Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"My intention is not to replace one set of general rules by another such set: my intention is, rather, to convince the reader that all methodologies, even the most obvious ones, have their limits. The best way to show this is to demonstrate the limits and even the irrationality of some rules which she, or he, is likely to regard as basic. In the case that induction (including induction by falsification) this means demonstrating how well the counter-inductive procedure can be supported by argument." - Paul Feyerabend, fully Paul Karl Feyerabend

"Our every wish is a command and our every intention is an act of creation." - Paul Pearsall

"We call them "consciousness movements" because of their common intention to throw open the windows and doors of the musty old mind-sets we live in, shake the dust out of the covers we wrap around our bodies, and in a thousand old and new ways, guide whoever is willing to show up and pay attention to a fresh experience of being human." - Paul H. Ray

"If therefore my work is negative, irreligious, atheistic, let it be remembered that atheism -- at least in the sense of this work -- is the secret of religion itself; that religion itself, not indeed on the surface, but fundamentally, not in intention or according to its own supposition, but in its heart, in its essence, believes in nothing else than the truth and divinity of human nature." - Paul Johann Feuerbach, fully Paul Johann Anselm Ritter von Feuerbach

"There is always a gap between intention and action… There is only one way to learn. It's through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey… The true experience of freedom: to have the most important thing in the world without owning it… They were happy because he loves has overcome the world, and not fear losing anything. True love is an act of surrender. " - Paulo Coelho

"We call the intention good which is right in itself, but the action is good, not because it contains within it some good, but because it issues from a good intention. The same act may be done by the same man at different times. According to the diversity of his intention, however, this act may be at one time good, at another bad." - Peter Abelard, Latin: Petrus Abaelardus or Abailard; French: Pierre Abélard

"The birth of the de-centered self can be profoundly disorienting, it is transcendental and often involves a heightened sense of awareness and connection. The analytical localized self can find it fragile, frightening and impossible to grasp... There is a sense of being present to what is seeking to emerge, with intentionality. If you follow your nature enough, if you follow your nature as it moves, if you follow so far that you really let go, then you find that you’re actually the original being, the original way of being. The original being knows things and acts, does things in its own [intuitive?] way. It actually has a great intention to be itself, and it will do so if you just let it." - Peter Senge, fully Peter Michael Senge

"We call the intention good which is right in itself, but the action is good, not because it contains within it some good, but because it issues from a good intention. The same act may be done by the same man at different times. According to the diversity of his intention, however, this act may be at one time good, at another bad." - Pierre Abelard, aka Abailard or Abaelard or Habalaarz

"Thus the system of the world only oscillates around a mean state from which it never departs except by a very small quantity. By virtue of its constitution and the law of gravity, it enjoys a stability that can be destroyed only by foreign causes, and we are certain that their action is undetectable from the time of the most ancient observations until our own day. This stability in the system of the world, which assures its duration, is one of the most notable among all phenomena, in that it exhibits in the heavens the same intention to maintain order in the universe that nature has so admirably observed on earth for the sake of preserving individuals and perpetuating species. " - Pierre-Simon Laplace, Compte de Laplace, Marquis de Laplace

"That which distinguishes him from the figurative artist is the fact that in his creations he frees himself from individual sentiments and from particular impressions which he receives from outside, and that he breaks loose from the domination of the individual inclination within him. It is therefore equally wrong to think that the non-figurative artist creates through ‘the pure intention of his mechanical process,’ that he makes ‘calculated abstractions,’ and that he wishes to ’suppress sentiment not only in himself but also in the spectator.’ It is a mistake to think that he retires completely into his system. That which is regarded as a system is nothing but constant obedience to the laws of pure plastics, to necessity, which art demands from him. It is thus clear that he has not become a mechanic, but that the progress of science, of technique, of machinery, of life as a whole, has only made him into a living machine, capable of realizing in a pure manner the essence of art. In this way, he is in his creation sufficiently neutral, that nothing of himself or outside of him can prevent him from establishing that which is universal. Certainly his art is art for art’s sake … for the sake of the art which is form and content at one and the same time." - Piet Mondrian, fully Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian

"R’ Pinchas said: “‘Hear O Israel, the Lord is our G-d, the Lord is One’ (Deuteronomy 6:4). The term echad [one] in the reading of the Shema, which proclaims the unity of G-d, [requires us to] state that there is nothing in the whole world other than the Holy One, Who fills the whole earth with His glory. The principal intention [of the commandment to recite the Shema] is that we should consider ourselves null and void, and [understand] that there is nothing to us but the soul within us, which is part of G-d above. Hence there is nothing in the whole world except the One G-d. Our principal thought when reciting the word echad should be that the whole earth is full of His glory and there is nothing [in the universe] devoid of Him”." - Pinchas Shapiro of Koretz, aka Pinchas or Pinchos of Koretz

"In recommending St. Thomas to Our subjects as supreme guide in the Scholastic philosophy, it goes without saying that Our intention was to be understood as referring above all to those principles upon which that philosophy is based as its foundation… St. Thomas perfected and augmented still further by the almost angelic quality of his intellect all this superb patrimony of wisdom which he inherited from his predecessors and applied it to prepare, illustrate and protect sacred doctrine in the minds of men… He (Thomas Aquinas) enlightened the Church more than all the other Doctors together; a man can derive more profit from his books in one year than from a lifetime spent in pondering the philosophy of others." - Pope Pius X, aka Saint Pope Pius X and Pope of the Eucharist, born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto NULL

"God has no intention of setting a limit to the efforts of man to conquer space." - Pope Pius XII, born Eugenio Marìa Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli NULL

"I have frequently pointed out in a variety of contexts that it is far from my intention to cast blame on parents… I have also carefully explained that I do not regard external circumstances as the cause of neurosis but rather the child’s psychological situation – that is, the impossibility of articulating his or her strong feelings caused by traumatic experiences." - Alice Miller, née Rostovski

"It was not at all the intention of the Jewish teachers and sages of old to teach the fear of God. Many of their utterances regarding the relationship between God and man have been greatly misunderstood and therefore misinterpreted. This misunderstanding has been due greatly to the dual meaning of the Hebrow word, "Yirah." "Yirah" means both to reverence and to fear. This word, employed numerous times throughout the Pentateuch with reference to man's attitude toward God, may lead to the translation of either, "Fear thy God," or, "Reverence thy God." It is clear that the translators of the Bible did not consider the significance of the latter meaning and its import upon both the ethics and the character of the race. To revere our God means that we are to look upon him as a Father, a Shepherd, to guide our steps and watch over our destiny ; it means that we are His children and His flock, that He has brought us into existence as an expression of His love. It means that the whole universe is an outflow of His love,and in response to His profound love, we revere His name. To say that God requests fear is to limit his powers, to lower Him to the level of an earthly king, who sways his people with the tyranny of fear. The true attributes of God are outlined in Exodus 34 :6, "The Lord, the Lord God is merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth." " - Rabbi Morris Lichtenstein

"Parenthood is not an object of appetite or even desire. It is an object of will. There is no appetite for parenthood; there is only a purpose or intention of parenthood." - R. G. Collingwood, fully Robert George Collingwood

"The longing to behold this pre-established harmony [of phenomena and theoretical principles] is the source of the inexhaustible patience and perseverance with which Planck has devoted himself... The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind is akin to that of the religious worshiper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart." - Albert Einstein

"The science, contrary to popular opinion, God does not eliminate the physical must be pursued even theological purpose, since it must present itself not only to know how nature, but also to know why nature is so and not a ' otherwise, with the intention of coming to understand if God had other choices before him when he created the world. " - Albert Einstein

"The state of mind which enables a man to do work of this kind is akin to that of the religious worshiper or the lover; the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart." - Albert Einstein

"But one who has faith and believes in God has a very good life. Even when trouble strikes, he can still fortify himself with his trust in God, because he knows that everything is for the best. Either this suffering will cleanse him of his sins or eventually bring him some great benefit. For God's intention is certainly for good. Therefore the man of faith always has a good life both in this world and the next." - Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav or Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Nachman from Uman NULL

"Great kings constantly remind their subjects that they have a ruler. Soldiers in particular are trained to know who their king and master is - "In order that His fear should be on their faces" (Exodus 20:17) - so that they should serve their master unconditionally. Subordinates are constantly told, "Know that you have a lord and master." The intention is that they should keep this in mind and never forget it, in order not do anything against his will." - Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav or Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Nachman from Uman NULL

"If one looks at a thing with the intention of trying to discover what it means, one ends up no longer seeing the thing itself, but thinking of the question that has been raised. The mind sees in two different senses: (1) sees, as with the eyes; and (2) sees a question (no eyes)." - René Margritte, fully René François Ghislain Magritte

"There must, moreover, not only be this reference to myself in distinguishing my acts from all those things that are not acts, but it must be a reference to myself as an active being. Another perfectly natural way of expressing this notion of my activity is to say that, in acting, I make something happen, I cause it, or bring it about. Now it does seem odd that philosophers should construe this natural way of expressing the matter as really meaning, not that I, but rather some event, process, or state not identical with myself should be the cause of that which is represented as my act. It is plain that, whatever I am, I am never identical with any such event, process, or state as is usually proposed as the "real cause" of my act, such as some intention or state of willing. Hence, if it is really and unmetaphorically true, as I believe it to be, that I sometimes cause something to happen, this would seem to entail that it is false that any event, process, or state not identical with myself should be the real cause of it. But it is not, in fact, hard to see why philosophers should want to insist that these natural ways of expressing the matter really mean something quite different from what they seem to mean; namely, that it has been the firm conviction of most philosophers for generations that in the case of any event that occurs, another event must be at least part of its cause. If, accordingly, it is true that I am the cause of my acts, as it evidently is, then in view of this principle we must suppose that the real cause is some event intimately associated with me — and then, of course, the chase is on to find it or, failing that, at least to give it a name and create a semblance of having found it. The alternative I urge is that I am sometimes the cause of my own actions, that such an assertion is neither incomplete nor metaphorical and hence has no "real" meaning different from, much less inconsistent with, itself as it stands. In that case, however, we must conclude that the word "cause" in such contexts has not the ordinary meaning of a certain relationship between events, but has rather the older meaning of the efficacy or power of an agent to produce certain results. This idea can be otherwise expressed by saying that an agent is something that originates things, produces them, or brings them about. It might be wished that some clear definition or analysis of this idea of agency could be given, in place of merely synonymous expressions, but we have already seen that this cannot be done, and we have also seen why. To give an analysis of agency or of the sense in which an agent is the cause of his actions would amount to giving an analysis of an act, an analysis which would of necessity presuppose the truth of a metaphysical presupposition that is not only dubious, but probably false. " - Richard Taylor

"The shortest distance between two points is an intention and this is certainly the case when it comes to becoming more loving to oneself and to others. We must first have the desire and then the intention and commitment to be a source of love " - Richard Carlson

"Insensibility, in return for acts of seeming, even of real, unkindness, is not required of us. But, whilst we feel for such acts, let our feelings be tempered with forbearance and kindness. Let not the sense of our own sufferings render us peevish and morose. Let not our sense of neglect on the part of others induce us to judge of them with harshness and severity. Let us be indulgent and compassionate towards them. Let us seek for apologies for their conduct. Let us be forward in endeavoring to excuse them. And if, in the end, we must condemn them, let us look for the cause of their delinquency, less in a defect of kind intention than in the weakness and errors of human nature. He who knoweth of what we are made, and hath learned, by what he himself suffered, the weakness and frailty of our nature, hath thus taught us to make compassionate allowances for our brethren, in consideration of its manifold infirmities." - Richard Mant

"He was born into, and seems never to have questioned, that English class system which has been so much abused in the present century. Indeed, several governments have announced their intention of abolishing it, and the most recent prime minister to retire showed her egalitarian principles by accepting the title of Baroness Thatcher." - Robertson Davies

"It is not my intention to denounce modern education. If it is bad, it may be said that all education is bad which is not self-education, and quite a lot of self-education is going on today " - Robertson Davies

"It demonstrates how we must conduct this mortal life of ours. If we are to achieve God's purpose in our regard we have a twofold obligation: as citizens of earth, and as citizens of heaven. That is to say, all men without exception, both individually and in society, have a life-long obligation to strive after heavenly values through the right use of the things of this earth. These temporal goods must be used in such a way as not to jeopardize eternal happiness. " - Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, aka Vatican II

"The kinds of spiritual practices we can undertake are limitless. However, ultimately the form is less important than these factors: the commitment to practice, the ability to keep returning to the intention, the attitude one brings to the uncontrollable and the ability to transfer the benefits of the practice into how we live our lives, how we relate to ourselves and others, how free we become to embody the values and ideals we embrace in our minds, how we deal with temptations of all sorts. In other words we practice to live with the wisdom and compassion, which we already possess. We practice to actualize the pure soul, which God has planted with us." - Sheila Peltz Weinberg

"It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of human history by denying human freedom and human dignity to its citizens." - Ronald Reagan, fully Ronald Wilson Reagan

"To sit back hoping that someday, some way, someone will make things right is to go on feeding the crocodile, hoping he will eat you last - but eat you he will." - Ronald Reagan, fully Ronald Wilson Reagan

"Although there's nothing to eat, life is fun." - Russian Proverbs

"The morality of an action depends upon the motive from which we act." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"I had hardly expected so dolichocephalic a skull or such well-marked supra-orbital development. Would you have any objection to my running my finger along your parietal fissure? A cast of your skull, sir, until the original is available, would be an ornament to any anthropological museum. It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull." - Arthur Conan Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

"I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air -- or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances, I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained." - Arthur Conan Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

"It is not really difficult to construct a series of inferences, each dependent upon its predecessor and each simple in itself. If, after doing so, one simply knocks out all the central inferences and presents one's audience with the starting-point and the conclusion, one may produce a startling, though perhaps a meretricious, effect." - Arthur Conan Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

"Considering that the blessed life we so long for consists in an intimate and true love of God Our Creator and Lord, which binds and obliges us all to a sincere love." - Ignatius Loyola, aka Saint Ignatius of Loyola

"Those who submit to the Lord with simple heart will run the good race. If they keep their minds on a leash, they will not draw the wickedness of the demons onto themselves." - John Climacus, fully Saint John Climacus, aka John of the Ladder, John Scholasticus and John Sinaites

"Since nothing but God is eternal, nothing but God is worth the loving." - Stephen Charnock

"The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"You ask that Mr. Taft shall let the world know what his religious belief is. This is purely his own private concern; it is a matter between him and his Maker, a matter for his own conscience; and to require it to be made public under penalty of political discrimination is to negative the first principles of our Government, which guarantee complete religious liberty, and the right to each to act in religious affairs as his own conscience dictates. Mr. Taft never asked my advice in the matter, but if he had asked it, I should have emphatically advised him against thus stating publicly his religious belief. The demand for a statement of a candidate’s religious belief can have no meaning except that there may be discrimination for or against him because of that belief. Discrimination against the holder of one faith means retaliatory discrimination against men of other faiths. The inevitable result of entering upon such a practice would be an abandonment of our real freedom of conscience and a reversion to the dreadful conditions of religious dissension which in so many lands have proved fatal to true liberty, to true religion, and to all advance in civilization." - Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt

"Guarding knowledge is not a good way to understand. Understanding means to throw away your knowledge." - Thich Nhất Hanh

"The eye is the pulse of the soul; as physicians judge the heart by the pulse, so we by the eye." - Thomas Adams

"No one can read with profit that which he cannot learn to read with pleasure." - Thomas Hardy

"I may grow rich by an art I am compelled to follow; I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to take against my own judgment; but I cannot be saved by a worship I disbelieve and abhor." - Thomas Jefferson

"The purpose of establishing different houses of legislation is to introduce the influence of different interests or different principles." - Thomas Jefferson

"The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best, that the States are independent as to everything within themselves, and united as to everything respecting foreign affairs. Let the General Government be reduced to foreign concerns only, and let our affairs be disentangled from those of all other nations, except as to commerce, which the merchants will manage the better, the more they are left free to manage for themselves, and our General Government may be reduced to a very simple organization, and a very inexpensive one; a few plain duties to be performed by a few servants." - Thomas Jefferson

"It is not merely our own desire but the desire of Christ in His Spirit that drives us to grow in love. Those who seldom or never feel in their hearts the desire for the love of God and other men, and who do not thirst for the pure waters of desire which are poured out in us by the strong, living God, are usually those who have drunk from other rivers or have dug for themselves broken cisterns." - Thomas Merton