Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"It is remarkable that great affectation and great absence of it (unconsciousness) are at first sight very similar; they are both apt to produce singularity." - Richard Whately

"Avoid singularity. There may often be less vanity in following the new modes than in adhering to the old ones. It is true that the foolish invent them, but the wise may conform to, instead of contradicting, them." - Joseph Joubert

"To celebrate is to contemplate the singularity of the moment and to enhance the singularity of the self. What was shall not be again... Every moment is a new arrival, a new bestowal. How to welcome the moment? How to respond to the marvel? The cardinal sin is in our failure not to sense the grandeur of the moment, the marvel and mystery of being, the possibility of quiet exaltation. The man of our time is losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating, he seeks to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state - it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle... Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one’s actions. Celebration is an act of expressing respect or reverence for that which one needs or honors... inward appreciation, lending spiritual form to everyday acts." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Meaning that the term ‘One’ implies the union of two, the two names of God: in dealing with these two divine names, as separate entities, we unite them when we say ‘They [plural] are One.’ However, as concepts these two names of God describe the union of singularity and multiplicity (as the linguistic form of the names implies, the Tetragrammaton is singular and Elohim plural). The intention then would be that these seemingly two distinct realms are not just joined together as one, but that in the union of these two is meant a Oneness that absolutely transcends both of these categories, and expresses the reality that there is nothing but God, that is, there is ‘Only’ God." - Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known as the Lubavitcher Rebbe

"The conviction: I will not tolerate this age. The freedom: the freedom to act on my conviction. And I will act. No one else has both the conviction and the freedom. Many agree with me, have the conviction, but will not act. Some act, assassinate, bomb, burn, etc., but they are the crazies. Crazy acts by crazy people. But what if one, sober, reasonable, and honorable man should act, and act with perfect sobriety, reason, and honor? Then you have the beginning of a new age. We shall start a new order of things." - Walker Percy

"Where there is chance of gain, there is also chance of loss. Whenever one courts great happiness, one also risks malaise." - Walker Percy