Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity." - James Fenimore Cooper

"Existence is a strange bargain. Life owes us little; we owe it everything. The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose." - William Cowper

"Only man is capable of separating himself alike from God and from nature, and making himself his last end and living a purely self-regarding and irreligious existence." - Christopher Henry Dawson

"The universal and the transcendent Cause of all things is neither without life, nor without reason and intelligence; nor is he a body, nor has he form or shape, quality, quantity or weight; nor has he any localized, visible or tangible existence… He suffers no change, corruption, division, privation or flux; none of these things can either be identified with or attributed to him." - Dionysus NULL

"Compassion is the chief law of human existence." -

"Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission. This is the Indian theory of existence." - Mourning Dove or Christal Quintasket, aka Mourning Dove Salish and Christine Quintasket NULL

"A family which allows one of its members to die without being wept for shows by that very fact that it lacks moral unity and cohesion; it abdicates, it renounces its existence." -

"According to the laws of probability, the time it would take to produce a single molecule of a moderate degree of dissymmetry on a globe the size of the earth would be about 10243 Billions of years, whereas by the most recent calculations, based on radioactivity, the earth is estimate to have been in existence for only 2 billion years… the properties of a cell are born out of the co-ordination of complexity and not out of the chaotic complexity not out of the chaotic complexity of a mixture of gases. This transmissible, hereditary, continuous co-ordination entirely escapes our laws of chance." - L. Francis Edmunds

"The search for final truth rests with each individual personality and rendering the partial interpretations of our experience fundamentally consistent with one another. It is this fact that justifies the use of the word `God’ to designate the all embracing personality in whose existence ultimate reality exists." - L. Francis Edmunds

"What is important and of greatest significance is that an ideal of final truth is always before use and that the search for truth is acknowledged by all men as a duty not imposed from outside but born from within. The search for final truth rests with each individual personality and rendering the partial interpretations of our experience fundamentally consistent with one another. It is this fact that justifies the use of the word `God’ to designate the all embracing personality in whose existence ultimate reality exists." - L. Francis Edmunds

"I am satisfied with the mystery of life's eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of existence - as well as the humble attempt to understand even a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature." - Albert Einstein

"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery – even if mixed with fear – that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their primitive forms are accessible to our minds – it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitutes true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man." - Albert Einstein

"A slogan explains Existentialism: “Existence precedes essence.” Nietzsche, Sartre and Camus agree with this statement. Kierkegaard and Heidegger deny this statement." - Stephen A. Erickson

"“How many times in our comfortable lives,” I asked myself, “have we been moved to rise at half-past two of a winter night to feast and give thanks because we have so lived that we are suddenly pierced to the heart with the sheer blessedness of everyday existence?”" - Dorothy Canfield Fisher

"Faith is people’s evolved and evolving ways of experiencing self, others and world (as they construct them) as related to and affected by the ultimate conditions of existence (as they construct them) and of shaping their lives’ purposes and meaning, trusts and loyalties, in light of the character of being, value and power determining the ultimate conditions of existence (as grasped in their operative images – conscious and unconscious of them)." - James W. Fowler III

"Faith, as imagination, grasps the ultimate conditions of our existence, unifying them into a comprehensive image in light of which we shape our responses and initiatives, our actions… Faith, then, is an active mode of knowing, of composing a felt sense or image of the condition of our lives taken as a whole. It unifies our lives’ force fields." - James W. Fowler III

"In their unrestrained eagerness to possess, the oppressors develop the conviction that it is possible for them to transform everything into objects of their purchasing power; hence their strictly materialistic concept of existence. Money is the measure of all things, and profit the primary goal… To the oppressor consciousness, the humanization of the “others,” of the people, appears not as the pursuit of full humanity, but as subversion." - Paulo Freire

"Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"Love, the Answer to the Problem of Human Existence." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"There is no meaning in life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his power, by living productively… Only constant vigilance, activity, and effort can keep us from failing in the one task that matters – the full development of our powers within the limitations set up by the laws of our existence." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"Human existence has no such simple and direct meaning or goodness as the humanistic American dream... A comfortable chair, a hi-fi set, a pwoerful car, the protection of a deoderant, a college romance and a paying job, cannot even in combination provide meaning for our life." - Langdon Gilkey, fully Langdon Brown Gilkey

"The tight boundaries of rural, neighborhood, family-centered America have burst, breaking the bonds of exclusiveness and duty, freeing people for alternatives that seem to have no end, so much do they promise. And yet - the problem of loneliness. When it is mentioned, even the eyes of those who tend to deny its existence flicker inward for a moment." - Suzanne Gordon

"Death is not a period which brings the sentence of life to a full stop. It is only a comma that punctuates it to the loftier existence." - Sidney Greenberg

"To understand the mysteries of life and to appreciate the grandeur of our existence, we need to look way beyond our every day reality. If we can be expansive and think about the creation of our Souls and the nature of the universe, and consider why God made us and how we can accomplish our “mission,” then we can put this lifetime into a broader spiritual perspective." - Tom Gregory

"The kingdom of God means that He, the Father, the Brother, the Friend, is near, in the depths of the spirit, in the core of the heart; that loves rules perceptibly in our goings and comings, our dispensing and our receiving; the whole of existence is transfigured by it, and that, while everything is transfigured into this one thing, the essential beauty and character of each blossoms forth." - Romano Guardini

"Do you have the courage of your desires, or have you always considered your yearnings as idle and unproductive? Do you feel the wonder of existence, your own and that of everything? Does it truly do justice to that wonder to see it as an illusion or as a product of chance?" - Os Guiness

"The reality of God’s existence appears as love in the manifestation of goodness, beauty, and truth… Apart from God’s existence as living and active, existence has no ultimate meaning. However far we may look backwards in time, we cannot reach a time when the ordered beauty of the heavens – that beauty which seems overwhelming when we contemplate it – was not present. The existence of truth, order and beauty are eternal, since God is eternal." -

"Could the mind have an existence entirely independent of the central nervous system?... Scientific evidence that not only was her brain not working, it specifically demonstrated the absence of all cortical activity when these conversations actually took place. So where could these brand-new memories have been created?... Imagine the implications of the notion that quanta of conscious energy could exist independently in the Universe, able to enter from anywhere, at any time." - Allan J Hamilton

"I cannot believe that the life eternal is one endless idleness. If it were endless duration only, it would be endless boredom and scarcely willed by God. What we may be given to do in the next life we cannot say, and with so many forms of work in this life related to physical existence, it is useless to speculate. But if there is a fellowship of persons, God will give us tasks for their enrichment." - Georgia Harkness

"`Space’ is a concept… an imagination. There is no `place’, there is no `where’, there is no `here’, and there is no `there’; neither is there a `when’. Existence is independent of form, time, space, or location." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"If the goal of life is to do the very best one can do at each unfolding moment of existence, then, through spiritual work, one has already escaped the primary cause of suffering. In the stop-frame of the radical present, there is no life story to react to or edit. With this one-pointedness of mind, it soon becomes obvious that everything merely `is as it is’ without comment or adjectives. The illusion of `Now’ is replaced by the reality of `Always’." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"In Reality, nothing requires explanation. Nothing is caused by anything else. Existence requires no explanation nor does it have any dependence on any other state or quality. This understanding is clarified by the realization that nothing in and of itself has any `meaning’. Therefore, neither does it have `purpose’. Everything is already complete and merely self-existent as its own self-identity." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"The common element of most fears is that they are based on the illusion that happiness is dependent on externals and therefore vulnerable… Cessation of fear is the result of learning that the source of happiness and joy is from within. It stems from recognizing that its source is the joy of one’s own existence, which is continuous and not dependent on externals. This results from surrendering expectations and demands on one’s self, the world, and others. The thought “I can only be happy if I win or get what I want” is a guarantee of worry, anxiety, and unhappiness." - David R. Hawkins, fully David Ramon Hawkins

"Existence embraces both life and death, and in a way death is the test of the meaning of life. If death is devoid of meaning, then life is absurd. Life’s ultimate meaning remains obscure unless it is reflected upon the face of death." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"I believe the ultimate meaning of existence is to be a religious witness." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"In visions of wisdom, in devotion to the good, in submission to beauty, and when overwhelmed by the holy, we awake to behold existence in this relationship. In reverence, suffering, and humility we discover our existence and find the bridge that leads from existence to God. And this is religion." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Our existence seesaws between animality and divinity, between that which is more and that which is less than humanity." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"The greatest problem is not how to continue but how to exalt our existence. The cry for a life beyond the grave is presumptuous, if there is not cry for eternal life prior to our descending to the grave. Eternity is not perpetual future but perpetual presence. He has planted in us the seed of eternal life. The world to come is not only a hereafter but also a here-now." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"The island of existence is washed by the two oceans of eternity and nothingness, eroding it into what is less and elevating it into what is more than existence, into nothingness and into a higher reality, namely, the identity of event and value, the unity of being and meaning." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"We live in an age of self-dissipation, of depersonalization. Should we adjust our vision of existence to make our paucity, make a virtue of obtuseness, glorify evasion?" - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"We live not only in time and space but also in the knowledge of God. The events in the world reflect in him, and all existence is coexistence with God. Time and space are not the limits of the world. Our life occurs here and in the knowledge of God." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"What the world needs is a sense of ultimate embarrassment. Modern man has the power and the wealth to overcome poverty and disease, but he has no wisdom to overcome suspicion. We are guilty of misunderstanding the meaning of existence; we are guilty of distorting our goals and misrepresenting our souls. We are better than our assertions, more intricate, more profound than our theories maintain." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"Worship is a way of living, a way of seeing the world in the light of God. To worship is to rise to a higher level of existence, to see the world from the point of view of God." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"The huge concentric waves of universal life are shoreless. The starry sky that we study is but a partial appearance. We grasp but a few meshes of the vast network of existence." - Victor Hugo

"I believe in transhumanism”: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as our is from that of Peking man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny." - Julian Huxley, fully Sir Julian Sorell Huxley

"The future must have as its basis the consciousness of sanctity in existence – in common things, in the events of human life, in the gradually comprehended interlocking whole revealed to the human desire for knowledge, n the benedictions of beauty and love, in the catharsis, the sacred purging, of the moral drama in which character is pitted against fate and even deepest tragedy may uplift the mind." - Julian Huxley, fully Sir Julian Sorell Huxley

"The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself… not just sporadically, an individual here in one way, an individual there in another way, but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps trans-humanism will serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature… I believe in trans-humanism: once there are enough people who can truly say that, the human species will be on the threshold of a new kind of existence, as different from ours as ours is from that of Peking man. It will at last be consciously fulfilling its real destiny." - Julian Huxley, fully Sir Julian Sorell Huxley

"The law of duty demands moral perfection or holiness. But this is impossible in our present life, therefore it can only be attained by an indefinite progress, and this progress is only possible under the hypothesis of an existence and a personality that re indefinitely prolonged." - P. A. R. Janet and G. Sèailles

"Since there is no complete truth, our movement toward it is itself the only form in which truth can achieve completion in existence, here and now." - Karl Jaspers, fully Karl Theodor Jaspers

"You should know that the chief characteristic of the soul is awareness, and that it existence can be proved by all valid means of proof. Souls may be classified as transmigrant and liberated, or as embodied in immobile and mobile beings." - Jinabhadra NULL