Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Guilt

"Many people weigh the guilt they will feel against the pleasure of the forbidden action they want to take." - Peter McWilliams, fully Peter Alexander McWilliams

"Seek to make a person blush for their guilt rather than shed their blood." - Tacitus, fully Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus NULL

"True guilt is guilt at the obligation one owes to oneself to be oneself. False guilt is guilt felt at not being what other people feel one ought to be or assume that one is." - R. D. Laing, fully Ronald David Laing

"Under these circumstances, silence among such a large group of people is an uncomfortable thing to experience. Guilt spreads around even to those who have nothing to feel guilty about. Many held their breath. Or, as I heard later, many did what me and my mum did and closed their eyes. We closed our eyes in a bid to remove ourselves." - Lloyd Jones

"Our dreams of a pure virtue are dissolved in a situation in which it is possible to exercise the virtue of responsibility toward a community of nations only by courting the prospective guilt of the atomic bomb." - Reinhold Niebuhr, fully Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

"Should there be a brother anywhere in the world who has sinned, no matter how great soever his fault may be, let him not go away after he has once seen thy face without showing pity towards him; and if he seek not mercy, ask him if he does not desire it. And by this I will know if you love God and me." - Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone NULL

"It’s fun to read things when you don't know all the words. Even children love it. One of the things any great children’s writer will tell you is that children like it if in books designed for their age group there is a vocabulary just slightly bigger than theirs.So they come up against weird words, and the weird words excite them. If you describe a small girl in a story as loquacious, it works so much better than talkative. And then some little girl will read the book and her sister will be shooting her mouth off and she will say to her sister, Don't be so loquacious. It is a whole new weapon in her arsenal." - Salman Rushdie, fully Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie

"How is it that we hear the loudest yelps for liberty among the drivers of negroes?" - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"In general people experience their present naively, as it were, without being able to form an estimate of its contents; they have first to put themselves at a distance from it — the present, that is to say, must have become the past — before it can yield points of vantage from which to judge the future." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Man found that he was faced with the acceptance of "spiritual" forces, that is to say such forces as cannot be comprehended by the senses, particularly not by sight, and yet having undoubted, even extremely strong, effects. If we may trust to language, it was the movement of the air that provided the image of spirituality, since the spirit borrows its name from the breath of wind (animus, spiritus, Hebrew: ruach = smoke). The idea of the soul was thus born as the spiritual principle in the individual ... Now the realm of spirits had opened for man, and he was ready to endow everything in nature with the soul he had discovered in himself." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"I have lost my mother, my father, my five, and ninety relatives in Poland. Poland is for me a cemetery." - Simon Wiesenthal

"Algebra and money are essentially levelers; the first intellectually, the second effectively." - Simone Weil

"Even if one is neither vane nor self-obsessed, it is so extraordinary to be oneself - exactly oneself and no one else - and so unique, that it seems natural that one should also be unique for someone else." - Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir

"There is no time of life past learning something." - Ambrose, aka Saint Ambrose, fully Aurelius Ambrosius NULL

"The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet, orbiting around a very average star in the outer suburb of one among a hundred billion galaxies. We are so insignificant that I can't believe the whole universe exists for our benefit. That would be like saying that you would disappear if I closed my eyes." - Stephen Hawking

"Nothing is quite as splendidly uplifting to the heart as the defeat of a human being who battles against the invincible superiority of fate. This is always the most grandiose of all tragedies, one sometimes created by a dramatist but created thousands of times by life." - Stefan Zweig

"When they are preparing for war, those who rule by force speak most copiously about peace until they have completed the mobilization process." - Stefan Zweig

"O my son! know thou that if the tail of the dog or the pig were ten cubits long it would not approach to the worth of the horse's even if it were like silk. O my boy! I thought that thou wouldst have been my heir at my death; and thou through thy envy and thy insolence didst desire to kill me. But the Lord delivered me from thy cunning." - Ahikar or Ahiqar NULL

"The conventional mind is at best a petty piece of machinery. It is oyster-like in its functioning, or, perhaps better, clam-like. It has its little siphon of thought-processes forced up or down into the mighty ocean of fact and circumstance; but it uses so little, pumps so faintly, that the immediate contiguity of the vast is not disturbed. Nothing of the subtlety of life is perceived. No least inkling of its storms or terrors is ever discovered except through accident." - Theodore Dreiser, fully Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser

"The covetous man is like a camel with a great hunch on his back; heaven's gate must be made higher and broader, or he will hardly get in." - Thomas Adam

"The system of banking [is] a blot left in all our Constitutions, which, if not covered, will end in their destruction... I sincerely believe that banking institutions are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity... is but swindling futurity on a large scale." - Thomas Jefferson

"When one day is like all the others, then they are all like one; complete uniformity would make the longest life seem short, and as though it had stolen away from us unawares." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"Whilst we show reverence to yond peeping moon." - Thomas Middleton

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." - Thomas Paine

"External freedom is only an aspect of interior freedom. Political freedom, as the Western world has known it, is only a political reading of the Bible. Religion and freedom are indivisible. Without freedom the soul dies. Without the soul there is no justification for freedom.… Hence every sincere break with Communism is a religious experience." - Whittaker Chambers, born Jay Vivian Chambers, aka Jay David Whittaker Chambers

"Is dirt nice? Is death nice? Above all is dying nice? And, in the end, we must ask, is God nice? I doubt it." - Whittaker Chambers, born Jay Vivian Chambers, aka Jay David Whittaker Chambers

"Saw a film on cancer yesterday, shown by the English delegation. No doubt about it. I'm right. Migratory cancer cells are amoebic formations. They are produced from disintegrating tissue and thus demonstrate the law of tension and charge in its purest form - as does the orgastic convulsion. Now money is a must - cancer the main issue - in every respect, even political. It was a staggering experience. My intuition is good. I depend on it. Was absolutely driven to buy a microscope. The sight of the cancer cells was exactly as I had previously imagined it, had almost physically felt it would be. Cancer is an autoinfection of the body, of an organ. And researchers have no idea of what, hor, or where!!" - Wilhelm Reich

"Under the influence of politicos, the masses blame the powers that be for wars. In the first world war it was the munition magnates, in the second the Psychopath General. This is shifting the responsibility. The blame for the war belongs only and alone to the same masses of people who have all the means of preventing wars. The same masses of people who — partly through indolent passivity, partly through their active behavior — make possible the catastrophes from which they themselves suffer most horribly. To emphasize this fault of the masses, to give them the full responsibility, means taking them seriously. On the other hand, to pity the masses as a poor victim means treating them like a helpless child. The first is the attitude of the genuine fighter for freedom, the latter is the attitude of the politico." - Wilhelm Reich

"I don’t measure my life by the money I’ve made. Other people might, but certainly don’t." - Warren Buffett, fully Warren Edward Buffett, aka Oracle of Omaha

"No wonder so many sermons are devoted exclusively to spiritual subjects. If one is living by the tithes of history's most destructive economy, then the disembodiment of the soul becomes the chief of worldly conveniences." - Wendell Berry

"To know all is to forgive all. No commonplace is more untrue. Behavior, whether conditioned by an individual neurosis or by society, can be understood, that is to say, one knows exactly why such and such an individual behaves as he does. But a personal action or deed is always mysterious. When we really act, precisely because it is a matter of free choice, we can never say exactly why we do this rather than that. But it is only deeds that we are required to forgive. If someone does me an injury, the question of forgiveness only arises if I am convinced (a) that the injury he did me was a free act on his part and therefore no less mysterious to him than to me, and (b) that it was me personally whom he meant to injure. He knows as well as they do why they are doing this -- they are a squad, detailed to execute a criminal. They do not know what they are doing, because it is not their business, as executioners, to know whom they are crucifying. If the person who does me an injury does not know what he is doing, then it is as ridiculous for me to talk about forgiving him as it would be for me to forgive a tile which falls on my head in a gale." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"Terror is everywhere the beginning of religion." - W. E. H. Lecky, fully William Edward Hartpole Lecky

"When the Church obtained the direction of the civil power, she soon modified or abandoned the tolerant maxims she had formerly inculcated; and, in the course of a few years, restrictive laws were enacted, both against the Jews and against the heretics." - W. E. H. Lecky, fully William Edward Hartpole Lecky

"I said that someone looks down on each of us in difficult hours — a friend, a wife, somebody alive or dead, or a God — and he would not expect us to disappoint him. He would hope to find us suffering proudly — not miserably — knowing how to die." - Viktor Frankl, fully Viktor Emil Frankl

"What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general, but rather the specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment." - Viktor Frankl, fully Viktor Emil Frankl

"A man does not make his destiny: he accepts it or denies it." - Ursula Le Guin, fully Ursula Kroeber Le Guin

"Sincerity is no test of truth - no evidence of correctness of conduct. - You may take poison sincerely believing it the needed medicine, but will it save your life?" - Tryon Edwards

"A name unmusical to the Volscians' ears, And harsh in sound to thine. -Coriolanus. Act iv. Sc. 5." -

"But this eternal blazon must not be to ears of flesh and blood." -

"O our lives' sweetness, That we the pain of death would hourly die Rather than die at once!" -

"O, my sweet sir, news fitting to the night, black, fearful, comfortless, and horrible." -

"How to deal with the goodness of their loved ones? Could be fought against goodness?" - Elif Safak

"So, of his gentleness, Knowing I loved my books, he furnished me from mine own library with volumes that I prize above my dukedom." -

"Where am I getting the brain space to store these words? I'm hoping that maybe my mind has decided to clear out some old negative thoughts and sad memories and replace them with these shiny new words." - Elizabeth Gilbert

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for - in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it." - Ellen Goodman

"Have you ever reflected that posterity may not be the faultless dispenser of justice that we dream of? One consoles oneself for being insulted and denied, by reyling on the equity of the centuries to come; just as the faithful endure all the abominations of this earth in the firm belief of another life, in which each will be rewarded according to his deserts. But suppose Paradise exists no more for the artist than it does for the Catholic, suppose that future generations prolong the misunderstanding and prefer amiable little trifles to vigorous works! Ah! What a sell it would be, eh? To have led a convict's life - to have screwed oneself down to one's work - all for a mere delusion! Bah! What does it matter? Well, there's nothing hereafter. We are even madder than the fools who kill themselves for a woman. When the earth splits to pieces in space like a dry walnut, our works won't add one atom to its dust." - Emile Zola

"But we can also see at once that there is no line between normal and neurotic, as we all lie and are all bound in some ways by the lies. Neurosis is, then, something we all share; it is universal.4 Or, putting it another way, normality is neurosis, and vice versa. We call a man "neurotic" when his lie begins to show damaging effects on him or on people around him and he seeks clinical help for it—or others seek it for him. Otherwise, we call the refusal of reality “normal" because it doesn't occasion any visible problems. It is really as simple as that. After all, if someone who lives alone wants to get out of bed a half-dozen times to see if the door is really locked, or another washes and dries his hands exactly three times every time or uses a half-roll of toilet tissue each time he relieves himself—there is really no human problem involved. These people are earning their safety in the face of the reality of creatureliness in relatively innocuous and untroublesome ways." - Ernest Becker

"He was going to sleep a little while. He lay still and death was not there. It must have gone around another street. It went in pairs, on bicycles, and moved absolutely silently on the pavements." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"Through being too knowing the fox lost his tail." - Italian Proverbs

"And what do you fear lady? he asked. ?A cage ? she said. ?To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire." - J. R. R. Tolkien, fully John Ronald Reuel Tolkien