Great Throughts Treasury

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


"Readiness for death is that of character, rather than occupation. It is right living which prepares for safe or even joyous dying. O death! We thank thee for the light thou wilt shed upon our ignorance." -

"Life is rendered most agreeable by alternate occupation and leisure." - Demophilus NULL

"After all, what is vanity? If it means only a certain wish to look one’s best, is it not another name for self-respect? If it means inordinate self-admiration (very rare among persons with some occupation), it is less wicked than absurd." - Mary Eliza Haweis, aka Mrs. Hugh R. Haweis, maiden name Mary E. Joy

"It is neither wealth, nor splendor, but tranquillity and occupation, which give happiness." - Thomas Jefferson

"Our greatest happiness does not depend on the condition of life in which chance has placed us, but is always the result of a good conscience, good health, occupation, and freedom in all just pursuits." - Thomas Jefferson

"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

"Education means drawing forth from the mind latent powers and developing them, so that in mature years one may apply these powers not merely to success in one's occupation, but to success in the greatest of all arts - the art of living." - William Lyon Phelps

"Recreation is not being idle; it is easing the wearied part by change of occupation. To re-create strength, rest. To re-create mind, repose. To re-create cheerfulness, hope in God, or change the object of attention to one more elevated and worthy of thought." - Charles Simmons

"Search for the truth is the noblest occupation of man; its publication is a duty." -

"Nature has made occupation a necessity to us; society makes a duty; habit may make it a pleasure." - Capelle NULL

"Absence of occupation is not rest, a mind quite vacant is a mind distressed." - William Cowper

"Man-made barriers, laws, social customs and prejudices continue to keep a majority of women in an inferior position without full control of our lives and bodies. From infancy throughout life, in personal and public relations, in the family, in the schools, in every occupation and profession, too often we find our individuality, our capabilities, our earning powers diminished by discriminatory practices and outmoded ideas of what a woman is, what a woman can do, and what a woman must be... We lack effective political and economic power We have only minor and insignificant roles in making, interpreting and enforcing our laws, in running our political parties, businesses, unions, schools and institutions, in directing the media, in governing our country, in deciding issues of war or peace. We do not seek special privileges, but we demand as a human right a full voice and role for women in determining the destiny of our world, our nation, our families and our individual lives." - Declaration of American Women NULL

"Be sure to find a place for intellectual and cultural interests outside your daily occupation. It is necessary that you do so if this business of living is not to turn to dust and ashes in your mouth. Moreover, do not overlook the claims of religion as the explanation of an otherwise unintelligible world. It is not the fast tempo of modern life that kills but the boredom, a lack of strong interest and failure to grow that destroy. It is the feeling that nothing is worth while that makes men ill and unhappy." - Harold Willis Dodds

"Occupation is the armor of the soul." - George Stillman Hillard

"Occupation is the necessary basis of all enjoyment." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"Occupation was one of the pleasures of paradise, and we cannot be happy without it." - Anna Jameson

"Every man wishes to pursue his occupation and to enjoy the fruits of his labors and the produce of his property in peace and safety, and with the least possible expense. When these things are accomplished, all the objects for which government ought to be established are answered." - Thomas Jefferson

"Occupation alone is happiness." -

"The want of occupation is no less the plague of society than of solitude." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The real object of education is to give children resources that will endure as long as life endures; habits that time will ameliorate, not destroy; occupation that will render sickness tolerable, solitude pleasant, age venerable, life more dignified and useful, and death less terrible." - Sydney Smith

"Beyond the narrow category of occupation, the purpose of our life is to develop our capacity to love. Our purpose is to create life out of who we are and who we are becoming." - Carol Adrienne

"At the bottom, people tend to believe that class is defined by the amount of money you have. In the middle, people grant that money has something to do with it, but think education and the kind of work you do almost equally important. Nearer the top, people perceive that taste, values, ideas, style, and behavior are indispensable criteria of class, regardless of money or occupation or education." - Paul Fussell

"Every occupation, of whatever nature is more efficiently performed if pursued for its own sake alone, rather than for the results to which it leads." - Wilhelm von Humboldt, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt

"Business more than any other occupation is a continual dealing with the future; it is a continual calculation, an instinctive exercise in foresight." - Henry Robinson Luce

"Our heart is the altar. In every occupation let a spark of the holy fire remain within you, so that you may fan it into a flame." -

"Let a man choose what condition he will, and let him accumulate around him all the goods and gratifications seemingly calculated to make him happy in it; if that man is left any time without occupation or amusement, and reflects on what he is, the meager, languid felicity of his present lot will not bear him up. He will turn necessarily to gloomy anticipations of the future; and unless his occupation calls him out of himself, he is inevitably wretched." - Blaise Pascal

"There is nothing so insupportable to man as to be in entire repose, without passion, occupation, amusement, or application. Then it is that he feels his own nothingness, isolations, insignificance, dependent nature, powerlessness, emptiness. Immediately there issue from his soul ennui, sadness, chagrin, vexation, despair." - Blaise Pascal

"To pity the unhappy is not contrary to selfish desire; on the other hand, we are glad of the occupation to thus testify friendship and attract to ourselves the reputation of tenderness, without giving anything." - Blaise Pascal

"Life without absorbing occupation is hell - joy consists in forgetting life." - Elbert Green Hubbard

"The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation... A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of hell." - George Bernard Shaw

"The purest pleasures lie within the circle of useful occupation. Mere pleasure, sought outside of usefulness, is fraught with poison." - Henry Ward Beecher

"The purest pleasures lie within the circle of useful occupation. Mere pleasure, sought outside of usefulness, is fraught with poison." - Henry Ward Beecher

"Blessed is the man who has some congenial work, some occupation in which he can put his heart, and which affords a complete outlet to all the forces there are in him." - John Burroughs

"The brevity of our life, the dullness of our senses, the torpor of our indifference, the futility of our occupation, suffer us to know but little: and that little is soon shaken and then torn from the mind by the traitor to learning, that hostile and faithless stepmother to memory, oblivion." - John of Salisbury NULL

"The most incessant occupation of the human intellect throughout life is the ascertainment of truth." - John Stuart Mill

"The teacher is a sculptor of the intangible future. There is no more dangerous occupation on the planet, for what we conceive as our masterpiece may appear out of time to mock us - a horrible caricature of ourselves... We, too, like the generation before us, are the cracked, the battered, the malformed products of remoter chisels shaping the most obstinate substance in the universe; the substance of man." - Loren Eiseley

"Love is the occupation of the idle man, the amusement of a busy one, and the shipwreck of a sovereign." - Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I

"The man who falls in love will find plenty of occupation." - Ovid, formally Publius Ovidius Naso NULL

"Our heart is the altar. In every occupation let a spark of the holy fire remain within you, so that you may fan it into a flame." - Baal Shem Tov, given name Yisroel ben Eliezer

"It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do. There is no fun in doing nothing when you have nothing to do. Wasting time is merely an occupation then, and a most exhausting one. Idleness, like kisses, to be sweet must be stolen." - Jerome K. Jerome, fully Jerome Klapka Jerome

"It is a key fact about American policy in Vietnam that the withdrawel of American troops was built into it from the start. None of the presidents who waged war in Vietnam contemplated an open-ended campaign; all promised the public that American troops would be able to leave in the not-too-remote future. The promise of withdrawel precluded a policy of occupation of the traditional colonial sort, in which a great power simply imposes its will on a small one indefinitely." - Jonathan Schell, fully Jonathan Edward Schell

"Literature is an occupation in which you have to keep proving your talent to people who have none." - Jules Renard, aka Pierre-Jules Renard

"No country without a revolution or a military defeat and subsequent occupation has ever experienced such a sharp a shift in the distribution of earnings as America has in the last generation. At no other time have median wages of American men fallen for more than two decades. Never before have a majority of American workers suffered real wage reductions while the per capita domestic product was advancing. " - Lester Thurow, fully Lester Carl Thurow, aka L.C. Thurow

"Search for the truth is the noblest occupation of man; its publication is a duty. " - Madame de Staël, Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, born Anne Louise Germaine Necker, Madame Necker

"Among those points of self-education which take up the form of mental discipline, there is one of great importance, and, moreover, difficult to deal with, because it involves an internal conflict, and equally touches our vanity and our ease. It consists in the tendency to deceive ourselves regarding all we wish for, and the necessity of resistance to these desires. It is impossible for any one who has not been constrained, by the course of his occupation and thoughts, to a habit of continual self-correction, to be aware of the amount of error in relation to judgment arising from this tendency. The force of the temptation which urges us to seek for such evidence and appearances as are in favour of our desires, and to disregard those which oppose them, is wonderfully great. In this respect we are all, more or less, active promoters of error. In place of practising wholesome self-abnegation, we ever make the wish the father to the thought: we receive as friendly that which agrees with, we resist with dislike that which opposes us; whereas the very reverse is required by every dictate of common sense." - Michael Faraday

"From childhood I was compelled to concentrate attention upon myself. This caused me much suffering, but to my present view, it was a blessing in disguise for it has taught me to appreciate the inestimable value of introspection in the preservation of life, as well as a means of achievement. The pressure of occupation and the incessant stream of impressions pouring into our consciousness through all the gateways of knowledge make modern existence hazardous in many ways. Most persons are so absorbed in the contemplation of the outside world that they are wholly oblivious to what is passing on within themselves. The premature death of millions is primarily traceable to this cause. Even among those who exercise care, it is a common mistake to avoid imaginary, and ignore the real dangers. And what is true of an individual also applies, more or less, to a people as a whole." - Nikola Tesla

"Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the naturals, the ones who somehow know how to teach." - Peter F. Drucker, fully Peter Ferdinand Drucker

"Every base occupation makes one sharp in its practice, and dull in every other." -

"Divine Spirit never creates a perfect man, but sets him going with the permission to become perfect. The plan of God is that of perpetual assistance. He fills the earth with ores, with coals, with the power to produce harvests of grass, fruits and grains, and then endows man with an expansive faculty, such that he can develop the world and himself. The world, as God gave it to His children, is one of opportunities and outfits, and not of completed things. Inspiration would therefore assume the form of a help rather than of a full occupation of the human intellect and feelings, and would no more be a perfect unfolding of God's whole character than the wild Indian is an expression of God's perfect ideal of the creature man. " - David Swing, aka Professor Swing

"I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves -- this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed empty to me. The trite objects of human efforts -- possessions, outward success, luxury -- have always seemed to me contemptible. " - Albert Einstein