Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Inclination

"Almost everyone has a predominant inclination, to which his other desires and actions submit, and which governs him, though perhaps with some intervals, through the whole course of his life." - David Hume

"Always set a high value on spontaneous kindness. He whose inclination prompts him to cultivate your friendship of his own accord, will love you more than one whom you have been at pains to attach to you." -

"The very inclination to sin entails penalties." - Juvenal, fully Decimus Junius Juvenalis NULL

"It is the inclination and tendency of the heart which finally determines the opinions of the mind." - Christoph Ernst Luthardt

"One secret act of self-denial, one sacrifice of inclination to duty, is worth all the mere good thoughts, warm feelings, passionate prayers in which idle people indulge themselves." -

"He, who has no inclination to learn more, will be very apt to think that he knows enough." - John Powell

"The contemplation of the Divine Being, and the exercise of virtue, are in their nature so far from excluding all gladness of heart, that they are perpetual sources of it. In a word, the true spirit of religion cheers as well as composes the soul. It banishes, indeed, all levity of behavior, all vicious and dissolute mirth, but in exchange fills the mind with a perpetual serenity, uninterrupted cheerfulness, and an habitual inclination to please others as well as to be pleased in itself." -

"It is a secret known but to few, yet of no small use in the conduct of life, that when you fall into a man's conversation, the first thing you should consider is, whether he has a greater inclination to hear you, or that you should hear him." - Richard Steele, fully Sir Richard Steele

"Friendship is a strong and habitual inclination in two persons to promote the good and happiness of one another." - Eustace Budgell

"There is a time in the lives of most of us when, despondent of all joy in an earthly future, and tortured by conflicts between inclination and duty, we transfer all the passion and fervor of our troubled souls to enthusiastic yearnings for the divine love, looking to its mercy, and taking thence the only hopes that can cheer - the only strength that can sustain us." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Politicians... rise predominantly from... the "lower middle class"; most are self-made men... ; most depend on their political jobs for their livelihood and most have little time, inclination, or opportunity for adult education; hence the dominating qualities of so many are greed, vulgarity, attention to special interest, avarice, and selfishness." - John Gunther

"Whenever there is authority, there is a natural inclination to disobedience." - Thomas Haliburton, fully Thomas Chandler Haliburton, pseudonym "Sam Slick"

"It is not from reason and prudence that people marry, but from inclination." -

"He who has no inclination to learn more will be very apt to think that he knows enough." - John Powell, fully Sir John Powell

"Everything naturally loves itself, the result being that everything naturally keeps itself in being, and resists corruption as far as it can. Wherefore suicide is contrary to the inclination of nature, and to charity whereby every man should love himself." - Saint Thomas Aquinas, aka Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis or Doctor Universalis

"Ethics is… to be regarded as a therapeutic attempt – as an endeavor to achieve, by means of a command of the superego, something which has so far not been achieved by means of any other cultural activities. As we already know, the problem before us is how to get rid of the greatest hindrance to civilization – namely, the constitutional inclination of human beings to be aggressive towards one another." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Be very careful never to show your own bias to anyone who is giving you information, or passing it on to you. Once he sees that you have a particular inclination he will instinctively tend to tell you what he thinks will suit you, and enhance your opinion of him." - B. H. Liddell Hart, fully Captain B. H. Liddell

"Know yourself - in talents and capacity, in judgment and inclination." - Baltasar Gracián

"It is as common for men to change their taste as it is uncommon for them to change their inclination." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"Men’s thoughts are as much according to their inclination; their discourse and speeches according to their learning and infused opinions; but their deeds are after as they have been accustomed." - Francis Bacon

"Men’s thoughts are much according to their inclination." - Francis Bacon

"Love is but a prelude to life, an overture in which the theme of the impending work is exquisitely hinted at, but which remains nevertheless only a symbol and a promise. What is to follow, if all goes well, begins presently to appear. Passion settles down into possession, courtship into partnership, pleasure into habit. A child, half mystery and half plaything, comes to show us what we have done and to make its consequences perpetual. We see that by indulging our inclination we have woven about us a net from which we cannot escape: our choices, bearing fruit, begin to manifest our destiny. That life which once seemed to spread out infinitely before us is narrowed to one mortal career. We learn that in morals the infinite is a chimera, and that in accomplishing anything definite a man renounces everything else. He sails henceforth for one point of the compass." - George Santayana

"A life devoted to trifles, not only takes away the inclination, but the capacity for higher pursuits." - Hannah More

"Beneficence is a duty. He who frequently practices it, and sees his benevolent intentions realized, at length, comes really to love him to whom he has done good. When, therefore, it is said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” it is not meant, thou shalt love him first and do him good in consequence of that love, but thou shalt do good to thy neighbor; and this thy beneficence will engender in thee that love to mankind which is the fullness and consummation of the inclination to do good." - Immanuel Kant

"True religion, in great part, consists in holy affections… the more vigorous and sensible exercises of the inclination and will of the soul." - Jonathan Edwards

"We are what we think we are. The habitual inclination of our thoughts determines our talents and abilities, and our personality... So whatever you want to be, start to develop that pattern now. You can instill any trend in your consciousness right now, provided you inject a strong thought in your mind; then your actions and whole being will obey that thought. One must never give up the hope of becoming better." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." -

"Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." - Reinhold Niebuhr, fully Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

"A good inclination is but the first rude draught of virtue; but the finishing strokes are from the will, which, if well-disposed, will by degrees perfect; if ill-disposed, will by the super-induction of ill habits quickly deface." -

"Devotion is really neither more or less than a general inclination and readiness to do that which we know to be acceptable to God. To be truly devout, we must not only do God’s will, but we must do it cheerfully." - Saint Francis de Sales NULL

"A mind that questions everything, unless strong enough to bear the weight of its ignorance, risks questioning itself and being engulfed in doubt. If it cannot discover the claims to existence of the objects of its questioning -- and it would be miraculous if it so soon succeeded in solving so many mysteries -- it will deny them all reality, the mere formulation of the problem already implying an inclination to negative solutions. But in so doing it will become void of all positive content and, finding nothing which offers it resistance, will launch itself perforce into the emptiness of inner revere." - Émile Durkheim, fully David Émile Durkheim

"One cannot long remain so absorbed in contemplation of emptiness without being increasingly attracted to it. In vain one bestows on it the name of infinity; this does not change its nature. When one feels such pleasure in non-existence, one's inclination can be completely satisfied only by completely ceasing to exist. " - Émile Durkheim, fully David Émile Durkheim

"Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. " - Richard Niebuhr, fully Helmut Richard Niebuhr

"The man who is eager to reform himself has no time or inclination to criticise others." - Dada Vaswani, born Jashan Pahalraj Vaswani

"One secret act of self-denial, one sacrifice of inclination to duty, is worth all the mere good thoughts, warm feelings, passionate prayers in which idle people indulge themselves." - John Henry Newman, aka Cardinal Newman and Blessed John Henry Newman

"Man may act according to that principle or inclination which for the present happens to be strongest, and yet act in a way disproportionate to, and violate his real proper nature." - Joseph Butler

"In the care of the sick we demand the physician be free from error, but in the conduct of life it is not only the philosopher whom we expect to be free from error, but all men alike, including those who give little attention to virtue. Clearly there is no explanation for this other than that the human being is born with an inclination toward virtue; all men speak of themselves as having virtue and being good." - Musonius, fully Gaius Musonnius Rufus NULL

"It is a great thing for a person to still have an evil inclination because then he is able to serve Hashem with the evil inclination itself. That is, to take all of the fire in his heart and channel it towards service of Hashem. For example, to pray with fiery passion of the heart, etc. For, if there is no evil inclination in a person his service cannot be complete." - Nachman of Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Bratslav, Nachman from Uman NULL

"The natural inclination of a child is to take pleasure in the use of the mind no less than of the body. The child's primary business is learning. It is also the primary entertainment. To retain that orientation into adulthood, so that consciousness is not a burden but a joy, is the mark of the successfully developed human being." - Nathaniel Branden

"I myself consider that gravity is merely a certain natural inclination with which parts are imbued by the architect of all things for gathering themselves together into a unity and completeness by assembling into the form of a globe. It is easy to believe that the Sun, Moon and other luminaries among the wandering stars have this tendency also, so that by its agency they retain the rounded shape in which they reveal themselves, but nevertheless go round their orbits in various ways. If then the Earth also performs other motions, as for example the one about the centre, they must necessarily be like those which are similarly apparent in many external bodies in which we find an annual orbit. " - Nicholas Copernicus

"We see that God has implanted in all things a natural desire to exist with the fullest measure of existence that is compatible with their particular nature. To this end they are endowed with suitable faculties and activities; and by means of these there is in them a discernment that is natural and in keeping with the purpose of their knowledge, which ensures their natural inclination serving its purpose and being able to reach its fulfilment in that object towards which it is attracted by the weight of its own nature." - Nicholas of Cusa, also Nicholas of Kues and Nicolaus Cusanus NULL

"For a while I gave myself up entirely to the intense enjoyment of picturing machines and devising new forms. It was a mental state of happiness about as complete as I have ever known in life. … When natural inclination develops into a passionate desire, one advances towards his goal in seven−league boots. In less than two months I evolved virtually all the types of motors and modifications of the system which are now identified with my name, and which are used under many other names all over the world. It was, perhaps, providential that the necessities of existence commanded a temporary halt to this consuming activity of the mind." - Nikola Tesla

"That which distinguishes him from the figurative artist is the fact that in his creations he frees himself from individual sentiments and from particular impressions which he receives from outside, and that he breaks loose from the domination of the individual inclination within him. It is therefore equally wrong to think that the non-figurative artist creates through ‘the pure intention of his mechanical process,’ that he makes ‘calculated abstractions,’ and that he wishes to ’suppress sentiment not only in himself but also in the spectator.’ It is a mistake to think that he retires completely into his system. That which is regarded as a system is nothing but constant obedience to the laws of pure plastics, to necessity, which art demands from him. It is thus clear that he has not become a mechanic, but that the progress of science, of technique, of machinery, of life as a whole, has only made him into a living machine, capable of realizing in a pure manner the essence of art. In this way, he is in his creation sufficiently neutral, that nothing of himself or outside of him can prevent him from establishing that which is universal. Certainly his art is art for art’s sake … for the sake of the art which is form and content at one and the same time." - Piet Mondrian, fully Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian

"If you have overcome your inclination and not been overcome by it, you have reason to rejoice." - Plautus, full name Titus Maccius Plautus NULL

"Young people are threatened... by the evil use of advertising techniques that stimulate the natural inclination to avoid hard work by promising the immediate satisfaction of every desire." - Pope John Paul II, born Karol Józef Wojtyła, aka Saint John Paul the Great NULL

"The point is to develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition and to guide the child over to important fields for society. Such a school demands from the teacher that he be a kind of artist in his province." - Albert Einstein

"It is a great thing for a person to still have an evil inclination because then he is able to serve Hashem with the evil inclination itself. That is, to take all of the fire in his heart and channel it towards service of Hashem. For example, to pray with fiery passion of the heart, etc. For, if there is no evil inclination in a person his service cannot be complete. " - Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav or Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Nachman from Uman NULL

"We have looked first at man with his vanities and greed and his problems of a day or a year; and then only, and from this biased point of view, we have looked outward at the earth he has inhabited so briefly and at the universe in which our earth is so minute a part. Yet these are the great realities, and against them we see our human problems in a different perspective. Perhaps if we reversed the telescope and looked at man down these long vistas, we should find less time and inclination to plan for our own destruction." - Rachel Carson, fully Rachel Louise Carson

"A young plant should always be protected against goats and cows and the mischief of little urchins, by means of a fence. But when it becomes a big tree, a flock of goats or a herd of cows can freely find shelter under its spreading boughs and fill their stomachs with their leaves. So when your faith is yet in its infancy, you should protect it from the evil influences of bad company. But when you grow strong in faith, no worldliness or evil inclination will dare approach your holy presence; and many who are wicked will become godly through their holy contact with you." - Ramakrishna, aka Ramakrishna Paramhamsa or Sri Ramakrishna, born Gadadhar Chattopadhyay NULL