Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

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"Those who believe in the theory of rebirth would say that we are here because of our past actions. It can also be said that the essence of life is the search for happiness and the fulfillment of one’s desires. All living beings strive to sustain their lives so that they might achieve happiness. As to why the self, wishing for happiness, came into being, Buddhism answers: This self has existed from beginningless time. It has no end but for it to ultimately achieve full enlightenment." -

"Search for a single, inclusive good is doomed to failure. Such happiness as life is capable of comes from the full participation of all our powers in the endeavor to wrest from each changing situation of experience its own full and unique meaning." - John Dewey

"The search for static security - in the law and elsewhere - is misguided. The fact is security can only be achieved through constant change, through discarding old ideas that have outlived their usefulness and adapting others to current facts." -

"Each moment is a summons calling us to recollect and test ourselves. There is no activity, serving whatever external purpose, that does not contain an opportunity to dedicate ourselves more ardently to the search for truth." - Karlfried Graf Von Dürckheim, fully Karl Friedrich Alfred Heinrich Ferdinand Maria Graf Eckbrecht von Dürckheim-Montmartin

"By academic freedom I understand the right to search for truth and to publish and teach what one holds to be true. This right implies also a duty: one must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true." - Albert Einstein

"The search for truth is, as it always has been, the noblest expression of the human spirit. Man's insatiable desire for knowledge about himself, about his environment and the forces by which he is surrounded, gives life its meaning and purpose, and clothes it with final dignity... And yet we know, deep in our hearts, that knowledge is not enough... Unless we can anchor our knowledge to moral purposes, the ultimate result will be dust and ashes - dust and ashes that will bury the hopes and monuments of men beyond recovery." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices." - Benjamin Franklin

"A society committed to the search for truth must give protection to, and set a high value upon, the independent and original mind, however angular, however rasping, however socially unpleasant it may be; for it is upon such minds, in large measure, that the effective search for truth depends." - Caryl Parker Haskins

"You traverse the world in search of happiness, which is within the reach of every man; a contented mind confers it on all." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"So long as we are on a search for pain-free human relationships, or shifting responsibility for all our hurt and all our fears of abandonment, or seeking ourselves in others, we have not yet found the thread that will lead us toward God, or ourselves. When we learn to accept ourselves - not just our public achievements and private successes, not just the divine being we are evolving into, but also our failures, inadequacies, cowardices and fears - then we will be able to embrace the strangers among us, because we will, finally, have embraced the stranger inside ourselves." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Men in general are too material and do not make enough human contacts. If we search for the fundamentals which actually motivate us, we will find that they come under four headings: love, money, adventure and religion. It is to some of them that we always owe that big urge which pushes us onward. Men who crush these impulses and settle down to everyday routine are bound to sink into mediocrity. No man is a complete unity of himself; he needs the contact, the stimulus and the driving power which is generated by his contact with other men, their ideas and constantly changing scenes." - Edward S. "Ned" Jordan

"Since human beings have a moral conscience, a spiritual self and a physical self, we can choose among various options. And we are responsible for the consequences of our choices. We can put the common interests of humankind above the conflicts of ideological, racial, religious and national groups. We can bring together thought and feeling, politics and moral values, women and men, the underprivileged and the privileged.... The essence of life is to search for happiness. To realize this end, we must become one with the human family, one with the universe... We should live as if we were to die today. We should die as if we live forever." - Petra Kelly, fully Petra Karin Kelley

"It is not the truth which a man possesses, or believes he possesses, but the earnest effort which he puts forth to reach the truth, which constitutes the worth of a man. For it is not by the possession, by the search after truth that he enlarges his power, wherein alone consists his ever-increasing perfection. Possession makes one content, indolent, proud." - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

"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

"Men may tire themselves in a labyrinth of search, and talk of God; but if we would know Him indeed, it must be from the impressions we receive of Him; and the softer our hearts are, the deeper and livelier those will be upon us." - William Penn

"Nothing is better than to search for the true God, even if the discovery of Him eludes human capacity, since the very wish to learn, if earnestly entertained, produces untold joys and pleasures." - Philo, aka Philo of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew NULL

"Malicious slander never would have leisure to search, with prying eyes, for faults abroad, if all, like me, consider’d their own hearts, and wept the sorrows which they found at home." - Nicolas Rowe

"Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind... the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be." -

"Search for the truth is the noblest occupation of man; its publication is a duty." -

"The four great motives which move men to social activity are hunger, love, vanity, and fear of superior powers. If we search out the causes which have moved men to war we find them under each of these motives or interests." - William Graham Sumner

"What I admire in Columbus is not having discovered a world, but his having gone to search for it on the faith of an opinion." - Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune

"Most forms of human creativity have one aspect n common: the attempt to give some sense to the various impressions, emotions, experiences, and actions that fill our lives, and thereby to give some meaning and value to our existence... The crisis of our time in the Western world is that the search for meaning has become meaningless for many of us." - Victor Weisskopf, fully Victor "Viki" Frederick Weisskopf

"Search thine own heart. What paineth thee in others in thyself may be." - John Greenleaf Whittier

"Doubt is an incentive to search for truth, and patient inquiry leads the way to it." - Kenneth Eldon Bailey

"Search for a single, inclusive good is doomed to failure. Such happiness as life is capable of comes from the full participation of all our powers in the endeavor to wrest from each changing situation of experience its own full and unique meaning." - Gamaliel Bailey

"If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday." - Pearl S. Buck, fully Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, also known by her Chinese name Sai Zhenzhu

"If these distracted times prove anything, they prove that the greatest illusion is reliance upon the security and permanence of material possessions. We must search for some other coin. And we will discover that the treasure-house of education has stood intact and unshaken in the storm. The man of cultivated life has founded his house upon a rock. You can never take away the magnificent mansion of his mind." - John Cudahy, fully John Clarence Cudahy

"That person lives in hell who gets what he desires too soon. Whether he finds his happiness in wealth, power, fame or women, or in a combination of all, that happiness will be meaningless if it robs him of his desire. Heaven is a country through which we are permitted to search eagerly and with hope for what we want." - Thomas Dreier

"No earthly purpose satisfies man’s longing to find his eternal reason for being... Man seeks incessantly for the meaning of life until he discovers the single eternal purpose for his existence. That purpose is the same for every man and woman. God created us because He longs to enter into fellowship with us. We belong to Him by right of creation. We can never know order and harmony in this life until we choose to establish a right relationship with God... Our search for meaning to life will end only when we establish that personal relationship with God and begin our walk with Him - for time and for eternity. Then comes that glorious personal fulfillment described in holy writ as the “peace that passes all understanding.”" - Jerry Falwell

"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives, the cumulative experience of many masters of craftsmanship. Quality also marks the search for an ideal after necessity has been satisfied and mere usefulness achieved." -

"The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his power." -

"It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the later lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"They change their sky not their mind who cross the sea. A busy idleness possesses us: we seek a happy life, with ships and carriages: the object of our search is present with us." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"When you stop thinking that things have a past or future, and that they come or go, then in the whole universe there won't be a single atom that is not your own treasure. All you have to do is look into your own mind; then the marvelous reality will manifest itself at all times. Don't search for the truth with your intellect. Don't search at all. The nature of the mind is intrinsically pure." - Ta-chu Hui-Hai

"We live in a hemisphere whose own revolution has given birth to the most powerful force of the modern age - the search for the freedom and self-fulfillment of man." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"The search for the ultimate foundation is as much an unremovable part of human culture as it is the denial of the legitimacy of this search." -

"The more we search for an alibi, the more we discover that unhappiness on earth is man-made." - D. H. Lawrence, fully David Herbert "D.H." Lawrence

"Truth, after all, wears a different face to everybody, and it would be too tedious to wait till all are agreed. She is said to lie at the bottom of a well, for the very reason, perhaps, that whoever looks down in search of her sees his own image at the bottom, and is persuaded not only that he has seen the goddess, but that she is far better-looking than he had imagined." - James Russell Lowell

"Fly no opinion because it is new, but strictly search, and after careful view, reject it if false, embrace it if 'tis true." - Lucretius, fully Titus Lucretius Carus NULL

"To look fearlessly upon life; to accept the laws of nature, not with meek resignation, but as her sons, who dare to search and question; to have peace and confidence within our souls - these are the beliefs that make for happiness." - Maurice Maeterlinck, fully Count Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck

"The search for causes is indeed the business of philosophers." - Jacques Maritain

"Science is the search for truth - it is not a game in which one tries to beat his opponent to do harm to others." -

"Unhappy he who does his work adjourn, and to to-morrow would the search delay: his lazy morrow ill be like to-day." - Persius, fully Aulus Persius Flaccus NULL

"God is outside of none, present unperceived to all; we break away from Him, or rather from ourselves; what we turn from we cannot reach; astray ourselves, we cannot go in search of another; a child distraught will not recognize its father; to find ourselves is to know our source." - Plotinus NULL

"Nature is man's teacher. She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence." - Alfred Billings Street

"Man is ever a contingent being in search of necessity." - George Brantl

"The search for God is a search for the purpose of life and for an unfailing source of eternal value." - Edgar Sheffield Brightman

"The search for final truth rests with each individual personality and rendering the partial interpretations of our experience fundamentally consistent with one another. It is this fact that justifies the use of the word `God’ to designate the all embracing personality in whose existence ultimate reality exists." - L. Francis Edmunds

"What is important and of greatest significance is that an ideal of final truth is always before use and that the search for truth is acknowledged by all men as a duty not imposed from outside but born from within. The search for final truth rests with each individual personality and rendering the partial interpretations of our experience fundamentally consistent with one another. It is this fact that justifies the use of the word `God’ to designate the all embracing personality in whose existence ultimate reality exists." - L. Francis Edmunds