Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Possessions

"One of the great arts in living is to learn the art of accurately appraising values. Everything that we think, that we earn, that we have given to us, that in any way touches our consciousness, has its own value. These values are apt to change with the mood, with time, or because of circumstances. We cannot safely tie to any material value. The values of all material possessions change continually, sometimes over night. The real values are those that stay by you, give you happiness and enrich you. They are the human values." - George Matthew Adams

"Enjoy your possessions as mortal; see to them as though immortal." - Austonius, fully Decimus Magnus Ausonius

"The wise man carries his possessions within him." - Bias NULL

"My riches consist not in the extent of my possessions, but in the fewness of my wants." - Joseph Brotherton

"He who sees his heir in his own child, carries his eye over hopes and possessions lying far beyond his gravestone, viewing his life, even here, as a period but closed with a comma. He who sees his heir in another man’s child sees the full stop at the end of the sentence." -

"Our most valuable possessions are those which can be shared without lessening - those which, when shared, multiply. Our least valuable possessions, on the other hand, are those which, when divided, are diminished." - William H. Danforth

"Some people gauge their value by what they own. But in reality the entire concept of ownership of possessions is based on an illusion. When you obtain a material object, it does not become part of you. Ownership is merely your right to use specific objects whenever you wish and that no one has a right to take them away from you. How unfortunate is the person who has an ambition to cleave to something impossible to cleave to. Such a person will not obtain what he desires and will experience suffering." - Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler

"A clean and sensitive conscience, a steadfast and scrupulous integrity in small things as well as great, is the most valuable of all possessions, to a nation as to an individual." - Henry Van Dyke, fully Henry Jackson Van Dyke

"It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving. If a child is inclined to be grasping, or to cling to any of his or her little possessions, legends are related about the contempt and disgrace falling upon the ungenerous and mean person... The Indians in their simplicity literally give away all that they have - to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return." - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"When your property or possessions sustain some damage or loss, work on yourself to accept the Almighty’s judgment with love. Realize you were born without any belongings and you will eventually leave the world without belongings. You need not identify with your possessions since they are not an integral part of you." - Eliyahu de Vidas,

"In general, one cannot judge the true extent of a person’s fortune by outward appearances. The little a righteous man has may be far better than the noisy abundance in which many lawless delight. The modest possessions of a righteous man make him much happier than the great fortunes of many evildoers about which so much ado is made in the world." - Samson Raphael Hirsch

"Suffering is a great teacher. Suffering teaches you the limitations of your power; it reminds you of the frailty of your health, the instability of your possessions, and the inadequacy of your means which have only been lent to you and must be returned as soon as the Owner desires it. Suffering visits you and teaches you the nothingness of your false greatness. It teaches you modesty." - Samson Raphael Hirsch

"Cultivate fine taste and discrimination in your choice of things. Get a right idea of values. Material possessions that you do not need and cannot use may be only an encumbrance. Let your guiding rule be not how much but how good. A thing you do not want is dear at any price. Avoid surplusage. Choose things that express your own individuality. You must possess your things or they will possess you. Look for quality rather than quantity. Unnecessary possessions bring unnecessary care and responsibility. Excess is waste. Have an occasional stocktaking and eliminate unsparingly." -

"The most precious of all possessions, is power over ourselves; power to withstand trial, to bear suffering, to front danger; power over pleasure and pain; power to follow convictions, however resisted by menace and scorn; the power of calm reliance in scenes of darkness an storms. He that has not a mastery over his inclinations; he that knows not how to resist the importunity of present pleasure or pain, for the sake of what reason tells him is fit to be done, wants the true principle of virtue and industry, and is in danger of never being good for anything." - John Locke

"Transiency is stamped on all our possessions, occupations, and delights. We have the hunger for eternity in our souls, the thought of eternity in our hearts, the destination for eternity written on our inmost being, and the need to ally ourselves with eternity proclaimed by the most short-lived trifles of time. Either these things will be the blessing or the curse of our lives. Which do you mean that they shall be for you?" - Alexander Maclaren

"There is not a vice which more effectually contracts and deadens the feelings, which more completely makes a man’s affections center in himself, and excludes all others from partaking in them, than the desire of accumulating possessions. When the desire has once gotten hold of the heart, it shuts out all other considerations, but such as may promote its views. In its zeal for the attainment of its end, it is not delicate in the choice of means. As it closes the heart, so also it clouds the understanding. It cannot discern between right and wrong; it takes evil for good, and good for evil; it calls darkness light, and light darkness. Beware, then, of the beginning of covetousness, for you know not where it will end." - Richard Mant

"Until man places on tolerance and open-mindedness a value equal to the value that he places on material possessions, he will continue to be stranded on an island surrounded by his own prejudices, ideas, preconceived opinions, and knowledge that is limited by the horizon of his own ignorance." - Cecil F. Poole

"One of the best of all earthly possessions is self-possession." - George Dennison Prentice

"It is the edge and temper of the blade that make a good sword, not the richness of the scabbard, and so it is not money or possessions that make men considerable, but virtue." -

"Whatever we treasure for ourselves separates us from others; our possessions are our limitations." -

"Have I met the hour patiently, without fear, at the portal? Now is my name called, of the lip of my love has spoken: Do I mistake you, O divine Signaler? is it after all some other soul that is hailed. My self is my answer: there’s that in my heart responds, meeting the call with equal voice, establishing forever the unspeakable bond! Bond that does not bind - bond that frees - bond that discovers and bestows. Look! I am flushed with inexhaustible possessions! The old measures vanish, I am expanded to infinite sweep... Before birth, seeing birth, after life seeing life!... This minute grown infinite, the far worlds spread before me, the endless drift of soul..." - Horace Traubel

"To say that people have a moral sense is not the same thing as saying that they are innately good. A moral sense must compete with other senses that are natural to humans - the desire to survive, acquire possessions, indulge in sex, or accumulate power - in short, with self-interest narrowly defined. How that struggle is resolved will differ depending on our character, our circumstances, and the cultural and political tendencies of the day. But saying that a moral sense exists is the same thing as saying that humans, by their nature, are potentially good." - James Q. Wilson

"When we come to die, we shall be alone. From our worldly possessions we shall be about to part. Worldly friends - the friends drawn to us by our position, our wealth, or our social qualities, will leave us as we enter the dark valley. From those bound to us by stronger ties - our kindred, our loved ones, children, brothers, sister, and from those not less dear to us who have been made our friends because they and we are the friends of the same Savior - from them also we must part. Yet not all will leave us. There is One who “sticketh closer than a brother” - One who having loved His own which are in the world loves them to the end." - Albert Barnes

"You wake up in the morning, and your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. No one can take it from you. And no one receives either more or less than you receive." - Arnold Bennett, fully Enoch Thomas Arnold Bennett

"Health is the greatest of all possessions; a pale cobbler is better than a sick king." -

"He who sees his heir in his own child, carries his eye over hopes and possessions lying far beyond his gravestone, viewing his life, even here, as a period but closed with a comma. He who sees his heir in another man’s child sees the full stop at the end of the sentence." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"If these distracted times prove anything, they prove that the greatest illusion is reliance upon the security and permanence of material possessions. We must search for some other coin. And we will discover that the treasure-house of education has stood intact and unshaken in the storm. The man of cultivated life has founded his house upon a rock. You can never take away the magnificent mansion of his mind." - John Cudahy, fully John Clarence Cudahy

"Make wisdom your provision for the journey from youth to old age, for it is a more certain support than all other possessions." - Diogenes Laërtius, aka "Diogenes the Cynic"

"Possessions, outward success, publicity, luxury - to me these have always been contemptible. I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best for both the body and the mind." - Albert Einstein

"Socrates taught that true felicity is not to be derived from external possessions, but from wisdom, which consists in the knowledge and practice of virtue; that the cultivation of virtuous manners is necessarily attended with pleasure as well as profit; that the honest man alone is happy; and that it is absurd to attempt to separate things which are in nature so closely united as virtue and interest." - William Enfield, aka "The Enquirer"

"Humanity may endure the loss of everything; all its possessions may be turned away without infringing its true dignity - all but the possibility of improvement." -

"Our wants serve us almost as well as our possessions." - Jean Guéhenno, given name Marcel-Jules-Marie Guéhenno

"When shall we learn that he who multiplieth possessions, multiplieth troubles, and that the one single use of things which we call our own, is that they may be his who hath need of them?" - Thomas Hughes

"I, a wanderer through life on the way to eternity, believe in traveling light. Why should I be burdened with possessions which I cannot take with me hence?" - Kagan NULL

"A wise man will select his books, for he would not wish to class them all under the sacred name of friends. Some can be accepted only as acquaintances. The best books of all kinds are taken to the heart, and cherished as his most precious possessions. Others to be chatted with for a time, to spend a few pleasant hours with and laid aside, but not forgotten." - James Alfred Langford

"Our material possessions, like our joys, are enhanced in value by being shared. Hoarded and unimproved property can only afford satisfaction to a miser." - George Dennison Prentice

"Wealth consists in talent, not in possessions; greatness, in understanding, not in age." - Sa'di (or Saadi), pen name of Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, born Muslih-uddin NULL

"I have lost nothing; all my possessions are with me." -

"Like a child falling asleep over his toys, man loosens his grasp on earthly possessions only when death overtakes him." - Union Prayer Book NULL

"Jesus talked a great deal about money. Sixteen of the thirty-eight parables were concerned with how to handle money and possessions. In the gospels, an amazing one out of ten verses (288 in all) deal directly with the subject of money. The Bible offers 500 verses on prayer, less than 500 verses on faith, but more than 2,000 on money and possessions." - Howard Dayton, Jr.

"All my possessions for a moment of time." - Elizabeth I NULL

"The day the world turns our way, we are great philosophers and can close our eyes to possessions; but the day the world turns against us, we are bawling children, grasping for toys." - Mohammad Ḥejāzi, Moḥammad Moṭiʿ-Al-Dawla

"Worldliness is not, in the last analysis, love of possessions, or the habit of courting great personages. It is simply the weakness of fibre which makes us take our standards from the society round us." - Ronald Knox, fully Ronald Arbuthnott Knox

"The trite objects of human efforts--possessions, outward success, luxury--have always seemed to me contemptible." - Albert Einstein

"Find meaning not in possessions or positions, but in personal commitments to ideals bigger than our own needs. And the ideals that seem to consistently provide this kind of meaning are ideals of service-of acting for the common good and overcoming whatever risks and obstacles may lie in the way." - John Graham

"Possessions are of no value unless they are used." - Aesop NULL

"Possessions are of no value unless they are used." -

"Possessions are of no value unless they are used." -

"The ideal man is the non-attached man. Non-attached to his bodily sensations and lusts. Non-attached to his cravings for power and possessions. Non-attached even to science and speculation and philanthropy." -