Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Life

"It is indifference which is the cause of most of our unhappiness. Indifference to religion, to the happiness of others, and to the precious gift of freedom, and the wide liberty that is the inheritance of all in a free land. Are we our "Brother's Keeper"? We certainly are! If we had no regard for others' feelings or fortune, we would grow cold and indifferent to life itself. Bound up with selfishness, we could not hope for the success that could easily be ours." - George Matthew Adams

"Upon every hand we meet with those who have some secret resentment that is ever being nurtured within their hearts. They resent the success, or happiness of some one whom they think is less deserving than they are. They resent the just recognition that comes to others from work and long effort to excel. Or, they may resent being born poor - or resent the fact that they were even born!... Strive to excel, strive to achieve, where others have failed, and you will find no space within your mind to lodge resentment. Resentment is the child of selfishness, foolish envy, and inactivity... Our life upon this earth is too valuable for resentment of any kind. There is so much to do, so much to learn - so little time in which to live and work it all out." - George Matthew Adams

"Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim." - Henry Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

"Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit." - Henry Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

"The goal is the same: life itself; and the price is the same; life itself." - James Agee, fully James Rufus Agee

"The greatest manifestation of your love for the Almighty can be expressed on your day of death. Before your death, you might be thinking about how you have not fulfilled all of your wishes and plans. In the moments before your death you might have complaints against the Almighty, or you might fatalistically accept your death by saying, What can be done? My body is giving in to the laws of nature. The doctors have given up hope.” Both of these attitudes are wrong You now face the greatest challenge of your life. You have the potential to submit yourself to the will of the Almighty with love. This level takes preparation. If a person has not mastered control of his thoughts, he is likely to waste his last moments thinking of petty resentments and desires. Frequently confusion and fear of death swallow up every other thought unless one has prepared for that moment." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"From the very beginning of a person’s life one learns that the purpose of life is not uninterrupted pleasure. Every infant suffers pains and illnesses. We should not perceive illness and pain as negative. Suffering teaches us humility. We learn that we do not have complete power over ourselves." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"The most feared event in a person’s life is death. But we have the ability to transform our death into the greatest act we will perform in our entire life. We can perceive death as our total submission to the will of the Almighty and find tremendous spiritual elevation." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"He who asks of life nothing but the improvement of his own nature, and a continuous moral progress toward inward contentment and religious submission, is less liable than anyone else to miss and waste life." -

"In the conduct of life, habits count for more than maxims; because habit is a living maxim, becomes flesh and instinct. To reform one's maxims is nothing: it is but to change the title of the book. To learn new habits is everything, for it is to reach the substance of life. Life is but a tissue of habits." -

"Knowledge, love, power - there is the complete life." -

"The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you cannot accept regret." -

"To learn new habits is everything, for it is to reach the substance of life. Life is but a tissue of habits." -

"There is nothing enduring in life for a woman except what she builds in a man's heart." - Judith Anderson, born Frances Margaret Anderson-Anderson, aka Dame Judith Anderson

"The company of a good man is the light of the soul, of an evil man the poison of life." - Khajah Abdullah Ansari of Herat, Abu Ismaïl Abdullah ibn Abi-Mansour Mohammad or Khajah Abdullah Ansari of Herat

"I pray every single second of my life; not on my knees, but with my work." -

"A man's life is what his thoughts make of it." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"A man's true greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest purpose in life, founded on a just estimate of himself and everything else, on frequent self-examinations, and a steady obedience to the rule which he knows to be right, without troubling himself about what others may think or say, or whether they do or do not that which he thinks and says and does." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Be not dilatory in doing, nor confused in conversation, nor vague in thought; leave thyself leisure in thy life." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Do every act of your life as if it were your last." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Of human life the time is a point, and the substance is in a flux, and the perception dull, and the composition of the whole body subject to putrefaction, and the soul a whirl, and fortune hard to divine, and fame a thing devoid of judgment. And, to say all in a word, everything which belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and a vapor, and life is a warfare and a stranger’s sojourn, and after-fame is oblivion." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Once thing here is worth a great deal, to pass thy life in truth and justice, with a benevolent disposition even to liars and unjust men." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Remember this, that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed I the performance of every act of life." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts, therefore guard accordingly; and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"There is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"To have contemplated human life for forty years is the same as to have contemplated it for ten thousand years. For what more wilt thou see?" - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Self-control and understanding, righteousness and courage, there is nothing in life more profitable than these." - Apocrypha NULL

"[Paraphrase] Action should be something added to the life of prayer, not something taken away from it." -

"The human condition is such that pain and effort are not just symptoms which can be removed without changing life itself; they are rather the modes in which life itself, together with the necessity to which it is bound, makes itself felt. For mortals, the "easy life of the gods" would be a lifeless life." -

"It is impossible to have a lively hope in another life, and yet be deeply immersed in the enjoyments of this." - Francis Atterbury

"A firm faith is the best theology; a good life is the best philosophy, a clear conscience the best law; honesty the best policy, and temperance the best physic." - Arthur Aughey

"There are many seasons in a man’s life - and the more exalted and responsible his position, the more frequently do these seasons recur - when the voice of duty and the dictates of feeling are opposed to each other; and it is only the weak and the wicked who yield that obedience to the selfish impulses of the heart which is due to reason and honor." - Arthur Aughey

"Life is something you measure not in years but in precious moments - and in how you value those moments. The responsibility for making such moments meaningful is yours alone. There are no definitions of failure or success except the ones you specify for yourself. You are the meaning of your own life." - Rabbi Avraham of Sochotchov NULL

"I saw there was no boundary lines between vegetable and animal life, and hence no beginning nor end to either... All physical phenomena, at their best, are dull and murky till they come up into spiritual life. As an illustration that every law has its universality take the familiar law or principle that action and reaction are equal. What is this but reaping the whirlwind after one has sown the wind, or how does natural law differ from this teaching: ‘Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap?’ Are they aught but different strains in the great cosmic melody?" - H. B.

"The first real mental illumination I remember to have experienced was when I saw that the universe exists in each of its individual atoms - that is, the universe is the result of a few simple processes infinitely repeated. When a drop of water has been mathematically measured, every principle will have been used which would be called form in the measurement of the heavens. All life on the globe is sustained by digestion and assimilation; when by voluntary and traumatic action these stop death follows. The history of an individual mind is the history of the race. Know one thing in its properties and relations and you will know all things." - H. B.

"Regeneration is the beginning of holiness in the soul, and admits of no progression; sanctification is carried on progressively in the heart of the renewed, and will be continued until it is completed in the concluding moments of life." - Charles Backus

"I cannot teach you the ten principles of service. But a little child and a thief can show you what they are. From the child you can learn three things: He is merry for no particular reason; never for a moment is he idle; when he needs something, he demands it vigorously. The thief can instruct you in seven things: He does his service by night; if he does not finish what he has set out to do, in one night, he devotes the next night to it; he and those who work with him love one another; he risks his life for small gains; what he takes has so little value for him that he gives it up for a very small coin; he endures blows and hardship, and it matters nothing to him; he likes his trade and would not exchange it for any other." - Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezeritch, aka Maggid of Mezeritch

"The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do." - Walter Bagehot

"Right thinking is a prerequisite to right living... In truth the destiny of any life is determined by what fills that mind." - Roy I. Bagley

"One of the things I learned the hard way was it does not pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself." -

"[Paraphrase] Self consciousness, while glorious for what is has done, is at the same time baneful, because it precludes man from entering the Cosmic Conscious life, which leads to the infinite - which alone can explain God." - Honoré de Balzac

"Unrequited love is the meaning of life. We’re here to love but not to be loved, to give but not receive. Our mission in this world is to improve humanity and leave a better history than we found. Only selfless love has such power. Only love without interest or expectation of reward can change human beings... To give love without receiving love is the truest love and brings the greatest happiness there is in life." - Adolfo Barcella

"Envy destroys peace of mind and happiness. An envious person’s life is full of suffering and resentment. He is never happy with what he himself has." - Michael Barenbaum

"If forsooth we have failed to achieve happiness by conquering more lands... by traveling faster on the surface of things, why not try digging deeper in our own domain... making our life more significant by making it more profound?" - Joseph L. Baron

"Idleness is the hot-bed of temptation, the cradle of disease, the waster of time, the canker-worm of felicity. To him that has no employment, life in a little while will have no novelty; and when novelty is laid in the grave, the funeral of comfort will soon follow." - Richard Baxter

"Man transcends death by finding meaning in his life... It is the burning desire for the creature to count... What man really fears is not so much extinction, but extinction with insignificance." - Ernest Becker

"The Art of Teaching does not consist only of instruction in the three R's. There is more to teaching than conveying information. Teaching is the continuous process of building character, establishing moral attitudes, creating respect for the good way of life and distaste for the lightheaded and irresponsible mode of existence." - Samuel Belkin

"Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways." - Stephen Vincent Benét

"All the tensions and contradictions in life are, and ought to be, reflected in one’s philosophy, and one should not attempt to compose them for the sake of neat philosophical construction. Philosophy cannot ever be divorced from the totality of man’s spiritual experience, from his struggles, his insights, his ecstasies, his religious faith and mystical vision." -