Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes


"There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. And if you cannot hear it, you will all of your life spend your days on the ends of strings that somebody else pulls." - Howard Therman

"It takes a great man to give sound advice tactfully, but a greater to accept it graciously." - J. C. Macaulay

"It has occurred to me that the thing you have, that all men have enough of, is perhaps the thing that you care for the best, and that is your leisure - the leisure you have to think; the leisure you have to be let alone; the leisure you have to throw the plummet into your mind, and sound the depth and dive for things below." - James A. Garfield

"As music is the poetry of sound, so is painting the poetry of sight and the subject-matter has nothing to do with harmony of sound or of colour. " - James Abbott McNeill Whistler

"The magic of listening brings us closer to the central core of the universe. To begin to comprehend the mystery of life it is not sufficient to touch and to see – we need to hear, to listen, and thus to unite heart and mind and soul. The softer the sound the more important it is that we perceive it. We have, I fear, become a deaf people, and the cries of pain of the flora and fauna around us, the very air we breathe, the suffering of our fellow human beings in our urban deserts, in parts of the globe we have subjected to war, to famine and flood through greed and selfishness, have become inaudible. The media encourages us to read, to view, to hear, but that does not mean we listen. Until we can create a still center within ourselves we will be unable to attune the “third ear” to the messages that are broadcast to us, loud and clear for the most part, but rendered futile due to our incapacity to listen." - Joachim-Ernst Berendt

"The longer I live the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and wonder of the world… I have loved the feel of the grass under my feet, and the sound of the running streams by my side. The hum of the wind in the treetops has always been good music to me, and the face of the fields has often comforted me more than the faces of men. I am in love with this world...I have tilled its soil, I have gathered its harvest, I have waited upon its seasons, and always have I reaped what I have sown. I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, sailed its waters, crossed its deserts, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings." - John Burroughs

"A sound does not view itself as thought, as ought, as needing another sound for its elucidation, as etc.; it has not time for any consideration--it is occupied with the performance of its characteristics: before it has died away it must have made perfectly exact its frequency, its loudness, its length, its overtone structure, the precise morphology of these and of itself." - John Cage, fully John Milton Cage, Jr.

"A sound mind in a sound body, is a short, but full description of a happy state in this World: he that has these two, has little more to wish for; and he that wants either of them, will be little the better for anything else. " - John Locke

"When there is an original sound in the world, it makes a hundred echoes." - John Augustus Shedd

"It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms." - J. B. S. Haldane, fully John Burdon Sanderson Haldane

"It is the earnest wish of my heart, that your minds may be well established in the sound principles of religious knowledge, because I am fully persuaded, that nothing else can be a sufficient foundation of a virtuous and truly respectable conduct in life, or of good hope in death. A mind destitute of knowledge (and, comparatively speaking, no kind of knowledge, besides that of religion, deserves the name) is like a field on which no culture has been bestowed, which, the richer it is, the ranker weeds it will produce, If nothing good be sown in it, it will be dccupied by plants that are useless or noxious." - Joseph Priestley

"The flute of the Infinite is played without ceasing,and its sound is love: When love renounces all limits, it reaches truth. How widely the fragrance spreads! It has no end, nothing stands in its way." - Kabir, also Kabīra NULL

"The sound of life has divine silence." - Kedar Joshi

"Maybe the evolutionary sequence really is from matter to body to mind to soul to spirit, each transcending and including, each with a greater depth and greater consciousness and wider embrace. And in the highest reaches of evolution, maybe, just maybe, an individual's consciousness does indeed touch infinity - a total embrace of the entire Kosmos - a Kosmic consciousness that is Spirit awakened to its own true nature. It is at least plausible. And tell me: is that story, sung by mystics and sages the world over, any crazier than the scientific materialism story, which is that the entire sequence is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? Listen very carefully: just which of those two stories actually sounds totally insane?" - Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

"A language possesses utility only insofar as it can construct conventional boundaries. A language of no boundaries is no language at all, and thus the mystic who tries to speak logically and formally of unity consciousness is doomed to sound very paradoxical or contradictory. The problem is that the structure of any language cannot grasp the nature of unity consciousness, any more than a fork could grasp the ocean." - Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

"There are four major stages of spiritual unfolding: belief, faith, direct experience, and permanent adaptation: you can believe in Spirit, you can have faith in Spirit, you can directly experience Spirit, you can become Spirit… Meditation is not primarily uncovering the repressed unconscious, but allowing the emergence of higher domains--which usually leaves the lower, repressed domains still lower, and still repressed… Well, the point, of course, is to take up integral practice as the only sound and balanced way to proceed…If you are interested in genuine transformative spirituality, find an authentic spiritual teacher and begin practice. Without practice, you will never move beyond the phases of belief, faith, and random peak experiences. You will never evolve into plateau experiences, nor from there into permanent adaptation. You will remain, at best, a brief visitor in the territory of your own higher estate, a tourist of you own true Self." - Ken Wilber, fully Kenneth Earl Wilber II

"Political economy cannot be supreme arbiter in politics. Else you might defend slavery where it is economically sound and reject it where the economic argument applies against it." - John Dalberg-Acton, Lord Acton, fully John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton

"I always tell our athletes, "The qualities you develop now, the things we're going to insist upon, will be with you for life, and they'll always be as sound and as good as they are now." All we're really talking about is a commitment to excellence." - Lou Holtz, fully Louis Leo "Lou" Holtz

"If the small minority of enlightened citizens who are able to conceive sound principles of political management do not succeed in winning the support of their fellow citizens and converting them to the endorsement of policies that bring and preserve prosperity, the cause of mankind and civilization is hopeless. There is no other means to safeguard a propitious development of human affairs than to make the masses of inferior people adopt the ideas of the elite. This has to be achieved by convincing them. It cannot be accomplished by a despotic regime that instead of enlightening the masses beats them into submission. In the long run the ideas of the majority, however detrimental they may be, will carry on. The future of mankind depends on the ability of the elite to influence public opinion in the right direction." - Ludwig von Mises, fully Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises

"Some persons talk simply because they think sound is more manageable than silence." - Margaret Halsey

"Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don't have to do anything else. We don't have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen. " - Margaret J. Wheatley, aka Meg Wheatley

"I have tried to make all my acts and commercial moves the result of definite consideration and sound judgment. There were never any great ventures or risks. I practiced honest, slow-growing business methods, and tried to back them with energy and good system." - Marshall Field

"Lightning makes no sound until it strikes." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"It's never what you say, but how you make it sound sincere." - Marya Mannes

"The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers." - Matsuo Bashō, born Matsuo Kinsaku, then Matsuo Chūemon Munefusa

"Ere you lie down to sleep in the night, sit still awhile, and nurse again to life your gentler self. Forget the restless, noisy spirit of the day, and encourage to speech the soft voices within you that timidly whisper of the peace of the quiet night; and occasionally look out at the quiet stars. The night will soothe you like a tender mother, folding you against her soft bosom, and hiding you from the harm of the world. Though denied and rejected by men in the light of day, the night will not reject you and in the still of her soft shadows you are free. After the day's struggle there is no freedom like unfettered thoughts, no sound like the music of silence. And though behind you lies a road of dust and heat and discouragement, and before you the challenge and uncertainty of untried paths, in this brief hour you are master of all highways, and the universe nestles in your soul." - Max Ehrmann

"It's precisely the disappointing stories, which have no proper ending and therefore no proper meaning, that sound true to life." - Max Frisch

"Language has become a mere mechanical vehicle transporting the outward signs of language. Language has ceased to be organic and plastic, ceased to establish things firmly. Words have become merely signs that something is being fetched out of the jumble of noise and thrown at the listener. The word is not specifically a word. It can now be replaced by signs—colour signs or sound signs; it has become an apparatus, and like every mere apparatus it is always facing the possibility of destruction. And therefore the man who does not live directly from the word, but allows himself to be dragged along by the apparatus of noise, also faces destruction at any moment." - Max Picard

"Verbal noise is neither silence nor sound. It permeates silence and sound alike and it causes man to forget both silence and the world. / There has ceased to be any difference between speech and silence, since one single noise of words permeates both the speaker and the non-speaker. The silent listener has simply become a non-speaker. / Verbal noise is a pseudo-language and a pseudo-silence. That is to say, something is spoken and yet it is not real language at all. Something disappears in the noise and yet it is not real silence. When the noise suddenly stops, it is not followed by silence, but merely by a pause in which the noise accumulates in order to expand with even greater force when it is released. / It is as though the noise were afraid that it might disappear, as if it were constantly on the move, because it must always be convincing itself that it really exists. It does not believe in its own existence. / The real word, on the contrary, has no such fear, even when it is not being expressed in sound: its existence is in fact even more palpable in the silence." - Max Picard

"O night, O sweetest time, though black of hue, with peace you force all the restless work to end; those who exalt you see and understand, and he is sound of mind who honours you. You cut the thread of tired thoughts, for so you offer calm in your moist shade; you send to this low sphere the dreams where we ascend up to the highest, where I long to go. Shadow of death that brings to quiet close all miseries that plague the heart and soul, for those in pain the last and best of cures; you heal the flesh of its infirmities, dry and our tears and shut away our toil, and free the good from wrath and fretting cares." - Michelangelo, aka Michaelangelo Buonarroti, fully Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni NULL

"O night, O sweetest time, though black of hue, with peace you force all the restless work to end; those who exalt you see and understand, and he is sound of mind who honours you. You cut the thread of tired thoughts, for so you offer calm in your moist shade; you send to this low sphere the dreams where we ascend up to the highest, where I long to go. Shadow of death that brings to quiet close all miseries that plague the heart and soul, for those in pain the last and best of cures; you heal the flesh of its infirmities, dry and our tears and shut away our toil, and free the good from wrath and fretting cares." -

"True it is that she who escapeth safe and unpolluted from out the school of freedom, giveth more confidence of herself than she who cometh sound out of the school of severity and restraint." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"It might sound a paradoxical thing to say --for surely never has a generation of children occupied more sheer hours of parental time --but the truth is that we neglected you. We allowed you a charade of trivial freedoms in order to avoid making those impositions on you that are in the end both the training ground and proving ground for true independence. We pronounced you strong when you were still weak in order to avoid the struggles with you that would have fed your true strength. We proclaimed you sound when you were foolish in order to avoid taking part in the long, slow, slogging effort that is the only route to genuine maturity of mind and feeling. Thus, it was no small anomaly of your growing up that while you were the most indulged generation, you were also in many ways the most abandoned to your own meager devices by those into whose safe-keeping you had been given." - Midge Decter, fully Midge Rosenthal Decter

"Most sermons sound to me like commercials - but I can't make out whether God is the Sponsor or the Product." - Mignon McLaughlin

"The sound of laughter is like the vaulted dome of a temple of happiness." - Milan Kundera

"I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini." - Miles Davis, fully Miles Dewey Davis III

"So many people are in pain – no matter how smart or accomplished – they cry, they yearn, they hurt. But instead of looking down, they look up, which is where I should have been looking, too. Because when the world quiets to the sound of your own breathing, we all want the same things: comfort, love, and a peaceful heart." - Mitch Albom, fully Mitchell David "Mitch" Albom

"Purity of personal life is the one indispensable condition for building up a sound education." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"Literary education is of no value, if it is not able to build up a sound character. " - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"I can write no more today. The contemplation of my sorry state has reduced me to so deep a melancholy that I contemplate opening my wrist like Petronius Arbiter and lapsing quietly into oblivion. Unlike Petronius, however, I shall have neither the sound of music nor the gentle talk of friends. I still have time to choose a better moment — besides, who knows to what nightmares I might awake." - Morris West, fully Morris Langlo West

"Is it too much to expect from the schools that they train their students not only to interpret but to criticize; that is, to discriminate what is sound from error and falsehood, to suspend judgement if they are not convinced, or to judge with reason if they agree or disagree?" - Mortimer J. Adler, fully Mortimer Jerome Adler

"My beloved children, who are the pupils of my eye—Truth is silent. If Truth has dawned within you, then there will be no further speech. It is silence, and silence is the greatest Truth, the best question. If there is no Truth, then there will be a lot of talk and questions. One is good and the other is bad. If there is good within you, there will be no further noise within. But if you are full of bad, there will be so much of talk, speeches and questions. Therefore, seek the good. God does not make a noise. If you need anything, then you will have only to knock, and if you are tuned to that point, with the sound of that knock you will get an answer immediately. No noise, you don't have to make a sound. This is the Truth." - Bawa Mahaiyadden, fully Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

"Whenever you look, God is there. But is He a rock or a stone or a sun or a moon or a bone? No. His sound is there and His warnings are there. You can see Him. You can see His sound, His words, His speech. You can listen to the commandments given to the prophets, because they have not gone away. They are within us." - Bawa Mahaiyadden, fully Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

"Chemistry and the Nature of Science and electricity are small. And religion is a science major, which includes all science in the core. No conflict between science and religion, because religion in itself is very science that contains essentially all the sciences. And religion is necessary and required for it is he who draws a small science goals, objectives, and puts her in the sound of its functions under the best of life .. religion is the conscience of residence .. Conscience and in turn chooses Atomic Energy Agency and constructive function .. Not cast out destruction and death on the innocent .. He calls on us to make electricity and lighting means no way to destruction." - Mustapha Mahmoud

"The inquiry method is motivated by Postman and Weingartner's recognition that good learners and sound reasoners center their attention and activity on the dynamic process of inquiry itself, not merely on the end product of static knowledge. They write that certain characteristics are common to all good learners saying that all good learners have: Self-confidence in their learning ability - Pleasure in problem solving - A keen sense of relevance - Reliance on their own judgment over other people's or society's - No fear of being wrong - No haste in answering - Flexibility in point of view - Respect for facts, and the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion - No need for final answers to all questions, and comfort in not knowing an answer to difficult questions rather than settling for a simplistic answer." - Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner

"His life had already touched upon the age when everything that breathes of impulse shrinks in a man, when a powerful bow has a fainter effect on his soul and no longer twines piercing music around his heart, when the touch of beauty no longer transforms virginal powers into fire and flame, but all the burnt-out feelings become more accessible to the sound of gold, listen more attentively to its alluring music, and little by little allow it imperceptibly to lull them completely. Fame cannot give pleasure to one who did not merit it but stole it; it produces a constant tremor only in one who is worthy of it. And therefore all his feelings and longings turn toward gold.”" - Nikolai Gogol, fully Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol or Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol

"When the great truth accidentally revealed and experimentally confirmed is fully recognized, that this planet, with all its appalling immensity, is to electric currents virtually no more than a small metal ball and that by this fact many possibilities, each baffling imagination and of incalculable consequence, are rendered absolutely sure of accomplishment; when the first plant is inaugurated and it is shown that a telegraphic message, almost as secret and non-interferable as a thought, can be transmitted to any terrestrial distance, the sound of the human voice, with all its intonations and inflections, faithfully and instantly reproduced at any other point of the globe, the energy of a waterfall made available for supplying light, heat or motive power, anywhere — on sea, or land, or high in the air — humanity will be like an ant heap stirred up with a stick: See the excitement coming!" - Nikola Tesla

"So we find that the three possible solutions of the great problem of increasing human energy are answered by the three words: food, peace, work. Many a year I have thought and pondered, lost myself in speculations and theories, considering man as a mass moved by a force, viewing his inexplicable movement in the light of a mechanical one, and applying the simple principles of mechanics to the analysis of the same until I arrived at these solutions, only to realize that they were taught to me in my early childhood. These three words sound the key-notes of the Christian religion. Their scientific meaning and purpose now clear to me: food to increase the mass, peace to diminish the retarding force, and work to increase the force accelerating human movement. These are the only three solutions which are possible of that great problem, and all of them have one object, one end, namely, to increase human energy. When we recognize this, we cannot help wondering how profoundly wise and scientific and how immensely practical the Christian religion is, and in what a marked contrast it stands in this respect to other religions. It is unmistakably the result of practical experiment and scientific observation which have extended through the ages, while other religions seem to be the outcome of merely abstract reasoning. Work, untiring effort, useful and accumulative, with periods of rest and recuperation aiming at higher efficiency, is its chief and ever-recurring command. Thus we are inspired both by Christianity and Science to do our utmost toward increasing the performance of mankind. This most important of human problems I shall now specifically consider." - Nikola Tesla

"The little engine labors and grows, performs more and more involved operations, becomes sensitive to ever subtler influences and now there manifests itself in the fully developed being — Man — a desire mysterious, inscrutable and irresistible: to imitate nature, to create, to work himself the wonders he perceives. Inspired to this task he searches, discovers and invents, designs and constructs, and covers with monuments of beauty, grandeur and awe, the star of his birth. He descends into the bowels of the globe to bring forth its hidden treasures and to unlock its immense imprisoned energies for his use. He invades the dark depths of the ocean and the azure regions of the sky. He peers in the innermost nooks and recesses of molecular structure and lays bare to his gaze worlds infinitely remote. He subdues and puts to his service the fierce, devastating spark of Prometheus, the titanic forces of the waterfall, the wind and the tide. He tames the thundering bolt of Jove and annihilates time and space. He makes the great Sun itself his obedient toiling slave. Such is his power and might that the heavens reverberate and the whole earth trembles by the mere sound of his voice." - Nikola Tesla