Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Simplicity

"Embellish the soul with simplicity, with prudence, and everything which is neither virtuous nor vicious. Love all men. Walk according to God; for, as a poet hath said, his laws govern all." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"I live in the world, but I seem to myself not of it!.. Natural phenomena are but the shadows of the spirit form which they spring, as the human face changes under the influence of love, hatred or fear... When, O when, shall I be able to reveal its poetry? I see everywhere and in ever object unceasing motion, and in that motion a creative force forever and forever repeating and re-repeating the same simple process as to infinity. Through all nature the grand rhythms roll and heaven and earth are filled with the melody. Men are but boys chasing shadows. The spiritual significance of the world none seem to see - the infinite simplicity of its process are none care to understand." - H. B.

"Gentleness in the gait is what simplicity is in the dress. Violent gesture or quick movement inspires involuntary disrespect. One looks for a moment at a cascade; but one sits for hours, lost in thought, and gazing upon the still water of a lake. A deliberate gait, gentle manners, and a gracious tone of voice - all of which may be acquired - give a mediocre man an immense advantage over those vastly superior to him. To be bodily tranquil, to speak little, and to digest without effort are absolutely necessary to grandeur of mind or of presence, or to proper development of genius." - Honoré de Balzac

"Upright simplicity is the deepest wisdom, and perverse craft the merest shallowness." - George Washington Barrow or Barrows

"Sentiment and principle are often mistaken for each other, though, in fact, they widely differ. Sentiment is the virtue of ideas; principle the virtue of action. Sentiment has its seat in the had; principle, in the heart. Sentiment suggest fine harangues and subtle distinctions; principle conceives just notions, and performs good actions in consequence of them. Sentiment refines away the simplicity of truth, and the plainness of piety; and "gives us virtue in words, and vice in deeds."" - Hugh Blair

"The great seal of truth is simplicity." - Hermann Boerhaave

"Since God hath always an eternal and present state, His knowledge, surpassing time’s notions, remaineth in the simplicity of His presence and, comprehending the infinite of what is past and to come, considereth all things as though they were in the act of being accomplished." - Boethius, fully Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius NULL

"Eloquence is vehement simplicity." - Richard Cecil

"Benevolence is not in word and in tongue, but in deed and in truth. It is a business with men as they are, and with human life as drawn by the rough hand of experience. It is a duty which you must perform at the call of principle; though there be no voice of eloquence to give splendor to your exertions, and no music of poetry to lead your willing footsteps through the bowers of enchantment. It is not the impulse of high and ecstatic emotion. It is an exertion of principle. :You must go to the poor man’s cottage, though no verdure flourish around it, the gentleness of its murmurs. If you look for the romantic simplicity of fiction you will be disappointed; but it is your duty to persevere in spite of every discouragement. Benevolence is not merely a feeling but a principle; not a dream of rapture for the fancy to indulge in, but a business for the hand to execute." - Thomas Chalmers

"The human mind feels restless and dissatisfied under the anxieties of ignorance. It longs for the repose of conviction; and to gain this repose it will often rather precipitate its conclusions than wait for the tardy lights of observation and experiment. There is such a thing, too, as the love of simplicity and system, a prejudice of the understanding which disposes it to include al the phenomena of nature under a few sweeping generalities, and indolence which loves to repose on the beauties of a theory rather than encounter the fatiguing detail of its evidences." - Thomas Chalmers

"It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving. If a child is inclined to be grasping, or to cling to any of his or her little possessions, legends are related about the contempt and disgrace falling upon the ungenerous and mean person... The Indians in their simplicity literally give away all that they have - to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return." - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein

"Simplicity is that grace which frees the soul from all unnecessary reflections upon itself." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Simplicity is the straightforwardness of a soul which refuses itself any reaction with regard to itself or its deeds. This virtue differs from and surpasses sincerity. We see many people who are sincere without being simple. They do not wish to be taken for other than what they are; but they are always fearing lest they should be taken for what they are not." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Simplicity is a captivating grace in woman, as rare as it is attractive." - J. de Finod

"In building a firm foundation for Success, here are a few stones to remember: The wisdom of preparation. The value of confidence. The worth of honesty. The privilege of working. The discipline of struggle. The magnetism of character. The radiance of health. The forcefulness of simplicity. The winsomeness of courtesy. The attractiveness of modesty. The inspiration of cleanliness. The satisfaction of serving. The power of suggestion. The buoyancy of enthusiasm. The advantage of initiative. The virtue of patience. The rewards of co-operation. The fruitfulness of perseverance. The sportsmanship of losing. The joy of winning." - Rollo C. Hester

"The most illiterate man who is touched by devotion, and uses frequent exercises of it, contracts a certain greatness of mind, mingled with a noble simplicity, that raises him above others of the same condition." -

"Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires." -

"Happy the heart to whom God has given enough strength and courage to suffer for Him, to find happiness in simplicity and the happiness of others." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"He alone is a man who can resist the genius of the age, the tone of fashion, with vigorous simplicity and modest courage." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"Simplicity of character is no hindrance to subtlety of intellect." -

"Revelations are the aberration of faith; they are an amusement that spoils simplicity in relation to God, that embarrasses the soul and makes it swerve from its directness in relation to God. They distract the soul and occupy it with others than God." - Jean-Jacques "J.J." Olier

"The attributes of a great lady may still be found in the rule of the four S's: Sincerity, Simplicity, Sympathy and Serenity." - Emily Post, born Emily Price

"A curious thing about the ontological problem is its simplicity. It can be put in three Anglo-Saxon monosyllables: ‘What is there?’ It can be answered, moreover, in a word - ‘Everything’." - Willard Quine, fully Willard Van Orman Quine

"Simplicity, without which no human performance can arrive at perfection." - Jonathan Swift, pen names, M.B. Drapier, Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff

"Simplicity is a state of mind." - Charles Wagner

"It is only in the stillness and simplicity of presence - when we are aware of what we are experiencing, when we are here with it as it unfolds - that we can really appreciate our life and reconnect with the ordinary magic of being alive on this earth... Our life is unsatisfactory only because we are not living it fully, because instead we are pursuing a happiness that is always somewhere else, other than where we are right now." - John Welwood

"Simplicity is the glory of expression. The whole theory of the universe is directed unerringly to one single individual." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"Elegance of language may not be in the power of all of us; but simplicity and straight forwardness are. Write much as you would speak; speak as you think. If with your inferior, speak no coarser than usual; if with your superiors, no finer. Be what you say; and, within the rules of prudence, say what you are." - Vittorio Alfieri

"Simplicity never fails to charm." - Honoré de Balzac

"Partial culture runs to the ornate; extreme culture to simplicity." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"There is a master key to success with which no man can fail. Its name is simplicity. Simplicity, I mean, in the sense of reducing to the simplest possible terms every problem that besets us. Whenever I have met a business proposition which, after taking thought, I could not reduce to simplicity, I have left it alone." - Henri Deterding, fully Henri Wilhelm August Deterding

"Nothing whatever can be said in support of the assumption that nature will usually follow the simpler theory... The simplest theory is to be chosen not because it is most likely to be true but because it is scientifically the most rewarding among equally likely alternatives. We aim at simplicity and hope for truth." - Nelson Goodman, fully Henry Nelson Goodman

"The minister is to be a live man, a real man, a true man, a simple man, great in his love, great in his life, great in his work, great in his simplicity, great in his gentleness." - John Hall

"It is often the scientist’s experience that he senses the nearness of truth when... connections are envisioned. A connection is a step toward simplification, unification. Simplicity is indeed often the sign of truth and a criterion of beauty." - Mahlon Hoagland

"Understanding reduces the greatest to simplicity, and lack of it causes the least to take on the magnitude of complexity." - Raymond Holliwell

"What we call mind is nothing but a heap or collection of different perceptions, united together by certain relations, and supposed, though falsely, to be endowed with a perfect simplicity and identity." - David Hume

"The reason for the sublime simplicity in the works of nature lies all too often in the sublime shortsightedness in the observer." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"Knowledge is all-knowing, understanding, forgiving; it takes up no position, sets no store by form. It has compassion with the abyss - it is the abyss. So we reject it, firmly, and henceforward our concern shall be with beauty only. And by beauty we mean simplicity, largeness, and renewed severity of discipline; we mean a return to detachment and to form." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"A childlike mind, in its simplicity, practices that science of good to which the wise may be blind." - Friedrich Schiller, fully Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller

"The expression of truth is simplicity." -

"Simplicity, of all things, is the hardest to be copied." - Richard Steele, fully Sir Richard Steele

"The art of art, the glory of expression, and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"Unity and simplicity are the two true sources of beauty. Supreme beauty resides in God." - Johann Joachim Winckelmann

"No benefit is more constant than simplicity; no happiness more constant than peace." - Han Fei, also Han Fei Zi, Han Feitzu and Han Fei Tzu

"He who unreservedly accepts whatever God may give him in this world – humiliation, trouble, and trial from within or from without – has made a great step towards self-victory; he will not dread praise or censure, he will not be sensitive; or if he finds himself wincing, he will deal so cavalierly with his sensitiveness that it will soon die away. Such full resignation and unfeigned acquiescence is true liberty, and hence arises perfect simplicity." -

"God is said to be in time, because He is absent from no time or because he is in the simplicity of eternity, from which all time flows." - Robert Grosseteste or Grossetete

"There are only three things to teach: Simplicity, patience, and compassion. Simplicity in action and thoughts, will return you to the source of your being. Patience with friends and enemies alike, will give you harmony with the way things are. Compassion with yourself, will settle all the differences between you and other beings in the world." - Peter W. Jedlicka

"I have just three thins to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures. Simple in actions and in thoughts, you return to the source of being. Patient with both friends and enemies, you accord with the way things are. Compassionate toward yourself, you reconcile all beings in the world." - Lao Tzu, ne Li Urh, also Laotse, Lao Tse, Lao Tse, Lao Zi, Laozi, Lao Zi, La-tsze

"The chaff from winnowing will blind a man’s eyes so that he cannot tell the points of the compass. Mosquitoes will keep a man awake all night with their biting. And just in the same way this talk of charity and duty to one’s neighbor drives me nearly crazy. Sir! strive to keep the world to its own simplicity. And as the wind bloweth where it listeth, so let virtue establish itself. Wherefore such undue energy, as though searching for a fugitive with a big drum?" - Lao Tzu, ne Li Urh, also Laotse, Lao Tse, Lao Tse, Lao Zi, Laozi, Lao Zi, La-tsze