Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Organic

"What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life." - Albert Einstein

"There is an organic affinity between joyousness and tenderness. Religious rapture, moral enthusiasm, ontological wonder, cosmic emotion, are all unifying states of mind, in which the sand and grit of selfhood incline to disappear, and tenderness to rule." - William James

"Live more closely to the rhythms of nature... To keep our priorities straight, it is helpful to live more deliberately, with enough discipline to evoke and sustain a sensitivity to the inner life. To honor the rhythms and requirements of your life, be sure that the pattern you adopt is organic and flexible, rather than arbitrary and artificial... Live each day mindfully. Spiritual life requires no strongman acts, no glittering achievements or spectacular successes, but it does require passionate fidelity to the hundred little things of mundane life." - Mother Tessa Bielecki

"It is good... to try in imagination to give to any one species an advantage over another. Probably in no single instance should we know what to do. This ought to convince us of our ignorance on the mutual relations of all organic beings; a conviction as necessary as it is difficult to acquire. All that we can do, is to keep steadily in mind that each organic being is striving to increase in a geometrical ration; that each at some period of its life, during some season of the year, during each generation or at intervals, has to struggle for life and to suffer great destruction. When we reflect on this struggle, we may console ourselves with the full belief, that the war of nature is not incessant, that no fear is felt, that death is generally prompt, and that the vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive and multiply." - Charles Darwin, fully Charles Robert Darwin

"There is no exception to the rule that every organic being naturally increases at so high a rate, that, if not destroyed, the earth would soon be covered by the progeny of a single pair. Even slow-breeding man has doubled in twenty-five years, and at this rate, in less than a thousand years, there would literally not be standing-room for his progeny." - Charles Darwin, fully Charles Robert Darwin

"There is no exception to the rule that every organic being naturally increases at so high a rate, that if not destroyed, the earth would soon be covered by the progeny of a single pair." - Charles Darwin, fully Charles Robert Darwin

"Life implies constant activity, and the vital principle was accordingly regarded as something essentially active, constantly controlling and therefore interfering with physical tendencies towards disintegration of organic structure, and building up new organic structure in the process of nutrition and reproduction." -

"Men are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice of religious belief. Obeying from within. Men are free when they belong to a living, organic, believing community, active in fulfilling some unfulfilled… purpose." -

"Beliefs and convictions reach out from the past, and they cannot be altered by fervent desire alone. They possess their own logic and illogic, their own organic existence, their own rhythm of development." - Raisa Orlova, fully Raisa Davydovna Orlova-Kopeleva

"Temporality and uninterruptedness express the relation of existence to time, a passive relation. What distinguishes organic from inorganic existence is the fact that the plant or the animal stands in an active and defensive relation to temporality… Life, we know from biology, is not a passive state of indifference, and inertia. The essence of life is intense care and concern." - Fritz A. Rothschild

"Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his works, walks up the stairs of his concepts emerges ahead of his accomplishments." -

"Man is, indeed, a being apart, since he is not influenced by the great laws which irresistibly modify all other organic beings… Man has not only escaped natural selection himself, but he is actually able to take away some of that power from nature which before his appearance she universally exercised." - Alfred Russell Wallace

"Life is not linear; it's organic. We create our lives symbiotically as we explore our talents in relation to circumstances they help create for us." - Ken Robinson, fully Sir Kenneth Robinson

"The organs are correlated by the organic fluids and the nervous system. Each element of the body adjusts itself to the others, and the others to it. This mode of adaptation is essentially teleological. If we attribute to tissues an intelligence of the same kind as ours, as mechanists and vitalists do, the physiological processes appear to associate together in view of the end to be attained. The existence of finality within the organism is undeniable. Each part seems to know the present and future needs of the whole, and acts accordingly. The significance of time and space is not the same for our tissues as for our mind. The body perceives the remote as well as the near, and the future as well as the present." - Alexis Carrel

"In man, the things which are not measurable are more important than those which are measurable. The existence of thought is as fundamental as for instance, the physiochemical equilibria of blood serum. The sepration of eh qualitative from the quantitative grew still wider when Descartes created the dualism of the body and soul. Then, the manifestations of the mind became inexplicable. The material was definitely isolated from the spiritual. Organic structures and physiological mechanisms assumed a far greater reality than thought, pleasure, sorrow and beauty. This error switched civilization to the road which led science to triumph and man to degradation." - Alexis Carrel

"Miraculous cures seldom occur. Despite their small number, they prove the existence of organic and mental processes that we do not know. They show that certain mystic states, such as that of prayer, have definite effects." - Alexis Carrel

"All the art of analysis consists in saying a truth only when the other person is ready for it, has been prepared for it by an organic process of gradation and evolution." - Anaïs Nin, born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell

"Every historic culture-pattern is an organic whole in which all the parts are interdependent." - Arnold J. Toynbee, fully Arnold Joseph Toynbee

"Life is a process, a seamless garment, and there is a universal nexus connecting all phenomena so that every part pulsates sensitively to every other part. The truth is inexpressibly deeper than a harmony-between-parts relationship, but this can only be experienced mystically. Pragmatically, on the plane of our sensory experiencing, love is the witness of the unseen yet ever potent law of unity. The root of all sins is to be blind to this fundamental fact regarding the inner nature of the universe. If love rules us, no sins can be committed. En passant we may say that the doctrine of karma is a phenomenal expression of the organic unity of the universe. The individual cannot gain at the cost of the whole. Pain and suffering check us when harmony is disturbed. Love restores harmony and registers through us a deep compassion which dissolves our separative carapaces and releases our energies for impersonal service." - Arthur W Osborn

"Life is a process, a seamless garment, and there is a universal nexus connecting all phenomena so that every part pulsates sensitively to every other part. The truth is inexpressibly deeper than a harmony-between-parts relationship, but this can only be experienced mystically. Pragmatically, on the plane of our sensory experiencing, love is the witness of the unseen yet ever potent law of unity. The root of all sins is to be blind to this fundamental fact regarding the inner nature of the universe. IF love rules us, no sins can be committed. En passant we may say that the doctrine of karma is a phenomenal expression of the organic unity of the universe. The individual cannot gain at the cost of the whole. Pain and suffering check us when harmony is disturbed. Love restores harmony and registers through us a deep compassion which dissolves our separative carapaces and releases our energies for impersonal service." - Arthur W Osborn

"A living organism is nothing but a wonderful machine endowed with the most marvelous properties and set going by means of the most complex and delicate mechanism. There are no forces opposed and struggling one with another; in nature there can be only order and disorder, harmony or discord... Sickness and death are merely a dissolution or disturbance of the mechanism which regulates the contact of vital stimulants with organic units." - Claude Bernard

"The soul of man is not a thing which comes and goes, is builded and decays like the elemental frame in which it is set to dwell, but a very living force, a very energy of God’s organic will, which rules and moulds this universe." - James Froude, fully James Anthony Froude

"Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments." - John Steinbeck, fully John Ernst Steinbeck

"Men are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice of religious belief. Obeying from within. Men are free when they belong to a living, organic, believing community, active in fulfilling some unfulfilled… purpose. " - D. H. Lawrence, fully David Herbert "D.H." Lawrence

"The only real secularism in a bad sense is isolation from the full stream of natural interests. When business tries to go its own way in defiance of the common good, it tends to become secular. But the same is also true of religion. When the church withdraws into its sanctuary and denies its organic relation to scientific knowledge or to the institutions of society around it, there results a deadly secularization of religion. Too often this has happened, and far too widely it is happening today. It happens not only with those sects which cultivate an intense emotionalism, like the Holy Rollers, or the sects that stress other-worldliness, but to many old and settled churches whose theologians speak in dialectical tongues and declare that the God in whom they believe is beyond the reach of man’s best efforts." -

"By necrophilia is meant love for all that is violence and destruction; the desire to kill; the worship of force; attraction to death, to suicide, to sadism; the desire to transform the organic into the inorganic by means of "order." The necrophile, lacking the necessary qualities to create, in his impotence finds it easy to destroy because for him it serves only one quality: force." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"The human brain is the highest bloom of the whole organic metamorphosis of the earth." - Friedrich Schelling, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von

"The virgin fertility of our soils and the vast amount of unskilled labor have been more of a curse than a blessing to agriculture. This exhaustive system for cultivation, the destruction of forest, the rapid and almost constant decomposition of organic matter, have made our agricultural problem one requiring more brains than of the North, East or West." - George Washington Carver

"Time disappears into outer action or inner impulses. Into doings, cravings, or dreamings. But human time is conscious time. And this has been lost, destroyed. In its place there is now animal time (doing, moving about, preying on others, eating, building, killing, etc. ); plant time (dreaming, languishing, imagining); or “mineral” — that is, mechanical — time: the time of devices such as clocks and computers. What we call logical thinking is often just an internal version of these lifeless machines. Implicitly, we even take pride in the mechanicity of our thinking when, forgetting the metaphorical origin of the usage, we refer to a computer’s “intelligence.” This is mental time, “mineral” in its rigidity and sterility. We lay this logical cement over organic life out there and in ourselves. Carried to its extreme, this becomes the mindset that measures the whole of human life solely by the “bottom line." - Jacob Needleman

"Integrity is wholeness, the greatest beauty is organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man apart from that, or else you will share man's pitiful confusions, or drown in despair when his days darken." - Robinson Jeffers, fully John Robinson Jeffers

"I believe that the Universe is one being, all its parts are different expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with each other, therefore parts of one organic whole. (This is physics, I believe, as well as religion.) The parts change and pass, or die, people and races and rocks and stars, none of them seems to me important in itself, but only the whole. This whole is in all its parts so beautiful, and is felt by me to be so intensely in earnest, that I am compelled to love it and to think of it as divine. It seems to me that this whole alone is worthy of the deeper sort of love and there is peace, freedom, I might say a kind of salvation, in turning one's affections outward toward this one God, rather than inwards on one's self, or on humanity, or on human imaginations and abstractions — the world of spirits." - Robinson Jeffers, fully John Robinson Jeffers

"Know that however ugly the parts appear the whole remains beautiful. A severed hand is an ugly thing and man dissevered from the earth and stars and his history... for contemplation or in fact... Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness, the greatest beauty is organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, not man apart from that, or else you will share man's pitiful confusions,or drown in despair when his days darken." - Robinson Jeffers, fully John Robinson Jeffers

"Like any organic entity, a system of consciousness manifests itself through the orderly, differentiated development of a certain unifying reality." - Kitarō Nishida

"We see that every external motion, act, gesture, whether voluntary or mechanical, organic or mental, is produced and preceded by internal feeling or emotion, will or volition, and thought or mind." - Helena Blavatsky, aka Helena Petrovna "H.P." Blavatsky or Madame Blavatsky, born Helena von Hahn

"(there is) no other means of escaping from one's consciousness than to deny it, to look upon it as an organic disease of the terrestrial intelligence - a disease which we must endeavor to cure by an action which must appear to us an action of violent and willful madness, but which, on the other side of our appearances, is probably an action of health. ("Of Immortality")" -

"Darwin broke with a fundamental dogma of Christianity–that God created man in his own image. At the same time he struck at metaphysical concepts of evolution, as they had prevailed from Aristotle to Hegel. He conceived of evolution as a blind sequence of events, in which survival depends upon adaptation to the conditions of life, rather than as the unfolding of organic entities in accordance with their entelechies. Thus his name has come to represent the idea of man’s domination of nature in terms of common sense. One may even go so far as to say that the concept of the survival of the fittest is merely the translation of the concepts of formalized reason into the vernacular of natural history. In popular Darwinism, reason is purely an organ; spirit or mind, a thing of nature. According to a current interpretation of Darwin, the struggle for life must necessarily, step by step, through natural selection, produce the reasonable out of the unreasonable. In other words, reason, while serving the function of dominating nature, is whittled down to being a part of nature; it is not an independent faculty but something organic, like tentacles or hands, developed through adaptation to natural conditions and surviving because it proves to be an adequate means of mastering them, especially in relation to acquiring food and averting danger. As a part of nature, reason is at the same time set against nature–the competitor and enemy of all life that is not its own." - Max Horkheimer

"The idea inherent in all idealistic metaphysics–that the world is in some sense a product of the mind–is thus turned into its opposite: the mind is a product of the world, of the processes of nature. Hence, according to popular Darwinism, nature does not need philosophy to speak for her: nature, a powerful and venerable deity, is ruler rather than ruled. Darwinism ultimately comes to the aid of rebellious nature in undermining any doctrine, theological or philosophical, that regards nature itself as expressing a truth that reason must try to recognize. The equating of reason with nature, by which reason is debased and raw nature exalted, is a typical fallacy of the era of rationalization. Instrumentalized subjective reason either eulogizes nature as pure vitality or disparages it as brute force, instead of treating it as a text to be interpreted by philosophy that, if rightly read, will unfold a tale of infinite suffering. Without committing the fallacy of equating nature and reason, mankind must try to reconcile the two. In traditional theology and metaphysics, the natural was largely conceived as the evil, and the spiritual or supernatural as the good. In popular Darwinism, the good is the well-adapted, and the value of that to which the organism adapts itself is unquestioned or is measured only in terms of further adaptation. However, being well adapted to one’s surroundings is tantamount to being capable of coping successfully with them, of mastering the forces that beset one. Thus the theoretical denial of the spirit’s antagonism to nature–even as implied in the doctrine of interrelation between the various forms of organic life, including man–frequently amounts in practice to subscribing to the principle of man’s continuous and thoroughgoing domination of nature. Regarding reason as a natural organ does not divest it of the trend to domination or invest it with greater potentialities for reconciliation. On the contrary, the abdication of the spirit in popular Darwinism entails the rejection of any elements of the mind that transcend the function of adaptation and consequently are not instruments of self-preservation. Reason disavows its own primacy and professes to be a mere servant of natural selection. On the surface, this new empirical reason seems more humble toward nature than the reason of the metaphysical tradition. Actually, however, it is arrogant, practical mind riding roughshod over the ‘useless spiritual,’ and dismissing any view of nature in which the latter is taken to be more than a stimulus to human activity. The effects of this view are not confined to modern philosophy." - Max Horkheimer

"Language has become a mere mechanical vehicle transporting the outward signs of language. Language has ceased to be organic and plastic, ceased to establish things firmly. Words have become merely signs that something is being fetched out of the jumble of noise and thrown at the listener. The word is not specifically a word. It can now be replaced by signs—colour signs or sound signs; it has become an apparatus, and like every mere apparatus it is always facing the possibility of destruction. And therefore the man who does not live directly from the word, but allows himself to be dragged along by the apparatus of noise, also faces destruction at any moment." - Max Picard

"There is no process of evolution in which duration introduces new events of itself and at its own insistence; time is integrated as a nosological constant, not as an organic variable. The time of the body does not affect, and still less determines, the time of the disease." - Michel Foucault

"An immense field for inquiry is opened once the organic ties of social orientation are followed up into muscle, nerve and skeleton. Not only individual development or abnormality can be followed through the soma but ever wider cultural and racial attitude development." - Moshé Feldenkreis, fully Moshé Pinchas Feldenkrais

"Ironically, many ordinary people and their families cannot afford to live “simply.” It is a demanding enterprise when one considers the costliness of “simple” hand-crafted artifacts and the exorbitant price of organic and “recycled” goods. Moreover, what the “production end” of the environmental crisis cannot sell to the “consumption end,” it will certainly sell to the military. General Electric enjoys considerable eminence not only for its refrigerators but also for its Gatling guns. This shadowy side of the environmental problem — military production — can only be ignored by attaining an ecological airheadedness so vacuous as to defy description." - Murray Bookchin

"We are concerned about the earth as a living being, including the soil, water, air and all the planet's living systems. It is important to choose foods which are produced, transported and packaged in a way that is sustainable and not harmful to the earth. For us this means buying organic foods even when they cost more, and we also try to choose foods grown locally - or grow our own! This minimizes transportation and connects us to the earth's natural cycles." - Rabbi Nahum Ward and Shelley Mann

"We may regard the cell quite apart from its familiar morphological aspects, and contemplate its constitution from the purely chemical standpoint. We are obliged to adopt the view that the protoplasm is equipped with certain atomic groups, whose function especially consists in fixing to themselves food-stuffs, of importance to the cell-life. Adopting the nomenclature of organic chemistry, these groups may be designated side-chains. We may assume that the protoplasm consists of a special executive center (Leistungs-centrum) in connection with which are nutritive side-chains." - Paul Ehrlich, fully Paul Ralph Ehrlich

"Anarchism, the name given to a principle or theory of life and conduct under which society is conceived without government — harmony in such a society being obtained, not by submission to law, or by obedience to any authority, but by free agreements concluded between the various groups, territorial and professional, freely constituted for the sake of production and consumption, as also for the satisfaction of the infinite variety of needs and aspirations of a civilized being. In a society developed on these lines, the voluntary associations which already now begin to cover all the fields of human activity would take a still greater extension so as to substitute themselves for the state in all its functions. They would represent an interwoven network, composed of an infinite variety of groups and federations of all sizes and degrees, local, regional, national and international temporary or more or less permanent — for all possible purposes: production, consumption and exchange, communications, sanitary arrangements, education, mutual protection, defense of the territory, and so on; and, on the other side, for the satisfaction of an ever-increasing number of scientific, artistic, literary and sociable needs. Moreover, such a society would represent nothing immutable. On the contrary — as is seen in organic life at large — harmony would (it is contended) result from an ever-changing adjustment and readjustment of equilibrium between the multitudes of forces and influences, and this adjustment would be the easier to obtain as none of the forces would enjoy a special protection from the state." - Peter Kropotkin, fully Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin

"They are the ideational, sensate, and idealistic systems of truth and knowledge. Ideational truth is the truth revealed by the grace of God, through His mouthpieces (the prophets, mystics, and founders of religion), disclosed in a supersensory way through mystic experience, direct revelation, divine intuition, and inspiration. Such a truth may be called the truth of faith. It is regarded as infallible, yielding adequate knowledge about the true-reality values. Sensate truth is the truth of the senses, obtained through our organs of sense perception. If the testimony of our senses shows that `snow is white and cold,' the proposition is true; if our senses testify that snow is not white and not cold, the proposition becomes false... Idealistic truth is a synthesis of both, made by our reason. In regard to sensory phenomena, it recognizes the role of the sense organs as the source and criterion of the validity or invalidity of a proposition. In regard to supersensory phenomena, it claims that any knowledge of these is impossible through sensory experience and is obtained only through the direct revelation of God. Finally, our reason, through logic and dialectic, can derive many valid propositions.... Human reason also `processes' the sensations and perceptions of our sense organs and transforms these into valid experience and knowledge. Human reason likewise combines into one organic whole the truth of the senses, the truth of faith, and the truth of reason. These are the essentials of the idealistic system of truth and knowledge... This preliminary outline of the three systems of truth shows that each is derived from the major premise of one of our three supersystems of culture. Each dominates its respective culture and society. If we have a preponderantly ideational culture, its dominant truth is always a variety of the revealed truth of faith; in a sensate system of culture the truth of the senses will prevail; in a idealistic culture the idealistic truth of reason will govern men's minds. With a change of dominant cultural supersystem, the dominant truth undergoes a corresponding change. [Response to Pilate's question "What is truth?" with the description of three general truth-systems which "correspond to our three main supersystems of culture"]" - Pitirim A. Sorokin, fully Pitirim Alexandrovich (Alexander) Sorokin

"Psychosynthesis brings the matter to a point of extreme simplicity, seeing the self as the most elementary and distinctive part of our beings - in other words, its core. This core is of an entirely different nature from all the elements (physical sensations, feelings, thoughts and so on) that make up our personality. As a consequence, it can act as a unifying center, directing those element and bring them into the unity of an organic wholeness." - Piero Ferrucci

"Above all I feel that you must resign yourself to taking me as I am, that is, with the congenital quality (or weakness) which ever since my childhood has caused my spiritual life to be completely dominated by a sort of profound 'feeling' for the organic realness of the World. At first it was an ill-defined feeling in my mind and heart, but as the years have gone by it has gradually become a precise, compelling sense of the Universe's general convergence upon itself; a convergence which coincides with, and culminates at its zenith in, him in quo omina constant, and whom the Society has taught me to love." - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"In the spiritual life, as in all organic processes, everyone has their optimum and it is just as harmful to go beyond it as not to attain it." - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"It is obvious that, as in the case of ownership, so in the case of work, especially work hired out to others, there is a social aspect also to be considered in addition to the personal or individual aspect. For man's productive effort cannot yield its fruits unless a truly social and organic body exists, unless a social and juridical order watches over the exercise of work, unless the various occupations, being interdependent, cooperate with and mutually complete one another, and, what is still more important, unless mind, material things, and work combine and form as it were a single whole. Therefore, where the social and individual nature of work is neglected, it will be impossible to evaluate work justly and pay it according to justice." - Pope Pius XI, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti NULL

"Nevertheless, in the face of the undeniable mutability of even inanimate nature, there still rises the enigma of the unexplored microcosm. It seemed, in fact, that, unlike the organic world, inorganic matter was in a certain sense immutable. Its tiniest parts, the chemical atoms, were indeed capable of combining in most diversified manners, but they appeared to be endowed with a privilege of eternal stability and indestructibility, since they emerged unchanged from every chemical synthesis and analysis. A hundred years ago, the elementary particles were still regarded as simple, indivisible, and indestructible. The same idea prevailed regarding the material energy and forces of the cosmos, especially on the basis of the fundamental laws of the conservation of mass and energy. Some natural scientists went so far as to consider themselves authorized to formulate in the name of their science a fantastic monastic philosophy, whose sorry memory is linked up, among others, with the name of Ernst Haeckel. But in the very lifetime of the latter, toward the end of the last century, even this over-simplified conception of the chemical atom was shattered by modern science. The growing knowledge of the periodic system of chemical elements, the discovery of the corpuscular radiations of radio active elements, along with many other similar facts, have demonstrated that the microcosm of the chemical atom, with dimensions as small as ten-millionths of a millimeter, is a theater of continuous mutations, no less than the macrocosm known to all. It was in the sphere of electronics that the character of mutability was first established. From the electronic structure of the atom there emanate radiations of light and heat which are absorbed by outside bodies, corresponding to the energy level of the electronic orbits. In the exterior parts of this sphere there takes place the ionization of the atom and the transformation of energy in the synthesis and analysis of chemical combinations. At that time, however, it was possible to suppose that these chemico-physical transformations provided one last refuge for stability, since they did not reach the very nucleus of the atom, which is the seat of its mass and of the positive electric charge which determine the place of the chemical atom in the natural system of the elements, and where it seemed science had found, so to speak, an example of an absolutely stable and invariable being." - Pope Pius XII, born Eugenio Marìa Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli NULL