Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"To Personalism, personality is the supreme value. Society then should be so organized as to present every person the best possible opportunity for self-development, physically, mentally, and spiritually since the person is the supreme essence of democracy and hostile to totalitarianisms of every sort." - Ralph Tyler Flewelling

"People want positive politics demonstrating changes and reforms instead of the politics of personality and personal acrimony enveloped in sterile media forays about the tactics of the day." - Ralph Nader

"Given the books of a man, it is not difficult, I think, to detect therein the personality of the man, and the station in life to which he was born." - Richard Henry Stoddard

"By the age of twenty, any young man should know whether or not he is to be a specialist and just where his tastes lie. By postponing the question we have set on immaturity a premium which controls most American personality to its deathbed. " - Robert Hillyer, fully Robert Silliman Hillyer

"The Perils of Worship - The life without reverence is barren and insensitive. And worship is the proper expression of reverence. The Sermon on the Mount leads to adoration, thanksgiving, and prayer as truly as it leads to acts of service. But there are perils in worship. Some of the worship that goes on in our churches is merely lip service, talk takes the place of activity. True worship is the expression of the reverence of a human personality for his Lord and Creator. Reverence makes us eager to serve and obey. But false worship and lip service can be worse then open defiance. The story is told of Mark Twain's encounter with a man who managed to combine the appearances of piety with a predatory career in business. "Before I die," said the hypocrite, "I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb to the top of Mount Sinai and read the Ten Commandments aloud." "I have a better idea," answered Mark Twain. "Why don't you stay right at home in Boston and keep them?" After the warmth of the worship that says, "Lord, Lord," there is a chill in the words, "Do what I say." But if we do not meet the chill, the warmth is not the warmth of life. Bishop Gore ended his book, The Sermon on the Mount, by saying: "Many will come to him in that day with a record of their orthodoxy and of their observances, of their brilliant successes in his professed service; but he will protest unto them, 'I never knew you.' He 'knows' no man in whom he cannot recognize his own likeness." (The Sermon on the Mount by Charles Gore, p. 188. John Murray Ltd., London) His own likeness? If we understand the Sermon on the Mount, we will never claim that. But if it sinks in, it does begin to remake us." - Roger L. Shinn, fully Roger Lincoln Shinn

"Those who judge human beings according to generic characteristics only reach the boundary, beyond which people begin to be beings whose activity is based on free self-determination....Characteristics of race, tribe, ethnic group and gender are subjects for special sciences....But all these sciences cannot penetrate through to the special nature of the individual. Where the realm of freedom of thought and action begin, the determination of individuals according to generic laws ends." - Rudolf Steiner, fully Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner

"Dead men cannot take effective action; their power of influence on others lasts only till the grave. Deeds and actions that energize others belong only to the living. Well, then, look at the facts in this case. The Savior is working mightily among men, every day He is invisibly persuading numbers of people all over the world, both within and beyond the Greek-speaking world, to accept His faith and be obedient to His teaching. Can anyone, in face of this, still doubt that He has risen and lives, or rather that He is Himself the Life? Does a dead man prick the consciences of men...?" - Saint Athanasius, aka Athanasius of Alexandria, St. Athanasius the Great, St. Athanasius I of Alexandria, St. Athanasius the Confessor, St. Athanasius the Apostolic NULL

"Soul grows in communion. Word by word, story by story, for better or worse, we build our world. From true conversation - speaking and listening - communication deepens into compassion and creates community." - Sam Keen

"Reflect upon the extraordinary advance which machines have made during the last few hundred years, and note how slowly the animal and vegetable kingdoms are advancing. The more highly organised machines are creatures not so much of yesterday, as of the last five minutes... in comparison with past time... what will they not in the end become? Is it not safer to nip the mischief in the bud and to forbid them further progress?" - Samuel Butler

"Class is no assurance of genius, ability or wisdom. No man is fit to control the lives of his fellows. The trade unions are the agencies through which wage-earners are working out their destinies and interposing a check upon the arbitrary power in industry." - Samuel Gompers

"As one understands the nature and will of God and makes the personal sacrifice required to achieve excellence in spiritual life, one becomes empowered by the Supreme Lord to represent His will, which one has intelligently recognized and accepted." - Shrimad Bhagavatam, or the Bhâgavata Purâna, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, or Bhāgavata NULL

"Death is certain, and the ultimate fate of the body is never sublime." - Shrimad Bhagavatam, or the Bhâgavata Purâna, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, or Bhāgavata NULL

"The body and the mind are but superfluous outer coverings of the spirit soul. The spirit soul’s needs must be fulfilled. Simply by cleansing the cage of the bird, one does not satisfy the bird. One must actually know the needs of the bird himself." - Shrimad Bhagavatam, or the Bhâgavata Purâna, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, or Bhāgavata NULL

"It is the aim of public life to arrange that all forms of power are entrusted, so far as possible, to men who effectively consent to be bound by the obligation towards all human beings which lies upon everyone, and who understand the obligation." - Simone Weil

"The good is the only source of the sacred. There is nothing sacred except the good and what pertains to it." - Simone Weil

"When, as a result of what was called Enlightenment in the eighteenth century, the priests had in fact almost entirely lost this function of guidance. Their place was taken by writers and scientists. In both cases it is equally absurd. Mathematics, physics, and biology are as remote from spiritual guidance as the art of arranging words. When that function is usurped by literature and science it proves there is no longer any spiritual life." - Simone Weil

"But, if I sample this pleasure so prudently and circumspectly, it will no longer be a pleasure." - Stendhal, pen name of Marie Henn Beyle or Marie-Henri Beyle NULL

"The first and most essential quality of a presidential candidate, as Averell Harriman once pointed out, is that he should lust for the job - he should want it more than all things, with a passion surpassing all emotion and probably even all principle." - Theodore H. White, fully Theodore Harold White

"The claim of the theatre as a school of morals is false; not because it is immoral, but because it cannot, from its own nature, be a teacher of morals. - The abuses that have clustered about it are enormous. - In evil days it sinks to the bottom of the scale of decency, and in best days it hardly rises to the average." - Theodore T. Munger

"A secret and ardent stirring within the frozen chastity of the universal." - Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

"The moral evil in the world is due to man’s alienation from the deepest truth, from the springs of spiritual life within himself, to his alienation from God. Those who realize this try desperately to persuade and enlighten their brothers." - Thomas Merton

"To accept what you are is to be content, and contentment is the greatest wealth." - Vimalia McClure

"The sustained inability to clarify what the word 'religion' signifies, in itself suggests that the term ought to be dropped; that it is a distorted concept not really corresponding to anything definite or distinctive in the objective world. The phenomena we call religious undoubtedly exist. Yet perhaps the notion that they constitute in themselves some distinctive entity is an unwarranted analysis... an alternative suggestion could be that a failure to agree on definitions of religion may well stem from the quality of the material. For what a man thinks about religion is central to what he thinks about life and the universe as a whole. The meaning that one ascribes to the term is a key to the meaning that one finds in existence." - Wilfred Cantwell Smith

"It is continued temperance which sustains the body for the longest period of time, and which most surely preserves it free from sickness." - Wilhelm von Humboldt, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand von Humboldt

"The heart of another is a dark forest, always, no matter how close it has been to one's own." - Willa Cather, fully Willa Sibert Cather

"The more observing ones may have seen, but discerning people are usually discreet and often kind, for we usually bleed a little before we begin to discern." - Willa Cather, fully Willa Sibert Cather

"It is though we had wanted to add to the already existing proofs of God's Existence, a new and finally convincing one: the universal destruction that follows on assuming God's non-existence." - Wilhelm Röepke

"All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney, fully Walter Elias "Walt" Disney

"I wanted to retain my individuality. I was afraid of being hampered by studio policies. I knew if someone else got control, I would be restrained." - Walt Disney, fully Walter Elias "Walt" Disney

"O the joy of my spirit--it is uncaged--it darts like lightning! It is not enough to have this globe or a certain time, I will have thousands of globes and all time." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"For although its productions are painted poems, they belong to a sort of poetry which tells itself without an articulated story." - Walter Pater, fully Walter Horatio Pater

"Homeric and the pre-Homeric Greeks, like oral peoples generally, practiced public speaking with great skill long before their skills were reduced to an "art", that is, to a body of sequentially organized, scientific principles which explained and abetted what verbal persuasion consisted in. Such an "art" is presented in Aristotle"s Art of Rhetoric. Oral cultures, as has been seen, can have no "arts" of this scientifically organized sort. The "art" of rhetoric, though concerned with oral speech, was, like other "arts," the product of writing." - Walter J. Ong, fully Walter Jackson Ong

"By banishing doubt and trusting your intuitive feelings, you clear a space for the power of intention to flow through." - Wayne Dyer, fully Wayne Walter Dyer

"Your children are spiritual beings who come through you, not for you." - Wayne Dyer, fully Wayne Walter Dyer

"All the evil in the world, and all the unhappiness, comes from the I-concept." - Wei Wu Wei, pen name for Terence James Stannus Gray

"[Charles Dickens was] the bravest man who ever lived. He fathered ten children before they became tax deductions." - W. C. Fields, stage name for William Claude Dukenfield

"You have a much better life if you wear impressive clothes." - Vivienne Westwood, born Vivienne Isabel Swire

"The best part of a writer's biography is not the record of his adventures but the story of his style." - Vladimir Nabokov, fully Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

"Unless a man believes in himself and makes a total commitment to his career and puts everything he has into it – his mind, his body, his heart – what’s life worth to him?" - Vince Lombardi, fully Vincent Thomas "Vince" Lombardi

"In solitude we give passionate attention to our lives, to our memories, to the details around us." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"The art of writing has for backbone some fierce attachment to an idea…. It is on the back of an idea, something believed in with conviction or seen with precision and thus compelling words to a shape… You have not finished with it because you have read it, any more than friendship is ended because it is time to part. Life wells up and alters and adds. Even things in a book-case change if they are alive; we find ourselves wanting to meet them again; we find them altered. So we look back upon essay after essay by Mr. Beerbohm, knowing that, come September or May, we shall sit down with them and talk." - Virginia Woolf, nee Stephen, fully Adeline Virginia Woolf

"O inimitable Enthusiasm! You successfully vanquish your enemy with the help of the powers derived from self-control and restraint." - Rig Veda, or The Rigveda

"The tongue is the armor of heart; it guards one's life. Loud talk, long talks, wild talk, and talk full of anger and hate; all these affect the health of man. Why is silence said to be golden? The silent man has no enemies, though he may not have friends. He has the leisure and the chance to delve within himself and examine his own faults and failings. He has no more inclination to seek them (fault) in others." - Atharva Veda, or Atharvaveda

"A teacher gives knowledge to his student and enlightens him." - Yajur Veda, or Yajurveda

"By behaving good we give joy and happiness to others." - Yajur Veda, or Yajurveda

"Transcendence as a deeply and joyously experienced need to be in harmony even with what we ourselves are not, what we do not understand, what seems distant from us in time and space, but with which we are nevertheless mysteriously linked because, together with us, all this constitutes a single world. Transcendence as the only real alternative to extinction." - Václav Havel

"The language of God is not English or Latin; the language of God is cellular and molecular." - Timothy Leary, fully Timothy Francis Leary

"Birth and death were easy. It was life that was hard." - Tom Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins

"The term nature is used sometimes in a wider, sometimes in a narrower extension. When employed in its most extensive meaning, it embraces the two worlds of mind and matter. When employed in its most restricted signification, it is a synonyme for the latter only, and is then used in contradistinction to the former." - William Hamilton, fully Sir William Hamilton, 9th Baronet

"She remembered one of her boyfriends asking, offhandedly, how many books she read in a year. A few hundred, she said. How do you have the time? he asked, gobsmacked. She narrowed her eyes and considered the array of potential answers in front of her. Because I don't spend hours flipping through cable complaining there's nothing on? Because my entire Sunday is not eaten up with pre-game, in-game, and post-game talking heads? Because I do not spend every night drinking overpriced beer and engaging in dick-swinging contests with the other financirati? Because when I am waiting in line, at the gym, on the train, eating lunch, I am not complaining about the wait/staring into space/admiring myself in reflective surfaces? I am reading! I don't know, she said, shrugging." - Eleanor Brown, fully Nora Eleanor Louisa Hervey Brown