Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"Not only is there a right to be happy, there is a duty to be happy. So much sadness exists in the world that we are all under obligation to contribute as much joy as lies within our powers." - Abel Bonnard

"True wisdom comes from the overcoming of suffering and sin. All true wisdom is therefore touched with sadness." - Whittaker Chambers, born Jay Vivian Chambers, aka Jay David Whittaker Chambers

"Some people habitually wear sadness, like a garment, and think it a becoming grace. God loves a cheerful worshipper." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"A major cause of many people’s sadness is their lack of attaining things they could live without." - Dubner Magid, name for Rabbi Jacob ben wolf Krantz

"The saddest thing under the sky is a soul incapable of sadness." -

"The only feelings that do not heal are the ones you hide... Those who expect joy to come out of sadness can discover the beginnings of a new life in the center of the old." - Henri Nouwen, fully Henri Jozef Machiel Nouwen

"If a person constantly keeps his mind focused on doing good deeds, his mind will be free from thoughts that lead to sadness." -

"What is the difference between mourning and sadness? Mourning takes hold of one’s heart, but not one’s mind, while sadness takes hold of the mind. Mourning leads to thinking, while sadness stops one’s thoughts. Mourning stems from the light in one’s soul, while sadness comes from the darkness of the soul. Mourning arouses one to life, while sadness brings to the opposite. The Torah obligates mourning when it is appropriate, while it forbids sadness and commands we serve the Almighty with joy." - Moshe Rosenstein, fully Moshe ben Chaim Rosenstein

"When we pray, we should feel the seriousness of speaking directly to the Almighty. The concept of seriousness should not be mistaken for sadness since sadness is a transgression. Seriousness should stem from the true joy of fulfilling a mitzvah [biblical law or good deed], the joy of having the merit to pray to the Almighty." - Moshe Schwab

"Gloom and sadness are poison to us, the origin of hysterics, which is a disease of the imagination caused by vexation, and supported by fear." - Madame de Sévigné, Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné

"Good humor is the health of the soul; sadness its poison." - Stanislaw I, born Stanisław Leszczyński, also spelled Stanislaus NULL

"Hold the sadness and pain of samsara in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. Then the warrior can make a proper cup of tea." -

"Awareness of the inevitability of death need not cause sadness. Rather we can use it to destroy the common worries about inconsequential aspects of life. Many worries are over matters that have no lasting value. When you overcome worry, your mind will be free to think of your ultimate goals in life." - Yechiel Michel Tukatinsky

"Sadness is a root cause of many faults... When a person is sad, he fails to take pleasure with what he has." - Hayyim ben Joseph Vital

"The majority of people who seek physical pleasures and all forms of entertainment are trying to push away the gnawing feeling of emptiness in their lives and the sadness that is an integral part of worldly matters." -

"Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy." -

"Active natures are rarely melancholy. Activity and sadness are incompatible." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Beauty is an omnipresence of death and loveliness, a smiling sadness that we discern in nature and all things, a mystic communion that the poet feels." - Charlie Chaplin, formally Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin

"No one ever regarded the first of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. Of all sound of bells (bells the music highest bordering upon heaven), most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the old year. I never heard it without a gathering-up of my mind to a concentration of all the images that have been diffused over the past twelve-month. All I have done or suffered, performed or neglected - in that regretted time. I begin to know its worth as when a person dies. It takes a personal color; nor was it a poetical flight of a contemporary, when he exclaimed: “I saw the skirts of the departing year.” It is no more than what is sober sadness, every one of us seems to be conscious of in that awful leave-taking." - Charles Lamb

"By sadness you destroy the divine image in your soul. God is joy. All nature rejoices in him, and would you be sad? A true joy makes the heart fear God." - Ambroise de Lombez, Jean de La Peyrie, aka Brother Ambrose, Father Ambrose of Lombez the Enlightenment

""Keep aloof from sadness," says an Icelandic writer, "for sadness is a sickness of the soul." Life has, indeed, many ills, but the mind that views every object in its most cheering aspect, and every doubtful dispensation as replete with latent good, bears within itself a powerful and perpetual antidote. The gloomy soul aggravates misfortune, while a cheerful smile often dispels those mists that portend a storm." - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"Sadness lies at the heart of every merely positivistic, agnostic, or naturalistic scheme of philosophy." - William James

"The word `happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"Resentment is the refusal, out of fear, to cross the bridge of sadness and let ourselves back into the impermanent world of relationship." - Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham

"The great enemy of the soul is not trial but sadness, which is the bleeding wound of self-love." - Francis Xavier Lasance, fully The Reverend Francis Xavier Lasance

"The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness. But it does not matter much because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there." - Thomas Merton

"Atheism leads not to badness but only to an incurable sadness and loneliness." - William P. Montague, fully William Pepperell Montague

"The special glory of being human is precisely that we have choices. The special sadness lies in knowing there is a limit to how right our choices can be, and a limit to how much the rightness of our choices can matter." - David Schmidtz

"So much pleasure, and so little joy; so much learning, and so little wisdom… the one divine thing left to us is sadness… Without sadness where were brotherliness?" - Francis Thomson

"The monks have no sadness. They wage war on the devil as though they were performing a dance." - John Chrysotom

"Sadness is almost never anything but a form of fatigue." - André Gide, fully André Paul Guillaume Gide

"All the irascible passions imply movement towards something... And if we wish to know the order of all the passions in the way of generation, love and hatred are first; desire and aversion, second; hope and despair, third; fear and daring, fourth; anger, fifth; sixth and last, joy and sadness, which follow from all the passions... yet so that love precedes hatred; desire precedes aversion; hope precedes despair; fear precedes daring; and joy precedes sadness." - Aristotle NULL

"Sadness is a great obstacle to serving the Almighty. A person who has transgressed should not become excessively sad since this will prevent him from further spiritual growth. One should feel deep regret for the wrong he has done and then continue to feel joy in his relationship with the Almighty since he has sincere regret and is resolved not to repeat his transgression." -

"The Almighty has sent you into this world on an appointed errand. It is His will that you accomplish your errand in a state of joy. Sadness implies an unwillingness on your part to carry out the Almighty’s will." -

"There is nothing so insupportable to man as to be in entire repose, without passion, occupation, amusement, or application. Then it is that he feels his own nothingness, isolations, insignificance, dependent nature, powerlessness, emptiness. Immediately there issue from his soul ennui, sadness, chagrin, vexation, despair." - Blaise Pascal

"If a person’s face does not show a little sadness his thoughts are not deep." - Chinese Proverbs

"What is God-given is called nature; to follow nature is called Tao (the Way); to cultivate the way is called culture. Before joy, anger, sadness and happiness are expressed, they are called the inner self; when they are expressed to the proper degree, they are called harmony. The inner self is the correct foundation of the world, and the harmony is the illustrious Way. When a man has achieved the inner self and harmony, the heaven and earth are orderly and the myriad of things are nourished and grow thereby." - Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

"Dim sadness did not spare that time celestial visages; yet mixed with pity, violated not their bliss." - John Milton

"When we are happy, we are less self-focused, we like others more, and we want to share our good fortune even with strangers. When we are down, though, we become distrustful, turn inward, and focus defensively on our own needs. Looking out for Number One is more characteristic of sadness than of well-being." - Martin Seligman, Martin E. P. "Marty" Seligman

"Pity is a species of sadness, mingled with love or good-will towards those whom we see suffering some evil of which we consider them undeserving." - René Descartes

"There is no wealth greater than the health of the body, there is no joy greater than the joy of the heart... A cheerful heart causes man's life to blossom, while the spirit of sadness dries the bones. Never rejoice at other people's misfortunes, for you cannot know when adversity may come to you." - Solomon, fully King Solomon, aka Jedidiah NULL

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace where there is hatred... let me sow love. Where there is injury... pardon. Where there is doubt... faith. Where there is despair... hope. Where there is darkness... light. Where there is sadness... joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled... as to console, to be understood... as to understand; to be loved... as to love, for it is in giving... that we receive. It is in pardoning, that we are pardoned, it is in dying... that we are born to eternal life." - Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone NULL

"The Divine Presence does not dwell in the midst of idleness, sadness, jocularity, levity or idle chatter, but rather in the joy derived from a virtuous deed." - Talmud or The Talmud NULL

"The soul apparently needs amorous sadness. It is a form of consciousness that brings its own unique wisdom." - Thomas Moore

"Sadness is a great obstacle to serving the Almighty. A person who has transgressed should not become excessively sad since this will prevent him from further spiritual growth. One should feel deep regret for the wrong he has done and then continue to feel joy in his relationship with the Almighty since he has sincere regret and is resolved not to repeat his transgression." - Baal Shem Tov, given name Yisroel ben Eliezer

"The Almighty has sent you into this world on an appointed errand. It is His will that you accomplish your errand in a state of joy. Sadness implies an unwillingness on your part to carry out the Almighty’s will." - Baal Shem Tov, given name Yisroel ben Eliezer

"Sadness does not inhere in things; it does not reach us from the world and through mere contemplation of the world. It is a product of our own thought. We create it out of whole cloth" - Émile Durkheim, fully David Émile Durkheim

"As for the passions and studies of the mind: avoid envy; anxious fears; anger fretting inwards; subtle and knotty inquisitions; joys and exhilarations in excess; sadness not communicated. Entertain hopes; mirth rather than joy; variety of delights, rather than surfeit of them; wonder and admiration, and therefore novelties; studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature." -

"Half of the secular unrest and dismal, profane sadness of modern society comes from the vain ideas that every man is bound to be a critic for life. " - Henry Van Dyke, fully Henry Jackson Van Dyke