The Great Thoughts George Seldes, compiler From Abelard to Zola, from ancient Greece to contemporary America, the ideas that have shaped the history of the world.
"Humans are of infinite worth intrinsically because they are created in God's image." Desmond Tutu (b. 1931), South African cleric, 'The Words of Desmond Tutu'
"Doubt is an incentive to truth and patient inquiry leads the way." Hosea Ballou (1771-1852), American theologian
"I feel compelled to look for a first Cause." Charles Darwin (1809-1882), English biologist, letter to Rev. J. Fordyce, July 7, 1879
"Africans believe in something that is difficult to render in English. We call it 'ubuntu, botho'. It means the essence of being human. You know when it is there and when it is absent. It speaks about humaneness, gentleness, hospitality, putting yourself out on behalf of others, being vulnerable. It embraces compassion and toughness. It recognizes that my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." Desmond Tutu (b. 1931), South African cleric, 'The Words of Desmond Tutu'
"To labor is to pray." St. Benedict of Nursia (480?-554), Patriarch of Western monks, motto of the Benedictine Order
"To fear love is to fear life." Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British mathematician, philosopher, 'Marriage and Morals'
"Almighty God hath created the mind free." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3rd American President, 'The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom', 1779
"He [God] is invisible, although seen; incomprehensible, although revealed in grace, unfathomable, although fathomed by the human senses." Tertullian (ca. 160-240 ad), Carthagenian-born Christian author, 'Apologeticus'
"The pursuit of perfection is the pursuit of sweetness and light….He who works for sweetness and light, works to make reason and the will of God prevail….Culture has a great passion, the passion for sweetness and light. It has one yet even greater! – the passion for making them prevail." Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), English poet, essayist, 'Culture and Anarchy'
"To understand everything is to hate nothing." Romain Rolland (1866-1944), French novelist, 'Jean-Christophe'
"Tsze-kung asked, saying, 'Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life? The Master said, 'Is not Reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." Confucius (551-479 bce), Chinese sage, 'Analects'
"Fundamentally, I believe history teaches us a categorical lesson: that once a people are determined to become free, then nothing can stop them from reaching their goal." Desmond Tutu (b. 1931), South African cleric, 'The Words of Desmond Tutu'
"Full wise is he that can himself know!" Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400), English poet, 'The Monk's Tale' [modernized]
"In every child who is born, under no matter what circumstances, and of no matter what parents, the potentiality of the human race is born again: and in him, too, once more, and of each of us, our terrific responsibility toward human life; toward the utmost idea of goodness…and of God." James Agee (1909-1955), American writer, 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men'
"The shore is an ancient world, for as long as there has been an earth and sea there has been this place of the meeting of land and water. Yet it is a world that keeps alive the sense of continuing creation and of the relentless drive of life. Each time I enter it, I gain some new awareness of its beauty and its deeper meanings, sensing that intricate fabric of life by which one creature is linked with another, and each with its suroundings." Rachel Carson (1907-1964), American naturalist, author, 'The Edge of the Sea'
"There is only one science, love; only one riches, love; only one policy, love….love is all the law, and the prophets." Anatole France (1844-1924), French author, 'Epigrams'
"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), American historian
"As to the word 'God',…it is a floating literary symbol, with a value which, if we define it scientifically, becomes quite algebraic." George Santayana (1863-1952), Spanish-born American philosopher, 'Reason in Society'
"Man is what he believes." Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), Russian writer, 'Notebooks'
"Religion is the root of human existence." Wilhelm Schlegel (1767-1845), German poet, 'Lectures, 1807-1808'
"For a conscious being, to exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly." Henri Bergson (1859-1941), French philosopher, Nobel Prize winner, 1927, 'Creative Evolution'
"What's freedom for? To know eternity." Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), American poet, 'I Knew A Woman'
"Nature is the Art of God." Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Italian poet, 'Monarchy'
"It is a world cooperative commonwealth at which we ought to aim, built on freedom. A single country – or a group of countries – with this peaceful cooperative aim can make its impact on the whole world." David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973), Polish-born Israeli prime minister, New York Times Magazine, September 24, 1961
"United we stand, divided we fall." Aesop (620-560 bce), Greek author, 'The Four Oxen and the Lion'