"My life is my argument."
"Ethics is nothing else than reverence for life."
"Reverence for life is the highest court of appeal."
"Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile."
"A man does not have to be an angel in order to be saint."
"The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives."
"Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now - always."
"Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory."
"Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing."
"Do something for somebody everyday for which you do not get paid."
It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed.
"Serious illness doesn't bother me for long because I am too inhospitable a host."
"A great secret of success is to go through life as a man who never gets used up."
"Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life."
"If a man loses his reverence for any part of life, he will lose his reverence for all of life."
"By respect for life we become religious in a way that is elementary, profound and alive."
"Do not let Sunday be taken from you If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan."
"Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier."
"The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others."
"The awareness that we are all human beings together has become lost in war and through politics."
"One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity."
"Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life it is bad to damage and destroy life."
"A man can do only what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day."
"Reverence for life, veneratio vitæ, is the most direct and at the same time the profoundest achievement of my will-to-live."
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful."
"Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate."
"An optimist is a person who sees a green light everywhere, while a pessimist sees only the red stoplight... the truly wise person is colorblind."
"To the question whether I am a pessimist or an optimist, I answer that my knowledge is pessimistic, but my willing and hoping are optimistic."
"The last fact which knowledge can discover is that the world is a manifestation, and in every way a puzzling manifestation, of the universal will to live."
"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly, even if they roll a few stones upon it."
"Impart as much as you can of your spiritual being to those who are on the road with you, and accept as something precious what comes back to you from them."
"Day by day we should weigh what we have granted to the spirit of the world against what we have denied to the spirit of Jesus, in thought and especially in deed."
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve."
"One truth stands firm. All that happens in world history rests on something spiritual. If the spiritual is strong, it creates world history. If it is weak, it suffers world history."
"Revenge... is like a rolling stone, which, when a man hath forced up a hill, will return upon him with a greater violence, and break those bones whose sinews gave it motion."
"What has been presented as Christianity during these nineteen centuries is only a beginning, full of mistakes, not full blown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus."
"Those who thank God much are the truly wealthy. So our inner happiness depends not on what we experience but on the degree of our gratitude to God, whatever the experience."
"A man is ethical only when life, as such, is sacred to him, that of plants and animals as that of his fellow men, and when he devotes himself helpfully to all life that is in need of help."
"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
"Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me."
"I can do no other than be reverent before everything that is called life. I can do no other than to have compassion for all that is called life. That is the beginning and the foundation of all ethics."
"Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and further life — it is bad to damage and destroy life. And this ethic, profound and universal, has the significance of a religion. It is religion."
"Not one of us knows what effect his life produces, and what he gives to others; that is hidden from us and must remain so, though we are often allowed to see some little fraction of it, so that we may not lose courage."
"Faith which refuses to face indisputable facts is but little faith. Truth is always gain, however hard it is to accommodate ourselves to it. To linger in any kind of untruth proves to be a departure from the straight way of faith."
"Ethics, too, are nothing but reverence for life. That is what gives me the fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, promoting, and enhancing life, and that destroying, injuring, and limiting life are evil."
"Seek always to do some good, somewhere. Every man has to seek in his own way to realize his true worth. You must give some time to your fellow man. For remember, you don't live in a world all your own. Your brothers are here too."
"We cannot abdicate our conscience to an organization, nor to a government. 'Am I my brother's keeper?' Most certainly I am! I cannot escape my responsibility by saying the State will do all that is necessary. It is a tragedy that nowadays so many think and feel otherwise."
"Whoever has looked into the eyes of Jesus as he appears to us in his words knows that true happiness consists of service to this great One and his Spirit — and a life offerred to his work. Those who accept this mode of life, who know how to live it, become brothers and sisters."
"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it. A strength which becomes clearer and stronger through its experience of such obstacles is the only strength that can conquer them. Resistance is only a waste of strength."
"The deeper we look into nature, the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret and that we are united with all life that is in nature. Man can no longer live for himself alone. We realize that all life is valuable, and that we are united to all this life. From this knowledge comes our spiritual relationship to the universe."
"We cannot understand what happens in the universe. What is glorious in it is united with what is full of horror. What is full of meaning is united to what is senseless. The spirit of the universe is at once creative and destructive — it creates while it destroys and destroys while it creates, and therefore it remains to us a riddle. And we must inevitably resign ourselves to this."
"Very little of the great cruelty shown by men can really be attributed to cruel instinct. Most of it comes from thoughtlessness or inherited habit. The roots of cruelty, therefore, are not so much strong as widespread. But the time must come when inhumanity protected by custom and thoughtlessness will succumb before humanity championed by thought. Let us work that this time may come."
"I do not want to frighten you by telling you about the temptations life will bring. Anyone who is healthy in spirit will overcome them. But there is something I want you to realize. It does not matter so much what you do. What matters is whether your soul is harmed by what you do. If your soul is harmed, something irreparable happens, the extent of which you won't realize until it will be too late."
"When Christianity becomes conscious of its innermost nature, it realizes that it is godliness rising our of inward constraint. The highest knowledge is to know that we are surrounded by mystery. Neither knowledge nor hope for the future can be the pivot of our life or determine its direction. It is intended to be solely determined by our allowing ourselves to be gripped by the ethical God, who reveals Himself in us, and by our yielding our will to His."
"To the man who is truly ethical all life is sacred, including that which from the human point of view seems lower in the scale. He makes distinctions only as each case comes before him, and under the pressure of necessity, as, for example, when it falls to him to decide which of two lives he must sacrifice in order to preserve the other. But all through this series of decisions he is conscious of acting on subjective grounds and arbitrarily, and knows that he bears the responsibility for the life which is sacrificed."
"It is the fate of every truth to be an object of ridicule when it is first acclaimed. It was once considered foolish to suppose that black men were really human beings and ought to be treated as such. What was once foolish has now become a recognized truth. Today it is considered as exaggeration to proclaim constant respect for every form of life as being the serious demand of a rational ethic. But the time is coming when people will be amazed that the human race existed so long before it recognized that thoughtless injury to life is incompatible with real ethics. Ethics is in its unqualified form extended responsibility to everything that has life."
"The man who dares to live his life with death before his eyes, the man who receives life back bit by bit and lives as though it did not belong to him by right but has been bestowed on him as a gift, the man who has such freedom and peace of mind that he has overcome death in his thoughts — such a man believes in eternal life because it is already his, it is a present experience, and he already benefits from its peace and joy. He cannot describe this experience in words. He may not be able to conform his view with the traditional picture of it. But one thing he knows for certain: Something within us does not pass away, something goes on living and working wherever the kingdom of the spirit is present."
Compiled by Thomas George