Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Reason

"New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common." - John Locke

"Imagination, where it is truly creative, is a faculty, not a quality; its seat is in the higher reason, and it is efficient only as the servant of the will. Imagination, as too often understood, is mere fantasy - the image-making power, common to all who have the gift of dreams." - James Russell Lowell

"Truth, after all, wears a different face to everybody, and it would be too tedious to wait till all are agreed. She is said to lie at the bottom of a well, for the very reason, perhaps, that whoever looks down in search of her sees his own image at the bottom, and is persuaded not only that he has seen the goddess, but that she is far better-looking than he had imagined." - James Russell Lowell

"Life cannot be explained. The only reason for life is life. There is no why. We are. Life is beyond reason. One might think of life as a large organism, and we are but a small, symbiotic part of it. It is possible that on a spiritual level we are all connected in a way that continues beyond the comings and goings of various life forms. My best guess is that we share a collective spirit or life force or consciousness that encompasses and goes beyond individual life forms." - George T. Lucas, fully George Walton Lucas, Jr.

"Were a man to order his life by the rules of true reason, a frugal substance joined to contented mind is for him great riches; for never is there any lack of a little." - Lucretius, fully Titus Lucretius Carus NULL

"It is from reason that justice springs, but goodness is born of wisdom." - Maurice Maeterlinck, fully Count Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck

"It is the limitation of our awareness that would classify certain phenomena or abilities as metaphysical. Our awareness about what Nature is all about is grossly limited. Whatever is outside these limitations we tend to call metaphysical and then define as something beyond the scope of science and reason." - Kyriacos C. Markides

"Science, at bottom is really anti-intellectual. It always distrusts pure reason, and demands the productgion of objective fact." - H. L. Mencken, fully Henry Louis Mencken

"I see men ordinarily more eager to discover a reason for things than to find out whether the things are so." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"Knowledge humanizes mankind, and reason inclines to mildness; but prejudices destroy every tender disposition." - Baron de Montesquieu, fully Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu

"Reason may cure illusions, but not suffering." - Alfred de Musset, fully Alfred Louis Charles de Musset

"We need a reason to speak, but none to keep silent." - Pierre Nicole

"We find the attribute of unchangingness always associated with the highest level of conscious experience. The experiences of truth are always similar. There is the changing mind, following time and change; and the unchanging mind behind it. There is the order of natural reasoning that goes with changing phenomena, and another above... The source of all truth lies in ‘unchangeable truth’ which is above the level of reason, and it is the internal perception of this unchangeable truth that endows man with the highest grade of being." - Maurice Nicoll

"Many a man fails to become a thinker for the sole reason that his memory is too good." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"The sphere of poetry does not lie outside the world as a fantastic impossibility spawned by a poet’s brain: it desires to be just the opposite, the unvarnished expression of the truth, and must precisely for that reason discard the mendacious finery of that alleged reality of the man of culture. The contrast between this real truth of nature and the lie of culture that poses as if it were the only reality is similar to that between the eternal core of things, the thing-in-itself, and the whole world of appearances." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"There are questions whose truth or untruth cannot be decided by man; all the supreme questions, all the supreme problems of value are beyond human reason... To grasp the limits of reason - only this is true philosophy." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"Undeserved praise causes more pangs of conscience later than undeserved blame, but probably only for this reason, that our powers of judgment are more completely exposed by being overpraised than by being unjustly underestimated." - Friedrich Nietzsche, fully Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

"The media are far more powerful than the President in creating public awareness and shaping public opinion, for the simple reason that the media always have the last word." - Richard Nixon, fully Richard Milhous Nixon

"I can endure a melancholy man, but not a melancholy child; the former, in whatever slough he may sink, can raise his eyes either to the kingdom of reason or of hope; but the little child is entirely absorbed and weighed down by one black poison-drop of the present." - Caroline Norton

"Science provides a vision of reality seen from the perspective of reason, a perspective that sees the vast order of the universe, living and nonliving matter, as a material system governed by rules that can be known by the human mind. It is a powerful vision, formal and austere but strangely silent about many of the questions that deeply concern us. Science shows us what exists but not what to do about it." - Heinz Pagels

"It is from our enemies that we often gain excellent maxims, and are frequently surprised into reason by their mistakes." - Thomas Paine

"Time makes more Converts than Reason...the adulterous connection of church and state." - Thomas Paine

"To look for a purpose in Life outside Life itself amounts to killing Life. Reason is given by Life, not vice versa. Life is prior to meaning... Human life is joyful interrogation. Any answer is blasphemy." - Raimon Panikkar, fully Raimon Panikkar-Alemany

"And yet we are very apt to be full of ourselves, instead of Him that made what we so much value, and but for whom we can have no reason to value ourselves. For we have nothing that we can call our own, no, not ourselves; for we are all but tenants, and at will too, of the great Lord of ourselves, and the rest of this great farm, the world that we live upon." - William Penn

"The difference between passion and love is that this is fixed, that volatile. Love grows, passion wastes, by enjoyment; and the reason is that one springs from a union of souls, and other from a union of sense." - William Penn

"Those who live in accordance with law are free; and right reason is unerring law." - Philo, aka Philo of Alexandria, Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew NULL

"Wine takes away reason, engenders insanity, leads to thousands of crimes, and imposes such an enormous expense on nations." - Pliny the Younger, full name Casus Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo NULL

"All nature is but art, unknown to thee; all chance, direction, which thou canst not see; all discord harmony, not understood; all partial evil, universal good: and, spite of pride, in erring reason’s spite, one truth is clear, “Whatever is, is Right.”" - Alexander Pope

"At present we can only reason of the divine justice form what we know of justice in man. When we are in other scenes, we may have truer and nobler ideas of it; but while we are in this life, we can only speak from the volume that is laid open before us." - Alexander Pope

"The feast of reason and the flow of the soul." - Alexander Pope

"Law is experience developed by reason and applied continually to further experience." - Roscoe Pound, fully Nathan Roscoe Pound

"Consider the reason of the case, for nothing is law that is not reason." - John Powell, fully Sir John Powell

"Justice is that which is most primitive in the human soul, most fundamental in society, most sacred among ideas, and what the masses demand today with most ardor. It is the essence of religions and at the same time the form of reason, the secret object of faith, and the beginning, middle and end of knowledge. What can be imagined more universal, more strong, more complete than justice?" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

"When reason rules, money is a blessing." - Publius Syrus

"The way to subject all things to thyself is to subject thyself to reason; thou shalt govern many, if reason govern thee. Wouldst thou be crowned the monarch of a little world? command thyself." - Francis Quarles

"When reason and instinct are reconciled, there will be no higher appeal." - Jean Philippe Rameau

"Never reason from what you do not know. If you do, you will soon believe what is utterly against reason." - Andrew Ramsay, fully Sir Andrew Ramsay, Lord Abbotshall, 1st Baronet

"We love without reason, and without reason we hate." - Jean-François Regnard

"All weighty things are done in solitude, that is, without society. The means of improvement consist not in projects, or in any violent designs, for these cool, and cool very soon, but in patient practicing for whole long days, by which I make the thing clear to my highest reason." -

"Like a morning dream, life becomes more and more bright the longer we live, and the reason of everything appears more clear. What has puzzled us before seems less mysterious, and the crooked paths look straighter as we approach the end." -

"The reason why lovers are never weary of one another is this - they are ever talking of themselves." -

"The reason why so few people are agreeable in conversation is, that each is thinking more of what he is intending to say, than of what others are saying; and we never listen when we are planning to speak." -

"Life was never meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life." -

"Abstract truth is the eye of reason." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Conscience is the voice of the soul, the passions are the voice of the body. Is it astonishing that often these two languages contradict each other, and then to which must we listen? Too often reason deceives us; we have only to listen too much acquired the right of refusing to listen to it; but conscience never deceives us; it is the true guide of man; it is to man what instinct is to the body, which follows it, obeys nature, and never is afraid of going astray." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"It is a great mistake of many ardent students that they trust too much to their books, and do not draw from their own resources - forgetting that of all sophists our own reason is that which abuses us least." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"No more by the law of reason than by the law of nature can anything occur without a cause." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"Nothing can be lasting when reason does not rule." - Quintus Curtius Rufus

"Reason is a captive in the hands of the passions, as a weak man in the hands of an artful woman." - Sa'di (or Saadi), pen name of Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī, born Muslih-uddin NULL