Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"He is the wisest and happiest man who, by constant attention of thought discovers the greatest opportunity of doing good, and breaks through every opposition that he may improve these opportunities." - Philip Doddridge

"Moral courage is a virtue of higher cast and nobler origin than physical. It springs from a consciousness of virtue and renders a man, in the pursuit or defense of right, superior to the fear of reproach, opposition in contempt." - Samuel Griswold Goodrich, better known by pseudonymn Peter Parley

"Strong people are made by opposition like kites that go up against the wind." - Frank Harris

"Relationship means contact, communion. There cannot be communion where people are divided by ideas. A belief may gather a group of people around itself. Such a group will inevitably breed opposition and so form another group with a different belief. Ideas postpone direct relationship with the problem." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"There are difficulties in your path. Be thankful for them. They will test your capabilities of resistance; you will be impelled to persevere from the very energy of the opposition. But what of him that fails? What does he gain? Strength for life. The real merit is not in the success but in the endeavor; and win or lose, he will be honored and crowned." - William Morley Punshon

"Opposition inflames the enthusiast, never converts him." - Friedrich Schiller, fully Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

"Life, moral or physical, is not a completed fact, but a continual process, depending for its movement upon two contrary forces, the force of resistance and that of expression. Dividing these forces into two mutually opposing principles does not help us, for the truth dwells not in the opposition but in its continual reconciliation." -

"Wrath springs from thwarted desires. I do not expect anything from others, so their actions cannot be in opposition to wishes of mind." - Yukteswar, fully Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, born Priyanath Karar NULL

"We are to live with life and die with death, not separated from them. The problem of suffering is insoluble, because we think of ourselves as apart from pain and death, in opposition to them. We can be free from change only by changing with it." - R. H. Blyth, fully Reginald Horace Blyth

"In the long run, truth is aided by nothing so much as by opposition." - William Ellery Channing

"Thought has always worked by opposition... By dual, hierarchized oppositions... Wherever an ordering intervenes, a law organizes the thinkable by (dual, irreconcilable; or mitigable, dialectical) oppositions. And all the couples of oppositions are couples." - Hélène Cixous

"Moral courage is a virtue of higher cast and nobler origin than physical. It springs from a consciousness of virtue, and renders a man, in the pursuit of defense of right, superior to the fear of reproach, opposition, or contempt." - S. G. Goodrich, fully Samuel Griswold Goodrich, pen name Peter Praley

"There is a distinction, but no opposition, between theory and practice. Each to a certain extent supposes the other. Theory is dependent on practice; practice must have preceded theory." - William Hamilton, fully Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet

"The opposition is indispensable. A good statesman, like any other sensible human being, always learns more from his opponents than from his fervent supporters. For his supporters will push him to disaster unless his opponents show him where the dangers are. So if he is wise he will often pray to be delivered from his friends, because they will ruin him. But though it hurts, he ought also to pray never to be left without opponents; for they keep him on the path of reason and good sense. " - Walter Lippmann

"A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against and not with the wind. Even a head wind is better than none. No man ever worked his passage anywhere in a dead calm. Let no man wax pale, therefore, because of opposition." - John Neal

"Opposition is what we want and must have, to be good for anything. Hardship is the native soil of manhood and self-reliance." - John Neal

"We must continue to open in the face of tremendous opposition. No one is encouraging us to open and still we must peel away the layers of the heart." - Chögyam Trungpa, fully Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

"The history of Christendom would have been far happier if we all had remembered one rule of intelligence - not to believe a thing more strongly at the end of a bitter argument than at the beginning, not to believe it with the energy of the opposition rather than one's own." - Charles Williams

"What is wrong with our culture is that it often offers us an inaccurate conception of the self. It depicts the personal self as existing in competition with and in opposition with and in opposition to nature. We thereby fail to realize that if we destroy our environment, we are destroying what is in fact our larger self." - Robert E. Carter, fully Robert Edgar Carter

"The great moral reformers have usually found the greatest opposition not in the “immoral” and impulsive individual, but in the regularly constituted organs of social authority and law." - Christopher Henry Dawson

"[Groupthink] The dissenter was made to feel at home, providing he lived up to two restrictions: first, that he did not voice his doubts to outsiders and thus play into the hands of the opposition; and second, that he kept his criticisms within the bounds of acceptable deviation, not challenging any of the fundamental assumptions of the group’s prior commitments." - Irving L. Janis

"We are most likely to get angry and excited in our opposition to some idea when we ourselves are not quite certain of our position, and are inwardly tempted to take the other side." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence." - Albert Einstein

"A government operating in the shadow of secrecy stands in complete opposition to the society envisioned by the framers of our Constitution." - Damon Keith, fully Damon Jerome Keith

"You can measure a man by the opposition it takes to discourage him." - Robert C. Savage, fully Robert Carlton Savage

"It is easier to find a score of men wise enough to discover the truth than to find one intrepid enough, in the face of opposition to stand up for it." - Archibald Alexander Hodge

"No government can be long secure without formidable opposition." - Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield

"All the important human advances that we know of since historical times began have been due to individuals of whom the majority faced virulent public opposition." - Bertrand Russell, fully Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell

"Mere customary life (the watch wound up and going on of itself) is that which brings on natural death. Custom is activity without opposition, for which there remains only a formal duration; in which the fullness and zest that originally characterized the aim of life are out of the question - a merely external sensuous existence which has ceased to throw itself enthusiastically into its object." - Georg Hegel, fully Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear." - Harry S. Truman

"The beautiful is what pleases in the mere judgment (and therefore not by the medium of sensation in accordance with a concept of the understanding). It follows at once from this that it must please apart from all interest. The sublime is what pleases immediately through its opposition to the interest of sense." - Immanuel Kant

"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

"Opposition comes not only from your enemies but sometimes from your friends, and the latter is much more difficult to face. You have to have physical courage, because very often going along the path of your choice is full of physical handicap hardship." - Indira Gandhi, fully Indirā Priyadarśinī Gāndhī

"Ideas come in pairs and they contradict one another; their opposition is the principal engine of reflection." - Jean-Paul Sartre

"The effects of opposition are wonderful. There are men who rise refreshed on hearing of a threat; men to whom a crisis which intimidates and paralyzes the majority - demanding, not the faculties of prudence and thrift, but comprehension, immovableness, the readiness to sacrifice - comes graceful and beloved as a bride." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it. " - Edward R. Murrow, born Egbert Roscoe Murrow

"Although it is undifferentiated, Brahman is dynamic and creative. From its ultimate 'being' comes the temporary 'becoming' of the manifest world, with its attributes, functions and relationships. The cycles of samsara [individual lifetimes] ... are the lila of Brahman: its play of ceaseless creation and dissolution. In Indian philosophy, absolute reality is the reality of Brahman. The manifest world enjoys but a derived, secondary reality and mistaking it for the real is the illusion of maya... The traditional Eastern conception differs from the view held by most people in the West... [that] reality is material. The things that truly exist are bits or particles of matter... Matter moves about in space, acted on by energy. Energy also enjoys reality (since it acts on matter), but space does not: space is merely the backdrop or the container... and is passive in itself... space is not experienced... it is only the precondition of experience... [this last comment exposes the Western reliance on sensory experience and therefore its entrapment within the illusion of the empirical world or Maya] The view that space is empty and passive, and not even real to boot, is in complete opposition to the view we get from contemporary physics... it is clear that what they describe as the unified vacuum – the seat of all the fields and forces of the physical world – is in fact the primary reality of the universe... What we think of as matter is but the quantised semi-stable bundling of the energies that spring from the vacuum. In the last count matter is but a waveform disturbance in the nearly infinite energy-sea that is the fundamental medium – and hence the primary reality – of this universe, and of all universes that ever existed and will ever exist." - Ervin László

"Though love and hatred are as opposites as fire and water, yet do they sometimes subsist in the breast together towards the same person; nay by their very opposition and desire to destroy each other, are they strengthened and increased." -

"Our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos. Its purpose should be the revival of a working economy in the world so as to permit the emergence of political and social conditions in which free institutions can exist. Such assistance, I am convinced, must not be on a piecemeal basis as various crises develop. Any assistance that this Government may render in the future should provide a cure rather than a mere palliative. Any government that is willing to assist in the task of recovery will find full cooperation, I am sure, on the part of the United States Government. Any government which maneuvers to block the recovery of other countries cannot expect help from us. Furthermore, governments, political parties or groups which seek to perpetuate human misery in order to profit therefrom politically or otherwise will encounter the opposition of the United States." - George Marshall, fully George Catlett Marshall, Jr.

"But what is all this fear of and opposition to Oblivion? What is the matter with the soft Darkness, the Dreamless Sleep? " - James Thurber, fully James Grover Thurber

"The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism." - Karl Marx

"Nothing is more difficult and nothing requires more character than to find oneself in open opposition to one's time (and those one loves) and to say loudly: No!" - Kurt Tucholsky

"A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with, the wind." - Lewis Mumford

"Classes struggle, some classes triumph, others are eliminated. Such is history; such is the history of civilization for thousands of years. To interpret history from this viewpoint is historical materialism; standing in opposition to this viewpoint is historical idealism." - Mao Tse-tung, alternatively Zedong, Ze dong, aka Chairman Mao

"There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the complement of the other. Every serious and reflective person realizes, I think, that the religious element in his nature must be recognized and cultivated if all the powers of the human soul are to act together in perfect balance and harmony. And indeed it was not by accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were deeply religious souls." - Max Planck, fully Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck

"The few who understand the system, will either be so interested from it's profits or so dependent on it's favors, that there will be no opposition from that class." - Mayer Rothschild, fully Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild

"The imaginary is not formed in opposition to reality as its denial or compensation; it grows among signs, from book to book, in the interstice of repetitions and commentaries; it is born and takes shape in the interval between books. It is the phenomena of the library." - Michel Foucault

"The majority of people are ready to throw their aims and purposes overboard, and give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune. A few carry on despite all opposition, until they attain their goal. These few are the Fords, Carnegies, Rockefellers, and Edisons. There may be no heroic connotation to the word persistence, but the quality is to the character of man what carbon is to steel. " - Napoleon Hill

"The ideal of romantic love stands in opposition to much of our history, as we shall see. First of all, it is individualistic. It rejects the view of human beings as interchangeable units, and it attaches the highest importance to individual differences as well as to individual choice. Romantic love is egoistic, in the philosophical, not in the petty, sense. Egoism as a philosophical doctrine holds that self-realization and personal happiness are the moral goals of life, and romantic love is motivated by the desire for personal happiness. Romantic love is secular. In its union of physical with spiritual pleasure in sex and love, as well as in its union of romance and daily life, romantic love is a passionate commitment to this earth and to the exalted happiness that life on earth can offer." - Nathaniel Branden

"Then if the first argument remains secure (for nobody will produce a neater one, than the length of the periodic time is a measure of the size of the spheres), the order of the orbits follows this sequence, beginning from the highest: The first and highest of all is the sphere of the fixed stars, which contains itself and all things, and is therefore motionless. It is the location of the universe, to which the motion and position of all the remaining stars is referred. For though some consider that it also changes in some respect, we shall assign another cause for its appearing to do so in our deduction of the Earth's motion. There follows Saturn, the first of the wandering stars, which completes its circuit in thirty years. After it comes Jupiter which moves in a twelve-year long revolution. Next is Mars, which goes round biennially. An annual revolution holds the fourth place, in which as we have said is contained the Earth along with the lunar sphere which is like an epicycle. In fifth place Venus returns every nine months. Lastly, Mercury holds the sixth place, making a circuit in the space of eighty days. In the middle of all is the seat of the Sun. For who in this most beautiful of temples would put this lamp in any other or better place than the one from which it can illuminate everything at the same time? Aptly indeed is he named by some the lantern of the universe, by others the mind, by others the ruler. Trismegistus called him the visible God, Sophocles' Electra, the watcher over all things. Thus indeed the Sun as if seated on a royal throne governs his household of Stars as they circle around him. Earth also is by no means cheated of the Moon's attendance, but as Aristotle says in his book On Animals the Moon has the closest affinity with the Earth. Meanwhile the Earth conceives from the Sun, and is made pregnant with annual offspring. We find, then, in this arrangement the marvellous symmetry of the universe, and a sure linking together in harmony of the motion and size of the spheres, such as could be perceived in no other way. For here one may understand, by attentive observation, why Jupiter appears to have a larger progression and retrogression than Saturn, and smaller than Mars, and again why Venus has larger ones than Mercury; why such a doubling back appears more frequently in Saturn than in Jupiter, and still more rarely in Mars and Venus than in Mercury; and furthermore why Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are nearer to the Earth when in opposition than in the region of their occultation by the Sun and re-appearance. Indeed Mars in particular at the time when it is visible throughout the night seems to equal Jupiter in size, though marked out by its reddish colour; yet it is scarcely distinguishable among stars of the second magnitude, though recognized by those who track it with careful attention. All these phenomena proceed from the same course, which lies in the motion of the Earth. But the fact that none of these phenomena appears in the fixed stars shows their immense elevation, which makes even the circle of their annual motion, or apparent motion, vanish from our eyes. " - Nicholas Copernicus