Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Reason

"The reason we’re here is to exercise personal responsibility, to evolve the higher self and to influence that development in others." - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, born Ferdinand Lewis "Lew" Alcinder, Jr.

"He who reforms himself, has done much toward reforming others; and one reason why the world is not reformed, is, because each would have others make a beginning, and never thinks of himself doing it." - Thomas Adams

"Faith is the continuation of reason." - William Taylor Adams, pseudonym Oliver Optic

"There is no unmixed good in human affairs; the best principles, if pushed to excess, degenerate into fatal vices. Generosity is nearly allied to extravagance; charity itself may lead to ruin; the sternness of justice is but one step removed from the severity of oppression. It is the same in the political world; the tranquillity of despotism resembles the stagnation of the Dead Sea; the fever of innovation the tempests of the ocean It would seem as if, at particular periods, from causes inscrutable to human wisdom, a universal frenzy seizes mankind; reason, experience, prudence, are alike blinded; and the very classes who are to perish in the storm are the first to raise its fury." - Archibald Alison

"Beauty... consists in a certain clarity and due proportion. Now each of these has its roots in the reason, because both the light that makes beauty seen, and the establishing of due proportion among things belong to reason." -

"Conscience is the dictate of reason." -

"Good is the cause of love, as being its object. But good is not the object of the appetite, except as apprehended. And therefore love demands some apprehension of the good that is loved... Accordingly knowledge is the cause of love for the same reason as good is, which can be loved only if known." -

"Man does not choose of necessity... in all particular goods, the reason can consider an aspect of some good, and the lack of some good, which has the aspect of evil; and in this respect, it can apprehend any single one of such goods as to be chosen or to be avoided. The perfect good alone which is Happiness, cannot be apprehended by the reason as an evil, or as lacking in any way. Consequently man wills Happiness of necessity, nor can he will not to be happy, or to be unhappy. Now since choice is not of the end, but of the means... it is not of the perfect good, which is Happiness, but of other particular goods. Therefore man chooses not of necessity, but freely." -

"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." -

"When a thing is done again and again, it seems to proceed from a deliberate judgment of reason. Accordingly, custom has the force of a law, abolishes law, and is the interpreter of law." -

"There are many seasons in a man’s life - and the more exalted and responsible his position, the more frequently do these seasons recur - when the voice of duty and the dictates of feeling are opposed to each other; and it is only the weak and the wicked who yield that obedience to the selfish impulses of the heart which is due to reason and honor." - Arthur Aughey

"I cannot teach you the ten principles of service. But a little child and a thief can show you what they are. From the child you can learn three things: He is merry for no particular reason; never for a moment is he idle; when he needs something, he demands it vigorously. The thief can instruct you in seven things: He does his service by night; if he does not finish what he has set out to do, in one night, he devotes the next night to it; he and those who work with him love one another; he risks his life for small gains; what he takes has so little value for him that he gives it up for a very small coin; he endures blows and hardship, and it matters nothing to him; he likes his trade and would not exchange it for any other." - Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezeritch, aka Maggid of Mezeritch

"Memory is the cabinet of imagination, the treasury of reason, the registry of conscience, and the council-chamber of thought." - Giambattista Basile, aka Giovan Battista Basile

"My reason teaches me that land cannot be sold. The Great Spirit gave it to his children to live upon and cultivate as far as necessary for their subsistence, and so long as they occupy and cultivate it they have the right to the soil, but if they voluntarily leave it then any other people have a right to settle on it. Nothing can be sold, except things that can be carried away." - Black Hawk, born Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak NULL

"People first abandon reason, and then become obstinate; and the deeper they are in error the more angry they are." - Hugh Blair

"The voice of the Devil. All Bibles or sacred codes have been the causes of the following errors: 1. That man has two real existing principles; vis; a body and a soul. 2. That energy, called evil, is alone from body, and that reason, called good, is alone from the soul. 3. That God will torment man in eternity for the following energies. But the following contraries to these are true: 1. Man has no body distinct from his soul; for that called body is a portion of soul discerned by the five senses, the chief inlets of the soul in this age. 2. Energy is the only life, and is from the body; and reason is bound or outward circumference of energy. 3. Energy is eternal delight." - William Blake

"Cunning pays no regard to virtue, and is but the low mimic of reason." - Henry St John, Lord Bolingbroke, 1st Viscount Bolingbroke

"The heart has reasons that reason does not understand." -

"Pity is not natural to man. Children are always cruel. Savages are always cruel. Pity is acquired and improved by the cultivation of reason." - James Boswell

"Example has more followers than reason. We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and approximate to the characters we most admire. A generous habit of thought and action carries with it an incalculable influence." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Nowhere are prejudices more mistaken for truth, passion for reason, and invective for documentation than in politics. That is a realm, peopled only by villains or heroes, in which everything is black or white and gray is a forbidden color." -

"Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life; cunning is a kind of instinct, that only looks after our immediate interests and welfare. Discretion is only found in men of strong sense and good understanding; cunning is often to be met with in brutes themselves, and in persons who are but the fewest removes from them." - Jean de La Bruyère

"How many of us have been attracted to reason; first learned to think, to draw conclusions, to extract a moral from the follies of life, by some dazzling aphorism!" -

"Of all the agonies in life, that which is most poignant and harrowing; that which for the time annihilates reason, and leave our whole organization one lacerated, mangled heart, is the conviction that we have been deceived where we placed all the trust of love." -

"Where violence reigns, reason is weak." -

"What is virtue? Reason in practice." - J. J. de Chenier

"The reason angels can fly is that they take themselves so lightly." - G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"There are few things reason can discover with so much certainty and ease as its own insufficiency." - Jeremy Collier

"What can be more honorable than to have courage enough to execute the commands of reason and conscience, to maintain the dignity of our nature, and the station assigned us?" - Jeremy Collier

"The essence of all education is self-discovery and self-control. When education helps an individual to discover his own powers and limitations and, shows him how to get out of his heredity its largest and best possibilities, it will fulfill its real function, when children are taught not merely to know things but particularly to know themselves, not merely how to do things but especially how to compel themselves to do things, they may be said to be really educated. For this sort of education there is demanded rigorous discipline of the powers of observation, of the reason, and especially of the will." - William Congreve

"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

"The man who is master of his passions is Reason's slave." - Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

"A true history of human events would show that a far larger proportion of our acts are the results of sudden impulses and accidents than of that reason of which we so much boast." - Susan Fenimore Cooper, fully Susan Augusta Fenimore Cooper

"A true history of human events would show a far larger proportion of our acts are the results of sudden impulses and accident, than of that reason of which we so much boast." - James Fenimore Cooper

"To accept as a fact of life that a certain technology will be used for the simple reason that we know how to use it, or that we shall continue to live under a certain social system after it has become too complicated for human understanding, is tantamount to an abdication of intellectual and social responsibility." -

"It is wise even in adversity to listen to reason." - Euripedes NULL

"When the soul grants what reason makes her see, that is true faith, what’s more’s credulity." - Francis Fane, fully Sir Francis Fane of Fulbeck

"Our system of thought and opinion, is often the only history of our heart. Men do not so much will according to their reason, as reason according to their will." - Immanual Hermann Fichte

"Self-love and reason to one end aspire." - J. de Finod

"Anger is never without a Reason, but seldom with a good One." - Benjamin Franklin

"Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other, an scarcely in that; for it is true, we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct. Remember this; they that will not be counseled cannot be helped. If you do not hear reason she will rap you over your knuckles." - Benjamin Franklin

"If Passion drives, let Reason hold the Reins." - Benjamin Franklin

"They that will not be counseled, cannot be helped. If you do not hear reason she will rap you on the knuckles." - Benjamin Franklin

"Would you persuade, speak of interest, not of reason." - Benjamin Franklin

"Our best hope for the future is that the intellect - the scientific spirit, reason - should in time establish a dictatorship over the human mind. The very nature of reason is a guarantee that it would not fail to concede to human emotions, and to all that is determined by them, the position to which they are entitled. But the common pressure exercised by such a domination of reason would prove to be the strongest unifying force among men, and would prepare the way for further unifications. Whatever, like the ban laid upon thought by religion, opposes such a development is a danger for the future of mankind." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"The reason for so much bad science is not that talent is rare - not at all. What is rare is character." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"The individual who needs a reason for being moral which is not itself a moral reason cannot have it. There is nothing surprising about this; it would be much more surprising if such reasons could be found. For it is more than apparently paradoxical to suppose that considerations of advantage could ever of themselves justify accepting a real disadvantage." - David P. Gauthier

"The habit of virtue cannot be formed in the closet; good habits are formed by acts of reason in a persevering struggle with temptation." - Bernard Gilpin

"One great reason why men practice generosity so little in the world is their finding so little there. Generosity is catching; and if so many men escape it, it is in a great degree from the same reason the countrymen escape the smallpox, because they meet no one to give it to them." -

"We laugh heartily to see a whole flock of sheep jump because one did so. Might not one imagine that superior beings do the same, and for exactly the same reason?" -