Great Throughts Treasury

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


"A person obsessed with the need to be happy will never be so. The obsession is the obstruction. He does not really seek happiness, rather he seeks for a condition which matches his personal idea regarding the nature of happiness. But happiness is not a mere idea, for one idea will always have competition from another idea. This is why the unhappy man chases forever from one attraction to another. Happiness will come when he stops chasing, that is, when he stops thinking that an idea about happiness is the same as happiness. A man enjoying the sunshine does so without analyzing it." - Vernon Howard, fully Vernon Linwood Howard

"Higher energy can do something that nothing else can do." - Vernon Howard, fully Vernon Linwood Howard

"When a child's growth is stunted, it causes grief; when he starts to grow normally, it causes joy, when the growth is abnormal, it causes grief again." - Atharva Veda, or Atharvaveda

"Sci-fi uses the images that ‘sf’ — starting with H.G. Wells — made familiar: space travel, aliens, galactic wars and federations, time machines, et cetera, taking them literally, not caring if they are possible or even plausible. It has no interest in or relation to real science or technology. It's fantasy in space suits. Spectacle. Wizards with lasers. Kids with ray guns. I've written both, but I have to say I respect science fiction enough that I wince when people call it sci-fi." - Ursula Le Guin, fully Ursula Kroeber Le Guin

"I come from the South and I know what war is, for I have seen its terrible wreckage and ruin. It is easy for me as President to declare war. I do not have to fight, and neither do the gentlemen on the Hill who now clamor for it. It is some poor farmer's boy, or the son of some poor widow - who will have to do the fighting and dying." - Woodrow Wilson, fully Thomas Woodrow Wilson

"The most conservative persons I ever met are college undergraduates. The radicals are the men past middle life." - Woodrow Wilson, fully Thomas Woodrow Wilson

"We have restricted credit, we have restricted opportunity, we have controlled development, and we have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated, governments in the civilized world--no longer a government by free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and the duress of small groups of dominant men." - Woodrow Wilson, fully Thomas Woodrow Wilson

"When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou have passed through. Forbearance is the root of all quietness and assurance forever." - Tokugawa Ieyasu

"The philosophy of the wisest man that ever existed is mainly derived from the act of introspection." - William Godwin

"The real or supposed rights of man are of two kinds, active and passive; the right in certain cases to do as we list; and the right we possess to the forbearance or assistance of other men." - William Godwin

"But such a straight identification of religion with any and every form of happiness leaves the essential peculiarity of religious happiness out. The more commonplace happinesses which we get are 'reliefs,' occasioned by our momentary escapes from evils either experienced or threatened. But in its most characteristic embodiments, religious happiness is no mere feeling of escape. It cares no longer to escape. It consents to the evil outwardly as a form of sacrifice — inwardly it knows it to be permanently overcome. ... In the Louvre there is a picture, by Guido Reni, of St. Michael with his foot on Satan's neck. The richness of the picture is in large part due to the fiend's figure being there. The richness of its allegorical meaning also is due to his being there — that is, the world is all the richer for having a devil in it, so long as we keep our foot upon his neck." - William James

"Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that ensures the successful outcome of the venture." - William James

"There is no being capable of a spiritual life who does not have within him a jungle. Where the wolf constantly HOWLS and the OBSCENE bird of night chatters endlessly." - William James

"It is much more possible for the sun to give out darkness than for God to do or be, or give out anything but blessing and goodness." - William Law

"Nothing hath separated us from God but our own will, or rather our own will is our separation from God." - William Law

"Upon this principle I imagine it is that some of the finest pieces of antiquity are written in the dialogue manner. Plato and Tully, it should seem, thought truth could never be examined with more advantage than amidst the amicable opposition of well-regulated converse." - William Melmoth, wrote under pseudonym Sir Thomas Fitzosborne

"The most untutored person with passion is more persuasive than the most eloquent without." - François de La Rochefoucauld, François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Prince de Marcillac, Francois A. F. Rochefoucauld-Liancourt

"POLONIUS:Do you know me, my lord? HAMLET: Excellent well; you're a fishmonger. POLONIUS: Not I, my lord. Hamlet Then I would you were so honest a man. POLONIUS: Honest, my lord! HAMLET: Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand. POLONIUS: That's very true, my lord. HAMLET: [Reads] For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god kissing carrion, — Have you a daughter? POLONIUS:I have, my lord. HAMLET: Let her not walk i' the sun: conception is a blessing: but not as your daughter may conceive; — friend, look to 't. POLONIUS:[Aside] How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter: — yet he knew me not at first; he said I was a fishmonger: he is far gone, far gone: and truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for love; very near this." -

"Munificent Nature, endowed with attributes, accomplishes by manifold means the purpose of the attributeless and uncaring Self, with no gain for itself." - Ishvarakrishna, aka Iśvarakṛṣṇa NULL

"Free love is sometimes love, but never freedom." - Elizabeth Bibesco

"Proof that the penis is a much later development than the female vulva is found in the evidence that the male himself was a late mutation from an original female creature. For man is but an imperfect female. Geneticists and physiologists tell us that the Y chromosome that produces males is a deformed and broken X chromosome — the female chromosome. All women have two X chromosomes, while the male has one X derived from his mother and one Y from his father. It seems very logical that this small and twisted Y chromosome is a genetic error — an accident of nature, and that originally there was only one sex — the female." - Elizabeth Gould Davis

"The idea of feminine authority is so deeply embedded in the human subconscious that even after all these centuries of father-right the young child instinctively regards the mother as the supreme authority. He looks upon the father as equal with himself, equally subject to the woman's rule. Children have to be taught to love, honor, and respect the father, a task usually assumed by the mother." - Elizabeth Gould Davis

"Do not all theists insist that there can be no morality, no justice, honesty or fidelity without the belief in a Divine Power? Based upon fear and hope, such morality has always been a vile product, imbued partly with self-righteousness, partly with hypocrisy. As to truth, justice, and fidelity, who have been their brave exponents and daring proclaimers? Nearly always the godless ones: the Atheists; they lived, fought, and died for them. They knew that justice, truth, and fidelity are not conditioned in heaven, but that they are related to and interwoven with the tremendous changes going on in the social and material life of the human race; not fixed and eternal, but fluctuating, even as life itself." - Emma Goldman

"I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway

"I do not agree with what you say, but I'll stand to the death defending your right to say what you want." - Che Guevara, fully Ernesto “Che” Guevara

"Nature always… knows where and when to stop. Greater even than the mystery of natural growth is the mystery of the natural cessation of growth. There is measure in all natural things – in their size, speed, or violence. As a result, the system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing." - E. F. Schumacher, fully Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher

"To talk about the future is useful only if it leads to action now." - E. F. Schumacher, fully Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher

"Soon all of you immortals Will be as dead as we are! Come on then, what are you waiting for? Have you run out of thunderbolts?" - Euripedes NULL

"In short, nothing is more wanting to our public schools than that the masters of them should use the same care in fashioning the manners of their scholars as in forming their tongues to the learned languages. Wherever the former is omitted, I cannot help agreeing with Mr. Locke, that a man must have a very strange value for words, when, preferring the languages of the Greeks and Romans to that which made them such brave men, he can think it worthwhile to hazard the innocence and virtue of his son for a little Greek and Latin." - Eustace Budgell

"The first question here, then, is not "What is best for my soul?" nor is it even "What is most useful to humanity?" But--transcending both these limited aims--what function must this life fulfill in the great and secret economy of God?" - Evelyn Underhill

"The opposition tried to brand us as the 'Ground Zero megamosque.' The language was deliberately wordsmithed in order to arouse hostility against us. But the idea that the Jewish mayor of New York City and the president of the United States supported a mosque at Ground Zero, and took a lot of flak for it, raised their stature in the Muslim world." - Feisal Abdul Rauf

"The chamber-bell is the worst sound one have in his ears." - Italian Proverbs

"Those who don't understand prayer -- let them go to sea." - Italian Proverbs