Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Influence

"The reason we’re here is to exercise personal responsibility, to evolve the higher self and to influence that development in others." - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis "Lew" Alcinder, Jr.

"More than all, and above all Washington was master of himself. If there be one quality more than another in his character which may exercise a useful control over the men of the present hour, it is the total disregard of self when in the most elevated positions for influence and example." - Charles Francis Adams II

"I live in the world, but I seem to myself not of it!.. Natural phenomena are but the shadows of the spirit form which they spring, as the human face changes under the influence of love, hatred or fear... When, O when, shall I be able to reveal its poetry? I see everywhere and in ever object unceasing motion, and in that motion a creative force forever and forever repeating and re-repeating the same simple process as to infinity. Through all nature the grand rhythms roll and heaven and earth are filled with the melody. Men are but boys chasing shadows. The spiritual significance of the world none seem to see - the infinite simplicity of its process are none care to understand." - H. B.

"Public opinion is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself; it requires us to think other men's thoughts, to speak other men's words, to follow other men's habits." - Walter Bagehot

"Example has more followers than reason. We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and approximate to the characters we most admire. A generous habit of thought and action carries with it an incalculable influence." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Character is formed, not by laws, commands, and decrees, but by quiet influence, unconscious suggestion and personal guidance." - Marion LeRoy Burton

"The whole history of science, art and morals proves that the mind that appears in individuals, is not as such individual mind. The former is in itself a system of belief, recognitions, and ignorances, of acceptances and rejections, of expectancies and appraisals of meanings which have been instituted under the influence of custom and tradition." - John Dewey

"The Indians were religious from the first moments of life. From the moment of the mother’s recognition that she had conceived to the end of the child’s second year of life, which was the ordinary duration of lactation, it was supposed by us that the mother’s spiritual influence was supremely important. Her attitude and secret meditations must be such to instill into the receptive soul of the unborn child the love of the Great Mystery and a sense of connectedness with all creation. Silence and isolation are the rule of life for the expectant mother... Silence, love, reverence - this is the trinity of first lessons, and to these she later adds generosity, courage and chastity." - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"It is the fixed law of the universe, that little things are but parts of the great. The grass does not spring up full grown, by eruptions: it rises by an increase so noiseless and gentle, as not to disturb an angel's ear - perhaps to be invisible to an angel's eye. The rain does not fall in masses, but in drops, or even in the breath-like moisture of the fine mist. The planets do not leap from end to end of their orbits, but inch by inch, and line by line, it is that they circle the heavens. Intellect, feeling, habit, character, all become what they are through the influence of little things. And in morals and religion, it is by little things - by little influences acting on us, or seemingly little decisions made by us, that everyone of us is going, not by leaps, yet surely by inches, either to life or death eternal." - Tyron Edwards

"Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs." - Albert Einstein

"Influencing someone for a short time is valuable in itself and never feel discouraged because the influence does not last as long as you would wish." - Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, also Rabbi Moses Feinstein

"It is remarkable how great an influence our clothes have on our moral state." - Anatole France, pen name of Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault

"What can be the aim of withholding from children, or let us say from young people, this information about the sexual life of human beings? Is it a fear of arousing interest in such matters prematurely, before it spontaneously stirs in them? Is it a hope of retarding by concealment of this kind the development of the sexual instinct in general, until such time as it can find its way into the only channels open to it in the civilized social order? Is it supposed that children would show no interest or understanding for the facts and riddles of sexual life if they were not prompted to do so by outside influence? Is it regarded as possible that the knowledge withheld from them will not reach them in other ways? Or is it genuinely and seriously intended that later on they should consider everything connected with sex as something despicable and abhorrent from which their parents and teachers wish to keep them apart as long as possible? I am really at a loss so say which of these can be the motive for the customary concealment from children of everything connected with sex. I only know that these arguments are one and all equally foolish, and that I find it difficult to pay them the compliment of serious refutation." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"My will does not produce the motive power to move my limbs. Rather, he who imparted motion to matter, and ordained its laws, shaped my will also; he thus joined together two utterly different things - the movement of matter and the decision of my will in such a way that whenever my will desires some action, the desired bodily movement will occur and vice versa, without there being any causation involved, or any influence of the one upon the other. It is just as if there were two clocks appropriately adjusted with reference to each other and the time of day in such a way that when one struck the hour the other immediately did likewise." - Arnold Geulincx

"The silent influence of books, is a mighty power in the world; and there is a joy in reading them known only to those who read them with desire and enthusiasm. Silent, passive, and noiseless though they be, they yet set in action countless multitudes and change the order of nations." - Henry Giles

"Education in its widest sense includes everything that exerts a formative influence, and causes a young person to be, at a given point, what he is." - Mark Hopkins

"All beings in the universe, consider’d in themselves, appear entirely loose and independent of each other. ‘Tis only by experience we learn their influence and connexion." - David Hume

"Curiosity, or the love of knowledge, has a very limited influence, and requires youth, leisure, education, genius and example to make it govern any person." - David Hume

"Custom is the great guide of human life. It is that principle alone which renders our experience useful to us, and makes us expect, for the future, a similar train of events with those which have appeared I the past. Without the influence of custom, we should be entirely ignorant of every matter of fact beyond what is immediately present to the memory and senses. We should never know how to adjust means to ends, or to employ our natural powers in the production of any effect. There would be an end at once of all action, as well as of the chief part of speculation." - David Hume

"The end of all moral speculations is to teach us our duty; and, by proper representations of deformity of vice, and beauty of virtue, beget correspondent habits, and engage us to avoid the one and embrace the other. But is this ever to be expected from inferences and conclusions of the understanding, which of themselves have no hold of the affections, or set in motion the active powers of men? They discover truths: but where the truths which they discover are indifferent, and beget no desire or aversion, they can have no influence on conduct and behavior." - David Hume

"Vice and virtue, therefore, may be compar’d to sounds, colours, heat and cold, which, according to modern philosophy, are not qualities in objects, but perceptions in the mind: and this discovery in morals, like that other in physics, is to be regarded as a considerable advancement of the speculative sciences; tho’, like that too it has little or no influence on practice." - David Hume

"Every time you speak, you influence the world. You are either building it up or tearing it down." - Richard and Mary-Alice Jafolla

"None but a fool worries about things he cannot influence." -

"The mischief of flattery is, not that it persuades any man that he is what he is not, but that it suppresses the influence of honest ambition by raising an opinion that honor may be gained without the toil of merit." -

"You can exert no influence if you are not susceptible to influence." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"You cannot antagonize and influence at the same time." -

"Principles do not mainly influence even the principled; we talk on principle, but we act on interest." - Walter Savage Landor

"Begin in prayer; continue in prayer; end in prayer; All the help that we have in the conversation of the children comes from God. We cannot convert their souls, but God can by the influence of His Spirit. When we study our lessons, let us go first for illumination to God, that we may so impress it on the minds and hearts of those we are teaching, that they may bring forth fruit for salvation; that they may see our earnestness." -

"The influence of individual character extends from generation to generation. The world is molded by it." - Alexander Macleod

"Exceptional abilities develop most fully in cultures that prize them... no aspect of human nature is immune to social influence." - Michael Murphy

"There is nothing a man can less afford to leave at home than his conscience or his good habits; for it is not to be denied that travel is, in its immediate circumstances, unfavorable to habits of self-discipline, regulation of thought, sobriety of conduct, and dignity of character. Indeed, one of the great lessons of travel is the discovery how much our virtues owe to the support of constant occupation, to the influence of public opinion, and to the force of habit; a discovery very dangerous, if it proceed from an actual yielding to temptations resisted at home, and not from a consciousness of increased power put forth in withstanding them." - Richardson Pack or Packe

"True religion shows its influence in every part of our conduct: it is like the sap of a living tree, which penetrates the most distant boughs." - William Penn

"The real value of any doctrine can only be determined by its influence on the conduct of man, with respect to himself, to his fellow-creatures, or to God." - Margaret Percival

"There is little influence where there is not great sympathy." - Samuel I. Prime, fully Samuel Irenaeus Prime

"Only a few persons influence the formation of our character." -

"The aim that comedy has in view is the same as that of the highest destiny of man, and this consists in liberating himself from the influence of violent passions, and taking a calm and lucid survey of all that surrounds him, and also of his own being, and of seeing everywhere occurrence rather than fate or hazard, and ultimately rather smiling at the absurdities than shedding tears and feeling anger at sight of the wickedness of man." - Friedrich Schiller, fully Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

"The crown and glory of life is character. It is the noblest possession of a man, constituting a rank in itself, and estate in the general good will; dignifying every station, and exacting every position in society. It exercises a greater power than wealth and secures all the honor without the jealousies of fame. It carries with it an influence which always tells; for it is the result of proved honor, rectitude and consistency - qualities which, perhaps more than any others, command the general confidence and respect of mankind." - Samuel Smiles

"The pious sectarian is proud because he is confident of his right of possession in God. The man of devotion is meek because he is conscious of God’s right of love over his life and soul. The object of our possession becomes smaller than ourselves, and without acknowledging it in so many words the bigoted sectarian has an implicit belief that God can be kept secured for certain individuals in a cage which is of their own make. In a similar manner the primitive races of men believe that their ceremonials have a magic influence upon their deities." -

"Influence is the exhalation of character." - William Mackergo Taylor

"Raised voices lower esteem. Hot tempers cool friendships. Loose tongues stretch truth. Swelled heads shrink influence. Sharp words dull respect." -

"We are too much inclined to underrate the power of moral influence, the influence of public opinion, and the influence of the principles to which great men - the lights of the world, and of the present age - have given their sanction." - Daniel Webster

"Charity is a magnet with more power to attract the divine influence than any other precept." -

"Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority; but still more when they are super bad and add the tendency of the certainty of corruption of authority." - Lord Acton, John Emerich Dalberg-Acton

"The road is pre-destined, but the way we walk it, the attitude with which we bear our fate, can be of great influence over events." - Richard Beer-Hoffmann

"Example has more followers than reason. We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and insensibly approximate to the characters we most admire. In this way, a generous habit of thought and of action carries with it an incalculable influence." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"It is our relation to circumstances that determines their influence over us. The same wind that carries one vessel into port may blow another off shore." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Avoid law suits beyond all things; they influence your conscience, impair your health, and dissipate your property." - Jean de La Bruyère

"If you had the seeds of pestilence in your body you would not have a more active contagion that you have in your tempers, tastes, and principles. Simply to be in this world, whatever you are, is to exert an influence, compared with which mere language and persuasion are feeble." - Horace Bushnell

"Ideas are the mightiest influence on earth. One great thought breathed in to a man may regenerate him." - William Ellery Channing

"Enthusiasm is the greatest asset in the world. It beats money and power and influence." - Henry Chester