Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Character

"There is a serious and resolute egotism that makes a man interesting to his friends and formidable to his opponents." - Edwin Percy Whipple

"A kind welcome is better than a good dinner." - Egyptian Proverbs

"When a teacher of the future comes to point out to the youth of America how the highest rewards of intellect and devotion can be gained, he may say to them, not by subtlety and intrigue not by wire pulling and demagoguery not by the arts of popularity not by skill and shiftiness in following expediency but by being firm in devotion to the principles of manhood and the application of morals and the courage of righteousness in the public life of our country by being a man without guile and without fear, without selfishness, and with devotion to duty, devotion to his country." - Elihu Root

"In liberating Iraq, we have rid the nation and the rest of the world from the danger of Saddam Hussein." - Elizabeth Dole, fully Mary Elizabeth Alexander Hanford "Liddy" Dole

"He was powerful and I died of love in his shadow." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"We are like Tolstoy’s fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, begging for pennies from every passerby, unaware that his fortune was right under him the whole time. Your treasure – your perfection – is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the busy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"Now I ask you if our religion teaches the dignity of woman? It teaches us the abominable idea of the sixth century--Augustine's idea--that motherhood is a curse; that woman is the author of sin, and is most corrupt. Can we ever cultivate any proper sense of self-respect as long as women take such sentiments from the mouths of the priesthood?" - Elizabeth Cady Stanton

"I know that an author must be brave enough to chop away clinging tentacles of good taste for the sake of a great work. But this is no great work, you see." - Dorothy Parker

"Kindness is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things even if we do not get anything in return. It is the joy of our life to do them. When we do good things from this inner desire, there is kindness in everything we think, say, want and do." - Emanuel Swedenborg, born Emanujel Swedberg

"What a man takes in by contemplation, that he pours out in love." - Emanuel Swedenborg, born Emanujel Swedberg

"Only they have to weep bitter tears who know what has come to them is the result of their foolish conduct, their ignorant way, their want of proper understanding of life and what love means." - Emil G. Hirsch, fully Emil Gustav Hirsch

"Concretely, the relationship of identification is the encumbrance of the ego by the self, the care that the ego takes of itself, or materiality. The subject - an abstraction from every relationship with a future or with a past - is thrust upon itself, and is so in the very freedom of its present. Its solitude is not initially the fact that it is without succor, but it’s being thrown into feeding upon itself, its being mixed in itself. This is materiality." - Emmanuel Lévinas , originally Emanuelis Lévinas

"If to be means to exist the way nature does, then everything which is given as refractory to the categories and to the mode of existence of nature will, as such, have no objectivity and will be, a priori and unavoidably, reduced to something natural." - Emmanuel Lévinas , originally Emanuelis Lévinas

"The conscious discovery by you that you have this Power within you, and your determination to make use of it, is the birth of the child. And it is easy to see how very apt the symbol is, for the infant that is born in consciousness is just such a weak, feeble entity as any new-born child, and it calls for the same careful nursing and guarding that any infant does in its earliest days. After a time, however, as the weeks go by, the child grows stronger and bigger, until a time comes when it can well take care of itself; and then it grows and grows in wisdom and stature until, no longer leaning on the mother’s care, the child, now arrived at man’s estate, turns the tables, and repays its debt by taking over the care of its mother. So your ability to contact the mystic Power within yourself, frail and feeble at first, will gradually develop until you find yourself permitting that Power to take your whole life into its care." - Emmet Fox

"It was Plato who bridged the gap between poetry and philosophy; for, in his work, appearance, despised by his Eleatic and Sophist predecessors, became a reflected image of perfection. He set poets the task of writing philosophically, not only in the sense of giving instruction, but in the sense of striving, by the imitation of appearance, to arrive at its true essence and to show its insufficiency measured by the beauty of the Idea." - Erich Auerbach

"You might be interested in his economic philosophy, Mr. Mason. He believed men attached too much importance to money as such. He believed a dollar represented a token of work performed, that men were given these tokens to hold until they needed the product of work performed by some other man, that anyone who tried to get a token without giving his best work in return was an economic counterfeiter. He felt that most of our depression troubles had been caused by a universal desire to get as many tokens as possible in return for as little work as possibly - that too many men were trying to get lost of tokens without doing any work. He said men should cease to think in terms of tokens and think, instead, only in terms of work performed as conscientiously as possible." - Erle Stanley Gardner

"How does one transcend himself; how does he open himself to new possibility? By realizing the truth of his situation, by dispelling the lie of his character, by breaking his spirit out of its conditioned prison. The enemy, for Kierkegaard as for Freud, is the Oedipus complex. The child has built up strategies and techniques for keep­ing his self-esteem in the face of the terror of his situation. These techniques become an armor that hold the person prisoner. The very defenses that he needs in order to move about with self-con­fidence and self-esteem become his life-long trap. In order to transcend himself he must break down that which he needs in order to live. Like Lear he must throw off all his "cultural lendings" and stand naked in the storm of life. Kierkegaard had no illusions about man's urge to freedom. He knew how comfortable people were in­side the prison of their character defenses. Like many prisoners they are comfortable in their limited and protected routines, and the idea of a parole into the wide world of chance, accident, and choice terrifies them. We have only to glance back at Kierkegaard's con­fession in the epigraph to this chapter to see why. In the prison of one's character one can pretend and feel that he is somebody, that the world is manageable, that there is a reason for one's life, a ready justification for one's action. To live automatically and un­critically is to be assured of at least a minimum share of the pro­grammed cultural heroics—what we might call "prison heroism": the smugness of the insiders who "know."" - Ernest Becker

"I have reached far beyond my competence and have probably secured for good a reputation for flamboyant gestures. But the times still crowd me and give me no rest, and I see no way to avoid ambitious synthetic attempts; either we get some kind of grip on the accumulation of thought or we continue to wallow helplessly, to starve amidst plenty. So I gamble with science and write." - Ernest Becker

"If you get rid of the four-layered neurotic shield, the armor that covers the characterological lie about life, how can you talk about “enjoying” this Pyrrhic victory? The person gives up something restricting and illusory, it is true, but only to come face to face with something even more awful: genuine despair. Full humanness means full fear and trembling, at least some of the waking day. When you get a person to emerge into life, away from his dependencies, his automatic safety in the cloak of someone else's power, what joy can you promise him with the burden of his aloneness? When you get a person to look at the sun as it bakes down on the daily carnage taking place on earth, the ridiculous accidents, the utter fragility of life, the power­lessness of those he thought most powerful—what comfort can you give him from a psychotherapeutic point of view? Luis Buimel likes to introduce a mad dog into his films as counterpoint to the secure daily routine of repressed living. The meaning of his sym­bolism is that no matter what men pretend, they are only one ac­cidental bite away from utter fallibility. The artist disguises the incongruity that is the pulse-beat of madness but he is aware of it. What would the average man do with a full consciousness of ab­surdity? He has fashioned his character for the precise purpose of putting it between himself and the facts of life; it is his special tour-de-force that allows him to ignore incongruities, to nourish himself on impossibilities, to thrive on blindness. He accomplishes thereby a peculiarly human victory: the ability to be smug about terror. Sartre has called man a "useless passion" because he is so hopelessly bungled, so deluded about his true condition. He wants to be a god with only the equipment of an animal, and so he thrives on fantasies. As Ortega so well put it in the epigraph we have used for this chapter, man uses his ideas for the defense of his existence, to frighten away reality. This is a serious game, the defense of one's existence—how take it away from people and leave them joyous?" - Ernest Becker

"In other words, it is not so much a question as to whether we are able to cure a patient, whether we can or not, but whether we should or not." - Ernest Becker

"The hope and belief is that the things that man creates in society are of lasting worth and meaning, that they outlive or outshine death and decay, that man and his products count." - Ernest Becker

"There is the type of man who has great contempt for "im­mediacy," who tries to cultivate his interiority, base his pride on something deeper and inner, create a distance between himself and the average man. Kierkegaard calls this type of man the "introvert." He is a little more concerned with what it means to be a person, with individuality and uniqueness. He enjoys solitude and with­draws periodically to reflect, perhaps to nurse ideas about his secret self, what it might be. This, after all is said and done, is the only real problem of life, the only worthwhile preoccupation of man: What is one's true talent, his secret gift, his authentic vocation? In what way is one truly unique, and how can he express this unique­ness, give it form, dedicate it to something beyond himself? How can the person take his private inner being, the great mystery that he feels at the heart of himself, his emotions, his yearnings and use them to live more distinctively, to enrich both himself and man­kind with the peculiar quality of his talent? In adolescence, most of us throb with this dilemma, expressing it either with words and thoughts or with simple numb pain and longing. But usually life suck us up into standardized activities. The social hero-system into which we are born marks out paths for our heroism, paths to which we conform, to which we shape ourselves so that we can please others, become what they expect us to be. And instead of working our inner secret we gradually cover it over and forget it, while we become purely external men, playing successfully the standardized hero-game into which we happen to fall by accident, by family connection, by reflex patriotism, or by the simple need to eat and the urge to procreate." - Ernest Becker

"When we are young we are often puzzled by the fact that each person we admire seems to have a different version of what life ought to be, what a good man is, how to live, and so on. If we are especially sensitive it seems more than puzzling, it is disheartening. What most people usually do is to follow one person's ideas and then another's depending on who looms largest on one's horizon at the time. The one with the deepest voice, the strongest appearance, the most authority and success, is usually the one who gets our momentary allegiance; and we try to pattern our ideals after him. But as life goes on we get a perspective on this and all these different versions of truth become a little pathetic. Each person thinks that he has the formula for triumphing over life's limitations and knows with authority what it means to be a man, and he usually tries to win a following for his particular patent. Today we know that people try so hard to win converts for their point of view because it is more than merely an outlook on life: it is an immortality formula." - Ernest Becker

"When you have a child, the world has a hostage." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"In this mighty “war of culture,” affecting as it does the whole history of the World, and in which we may well deem it an honor to take part, no better ally that Anthropogeny can, it seems to me, be brought to the assistance of struggling truth. The history of evolution is the heavy artillery in the struggle for truth." - Ernst Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel

"The common origin of man and the other mammals from a single ancient stem-form can no longer be questioned; nor can the immediate blood-relationship of man and the ape." - Ernst Haeckel, full name Ernst Heinrich Phillip August Haeckel

"The expression of the sounds in their tuneful prosody, and that which they had also in their musical recitation, must have been introductory to the impression they were to make, when separate from the human voice." - Étienne Bonnot de Condillac

"With regard to natural cries, this man shall form them, as soon as he feels the passions to which they belong. However they will not be signs in respect to him the first time; because instead of reviving .his perceptions, they will as yet be no more than consequences of those perceptions." - Étienne Bonnot de Condillac

"Don't give anybody up. . . or leave anybody out. . . . There's room for everything, and time for everybody, if you take your day the way it comes along and try not to be much later than you can help.--Spoken by Jack to Gloria" - Eudora Welty

"I cannot remember a time when I was not in love with them--with the books themselves, cover and binding and the paper they were printed on, with their smell and their weight and with their possession in my arms, captured and carried off to myself." - Eudora Welty

"It is reasonable to assume that, by and large, what is not read now will not be read, ever. It is also reasonable to assume that practically nothing that is read now will be read later. Finally, it is not too farfetched to imagine a future in which novels are not read at all." - Gore Vidal, fully Eugene Luther Gore Vidal

"The hand tools of early times are used no more. Mammoth machines have taken their place. A few thousand capitalists own them and many millions of workingmen use them." - Eugene V. Debs, fully Eugene Victor Debs

"And if the time should come when you are associated with groups that take delight in tearing down our American way of life, then they seem to enjoy pointing out the weaknesses of our free enterprise system – and it has weaknesses; it has weaknesses because it’s operated by men and women who are full of weaknesses – but when those times come, when our system is criticized, just keep in mind the fruits of the system, the great blessings that have come to us because of our American way of life. No group of people have ever attained the standard of living which is ours. And so let’s become acquainted with what has been accomplished. It’s all right to criticize; it’s all right to try and improve our American way of life; but in doing so, let’s not surrender, let’s not give up, let’s not jeopardize that system which has made America great." - Ezra Taft Benson

"History is not an accident. Events are foreknown to God. His superintending influence is behind the actions of his righteous children. Long before America was even discovered, the Lord was moving and shaping events that would lead to the coming forth of the remarkable form of government established by the Constitution. America had to be free and independent to fulfill this destiny." - Ezra Taft Benson

"One good yardstick as to whether a person might be the right one for you is this: in her presence, do you think your noblest thoughts, do you aspire to your finest deeds, do you wish you were better than you are?" - Ezra Taft Benson

"To be a successful missionary one must have the Spirit of the Lord. We are also taught that the Spirit will not dwell in unclean tabernacles. Therefore, one of the first things a missionary must do to gain spirituality is to make sure his own personal life is in order." - Ezra Taft Benson

"We call him a hero who maintains himself, single-handed, against superior numbers. We call him a master-horseman who sits a fiery and vicious steed, guiding him at will. And in like manner, we call him a moral hero who conquers the enemies within his own breast — and we admire and revere the soul which can ride its own passions and force them into obedience to the dictates of reason." - Felix Adler

"Old friends are always new." - Italian Proverbs

"One fool is enough in a house." - Italian Proverbs

"The ass does not know the worth of this tail till he has lost it." - Italian Proverbs

"The world wags on with three things: doing, undoing, and pretending." - Italian Proverbs

"True love never grows old." - Italian Proverbs

"Two dogs fight for a bone and a third runs away with it." - Italian Proverbs

"War begun, hell unchained." - Italian Proverbs

"When the devil is old he turns hermit." -

"When the wine is in, the wit is out." -

"When your devil was born, mine was going to school." -