Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probably reason why so few engage in it.'" - Henry Ford

"There need not be in religion, or music, or art, or love, or goodness, anything that is against reason; but never while the sun shines will we get great religion, or music, or art, or love, or goodness, without going beyond reason." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"The great secret of succeeding in conversation is to admire little, hear much, always to distrust our own reason, and sometimes that of our friends; never to pretend to wit, but to make that of others appear as much as we possibly can; to hearken to what is said, and to answer to the purpose." - Benjamin Franklin

"Human history begins with man's act of disobedience which is at the same time the beginning of his freedom and development of his reason." -

"Only when man succeeds in developing his reason and love further than he has done so far, only when he can build a world based on human solidarity and justice, only when he can feel rooted in the experience of universal brotherliness, will he have transformed his world into a true, human home." -

"Reason is man's faculty for grasping the world by thought, in contradiction to intelligence, which is man's ability to manipulate the world with the help of thought." -

"Reason can in general do more than blind force." - Caius Cornelius Gallus

"When I began to examine just how wealth is created, it seemed to me plain that it arises not from taking, but from giving. People get rich by giving rather than by taking, and this seemed to me to be a very important perception, because the reason for the crisis in capitalism today, it seems to me, is not its practical achievements, but rather the perception of its moral character." - George F Gilder

"I don’t see any reason why we should have less confidence in this kind of perception, I.e., in mathematical intuition, than in sense perception, which induces us to build up physical theories and to expect that future sense perceptions will agree with them and, moreover, to believe that a question not decidable now has meaning and may be decided in the future." - Kurt Gödel, also Goedel

"Let us not dream that reason can ever be popular. Passions, emotions, may be popular. Passions, emotions, may be made popular; but reason remains ever the property of an elect few." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"The criterion of true beauty is, that it increases on examination; if false, that it lessens. There is therefore, something in true beauty that corresponds with right reason, and is not the mere creation of fancy." -

"O you who would learn the marvels of Love from the copybook of reason, I am afraid that you will never really see the point." - Hafiz, pen name of Shams-ud-din Muhammad NULL

"Wine, though it possesses good qualities, was forbidden by the prophet, because it attacked reason." -

"Genius may dazzle, eloquence may persuade, reason may convince; but to render popular cold and comfortless sophistry, unaided by these powers is a hopeless attempt." -

"If we discover a complete theory, it should in time be understandable in broad principle by everyone, not just a few scientists. Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we and the universe exist. If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason - for then we would know the mind of God." -

"Religion is the answer to that cry of Reason which nothing can silence, that aspiration of the soul which no created thing can meet, that want of the heart which all creation cannot supply." - Isaac Thomas Hecker

"To empty one's mind of all thoughts and refill the void with a spirit greater than oneself is to expand the mind into a realm not accessible by conventional processes of reason." - Edward Hill

"The end of worship amongst men is power. For where a man seeth another worshipped, he supposeth him powerful, and is the readier to obey him; which makes his power greater. But God has no ends: the worship we do him proceeds from our duty and is directed according to our capacity by those rules of honor that reason dictateth to be done by the weak to the more potent men, in hope of benefit, for fear of damage, or in thankfulness for good already received from them." - Thomas Hobbes

"All fact-collectors, who have no aim beyond their facts, are one-story men. Two-story men compare, reason, generalize, using the labors of the fact-collectors as well as their own. Three-story men idealize, imagine, predict: their best illumination comes from above, through the skylight." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Reason may be the lever, but sentiment gives you the fulcrum and the place to stand on if you want to move the world." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Reason is the director of man's will, discovering in action what is good, for the laws of well-doing are the dictates of right reason." - Richard Hooker

"Brute strength bereft of reason falls by its own weight." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"Force without reason falls of its own weight." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"To reject wisdom because the person who communicates it is uncouth and his manners are inelegant, what is it but to throw away a pineapple and assign for a reason the roughness of its coat?" - George Horne

"No man is smart except by comparison with other who know less; the smartest man who ever lived has reason to be ashamed of himself." - E. W. Howe, fully Edgar Watson Howe

"We are not only made in God’s image, but that we are made to image God - to reflect His freedom, joy, compassion and peace in our lives... When religion becomes reduced to an outward observation of rules and ceremonies and an intolerance toward the beliefs of others, we are mistaking the oyster for the pearl. The oyster is certainly valuable, but it is of infinitely greater value when it promotes the growth of the pearl... We cannot reason our way back to the roots of religion. We cannot trap God in stale dogmas or narrow creeds. Our purpose is to make religion a continuous living experience, to lead us toward a resurrection not of the dead but of the living who are dead to their own truth. Then religion becomes a thread that can both link us to the past and guide us to our future." - Arianna Huffington, born Arianna Stassinopoulos

"Enthusiasm is the fever of reason." - Victor Hugo

"‘Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger. ‘Tis not contrary to reason for me to chose my total ruin, to prevent the least uneasiness of an Indian or person wholly unknown to me. ‘Tis as little contrary to reason to prefer even my own acknowledg’d lesser good to my greater, and have a more ardent affection for the former than the latter... In short, a passion must be accompany’d with some false judgment, in order to its being unreasonable; and even then ‘tis not the passion, properly speaking, which is unreasonable, but the judgment." - David Hume

"'Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the whole world to the scratching of my finger." - David Hume

"We speak not strictly and philosophically when we talk of the combat of passion and reason. Reason is, and ought only to be the salve of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them." - David Hume

"God made both tears and laughter, and both for kind purposes; for as laughter enables mirth and surprise to breathe freely, so tears enable sorrow to vent itself patiently. Tears hinder sorrow from becoming despair and madness; and laughter is on top of the very privileges of reason, being confined to the human species." - James Henry Leigh Hunt

"The only reason I always try to meet and know the parents is because it helps me to forgive their children." - Louis Johannot

"It is not from reason and prudence that people marry, but from inclination." -

"Some men weave their own sophistry till their own reason is entangled." -

"Nations have passed away and left no traces, And history gives the naked cause of it - One single simple reason in all cases; They fell because their peoples were not fit." - Rudyard Kipling

"Men become attached to us not by reason of the services we render them, but by reason of the services they render us." - Eugène Marin Labiche

"Belief in a future life is the appetite of reason." - Walter Savage Landor

"Every kind of art is beautiful, as all life is beautiful, for much the same reason: that it embodies sentience, from the most elementary sense of vitality, individual being and continuity, to the full expansion of human perception, human love and hate, triumph and misery, enlightenment, wisdom." -

"Virtue in its grandest aspect is neither more nor less than following reason." -

"As there is an infinite number of possible universes in the ideas of God, and as only one can exist, there must be sufficient reason for God’s choice, to determine him to one rather than to another. And this reason can only be found in the fitness, or in the degrees of perfection, which these worlds contain." - Gottfried Leibniz, fully Gottfried Wilhalm von Leibniz, Baron von Leibnitz

"Birth and death are like two ships in a harbor. There is no reason to rejoice at the ship setting out on a journey [birth], not knowing what she may encounter on the high seas, but we should rejoice at the ship returning to port [death] safely." - Leone Levi

"The reason for the sublime simplicity in the works of nature lies all too often in the sublime shortsightedness in the observer." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"The essential ingredient of democracy is not doctrine but intelligence, not authority but reason, not cynicism but faith in men, faith in God. Our strength lies in the fearless pursuit of truth by the minds of men who are free." -

"Happiness is the greatest paradox in nature. It can grow in any soil, live under any condition. It defies environment. The reason for this is that it does not come from without but from within. Whenever you see a person seeking happiness outside himself, you can be sure he has never found it." - William George Jordan

"When I'm getting ready to reason with a man, I spend one-third of my time thinking about myself and what I am going to say - and two-thirds thinking about him and what he is going to say." - Abraham Lincoln

"Man is free in his imagination, but bound by his reason." - Israel Salanter Lipkin

"Life is an irreversible process and for that reason its future can never be a repetition of the past." - Walter Lippmann

"The opposition is indispensable. A good statesman, like any other sensible human being, always learns more from his opponents than from his fervent supporters. For his supporters will push him to disaster unless his opponents show him where the dangers are. So if he is wise he will often pray to be delivered from his friends, because they will ruin him. But though it hurts, he ought also to pray never to be left without opponents; for they keep him on the path of reason and good sense. " - Walter Lippmann

"Curiosity in children is but an appetite for knowledge. One great reason why children abandon themselves wholly to silly pursuits and trifle away their time insipidly is, because they find their curiosity balked, and their inquiries neglected." - John Locke

"He that takes away reason to make way for revelation puts out the light of both, and does much the same as if he would persuade a man to put out his eyes the better to receive the remote light of an invisible star by a telescope." - John Locke