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 "Religious feeling is as much a verity as any other part of human consciousness." John Tyndall (1820-1893), Irish physicist, 'Fragments of Science'

2 "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love." Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, 'On Friendship'

3 "Love a man even in his sin for that love is a likeness of the divine love, and is the summit of love on earth." Fyodor Dostoyevski (1821-1881), Rusian novelist, 'The Brothers Karamazov', Bk. VI, Ch. 3

4 "United we stand, divided we fall." Aesop (620-560 bce), Greek author, 'The Four Oxen and the Lion'

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

6 "Morality will conquer war, even as it has conquered human sacrifices, slavery, feuds, head-hunting and cannibalism." Max Nordau (1849-1923), German physician, author 'Morals and the Evolution of Man'

7 "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'

8 "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'

9 "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'

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

11 "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'

12 "He who loves according to the guidance of reason strives as much as possible to repay the hatred, anger, or contempt of others toward himself with love and generosity." Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), Dutch philosopher, 'Ethics'

13 "Religion is the root of human existence." Wilhelm Schlegel (1767-1845), German poet, 'Lectures, 1807-1808'

14 "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

15 "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn (b. 1918), Russian author, Nobel Prize 1970, 'The Gulap Archipelago'

16 "No government can stand which is not founded on justice." Aristotle (384-322 bce), Greek philosopher, 'Politics', Bk. VII

17 "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'

18 "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'

19 "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

20 "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'

21 "Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. Without books, the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are engines of change, windows on the world, 'lighthouses' (as a poet said) 'erected in the sea of time.' They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print." 'Authors League Bulletin', November-December 1979

22 "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'

23 "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'

24 "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

25 "God is a verb, not a noun." R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), American architect, writer, 'No More Secondhand God'

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite