Many / One

A database of 11,000+ illuminated guiding quotations in 40 categories from 600+ inspired books by our most brilliant and influential authors.
Compiled by JoAnn Kite

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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.

1 "Francis Thompson, the English poet, once wrote that one could not pluck a flower without troubling a star. Intuitively he had sensed the enormous interlinked complexity of life." Loren Eiseley (1907-1977), American anthropologist, 'How Flowers Changed the World'

2 "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'

3 "I would say that if there is no love, NOTHING is possible. Man absolutely cannot live by himself." Erich Fromm (1900-1980), American psychologist, 'Look', May 5, 1964

4 "Then she (Philosophy personified) said…I assert that there is no such thing as chance and I declare that chance is just an empty word with no real meaning. For what place can be left for purposelessness when God puts all things in order?" Boethius (ca. 480-524), Roman philosopher, 'The Consolation of Philosophy'

5 "All fear is a sign of want of faith." Mohandes Gandhi (1869-1948), Hindu national leader, 'Letters From Bapu'

6 "To labor is to pray." St. Benedict of Nursia (480?-554), Patriarch of Western monks, motto of the Benedictine Order

7 "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'

8 "Let a man in a garret but burn with enough intensity and he will set fire to the whole world." Antoine DeSaint-Exupery (1900-1944), French author, 'Wind, Sand, and Stars'

9 "I worship Christ, I worship Jehovah, I worship Pan, I worship Aphrodite…I want them all, all the gods. They are all God." D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), British writer, 'The Letters of D. H. Lawrence'

10 "No myth of miraculous creation is so marvelous as the fact of man's evolution." Robert Briffault (1876-1948), British surgeon and anthropoligist, 'Rational Evolution'

11 "Use love to motivate you and obligate you to serve the human family." Jesse Jackson (b. 1941), American minister, political leader, address to the Democratic National Convention, 1984

12 "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'

13 "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), American historian

14 "All finite things reveal infinitude." Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), American poet, 'The Far Field'

15 "I believe in God, whom I understand as Spirit, as Love, as the Source of all." Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian author, 'Reply to Synod's Edict of Excommunication'

16 "Consciousness of God is self-consciousness. Knowledge of God is self-knowledge." Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872), German philosopher, 'The Essence of Christianity'

17 "Nothing under the sun is accidental." Gotthold E. Lessing (1729-1781), German dramatist, 'Emilia Galotti'

18 "To fear love is to fear life." Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British mathematician, philosopher, 'Marriage and Morals'

19 "Doubt is an incentive to truth and patient inquiry leads the way." Hosea Ballou (1771-1852), American theologian

20 "Confucius replied….'wisdom, compassion and courage – these are the three universally recognized moral qualities of man." Tze-sze (ca. 335-288 bce), Chinese philosopher, grandson of Confucius, 'The Golden Mean of Tze-sze'

21 "There is only one way for a man to be true to himself. If he does not know what is good, a man cannot be true to himself." Confucius (551-479 bce), Chinese sage, 'The Doctrine of Mean'

22 "Dust as we are, the immortal spirit grows like harmony in music; there is a dark inscrutable workmanship that reconciles discordant elements." William Wordsworth (1770-1850), English poet, 'The Prelude'

23 "My prayer is that my life be meaningful in the enhancement of His Kingdom on earth, enhancement of the lives of my fellow human beings." James Earl Carter (b.1924), 39th American President, interview with religious leaders, Indianapolis, December 1976

24 "The question was once put to him [Aristotle], how we ought to behave to our friends; and the answer he gave was, 'As we should wish our friends to behave to us.'" Diogenes Laertius (fl. 200 ad), Biographer of Greek philosophers, 'Aristotle'

25 "Almighty God hath created the mind free." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), 3rd American President, 'The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom', 1779

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite