Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Through every mortal sin which is contrary to God’s commandments, an obstacle is placed to the outpouring of charity, since from the very fact that a man chooses to prefer sin to God’s friendship, which requires that we should follow His will, it follows that the habit of charity is lost at once through one mortal sin." -

"A person who does not mix with other people will not know how to help others. Such a person lacks knowledge about the way people think, their wants and their desires. Even if he wants to help others, he will not know what is good for them. When he wants to comply with the wishes of others, he will confuse them with his own wishes. Because he lacks knowledge about other people, he will not be able to say what is appropriate and acceptable even if he tries. His obstacle is not a lack of love for his fellow man, but a lack of understanding of others." - Avraham Grodzinski

"Habit has great power. We can become used to almost everything. We can become so used to a life of suffering that we are no longer aware that our suffering is not the way life should be lived. This tendency to lack a feeling of suffering is the biggest obstacle to becoming elevated through suffering. Since we do not feel the suffering, we do not pay attention to it and do not hear its message.. To overcome this, we must obtain an awareness that whenever things are not as they should be it is a message that we should improve ourselves in some area." - Avraham Grodzinski

"The greatest obstacle to progress is not man's inherited pugnacity, but his incorrigible tendency to parasitism." - William Ralph Inge

"The greater the obstacle the more glory in overcoming." - Molière, pen name of Jean Baptiste Poquelin NULL

"The biggest obstacle to changing ourselves is discouragement." -

"The great obstacle to progress is prejudice." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"The greatest obstacle to progress is prejudice." - John Christian Bovee

"Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It is a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment." - Eric Butterworth

"Some political and social activities of the Catholic Church are detrimental and even dangerous for the community as a whole... [e.g.] the fight against birth control at a time when overpopulation [is] a serious obstacle to peace." - Albert Einstein

"A great obstacle to happiness is to anticipate too great a happiness." - Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, also called Bernard de Bouyer

"It is a great obstacle to happiness to expect too much." - Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle, also called Bernard de Bouyer

"One cannot have faith without optimism. Faith and hope are inseparable. Depression is a great obstacle in the spiritual life and we must strive to conquer it... Cheerfulness is one of the essential spiritual qualities we must guard ourselves against dejection, self-denunciation, or even feeling a little down-hearted... Dejection invariably distorts our vision - it magnifies our troubles." - Paramananda, fully Swami Paramananda, born Suresh Chandra Guha-Thakurta NULL

"For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But here was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that this was my life. This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. " - Alfred D'Souza

"It is a great obstacle to happiness to expect too much." -

"Fear is no obstacle to death." - Bambara Proverbs

"The greatest obstacle to love is fear. It has been the source of all defects in human behavior throughout the ages." - Mahmoud Mohammed Taha

"The greatest obstacle in consilience by synthesis, the approach often loosely called holism, is the exponential increase in complexity encountered during the upward progress through levels of organization." -

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge." -

"Each obstacle is a comrade-in-arms forcing you to become better? or quit." - Og Mandino

"Obstacles are necessary for success because in selling, as in all careers of importance, victory comes only after many struggles and countless defeats. Yet each struggle, each defeat, sharpens your skills and strengths, your courage and your endurance, your ability and your confidence and thus each obstacle is a comrade-in-arms forcing you to become better or quit. Each rebuff is an opportunity to move forward; turn away from them, avoid them, and you throw away your future." - Og Mandino

"Sadness is a great obstacle to serving the Almighty. A person who has transgressed should not become excessively sad since this will prevent him from further spiritual growth. One should feel deep regret for the wrong he has done and then continue to feel joy in his relationship with the Almighty since he has sincere regret and is resolved not to repeat his transgression." -

"The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge." - Daniel Boorstin, fully Daniel Joseph Boorstin

"His momentous achievements are rarely the result of a clean forward thrust but rather of a soul intensity generated in front of an apparently insurmountable obstacle which bars his way to a cherished goal." - Eric Hoffer

"It is necessary to distinguish consciousness from the possibility of consciousness. We have only the possibility of consciousness and rare flashes of it. Therefore we cannot define what consciousness is. For most people, the chief obstacle in the way of acquiring self-consciousness consists in the fact that they think they possess it. It is evident that a man will not be interested if you tell him that he can acquire by long and difficult work something which, in his opinion, he already has." - George Gurdjieff, fully George Ivanovich Gurdjieff

"Without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue. You have to have courage – courage of different kinds: first, intellectual courage, to sort out different values and make up your mind about which is the one which is right for you to follow. You have to have moral courage to stick up to that – no matter what comes in your way, no matter what the obstacle and the opposition is." - Indira Gandhi, fully Indirā Priyadarśinī Gāndhī

"The perpetual obstacle to human advancement is custom." - John Stuart Mill

"Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is no greater obstacle to God than time. And not only time but temporalities, not only temporal things but temporal affections; not only temporal affections but the very taint and smell of time." - Meister Eckhart, formally Meister von Hochheim

"The greatest obstacle to being heroic is the doubt whether one may not be going to prove one's self a fool; the truest heroism is to resist the doubt; and the profoundest wisdom, to know when it ought to be resisted, and when it be obeyed." - Nathaniel Hawthorne

"The biggest obstacle to overcoming the odds is never challenging them." - Robert Gilbert, aka Rob

"The block of granite which is an obstacle in the pathway of the weak, becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong." - Thomas Carlyle

"Sadness is a great obstacle to serving the Almighty. A person who has transgressed should not become excessively sad since this will prevent him from further spiritual growth. One should feel deep regret for the wrong he has done and then continue to feel joy in his relationship with the Almighty since he has sincere regret and is resolved not to repeat his transgression." - Baal Shem Tov, given name Yisroel ben Eliezer

"By far the greatest obstacle to the progress of science and to the undertaking of new tasks and provinces therein is found in this — that men despair and think things impossible." - Francis Bacon

"The internationalization of art becomes a factor contributing to the estrangement of art from the artist. The sum of works of all times and places stands against him as an entity with objectives and values of its own. In turn, since becoming aware of the organized body of artworks as the obstacle to his own aesthetic self-affirmation, the artist is pushed toward anti-intellectualism and willful dismissal of the art of the past." - Harold Rosenberg

"The biggest obstacle was mixing abortion with overpopulation. These are two things that have nothing to do with each other." - Jacques Cousteau, formally Hacques-Yves Cousteau, known as 'le Commandant Cousteau' or 'Captain Cousteau'

"Nothing is such an obstacle to the production of excellence as the power of producing what is good with ease and rapidity." - John Aiken or Aikin

"We pay a heavy price for our fear of failure. It is a powerful obstacle to growth. It assures the progressive narrowing of the personality and prevents exploration and experimentation. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure all your life." - John W. Gardner, fully John William Gardner

"Try not to turn your life into a race, least of all an obstacle race." - José Bergamin, fully José Bergamín Gutiérrez

"Bureaucracy is not an obstacle to democracy but an inevitable complement to it. " - Joseph Schumpeter

"Among the best traitors Ireland has ever had, Mother Church ranks at the very top, a massive obstacle in the path to equality and freedom. She has been a force for conservatism... to ward off threats to her own security and influence." - Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, fully Josephine Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, aka Bernadette Devlin and Bernadette McAliskey

"Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma see no Dharma in everyday actions; they have not discovered that there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma." - Dōgen, aka Dōgen Kigen, Eihei Dōgen, titled as Dōgen Zenji NULL

"Obstacles cannot crush me; every obstacle yields to stern resolve." - Leonardo da Vinci, fully Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci

"You are the only real obstacle in your path to a fulfilling life." - Les Brown

"The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"A route differs from a road not only because it is solely intended for vehicles, but also because it is merely a line that connects one point with another. A route has no meaning in itself; its meaning derives entirely from the two points that it connects. A road is a tribute to space. Every stretch of road has meaning in itself and invites us to stop. A route is the triumphant devaluation of space, which thanks to it has been reduced to a mere obstacle to human movement and a waste of time." - Milan Kundera

"[Profane/Secular] Man makes himself, and he only makes himself completely in proportion as he desacralizes himself and the world. The sacred is the prime obstacle to his freedom. … He will not be truly free until he has killed the last god." - Mircea Eliade

"In war one must lean on an obstacle in order to overcome it." - Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I

"The idea gradually took hold of me that the earth might be used in place of the wire, thus dispensing with artificial conductors altogether. The immensity of the globe seemed an unsurmountable obstacle but after a prolonged study of the subject I became satisfied that the undertaking was rational." - Nikola Tesla

"More than 35 years ago, I undertook the production of these phenomena (of lightning) and, in 1899 I actually succeeded, using a generator of 2,000 horsepower, in obtaining discharges of 18,000,000 volts carrying currents of 1,200 amperes, which were of such power as to be audible at a distance of 13 miles. I also learned how to produce such lightnings as occur in Nature, and mastered all the technical difficulties in this connection. But I found that even in the small and comparatively negligible trigger work called for the employment of thousands of horsepower; and this is the great obstacle now in the way of this supreme accomplishment." - Nikola Tesla

"The greatest obstacle to connecting with our joy is resentment." - Pema Chödrön, born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown