Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Harm

"It is often better to have a great deal of harm happen to one; a great deal may arouse you to remove what a little will only accustom you to endure." -

"There are usually no benefits from becoming angry at others. Your anger does not help you and the subject of your anger usually pays less attention to what you are saying than if you would have said it tactfully and patiently. Becoming angry merely causes harm to your health and makes you feel miserable." - Avraham Grodzinski

"He that will do anything for his pleasure, must engage himself to suffer all the pains annexed to it; and these pains, are the natural punishments of those actions, which are the beginning of more harm than good. And hereby it comes to pass that intemperance is naturally punished with diseases; rashness with mischances; injustice with the violence of enemies: Pride, with ruin; cowardice, with oppression; negligent government of princes, with rebellion; and rebellion, with slaughter." - Thomas Hobbes

"The tragedy of all political action is that some problems have no solution; none of the alternatives are intellectually consistent or morally uncompromising; and whatever decision is taken will harm somebody." - James Joll

"Principles can always be used toward evil ends, so maybe if these principles never existed, the bad person wouldn't be able to do so much harm." -

"It is a curious paradox that aversion of future harm seems more important than the promise of future benefit. That was not always true. Those who are unwilling to invent in the future haven’t earned one." - Harold Lewis, fully Harold "Hal" Warren Lewis

"Nobody talks more passionately of his rights than he who, in the depths of his soul, is doubtful about harm." -

"No act is ever, in virtue of falling under some general description, necessarily actually right... moral acts often (as every one knows) and indeed always (on reflection we must admit) have different characteristics that tend to make them a the same time prima facie right and prima facie wrong; there is probably no act, for instance, which does good to anyone without doing harm to someone else, and vice versa." - W. D. Ross, fully Sir William David Ross

"Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting, and enhancing life and that to destroy, to harm, or to hinder life is evil. Affirmation of the world - that is affirmation of the will to live, which appears in phenomenal forms all round me - is only possible for me in that I give myself out for other life." - Albert Schweitzer

"Approval-seeking destroys one’s good deeds. Instead of doing the proper thing for its own sake, an approval-seeker will always focus on how others will react to what he is doing... Flattering wrongdoers is the root of much harm. It can lead to others emulating their misdeeds." - Ways of the Righteous, fully The Ways of Righteousness NULL

"It is impossible to forgive whoever has done us harm if that harm has lowered us. We have to think that is has not lowered us but revealed our true level." - Simone Weil

"Only fools waste their present moments regretting what is over and done with. They will constantly say, “If only I hadn’t gotten involved in this venture, I wouldn’t have suffered.” “If only I would have stayed an hour longer, this would not have happened.” We are not prophets and there is no possible way to know in advance exactly what will be. Try to protect yourself from harm, but realize we can never plan for every contingency." - Mendel Zabaraz

"When a law is changed, the binding power of the law is diminished, in so far as custom is abolished. Therefore human law should never be changed, unless, in some way or other, the common welfare be compensated according to the extent of the harm done in this respect." -

"You often hear the remark that “there is no harm in a glass of wine per se.” Per se means by itself. Certainly there is no harm in a glass of wine by itself. Place a glass of wine one a shelf and let it remain there, and it is per se, and will harm no one. But if you turn it inside a man, then it is no longer per se." - George W. Bain

"The hatred of the vicious will do you less harm than their conversation." - Thomas Bentley

"Few companies would have reached the going-concern stage without the inflated confidence of their founders. Entrepreneurs tend to be like eighteen-year-old marines who believe the bullet will go right through them without hurt or harm." - Deaver Brown

"Those who, without knowing us, think or speak evil of us, do no harm; it is not us they attack, but the phantom of their own imagination." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Carelessness does more harm than a want of knowledge." - Benjamin Franklin

"The power to do good is also the power to do harm; those who control the power today may not tomorrow; and, more important, what one man regards as good, another may regard as harm." - Milton Friedman, fully John Milton Friedman

"What kind of society isn't structured on greed? The problem of social organization is how to set up an arrangement under which greed will do the least harm; capitalism is that kind of a system." - Milton Friedman, fully John Milton Friedman

"It is a fearful mistake to believe that because our wishes are not accomplished that they can do no harm." - Saint Gertrude, aka Saint Gertrude of Nivelles NULL

"It is often better to have a great deal of harm happen to one than a little; a great deal may rouse you to remove what a little will only accustom you to endure." -

"A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Modern cynics and skeptics... see no harm in paying those to whom they entrust the minds of their children a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust the care of their plumbing." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Principles can always be used toward evil ends, so maybe if these principles never existed, the bad person wouldn't be able to do so much harm." -

"The whole sum and substance of human history may be reduced to this maxim: that when man departs from the divine means of reaching the divine end, he suffers harm and loss." - Joseph Parker

"Science is the search for truth - it is not a game in which one tries to beat his opponent to do harm to others." -

"A serious accusation, even lightly made, does harm." - Publius Syrus

"One ungrateful person does harm to all the unfortunate." - Publius Syrus

"Disagreement is refreshing when two men lovingly desire to compare their view to find out truth. Controversy is wretched when it is only an attempt to prove another wrong. Religious controversy does only harm. It destroys humble inquiry after truth, and throws all the energies into an attempt to prove ourselves right - a spirit in which no man gets at truth." -

"Truth does not do as much good in the world as its imitations do harm." -

"Self-love is an instrument useful but dangerous; it often wounds the hand which makes use of it, and seldom does good without doing harm." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, and creeds follow one another like the withered leaves of Autumn; but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons and a possession for all eternity." -

"You tell us that baptism is absolutely necessary to go to heaven. If there were a man so good that he had never offended God, and if he died without baptism, would he go to hell, never having given any offense to God? If he goes to hell, then God must not love all good people, since He throws one into the fire. You teach us that God existed before the creation of heaven and earth. If He did, where did He live, since there was neither heaven nor earth? You say that the angels were created n the beginning of the world, and that those who disobeyed were cast into hell. How can that be so, since you say the angels sinned before earth’s creation, and hell is in the depths of the earth? You declare that those who go to hell do not come out of it, and yet you relate stories of the damned who have appeared in the world - how is that to be understood. Ah, how I would like to kill devils, since they do so much harm! But if they are made like men and some are even among men, do they still feel the fire of hell? Why is it that they do not repent for having offended God? If they did repent, would not God be merciful to them? If Our Lord has suffered for all sinners, why do not they receive pardon from him? You say that the virgin, mother of Jesus Christ, is not God, and that she has never offended God. You also say that her Son has redeemed all men, and atoned for all; but if she has done nothing wrong, her son could not redeem her nor atone for her." - Young “Savage” Seminarians NULL

"Wherein does religion consist? It consists in doing as little harm as possible, in doing good in abundance, in the practice of love, of compassion, of truthfulness and purity, in all the walks of life." -

"So long as I am acting from duty and conviction, I am indifferent to taunts and jeers. I think they will probably do me more good than harm." - Winston Churchill, fully Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

"Rather than attend to those things we love, we give the bulk of our attention instead to things that bring us harm." - Wayne Muller

"It is in deeds that man becomes aware of what his life really is, of his power to harm and to hurt, to wreck and to ruin; of his ability to derive joy and to bestow it upon others; to relieve and to increase his own and other people’s tensions. It is in the employment of his will, not in reflection, that he meets his own self as it is; not as he should like it to be." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"What Socrates said is that the only real harm [in this life] is harm to the soul. You may lose all your money, or be paralyzed by disease, but that is nothing compared to the damage done - by yourself, to yourself - if you lead an unjust life. Conversely, there is no gain like that which a good man has from the practice of the virtues, and consequently no loss that he would reckon as harm except the loss of his virtue." - Myles Frederic Burnyeat

"A Humanist Code of Ethics: Do no harm to the earth, she is your mother. Being is more important than having. Never promote yourself at another's expense. Hold life sacred; treat it with reverence. Allow each person the dignity of his or her labor." - Arthur Dobrin

"A good case can be made for the proposition that, although involved or passionate commitment to some cause or ideal is normally healthy and happiness-producing, devout, pious, or fanatic commitment to the same kind of cause or ideal is potentially pernicious and frequently (though not always) does much more harm than good." - Albert Ellis

"This ahimsa [non-harm] is the basis of the search for truth . . . It is quite proper to resist and attack a system, but to resists and attack its author is tantamount to resisting and attacking oneself." -

"I have found long since that silence is an antidote to harm." - Aeschylus NULL

"I have found long since that silence is an antidote to harm." -

"The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding." - Albert Camus

"The evil that is in this world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding." - Albert Camus

"The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding." -

"The evil that is in this world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding." -