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.
"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'
"Love indeed (I may not deny) first united provinces, built cities, and by a perpetual generation makes and preserves mankind." Robert Burton (1577-1640), English clergyman, 'The Anatomy of Melancholy'
"Consciousness of God is self-consciousness. Knowledge of God is self-knowledge." Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872), German philosopher, 'The Essence of Christianity'
"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'
"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'
"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'
"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'
"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),
"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'
"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'
"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'
"God is a verb, not a noun." R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), American architect, writer, 'No More Secondhand God'
"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
"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." Henry Brooks Adams (1838-1918), American historian
"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
"Nothing under the sun is accidental." Gotthold E. Lessing (1729-1781), German dramatist, 'Emilia Galotti'
"Full wise is he that can himself know!" Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400), English poet, 'The Monk's Tale' [modernized]
"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
"I feel compelled to look for a first Cause." Charles Darwin (1809-1882), English biologist, letter to Rev. J. Fordyce, July 7, 1879
"Morality is the observance of the rights of others." Dagobert D. Runes (1902-1982), American philosopher, 'Treasury of World Literature'
"Man is what he believes." Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), Russian writer, 'Notebooks'
"Creativity cannot exist without the feminine principle, and I am sure God is not merely male or female but He-She – our Father-Mother God." Margaret Walker (b. 1915), American teacher
"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'
"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'