Great Throughts Treasury

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


"When we live habitually with the wicked, we become necessarily either their victim or their disciple; when we associate, on the contrary, with virtuous men, we form ourselves in imitation of their virtues, or, at least, lose every day something of our faults." - Pope Agapet II, aka Pope Agapetus II NULL

"Imitation is the sincerest flattery." - Nathaniel Cotton

"I hardly know so true a mark of a little mind as the servile imitation of others." -

"No man was ever great by imitation." -

"Affectation is an awkward and forced Imitation of what should be genuine and easy, wanting the Beauty that accompanies what is natural." - John Locke

"Men almost always walk in the paths trodden by others proceeding in their actions by imitation." - Niccolò Machiavelli, formally Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli

"Courtesy is a science of the highest importance. It is, like grace and beauty in the body, which charm at first sight, and lend on to further intimacy and friendship, opening a door that we may derive instruction from the example of others, and at the same time enabling us to benefit them by our example, if there by anything in our character worthy of imitation." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"He only can attain to virtue who knows and imitates God - which knowledge and imitation are the only cause of blessedness... for philosophy is directed to the obtaining of the blessed life, and he who loves God is blessed in the enjoyment of God." - Saint Augustine, aka Augustine of Hippo, St. Austin, Bishop of Hippo NULL

"Imitation is criticism." - William Blake

"Imitation belittles." - John Christian Bovee

"The patriotism of antiquity becomes in modern societies a caricature. In antiquity, it developed naturally from the whole condition of a people, its youth, its situation, its culture - with us it is an awkward imitation. Our life demands, not separation from other nations, but constant intercourse; our city life is not that of the ancient city-state." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Without an original there can be no imitation." - Weedon Grossmith, fully Walter Weedon Grossmith

""Real life" often appears, at least, to be an imitation of art. Today, it is poster art." - Marshall McLuhan, fully Herbert Marshall McLuhan

"Art is not imitation, but illusion." - Charles Reade

"There is a long and wearisome step between admiration and imitation." -

"Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery. Trust your hunches. They’re usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level." - Joyce Brothers

"No man ever yet became great by imitation." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"To do just the opposite is a form of imitation." -

"Tragedy is essentially an imitation not of persons but of action and life, of happiness and misery. All human happiness or misery takes the form of action; the end for which we live is a certain kind of activity, not a quality. Character gives us qualities, but it is our actions - what we do - that we are happy or the reverse." - Aristotle NULL

"Emulation and imitation are of twin birth." - Charles Buxton

"Imitation is the sincerest of flattery." - Charles Caleb Colton

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." - Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

"We learn by imitation; we teach by example." - Dan Millman, born Daniel Jay Millman

"It is by imitation, far more than by precept, that we learn everything; and what we learn thus, we acquire not only more efficiently, but more pleasantly. This forms our manners, our opinions, our lives." - Edmund Burke

"The sense of inferiority inherent in the act of imitation breeds resentment. The impulse of the imitators is to overcome the model they imitate." - Eric Hoffer

"Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength." - Eric Hoffer

"But it is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation... He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great." - Herman Melville

"The past is our cradle, not our prison, and there is danger as well as appeal in its glamour. The past is for inspiration, not imitation, for continuation, not repetition." - Israel Zangwill

"We are, in truth, more than half what we are by imitation. The great point is, to choose good models and to study them with care." - Lord Chesterfield, Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

"It is not virtue, but a deceptive copy and imitation of virtue, when we are led to the performance of duty by pleasure as its recompense." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance, that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better or for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we quote. We quote not only books and proverbs, but arts, sciences, religions, customs, and laws; nay, we quote temples and houses, tables and chair by imitation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The less government we have the better - the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal government is the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual; the appearance of the principal to supersede the proxy; the appearance of the wise man; of whom the existing government is, it must be owned, but a shabby imitation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Habit and imitation - there is nothing more perennial in us than these two. They are the source of all working, and all apprenticeship, of all practice, and all learning, in this world." - Thomas Carlyle

"To be as good as our fathers, we must be better. Imitation is not discipleship. When someone sent a cracked plate to China to have a set made, every piece in the new set had a crack in it. " - Wendell Phillips

"Leaving aside genetic surgery applied humans, I foresee that the coming century will place in our hands two other forms of biological technology which are less dangerous but still revolutionary enough to transform the conditions of our existence. I count these new technologies as powerful allies in the attack on Bernal's three enemies [the world, the flesh and the devil]. I give them the names 'biological engineering' and 'self-reproducing machinery'. Biological engineering means the artificial synthesis of living organisms designed to fulfil human purposes. Self-reproducing machinery means the imitation of the function and reproduction of a living organism with non-living materials, a computer-program imitating the function of DNA and a miniature factory imitating the functions of protein molecules. After we have attained a complete understanding of the principles of organization and development of a simple multicellular organism, both of these avenues of technological exploitation should be open to us. " - Freeman John Dyson

"For the total development of the human being, solitude as a means of cultivating sensitivity becomes a necessity. One has to know what it means to be alone, what it is to meditate, what it is to die; and the implications of solitude, of meditation, of death, can be known only by seeking them out. These implications cannot be taught, they must be learnt. One can indicate, but learning by what is indicated is not the experiencing of solitude or meditation. To experience what is solitude and what is meditation, one must be in in a state of inquiry; only a mind that is in a state of inquiry is capable of learning. But when inquiry is suppressed by previous knowledge, or by the authority and experience of another, then learning becomes mere imitation, and imitation causes a human being to repeat what is learnt without experiencing it." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Art is not an imitation nor an ethnological curiosity staged for tourists. Only when an artist realizes perfectly which is his right and proper function in the social body, and sees with his own eyes, feels with his own heart and thinks with his own mind, will appear a new art on the American continent, the creation of a new race." - José Clemente Orozco

"I hardly know so true a mark of a little mind as the servile imitation of others." - Lord Brooke, Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, de jure 13th Baron Latimer and 5th Baron Willoughby de Brooke

"Trust yourself. Think for yourself. Act for yourself. Speak for yourself. Be yourself. Imitation is suicide." - Marva Collins, born Marva Delores Nettles

"Style is not created through servile imitation of the masters; it proceed from the artist's own particular way of feeling and expressing himself." - Paul Cézanne

"Man, as he is, is not a genuine article. He is an imitation of something, and a very bad imitation." - P.D. Ouspensky, fully Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, also Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky

"All that is said by any of us can only be imitation and representation." - Plato NULL

"It is true that one's spiritual feelings are awakened by looking at the picture of a sadhu. It is like being reminded of the custard-apple by looking at an imitation one, or like stimulating the desire for enjoyment by looking at a young woman. Therefore I tell you that you should constantly live in the company of holy men." - Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL

"What's the point of being a lesbian if a woman is going to look and act like an imitation man?" - Rita Mae Brown

"Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble." - Robertson Davies

"There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried." - Robert Bridges, fully Robert Seymour Bridges

"A crown of goodness (cf. Ps. 65:11) is a pure faith, adorned with eloquent doctrine, and with spiritual principles and intellections, as if with precious stones, and set as it were on the head of the devout intellect. Or rather, a crown of goodness is the Logos of God Himself, who encircles the intellect as if it were a head, protecting it with manifold forms of providence and judgment - that is, with mastery of the passions that lie within our control and with patient endurance of those we suffer against our will; and who makes this same intellect more beautiful by enabling it to participate in the grace of deification." - Saint Maximus the Confessor NULL

"Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and gain applause which he cannot keep." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Consented obedience is what one concedes to an authority because one judges it to be legitimate. It is not possible in relation to a political power established by conquest or coup d'etat nor to an economic power based upon money. Liberty is the power of choice within the latitude left between the direct constraint of natural forces and the authority accepted as legitimate. The latitude should be sufficiently wide for liberty to be more than a fiction, but it should include only what is innocent and should never be wide enough to permit certain kinds of crime. The human soul has need of truth and of freedom of expression. The need for truth requires that intellectual culture should be universally accessible, and that it should be able to be acquired in an environment neither physically remote nor psychologically alien." - Simone Weil