Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Sanity

"To live, mankind must recover its essential humanness and its innate divinity; men must recover their capacity for humility, sanity and integrity; soldiers and civilians must see their hope in some other world than one completely dominated by the physical and chemical sciences." - George Stanley, fully George Francis Gillman Stanley

"We have nothing to fear but sanity itself." - Robin Williams, fully Robin McLaurin Williams

"Order is the sanity of the mind, the health of the body, the peace of the city, the security of the state. As the beams to a house, as the bones to the microcosm of man, so is order to all things." - Robert Southey

"Of all mankind the great poet is the equable man. Not in him but off from him things are grotesque or eccentric or fail of their sanity." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"We wake up to find the whole world building competitive trade barriers, just as we found it a few years ago building competitive armaments. We are trying to reduce armaments to preserve the world solvency. We shall have to reduce competitive trade barriers to preserve the world's sanity. As between the two, trade barriers are more destructive than armaments and more threatening to the peace of the world." - Owen D. Young

"The whole history of religious enthusiasm bears witness that the highest sanctity often runs on the very borderlines of sanity." -

"Sanity was statistical; it was merely a question of learning to think as they thought." -

"Seek above all for a game worth playing. Play as if your life and sanity depend on it, because they do." - Robert de Ropp, fully Robert Sylvester de Ropp

"The complete satisfaction of all instinctual needs is not only not a basis for happiness, it does not even satisfy sanity." -

"Sanity is a madness put to good use." - George Santayana

"Who in the rainbow can draw the line where the violet tint ends and the orange tint begins? Distinctly we see the difference of the colors, but where does the one first blendingly enter into the other? So with sanity and insanity." - Herman Melville

"Art should be a satire and a warning against our paralyzed emotions, our devitalized thinking and our denaturalized living. It teaches us unsophistication in a sophisticated world. It should restore to us health and sanity caused by too much mental activity. It should sharpen our senses, re-establish the connection between our reason and our human nature, and assemble the ruined parts of a dislocated life again into a whole, by restoring our original nature." - Lin Yutang

"Sanity consists in not being subdued by your means." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they're okay, then it's you." - Rita Mae Brown

"A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point of doubtful sanity." - Robert Frost

"The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, mono-medicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity." - Thomas Szasz, fully Thomas Stephen Szasz

"Survival lies in sanity, and sanity lies in paying attention...the capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention." - Julia Cameron

"That she had so completely recovered her sanity was a source of sadness to her. One should never be cured of one's passion." - Marguerite Duras, formally Marguerite Donnadieu

"To live and let live, without clamour for distinction or recognition; to wait on divine love; to write truth first on the tablet of one's own heart - this is the sanity and perfection of living." - Mary Baker Eddy

"Too much sanity may be madness. But maddest of all, to see life as it is, and not as it should be!" - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"True sanity entails in one way or another the dissolution of the normal ego, that false self competently adjusted to our alienated social reality... and through this death a rebirth and the eventual re-establishment of a new kind of ego-functioning, the ego now being the servant of the divine, no longer its betrayer." - R. D. Laing, fully Ronald David Laing

"I have a profound mistrust of all obligatory answers. The great problem of our time is not to formulate clear answers to neat theoretical questions… The way to find the real ‘world’ is not merely to measure and observe what is outside us, but to discover our own inner ground. For that is where the world is, first of all: in my deepest self. But there I find the world to be quite different from the ‘obligatory answers.’ This ‘ground,’ this ‘world’ where I am mysteriously present at once to my own self and to the freedoms of all other men, is not a visible objective and determined structure with fixed laws and demands. It is a living and self-creating mystery of which I am myself a part, to which I am myself my own unique door. When I find the world in my own ground, it is impossible for me to be alienated by it. A humble man can do great things with an uncommon perfection because he is no longer concerned about incidentals, like his own interests and his own reputation, and therefore he no longer needs to waste his efforts in defending them. For a humble man is not afraid of failure. In fact, he is not afraid of anything, even of himself, since perfect humility implies perfect confidence in the power of God before Whom no other power has any meaning and for Whom there is no such thing as an obstacle. Humility is the surest sign of strength." - Thomas Merton

"Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do." - Wendell Berry

"What I heard was but the melody of children at play, nothing but that, and so limpid was the air that within this vapor of blended voices, majestic and minute, remote and magically near, frank and divinely enigmatic—one could hear now and then, as if released, an almost articulate spurt of vivid laughter, or the crack of a bat, or the clatter of a toy wagon, but it was all really too far for the eye to distinguish any movement in the lightly etched streets. I stood listening to that musical vibration from my lofty slope, to those flashes of separate cries with a kind of demure murmur for background, and then I knew that the hopelessly poignant thing was not Lolita’s absence from my side, but the absence of her voice from that concord." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"For it was not knowledge but unity that she desired, not inscriptions on tablets, nothing that could be written in any language known to men, but intimacy itself, which is knowledge." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"She was writing for everybody, for nobody, for our age, for her own..." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Who knows a man's name, holds that man's life in his keeping. Thus to Ged, who had lost faith in himself, Vetch had given him that gift that only a friend can give, the proof of unshaken, unshakeable trust." - Ursula Le Guin, fully Ursula Kroeber Le Guin

"The problem is, or rather one of the problems, for there are many, a sizeable proportion of which are continually clogging up the civil, commercial, and criminal courts in all areas of the Galaxy, and especially, where possible, the more corrupt ones, this. The previous sentence makes sense. That is not the problem. This is: Change. Read it through again and you'll get it." - Douglas Adams, fully Douglas Noel Adams

"Parting is all we know of heaven, and all we need of hell." - Emily Dickinson, fully Emily Elizabeth Dickinson