Great Throughts Treasury

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


"In every community there is a class of people profoundly dangerous to the rest. I don't mean the criminals. For them we have punitive sanctions. I mean the leaders. Invariably the most dangerous people seek the power. While in the parlors of indignation the right-thinking citizen brings his heart to a boil. In here, the human bosom -- mine, yours, everybody's -- there isn't just one soul. There's a lot of souls. But there are two main ones, the real soul and a pretender soul. Now! Every man realizes that he has to love something or somebody. He feels that he must go outward. 'If thou canst not love, what art thou?' Are you with me? " - Saul Bellow

"There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as "moral indignation," which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue." -

"Weakness, fear, melancholy, together with ignorance, are the true sources of superstition. Hope, pride, presumption, a warm indignation, together with ignorance, are the true sources of enthusiasm." - David Hume

"An orgy looks particularly alluring seen through the mists of righteous indignation." - Madame de Motteville, Françoise Bertaut de Motteville

"Indignation is the seducer of thought. No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched." - George Jean Nathan

"What really raises one's indignation against suffering is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering." -

"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." - H. G. Wells, fully Herbert George Wells

"They believe their words. Everybody shows a respectful deference to certain sounds that he and his fellows can make. But about feelings people really know nothing. We talk with indignation or enthusiasm; we talk about oppression, cruelty, crime, devotion, self-sacrifice, virtue, and we know very little beyond the words." - Joseph Conrad, born Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski

"Indignation boils my blood at the thought of the heritage we are throwing away; at the thought that, with few exceptions, the fight for freedom is left to the poor, forlorn and defenseless, and to the few radicals and revolutionaries who would make use of liberty to destroy, rather than to maintain, American institutions." - Arthur Garfield Hays

"The mind of the superior man is like Heaven. When it is resentful or angry, it thunders forth its indignation. But once having loosed its feelings, it is like a sunny day with a clear sky... Such is the beauty of true manliness." - Yoshida Shoin Zenshu

"There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as “moral indignation,” which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue. The “indignant” person has for once the satisfaction of despising and treating a creature as “inferior,” coupled with the feeling of his own superiority and rightness." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"Moral indignation is in most cases 2 percent moral, 48 percent indignation and 50 percent envy." - Vittorio de Sica

"Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo." -

"offers the image of a chariot in which the driver uses an obedient lead horse to control another wayward horse; that is, cool reason may know the Good but cannot control the passions without a passionate ally - without a spirit that loves the Good and greets evil with moral indignation." - James R. Flynn, aka Jim Flynn

"Moral indignation permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue." -

"It is safe to assume that the actions of our ancestors were guided by gratitude, obligation, retribution, and indignation before they developed enough language capacity for moral discourse." - Frans de Waal, fully Franciscus Bernardus Maria "Frans" de Waal

"A good indignation brings out all one's powers." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"In laughter there is always a kind of joyousness that is incompatible with contempt or indignation." - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"Moral indignation permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue. " - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"What really raises one's indignation against suffering is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering. " - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"Loud indignation against vice often stands for virtue with bigots." - Jean-Antoine Petit-Senn

"Loud indignation against vice often stands for virtue with bigots." - John Antoine Petit-Senn

"Death is a personal matter, arousing sorrow, despair, fervor, or dry-hearted philosophy. Funerals, on the other hand, are social functions. Imagine going to a funeral without first polishing the automobile. Imagine standing at a graveside not dressed in your best dark suit and your best black shoes, polished delightfully. Imagine sending flowers to a funeral with no attached card to prove you had done the correct thing. In no social institution is the codified ritual of behavior more rigid than in funerals. Imagine the indignation if the minister altered his sermon or experimented with facial expression. Consider the shock if, at the funeral parlors, any chairs were used but those little folding yellow torture chairs with the hard seats. No, dying, a man may be loved, hated, mourned, missed; but once dead he becomes the chief ornament of a complicated and formal social celebration." - John Steinbeck, fully John Ernst Steinbeck

"A man's sentiments are generally just and right, while it is second selfish thought which makes him trim and adopt some other view. The best reforms are worked out when sentiment operates, as it does in women, with the indignation of righteousness. " - Leland Stanford, fully Amasa Leland Stanford

"I hardly know a sight that raises one's indignation more than that of an enlarged soul joined to a contracted fortune; unless it be that so much more common one, of a contracted soul joined to an enlarged fortune." - Lord Brooke, Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, de jure 13th Baron Latimer and 5th Baron Willoughby de Brooke

"An age that melts with unperceiv'd decay, And glides in modest innocence away." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"A heavy progressive tax upon a very large fortune is in no way such a tax upon thrift or industry as a like would be on a small fortune. No advantage comes either to the country as a whole or to the individuals inheriting the money by permitting the transmission in their entirety of the enormous fortunes which would be affected by such a tax; and as an incident to its function of revenue raising, such a tax would help to preserve a measurable equality of opportunity for the people of the generations growing to manhood. We have not the slightest sympathy with that socialistic idea which would try to put laziness, thriftlessness and inefficiency on a par with industry, thrift and efficiency; which would strive to break up not merely private property, but what is far more important, the home, the chief prop upon which our whole civilization stands. Such a theory, if ever adopted, would mean the ruin of the entire country — a ruin which would bear heaviest upon the weakest, upon those least able to shift for themselves. But proposals for legislation such as this herein advocated are directly opposed to this class of socialistic theories. Our aim is to recognize what Lincoln pointed out: The fact that there are some respects in which men are obviously not equal; but also to insist that there should be an equality of self-respect and of mutual respect, an equality of rights before the law, and at least an approximate equality in the conditions under which each man obtains the chance to show the stuff that is in him when compared to his fellows." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"Democracy is 51% of the people taking away the rights of the other 49%." - Thomas Jefferson

"The pure soul shall mount on native wings . . . and cut a path into the heaven of glory." - William Blake

"The weak in courage is strong in cunning." - William Blake

"Destroy it. There may be a redistribution of the land, but the natural inequality of men soon re-creates an inequality of possessions and privileges, and raises to power a new minority with essentially the same instincts as the old." - Will Durant, fully William James "Will" Durant

"A relevant, famous quote from the Tao is "Ruling a country is like frying a small fish". A good chef will tell you that, when frying a fish (especially a small one), if you keep moving the frying pan and flipping the fish, it will fall apart and become tasteless." - Wei Wu Wei, pen name for Terence James Stannus Gray

"It is possible, I think, to say that... agriculture formed upon the understanding that it is sinful for people to misuse or destroy what they did not make. The Creation is a unique, irreplaceable gift, therefore to be used with humility, respect, and skill." - Wendell Berry

"On this principle of arrangement, the voice, uttered from the stage as from a center, and spreading and striking against the cavities of the different vessels, as it comes in contact with them, will be increased in clearness of sound, and will wake an harmonious note in unison with itself." - Vitruvius, fully Marcus Vitruvius Pollio NULL

"Thanks to the political emigration caused by tsarism, revolutionary Russia acquired a wealth of international links and excellent information on the forms and theories of the world revolutionary movement, such as no other country possessed." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"Theirs, too, is the word-coining genius, as if thought plunged into a sea of words and came up dripping." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers." - William James

"Understanding, as we understand it, is misunderstanding." - Elias Canetti

"You may go over the world and you will find that every form of religion which has breathed upon this earth has degraded woman... I have been traveling over the old world during the last few years and have found new food for thought. What power is it that makes the Hindoo woman burn herself upon the funeral pyre of her husband? Her religion. What holds the Turkish woman in the harem? Her religion. By what power do the Mormons perpetuate their system of polygamy? By their religion/ Man, of himself, could not do this; but when he declares, 'Thus saith the Lord,' of course he can do it. So long as ministers stand up and tell us Christ is the head of the church, so is man the head of woman, how are we to break the chains which have held women down through the ages? You Christian women look at the Hindu, the Turkish, the Mormon women, and wonder how they can be held in such bondage..." - Elizabeth Cady Stanton

"The Revolution of 1848 found all the Rougons on the lookout, frustrated by their bad luck, and ready to use any means necessary to advance their cause. They were a family of bandits lying in wait, ready to plunder and steal." - Emile Zola

"If you want to know the people, will not have an understanding of life - human life. Those buildings not only the beauty of archaeological rigid .. But the spirit of the people and attributes of living in the elderly, and in the wayfarer talk to him" - Che Guevara, fully Ernesto “Che” Guevara