Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Torture

"Every man should study conciseness in speaking; it is a sing of ignorance not to know that long speeches, though they may please the speaker, are the torture of the hearer." - Owen Feltham

"Belief and unbelief never follow men’s commands. Faith is a gift from God which man can neither give nor take away by promise of rewards or menaces of torture." - Thomas Hobbes

"Wealth is nothing in itself, it is not useful but when it departs from us; its value is found only in that which it can purchase, which, if we suppose it put to its best use by those that posses it, seems not much to deserve the desire or envy of a wise man. It is certain that, with regard to corporal enjoyment, money can neither open new avenues to pleasure, nor block up the passages to anguish. Disease and infirmity still continue to torture and enfeeble, perhaps exasperated by luxury, or promoted by softness. With respect to the mind, it has rarely been observed, that wealth contributes much to quicken the discernment, enlarge the capacity, or elevate the imagination; but may, by hiring flattery, or laying diligence asleep, confirm error, and harden stupidity." -

"Anger is a deadly poison not only for the soul, but even for the body. We should flee from anger as we would from the worst torture." - Yeruchem Levovitz, aka The Mashgiach

"Who shrinks from knowledge of his calamities but aggravates his fear; troubles half seen do torture all the more." -

"The child learns so easily because he has a natural gift, but adults, because they are tyrants, ignore natural gifts and say that children must learn through the same process that they learned by. We insist upon forced mental feeding and our lessons become a form of torture. This is one of man’s most cruel and wasteful mistakes." -

"What, what is virtue, but repose of mind. A pure ethereal calm, that knows no storm; above the reach of wild ambitions’ wind, above those passions that this world deform and torture man." - Edward Thomson

"The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul." - John Calvin

"Wealth is nothing in itself; it is not useful but when it departs from us; its value is found only in that which it can purchase. As to corporeal enjoyment, money can neither open new avenues of pleasure, nor block up the passages of anguish. Disease and infirmity still continue to torture and enfeeble, perhaps exasperated by luxury, or promoted by softness. With respect to the mind, it has rarely been observed that wealth contributes much to quicken the discernment or elevate the imagination, but may, by hiring flattery, or laying diligence asleep, confirm error and harden stupidity." -

"The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt." - Thomas Merton

"Time is never more misspent than while we declaim against the want of it; all our actions are then tinctured with peevishness. The yoke of life is certainly the least oppressive when we carry it with good-humor; and in the shades of rural retirement, when we have once acquired a resolution to pass our hours with economy sorrowful lamentations on the subject of time misspent and business neglected never torture the mind." - Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann

"Let us be clear: censorship is cowardice… It masks corruption. It is a school of torture: its teaches, and accustoms one to the use of force against an idea, to submit thought to an alien “other.” But worst still, censorship destroys criticism, which is the essential ingredient of culture." - Pablo Antonio Cuadra

"He does not see, poor wretch, that his life is but a gilded torture, that he is bound fast by his wealth, and that his money owns him rather than he owns it." - Cyprian, aka Saint Cyprian of Carthage, fully Thascius Caecilius Cyprianus NULL

"Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last. Imagine that you are doing this but that it is essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature…. in order to found that edifice on its unavenged tears. Would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?" -

"There will one day spring from the brain of science a machine or force so fearful in its potentialities, so absolutely terrifying, that even man, the fighter, who will dare torture and death in order to inflict torture and death, will be appalled, and so abandon war forever. What man's mind can create, man's character can control." - Thomas Edison, fully Thomas Alva Edison

"I have come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom… As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable, or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child humanized or dehumanized." - Haim Ginott, fully Haim G. Ginott, orignially Ginzburg

"Faith is a gift of God which man can neither give or take away by promise of rewards or menaces of torture." - Thomas Hobbes

"The doctrine of original sin is a theological perversion of natural fact. It is a fact that all human beings begin life with an equipment of instincts, impulses, and desires, at war with one another and often out of harmony with the realities of eth physical, social, and spiritual world. Sin and the sense of sin will always be with us, to torture and weigh down; but… the religion of the future will try to prevent men’s being afflicted with the sense of sin, rather than encourage it, and then attempt to cure it." - Julian Huxley, fully Sir Julian Sorell Huxley

"Some religious people abolish hatred because they’re religious. Others are fanatical, and they invoke hatred because they are religious. I believe that religion could be a marvelous way of humanizing society. Others believe that religion is here to serve fanatics, to punish, to chastise, to torture, to torment." - Elie Wiesel, fully Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel

"The cross is the symbol of torture; I prefer the dollar sign, the symbol of free trade, therefore of a free mind." - Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum

"This world, sir, is very clearly a place of torment and penance, a place where the fool flourishes and the good and wise are hated and persecuted, a place where men and women torture one another in the name of love; where children are scourged and enslaved in the name of parental duty and education; where the weak in body are poisoned and mutilated in the name of healing." - George Bernard Shaw

"Doubtless criticism was originally benignant, pointing out the beauties of a work rather than its defects. The passions of men have made it malignant, as the bad heart of Procrustes turned the bed, the symbol of repose, into an instrument of torture." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

"Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself." -

"Hell is not torture; hell is an empty heart." - Kahlil Gibran

"There is torture of mind as well as body; the will is as much affected by fear as by force. And there comes a point where this Court should not be ignorant as judges of what we know as men." - Felix Frankfurter

"Imagine that you are creating a fabric of human destiny with the object of making men happy in the end, giving them peace and rest at last. Imagine that you are doing this but that it is essential and inevitable to torture to death only one tiny creature…. in order to found that edifice on its unavenged tears. Would you consent to be the architect on those conditions?" - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

"It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals; let them make their experiments on journalists and politicians." - Henrik Ibsen, aka Henrik Johan Ibsen

"If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. I would also want a God who would not allow a Hell. Infinite torture can only be a punishment for infinite evil, and I don't believe that infinite evil can be said to exist even in the case of Hitler. Besides, if most human governments are civilized enough to try to eliminate torture and outlaw cruel and unusual punishments, can we expect anything less of an all-merciful God? I feel that if there were an afterlife, punishment for evil would be reasonable and of a fixed term. And I feel that the longest and worst punishment should be reserved for those who slandered God by inventing Hell." - Isaac Asimov, born Isaak Yudovich Ozimov

"Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself." - James Froude, fully James Anthony Froude

"I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The torture of a bad conscience is the hell of a living soul. " - John Calvin

"Death is a personal matter, arousing sorrow, despair, fervor, or dry-hearted philosophy. Funerals, on the other hand, are social functions. Imagine going to a funeral without first polishing the automobile. Imagine standing at a graveside not dressed in your best dark suit and your best black shoes, polished delightfully. Imagine sending flowers to a funeral with no attached card to prove you had done the correct thing. In no social institution is the codified ritual of behavior more rigid than in funerals. Imagine the indignation if the minister altered his sermon or experimented with facial expression. Consider the shock if, at the funeral parlors, any chairs were used but those little folding yellow torture chairs with the hard seats. No, dying, a man may be loved, hated, mourned, missed; but once dead he becomes the chief ornament of a complicated and formal social celebration." - John Steinbeck, fully John Ernst Steinbeck

"Less than fifteen per cent of the people do any original thinking on any subject... The greatest torture in the world for most people is to think." - Luther Burbank

"My heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy, and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred, it did not endure the violence of the change without torture such as you cannot even imagine." - Mary Shelley, née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin

"In judging myself I shall try to be as harsh as truth, as I want others also to be. Measuring myself by that standard I must exclaim with Surdas: ' Where is there a wretch So wicked and loathsome as I? I have forsaken my Maker, So faithless have I been.' For it is an unbroken torture to me that I am still so far from him, who, as I fully know, governs every breath of my life, and whose offspring I am. I know that it is the evil passions within that keep me so far from Him, and yet I cannot get away from them." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"How can one be compelled to accept slavery? I simply refuse to do the master's bidding. He may torture me, break my bones to atoms and even kill me. He will then have my dead body, not my obedience. Ultimately, therefore, it is I who am the victor and not he, for he has failed in getting me to do what he wanted done." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"Above all though we are responsible for rein-countering at least once in every incarnation the soul mate who sure to cross our path. Even if it is only for a matter of moments, because those moments bring with them a love so intense that it justifies the rest of our days... We can also allow our soul mate to pass us by, without accepting him or her or even noticing. Then we will need another incarnation in order to find that soul mate and because of our selfishness, we will be condemned to the worst torture human kind ever invented for itself, loneliness. " - Paulo Coelho

"You would not easily guess All the modes of distress Which torture the tenants of earth; And the various evils, Which like so many devils, Attend the poor souls from their birth." - Percy Bysshe Shelley

"We have always liked to think ourselves less savage than the other animals. To say that people are "humane" is to say that they are kind; to say that they are "beastly," "brutal," or simply that they behave "like animals" is to suggest that they are cruel and nasty. We rarely stop to consider that the animal who kills with the least reason to do so is the human animal. We think of lions and wolves as savage because they kill; but they must kill, or starve. Humans kill other animals for sport, to satisfy their curiosity, to beautify their bodies, and to please their palates. Human beings also kill members of their own species for greed or power. Moreover, human beings are not content with mere killing. Throughout history they have shown a tendency to torment and torture both their fellow human beings and their fellow animals before putting them to death. No other animal shows much interest in doing this. " - Peter Singer

"Prison is designed to silence dissent. We savage people in order to make them better citizens. We torture men and women to make them kinder and more productive. We execute human beings, in order to teach our children respect for human life." - Philip Berrigan

"I have made up my mind that if there is a God, he will be merciful to the merciful. Upon that rock I stand. That he will not torture the forgiving. Upon that rock I stand. That every man should be true to himself, and that there is no world, no star, in which honesty is a crime. Upon that rock I stand. The honest man, the good woman, the happy child, have nothing to fear, either in this world or the world to come. Upon that rock I stand. " - Robert Ingersoll, fully Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll

"Obama is a statist. He's an authoritarian. He doesn't want to govern; he wants to rule." - Rush Limbaugh

"You wish to see; listen. Hearing is a step toward Vision." - Saint Bernard of Clairvaux NULL

"The man who threatens the world is always ridiculous; for the world can easily go on without him, and, in a short time, will cease to miss him." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"Were a man not to marry a second time, it might be concluded that his first wife had given him a disgust to marriage; but by taking a second wife, he pays the highest compliment to the first, by showing that she made him so happy as a married man, that he wishes to be so a second time." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"For the first time in my life, I took part in a real battle between men. The dead did not come to life again, the vanquished fled in disorder; every thrust of my lance helped save Carmona. That day, I would have died with a smile on my lips, certain of having contributed to a triumphant future for my city." - Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

"There are none of his people so despicable in the eye of man, but they are known and regarded by God; though they are clouded in the world, yet they are the stars of the world; and shall God number the inanimate stars in the heavens, and make no account of his living stars on the earth? No, wherever they are dispersed, he will not forget them; however they are afflicted, he will not despise them; the stars are so numerous, that they are innumerable by man; some are visible and known by men; others lie more hid and undiscovered in a confused light, as those in the Milky Way; man cannot see one of them distinctly. God knows all his people. As he can do what is above the power of man to perform, so he understands what is above the skill of man to discover; shall man measure God by his scantiness? Proud man must not equal himself to God, nor cut God as short as his own line. He tells the number of the stars, and calls them all by their names. He hath them all in his list, as generals the names of their soldiers in their muster-roll, for they are his host, which he marshals in the heavens (as Isa. xi. 26, where you have the like expression); he knows them more distinctly than man can know anything, and so distinctly as to call “them all by their names.”" - Stephen Charnock

"What did one see if one looked in any depth into the world of this writer's fiction? Elegant self-control concealing from the world's eyes until the very last moment a state of inner disintegration and biological decay; sallow ugliness, sensuously marred and worsted, which nevertheless is able to fan its smoldering concupiscence to a pallid impotence, which from the glowing depths of the spirit draws strength to cast down a whole proud people at the foot of the Cross and set its own foot upon them as well; gracious poise and composure in the empty austere service of form; the false, dangerous life of the born deceiver, his ambition and his art which lead so soon to exhaustion ---" - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"Inexorably life moves on toward crisis and mystery." - Thomas Merton