Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Universe

"The first real mental illumination I remember to have experienced was when I saw that the universe exists in each of its individual atoms - that is, the universe is the result of a few simple processes infinitely repeated. When a drop of water has been mathematically measured, every principle will have been used which would be called form in the measurement of the heavens. All life on the globe is sustained by digestion and assimilation; when by voluntary and traumatic action these stop death follows. The history of an individual mind is the history of the race. Know one thing in its properties and relations and you will know all things." - H. B.

"The Cosmos is not dead matter but a living Presence, the soul of man is immortal... the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all... the foundation principle of the world is what we call love and that the happiness of every one is in the long run absolutely certain." - Richard Maurice Bucke, often called Maurice Bucke

"The life which is in man is eternal, as all life is eternal; that the soul of man is as immortal as God is; that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love, and that the happiness of every individual is in the long run absolutely certain." - Richard Maurice Bucke, often called Maurice Bucke

"When a person who was self conscious only, enters into cosmic consciousness - he knows without learning certain things... that the universe is not a dead machine but a living presence... that in its essence and tendency it is infinitely good... that individual existence is continuous beyond what is called death." - Richard Maurice Bucke, often called Maurice Bucke

"Journey all over the universe in a map, without the expense and fatigue of traveling, without suffering the inconveniences of heat, cold, hunger, and thirst." - Miguel de Cervantes, fully Miguel de Cervantes Saaversa

"Love is the life of the soul. It is the harmony of the universe." - William Ellery Channing

"What blessedness it is to dwell amidst this transparent air, which the eye can pierce without limit, amidst these floods of pure, soft, cheering light, under this immeasurable arch of heaven, and in sight of these countless stars! An infinite universe is each moment opened to our view. And this universe is the sing and symbol of Infinite Power, Intelligence, Purity, Bliss, and Love." - William Ellery Channing

"Through all God’s works there runs a beautiful harmony. The remotest truth in His ;universe is linked to that which lies nearest the throne." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"The failure of our modern world, with its moral and ethical collapse, may be traced directly to our spiritual ignorance and moral disobedience. The ethical conditions under which we live are disgracefully unsanitary. It is futile to expect peace and goodwill on earth while our homes are infested with the germs of selfishness, irreverence and lust. The world-wide epidemic of hatred, cruelty, murder and war is the inevitable result of our moral and spiritual disobedience. We cannot break the laws of the universe with impunity." - Allen E. Claxton

"Life is not the creature of circumstance. Indeed, in the whole universe of everything that is, life alone, life by its very nature, is the antagonist of circumstance... If there is any one thing that is utterly clear about the nature of life, it is that it was meant to master circumstance. The spirit conquers all things when the spirit wills it, and no excuse remains when we fail to live as we wish." - Arthur Powell Davies

"It is the fixed law of the universe, that little things are but parts of the great. The grass does not spring up full grown, by eruptions: it rises by an increase so noiseless and gentle, as not to disturb an angel's ear - perhaps to be invisible to an angel's eye. The rain does not fall in masses, but in drops, or even in the breath-like moisture of the fine mist. The planets do not leap from end to end of their orbits, but inch by inch, and line by line, it is that they circle the heavens. Intellect, feeling, habit, character, all become what they are through the influence of little things. And in morals and religion, it is by little things - by little influences acting on us, or seemingly little decisions made by us, that everyone of us is going, not by leaps, yet surely by inches, either to life or death eternal." - Tyron Edwards

"“Desiderata" Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy." - Max Ehrmann

"My understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe did not come out of my rational mind." - Albert Einstein

"It seems not to be true that there is a power in the universe, which watches over the well-being of every individual with parental care and brings all his concerns to a happy ending. On the contrary, the destinies of man are incompatible with a universal principle of benevolence or with - what is to some degree contradictory - a universal principle of justice... Dark, unfeeling, and unloving powers determine human destiny; the system of rewards and punishments, which according to religion, governs the world, seems to have no existence." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Man is not born to solve the problem of the universe, but to find out what he has to do; and to restrain himself within the limits of his comprehension." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The meaning of man's life lies in his perfecting the universe. He has to distinguish, father and redeem the sparks of holiness scattered throughout the darkness of the world. This service is the motive of all precepts and good deeds." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." - John Andrew Holmes

"Your true nature is not lost in moments of delusion, nor is it gained at the moment of enlightenment. It was never born and can never die. It shines through the whole universe, filling emptiness, one with emptiness. It is without time or space, and has no passions, actions, ignorance, or knowledge. In it there are no things, no people, and no Buddhas; it contains not the smallest hairbreadth of anything that exists objectively; it depends on nothing and is attached to nothing. It is all-pervading, radiant beauty: absolute reality, self-existent and uncreated. How then can you doubt that the Buddha has no mouth to speak with and nothing to teach, or that the truth is learned without learning, for who is there to learn? It is a jewel beyond all price." - Huang Po, also Huángbò Xīyùn

"The thinker in all of us is the creator of the universe... Within the dominion of our minds we are surely God, for we can control what we think, and what we conceive to be true becomes the truth." -

"All beings in the universe, consider’d in themselves, appear entirely loose and independent of each other. ‘Tis only by experience we learn their influence and connexion." - David Hume

"It seems evident, that men are carried, by a natural instinct or prepossession, to repose faith in their senses; and that, without any reasoning, or even almost before the use of reason, we always suppose an external universe, which depends not on our perception, but would exist, though we and every sensible creature were absent or annihilated." - David Hume

"The life of man is of no greater importance to the universe than that of an oyster." - David Hume

"There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"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

"The work we are doing is more or less the work we meant to do in life [but] it does not yield us the feeling of accomplishment we had expected... If I were required to put into a single sentence my own explanation of the state of our hearts, heads, and nerves, I would do it this way: we are vaguely wretched because we are leading half-lives, half-heartedly, and with only one-half of our minds actively, engaged in making contact with the universe about us." - Walter Kerr, fully Walter Francis Kerr

"Life is based on limitation and compromise. The fact that we forget the meaning of life is the meaning of life. Being in a state of partial awareness allows experience and life to progress. God, as an omniscient being, is not an “experiencing being” because his or her experience is not new. If You were going to start a universe, what would Your options be? You could choose to remain totally stagnant, but that wouldn’t amount to a true universe. You’d need entities that experience it, entities that are fragile and temporary and not omniscient. That’s who we are and why we’re here." - Jaron Lanier, fully Jaron Zepel Lanier

"We might get to know the beauty of the universe in each soul, if we could unfold all that is enfolded in it and that is perceptibly developed only through time. But as each distinct perception of the soul includes an infinite number of confused perceptions, which involve the whole universe, the soul itself knows the things of which it has perception, only in so far as it has distinct and heightened [or unveiled] perceptions of them; and it has perfection in proportion to its distinct perceptions. Each soul knows the infinite, knows all, but confusedly." -

"When a person is born, he finds the world in a certain organized fashion. As he grows up, he tries to adjust himself to the assumptions that are accepted in the world. He views each event that occurs with the same perspective as the other people of his generation. These perspectives originated in the past and have been handed down from parents to children. These assumptions are taken for granted to such an extent that most people react to the accepted perspective of the world as if they were laws of the universe that cannot be changed. They are accepted as reality and are not challenged. Only a small minority of people obtain the necessary wisdom to look at the world with complete objectivity. They take a critical look at teach and every thing and try to understand everything as it really is instead of accepting the general prevalent outlook. Those who try to investigate the origin of every perspective will perceive everything in a much different light than is commonly accepted." - Yeruchem Levovitz, aka The Mashgiach

"The moral law of the universe is progress." - Guiseppe Mazzini

"The assertion ‘I am morally bound to perform this action’ is identical with the assertion ‘This action will produce the greatest amount of good in the Universe’." -

"If the universe be in man (as a scale of reality) as well as man in the universe, then if a man gives an inferior explanation of the universe it will react on himself; he will limit himself and remain inferior to his own potential being." - Maurice Nicoll

"What is man’s life compared to the life of the whole Universe? If man’s life is nothing but a minute part of the life of the whole world if he inserted into the cycle of all the Universe so that his appearance and reappearance is dependent upon the gigantic cosmic processes that belong to the Universe, what chance has he of altering anything in his destiny?" - Maurice Nicoll

"The arc of the universe is long but it bends toward righteousness." - Theodore Parker

"For most or even all forms of evil serve the Universe - much as the poisonous snake has it use - though in most cases their function is unknown. Vice itself has many useful sides: it brings about much that is beautiful, in artistic creations for example, and it stirs us to thoughtful living, not allowing us to drowse in security." - Plotinus NULL

"There are no trifles in the moral universe of God. Speak but one true word today, and it shall go ringing on through the ages." -

"I am too fond of myself to hate anyone. It would constrict... my life, which I prefer to expand over the whole universe." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The principal reason for sex deification is loss of belief in God. Once men lose God, they lose the purpose of life; and when the purpose of living is forgotten, the universe becomes meaningless. Man then tries to forget his emptiness in the intensity of a momentary experience." - Fulton Sheen, fully Archbishop Fulton John Sheen

"The Universe is governed by divine laws, which, unlike those of man’s making, are immutable, inviolable and an end to themselves, not instruments for the attainment of particular objects. The love of God is man’s only true good. From other passions we can free ourselves, but not from love, because for the weakness of our nature we could not subsist without the enjoyment of something that may strength us by our union with it. Only the knowledge of God will enable us to subdue the hurtful passions, This, as the source of all knowledge, is the most perfect of all; and inasmuch as all knowledge is derived from the knowledge of God, we may know god better than we know ourselves. This knowledge in time leads to the love of God, which is the soul’s union with Him. The union of the soul with God is its second birth, and therein consists man’s immortality and freedom." -

"To be rich in admiration and free from envy; to rejoice greatly in the good of others; to love with such generosity of heart that your love is still a dear possession in absence; these are the gifts of fortune which money cannot buy and without which money can buy nothing. He who has such a treasury of riches, being happy and valiant himself, in his own nature, will enjoy the universe as if it were his own estate; and help the man to whom he lends a hand to enjoy it with him." - Robert Louis Stevenson, fully Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson

"The infant is born in the same universe where lives the adult of ripe mind. But its position is not like a schoolboy who has yet to learn his alphabet, finding himself in a college class. The infant has it own joy of life because the world is not a mere road, but a home, of which it will have more and more as it grows up in wisdom. With our road that gain is at every step, for it is the road and the home in one; it leads us on yet gives us shelter." -

"Since we live in a changing universe, why do men oppose change?... If a rock is in the way, the root of a tree will change its direction. The dumbest animals try to adapt themselves to changed conditions. Even a rat will change its tactics to get a piece of cheese." - Melvin Tolson, fully Melvin Beaunorus Tolson

"One need remain in hell no longer than he chooses to; and the moment he chooses not to remain longer, not all the powers in the universe can prevent his leaving it. One can rise to any heaven he himself chooses; and when he chooses so to rise, all the higher powers of the universe combine to help him heavenward." - Ralph Waldo Trine

"From the perspective of the minuteness of our planet in relationship with the entire universe a person’s seeking honor is ridiculous." - Yechiel Michel Tukatinsky

"This deity who is manifesting himself in the activities of the universe always dwells in the heart of man as the supreme soul. Those who realise him through the immediate perception of the heart attain immortality." -

"All the things of the universe are perfect miracles, each as profound as any." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"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

"Keep in mind that we are in this world for a very short time and the things that upset us are of minor importance in the entire scheme of the universe." - Avraham Yellin

"Truth is the disciple of the ascetic, the quest of the mystic, the faith of the simple, the ransom of the weak, the standard of the righteous, the doctrine of the meek, and the challenge of Nature. Together, all these constitute the Law of the Universe." - John Hay Allison

"The universe is but a kaleidoscope which turns within the mind of the so-called thinking being, who is himself a curiosity without a cause, an accident conscious of the great accident around him, and who amuses himself with it so long as the phenomenon of his vision lasts." -

"One universe made up of all that is; and one God in it all, and one principle of being, and one law, the reason shared by all thinking creatures, and one truth." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus