Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"We accept the verdict of the past until the need for change cries out loudly enough to force upon us a choice between the comforts of further inertia and the irksomeness of action." -

"Children who have been taught, or conditioned, to listen passively most of the day to the warm verbal communication coming from the TV screen, to the deep emotional appeal of the so-called TV personality, are often unable to respond to real persons because they arouse so much less feeling than the skilled actor. Worse, they lose the ability to learn from reality because life experiences are more complicated than the ones they see on the screen, and there is no one who comes in at the end to explain it all. The “TV child”... gets discouraged when he cannot grasp the meaning of what happens to him.... If, later in life, this block of solid inertia is not removed, the emotional isolation from others that starts in front of TV may continue... This being seduced into passivity and discouraged about facing life actively on one’ sown is the real danger of TV." - Bruno Bettelheim

"Some people, in working toward a goal, find themselves seized by inertia when it comes time for action. If this should happen to you, despite the small graduated steps, then it is time to reexamine your goal. Consider how important it actually is and then either discard the goal and replace it with a more suitable one or continue the steps with a renewed sense of the value of achieving it." - Fitzhugh Dodson

"It is not just negative inertia and caution which lie behind racial discrimination, but the positive counterfaiths which produce them. The “conflicting valuations” turn out to be a warfare of the gods in the soul of man. Ultimately the racial problem is not one of hypocrisy but idolatry." - Waldo Beach, fully William Waldo Beach

"Attention is an act of will, of work against the inertia of our own minds." - M. Scott Peck, fully Morgan Scott Peck

"We overcome in all human affairs the inertia of custom. Custom is a great enemy of progress" - Mortimer J. Adler, fully Mortimer Jerome Adler

"There are periods in the life of human society when revolution becomes an imperative necessity, when it proclaims itself as inevitable. New ideas germinate everywhere, seeking to force their way into the light, to find an application in life; everywhere they are opposed by the inertia of those whose interest it is to maintain the old order; they suffocate in the stifling atmosphere of prejudice and traditions." - Peter Kropotkin, fully Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin

"It is not inertia alone that is responsible for human relationships repeating themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope. But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical will live the relation to another as something alive." - Rainer Maria Rilke, full name René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke

"There are some men here on earth who know what true intellectual honesty is and who want no part of this inertia nor expect any help from it. The countless others are indifferent, passive, clumsy calculators, or dishonest. Their number is not enough to make them right." - René Margritte, fully René François Ghislain Magritte

"I have thought of a pulley to raise me gradually; but that would give me pain, as it would counteract my natural inclination. I would have something that can dissipate the inertia and give elasticity to the muscles. We can heat the body, we can cool it; we can give it tension or relaxation; and surely it is possible to bring it into a state in which rising from bed will not be a pain." - Robertson Davies

"True thoughts are those alone which do not understand themselves." - Theodor W. Adorno, born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund

"There was a change in Boldwood's exterior from its former impassibleness; and his face showed that he was now living outside his defences for the first time, and with a fearful sense of exposure." - Thomas Hardy

"Every fairly intelligent person is aware that the price of respectability is a muffled soul bent on the trivial and the mediocre." - Walter Lippmann

"Success or failure depends more upon attitude than upon capacity successful men act as though they have accomplished or are enjoying something. Soon it becomes a reality. Act, look, feel successful, conduct yourself accordingly, and you will be amazed at the positive results." - William James

"Goodbye, master, my dear! Forgive your Sam. He'll come back to this spot when the job's done - if he manages it. And then he'll not leave you again. Rest you quiet till I come; and may no foul creature come anigh you! And if the Lady could hear me and give me one wish, I would wish to come back and find you again. Good bye!" - J. R. R. Tolkien, fully John Ronald Reuel Tolkien