Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"Marx said that the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat lies between capitalism and communism. The more the proletariat presses the bourgeoisie, the more furiously they will resist. We know what vengeance was wreaked on the workers in France in 1848. And when people charge us with harshness we wonder how they can forget the rudiments of Marxism." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"The prime factors in the question of stability are such members of the C.C. as Stalin and Trotsky. I think relations between them make up the greater part of the danger of a split." - Vladimir Lenin, fully Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

"All my stories are webs of style and none seems at first blush to contain much kinetic matter. For me style is matter." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"I shall be dumped where the weed decays, And the rest is rust and stardust" - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"In accordance with the law the death sentence was announced to Cincinnatus C. in a whisper. All rose, exchanging smiles." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"We live not only in a world of thoughts, but also in a world of things. Words without experience are meaningless. What on earth can Dorothy Hummerson care for Greece and the Orient with their harems and slaves?" - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"Whenever in my dreams I see the dead, they always appear silent, bothered, strangely depressed, quite unlike their dear, bright selves. I am aware of them, without any astonishment, in surroundings they never visited during their earthly existence, in the house of some friend of mine they never knew. They sit apart, frowning at the floor, as if death we're a dark taint, a shameful family secret. It is certainly not then not in dreams but when one is wide awake, at moments of robust joy and achievement, on the highest terrace of consciousness, that mortality has a chance to peer beyond its own limits, from the mast, from the past and it's castle tower. And although nothing much can be seen through the mist, there is somehow the blissful feeling that one is looking in the right direction." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"Men appear to prefer to ruin one another's fortunes, and to cut each other's throats over a few miserable villages, than to extend the means of human happiness" - Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

"A spontaneous cessation of mental activity releases an absolutely new and dynamic energy. Silence increases the sensitivity of the total being. It refreshes the nervous system in an astounding way. As you come out totally replenished when you have had profound and innocent sleep, So do you come out totally renewed when you have had ceased to function through the ego in the hour of silence." - Vimala Thakar

"In a time when the survival of the human race is in question, to continue with the status quo is to cooperate with insanity, to contribute to chaos. When darkness engulfs the spirit of the people, it is urgent for concerned people to awaken, to rise to revolution." - Vimala Thakar

"There is much unexplored potential in each human being. We are not just flesh and bone or an amalgamation of conditionings. If this were so, our future on this planet would not be very bright. But there is infinitely more to life, and each passionate being who dares to explore beyond the fragmentary and superficial into the mystery of totality helps all humanity perceive what it is to be fully human. Revolution, total revolution, implies experimenting with the impossible. And when an individual takes a step in the direction of the new, the impossible, the whole human race travels through that individual." - Vimala Thakar

"I am risking my life for my work, and half my reason has gone." - Vincent van Gogh, fully Vincent Willem van Gogh

"Life is what you see in people's eyes, life is what they learn and learning, never ceases to be aware that, although she tries to hide - what?" - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Oh may the flood last forever. A virgin lip: no bungalows; as it was in the beginning. Now it’s lead grey with the red leaves in front. Our inland sea." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"Renouncement of evils and sins helps in the attainment of prosperity and success." - Atharva Veda, or Atharvaveda

"The Self is within all, and it is without all. – Isha Upanishad" - Upanishads or The Upanishads NULL

"Socrates said, “The misuse of language induces evil in the soul.” He wasn’t talking about grammar. To misuse language is to use it the way politicians and advertisers do, for profit, without taking responsibility for what the words mean. Language used as a means to get power or make money goes wrong: it lies. Language used as an end in itself, to sing a poem or tell a story, goes right, goes towards the truth." - Ursula Le Guin, fully Ursula Kroeber Le Guin

"Without a global revolution in the sphere of human consciousness, nothing will change for the better in the sphere of our Being as humans, and the catastrophe toward which this world is headed, whether it be ecological, social, demographic or a general breakdown of civilization, will be unavoidable. If we are no longer threatened by world war or by the danger that the absurd mountains of accumulated nuclear weapons might blow up the world, this does not mean that we have definitively won. We are in fact far from definite victory." - Václav Havel

"You people suffer less from their faults (mistakes) than from the prudence of the old." - Vauvenargues, Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues NULL

"Don't be deceived. You must face Destiny. Preparation is only possible now. Don't be fooled by your sunny skies. When the rains descend and the floods come and the winds blow and beat upon your house, your private dwelling, your own family, your own fair hopes, your own strong muscles, your own body, your own soul itself, then it is well-nigh too late to build a house. You can only go inside what house you have and pray that it is founded upon the Rock. Be not deceived by distance in time or space, or the false security of a bank account and an automobile and good health and willing hands to work. Thousands, perhaps millions as good as you have had all these things and are perishing in body and, worse still, in soul today." - Thomas R. Kelly, fully Thomas Raymond Kelly

"As yet, it must be owned, this daring expectation is but feebly reflected in our books. In looking over any collection of American poetry, for instance, one is struck with the fact that it is not so much faulty as inadequate. Emerson set free the poetic intuition of America, Hawthorne its imagination. Both looked into the realm of passion, Emerson with distrust, Hawthorne with eager interest; but neither thrilled with its spell, and the American poet of passion is yet to come. How tame and manageable are wont to be the emotions of our bards, how placid and literary their allusions! There is no baptism of fire; no heat that breeds excess. Yet it is not life that is grown dull, surely; there are as many secrets in every heart, as many skeletons in every closet, as in any elder period of the world’s career. It is the interpreters of life who are found wanting, and that not on this soil alone, but throughout the Anglo-Saxon race. It is not just to say, as someone has said, that our language has not in this generation produced a love-song, for it has produced Browning; but was it in England or in Italy that he learned to sound the depths of all human emotion?" - Thomas Wentworth Higginson

"Our knowledge of the mental life of animals equals in the main our knowledge of their sense-powers, of the instincts or reactions performed without experience, and of their reactions which are built up by experience." -

"The type of the Inevitable is death. I remember well that in my youth I believed that I was certainly exempt from its operation. First when my daughter died, next when you were wounded, I knew that I was mortal; and now I regard those years as wasted, as unproductive, in which I was not aware that my death was certain, nay, momently possible. I can now appraise at a glance those who have not yet foreseen their death. I know them for the children they are. They think that by evading its contemplation they are enhancing the savor of life. The reverse is true: only those who have grasped their non-being are capable of praising the sunlight." - Thornton Wilder, fully Thornton Niven Wilder

"My advice to myself and to everyone else, particularly young people, is to turn on, tune in and drop out. By drop out, I mean to detach yourself from involvement in secular, external social games. But the dropping out has to occur internally before it can occur externally. I'm not telling kids just to quit school; I'm not telling people to quit their jobs. That is an inevitable development of the process of turning on and tuning in." - Timothy Leary, fully Timothy Francis Leary

"Think for yourself, question authority." - Timothy Leary, fully Timothy Francis Leary

"We always have urged people: Don't take LSD unless you are very well prepared, unless you are specifically prepared to go out of your mind. Don't take it unless you have someone that's very experienced with you to guide you through it. And don't take it unless you are ready to have your perspective on yourself and your life radically changed, because you're gonna be a different person, and you should be ready to face this possibility." - Timothy Leary, fully Timothy Francis Leary

"While sitting in my prison cell, I was astonished to hear the local rock station play a new song by the Beatles entitled "Come Together." Although the new version was certainly a musical and lyrical improvement on my campaign song, I was a bit miffed that Lennon had passed me over this way. (I must explain that even the most good-natured persons tend to be a bit touchy about social neglect while in prison). When I sent a mild protest to John, he replied with typical Lennon charm and wit: that he was a tailor and I was a customer who had ordered a suit and never returned. So he sold it to someone else." - Timothy Leary, fully Timothy Francis Leary

"In our natural body every part has a necessary sympathy with every other, and all together form, by their harmonious conspiration, a healthy whole." - William Hamilton, fully Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet

"It is as if there were in the human consciousness a sense of reality, a feeling of objective presence, a perception of what we may call something there, more deep and more general than any of the special and particular senses by which the current psychology supposes existent realities to be originally revealed." - William James

"It is as important to cultivate your silence power as your word power." - William James

"That nature will follow to-morrow the same laws that she follows to-day is, they all admit, a truth which no man can know; but in the interests of cognition as well as of action we must postulate or assume it." - William James

"The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one." - William James

"The lunatic's visions of horror are all drawn from the material of daily fact." - William James

"The stream of thought flows on; but most of its segments fall into the bottomless abyss of oblivion. Of some, no memory survives the instant of their passage. Of others, it is confined to a few moments, hours or days. Others, again, leave vestiges which are indestructible, and by means of which they may be recalled as long as life endures." - William James

"THE TOUGH-MINDED. Empiricist (going by 'facts'), Sensationalistic, Materialistic, Pessimistic, Irreligious, Fatalistic, Pluralistic, Sceptical." - William James

"The trail of the human serpent is thus over everything." - William James

"The world is all the richer for having a devil in it, so long as we keep our foot upon his neck." - William James

"There is but one unconditional commandment, which is that we should seek incessantly, with fear and trembling, so to vote and to act as to bring about the very largest total universe of good which we can see." - William James

"Those thoughts are truth which guide us to beneficial interaction with sensible particulars as they occur, whether they copy these in advance or not." - William James

"We forget that every good that is worth possessing must be paid for in strokes of daily effort. We postpone and postpone until those smiling possibilities are dead... By neglecting the necessary concrete labor, by sparing ourselves the little daily tax, we are positively digging the graves of our higher possibilities." - William James

"We may be in the Universe as dogs and cats are in our libraries, seeing the books and hearing the conversation, but having no inkling of the" - William James

"Whatever universe a professor believes in must at any rate be a universe that lends itself to lengthy discourse. A universe definable in two sentences is something for which the professorial intellect has no use. No faith in anything of that cheap kind!" - William James

"The worst effect of sin is within, and is manifest not in poverty, and pain, and bodily defacement, but in the discrowned faculties, the unworthy love, the low ideal, the brutalized and enslaved spirit." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"That eagle that is flying high in the sky should not forget that if it should come down one day to see its shadow." - Padmasambhava, literally "Lotus-Born",aka "Second Buddha", better known as Guru Rinpoche (lit. "Precious Guru") or Lopon Rinpoche NULL

"Popular beliefs on essential matters must be examined in order to discover the original thought." - Egyptian Proverbs

"Trusting men is like trusting water in a sieve." - Egyptian Proverbs

"You will not mind if I say that where there is unhappiness in a house and there is an impression of someone [i.e. a departed spirit] coming back, it is because you make for that spirit a Garden of Memory in which it can live and revive its sufferings. Unless you are, consciously or unconsciously, in a state of mind in which this impression can vivify itself, you will not be troubled. Haven't you discovered that these things only happen to you when you are in a bad emotional state, physically or mentally disturbed? Don't you realize that you yourself vivify this memory?" - Eileen Garrett

"Sometimes ... yaralanıveririz so suddenly. But every wound will heal itself. Eventually heals, top off. Stored in the eyes. Does not want to be seen because there is no wound. As long as they advocate the wound pupils. Because if pupils are injured, you cannot look the world in the same way ever again. You start to see the bad side of everything you look at. Contaminants that have remained hidden even run away from his eyes. Did not see things that other people feel the same anymore and you do not love them anymore. Uncomfortable. They cannot look you in the same way again. This is close to you, so no one wants to see. Picture the same image, in fact, changing your eyes. If you walk out the picture, everything remains as before, not everyone is comfortable. Personally, I think it is best to go in such situations. Top go to the top. Out of spite." - Elif Safak

"But to be quite oneself one must first waste a little time." - Elizabeth Bowen, Full name Elizabeth Dorothea Cole Bowen

"The inspired scribbler always has the gift for gossip in our common usage he or she can always inspire the commonplace with an uncommon flavor, and transform trivialities by some original grace or sympathy or humor or affection." - Elizabeth Drew, aka Elizabeth Brenner