Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Intelligence

"Perfection does not exist. To understand it is the triumph of human intelligence; to desire to possess it is the most dangerous kind of madness." -

"A person’s intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic." - Lisa Alther

"The test of every religious, political, or educational system is the man which it forms. If it injures the intelligence, it is bad; if it injures the character, it is vicious; if it injures the conscience it is criminal." -

"Knowledge and action... are only two aspects of one and the same faculty... There are things that intelligence alone is able to seek, but which, by itself, it will never find. These things instinct alone could find; but it will never seek them." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential." - Liane Cardes

"The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives enlargement to a people's energy, intellect and virtues... Progress, the growth of intelligence and power, is the end and boon of liberty; and, without this, a people may have the name, but want the substance and spirit of freedom." - William Ellery Channing

"What blessedness it is to dwell amidst this transparent air, which the eye can pierce without limit, amidst these floods of pure, soft, cheering light, under this immeasurable arch of heaven, and in sight of these countless stars! An infinite universe is each moment opened to our view. And this universe is the sing and symbol of Infinite Power, Intelligence, Purity, Bliss, and Love." - William Ellery Channing

"The future belongs to those who are virile, to whom it is a pleasure to live, to create, to whet their intelligence on that of the others." - Henri Deterding, fully Henri Wilhelm August Deterding

"Personal magnetism is a mixture of rugged Honesty, pulsating Energy, and self-organized Intelligence. I believe, absolutely, that truth is the strongest and most powerful weapon a man can use, whether he is fighting for a reform or fighting for a sale." - Arthur Dunn

"Grief or misfortune seems to be indispensable to the development of intelligence, energy and virtue. The proofs to which the people are submitted, as with individuals, are necessary then to draw them from their lethargy, to disclose their character." - Fearon NULL

"Do people love truth? On the contrary, mankind has employed its subtlest ingenuity and intelligence in efforts to evade or conceal it... Do human beings love justice? The sordid travesties in our courts year after year suggest that they love justice only for themselves. Do they love peace? Can anyone seriously ask the question? Do they love freedom? Only for those who share their views. Love of peace, freedom, justice, truth - this is a myth that has been created by the folk mind, and if the artist does not look behind the myth to the reality, he will indeed wander amid the phantoms which he creates." - Vardis Fisher, fully Vardis Alvero Fisher

"Kindness and intelligence don’t always deliver us from the pitfalls and traps: there are always failures of love, of will, of imagination. There is no way to take the danger out of human relationships." - Barbara Grizzuti Harrison

"A nation's greatness resides not in her material resources, but in her will, faith, intelligence, and moral forces." - James M. Hoppin

"Religion is not an intelligence test, but a faith." - E. W. Howe, fully Edgar Watson Howe

"Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardor, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shams, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"If there is freedom... there is a spiritual Reality, which it is the final end and purpose of consciousness to know; then all life is in the nature of an intelligence test, and the higher the level of awareness and the greater the potentialities of the creature, the more searchingly difficult will be the questions asked." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Love is as necessary to human beings as food and shelter; [but] without intelligence... love is impotent and freedom unattainable." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Your success and happiness lie in you. External conditions are the accidents of life. The great enduring realities are love and service. Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow. Resolve to keep happy and your joy in you shall form an invincible host against difficulty." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor

"Perseverance can lend the appearance of dignity and grandeur to many actions, just as silence in company affords wisdom and apparent intelligence to a stupid person." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"Since man is endowed with intelligence and determines his own ends, it is up to him to put himself in tune with the ends necessarily demanded by his nature. This means that there is, by very virtue of human nature, an order or a disposition which human reason can discover and according to which the human will must act in order to attune itself to the necessary ends of the human being. The unwritten law, or natural law, is nothing more than that." - Jacques Maritain

"Intelligence is kindness. Kindness is intelligence. The fundamental, which the two terms suggest in different ways... is the same quality on which all human civilization is built." - Alexander Meiklejohn

"There is still more intelligence needed to teach others than to be taught." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"All experience shows that even smaller technological changes than those now in the cards profoundly transform political and social relationships. Experience also shows that those transformations are not a priori predictable and that most contemporary “first guesses” concerning them are wrong. For all these reasons, one should take neither present difficulties nor presently proposed reforms too seriously... To ask in advance for a complete recipe would be unreasonable. We can specify only the human qualities required: patience, flexibility, intelligence." - John Von Newmann

"Man gains freedom only through the use of his highest faculties. Materialism makes him more and more a slave to the forces of the phenomenal world... Our present-day materialism points in this direction - that is, in the direction of the enslavement of man by mechanisation and by its direct results, by state organisations, uniformity, the sacrifice of independent intelligence, the sweeping away of individual differences, local customs, local diversity, and all the infinite branchings of humanity that enrich life... Man is made free by ‘truth’. The truth spoken here is equated with mind. This kind of truth begins with self-knowledge." - Maurice Nicoll

"By watching yourself in your daily life with alert interest, with the intention to understand rather than to judge, in full acceptance of whatever may emerge, because it is there, you encourage the deep to come to the surface and enrich your life and consciousness with its captive energies. This is the great work of awareness; it removes obstacles and releases energies by understanding the nature of life and mind. Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence." - Nisargadatta Maharaj, fully Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, born Maruti Shivrampant Kambli

"Success in business does not depend upon genius. Any young man of ordinary intelligence who is normally sound and not afraid to work should succeed in spite of obstacles and handicaps if he plays the game fairly and keeps everlastingly at it." - J. C. Penney, formally James Cash Penney

"True purity of taste is a quality of the mind; it is a feeling which can, with little difficulty, be acquired by the refinement of intelligence; whereas purity of manners is the result of wise habits, in which all the interests of the soul are mingled and in harmony with the progress of intelligence. That is why the harmony of good taste and of good manners is more common than the existence of taste without manners, or of manners without taste." - Pierre Louis Roederer

"It is... most profitable to us in life to make perfect the intellect or reason as far as possible, and in this one thing consists the highest happiness or blessedness of man; for blessedness is nothing but the peace of mind which springs from the intuitive knowledge of God, and to perfect the intellect is nothing but to understand god, together with the attributes and actions of God, which flow from the necessity of His nature. The final aim, therefore, of a man who is guided by reason, that is to say, the chief desire by which he strives to govern all his other desires, is that by which he is led adequately to conceive himself and all things which can be conceived by his intelligence." -

"If you would take, you must first give, this is the beginning of intelligence." -

"A society which values equality will attach a high degree of significance to differences of character and intelligence between different individuals, and a low degree of significance to economic and social differences between different groups. It will endeavor, in shaping its policy and organization, to encourage the former and to neutralize and suppress the latter, and will regard it as vulgar and childish to emphasize them when, unfortunately, they still exist." -

"We are apt to say that money talks, but it speaks a broken, poverty-stricken language. Hearts talk better, clearer and with wider intelligence." - William Allen White

"No man likes to have his intelligence or good faith questioned, especially if he has doubts about it himself." - Henry Gardiner Adams

"Man becomes man only by the intelligence, but he is man only by the heart." -

"To be a wit, intelligence is enough; to be a poet takes imagination." - Cardinal de Bernis Francois-Joachim de Piere de Bernis

"A right act strikes a chord that extends through the whole universe, touches all moral intelligence, visits every world, vibrates along its whole extent, and conveys its vibrations to the very bosom of God!" - Thomas Binney

"Providence is the very divine reason which arranges all things, and rests with the supreme disposer of all; while fate is that ordering which is a part of all changeable things, and by means of which Providence binds all things together in their own order. Providence embraces all things equally, however different they may be, even however infinite: when they are assigned to their own places, forms, and times, Fate sets them in an orderly motion; so that this development of the temporal order, unified in the intelligence of the mind of God, is Providence. The working of this unified development in time is called Fate. These are different, but the one hangs upon the other. For this order, which is ruled by Fate, emanates from the directness of Providence." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"As soils are depleted, human health, vitality and intelligence to go with them." - Louis Bromfield

"Those two fatal words, Mind and Thine..."Do not forget, Sancho," replied Don Quixote, "that there are two kinds of beauty, one being of the soul and the other of the body. That of the soul is revealed through intelligence, modesty, right conduct, generosity, and good breeding, all of which qualities may exist in an ugly man; and when one's gaze is fixed upon beauty of this sort and not upon that of the body, love is usually born suddenly and violently."" - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"To me there is something thrilling and exalting in the thought that we are drifting forward into a splendid mystery - into something that no mortal eye hath yet seen, and no intelligence has yet declared." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work. Work is not a curse; it is the prerogative of intelligence, the only means to manhood, and the measure of civilization." - Calvin Coolidge, fully John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

"Progress begins with the minority. It is completed by persuading the majority, by showing the reason and the advantage of the step forward, and that is accomplished by appealing to the intelligence of the majority." - George William Curtis

"Change as change is mere flux and lapse; it insults intelligence. Genuinely to know is to grasp a permanent end that realizes itself through changes." - John Dewey

"For the highest task of intelligence is to grasp and recognize genuine opportunity, possibility." - John Dewey

"Intelligence is not something possessed once for all. It is in constant process of forming, and its retention requires constant alertness in observing consequences, an open-minded will to learn and courage in re-adjustment." - John Dewey

"We are weak today in ideal matters because intelligence is divorced from aspiration. The bare force of circumstance compels us onwards in the daily detail of our beliefs and acts, but our deeper thoughts and desires turn backwards. When philosophy shall have co-operated with the course of events and made clear and coherent the meaning of the daily detail, science and emotion will interpenetrate, practice and imagination will embrace. Poetry and religious feeling will be the unforced flowers of life. To further this articulation and revelation of the meanings of the current course of events is the task and problem of philosophy in days of transition." - John Dewey

"I know this world is ruled by Infinite Intelligence. It required Infinite Intelligence to create it and it requires Infinite Intelligence to keep it on its course. Everything that surrounds us - everything that exists - proves that there are Infinite Laws behind it. There can be no denying this fact. It is mathematical in its precision." -

"Beneath a free government there is nothing but the intelligence of the people to keep the people’s peace. Order must be preserved, not by a military police or regiments of horse-guards, but by the spontaneous concert of a well-informed population, resolved that the rights which have been rescued from despotism shall not be subverted by anarchy." - Edward Everett

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, fully Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald

"The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see things as hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, fully Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald

"Education... should concern itself primarily... with the liberation, organization, and direction of power and intelligence, with the development of taste, with culture." - Abraham Flexner