Great Throughts Treasury

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


"There is the laughter which is born out of the pure joy of living, the spontaneous expression of health and energy - the secret laughter of the child. This is a gift of God. There is the warm laughter of the kindly soul which heartens the discouraged, gives health to the sick and comfort to the dying... There is, above all, the laughter that comes from the eternal joy of creation, the joy of making the world new, the joy of expressing the inner riches of the soul - laughter that triumphs over pain and hardship in the passion for an enduring ideal, the joy of bringing the light of happiness, of truth and beauty into a dark world. This is divine laughter par excellence." - J. E. Boodin

"Opposition is what we want and must have, to be good for anything. Hardship is the native soil of manhood and self-reliance." - John Neal

"There is, above all, the laughter that comes from the eternal joy of creation, the joy of making the world new, the joy of expressing the inner riches of the soul - laughter from triumphs over pain and hardship in the passion for an enduring ideal, the joy of bringing the light of happiness, of truth and beauty into a dark world. This is divine laughter par excellence." - John Elof Boodin

"When the “sacredness of property” is talked of, it should always be remembered, that any such sacredness does not belong in the same degree to landed property. No man made the land. It is the original inheritance of the whole species. Its appropriation is wholly a question of general expediency. When private property in land is not expedient, it is unjust. It is no hardship to any one, to be excluded from what others have produced: they were not bound to produce it for his use, and he loses nothing by not sharing in what otherwise would not have existed at all. But it is some hardship to be born into a world and to find all nature’s gifts previously engrossed, and no place left for the new-comer. To reconcile people to this, after they have once admitted into their minds the idea that any moral rights belong to them as human beings, it will always be necessary to convince them that the exclusive appropriation is good for mankind as a whole, themselves included. But this is what no sane human being could be persuaded of." - John Stuart Mill

"Courage is nothing less than indifference to hardship and pain." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"Trouble, difficulty and hardship are three great teachers. Fortunate is the person who in keeping company with them keeps his eyes, his ears and, better still, his mind open; they can teach him valuable things." - Norman Vincent Peale

"Of late, men seem to have been possessed by an incomprehensible impulse to strip themselves of everything with which nature has endowed them in order to make them superior to the beasts of burden. A philosopher is a gentleman who sits down four times a day to the best meals he can possibly obtain, and who considers that virtue, glory and noble sentiments should be indulged in only when they do not interfere with those four indispensable functions and all the rest of his little personal comforts. At this rate, a mule is a better philosopher by far, because in addition to all this he puts up with blows and hardship without complaint. " - Eugène Delacroix, fully Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix

"Seeking is a necessary preliminary to finding, and one who cannot endure the hardship of inquiry cannot expect to harvest the fruit of knowledge." - John of Salisbury NULL

"Indomitable perseverance is the highest offering to my Guru. The best way to please Him is to endure the hardship of meditation! Abiding in this cave, alone, is the noblest service to the Dakinis! To devote myself to the Holy Dharma is the best service to Buddhism -- to devote my life to meditation, thus to aid my helpless, sentient fellow beings! To love death and sickness is a blessing through which to cleanse one's sins; to refuse forbidden food helps one to attain realization and enlightenment; to repay my Father Guru's bounties I meditate, and meditate again." - Milarepa, fully Jetsun Milarepa NULL

"God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen." - Reinhold Niebuhr, fully Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

"Unworthy am I of all the mercies and all the truth Which Thou hast wrought for Thy servant. Verily, O Lord my God, will I thank Thee For that Thou hast given me a holy soul, Though by my deeds I have defiled it, Polluted and profaned it with my evil inclination. But I know that if I wrought wickedly, I harmed but myself, never Thee. In sooth, at my right hand my fierce inclination As an adversary standeth, Allowing me no breathing-space to establish my tranquillity. Oft have I purposed with double bridle to lead him, From the sea of his lusts to dry land to restore him, But I could not prevail. My devices he baulked, made profanities flow from my lips. I think thoughts of simplicity, he fabricates guile and iniquity, I am for peace, and he is for war, To the point that he made me his footstool, And even in peace-time shed the blood of war. How oft have I sallied forth to combat against him, And set in battle-array My camp of service and repentance, And placed the host of Thy mercies beside me for auxiliary, For I said, if my evil inclination Shall come to one camp and shall smite it, Then the camp that is left shall escape. As I thought, so it was. For temptation has routed me and scattered my forces, So that there is nothing left me but the camp of Thy mercies. But yet I know that by these I shall overcome it, And they shall be unto me better than a city of refuge. Peradventure I shall prevail and smite it and drive it away." - Salomon ibn Gabirol, aka Solomon ben Judah or Avicebron

"They said to him, "And what will you do if the Romans unite with the Byzantines? For behold, yesterday there came legates of Rome and tomorrow on Sunday they will take communion with the patriarch; it will become evident to all that it was you who turned the Romans away. Doubtless with you removed, there will then be an easy union." And he said to them, "Those who are coming cannot in any way prejudice the see of Rome, even if they should take communion because they have not brought a letter to the patriarch. And I am not at all convinced that the Romans will unite with them unless they confess that our Lord and God by nature both wills and works our salvation according to each of the natures from which he is, in which he is, as well as which he is." And they said, "And if the Romans should come to terms with them at this time, what will you do?" He replied, "The Holy Spirit, according to the Apostle, condemns even angels who sanction anything against what has been preached"" - Saint Maximus the Confessor NULL

"He who is able to suffer wrong with joy, though having means at hand to rebuff it, has consciously received from God the consolation of his faith." - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"The human body has two ends on it: one to create with and one to sit on. Sometimes people get their ends reversed. When this happens they need a kick in the seat of the pants." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"The man who loves other countries as much as his own stands on a level with the man who loves other women as much as he loves his own wife." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"Working women have the same need to protection that working men have; the ballot is as necessary for one class as to the other; we do not believe that with the two sexes there is identity of function; but we do believe there should be equality of right." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"I always encourage them to practice in a way that will help them go back to their own tradition and get re-rooted. If they succeed at becoming reintegrated, they will be an important instrument in transforming and renewing their tradition. When we respect our blood ancestors and our spiritual ancestors, we feel rooted. If we find ways to cherish and develop our spiritual heritage, we will avoid the kind of alienation that is destroying society, and we will become whole again. ... Learning to touch deeply the jewels of our own tradition will allow us to understand and appreciate the values of other traditions, and this will benefit everyone." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"If we do not know how to take care of ourselves and to love ourselves, we cannot take care of the people we love. Loving oneself is the foundation for loving another person." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"An Athenian citizen does not neglect the state because he takes care of his own household; and even those of us who are engaged in business have a very fair idea of politics. We alone regard a man who takes no interest in public affairs, not as a harmless, but as a useless character, and if few of us are originators, we are all sound judges of a policy." - Thucydides NULL

"But what most oppressed them was that they had two wars at once, and has thus reached a pitch of frenzy which no one would have believed possible if he had heard of it before it had come to pass." - Thucydides NULL