Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Character

"The one thing worth living for is to keep one's soul pure." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"The perfection of moral character consists in this, in passing every day as the last, and in being neither violently excited nor torpid nor playing the hypocrite." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"There is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"To have contemplated human life for forty years is the same as to have contemplated it for ten thousand years. For what more wilt thou see?" - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"To live each day as though one's last, never flustered, never apathetic, never attitudinizing - here is the perfection of character." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"To live happily is an inward power of the soul." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"What a great deal of ease that man gains who lets his neighbor's behavior alone and takes care that his own actions are honest." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Your disposition will be suitable to that which you most frequently think on; for the soul is, as it were, tinged with the color and complexion of its own thoughts." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Theory without experience is sterile, practice without theory is blind." -

"[Wisdom] teacheth temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude." - Apocrypha NULL

"Be not a slave to your passions, less they consume your strength like a bull." - Apocrypha NULL

"Self-control and understanding, righteousness and courage, there is nothing in life more profitable than these." - Apocrypha NULL

"The greatest of virtues, self-control." - Apocrypha NULL

"The heart of fools is in their mouth, but the mouth of the wise is in their heart." - Apocrypha NULL

"The sacred commandments were given for the sake of righteousness, to arouse pious thoughts and to form character." - Apocrypha NULL

"What is philosophy? To deliberate well in reference to any question that emerges, never to be carried away by impulses, but to ponder over the injuries that result from the passions, and to act rightly as the circumstances demand, practicing moderation." - Apocrypha NULL

"With little or with much, be content." - Apocrypha NULL

"[Paraphrase] Action should be something added to the life of prayer, not something taken away from it." -

"A small error in the beginning is a great one in the end." -

"All of the moral precepts belong to the law of nature." -

"Beauty... consists in a certain clarity and due proportion. Now each of these has its roots in the reason, because both the light that makes beauty seen, and the establishing of due proportion among things belong to reason." -

"Beware of the man of one book." -

"Conscience is the dictate of reason." -

"Final and perfect happiness can consist in nothing else than the vision of the Divine Essence." -

"Good is the cause of love, as being its object. But good is not the object of the appetite, except as apprehended. And therefore love demands some apprehension of the good that is loved... Accordingly knowledge is the cause of love for the same reason as good is, which can be loved only if known." -

"Honor is not that reward of virtue, for which the virtuous work, but they receive honor from men by way of reward, as from those who have nothing greater to offer. But virtue’s true reward is happiness itself, for which the virtuous work, whereas if they worked for honor, it would no longer be virtue, but ambition." -

"It is impossible for any created good to constitute man’s happiness. For happiness is the perfect good, which quiets the appetite altogether since it would not be the last end if something yet remained to be desired. Now the object of the will, that is, of man’s appetite, is the universal good, just as the object of the intellect is the universal true. Hence it is evident that nothing can quiet man’s will except the universal good. This is to be found not in any creature, but in God alone, because every creature has goodness by participation. Therefore God alone can satisfy the will of man." -

"It is impossible for man’s happiness to consist in wealth." -

"Knowledge is in inverse ratio to materiality... Moreover, among the senses, sight has the most perfect knowledge because it is the least material... while among intellects the more perfect is the more immaterial." -

"Knowledge is loved not that any good may come to it but that it may be possessed." -

"Man does not choose of necessity... in all particular goods, the reason can consider an aspect of some good, and the lack of some good, which has the aspect of evil; and in this respect, it can apprehend any single one of such goods as to be chosen or to be avoided. The perfect good alone which is Happiness, cannot be apprehended by the reason as an evil, or as lacking in any way. Consequently man wills Happiness of necessity, nor can he will not to be happy, or to be unhappy. Now since choice is not of the end, but of the means... it is not of the perfect good, which is Happiness, but of other particular goods. Therefore man chooses not of necessity, but freely." -

"Man is judged to be good or bad chiefly according to the pleasure of the human will; for that man is good and virtuous who takes pleasure in the works of virtue, and that man evil who takes pleasure in evil works." -

"Moral virtue can be without some of the intellectual virtues, namely, wisdom, science and art, but not without understanding and prudence. Moral virtue cannot be without prudence, because moral virtue is habit of choosing, that is, making us choose well." -

"No being can be spoken of as evil, in so far as it is being, but only so far as it lacks being. Thus a man is said to be evil because he lacks the being of virtue; and an eye is said to be evil because it lacks the power to see well." -

"Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious." -

"Prudence considers the means of acquiring happiness, but wisdom considers the very object of happiness." -

"The character of the human will is of moment; because, if it is wrong, these motions of the soul will be wrong, but if it is right, they will be not merely blameless, but even praiseworthy." -

"The corruption of the best is the worst." -

"The greatest of all pleasures consists in the contemplation of truth." -

"The happy man needs friends... not, indeed, not make use of them, since he suffices himself, nor to delight in them, since he possesses perfect delight in the operation of virtue, but for the purpose of a good operation, namely, that he may do good to them, that he may delight in seeing them do good, and again that he may be helped by them in his good work." -

"The intellectual soul, because it can comprehend universals, has a power extending to the infinite; therefore it cannot be limited by nature either to certain fixed natural judgments, or to certain fixed means whether of defense or of clothing, as is the case with other animals, the souls of which have knowledge and power in regard to fixed particular things. Instead of all these, man has by nature his reason and his hands, which are the organs of organs, since by their means man can make for himself instruments of an infinite variety, and for any number of purposes." -

"The light of faith makes us see what we believe. For just as, by the habits of the other virtues, man sees what is fitting to him in respect of that habit, so, by the habit of faith, the human mind is directed to assent to such things as are fitting to a right faith, and not to assent to others." -

"The movement of love has a twofold tendency: towards the good which a man wishes to someone, whether for himself or for another; and towards that to which he wishes some good. Accordingly, man has love of concupiscence towards the good that he wishes to another, and love of friendship towards him to whom he wishes good." -

"The soul is known by its acts." -

"There cannot be a supreme evil, because... although evil always lessens good, yet it never wholly consumes it; and thus, since good always remains, nothing can be wholly and perfectly bad." -

"Through every mortal sin which is contrary to God’s commandments, an obstacle is placed to the outpouring of charity, since from the very fact that a man chooses to prefer sin to God’s friendship, which requires that we should follow His will, it follows that the habit of charity is lost at once through one mortal sin." -

"When a thing is done again and again, it seems to proceed from a deliberate judgment of reason. Accordingly, custom has the force of a law, abolishes law, and is the interpreter of law." -

"When... the thing in which there is good is nobler than the soul itself, in which is the idea understood, by comparison with such a thing the will is higher than the intellect. But when the thing which is good is less noble than the soul, then even in comparison with the thing the intellect is higher than the will. Therefore the love of God is better than the knowledge of God; but, on the contrary, the knowledge of corporeal things is better than the love of them. Absolutely, however, the intellect is nobler than the will." -

"Youth is a cause of hope for three reasons... And these three reasons may be gathered from the three conditions of the good which is the object of hope - namely, that it is future, arduous and possible... For youth has much of the future before it, and little of the past; and therefore since memory is of the past, and hope of the future, it has little to remember and lives very much in hope. Again, youths, on account of the heat of their nature, are full of spirit, so that their heart expands, and it is owing to the heart being expanded that one tends to that which is arduous; therefore youths are spirited and hopeful. Likewise they who have not suffered defeat, nor had experience of obstacles to their efforts, are prone to count a thing possible to them. Therefore youths, through inexperience of obstacles and of their own shortcomings, easily count a thing possible, and consequently are of good hope." -

"Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-born U. S. Political Scientist, Philosopher" -