Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"God desired, however, that there should be a [theurgic] way for man to free himself from the physical restrictions [of the natural world]. In this manner, he would then be able [through the use of theurgy] to attain things as a result of spiritual rules rather than those of physical law. He would thus be able to attain enlightenment and a perception of the spiritual....In attaining this, man would also be able to better elevate all existence to its preferred good state [of unity]. He would be able to accomplish this both below and on high, both in the Roots and in the Branches." - Moshe Chayim Luzzatto, also Moses Hayyim Luzzato, known by Hebrew acronym RaMCHal

"People often feel unable to get out of a distasteful or unhappy situa- tion. They assume they are trapped in a job, in a community, in a marriage, family, or a way of life. They do not see the alternatives of looking for a new job or improving the one they have, of moving out of the community, of changing their marriage patterns, of break- ing off a relationship, or of loving and disciplining their children more effectively. They limit their perception of the problem, not seeing possible options or an obvious solution. They use one narrow approach and repeat this approach over and over even though it obviously does not resolve or change the situation." - Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward

"If wanderers were not themselves the cause, then like the scent and color of the lotus in the sky, there would be no perception of the universe." - Nāgārjuna, fully Acharya Nāgārjuna NULL

"Remember: in order for a perception to change one must be frustrated in one's actions or change one's purpose." - Neil Postman

"Aum is the most sacred symbol that can be used to know God. The vibration of Aum contains all the concepts of Him and all His manifestations. No other mantra or symbol gives greater calmness and divine attunement of the mind to God. Chanting this sacred Name leads to perception of the Infinite." - Paramahansa Yogananda, born Mukunda Lal Ghosh

"In the creative vision of God the individual is present as a whole in his essential being and inner teleos and at the same time in the infinity of the special moments of his life process. Of course this is said symbolically, since we are unable to have a perception of or even an imagination of that which belongs to the divine life. The mystery of being beyond essence and existence is hidden in the mystery of the creativity of the divine life." - Paul Tillich, fully Paul Johannes Tillich

"He resented such questions as people do who have thought a great deal about them. The superficial and slipshod have ready answers, but those looking this complex life straight in the eye acquire a wealth of perception so composed of delicately balanced contradictions that they dread, or resent, the call to couch any part of it in a bland generalization. The vanity (if not outrage) of trying to cage this dance of atoms in a single definition may give the weariness of age with the cry of youth for answers the appearance of boredom. " - Peter De Vries

"In primitive Buddhism, in primitive Christianity, in the writings of some of the Mussulman teachers, in the early movements of the Reform, and especially in the ethical and philosophical movements of the last century and of our own times, the total abandonment of the idea of revenge, or of "due reward" — of good for good and evil for evil — is affirmed more and more vigorously. The higher conception of "no revenge for wrongs," and of freely giving more than one expects to receive from his neighbors, is proclaimed as being the real principle of morality — a principle superior to mere equivalence, equity, or justice, and more conducive to happiness. And man is appealed to be guided in his acts, not merely by love, which is always personal, or at the best tribal, but by the perception of his oneness with each human being. In the practice of mutual aid, which we can retrace to the earliest beginnings of evolution, we thus find the positive and undoubted origin of our ethical conceptions; and we can affirm that in the ethical progress of man, mutual support — not mutual struggle — has had the leading part. In its wide extension, even at the present time, we also see the best guarantee of a still loftier evolution of our race." - Peter Kropotkin, fully Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin

"For God, being God, assumed that a beautiful copy would never be produced apart from a beautiful pattern, and that no object of perception would be faultless which was not made in the likeness of an original discerned only by the intellect. . . . He first fully formed the intelligible world, in order that He might have the use of a pattern wholly God-like and incorporeal in producing the material world." - Philo, aka Philo of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew NULL

"Do not forget that the value and interest of life is not so much to do conspicuous things... as to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value. " - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"Faith in humankind does not appear capable of being satisfied without a fully explicit Christ... Any other method would only lead to confusion or to syncretism without any vigour or originality... What we lack is the clear perception of a well-defined (and real) Îtypeâ of God and an equally well-defined Îtypeâ of humankind. If each group maintains its own type of God and its own type of humankind... no agreement can be taken seriously: it will do no more than produce equivocations or pure sentiment." - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"It is now time, leaving every object of sense far behind, to contemplate, by a certain ascent, a beauty of a much higher order; a beauty not visible to the corporeal eye, but alone manifest to the brighter eye of the soul, independent of all corporeal aid. However, since, without some previous perception of beauty it is impossible to express by words the beauties of sense, but we must remain in the state of the blind, so neither can we ever speak of the beauty of offices and sciences, and whatever is allied to these, if deprived of their intimate possession. Thus we shall never be able to tell of virtue's brightness, unless by looking inward we perceive the fair countenance of justice and temperance, and are convinced that neither the evening nor morning star are half so beautiful and bright. But it is requisite to perceive objects of this kind by that eye by which the soul beholds such real beauties. Besides it is necessary that whoever perceives this species of beauty, should be seized with much greater delight, and more vehement admiration, than any corporeal beauty can excite; as now embracing beauty real and substantial. Such affections, I say, ought to be excited about true beauty, as admiration and sweet astonishment; desire also and love and a pleasant trepidation. For all souls, as I may say, are affected in this manner about invisible objects, but those the most who have the strongest propensity to their love; as it likewise happens about corporeal beauty; for all equally perceive beautiful corporeal forms, yet all are not equally excited, but lovers in the greatest degree." - Plotinus NULL

"What measures, then, shall we adopt? What machine employ, or what reason consult by means of which we may contemplate this ineffable beauty; a beauty abiding in the most divine sanctuary without ever proceeding from its sacred retreats lest it should be beheld by the profane and vulgar eye? We must enter deep into ourselves, and, leaving behind the objects of corporeal sight, no longer look back after any of the accustomed spectacles of sense. For, it is necessary that whoever beholds this beauty, should withdraw his view from the fairest corporeal forms; and, convinced that these are nothing more than images, vestiges and shadows of beauty, should eagerly soar to the fair original from which they are derived. For he who rushes to these lower beauties, as if grasping realities, when they are only like beautiful images appearing in water, will, doubtless, like him in the fable, by stretching after the shadow, sink into the lake and disappear. For, by thus embracing and adhering to corporeal forms, he is precipitated, not so much in his body as in his soul, into profound and horrid darkness; and thus blind, like those in the infernal regions, converses only with phantoms, deprived of the perception of what is real and true." - Plotinus NULL

"I for my part do much wonder in what humor, with what soul or reason, the first man with his mouth touched slaughter, and reached to his lips the flesh of a dead animal, and having set before people courses of ghastly corpses and ghosts, could give those parts the names of meat and victuals, that but a little before lowed, cried, moved, and saw; how his sight could endure the blood of slaughtered, flayed, and mangled bodies; how his smell could bear their scent; and how the very nastiness happened not to offend the taste, while it chewed the sores of others, and participated of the saps and juices of deadly wounds. I, for my part, wonder of what sort of feeling, mind or reason that man was possessed who was first to pollute his mouth with gore, and to allow his lips to touch the flesh of a murdered being: who spread his table with the mangled forms of dead bodies, and claimed as daily food and dainty dishes what but now were beings endowed with movement, perception and with voice. " - Plutarch, named Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus after becoming Roman citizen NULL

"A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought. " - Albert Einstein

"I was surprised by the response of young people because there is a perception that those younger than the 1988 generation are not interested in politics." - Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

"One of the strongest motives that lead men to art and science is escape from everyday life with its painful crudity and hopeless dreariness, from the fetters of one's own ever-shifting desires. A finely tempered nature longs to escape from the personal life into the world of objective perception and thought. " - Albert Einstein

"The only way to know God is through complete faith. Only faith can bring you to true knowledge and perception of God's greatness: "And I will betroth you to Me with faith, and you shall know God ! " (Hosea 2:22)." - Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav or Breslov, aka Reb Nachman Breslover or Nachman from Uman NULL

"I have incredible empathy for their perception of reality, partly because of what I" - Ram Dass, aka Baba Ram Dass, born Richard Alpert

"Good critical writing is measured by the perception and evaluation of the subject; bad critical writing by the necessity of maintaining the professional standing of the critic." - Raymond Chandler, fully Raymond Thornton Chandler

"This result could have been achieved either by his [God] endowing my intellect with a clear and distinct perception of everything about which I would ever deliberate, or simply by impressing the following rule so firmly upon my memory that I could never forget it: I should never judge anything that I do not clearly and distinctly understand." - René Descartes

"It may be said, almost without qualification, that the wisdom consists in the ready and accurate perception of analogies. Without the former quality, knowledge of the past is uninstructive; without the latter it is deceptive." - Richard Whately

"Humor very often consists of shrewd perceptions about people. It's usually fun at someone's expense. Nowadays if you're funny at anybody's expense they run to the UN and say, I must have an ombudsman to protect me. You hardly dare have a shrewd perception about anybody." - Robertson Davies

"Men's insistence on being of service sometimes expresses less consideration than girls like to believe. Helping women, treating them, bestowing gifts -these things are done much more for the donor's sake, as assertions of his superiority." - Rudolf Driekurs

"Knowledge of life in the astral world leads us to a conclusion of fundamental importance, namely that the physical world is the product of the astral world." - Rudolf Steiner, fully Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner

"To truly know the world, look deeply within your own being; to truly know yourself, take real interest in the world." - Rudolf Steiner, fully Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner

"In the perception of a tree we can distinguish the act of experiencing, or perceiving, from the thing experienced, or perceived." - Samuel Alexander

"Instinct has introduced us to the existence of a qualifying or tied conative tendency." - Samuel Alexander

"Theoretical acts of mind are such as subserve the continuance of the object before the mind without alteration of it." - Samuel Alexander

"Thus we have to recognize that a thing as perceived contains besides sensory elements other elements present to the mind only in ideal form." - Samuel Alexander

"A serpent guards its head when its body is being crushed, and a wise monk guards his faith at all times, for this is the origin of his life." - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"Just as fish perish from lack of water, so the meditative movements that God causes to blossom forth vanish from the heart of the monk who loves to dwell and pass his life in company with worldly men." - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"Now if we are willing to examine the Scriptures in this way, carefully and systematically, we shall be able to obtain our salvation. If we unceasingly are preoccupied with them, we shall learn both correctness of doctrine and an upright way of life." - John Chrysostom, fully Saint John Chrysostom

"The main of life is composed of small incidents and petty occurrences; of wishes for objects not remote, and grief or disappointments of no fatal consequence." - Samuel Johnson, aka Doctor Johnson

"A belligerent state permits itself every such misdeed, every such act of violence, as would disgrace the individual." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Consciousness is an electrochemical function of the nervous system. Insert a new chemical into the brain and consciousness changes radically." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Aye, indeed! Hast been brought up at the Abbey then. I could read it from thy reddened cheek and downcast eye, Hast learned from the monks, I trow, to fear a woman as thou wouldst a lazar-house. Out upon them! that they should dishonor their own mothers by such teaching. A pretty world it would be with all the women out of it." - Arthur Conan Doyle, fully Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

"Mythology is wondrous, a balm for the soul. But its problems cannot be ignored. At worst, it buys inspiration at the price of physical impossibility […]. At best, it purveys the same myopic view of history that made this most fascinating subject so boring and misleading in grade school as a sequential take of monarchs and battles." - Stephan Jay Gould

"Throughout his last half-dozen books, for example, Arthur Koestler has been conducting a campaign against his own misunderstanding of Darwinism. He hopes to find some ordering force, constraining evolution to certain directions and overriding the influence of natural selection. […] Darwinism is not the theory of capricious change that Koestler imagines. Random variation may be the raw material of change, but natural selection builds good design by rejecting most variants while accepting and accumulating the few that improve adaptation to local environments." - Stephan Jay Gould

"Have faith in your dreams and someday your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep believing, the dream that you wish will come true." - Stephen LaBerge

"Not all lucid dreams are useful but they all have a sense of wonder about them. If you must sleep through a third of your life, why should you sleep through your dreams, too?" - Stephen LaBerge

"The basic mood of the future might well be one of confidence in the continuing revelation that takes place in and through the Earth. If the dynamics of the Universe from the beginning shaped the course of the heavens, lighted the Sun, and formed the Earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relation to this stupendous process. Sensitized to such guidance from the very structure and functioning of the Universe, we can have confidence in the future that awaits the human venture." - Thomas Berry

"A traveler must have the back of an ass to bear all, a tongue like the tail of a dog to flatter all, the mouth of a hog to eat what is set before him, the ear of a merchant to hear all and say nothing." - Thomas Nashe

"Every man is conscious of a power to determine in things which he conceives to depend upon his determination. To this power we give the name of will." - Thomas Reid

"I cannot remember a thing that happened a year ago, without a conviction, as strong as memory can give, that I, the same identical person who now remember that event, did then exist." - Thomas Reid

"All Religions are One - THE ARGUMENT AS the true method of Knowledge is Experiment, the true faculty of knowing must be the faculty which experiences. This faculty I treat of: Principle 1 That the Poetic Genius is the True Man, and that the Body or Outward Form of Man is derived from the Poetic Genius. Like-wise that the Forms of all things are derived from their Genius, which by the Ancients was call’d an Angel and Spirit and Demon. Principle 2 As all men are alike in Outward Form; so, and with the same infinite variety, all are alike in the Poetic Genius. Principle 3 No man can think, write, or speak from his heart, but he must intend Truth. Thus all sects of Philosophy are from the Poetic Genius, adapted to the weaknesses of every individual. Principle 4 As none by travelling over known lands can find out the unknown; so, from already acquired knowledge, Man could not acquire more; therefore an universal Poetic Genius exists. Principle 5 The Religions of all Nations are derived from each Nation’s different reception of the Poetic Genius, which is everywhere call’d the Spirit of Prophecy. Principle 6 The Jewish and Christian Testaments are an original derivation from the Poetic Genius. This is necessary from the confined nature of bodily sensation. Principle 7 As all men are alike, tho’ infinitely various; so all Religions: and as all similars have one source the True Man is the source, he being the Poetic Genius." - William Blake

"When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy, and the dimpling stream runs laughing by; when the air does laugh with our merry wit, and the green hill laughs with the noise of it." - William Blake

"The things of the world are ever rising and falling, and in perpetual change; and this change must be according to the will of God, as He has bestowed upon man neither the wisdom nor the power to enable him to check it. The great lesson in these things is, that man must strengthen himself doubly at such times to fulfill his duty and to do what is right, and must seek his happiness and inward peace from objects which cannot be taken away from him." - Wilhelm von Humboldt, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt

"We avoid the gravest difficulties when, giving up the attempt to frame hypotheses concerning the constitution of matter, we pursue statistical inquiries as a branch of rational mechanics." - Willard Gibbs, fully Josiah Willard Gibbs

"I observe to the letter all laws that make sense but combat those that are obsolete or absurd." - Wilhelm Reich