Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"There is no surer mark of the absence of the highest moral and intellectual qualities than a cold reception of excellence." - Gamaliel Bailey

"A successful life is not an easy life. It is built upon strong qualities, sacrifice, endeavor, loyalty, integrity." - Grant D. Brandon

"Politeness does not always evince goodness, equity, complaisance, or gratitude, but it gives at least the appearance of these qualities, and makes man appear outwardly as he should be within." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities... because it is the quality which guarantees all others." -

"Hearts may be attracted by assumed qualities, but the affections are not to be fixed but by those which are real." - DeMoy NULL

"The greatest results in life are usually attained by simple means and the exercise of ordinary qualities. These for the most part be summed in these two - common sense and perseverance." - Owen Feltham

"Beauty may be the object of liking - great qualities of admiration - good ones of esteem - but love only is the object of love." - Henry Fielding

"On its highest level man's contemporary desire to escape responsibility expresses itself not in emphasis on luck, or in emotional submission to fate, but in a thoroughgoing deterministic theory, ascribing all personal qualities to heredity and environment." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"Every time we hold our tongues instead of returning the sharp retort, show patience with another's faults, show a little more love and kindness, we are helping to stock-pile more of these peace-bringing qualities in the world instead of armaments for war." - Constance Foster

"What are the qualities of Life? It can be shared forever, but cannot be kept forever. When given to another, it brings great joy to all; when taken, the anguish for many is great. It is sometimes maintained by less than the thread of a string and sometimes lost despite the hopes of millions. Its frailty and end are obvious, but its strength and limits endless. So share your life with me while we are together so we can create that which will bring joy to others. When this life is over, let the meaning of our lives be found not on a list of accomplishments, but in the hearts and souls of the people with whom we shared our fragile existence. Let our lives not be measured by what we did for others, but by what we helped people do for themselves." - Mike Gass, fully Michael A. Gass

"Shame and guilt are noble emotions essential in the maintenance of civilized society, and vital for the development of some of the most refined and elegant qualities of human potential - generosity, service, self-sacrificed, unselfishness and duty." - Willard Gaylen

"We love a girl for very different qualities than understanding. We love her for her beauty, her youth, her mirth, her confidingness, her character, with its faults, caprices and God knows what other inexpressible charms; but we do not love her understanding." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Though the noblest disposition you inherit, And your character with piety is pack'd, All such qualities have very little merit unaccompanied by Tact." - Harry Graham, Fully Jocelyn Henry Clive 'Harry' Graham

"Many a man’s vices have at first nothing worse than good qualities run wild." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"While we are indifferent to our good qualities, we keep on deceiving ourselves in regard to our faults, until we at last come to look upon them as virtues." - Heinrich Heine

"A person not aware of his faults and failings will not work on self-improvement. But if he overexaggerates the extent of his negative qualities and behavior, he will become discouraged and his discouragement will prevent him from improving." - Yehoshua Heller

"To this war of every man, against every man, this is also consequent that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law: where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues. Justice, and injustice, are none of the faculties neither of the body, nor mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his sense, and passions. They are qualities, that relate to men in society, not in solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition, that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine and thing distinct; but only that to be every man’s, that he can get; and for so long, as he can keep it." - Thomas Hobbes

"Vice and virtue, therefore, may be compar’d to sounds, colours, heat and cold, which, according to modern philosophy, are not qualities in objects, but perceptions in the mind: and this discovery in morals, like that other in physics, is to be regarded as a considerable advancement of the speculative sciences; tho’, like that too it has little or no influence on practice." - David Hume

"Almost every man wastes part of his life in attempts to display qualities which he does not possess, and gain applause which he cannot keep." -

"Every man is prompted by the love of himself to imagine that he possesses some qualities superior, either in kind or degree, to those which he sees allotted to the rest of the world." -

"Many individuals have, like uncut diamonds, shining qualities beneath a rough exterior." - Juvenal, fully Decimus Junius Juvenalis NULL

"When the accumulation of wealth is no longer of high social importance, there will be great changes in the code of morals. We shall be able to rid ourselves of many of the pseudo-moral principles which have hag-ridden us for two hundred years, by which we have exalted some of the most distasteful of human qualities into the position of highest virtues." -

"Both the saint and the scientist must possess the same qualities in order to attain their ideals. But these qualities are selfless devotion, a meticulous love of truth, infinite patience, thoroughness, and a depth of mind which does not resent criticism. Without these qualities neither of the two can reach his goal. It is my firm belief that the goal which both science and religion reach by different routes is one and the same." - B. C. Kher

"Maturity is achieved when a person accepts life as full of tension; when he does not torment himself with childish guilt feelings, but avoids tragic adult sins; when he postpones immediate pleasures for the sake of long-term values... Our generation must be inspired to search for that maturity which will manifest itself in the qualities of tenacity, dependability, co-operativeness and the inner drive to work and sacrifice for a nobler future of mankind." - Joshua L. Liebman, fully Joshua Loth Liebman

"Be yourself. Cultivate desirable qualities. Be alert. Look for opportunities to express yourself. Be positive. Determine your goal and the route to it. Be systematic. Take one step at a time. Be persistent. Hold to your course. Be a worker. Work your brain more than your body. Be a student. Know your job. Be fair. Treat the other man as you would be treated. Be temperate. Avoid excess in anything. Be confident. Have faith that cannot be weakened." - Frederick Loomis, fully Sir Frederick Oscar Warren Loomis

"The educated man is a man with certain subtle spiritual qualities which make him calm in adversity, happy when alone, just in his dealings, rational and sane in the fullest meaning of that word in all affairs of life." - James Ramsay MacDonald

"Thus it is well to seem merciful, faithful, humane, sincere, religious, and also to be so; but you must have the mind so disposed that when it is needful to be otherwise you may be able to change to the opposite qualities. And it must be understood that a prince, and especially a new prince, cannot observe all those things which are considered good in men, being often obliged, in order to maintain the state, to act against faith, against charity, against humanity, and against religion." -

"We don't love qualities, we love persons, sometimes for their defects as well as for their qualities." - Jacques Maritain

"What keeps persons down in the world, besides lack of capacity, is not a philosophical contempt of riches or honors, but thoughtlessness and improvidence, a love of sluggish torpor, and of present gratification. It is not from preferring virtue to wealth - the goods of the mind to those of fortune - that they take no thought for the morrow; but from want of forethought and stern self-command. The restless, ambitious man too often directs these qualities to an unworthy object; the contented man is generally deficient in the qualities themselves. The one is a stream that flows too often in a wrong channel, and needs to have its course altered, the other is a stagnant pool." -

"Obstinacy and contention are common qualities, most appearing in, and best becoming a mean and illiterate soul." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"The wise man does not expect consistency or harmony... for he sees that man is a mosaic of characteristics and qualities that only rarely achieve an internal and intrinsic harmony." - Abraham M Myerson

"All experience shows that even smaller technological changes than those now in the cards profoundly transform political and social relationships. Experience also shows that those transformations are not a priori predictable and that most contemporary “first guesses” concerning them are wrong. For all these reasons, one should take neither present difficulties nor presently proposed reforms too seriously... To ask in advance for a complete recipe would be unreasonable. We can specify only the human qualities required: patience, flexibility, intelligence." - John Von Newmann

"If we crave for the goal that is worthy and fitting for man, namely, happiness of life - and this is accomplished by philosophy alone and by nothing else, and philosophy, as I said, means for us desire for wisdom, and wisdom the science of truth in things, and of things some are properly so called, others merely share the name - it is reasonable and most necessary to distinguish and systematize the accidental qualities of things." - Nicomachus of Gerasa NULL

"Virtues are dangerous as vices insofar as they are allowed to rule over one as authorities and not as qualities one develops oneself." -

"When one speaks of humanity, the idea is fundamental that this is something that separates and distinguishes man from nature. In reality, however, there is no such separation: ‘natural’ qualities and those called properly ‘human’ are indivisibly grown together. Man, in his highest and most noble capacities, is wholly nature and embodies its uncanny dual character. Those of his abilities which are awesome and considered inhuman are perhaps the fertile soil out of which alone all humanity... can grow." -

"Art, in any meaningful sense of the word, must have three essential qualities: a formal correspondence in emotion and feeling, clarity and a vivid imagination." -

"One generation of fearless women could transform the world, by bringing into it a generation of fearless children, not contorted into unnatural shapes, but straight and candid, generous, affectionate, and free. Their ardor would sweep away the cruelty and pain which we endure because we are lazy, cowardly, hard-hearted and stupid. It is education that gives us these bad qualities, and education that must give us the opposite virtues. Education is the key to the new world." -

"Avarice destroys honor, integrity, and all other noble qualities." - Sallust, full name Carus Valerius Sailustius Crispus NULL

"Among the qualities of mind and heart which conduce to worldly success, there is one, the importance of which is more real, and which is generally underrated in our day... It is courtesy." - Herbert Schiffer

"Man has evil as well as good qualities peculiar to himself. Drunkenness places him as much below the level of the brutes as reason elevates him above them." - Sir G. Sinclair

"Good character is human nature in its best form. It is moral order embodied in the individual. Men of character are not only the conscience of society, but in every well governed state they are its best motive power; for it is moral qualities which, in the main, rule the world." - Samuel Smiles

"The crown and glory of life is character. It is the noblest possession of a man, constituting a rank in itself, and estate in the general good will; dignifying every station, and exacting every position in society. It exercises a greater power than wealth and secures all the honor without the jealousies of fame. It carries with it an influence which always tells; for it is the result of proved honor, rectitude and consistency - qualities which, perhaps more than any others, command the general confidence and respect of mankind." - Samuel Smiles

"To have good sense and ability to express it are the most essential and necessary qualities in companions. When thoughts rise in us fit to utter among familiar friends, there needs but very little care in clothing them." - Richard Steele, fully Sir Richard Steele

"Maturity is a quality of personality made up of a number of elements. It is stick-to-itiveness, the ability to stick to a job, to work on it and to struggle through it until it is finished, or until one has given all one has in the endeavor. It is the quality or capacity of giving more than is asked or required in a given situation. It is this characteristic that enables others to count on one; thus it is reliability. Persistence is an aspect of maturity; persistence to carry out a a goal in the face of difficulties. Endurance enters into the concept of maturity; the endurance of difficulties, unpleasantness, discomfort, frustration, hardship. The ability to size things up, make one's own decisions, is a characteristic of maturity. This implies a considerable amount of independence. A mature person is not dependent unless ill. Maturity includes a determination, a will to succeed and achieve, a will to live. Of course, maturity represents the capacity to cooperate; to work with others; to work in an organization and under authority. The mature person is flexible, can defer to time, persons, circumstances. He can show tolerance. He can be patient, and, above all, he has qualities of adaptability and compromise. Basically, maturity represents a wholesome amalgamation of two things: 1) Dissatisfaction with the status quo, which calls forth aggressive, constructive effort, and 2) Social concern and devotion. Emotional maturity is the morale of the individual." - Edward A. Strecker

"Qualities we look for in a liberally educated person: He is one who is deeply interested in life and enjoys it; who is sympathetic and generous in his attitude to other people, cultures, and countries, who accepts his world and himself as a growing, changing enterprise; who is sensitive to the beautiful and the ugly in actions and objects; who believes in human rights and freedom; who has a degree of knowledge and knows how to get the knowledge he does not have and who has at least a moderate skill in the art of living." -

"Always recognize the dreamlike qualities of life and reduce attachment and aversion. Practice good-heartedness toward all beings. Be loving and compassionate, no matter what others do to you. What they will do will not mater so much when you see it as a dream. This is the essential point. This is true spirituality." -

"It is obvious that the best qualities in man must atrophy in a standing-room-only environment." - Stewart Udall, Fully Stewart Lee Udall

"How many people ever consider that the lack of certain qualities - such as balance, common sense, tranquillity - affect the physical state of the human body?... Did you ever hear of people being sick because they hated someone? This is not uncommon." - Brooke Foss Westcott

"Nothing endures but personal qualities." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"Wisdom is of the soul, it is not susceptible of proof, it is its own proof, applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content, is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the excellence of things; something there is in the flot of the sight of things that provokes it out of the soul." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman