Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Ideals

"The best and noblest lives are those which are set toward high ideals." -

"To live in the presence of great truths and eternal laws, to be led by permanent ideals - that is what keeps a man patient when the world ignores him, and calm and unspoiled when the world praises him." - Honoré de Balzac

"Great ideals and principles do not live from generation to generation just because they are right, nor even because they have been carefully legislated. Ideals and principles continue from generation to generation only when they are built into the hearts of the children as they grow up." - George Stuart Benson

"Ideals travel upward, manners downward." -

"Heads are wisest when they are cool, and hearts are strongest when they beat in response to noble ideals." - Ralph Bunche, fully Ralph Johnson Bunche

"The danger to America is not in the direction of the failure to maintain its economic position, but in the direction of the failure to maintain its ideals." - Calvin Coolidge, fully John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

"The astonishing thing about him [man] is his range of vision; his gaze into the infinite distance; his lonely passion for ideas and ideals, far removed from his material surroundings and animal activities, and in no way suggested by them, yet for which, such is his affection, he is willing to endure toils and privations, to sacrifice pleasures, to disdain griefs and frustrations. The inner truth is that every man is himself a creator, by birth and nature, an artist, an architect and fashioner of worlds." - W. Macneile Dixon, fully William Macneile Dixon

"You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements." - Norman Douglas, aka George Norman Douglas

"We never reach our ideals, whether of mental or moral improvement, but the thought of them shows us our deficiencies, and spurs us on to higher and better things." - Tyron Edwards

"Our outer life and experiences are the out-picturing of our inner thoughts and ideals." - Lowell Fillmore

"There can be no conquest to the man who dwells in the narrow and small environment of a groveling life, and there can be no vision to the man the horizon of whose vision is limited by the bounds of self. But the great things of the world, the great accomplishments of the world, have been achieved by men who had high ideals and who have received great visions. The path is not easy, the climbing is rugged and hard, but the glory at the end is worthwhile." - Matthew Henson. fully Matthew Alexander "Matt" Henson

"An honor-seeker will not be a truth-seeker... Only if a person talks and acts according to his ideals, independently of what others think of him, will he gain the respect of others." - Yosef Y. Hurwitz

"The highest flights of charity, devotion, trust, patience, bravery to which the wings of human nature have spread themselves have been flown for religious ideals." - William James

"Both the saint and the scientist must possess the same qualities in order to attain their ideals. But these qualities are selfless devotion, a meticulous love of truth, infinite patience, thoroughness, and a depth of mind which does not resent criticism. Without these qualities neither of the two can reach his goal. It is my firm belief that the goal which both science and religion reach by different routes is one and the same." - B. C. Kher

"Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years wrinkle the face, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-interest, fear, despair - these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust." - Watterson Lowe

"Somewhere between my ambition and my ideals, I lost my ethical compass." -

"The unhealthy gap between what we preach in America and what we often practice creates a moral dry rot that eats at the very foundation of our democratic ideals and values." - Whitney Young, fully Whitney Moore Young, Jr.

"I looked for great men, but all I found were the apes of their ideals." -

"To live in the presence of great truths and eternal laws to be led by permanent ideals - that is what keeps a man patient when the world ignores him, and calm and unspoiled when the world praises him." - Andrew Preston Peabody

"Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind. People grow old only by deserting their ideals and outgrowing the consciousness of youth. Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. You are as old as your doubt; your fear; your despair. The way to keep young is to keep your faith young. Keep your self-confidence young. Keep your hope young." - Luella F. Phelan

"Whatever may happen in the future, I know that I have learned three things which will remain forever convictions of my heart as well as my mind. Life, even the hardest life, is the most beautiful, wonderful and miraculous treasure in the world. Fulfillment of duty is another beautiful thing, making life happy and giving to the soul an unconquerable force to sustain ideals. This is my second conviction, and my third is that cruelty, hatred, and injustice never can and never will be able to create a mental, moral or material millennium." - Pitirim A. Sorokin, fully Pitirim Alexandrovich (Alexander) Sorokin

"Our bitterest wine is always drained form crushed ideals." - Arthur Stringer, fully Arthur John Arbuthnott Stringer

"Surely the shortest commencement address in history - and for me one of the most memorable - was that of Dr. Harold E. Hyde, President of New Hampshire's Plymouth State College. He reduced his message to the graduating class to these three ideals: 'Know yourself - Socrates. Control yourself - Cicero; Give yourself - Christ'" - Walter T. Tatara

"The general conclusion is that all the objects of science, including minds and goods, are things occurring in space and time... and that we can study them in virtue of the fact that we come into spatial and temporal relations with them. And therefore all ideals, ultimates, symbols, agencies and the like are to be rejected, and no such distinction as that of facts and principles, or facts and values, can be maintained. There are only facts, i.e., occurrences in space and time." - John Anderson

"The professors laugh at themselves, they laugh at life; they long ago abjured the bitch-goddess Success, and the best of them will fight for his scholastic ideals with a courage and persistence that would shame a soldier. The professor is not afraid of words like truth; in fact he is not afraid of words at all." - Catherine Bowen, née Catherine Shober Drinker

"Those who rage today against the ideals of reason and of individual freedom, and seek to impose an insensate state of slavery by means of brutal force, rightly see in the Jews irreconcilable opponents." - Albert Einstein

"It should be the work of a genuine and noble patriotism to raise the life of the nation to the level of its privileges; to harmonize its general practice with its abstract principles; to reduce to actual facts the ideals of its institutions; to elevate instruction into knowledge; to deepen knowledge into wisdom; to render knowledge and wisdom complete in righteousness; and to make the love of country perfect in the love of man." - Henry Giles

"Let life teach you what spirit it... By conforming to spiritual ideals imposed from the outside through the force of tradition, people often channel themselves into models of behavior that violate their inner essence. We are all guaranteed realization when we strip away our pre-conceived notions about spiritual perfection, give up striving form some idealized end-point called 'enlightenment,' and discover the magnificence of what we already are and live that fully." - W. Brugh Joy, fully William Brugh Joy

"Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul." - Douglas MacArthur

"Liberty and Equality are the twin ideals of American democracy. But they are not the same thing... Many person who would gladly die for liberty are appalled by equality. Many who are devoted to equality are puzzled and even troubled by liberty. Much of the political history of the American nation can be seen as a competition between these two ideals." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan, aka "Pat"

"All ideals are dangerous, since they denigrate and stigmatize what is actual. They are poisons, which, however, as occasional medicaments, are indispensable." -

"Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands. but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you will reach your destiny." - Carl Schurz

"The power of ideals is incalculable. We see no power in a drop of water. But let it get into a crack in the rock and be turned into ice, and it splits the rock; turned into steam, it drives the pistons of the most powerful engines. Something has happened to it which makes active the power that is latent in it." - Albert Schweitzer

"Every war is its own excuse. That's why they're all surrounded with ideals. That's why they're all crusades." -

"Perhaps the biggest danger is the way a culture of self-help fosters both feelings of inadequacy and hopes for unattainable ideals… foolproof prescriptions for fulfillment and meaningful lives. The futile quest to become a complete all-round wonderful person, fully in control of our health, wealth and happiness." - Julian Baggini

"If we fight a war and win it with H-bombs, what history will remember is not the ideals we were fighting for but the methods we used to accomplish them. These methods will be compared to the warfare of Genghis Khan who ruthlessly killed every last inhabitant of Persia." - Hans Albrecht Bethe

"The astonishing thing about the human being is not so much his intellect and bodily structure, profoundly mysterious as they are. The astonishing and least comprehensible thing about him is his range of vision; his gaze into the infinite distance; his lonely passion for ideas and ideals." - W. Macneile Dixon, fully William Macneile Dixon

"Religion is not mere conformity to moral law, it is an espousal of moral ideals, a dedication of the heart, a loyal devotion, the perpetual renewal of a right spirit within us." - Durant Drake

"The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been kindness, beauty and truth." - Albert Einstein

"All genuine ideals have one thing in common: they express the desire for something which is not yet accomplished but which is desirable for the purposes of the growth and happiness of the individual." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"God is the source and goal of ideals by which to live triumphantly in the face of starkest grief. The sufferer who finds God as the strength and mainstay of his life does not merely acquiesce before the inevitable with stoic fortitude. He looks the tragedy in the face, and looks up to new heights of spiritual beauty to which he may mount by using his grief as a stairway to God’s glory." - Georgia Harkness

"Faith in God is synonymous with the brave hope that the universe is friendly to the ideals of man." - Albert Eustace Haydon

"Purpose directs decision making. We look for leaders with vision, people who can imagine possible futures, describe desirable ideals, then tell us how they might be achieved. Our willingness to accept direction in almost all walks of life suggest that many, if not most, may actually prefer to be told what to think, how to behave, and what to buy. Being told simplifies life." - David Hockey

"Much marriage difficulty and unhappiness are due to the failure of the partners to accept the fact of their finiteness and its meaning. Instead, they hold themselves up to ideals of performance possible only to God." - Reuel Howe, fully Reuel Lanphier Howe

"Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul… You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair." - Douglas MacArthur

"Beautiful ideals, which are creeds, not deeds, are religious window dressing and are meaningless. The test of faith is life." - George Marshall, fully George Catlett Marshall, Jr.

"Not all ideas and beliefs and ideals have equal merit." - Jason A. Merchey

"Precisely what we need are good theories to focus our attention, a good set of ideals to guide our action, and good visions of the future to mobilize our energies." - Paul H. Ray