Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Present

"I discover that hardly a week passes that someone does not start a new cult, or revive an old one; if I had a hundred life-times I could not know all the creeds and ceremonies, the services and rituals, the litanies and liturgies, the hymns, anthems and offertories of Bootstrap-lifting." - Upton Sinclair, fully Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr.

"I used to say to our audiences: It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" - Upton Sinclair, fully Upton Beall Sinclair, Jr.

"The principle of procrastinated rape is said to be the ruling one in all the great bestsellers." - V. S. Pritchett, fully Sir Victor Sawdon Pritchett

"It is not true that people of high principles are ill-suited for politics. High principles have only to be accompanied by patience, consideration, a sense of measure and understanding for others. It is not true that only coldhearted, cynical, arrogant, haughty or brawling persons succeed in politics. Such people are naturally attracted by politics. In the end, however, politeness and good manners weigh more." - Václav Havel

"Today I would like to thank from my heart all those of you who have trusted me, sympathized with me or in any way supported me. Without your understanding and goodwill I would not have been able to stay in office for even a few moments. I appreciate your support all the more for the fact that I did not try at all costs to obtain it. I frequently even took what was clearly a minority position and so reaped more opposition than recognition. Sometimes I may have been mistaken in this but I would like to assure you of one thing: I have always tried to abide by the dictates of the authority under which I took my oath of office — the dictates of the best of my awareness and conscience." - Václav Havel

"Most of the memex contents are purchased on microfilm ready for insertion. Books of all sorts, pictures, current periodicals, newspapers, are thus obtained and dropped into place. Business correspondence takes the same path. And there is provision for direct entry." - Vannevar Bush

"Professionally our methods of transmitting and reviewing the results of research are generations old and by now are totally inadequate for their purpose. If the aggregate time spent in writing scholarly works and in reading them could be evaluated, the ratio between these amounts of time might well be startling. Those who conscientiously attempt to keep abreast of current thought, even in restricted fields, by close and continuous reading might well shy away from an examination calculated to show how much of the previous month's efforts could be produced on call. Mendel's concept of the laws of genetics was lost to the world for a generation because his publication did not reach the few who were capable of grasping and extending it; and this sort of catastrophe is undoubtedly being repeated all about us, as truly significant attainments become lost in the mass of the inconsequential." - Vannevar Bush

"The applications of science have built man a well-supplied house, and are teaching him to live healthily therein. They have enabled him to throw masses of people against another with cruel weapons. They may yet allow him truly to encompass the great record and to grow in the wisdom of race experience. He may perish in conflict before he learns to wield that record for his true good. Yet, in the application of science to the needs and desires of man, it would seem to be a singularly unfortunate stage at which to terminate the process, or to lose hope as to the outcome." - Vannevar Bush

"The difficulty seems to be, not so much that we publish unduly in view of the extent and variety of present-day interests, but rather that publication has been extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record. The summation of human experience is being expanded at a prodigious rate, and the means we use for threading through the consequent maze to the momentarily important item is the same as was used in the days of square-rigged ships." - Vannevar Bush

"The Encyclopoedia Britannica could be reduced to the volume of a matchbox. A library of a million volumes could be compressed into one end of a desk. If the human race has produced since the invention of movable type a total record, in the form of magazines, newspapers, books, tracts, advertising blurbs, correspondence, having a volume corresponding to a billion books, the whole affair, assembled and compressed, could be lugged off in a moving van. Mere compression, of course, is not enough; one needs not only to make and store a record but also to be able to consult it, and this aspect of the matter comes later. Even the modern great library is not generally consulted; it is nibbled by a few." - Vannevar Bush

"Poverty cannot debase sturdy souls, nor riches lift up mean ones." - Vauvenargues, Luc de Clapiers, Marquis de Vauvenargues NULL

"Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind." - Tripitaka or Tipitaka NULL

"Life is dear to all beings. They have the right to live the same as we do." - Tripitaka or Tipitaka NULL

"The tongue like a sharp knife... Kills without drawing blood." - Tripitaka or Tipitaka NULL

"And we will all go together when we go. What a comforting fact that is to know. Universal bereavement, an inspiring achievement, yes, we will all go together when we go." - Tom Lehrer, fully Thomas Andrew Lehrer

"Progressively thinking biologists, both in our country and abroad, saw in Darwinism the only right road to the further development of scientific biology." - Trofim Lysenko, fully Trofim Denisovich Lysenko

"He that feeds upon charity has a cold dinner and no supper." - Turkish Proverbs

"The rich man goes out yachting, where sanctity can't pursue him; the poor goes afloat in a fourpenny boat, where the bishop groans to view him." - Thomas Love Peacock

"Do not mistake me. Our interest just now is in the life of complete obedience to God, not in amazing revelations of His glory graciously granted only to some. Yet the amazing experiences of the mystics leave a permanent residue, a God-subdued, a God-possessed will. States of consciousness are fluctuating. The vision fades. But holy and listening and alert obedience remains, as the core and kernel of a God-intoxicated life, as the abiding pattern of sober, workaday living. And some are led into the state of complete obedience by this well-nigh passive route, wherein God alone seems to be the actor and we seem to be wholly acted upon. And our wills are melted and dissolved and made pliant, being firmly fixed in Him, and He wills in us. But in contrast to this passive route to complete obedience most people must follow what Jean-Nicholas Grou calls the active way, wherein we must struggle and, like Jacob of old, wrestle with the angel until the morning dawns, the active way wherein the will must be subjected bit by bit, piecemeal and progressively, to the divine Will." - Thomas R. Kelly, fully Thomas Raymond Kelly

"I think it will be found that experience, the true source and foundation of all knowledge, invariably confirms its truth." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"The germs of existence contained in this spot of earth, with ample food, and ample room to expand in, would fill millions of worlds in the course of a few thousand years." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"The love of independence is a sentiment that surely none would wish to see erased from the breast of man, though the parish law of England, it must be confessed, is a system of all others the most calculated gradually to weaken this sentiment, and in the end may eradicate it completely." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"The perpetual tendency of the race of man to increase beyond the means of subsistence is one of the general laws of animated nature, which we can have no reason to expect to change." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"There is scarcely any inquiry more curious, or, from its importance, more worthy of attention, than that which traces the causes which practically check the progress of wealth in different countries, and stop it, or make it proceed very slowly, while the power of production remains comparatively undiminished, or at least would furnish the means of a great and abundant increase of produce and population." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"Through the animal and vegetable kingdoms, nature has scattered the seeds of life abroad with the most profuse and liberal hand." - Thomas Malthus, fully Thomas Robert Malthus

"Being considered or labeled mentally disordered – abnormal, crazy, mad, psychotic, sick, it matters not what variant is used – is the most profoundly discrediting classification that can be imposed on a person today. Mental illness casts the “patient” out of our social order just as surely as heresy cast the “witch” out of medieval society. That, indeed, is the very purpose of stigma terms." - Thomas Szasz, fully Thomas Stephen Szasz

"The seed of revolution is repression." - Woodrow Wilson, fully Thomas Woodrow Wilson

"An Athenian citizen does not neglect the state because he takes care of his own household; and even those of us who are engaged in business have a very fair idea of politics. We alone regard a man who takes no interest in public affairs, not as a harmless, but as a useless character, and if few of us are originators, we are all sound judges of a policy." - Thucydides NULL

"Having done what men could, they suffered what men must." - Thucydides NULL

"They have discovered that the length of time we have now been in commission has rotted our ships and wasted our crews, and that with the completeness of our crews and the soundness of the pristine efficiency of our navy has departed. For it is impossible for us to haul our ships ashore and dry them out because the enemy's vessels being as many or more than our own, we are constantly anticipating an attack." - Thucydides NULL

"You may be sure that we are as well aware as you of the difficulty of contending against your power and fortune, unless the terms be equal. But we trust that the gods may grant us fortune as good as yours, since we are just men fighting against unjust, and that what we want in power will be made up by the alliance of the Lacedaemonians, who are bound, if only for very shame, to come to the aid of their kindred. Our confidence, therefore, after all is not so utterly irrational." - Thucydides NULL

"Between levity and cheerfulness there is a wide distinction; and the mind which is most open to levity is frequently a stranger to cheerfulness. It has been remarked that transports of intemperate mirth are often no more than flashes from the dark cloud; and that in proportion to the violence of the effulgence is the succeeding gloom. Levity may be the forced production of folly or vice; cheerfulness is the natural offspring of wisdom and virtue only. The one is an occasional agitation; the other a permanent habit. The one degrades the character; the other is perfectly consistent with the dignity of reason, and the steady and manly spirit of religion. To aim at a constant succession of high and vivid sensations of pleasure is an idea of happiness perfectly chimerical. Calm and temperate enjoyment is the utmost that is allotted to man. Beyond this we struggle in vain to raise our state; and in fact depress our joys by endeavoring to heighten them. Instead of those fallacious hopes of perpetual festivity with which the world would allure us, religion confers upon us a cheerful tranquillity. Instead of dazzling us with meteors of joy which sparkle and expire, it sheds around us a calm and steady light, more solid, more equal, and more lasting." - Hugh Blair

"Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not. Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning or an end. Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of the bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm. There is only one serious question. And that question is: 'Who knows how to make love stay?'" - Tom Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins

"And for I know she taketh most delight In music, instruments, and poetry, Schoolmasters will I keep within my house, Fit to instruct her youth. If you, Hortensio, Or Signior Gremio, you, know any such, Prefer them hither, for to cunning men I will be very kind, and liberal To mine own children in good bringing-up." -

"But to my mind, — though I am native here and to the manner born, — it is a custom more honour'd in the breach than the observance. Hamlet, Act i, Scene 4" -

"Come, seeling night, Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day, and with thy bloody and invisible hand Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond Which keeps me pale. Light thickens, and the crow Makes wing to th' rooky wood. Good things of day begin to droop and drowse, While night's black agents to their prey do rouse. Macbeth (Macbeth at III, ii)" -

"The things we do when we expect our lives to continue are naturally and properly different than the things we might do if we expected them to end abruptly. We go easy on the lard and tobacco, smile dutifully at yet another of our supervisor's witless jokes, read books like this one when we could be wearing paper hats and eating pistachio macaroons in the bathtub, and we do each of these things in the charitable service of the people we will soon become." - Daniel Gilbert, fully Daniel Todd Gilbert, aka Professor Happiness

"Neither philosophy, nor morality, nor politics will ever show like itself till man shall be acknowledged for what he really is, a being capable of rectitude, virtue and benevolence, and who needs not always be led to actions of general utility, by foreign and frivolous considerations." - William Godwin

"There is reverence that we owe to everything in human shape." - William Godwin

"The present condition wherewith a contented mind is limited in this text, admits a double reference. One to the time past; wherein though his condition hath been better, yet he repineth not at the alteration thereof." - William Gouge

"They who on meare curiositie (where no urgent necessitie requireth) try whether their children may not as birds be nourished without sucking, offend contrary to this dutie of breast feeding and reflect that meanes which God hath ordained as best; and so oppose their shallow wits to his unsearchable wisdom." - William Gouge

"Beauty and hideousness, love and cruelty, life and death keep house together in indissoluble partnership; and there gradually steals over us, instead of the old warm notion of a man-loving Deity, that of an awful power that neither hates nor loves, but rolls all things together meaninglessly to a common doom. This is an uncanny, a sinister, a nightmare view of life, and its peculiar poisonousness, lies expressly in our holding two things together which cannot possibly agree." - William James

"'Facts' are the bounds of human knowledge, set for it, not by it." - William James

"Let anyone try to cut a thought across the middle and get a look at its section, and he will see how difficult the introspective observation. . . is. The rush of the thought is always so headlong that it almost always brings us up at the conclusion before we can arrest it. [Introspective analysis] is in fact like seizing a spinning top to catch its motion, or trying to turn up the gas quickly enough to see how the darkness looks." - William James

"Modern man . . . has not ceased to be credulous . . . the need to believe haunts him." - William James

"Regarding mutual tolerance: It is negative in one sense, but positive in another. It absolutely forbids us to be forward in pronouncing on the meaninglessness of forms of existence other than our own; and it commands us to tolerate, respect, and indulge those whom we see harmlessly interested and happy in their own ways, however unintelligible these may be to us. Hands off . . . ." - William James

"The new ardor which burns in his breast consumes in its glow the lower noes which formerly beset him, and keeps him immune against infection from the entire groveling portion of his nature. Magnanimities once impossible are now easy; paltry conventionalities and mean incentives once tyrannical hold no sway. The stone wall inside of him has fallen, the hardness in his heart has broken down. The rest of us can, I think, imagine this by recalling our state of feeling in those temporary melting moods into which either the trials of real life, or the theatre, or a novel sometimes throws us. Especially if we weep! For it is then as if our tears broke through an inveterate inner dam, and let all sorts of ancient peccancies and moral stagnancies drain away, leaving us now washed and soft of heart and open to every nobler leading. With most of us the customary hardness quickly returns, but not so with saintly persons. Many saints, even as energetic ones as Teresa and Loyola, have possessed what the church traditionally reveres as a special grace, the so-called gift of tears. In these persons the melting mood seems to have held almost uninterrupted control. And as it is with tears and melting moods, so it is with other exalted affections. Their reign may come by gradual growth or by a crisis; but in either case it may have come to stay." - William James

"The simplest rudiment of mystical experience would seem to be that deepened sense of the significance of a maxim or formula which occasionally sweeps over one." - William James

"The world is all the richer for having a devil in it, so long as we keep our foot upon his neck." - William James

"There is but one unconditional commandment, which is that we should seek incessantly, with fear and trembling, so to vote and to act as to bring about the very largest total universe of good which we can see." - William James