Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Reason

"Example has more followers than reason. We unconsciously imitate what pleases us, and insensibly approximate to the characters we most admire. In this way, a generous habit of thought and of action carries with it an incalculable influence." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"Love delights in paradoxes. Saddest when it has most reason to be gay, sights are the signs of its greatest joy, and silence is the expression of its yearning tenderness." - Christian Nestell Bovee

"The chief characteristics of the (liberal) attitude are human sympathy, a receptivity to change, and a scientific willingness to follow reason rather than faith." - Chester Bliss Bowles

"Where reason ends, faith begins." -

"People have generally three epochs in their confidence in man. In the first they believe him to be everything that is good, and they are lavish with their friendship and confidence. In the next, they have had experience, which has smitten down their confidence, and they; then have to be careful not to mistrust every one, and to put the worst construction upon everything. Later in life, they learn that the greater number of men have much; more good in them than bad, and that even when there is cause to blame, there is more reason to pity than condemn; and then a spirit of confidence again awakens within them." - Frederika Bremer

"We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment." - Brown v. Board of Education NULL

"A wise man neither lets himself be governed, nor seeks to govern others; he wishes that reason should govern alone and always." - Jean de La Bruyère

"Discretion is the perfection of reason, and a guide to us in all the duties of life. It is only found in men of sound sense and understanding." - Jean de La Bruyère

"How many of us have been attracted to reason; first learned to think, to draw conclusions, to extract a moral from the follies of life, by some dazzling aphorism!" - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Philosophers have done wisely when they have told us to cultivate our reason rather than our feelings, for reason reconciles us to the daily things of existence; our feelings teach us to yearn after the far, the difficult, the unseen." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"The main reason why silence is so efficacious an element of repute is, first, because of that magnification which proverbially belongs to the unknown; and, secondly, because silence provokes no man's envy, and wounds no man's self-love." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"Before you think of retiring from the world, be sure you are fit for retirement; in order to which it is necessary that you have a mind so composed by prudence, reason, and religion, that it may bear being looked into; a turn to rural life, and a love of study." - James Burgh

"To live is like to love - all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it." - Samuel Butler

"What is prejudice? An opinion, which is not based upon reason; a judgment, without having heard the argument; a feeling, without being able to trace from whence it came." - Carrie Chapman Catt

"Nothing sublimely artistic has ever arisen out of mere art, any more than anything essentially reasonable has ever arisen out of the pure reason. There must always be a rich moral soil for any great aesthetic growth." - G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"It is strictly and philosophically true in Nature and reason that there is no such thing as chance or accident; it being evident that these words do not signify anything really existing, anything that is truly an agent ore the cause of any event; but they signify merely men’s ignorance of the real and immediate cause." - Adam Clarke

"Reason and authority, the two brightest lights of the world." - Edward Coke, fully Sir Edward Coke

"Reason is the life of the law; nay, the common law itself is nothing else but reason." - Edward Coke, fully Sir Edward Coke

"Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind." - Wilkie Collins, fully William Wilkie Collins

"Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind." - William Collins

"A life based on reason will always require to be balanced by an occasional bout of violent and irrational emotion, for the instinctual drives must be satisfied." - Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

"In every visible Creature there is a Body and a Spirit... or, more Active and more Passive Principle, which may fitly be termed Male and Female, by reason of that Analogy a Husband hath with his Wife. For as the ordinary Generation of Men requires a Conjunction and Co-operation of Male and Female; so also all Generations and Productions whatsoever they be, require an Union, and conformable Operation of those Two Principles, to wit, Spirit and Body; but the Spirit is an Eye or Light beholding its own proper Image, and the Body is a Tenebrosity or Darkness receiving that Image, when the Spirit looks thereinto, as when one sees himself in a Looking-Glass; for certainly he cannot so behold himself in the Transparent Air, nor in any Diaphanous Body, because the reflexion of an Image requires a certain opacity or darkness, which we call a Body: Yet to be a Body is not an Essential property of any Thing; as neither is it a Property of any Thing to be dark; for nothing is so dark that nothing else, neither differs any thing from a Spirit, but in that it is more dark; therefore by how much the thicker and grosser it is become, so much the more remote it is from the degree of Spirit, so that this distinction is only modal and gradual, not essential or substantial." - Anne Conway

"A true history of human events would show that a far larger proportion of our acts as the results of sudden impulses and accident, than of the reason of which we so much boast." - Albert Cooper, fully Albert Glen Cooper

"When enthusiasm is inspired by reason; controlled by caution; sound in theory; practical in application; reflects confidence; spreads good cheer; raises morale; inspires associates; arouses loyalty, and laughs at adversity, it is beyond price." - Coleman Cox

"Progress begins with the minority. It is completed by persuading the majority, by showing the reason and the advantage of the step forward, and that is accomplished by appealing to the intelligence of the majority." - George William Curtis

"Free inquiry, if restrained within due bounds, and applied to proper subjects, is a most important privilege of the human mind; and if well conducted, is one of the greatest friends to truth. But when reason knows neither its office nor its limits, and when employed on subjects foreign to its jurisdiction, it then becomes a privilege dangerous to be exercised." - Jean-Henri Merle d'Aubigné

"There is no human reason why a child should not admire and emulate his teacher's ability to do sums, rather than the village bum's ability to whittle sticks and smoke cigarettes. The reason why the child does not is plain enough - the bum has put himself on an equality with him and the teacher has not." - Floyd Dell

"A mind risks real ignorance for the sometimes paltry prize of an imagination enriched. The trick of reason is to get the imagination to seize the actual world - if only from time to time." - Anne Dillard

"To reason with a wised man is easy; with a fool, impossible." - Dudley Doolittle

"Immortality! We bow before the very term. Immortality! Before its reason staggers, calculation reclines her tired head, and imagination folds her weary pinions. Immortality! It throws open the portals of the vast forever; it puts the crown of deathless destiny upon every human brow; it cries to every uncrowned king of men, “Live forever, crowned for the empire of a deathless destiny!”" - George Douglas Brown, pseud. Kennedy King

"He that will not reason is a bigot; he that cannot reason is a fool; and he that dares not reason is a slave." - William Drummond, fully Sir William Drummond of Hawthornden

"Vanity is the quicksand of reason." -

"What distinguishes man from his innocent brothers, the animals... is not language, nor reason, nor even civilization... it is man's enormous appetite for suffering." - Georges Duhamel, Pen name Denis Thevenin

"There are three reasons why, quite apart from scientific considerations, mankind needs to travel in space. The first reason is garbage disposal; we need to transfer industrial processes into space so that the earth may remain a green and pleasant place for our grandchildren to live in. The second reason is to escape material impoverishment; the resources of this planet are finite, and we shall not forgo forever the abundance of solar energy and minerals and living space that are spread out all around us. The third reason is our spiritual need for an open frontier. The ultimate purpose of space travel is to bring to humanity, not only scientific discoveries and an occasional spectacular show on television, but a real expansion of our spirit." - Freeman John Dyson

"It is not true that there are no enjoyments in the ways of sin; there are, many and various. But the great and radical defect of them all is, that they are transitory and insubstantial, at war with reason and conscience, and always leave a sting behind... They may and often do satisfy us for a moment; but it is death in the end. It is the bread of heaven and the water of life that can so satisfy that we shall hunger no more and thirst no more forever." - Tyron Edwards

"Prejudices are rarely overcome by argument; not being founded in reason they cannot be destroyed by logic." - Tyron Edwards

"Ridicule may be the evidence of wit or bitterness and may gratify a little mind, or an ungenerous temper, but it is no test of reason and truth." - Tyron Edwards

"A knowledge of our existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds - it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man." - Albert Einstein

"Reason, of course, is weak, when measured against its never-ending task." - 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

"Those who rage today against the ideals of reason and of individual freedom, and seek to impose an insensate state of slavery by means of brutal force, rightly see in the Jews irreconcilable opponents." - Albert Einstein

"We part more easily with what we possess, than with the expectation of what we wish for: and the reason of it is, that what we expect is always greater than what we enjoy." - George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans

"One principal reason why men are so often useless is, that they divide and shift their attention among a multiplicity of objects and pursuits." - Nathanael Emmons, also Nathaniel Emmons

"Be free from grief not through insensibility like the irrational animals, nor through want of thought like the foolish, but like a man of virtue by having reason as the consolation of grief." -

"If any man be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." -

"Reason can wrestle and overthrow terror." - Euripedes NULL

"Tracing the progress of mankind in the ascending path of civilization, and moral and intellectual culture, our fathers found that the divine ordinance of government, in every stage of ascent, was adjustable on principles of the common reason to the actual condition of a people, and always had for its objects, in the benevolent councils of the divine wisdom, the happiness, the expansion, the security, the elevation of society, and the redemption of man. They sought in vain for any title of authority of man over man, except of superior capacity and higher morality." - William Maxwell Evarts

"No earthly purpose satisfies man’s longing to find his eternal reason for being... Man seeks incessantly for the meaning of life until he discovers the single eternal purpose for his existence. That purpose is the same for every man and woman. God created us because He longs to enter into fellowship with us. We belong to Him by right of creation. We can never know order and harmony in this life until we choose to establish a right relationship with God... Our search for meaning to life will end only when we establish that personal relationship with God and begin our walk with Him - for time and for eternity. Then comes that glorious personal fulfillment described in holy writ as the “peace that passes all understanding.”" - Jerry Falwell

"Neither great poverty nor great riches will hear reason." - Henry Fielding