Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Truths

"To live in the presence of great truths and eternal laws, to be led by permanent ideals - that is what keeps a man patient when the world ignores him, and calm and unspoiled when the world praises him." - Honoré de Balzac

"The greatest truths (thoughts) are wronged if not linked with beauty, and they win their way most surely and deeply into the soul, when arranged in this their natural and fit attire." - William Ellery Channing

"We live in the present, we dream of the future, but we learn eternal truths from the past." - Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, born Soong Mei-ling or May-ling

"If men can ever learn to accept their truths as not final, and if they an ever learn to build on something better than dogma, they may not be found saying, discouragedly, every once in so often, that every civilization carries in it the seeds of decay." - Clarence Shepard Day, Jr.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." - Declaration of Independence NULL

"The greatest truths are the simplest; and so are the greatest men." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"The end of all moral speculations is to teach us our duty; and, by proper representations of deformity of vice, and beauty of virtue, beget correspondent habits, and engage us to avoid the one and embrace the other. But is this ever to be expected from inferences and conclusions of the understanding, which of themselves have no hold of the affections, or set in motion the active powers of men? They discover truths: but where the truths which they discover are indifferent, and beget no desire or aversion, they can have no influence on conduct and behavior." - David Hume

"We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable; that all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." - Thomas Jefferson

"But it is the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths that distinguishes us from the mere animals and gives us Reason and the sciences, raising us to the knowledge of ourselves and of God. And it is this in us that is called the rational soul or mind. It is also through the knowledge of necessary truths, and through their abstract expression, that we rise to acts of reflection, which make us think of what is called I, and observe that this or that is within us: and thus, thinking of ourselves, we think of being, of substance, of the simple and the compound, of the immaterial, and of God Himself, conceiving that what is limited in us is in Him without limits." -

"We say that the truth will make us free. Yes, but that truth is a thousand truths which grow and change." - Walter Lippmann

"Great truths are portions of the soul of man; great souls are portions of eternity." - James Russell Lowell

"The greatest truths are commonly the simplest." - Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes

"All truths that are kept silent become poisonous." -

"To live in the presence of great truths and eternal laws to be led by permanent ideals - that is what keeps a man patient when the world ignores him, and calm and unspoiled when the world praises him." - Andrew Preston Peabody

"The deepest truths are the simplest and the most common." -

"It is the calling of great men, not so much to preach new truths, as to rescue from oblivion those old truths which it is our wisdom to remember and our weakness to forget." - Sydney Smith

"Man never rises to great truths without enthusiasm." -

"All truths wait in all things, they neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it... I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"Great men with great truths have seldom had much support from their associates." -

"There are many great truths which we do not deny, and which nevertheless we do not fully believe." - James Waddel Alexander

"Unless there is a recovery of the true dualism or, what amounts to the same thing, a reaffirmation of the truths of the inner life in some form - traditional or critical, religious or humanistic - civilization in any sense that has been attached to that term hitherto is threatened at its base." - Irving Babbitt

"One of the favorite maxims of my father was the distinction between the two sorts of truths, profound truths recognized by the fact that the opposite is also a profound truth, in contrast to trivialities where opposites are obviously absurd." - Niels Bohr, fully Aage Niels Bohr

"Heaven is not to sweep our truths away, but only to turn them till we see their glory, to open them till we see their truth, and to unveil our eyes till for the first time we shall really see them." - Phillips Brooks

"All life is a dream. But whether it be dream or truths to do well is what matters. If it be truth, for truth's sake. If not, then to gain friends for the time when we awaken." -

"We live in the present, we dream of the future, but we learn eternal truths from the past." -

"There is no tariff so injurious as that with which sectarian bigotry guards its commodities. It dwarfs the soul by shutting out truths from other continents of thought, and checks the circulation of its own." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"We must not let go manifest truths because we cannot answer all questions about them." - Jeremy Collier

"The truths of life are not discovered by us. At moments unforeseen, some gracious influence descends upon the soul, touching it to an emotion which, we know not how, the mind transmutes into thought." - George Gissing, fully George Robert Gissing

"All truths cannot be equally important. It is true that a finite whole is greater than any of its parts. It is also true, in the common-sense use of the word, that the New Haven telephone book is smaller than that of Chicago. The first truth is infinitely more fertile and significant than the second." - Robert Hutchins, fully Robert Maynard Hutchins

"Laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times." - Thomas Jefferson

"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." - Thomas Jefferson

"When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of men's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his experience. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstones of our judgment. The artist... faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an offensive state." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed; -'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the people's injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. The choice today is not between violence and non-violence. It is either non-violence or non-existence...Segregation is the offspring of an illicit intercourse between injustice and immorality." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Half the noblest passages in poetry are truisms; but these truism are the great truths of humanity; and he is the true poet who draws them from their fountains in elemental purity, and gives us a drink." - Letitia Elizabeth Landon

"Great truths always dwell a long time with small minorities, and the real voice of God is often that which rises above the masses, not that which follows them." - Francis Lieber

"Some truths between husband and wife must be spoken with sweetness. Wounded vanity is fatal to love. It makes one hate the person who inflicted the wound. In married conversation, as in surgery, the knife must be used with care." - André Maurois, born born Emile Salomon Wilhelm Herzog

"Progress consists largely of learning to apply laws and truths that have always existed." - John Allan May

"Three things we should keep in mind [in conversation]: first, that we speak in the presence of people as vain as ourselves, whose vanity suffers in proportion as ours is satisfied; second, that there are few truths important enough to justify paining and reproving others for not knowing them; finally, that any man who monopolizes the conversation is a fool or would be fortunate if he were one." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"What are man’s truths ultimately? Merely his irrefutable errors." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"Today the conservation movement finds itself turning back to ancient Indian land ideas, to the Indian understanding that we are not outside of nature, but of it... In recent decades we have slowly come back to some of the truths that the Indian knew from the beginning; that unborn generations have a claim on the land equal to our own; that men need to keep an ear to the earth, and to replenish their spirits in frequent contacts with animals and wild land." - Stewart Udall, Fully Stewart Lee Udall

"The only truths which are universal are those gross enough to be thought so. " - Paul Valéry, fully Ambroise-Paul-Toussaint-Jules Valéry

"That the truths of the Bible have the power of awakening an intense moral feeling in every human being; that they make bad men good, and send a pulse of healthful feeling through all the domestic, civil, and social relations; that they teach men to love right, and hate wrong, and seek each other's welfare as children of a common parent; that they control the baleful passions of the heart, and thus make men proficient in self-government; and finally that they teach man to aspire after conformity to a being of infinite holiness, and fill him with hopes more purifying, exalted, and suited to his nature than any other book the world has ever known - these are facts as incontrovertible as the laws of philosophy, or the demonstrations of mathematics." - Francis Wayland

"The only truths we can point to are the ever-changing truths of our own experience." - Peter Weiss, fully Peter Ulrich Weiss

"The trouble about man is twofold. He cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple." - Rebecca West, pen name of Mrs. Cicily Maxwell Andrews, born Fairfield, aka Dame Rebecca West

"Of all the qualities of a theologian must possess, a devotional spirit is the chief. For the soul is larger than the mind, and the religious emotions lay hold on the truths to which they are related, on many sides at once. A powerful understanding, on the other hand, seizes on single points, and however enlarged in its own sphere, is never safe from its narrowness of view." - Henry Benjamin Whipple

"A little knowledge leads the mind from God. Unripe thinkers use their learning to authenticate their doubts. While unbelief has its own dogma, more peremptory than the inquisitor's, patient meditation brings the scholar back to humbleness. He learns that the grandest truths appear slowly." - Robert Aris Willmott

"To believe in the prophet is to admit that there is above reason a sphere in which there are revealed to the inner visions truths beyond the grasp of reason." - Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali

"There are the trivial truths and the great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true." -

"Moving with the times does not mean surrendering timeless truths or abandoning the accumulated decencies of the centuries." - Sidney Greenberg

"Speculating will not do. It takes the forward movement of deliberate, dynamic living to make this journey – especially the longest and most important journey of all, the journey from our heads to our hearts and from our hearts to our wills. If the journey is life, then only through living will truths gain force that are otherwise barren platitudes." - Os Guiness