Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Power

"To the generous mind the heaviest debt is that of gratitude, when it is not in our power to repay it." - Benjamin Franklin

"It seems not to be true that there is a power in the universe, which watches over the well-being of every individual with parental care and brings all his concerns to a happy ending. On the contrary, the destinies of man are incompatible with a universal principle of benevolence or with - what is to some degree contradictory - a universal principle of justice... Dark, unfeeling, and unloving powers determine human destiny; the system of rewards and punishments, which according to religion, governs the world, seems to have no existence." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"The lust for power is not rooted in strength but in weakness." -

"In the very act of giving, I experience my strength, my wealth, my power." -

"My will does not produce the motive power to move my limbs. Rather, he who imparted motion to matter, and ordained its laws, shaped my will also; he thus joined together two utterly different things - the movement of matter and the decision of my will in such a way that whenever my will desires some action, the desired bodily movement will occur and vice versa, without there being any causation involved, or any influence of the one upon the other. It is just as if there were two clocks appropriately adjusted with reference to each other and the time of day in such a way that when one struck the hour the other immediately did likewise." - Arnold Geulincx

"The silent influence of books, is a mighty power in the world; and there is a joy in reading them known only to those who read them with desire and enthusiasm. Silent, passive, and noiseless though they be, they yet set in action countless multitudes and change the order of nations." - Henry Giles

"[Suicide note] - Human life consists in mutual service. No grief, pain, misfortune, or 'broken heart' is excuse for cutting off one's life while any power of service remains. But when all usefulness is over, when one is assured of an unavoidable and imminent death, it is the simplest of human rights to choose a quick and easy death in place of a slow and horrible one." - Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a.k.a. Charlotte Anna (nee Perkins), Charlotte Perkins Stetson

"Austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the least of us and rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irreversibly greater with time." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Passions are defects or virtues in the highest power." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"There are but two roads that lead to an important goal and to the doing of great things: strength and perseverance. Strength is the lot of but a few privileged men; but austere perseverance, harsh and continuous, may be employed by the smallest of us and rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistibly greater with time." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Man is the only creature endowed with the power of laughter." -

"Habit has great power. We can become used to almost everything. We can become so used to a life of suffering that we are no longer aware that our suffering is not the way life should be lived. This tendency to lack a feeling of suffering is the biggest obstacle to becoming elevated through suffering. Since we do not feel the suffering, we do not pay attention to it and do not hear its message.. To overcome this, we must obtain an awareness that whenever things are not as they should be it is a message that we should improve ourselves in some area." - Avraham Grodzinski

"If knowledge is power, patience is powerful." - Robert Hall

"In the power of fixing the attention lies the most precious of the intellectual habits." - Robert Hall

"The opportunities of making great sacrifices for the good of mankind are of rare occurrence; and he who remains inactive till it is in his power to confer signal benefits or yield important services is in imminent danger of incurring the doom of the slothful servant." - Robert Hall

"The power of faith will often shine forth the most when the character is naturally weak." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"We create the situations and then we give away our power by blaming the other person for our frustration. 'We" are the only thinkers in our mind." - Louise L. Hay

"We are a compound of both here and hereafter; we shall be made responsible for the actions of both while here. Anything beyond this is beyond our power to prove, and would be of no real value if we could." - Benjamin R. Haydon

"The worst of poisons: to mistrust (despair) one's power." - Heinrich Heine

"Be and continue poor, young man, while others around you grow rich by; fraud and disloyalty; be without place or power, while others beg their way upwards; bear the pain of disappointed hopes, while others gain their by; flattery; forego the gracious pressure of the hand, for which others cringe and crawl. Wrap yourself in your own virtue, and seek a friend and your daily bread. If you have, in such a course, grown gray; with unblenched honor, bless God and die." - Richard Heinzelmann

"In building a firm foundation for Success, here are a few stones to remember: The wisdom of preparation. The value of confidence. The worth of honesty. The privilege of working. The discipline of struggle. The magnetism of character. The radiance of health. The forcefulness of simplicity. The winsomeness of courtesy. The attractiveness of modesty. The inspiration of cleanliness. The satisfaction of serving. The power of suggestion. The buoyancy of enthusiasm. The advantage of initiative. The virtue of patience. The rewards of co-operation. The fruitfulness of perseverance. The sportsmanship of losing. The joy of winning." - Rollo C. Hester

"The real duty of man is not to extend his power or multiply his wealth beyond his needs, but to enrich and enjoy his imperishable possession: his soul." -

"In the highest selflessness lies the greatest power. Ultimately, neglect of duty is due to selfishness. Because of selfishness we omit the good and commit the bad. Selfishness makes us shrink from the fulfillment of our life-task. The humble person with integrity has no trace of selfishness, his self-sacrifice is not obstructed by egotism. He is always ready to use the last spark of his energy and the last fiber of his being in doing good. He feels he has been granted life only to use his every breath for the energetic fulfillment of the good. His entire sojourn on earth, regardless of the length of its duration, is true living. When he has departed from the world, one may say of him: He was alive." - Samson Raphael Hirsch

"Suffering is a great teacher. Suffering teaches you the limitations of your power; it reminds you of the frailty of your health, the instability of your possessions, and the inadequacy of your means which have only been lent to you and must be returned as soon as the Owner desires it. Suffering visits you and teaches you the nothingness of your false greatness. It teaches you modesty." - Samson Raphael Hirsch

"To this war of every man, against every man, this is also consequent that nothing can be unjust. The notions of right and wrong, justice and injustice have there no place. Where there is no common power, there is no law: where no law, no injustice. Force, and fraud, are in war the two cardinal virtues. Justice, and injustice, are none of the faculties neither of the body, nor mind. If they were, they might be in a man that were alone in the world, as well as his sense, and passions. They are qualities, that relate to men in society, not in solitude. It is consequent also to the same condition, that there be no propriety, no dominion, no mine and thing distinct; but only that to be every man’s, that he can get; and for so long, as he can keep it." - Thomas Hobbes

"Every man’s power have relation to some kind of work; and whenever he finds that kind of work which we can do best - that to which his powers are best adapted - he finds that which will give him the best development, and that by which he can best build up, or make, his manhood." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"Responsibility walks hand in hand with capacity and power." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"Laughter and tears are meant to turn the wheels of the same machinery of sensibility; one is wind-power, and the other water-power, that is all." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Emergency does not create power." -

"All power, even the most despotic, rests ultimately on opinion." - David Hume

"It is universally allowed that nothing exists without a cause of its existence, and that chance, when strictly examined, is a mere negative word, and means not any real power which has anywhere a being in nature. But it is pretended that some causes are necessary, some not necessary." - David Hume

"Patience and gentleness are power." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"Deliverance is out of time into eternity, and is achieved by obedience and docility to the eternal Nature of Things. We have been given free will, in order that we may will our self-will out of existence and so come to live continuously in a “state of grace.” All our actions must be directed, in the last analysis, to making ourselves passive in relation to the activity and the being of divine Reality. We are, as it were, aeolian harps, endowed with the power either to expose themselves to the wind of the Spirit or to shut themselves away from it." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Faith is a pre-condition of all systematic knowing, all purposive doing and all decent living. Societies are held together, not primarily by the fear of the many for the coercive power of the few, but by a widespread faith in the other fellow’s decency." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Genuine self-government is possible only in very small groups, societies on a national or super-national scale will always be ruled by oligarchical minorities, whose members come to power because they have a lust for power." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"The only thing of value in a man is the soul. That is why it is the soul that is given everlasting life, either in the Land of the Sky or in the Underworld. The soul is man’s greatest power; it is the soul that makes us human, but how it does so we do not know. Our flesh and blood, our body, is nothing but an envelope about our vital power." - Ikinilik NULL

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love." - Washington Irving

"Humility collects the soul into a single point by the power of silence. A truly humble man has no desire to be known or admired by others, but wishes to plunge from himself into himself, to become nothing, as if he had never been born. When he is completely hidden to himself in himself, he is completely with God." - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"Men habitually use only a small part of the power they possess and which they might use under appropriate circumstances." - William James

"We have lost the power even of imagining what the ancient realization of poverty could have meant; the liberation from material attachments, the unbribed soul, the manlier indifference, the paving our way by what we are and not by what we have, the right to fling away our life at any moment irresponsibly, - the more athletic trim, in short, the fighting shape." - William James

"I have great admiration for power, a great terror of weakness, especially in my own sex, yet feel that my love is for those who overcome the mental and moral suffering and temptation through excess of tenderness rather than through excess of strength." - Anna Jameson

"I have never been able to conceive how any rational being could propose happiness to himself from the exercise of power over others." - Thomas Jefferson

"Love is the purification of the heart from self; it strengthens and ennobles the character; gives higher motive and nobler aim to every action of life, and makes both man and woman strong, noble, and courageous. The power to love truly and devotedly is the nobles gift with which a human being can be endowed; but it is a sacred fire that must not be burned to idols." - Maria Jane Jewsbury

"Kindness is in our power, but fondness is not." -

"The power of punishment is to silence, not to confute." -

"To do nothing is in every man’s power; we can never want an opportunity of omitting duties. The lapse to indolence is soft and imperceptible, because it is only a mere cessation of activity; but the return to diligence is difficult, because it implies a change from rest to motion, from privation to reality." -

"Men in general are too material and do not make enough human contacts. If we search for the fundamentals which actually motivate us, we will find that they come under four headings: love, money, adventure and religion. It is to some of them that we always owe that big urge which pushes us onward. Men who crush these impulses and settle down to everyday routine are bound to sink into mediocrity. No man is a complete unity of himself; he needs the contact, the stimulus and the driving power which is generated by his contact with other men, their ideas and constantly changing scenes." - Edward S. "Ned" Jordan

"No reasonable man would be eager to possess himself of the invidious power of inflicting punishment, if he were not predetermined to make use of it." -

"We still have it in our power to rise above the fears, imagined and real, and to shoulder the great burdens which destiny has placed upon us, not for our country alone, but for the benefit of all the world." - Garrison Keillor, fully Gary Edward "Garrison" Keillor