Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Power

"The effect of power and publicity on all men is the aggravation of self, a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim’s sympathies." - Henry Adams, aka Henry Brooks Adams

"From the very beginning of a person’s life one learns that the purpose of life is not uninterrupted pleasure. Every infant suffers pains and illnesses. We should not perceive illness and pain as negative. Suffering teaches us humility. We learn that we do not have complete power over ourselves." - Shlomo Wolbe, aka Wilhelm Wolbe

"The price of power is responsibility for the public good." - Winthrop Williams Aldrich

"He who is too much afraid of being duped has lost the power of being magnanimous." -

"Knowledge, love, power - there is the complete life." -

"If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"To live happily is an inward power of the soul." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"No being can be spoken of as evil, in so far as it is being, but only so far as it lacks being. Thus a man is said to be evil because he lacks the being of virtue; and an eye is said to be evil because it lacks the power to see well." -

"The intellectual soul, because it can comprehend universals, has a power extending to the infinite; therefore it cannot be limited by nature either to certain fixed natural judgments, or to certain fixed means whether of defense or of clothing, as is the case with other animals, the souls of which have knowledge and power in regard to fixed particular things. Instead of all these, man has by nature his reason and his hands, which are the organs of organs, since by their means man can make for himself instruments of an infinite variety, and for any number of purposes." -

"The will to power, as the modern age from Hobbes to Nietzsche understood it, far from being a characteristic of the strong, is, like envy and greed, among the vices of the weak, and possibly even their most dangerous one. Power corrupts indeed when the weak band together in order to ruin the strong, but not before." -

"The regeneration of a sinner is an evidence of power in the highest sphere - moral nature; with the highest prerogative - to change nature; and operating to the highest result - not to create originally, which is great; but to create anew, which is greater." - William Arthur

"A cheerful spirit is one of the most valuable gifts ever bestowed upon humanity by a kind Creator. It is the sweetest and the most fragrant flower of the Spirit, that constantly sends out its beauty and fragrance, and blesses everything within its reach. It will sustain the soul in the darkest and most dreary places of this world. It will hold in check the demons of despair, and stifle the power of discouragement and hopelessness. It is the brightest star that ever cast its radiance over the darkened soul, and one that seldom sets in the gloom of morbid fancies and foreboding imaginations." - Arthur Aughey

"The reward of doing one duty is the power to do another." - Simeon ben Azai, sometimes Ben Azai

"Love has to spring spontaneously from within. It is no way amenable to any form of inner or outer force. Love and coercion can never go together; but though Love cannot be forced on anyone, It can be awakened in him through Love itself. Love is essentially self-communicative. Those who do not have It catch It from those who have It. True love is unconquerable and irresistible; and It goes on gathering power and spreading Itself, until eventually It transforms everyone whom It touches." - Meher Baba, born Merwan Sheriar Irani

"Unrequited love is the meaning of life. We’re here to love but not to be loved, to give but not receive. Our mission in this world is to improve humanity and leave a better history than we found. Only selfless love has such power. Only love without interest or expectation of reward can change human beings... To give love without receiving love is the truest love and brings the greatest happiness there is in life." - Adolfo Barcella

"In every community there is a class of people profoundly dangerous to the rest. I don't mean the criminals. For them we have punitive sanctions. I mean the leaders. Invariably the most dangerous people seek the power. While in the parlors of indignation the right-thinking citizen brings his heart to a boil. In here, the human bosom -- mine, yours, everybody's -- there isn't just one soul. There's a lot of souls. But there are two main ones, the real soul and a pretender soul. Now! Every man realizes that he has to love something or somebody. He feels that he must go outward. 'If thou canst not love, what art thou?' Are you with me? " - Saul Bellow

"Dissimulation in youth is the forerunner of perfidy in old age; its first appearance is the fatal omen of growing depravity and future shame. It degrades parts and learning obscures the luster of every accomplishment and sinks us into contempt. The path of falsehood is a perplexing maze. After the first departure from sincerity, it is not in our power to stop; one artifice unavoidably leads on to another, till, as the intricacy of the labyrinth increases, we are left entangled in our snare." - Hugh Blair

"Man cannot live by bread alone. The making of money, the accumulation of material power, is not all there is to living. Life is something more than these, and the man who misses this truth misses the greatest joy and satisfaction that can come into his life - service for others." - Edward William Bok

"Regret for time wasted can become a power for good in the time that remains." - Arthur Brisbane

"None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free." - Pearl S. Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu

"Art is the effort of man to express the ideas which nature suggests to him of a power above nature, whether that power be within the recesses of his own being, or in the Great First Cause of which nature, like himself, is but the effect." -

"It is not necessary for all men to be great in action. The greatest and sublimest power is often simple patience." - Horace Bushnell

"By moral power we mean the power of a life and a character, the power of good and great purposes, the power which comes at length to reside in a man distinguished in some course of estimable or great conduct. No other power of man compares with this, and there is no individual who may not be measurably invested with it." - Horace Bushnell

"To have the power to forgive, is empire and prerogative, and ‘tis in crowns a nobler gem, to grant a pardon than condemn." - Samuel Butler

"Infidelity gives nothing in return for what it takes away. What, then, is it worth? Everything valuable has a compensating power. Not a blade of grass that withers, or the ugliest weed that is flung away to rot and die, but reproduces something." - Thomas Chalmers

"Men are never very wise and select in the exercise of a new power." - William Ellery Channing

"The only freedom worth possessing is that which gives enlargement to a people's energy, intellect and virtues... Progress, the growth of intelligence and power, is the end and boon of liberty; and, without this, a people may have the name, but want the substance and spirit of freedom." - William Ellery Channing

"The world is governed much more by opinion than by laws. It is not the judgment of courts, but the moral judgment of individuals and masses of men, which is the chief wall of defence around property and life. With the progress of society, this power of opinion is taking the place of arms." - William Ellery Channing

"What blessedness it is to dwell amidst this transparent air, which the eye can pierce without limit, amidst these floods of pure, soft, cheering light, under this immeasurable arch of heaven, and in sight of these countless stars! An infinite universe is each moment opened to our view. And this universe is the sing and symbol of Infinite Power, Intelligence, Purity, Bliss, and Love." - William Ellery Channing

"Unlimited power corrupts the possessor; and this I know, that, where law ends, there tyranny begins." - William Pitt, Lord Chatham or Lord William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, aka The Elder Pitt and The Great Commander

"Power can do by gentleness that which violence fails to accomplish; and calmness best enforces the imperial mandate." -

"Thought precedes the will to think, and error lives ere reason can be born. Reason, the power to guess at right and wrong, the twinkling lamp of wand'ring life, that winks and wakes by turns fooling the follower 'twixt shade and shining." - William Congreve

"We do not need more national development, we need more spiritual development. We do not need more intellectual power, we need more spiritual power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character... We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen." - Calvin Coolidge, fully John Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

"Man must now assume the responsibility for his world. He can no longer shove it off on religious power." -

"The essential problem of freedom, it seems to me, is the problem of the relation of choice and unimpeded effective action to each other... There is an intrinsic connection between choice as freedom and power of action as freedom. A choice which intelligently manifests individuality enlarges the range of action, and this enlargement in turn confers upon our desires greater insight and foresight, and makes choice more intelligent." - John Dewey

"Every person in the world has it in him to become far more than he is... Great unused reservoirs of power lie buried deep within us all." - Lewis L. Dunnington

"When the great finals come, each one of us will be asked five questions: First: What did you accomplish in the world with the power that God gave you? Second: How did you help your neighbor and what did you do for those in need? Third: What did you do to serve God? Fourth: What did you leave in the world that was worth while when you came from it? Last: What did you bring into this world which will be of use here?" - J. Stanley Durkee

"The first American mingled with her pride a singular humility. Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching. He never claimed that his power of articulate speech was proof of superiority over “dumb creation”; on the other hand, speech to him is a perilous gift. He believes profoundly in silence - the sign of perfect equilibrium. silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The an who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence - not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree, not a ripple upon the surface of the shining pool - his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life." - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"Anxiety is the rust of life, destroying its brightness and weakening its power. A childlike and abiding trust in Providence is its best preventive and remedy." - Tyron Edwards

"Any power must be an enemy of mankind which enslaves the individual by terror and force whether it arises under the Fascist or the Communist flag. All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual." - Albert Einstein

"It is a welcome symptom in an age which is commonly denounced as materialistic, that it makes heroes of men whose goals lie wholly in the intellectual and moral sphere. This proves that knowledge and justice are ranked above wealth and power by a large section of the human race." - Albert Einstein

"Whatever deprives a man of personal individual motive for self-improvement and robust exertion will not make him free, but on the contrary more servile and in the long run less intelligent, industrious and free, for freedom is a matter of character and will power." - Charles W. Eliot

"The reward of one duty is the power to fulfill another." - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"There is a sort of knowledge beyond the power of learning to bestow, and this is to be had in conversation; so necessary is this to the understanding the characters of men, that none are more ignorant of them than those learned pedants whose lives have been entirely consumed in colleges and among books; for however exquisitely human nature may have been described by writers the true practical system can be learned only in the world." - Henry Fielding

"The one and only formative power given to man is thought. By his thinking he not only makes character, but body and affairs, for "as he thinketh within himself, so is he."" - Lowell Fillmore

"Fear thoughts have a tendency to diminish our ability, but praiseful thoughts lift us up and give us power." - Lowell Fillmore

"Premature success gives one an almost mystical conception of destiny as opposed to will power - at its worst the Napoleonic delusion." -

"There are two fools in this world. One is the millionaire who thinks that by hoarding money he can somehow accumulate real power, and the other is the penniless reformer who thinks that if only he can take the money from one class and give it to another, all the world’s ills will be cured." - Henry Ford

"No horse gets anywhere until he is harnessed. No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"Righteousness, or justice, is, undoubtedly of all the virtues, the surest foundation on which to create and establish a new state. But there are two nobler virtues, industry and frugality, which tend more to increase the wealth, power and grandeur of the community, than all the others without them." - Benjamin Franklin