Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"We are more often frightened than hurt: our troubles spring more often from fancy than reality." -

"Anyone who runs after worldly pleasures is running after something that does not really exist. The reality is that the pleasure he seeks will not be found in the matter he desires." - Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, aka Beis Halevi

"Reality and perfection are synonymous." -

"The more perfect a thing is, the more reality it possesses." -

"To will and not to do when there is opportunity, is in reality not to will; and to love what is good and not to do it, when it is possible, is in reality not to love it." - Emanuel Swedenborg, born Emanujel Swedberg

"Love is the only reality and it is not a mere sentiment. It is the ultimate truth that lies at the heart of creation." -

"We can make truth ours by actively modulating its inter-relations. This is the work of art; for reality is not based in the substance of things but in the principle of relationship. Truth is the infinite pursued by metaphysics; fact is the infinite pursued by science, while reality is the definition of the infinite which relates truth to the person. Reality is human; it is what we are conscious of, by which we are affected, that which we express." -

"One should not become preoccupied by fearful details, giving them energy, but should develop the facility of faith, while keeping one step ahead of reality." - Moira Timms

"The diminution of the reality of class, however socially desirable, in many respects seems to have the practical effect of diminishing our ability to see people in their differences and specialness." - Lionel Trilling

"Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be attained only by someone who is detached." - Simone Weil

"Wisdom is of the soul, it is not susceptible of proof, it is its own proof, applies to all stages and objects and qualities and is content, is the certainty of the reality and immortality of things, and the excellence of things; something there is in the flot of the sight of things that provokes it out of the soul." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"One Nature, perfect and pervading, circulates in all natures, one Reality, all-comprehensive, contains within itself all realities." - Yung-chia Ta-shih

"Some people are still unaware that reality contains unparalleled beauties. The fantastic and unexpected, the everchanging and renewing is nowhere so exemplified as in real life itself!" - Bernice Abbott

"Doubt of the reality of love ends by making us doubt everything." -

"Beliefs about particular matters of fact (including beliefs whose content is an unrestricted existentially quantified proposition) are structures in the mind of the believer which represent or ‘map’ reality, including the believer’s own mind and belief-states. The fundamental representing elements and relations of the map represent the sorts of thing they represent because they spring from capacities of the believer to act selectively towards things of that sort." - David Malet Armstrong, aka D. M. Armstrong

"In that continuity of becoming which is reality itself, the present moment is constituted by the quasi-instantaneous section effected by our perception in the flowing mass; and this section is precisely that which we call the material world. Our bodies occupies its centre; it is, in this material world, that part of which we directly feel the flux; in its actual state the actuality of our present lies." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"Some other faculty than the intellect is necessary for the apprehension of reality." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"Reenchantment with the Earth as a living reality is the condition for our rescue of the Earth from the impending destruction we are imposing on it. To carry this out effectively, we must now, in a sense, reinvent the human as a species within the community of life species. Our sense reality and of value must consciously shift from an anthropocentric to a biocentric norm of reference." -

"Children who have been taught, or conditioned, to listen passively most of the day to the warm verbal communication coming from the TV screen, to the deep emotional appeal of the so-called TV personality, are often unable to respond to real persons because they arouse so much less feeling than the skilled actor. Worse, they lose the ability to learn from reality because life experiences are more complicated than the ones they see on the screen, and there is no one who comes in at the end to explain it all. The “TV child”... gets discouraged when he cannot grasp the meaning of what happens to him.... If, later in life, this block of solid inertia is not removed, the emotional isolation from others that starts in front of TV may continue... This being seduced into passivity and discouraged about facing life actively on one’ sown is the real danger of TV." - Bruno Bettelheim

"Religious addiction is using God, the Church, or a belief system as an escape from reality, in an attempt to find or elevate a sense of self-worth or well-being... It is the ultimate form of co-dependency - feeling worthless in and of ourselves and looking outside for something or someone to tell us we are worthwhile... Recovery means discovering divinity in one's own life." - Leo Booth

"Facts as facts do not always create a spirit of reality, because reality is a spirit." - G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"Knowing the reality and certainty of death reminds us that we do not have time to be casual or thoughtless with our lives. We only have time to live." - Sarah Cirese

"Naked reality would scarcely keep the world in motion." - William Benton Clulow

"History is a combination of reality and lies. The reality of History becomes a lie. The unreality of the fable becomes the truth." - Jean Cocteau

"Everything is a dangerous drug except reality, which is unendurable." - Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

"Melancholy and remorse form the deep leaden keel which enables us to sail into the wind of reality." - Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

"Reality, union with reality, is the true state of the soul when confident and healthy. Unreality is what keeps us from ourselves, and most pleasures are unreal." - Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

"Words... are the great foes of reality." - Joseph Conrad, born Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski

"We must learn to tailor our concepts to fit reality, instead of trying to stuff reality into our concepts." - Victor Daniels, aka Chief Thundercloud

"Wine makes a poor man rich in imagination, a rich man poor in reality." - Edward Parsons Day

"The future of religion is connected with the possibility of developing a faith in the possibilities of human experience and human relationships that will create a vital sense of the solidarity of human interests and inspire action to make that sense a reality." - John Dewey

"The most barbarous and the most fantastic rites and the strangest myths translate some human need, some aspect of life, either individual or social... In reality, then, there are no religions which are false. All are true in their own fashion; all answer, though in different ways, to the given conditions of human existence." - Émile Durkheim, fully David Émile Durkheim

"In reality, man never dies." - Mary Baker Eddy

"Most mistakes in philosophy and logic occur because the human mind is apt to take the symbol for the reality." - Albert Einstein

"Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. In our endeavor to understand reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the mechanism of a closed watch. He sees the face and the moving hands, even hears its ticking, but he has no way of opening the case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism which could be responsible for all the things he observes, but he may never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could explain his observations. He will never be able to compare his picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the possibility or the meaning of such a comparison. But he certainly believes that, as his knowledge increases, his picture of reality will become simpler and simpler and will explain a wider and wider range of his sensuous impressions. He may also believe in the existence of the ideal limit of knowledge and that it is approached by the human mind. He may call this ideal limit the objective truth." - Albert Einstein

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity." - Albert Einstein

"Neurosis does not deny the existence of reality, it merely tries to ignore it: psychosis denies it and tries to substitute something else for it. A reaction which combines features of both these is the one we call normal or "healthy"; it denies reality as little as neurosis, but then, like psychosis, is concerned with effecting a change in it." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"There is a means of return from fantasy to reality, and that is art." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Work has a greater effect than any other technique of living in the direction of binding the individual more closely to reality; in his work, at least, he is securely attached to a part of reality, the human community." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow." -

"Reality surpasses imagination; and we see, breathing, brightening, and moving before our eyes sights dearer to our hearts than any we ever beheld in the land of sleep." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The highest problem of any art is to cause by appearance the illusion of a higher reality." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow." - Robert H. Goddard, fully Robert Hutchings Goddard

"The stupendous fact that we stand in the midst of reality will always be something far more wonderful than anything else we do." - Erich Gutkind

"I know the world is filled with troubles and many injustices. But reality is as beautiful as it is ugly. It think it is just as important to sing about beautiful mornings as it is to talk about slums. I just couldn't write anything without hope in it." - Oscar Hammerstein II, fully Oscar Greeley Clendenning Hamerstein II

"In shamanism there is ultimately no distinction between helping others and helping yourself. By helping others shamancially, one becomes more powerful, self-fulfilled, and joyous. Shamanism goes far beyond a primarily self-concerned transcendence of ordinary reality. It is a transcendence for a broader purpose, the helping of mankind." - Michael Harner

"Creation is not an arrested reality that can be captured, dissected and handed down in frozen creeds; it is, instead, a living process that can only be completed by our own full participation." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Man is going to evolve. It is our destiny. As in any evolution, parts of us will die in order for other parts to be born. Choosing at each moment the feelings, attitudes and values - acceptance, cooperation, caring, loving, forgiving - that will be the building blocks of the emerging reality is what it means to choose to evolve. At each moment we can choose to behave as natives of this new reality and co-creators in our evolution." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Things as they are are changed when we demonstrate a new reality. A very small change in perception can result in a change in behavior and, cumulatively, in a very large change in cultural patterns. Our purpose and destiny are encoded within us. But they do not automatically propel us to the next act in our day, let alone the next stage in our evolution. Our Fourth Instinct allows us to see that next stage, and our free will enables us to act on it so that it can become a reality." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos