely." -

"Man is judged to be good or bad chiefly according to the pleasure of the human will; for that man is good and virtuous who takes pleasure in the works of virtue, and that man evil who takes pleasure in evil works." -

"The happy man needs friends... not, indeed, not make use of them, since he suffices himself, nor to delight in them, since he possesses perfect delight in the operation of virtue, but for the purpose of a good operation, namely, that he may do good to them, that he may delight in seeing them do good, and again that he may be helped by them in his good work." -

"The movement of love has a twofold tendency: towards the good which a man wishes to someone, whether for himself or for another; and towards that to which he wishes some good. Accordingly, man has love of concupiscence towards the good that he wishes to another, and love of friendship towards him to whom he wishes good." -

"There cannot be a supreme evil, because... although evil always lessens good, yet it never wholly consumes it; and thus, since good always remains, nothing can be wholly and perfectly bad." -

"When... the thing in which there is good is nobler than the soul itself, in which is the idea understood, by comparison with such a thing the will is higher than the intellect. But when the thing which is good is less noble than the soul, then even in comparison with the thing the intellect is higher than the will. Therefore the love of God is better than the knowledge of God; but, on the contrary, the knowledge of corporeal things is better than the love of them. Absolutely, however, the intellect is nobler than the will." -

"Youth is a cause of hope for three reasons... And these three reasons may be gathered from the three conditions of the good which is the object of hope - namely, that it is future, arduous and possible... For youth has much of the future before it, and little of the past; and therefore since memory is of the past, and hope of the future, it has little to remember and lives very much in hope. Again, youths, on account of the heat of their nature, are full of spirit, so that their heart expands, and it is owing to the heart being expanded that one tends to that which is arduous; therefore youths are spirited and hopeful. Likewise they who have not suffered defeat, nor had experience of obstacles to their efforts, are prone to count a thing possible to them. Therefore youths, through inexperience of obstacles and of their own shortcomings, easily count a thing possible, and consequently are of good hope." -

"The purpose of this discipline is to bring man into the habit of applying the insight that has come to him as the result of the preceding disciplines. When one is rising, standing, walking, doing something, stopping, one should constantly concentrate one’s mind on the act and the doing of it, not on one’s relation to the act, or its character or value. One should think: there is walking, there is stopping, there is realizing; not, I am walking, I am doing this, it is a good thing, it is disagreeable, I am gaining merit, it is I who am realizing how wonderful it is. Thence come vagrant thoughts, feelings of elation or of failure and unhappiness. Instead of all this, one should simply practice concentration of the mind on the act itself, understanding it to be an expedient means for attaining tranquillity of mind, realization, insight and Wisdom; and one should follow the practice in faith, willingness and gladness. After long practice the bondage of old habits become weakened and disappears, and in its place appear confidence, satisfaction, awareness and tranquillity. What is the Way of Wisdom designed to accomplish? There are three classes of conditions that hinder one from advancing along the path to Enlightenment. First, there are the allurements arising from the senses, from external conditions and from the discriminating mind. Second, there are the internal conditions of the mind, its thoughts, desires and mood. All these the earlier practices (ethical and mortificatory) are designed to eliminate. In the third class of impediments are placed the individual’s instinctive and fundamental (and therefore most insidious and persistent) urges - the will to live and to enjoy, the will to cherish one’s personality, the will to propagate, which give rise to greed and lust, fear and anger, infatuation, pride and egotism. The practice of the Wisdom Paramita is designed to control and eliminate these fundamental and instinctive hindrances." - Aśvaghoṣa NULL

"A good character when established should not be rested in as an end, but only employed as a means of doing still further good." - Francis Atterbury

"We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don't know." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"A firm faith is the best theology; a good life is the best philosophy, a clear conscience the best law; honesty the best policy, and temperance the best physic." - Arthur Aughey

"Cheerfulness is the friend and helper of all good graces, and the absence of it is certainly a vice." - Arthur Aughey

"Sorrow comes soon enough without despondency. It does a man no good to carry around a lightning-rod to attract trouble." - Arthur Aughey

"If thou does aught good, do it quickly. For what is done quickly will be acceptable. Favors slowly granted are unfavorably received." - Austonius, fully Decimus Magnus Ausonius

"The end of wisdom is repentance and good works." -

"It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations." - Walter Bagehot

"The best thing to give your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity." -

"The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity." - Clara Lucas Balfour

"Glory is a poison, good to be taken in small doses." - Honoré de Balzac

"Courtesy, kindness, sincerity, truthfulness, thoughtfulness and good manners translated into behavior reflect one's true character." - Harry F. Banks, real name possibly Harry Band

"If we desire to live securely, comfortably, and quietly, that by all honest means we should endeavor to purchase the good will of all men, and provoke no man’s enmity needlessly; since any man’s love may be useful, and every man’s hatred is dangerous." - Isaac Barrow

"The Art of Teaching does not consist only of instruction in the three R's. There is more to teaching than conveying information. Teaching is the continuous process of building character, establishing moral attitudes, creating respect for the good way of life and distaste for the lightheaded and irresponsible mode of existence." - Samuel Belkin

"A man is only as good as what he loves." - Saul Bellow

"Your actions, in passing, pass not away, for every good work is a gain of seed for eternal life." - Tristan Bernard, born Paul Bernard

"Industry is not only the instrument of improvement, but the foundation of pleasure. He who is a stranger to it may possess, but cannot enjoy; for it is labor only which gives relish to pleasure. It is the appointed vehicle of every good to man. It is the indispensable condition of possessing a sound mind in a sound body." - Hugh Blair

"Sentiment and principle are often mistaken for each other, though, in fact, they widely differ. Sentiment is the virtue of ideas; principle the virtue of action. Sentiment has its seat in the had; principle, in the heart. Sentiment suggest fine harangues and subtle distinctions; principle conceives just notions, and performs good actions in consequence of them. Sentiment refines away the simplicity of truth, and the plainness of piety; and "gives us virtue in words, and vice in deeds."" - Hugh Blair

"The fatal fondness of indulging in a spirit of ridicule, and the injurious and irreparable consequences which sometimes attend the too severe reply, can never be condemned with more asperity than it deserves. Not to offend is the first step towards pleasing. To give pain is as much an offence against humanity as against good-breeding, and surely it is as well to abstain from an action because it is sinful, as because it is unpolite." - Hugh Blair

"The voice of the Devil. All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following errors: 1. That man has two real existing principles; vis; a body and a soul. 2. That energy, called evil, is alone from body, and that reason, called good, is alone from the soul. 3. That God will torment man in eternity for the following energies. But the following contraries to these are true: 1. Man has no body distinct from his soul; for that called body is a portion of soul discerned by the five senses, the chief inlets of the soul in this age. 2. Energy is the only life, and is from the body; and reason is bound or outward circumference of energy. 3. Energy is eternal delight." - William Blake

"It is a fundamental principle that no person can entirely free himself from taking the people in his environment into consideration. When doing something in the presence of others, it is impossible not to think about how other people will view what you are doing... Any good act you do will be much purer if others are not aware of you." - Yosef Leib Bloch, fully R' Yosef Yehudah Leib Bloch

"Happiness consists in the possession in aggregate of all good things." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"He who is virtuous is wise; and he who is wise is good; and he who is good is happy." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"The trouble of the many and various aims of mortal men bring them much care, and herein they go forward by different paths but strive to reach one end, which is happiness. And that good is that, to which if any man attain, he can desire nothing further... Happiness is a state which is made perfect by the union of all good things. This end all men seek to reach, as I said, though by different paths. For there is implanted by nature in the minds of men a desire for the true good; but error leads them astray towards false goods by wrong paths." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"It is a very easy thing to devise good laws; the difficulty is to make them effective. The great mistake is that of looking upon men as virtuous, or thinking that they can be made so by laws; and consequently the greatest art of a politician is to render vices serviceable to the cause of virtue." - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"To guard the mind against the temptation of thinking that there are no good people, say to them: “Be such as you would like to see others, and you will find those who resemble you.”" -