Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Inspiration

"Know what work you want to do and go after it. The young man who gets ahead must decide for himself what he wishes to do. From his own tastes, his own enthusiasm, how he must get the motive and the inspiration which are to start him on his way to a successful life." - Henry Ward Beecher

"The past is our cradle, not our prison, and there is danger as well as appeal in its glamour. The past is for inspiration, not imitation, for continuation, not repetition." - Israel Zangwill

"What the world craves today is a more spiritual and less formal religion. To the man or woman facing death, great conflict, the big problems of human life, the forms of religion are of minor concern, while the spirit of religion is a desperately needed source of inspiration, comfort and strength." - John Davison Rockefeller, Jr.

"It is impossible to learn the art of poetry second-hand. Poetic inspiration comes only from the depths of the soul." - Moses ibn Ezra, fully Rabbi Moses ben Jacob ibn Ezra, known as ha-Sallah "Writer of penitential prayers"

"He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much: Who has gained the respect of intelligent men, and the love of little children: Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task: Who has left the world better than he has found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem or a rescued soul: Who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it: Who has looked for the best in others and given the best he had: Whose life was an inspiration: whose memory is a benediction." - Bessie Anderson Stanley, fully Elizabeth-Anne "Bessie" Anderson Stanley

"Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced." - Ned Rorem

"The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration." -

"The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration." -

"The glory of Friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to ne when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The true doctrine of omnipresence is that God reappears with all his parts in every moss and cobweb. The value of the universe contrives to throw itself into every point. If the good is there, so is the evil; if the affinity, so the repulsion; if the force, so the limitation. Thus is the universe alive. All things are moral. That soul which within us is a sentiment, outside of us is a law. We feel its inspiration; out there in history we can see its fatal strength. "It is in the world, and the world was made by it." Justice is not postponed. A perfect equity adjusts its balance in all parts of life. The dice of God are always loaded." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The glory of Friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship. My friends have come unsought. The great God gave them to me." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Aspiration shows us the goal and the distance to it; inspiration encourages with a view to how far we have come. Aspiration gives us the map of the journey; inspiration furnishes the music to keep us marching." - Ralph Washington Sockman

"Our free will can hinder the course of inspiration, and when the favourable gale of god’s grace swells the sails of our soul, it is in our power to refuse consent and thereby hinder the effect of the wind’s favour; but when our spirit sails along and makes it voyage prosperously, it is not we who make the gale of inspiration blow for us, nor we who make our sails swell with it, nor we who give motion to the ship of our heart; but we simply receive the gale, consent to its motion and let our ship sail under it, not hindering it by; our resistance." - Saint Francis de Sales NULL

"Prayer is a cup held high to be filled. It is an inward quest for inspiration. It is mentally reaching out of the great thoughts and illuminations of man in his continual search for meaning." - Wilferd Peterson, fully Wilferd Arlan Peterson

"The key to the art of listening is selectivity... Listen critically. Mentally challenge assertions, ideas, philosophies. Seek the truth with an open mind. Listen with your heart... Listen for growth. Be an inquisitive listener. Listen creatively... Listen to yourself. Listen to your deepest yearnings, your highest aspirations, your noblest impulses. Listen to the better man within you. Listen with depth. Be still and meditate. Listen with the ear of intuition for the inspiration of the Infinite." - Wilferd Peterson, fully Wilferd Arlan Peterson

"The key to the art of prayer is thought. As we think so we pray. The highest level of prayer is to think God’s thoughts after Him, to attune our lives to love, hope, faith, justice, kindness; to become open channels for the goodness of God. Prayer is quiet meditation about eternal values. It is the mind adventuring in the universe. Prayer moves with the instantaneous speed of thought, through infinite space, to the four corners of the earth, to the depth of the human heart, to the mountaintop of inspiration." - Wilferd Peterson, fully Wilferd Arlan Peterson

"Perpetual inspiration is as necessary to the life of goodness, holiness and happiness as perpetual respiration is necessary to animal life." - William Law

"In libertinage, nothing is frightful, because everything libertinage suggests is also a natural inspiration; the most extraordinary, the most bizarre acts, those which most arrantly seem to conflict with every law, every human institution." - Marquis de Sade, born Donatien Alphonse François de Sade

"He grows daily more capable of following any inspiration without technical effort, and also of letting inspiration come to him through meticulous observation. " - Eugen Herrigel

"Life is simply time given to man to learn how to live. Mistakes are always part of learning. The real dignity of life consists in cultivating a fine attitude towards our own mistakes and those of others. It is the fine tolerance of a fine soul. Man becomes great, not through never making mistakes, but by profiting by those he does make; by being satisfied with a single rendition of a mistake, not encoring it into a continuous performance; by getting from it the honey of new, regenerating inspiration with no irritating sting of morbid regret; by building better to-day because of his poor yesterday; and by rising with renewed strength, finer purpose and freshened courage every time he falls." - William George Jordan

"I discovered that what's really important for a creator isn't what we vaguely define as inspiration or even what it is we want to say, recall, regret, or rebel against. No, what's important is the way we say it. Art is all about craftsmanship. Others can interpret craftsmanship as style if they wish. Style is what unites memory or recollection, ideology, sentiment, nostalgia, presentiment, to the way we express all that. It's not what we say but how we say it that matters." - Federico Fellini

"Nature is my manifestation of God. I go to nature every day for inspiration in the day's work. I follow in building the principles which nature has used in its domain. " - Frank Lloyd Wright, born Frank Lincoln Wright

"We must present democracy as a force holding within itself the seeds of unlimited progress by the human race. By our actions we should make it clear that such a democracy is a means to a better way of life, together with a better understanding among nations. Tyranny inevitably must retire before the tremendous moral strength of the gospel of freedom and self-respect for the individual, but we have to recognize that these democratic principles do not flourish on empty stomachs, and that people turn to false promises of dictators because they are hopeless and anything promises something better than the miserable existence that they endure. However, material assistance alone is not sufficient. The most important thing for the world today in my opinion is a spiritual regeneration which would reestablish a feeling of good faith among men generally. Discouraged people are in sore need of the inspiration of great principles. Such leadership can be the rallying point against intolerance, against distrust, against that fatal insecurity that leads to war. It is to be hoped that the democratic nations can provide the necessary leadership." - George Marshall, fully George Catlett Marshall, Jr.

"It is well known that our Christian Western tradition has long refused to accept the wisdom of the pagans on an equal footing with the body of revelation that it cherishes and worships as its own." The fact that there are virtue, wisdom, and inspiration to be found even among the historical enemies of Christianity." - Heinrich Robert Zimmer

"A human being is a vessel that God has built for himself and filled with his inspiration so that his works are perfected in it." - Hildegard of Bingen, also known as Saint Hildegard and Sibyl of the Rhine NULL

"A human being is a vessel that God has built for himself and filled with his inspiration so that his works are perfected in it." - Hildegard Von Bingen, Blessed Hildegard of Bingen, Saint Hildegard

"The men who have furnished me with my greatest inspiration have not been men of wealth, but men of deeds." - J. C. Penney, formally James Cash Penney

"I think of affirmations and visualizations as tapping into the power of the imagination, which is a generator and transformer, a force that precedes and shapes who we become, and what we create and achieve. Whenever we attempt something new or difficult, we have to be able to imagine it before it becomes possible. It's the combination of inspiration and perspiration that brings about tangible results." - Jean Shinoda Bolen

"Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind." - Johannes Brahms

"Motivation and inspiration energize people, not by pushing them in the right direction as control mechanisms do but by satisfying basic human needs for achievement, a sense of belonging, recognition, self-esteem, a feeling of control over one's life, and the ability to live up to one's ideals. Such feelings touch us deeply and elicit a powerful response. " - John Kotter, fully John Paul Kotter

"All cultures … have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works." - Joseph Campbell

"The Greeks have given us one of the most beautiful words of our language, the word "enthusiasm" — a God within. The grandeur of the acts of men are measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a God within." - Louis Pasteur

"It is not speech or tool making that distinguishes us from other animals, it is imagination....Of what use are speech sounds and tools without an inspiration toward perfectibility, without a sense that we can create or construct a history. " - Louise J. Kaplan

"And it is because they contain thus within themselves the hours of the past that human bodies have the power to hurt so terribly those who love them, because they contain the memories of so many joys and desires already effaced for them, but still cruel for the lover who contemplates and prolongs in the dimension of Time the beloved body of which he is jealous, so jealous that he may even wish for its destruction. For after death Time withdraws from the body, and the memories, so indifferent, grown so pale, are effaced in her who no longer exists, as they soon will be in the lover whom for a while they continue to torment but in whom before long they will perish, once the desire that owed their inspiration to a living body is no longer there to sustain them." - Marcel Proust, fully Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust

"Inspiration comes unawares, from unaccountable sources that have nothing to do with planning or intelligence. Let it cool ever so slightly, and you are left, pen or brush in hand, with no inspiration at all. Gifted people need not, therefore, make a song and dance about being or supposing themselves superior. They simply happened to be born with that fortunate, subconscious equipment of theirs, and the mystery exists independently of intelligence or ambition." - Maurice Chevalier, fully Maurice Auguste Chevalier

"The lyricism of marginality may find inspiration in the image of the ''outlaw,'' the great social nomad, who prowls on the confines of a docile, frightened order." - Michel Foucault

"But the kind of knowledge that poetic inspiration brings is essentially individual in its character; it is figurative, vague, and indefinite. Religion, in its more advanced forms, rises higher than poetry. It moves from individual to society. In its attitude towards the ultimate reality it is opposed to the limitations of man; it enlarges his claims and holds out the prospect of nothing less than a direct vision of Reality. Is it then possible to apply the purely rational method of philosophy to religion?" - Mohamed Iqbal or Sir Muhammad Iqbal, aka Allama Iqbal

"I need no inspiration other then Nature's. She has never failed me yet. She mystifies me, bewilders me, sends me into ecstasies. Besides God's handiwork, does not man's fade into insignificance?" - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"That inspiration comes does not depend on me. The only thing I can do is make sure it catches me working. " - Pablo Picasso, fully Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso

"In fairy tales, the princesses kiss the frogs, and the frogs become princes. In real life, the princesses kiss princes, and the princes turn into frogs… In magic - and in life - there is only the present moment, the now. You can't measure time the way you measure the distance between two points. 'Time' doesn't pass. We human beings have enormous difficulty in focusing on the present; we're always thinking about what we did, about how we could have done it better, about the consequences of our actions, and about why we didn't act as we should have. Or else we think about the future, about what we're going to do tomorrow, what precautions we should take, what dangers await us around the next corner, how to avoid what we don't want and how to get what we have always dreamed of… In some cases, abandon the path of what, because we simply do not believe it. This is easy, all we have to do to prove that the road is not for us. But the events that begin to get and inspiration that comes to us through our journey… I'm not doing anything, and yet I'm also doing the most important thing a man can do: I'm listening to what I needed to hear from myself." - Paulo Coelho

"The mind in creation is as a fading coal, which some invisible influence, like an inconstant wind, awakens to transitory brightness; this power arises from within... could this influence be durable in its original purity and force, it is impossible to predict the greatness of the result; but when composition begins, inspiration is already on the decline; and the most glorious poetry that has been communicated to the world is probably a feeble shadow of the original conceptions of the poet. " - Percy Bysshe Shelley

"'Tis light translateth night; 'tis inspiration expounds experience; 'tis the west explains the east; 'tis time unfolds Eternity. " - Philip James Bailey

"Conclusion: What, then, is the importance of modern science for the argument for the existence of God based on the mutability of the cosmos? By means of exact and detailed research into the macrocosm and the microcosm, it has considerably broadened and deepened the empirical foundation on which this argument rests, and from which it concludes to the existence of an Ens a se, immutable by His very nature. It has, besides, followed the course and the direction of cosmic developments, and, just as it was able to get a glimpse of the term toward which these developments were inexorably leading, so also has it pointed to their beginning in time some five billion years ago. Thus, with that concreteness which is characteristic of physical proofs, it has confirmed the contingency of the universe and also the well-founded deduction as to the epoch when the cosmos came forth from the hands of the Creator. Hence, creation took place in time. Therefore, there is a Creator. Therefore, God exists! Although it is neither explicit nor complete, this is the reply we were awaiting from science, and which the present human generation is awaiting from it. It is a reply which bursts forth from nature and calm consideration of only one aspect of the universe; namely, its mutability. But this is already enough to make the entire human race, which is the peak and the rational expression of both the macrocosm and the microcosm, become conscious of its exalted Maker, realize that it belongs to Him in space and in time and then, falling on its knees before His sovereign majesty, begin to invoke His name: Rerum, Deus, tenax vigor,-Immotus in te permanens, -- Lucis diurnae tempora successibus determinans (Hymn for None). (A free English translation is: "O God, creation's secret force/Thyself unmoved, yet motion's source/Who from the morn till evening's ray/Through every change dost guide the day.") The knowledge of God as sole Creator, now shared by many modern scientists, is indeed, the extreme limit to which human reason can attain. Nevertheless, as you are well aware, it does not constitute the last frontier of truth. In harmonious cooperation, because all three are instruments of truth, like rays of the same sun, science, philosophy, and, with still greater reason, Revelation, contemplate the substance of this Creator whom science has met along its path unveil His outlines and point out His features. Revelation, above all, makes His presence, so to speak, immediate, vitalizing, and loving, like that presence of which either the simple faithful or the scientist is aware in his inner soul when he recites unhesitatingly the concise terms of the ancient Apostles' Creed: "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth." Today, after so many centuries which were centuries of civilization because they were centuries of religion, the need is not so much to reveal God for the first time as it is rather to recognize Him as a Father, reverence Him as a lawgiver, and fear Him as a Judge. If they would be saved, the nations must adore the Son, the loving Redeemer of mankind, and bow to the loving inspirations of the Spirit, the fruitful Sanctifier of souls. This persuasion, taking its remote inspiration from science, is crowned by Faith which, being ever more deeply rooted in the consciousness of the people, will truly be able to assure basic progress for the march of civilization. This is a vision of the whole, of the present as of the future, of matter as of the spirit, of time as of eternity, which, as it illuminates the mind, will spare to the men of today a long tempestuous night. It is that Faith which at this moment inspires Us to raise toward Him Whom we have just invoked as Vigor, Immotus, and Pater, a fervent prayer for all His children entrusted to Our care: Largire lumen vespere,-Quo vita nusquam decidat, (Hymn for None)-light for the life of time, light for the life of eternity." - Pope Pius XII, born Eugenio Marìa Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli NULL

"Some would insist that man is primarily an economic animal interested only in his material well-being. This is too narrow a view of a species which has produced numberless brave men and women who are prepared to undergo relentless persecution to uphold deeply held beliefs and principles. It is my pride and inspiration that such men and women exist in my country today." - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

"I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense… Schopenhauer’s saying, ‘A man can do what he wants, but not will what he wants,’ has been a very real inspiration to me since my youth; it has been a continual consolation in the face of life’s hardships, my own and others’, and an unfailing wellspring of tolerance. This realization mercifully mitigates the easily paralyzing sense of responsibility and prevents us from taking ourselves and other people too seriously; it is conducive to a view of life which, in part, gives humor its due. " - Albert Einstein

"A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all." - Rita Mae Brown

"Nations do not mistrust each other because they are armed; they are armed because they mistrust each other." - Ronald Reagan, fully Ronald Wilson Reagan

"Why is it inflationary if the people keep their own money, and spend it the way they want to, [but] not inflationary if the government takes it and spends it the way it wants to?" - Ronald Reagan, fully Ronald Wilson Reagan

"The abbot ought ever to bear in mind what he is and what he is called; he ought to know that to whom more is entrusted, from him more is exacted." - Saint Benedict of Nursia NULL