Great Throughts Treasury

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


"Politeness is nothing more than an elegant and concealed species of flattery, tending to put the person to whom it is addressed in good humor and respect with himself." -

"The ability to laugh at life is right at the top, with love and communication in the hierarchy of our needs. Humor has much to do with pain; it exaggerates the anxieties and absurdities we feel, so that we gain distance and through laughter, relief." - Sara Davidson

"Nothing so uncertain as general reputation. A man injures me from humor, passion, or interest; hates me because he has injured me; and speaks ill of me because he hates me." - Henry Home, Lord Kames

"Humor simultaneously wounds and heals, indicts and pardons, diminishes and enlarges; it constitutes inner growth at the expense of outer gain, and those who possess and honestly practice it make themselves more through a willingness to make themselves less." - Louis Kronenberger

"There are two insults no human will endure: the assertion that he has no sense of humor and the doubly impertinent assertion that he has never known trouble." - Sinclair Lewis, fully Harry Sinclair Lewis

"Vices are often hid under the name of virtue, and the practice of them followed by the worst consequences. I have seen ladies indulge their own ill-humor by being very rude and impertinent, and think they deserve approbation by saying, “I love to speak the truth.”" - Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

"It is the mask of a superior man that, left to himself, he is able endlessly to amuse, interest and entertain himself out of his personal stock of meditations, ideas, criticisms, memories, philosophy, humor and what not." - George Jean Nathan

"No heart is empty of the humor of curiosity, the beggar being as attentive, in his station, to an increase of knowledge, as the prince." - Ronald E. Osborn

"Good humor is the best shield against the darts of satirical raillery." - Charles Simmons

"Good humor is the health of the soul; sadness its poison." - Stanislaw I, born Stanisław Leszczyński, also spelled Stanislaus NULL

"To be happy: Live one day at a time. Take advantage of what you already have. Have a sense of humor. Set some priorities. Make a change and stick to it. Forgive and forget. Count your blessings." -

"Humor is a gift not of the mind, but of the heart." - Ludwig Börne, fully Karl Ludwig Börne

"Humor (is) something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth." - Victor Borge, born Børge Rosenbaum

"For health and the constant enjoyment of life, give me a keen and ever present sense of humor; it is the next best thing to an abiding faith in providence." - George Barrell Cheever

"Generosity, to be perfect, should always be accompanied by a dash of humor." - Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

"The sympathy of most people consists of a mixture of good-humor, curiosity, and self-importance." - Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

"Humor is an affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man's superiority to all that befalls him." - Romain Gary, born Roman Kacew

"Good humor is a paradox. The unexpected juxtaposition of the reasonable next to the unreasonable." - Melvin "Mel" Helitzer

"Humor results from the contrast between a thing as it is and a thing smashed out of shape, as it ought not to be." - Melvin "Mel" Helitzer

"Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment." -

"Good-fellowship, unflagging, is the prime requisite for success in our society, and the man or woman who smiles only for reasons of humor or pleasure is a deviate." - Marya Mannes

"Humor is the contemplation of the finite from the point of view of the infinite." - Christian Morgenstern

"Our purpose is to live in harmony with those cycles [birth, growth, death and regeneration] to develop our peculiar organs of consciousness and creativity to add to the beauty, love, humor, diversity and general interest of the world." - Starhawk, born Miriam Simos NULL

"Good humor is one of the best articles of dress one can wear in society." - William Makepeace Thackeray

"Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquillity." -

"Imagination is a quality given a man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is." -

"Time is never more misspent than while we declaim against the want of it; all our actions are then tinctured with peevishness. The yoke of life is certainly the least oppressive when we carry it with good-humor; and in the shades of rural retirement, when we have once acquired a resolution to pass our hours with economy sorrowful lamentations on the subject of time misspent and business neglected never torture the mind." - Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann

"Parenting: Affection without sentiment, authority without cruelty, discipline without aggression, humor without ridicule, sacrifice without obligation, companionship without possessiveness." - William E. Blatz, fully William Emet Blatz

"Humor is one of God’s most marvelous gifts. Humor give us smiles, laughter, and gaiety. Humor reveals the roses and hides the thorns. Humor makes our heavy burden light and smooths the rough spots in our pathways. Humor endows us with the capacity to clarify the obscure, to simplify the complex, to deflate the pompous, to chastise the arrogant, to point a moral, and to adorn a tale." - Sam Ervin, fully Samuel James "Sam" Ervin, Jr.

"You grow in grace and understanding by solving your daily problems as they arise, by the Practice of the Presence of God, by a tolerant attitude toward others, by plan horse sense (which is Divine Wisdom in you), by sincere and honest dealing at all times, and by cultivating a true sense of humor – which always brings us nearer to God. The great point is that life is to be met and mastered. Outer conditions and appearances are simply of no importance in themselves except as they supply material for growth." - Emmet Fox

"I have come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom… As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable, or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or dehumanized." - Haim Ginott, fully Haim G. Ginott, orignially Ginzburg

"All higher humor begins with ceasing to take oneself seriously." - Herman Hesse

"I have never understood why it should be considered derogatory to the Creator to suppose that he has a sense of humor." - William Ralph Inge

"I’m learning the difference between humor and comedy, between the laugh that lasts forever and the one that evaporates as soon as it hits the air. Humor is giving, and comedy is taking away. Humor is companionable, comedy cold. Humor is character, comedy personality." - Roger Rosenblatt

"Where there is an ongoing relationship of caring. Where there is a sense of humor. Where there is a sense of mutual mercy. Where there is a sense that God has given sex to you… there is nothing livelier. But when it is merchandised as a commodity for instant gratification, there is nothing deadlier than sex." - William Swing, fully William Edwin Swing

"Humor: The ability to laugh at any mistake you survive." -

"The spirit in us is a disturber of the peace. It challenges. It is that random humor that shakes up, discontents the contented, discomforts the comfortable." -

"I realize that humor is not for everyone. It's only for people who want to have fun, enjoy life, and feel alive." - Anne Wilson Schaef

"A sense of humor can help you overlook the unattractive, tolerate the unpleasant, cope with the unexpected, and smile through the unbearable." - Moshe Waldoks

"Humor brings insight and tolerance. Irony brings a deeper and less friendly understanding." - Agnes Repplier

"Humor brings insight and tolerance. Irony brings a deeper and less friendly understanding." -

"Humor brings insight and tolerance. Irony brings a deeper and less friendly understanding." -

"The total absence of humor from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all literature." - Alfred North Whitehead

"Good-humor, gay spirits, are the liberators the sure cure for spleen and melancholy. deeper than tears, these irradiate the tophets with their glad heavens. Go laugh, vent the pits, transmuting imps into angels by the alchemy of smiles. The satans flee at the sight of these redeemers." - Amos Bronson Alcott

"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is." - Author Unknown NULL

"While there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world quite so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor." - Charles Dickens, fully Charles John Huffam Dickens

"Rest your mind in the eternal present, but open your eyes to the highest possibilities of your life path. Trust the process of your life, keep your sense of humor, and, above all, remember that is never too late to experience the life you were born to live." - Dan Millman, born Daniel Jay Millman

"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not; a sense of humor to console him for what he is." -

"A case might be made for the potentiality superior humor of the religious person who has settled once and for all what things are of ultimate value, sacred and untouchable. For then nothing else in the world need be taken seriously." - Gordon Willard Allport

"The effect of power and publicity on all men is the aggravation of self, a sort of humor that ends by killing the victim's sympathies." -