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.
"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'
"We must discover a new respect for what transcends us: for the universe, for the earth, for nature, for life, and for reality. Our respect for other people, for other nations, and for other cultures, can only grow from a humble respect for the cosmic order and from an awareness that we are a part of it, that we share in it and that nothing of what we do is lost, but rather becomes part of the eternal memory of Being." Vaclav Havel (b. 1936), Czech playwright, President of the Czech Republic, commencement address, Harvard University, June 8, 1995
"God is a verb, not a noun." R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), American architect, writer, 'No More Secondhand God'
"All finite things reveal infinitude." Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), American poet, 'The Far Field'
"Mathematics possesses not only truth, but some supreme beauty." Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British mathematician, philosopher, 'Mysticism and Logic'
"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'
"The ideals which have lighted me on my way and time and time again given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Truth, Goodness and Beauty." Albert Einstein (1879-1955), 'The World As I See It'
"Doubt is an incentive to truth and patient inquiry leads the way." Hosea Ballou (1771-1852), American theologian
"What's freedom for? To know eternity." Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), American poet, 'I Knew A Woman'
"Full wise is he that can himself know!" Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400), English poet, 'The Monk's Tale' [modernized]
"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'
"It is forbidden to decry other sects; the true believer gives honor to whatever in them is worthy of honor." Asoka (d. 238 bce), Buddhist emperor of India, Decree (inscription on a pillar),
"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'
"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'
"Morality is the observance of the rights of others." Dagobert D. Runes (1902-1982), American philosopher, 'Treasury of World Literature'
"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'
"The forms of Virtue are: justice, courage, magnificence, magnanimity, liberality, gentleness, prudence, wisdom." Aristotle, (384-322 bce), Greek philosopher, 'Rhetoric', Bk. II
"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'
"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
"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'
"Man is what he believes." Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), Russian writer, 'Notebooks'
"Nature is the Art of God." Dante Alighieri (1265-1321), Italian poet, 'Monarchy'
"In endowing us with memory, nature has revealed to us a truth utterly unimaginable to the unreflective creation, the truth of immortality." George Santayana (1863-1952), Spanish-born American philosopher, 'Reason in Common Sense'
"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'
"Free? Understand that well, it is the deep commandment, dimmer or clearer, of our whole being, to be free." Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish historian