Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Insanity

"Faith without evidence is, properly, not faith, but prejudice or presumption; faith beyond evidence is superstition, and faith contrary to evidence is either insanity or willful perversity of mind." - Arthur Aughey

"He who would do some great thing in this short life must apply himself to the work with such a concentration of his forces as, to idle spectators, who live only to amuse themselves, looks like insanity." - Randolph S. Foster, fully Randolph Sinks Foster

"Nationalism is our form of incest, is our idolatry, is our insanity." -

"Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"Wine takes away reason, engenders insanity, leads to thousands of crimes, and imposes such an enormous expense on nations." - Pliny the Younger, full name Casus Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo NULL

"In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"He who would do some great thing in this short life must apply himself to work with such a concentration of his forces as, to idle spectators who live only to amuse themselves, looks like insanity." - Francis Parkman

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein

"Insanity in individuals is rare – but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule." -

"There was never a genius without a tincture of insanity." - Aristotle NULL

"Unwelcome are the loiterer, who makes appointments he never keeps; the consulter, who asks advice he never follows; the boaster, who seeks for praise he does not merit; the complainer, who whines only to be pitied; the talker, who talks only because he loves to talk always; the profane and obscene jester, whose words defile; the drunkard, whose insanity has tot the better of his reason; and the tobacco-chewer and smoker, who poisons the atmosphere and nauseates others." - Author Unknown NULL

"Post-modern man is more profoundly perplexed about the nature of man than his ancestors were. He is on the verge of spiritual and moral insanity. He does not know who he is." - F.S.C. Northrop, fully Filmer Stuart Cuckow "F.S.C." Northrop

"Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity." - Herman Melville

"To have a true idea of man or of life, one must have stood himself on the brink of suicide, or on the door-sill of insanity, at least once." - Hippolyte Adolphe Taine

"War, to sane men at the present day, begins to look like an epidemic of insanity, breaking out here and there like the cholera or influenza, infecting men's brains instead of their bowels." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"From a social standpoint, dependence denotes a power rather than a weakness; it involves interdependence. There is always a danger that increased personal independence will decrease the social capacity of an individual. In making him more self-reliant, it may make him more self-sufficient; it may lead to aloofness and indifference. It often makes an individual so insensitive in his relations to others as to develop an illusion of being really able to stand and act alone — an unnamed form of insanity which is responsible for a large part of the remedial suffering of the world." - John Dewey

"Sophisticated thinking may enable man to feign his being sufficient to himself. Yet the way to insanity is paved with such illusions. The feeling of futility that comes with the sense of being useless, of not being needed in the world, is the most common cause of psychoneurosis. The only way to avoid despair is to be a need rather than an end. Happiness, in fact, may be defined as the certainty of being needed. But who is in need of man?" - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"But he who knows what insanity is, is sane; whereas insanity can no more be sensible of its own existence, than blindness can see itself." - Apuleius, fully Lucius Apuleius Apuleius, also Apuleius of Madauros NULL

"Between these two unique and symmetrical events, something happens whose ambiguity has left the historians of medicine at a loss: blind repression in an absolutist regime, according to some; but according to others, the gradual discovery by science and philanthropy of madness in its positive truth. As a matter of fact, beneath these reversible meanings, a structure is forming which does not resolve the ambiguity but determines it. It is this structure which accounts for the transition from the medieval and humanist experience of madness to our own experience, which confines insanity within mental illness. In the Middle Ages and until the Renaissance, man's dispute with madness was a dramatic debate in which he confronted the secret powers of the world; the experience of madness was clouded by images of the Fall and the Will of God, of the Beast and the Metamorphosis, and of all the marvelous secrets of Knowledge. In our era, the experience of madness remains silent in the composure of a knowledge which, knowing too much about madness, forgets it. But from one of these experiences to the other, the shift has been made by a world without images, without positive character, in a kind of silent transparency which reveals— as mute institution, act without commentary, immediate knowledge—a great motionless structure; this structure is one of neither drama nor knowledge; it is the point where history is immobilized in the tragic category which both establishes and impugns it." - Michel Foucault

"Five hundred years of ecological mayhem and social tyranny is a relatively short time for humanity to have learned to understand its self-created patterns of systematic pillage. The insanity of human destructiveness may be matched by an older grace and intelligence that is fastening us together in ways we have never before seen or imagined... We live in community, not alone, and any sense of separateness that we harbor is illusion. " - Paul Hawken

"People who think they can control their negative emotions and manifest them when they want to, simply deceive themselves. Negative emotions depend on identification; if identification is destroyed in some particular case, they disappear. The strangest and most fantastic fact about negative emotions is that people actually worship them. I think that, for an ordinary mechanical man, the most difficult thing to realize is that his own and other people's negative emotions, have no value whatever and do not contain anything noble, anything beautiful or anything strong. In reality negative emotions contain nothing but weakness and very often the beginning of hysteria, insanity or crime. The only good thing about them is that, being quite useless and artificially created by imagination and identification, they can be destroyed without any loss. And this is the only chance of escape that man has. Philosophy is based on speculation, on logic, on thought, on the synthesis of what we know and on the analysis of what we do not know. Philosophy must include within its confines the whole content of science, religion and art. But where can such a philosophy be found? All that we know in our times by the name of philosophy is not philosophy, but merely critical literature or the expression of personal opinions, mainly with the aim of overthrowing and destroying other personal opinions. Or, which is still worse, philosophy is nothing but self-satisfied dialectic surrounding itself with an impenetrable barrier of terminology unintelligible to the uninitiated and solving for itself all the problems of the universe without any possibility of proving these explanations or making them intelligible to ordinary mortals. " - P.D. Ouspensky, fully Peter Demianovich Ouspensky, also Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii, also Uspenskii or Uspensky

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different outcome." - Albert Einstein

"If there be one thing on earth which is truly admirable, it is to see God's wisdom blessing an inferiority of natural powers, where they have been honestly, truly, and zealously cultivated." - Thomas Arnold

"One’s age should be tranquil, as one’s childhood should be playful; hard work at either extremity of human existence seems to me out of place: the morning and the evening should be alike cool and peaceful; at mid-day the sun may burn, and men may labor under it." - Thomas Arnold

"Do a lot of reading. [On how to determine the value of a business]" - Warren Buffett, fully Warren Edward Buffett, aka Oracle of Omaha

"As to the past, I would not mind retrieving from various corners of space-time certain lost comforts, such as baggy trousers and long, deep bathtubs." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"If ever a human being got his work expressed completely, it was Shakespeare. If ever a mind was incandescent, unimpeded... it was Shakespeare's mind." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Armed neutrality, it now appears, is impracticable." - Woodrow Wilson, fully Thomas Woodrow Wilson

"A child born to a black mother in a state like Mississippi . . . has the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It's not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for." - Thurgood Marshall

"LSD is a psychedelic drug which occasionally causes psychotic behavior in people who have NOT taken it." - Timothy Leary, fully Timothy Francis Leary

"The greatness of action includes immoral as well as moral greatness--Cortes and Napoleon, as well as Luther and Washington." - Edwin Percy Whipple

"When you see a hand from afar, Kimya, can you do that there is only one school. But you dive into the water, you realize that there is more than a river. The river is hidden inside various currents and they all run in harmony, yet are completely separate from one another." - Elif Safak

"The Bhagavad Gita—that ancient Indian Yogic text—says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection. So now I have started living my own life. Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, thoroughly." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"There is the type of man who has great contempt for "im­mediacy," who tries to cultivate his interiority, base his pride on something deeper and inner, create a distance between himself and the average man. Kierkegaard calls this type of man the "introvert." He is a little more concerned with what it means to be a person, with individuality and uniqueness. He enjoys solitude and with­draws periodically to reflect, perhaps to nurse ideas about his secret self, what it might be. This, after all is said and done, is the only real problem of life, the only worthwhile preoccupation of man: What is one's true talent, his secret gift, his authentic vocation? In what way is one truly unique, and how can he express this unique­ness, give it form, dedicate it to something beyond himself? How can the person take his private inner being, the great mystery that he feels at the heart of himself, his emotions, his yearnings and use them to live more distinctively, to enrich both himself and man­kind with the peculiar quality of his talent? In adolescence, most of us throb with this dilemma, expressing it either with words and thoughts or with simple numb pain and longing. But usually life suck us up into standardized activities. The social hero-system into which we are born marks out paths for our heroism, paths to which we conform, to which we shape ourselves so that we can please others, become what they expect us to be. And instead of working our inner secret we gradually cover it over and forget it, while we become purely external men, playing successfully the standardized hero-game into which we happen to fall by accident, by family connection, by reflex patriotism, or by the simple need to eat and the urge to procreate." - Ernest Becker

"I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world." - Eugene V. Debs, fully Eugene Victor Debs