Selected Quotes about Ideals

Life without idealism is empty indeed. We just hope or starve to death. -- Pearl S. Buck

Never idealize others. They will never live up to your expectations. -- Leo Buscaglia

Every human being has a work to carry on within, duties to perform abroad, influence to exert, which are peculiarly his, and which no conscience but his own can teach. -- William Ellery Channing

Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free. -- Eugene V. Debs

The religious is any activity pursued in behalf of an ideal end against obstacles and in spite of threats of personal loss because of its general and enduring value. -- John Dewey

A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back -- but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you. -- Marian Wright Edelman

I'm doing what I think I was put on this earth to do. And I'm really grateful to have something that I'm passionate about and that I think is profoundly important. -- Marian Wright Edelman

It's time for greatness -- not for greed. It's a time for idealism -- not ideology. It is a time not just for compassionate words, but compassionate action. -- Marian Wright Edelman

My faith has been the driving thing of my life. I think it is important that people who are perceived as liberals not be afraid of talking about moral and community values. -- Marian Wright Edelman

We do not have a money problem in America. We have a values and priorities problem. -- Marian Wright Edelman

Each man has his own vocation; his talent is his call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

We aim above the mark to hit the mark. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. -- Epictetus

Reality does not conform to the ideal, but confirms it. -- Gustave Flaubert

A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the "why" for his existence, and will be able to bear almost any "how." -- Victor Frankl

We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by doing a deed; (2) by experiencing a value; and (3) by suffering. -- Victor Frankl

There are times in politics when you must be on the right side and lose. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

However, one cannot put a quart in a pint cup. -- Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Let us revere, let us worship, but erect and open-eyed, the highest, not the lowest; the future, not the past! -- Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The future is here, now, and the past is full of actual deeds, real history. Utopias hardly have the meat on their bones to sustain a people in grave times. -- Patricia Hampl

I want a busy life, a just mind, and a timely death. -- Zora Neale Hurston

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols. -- Aldous Huxley

I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master. -- Thomas Jefferson

I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream -- a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality. -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. -- John F. Kennedy

Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. -- Jonathan Kozol

You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope someday you will join us, and the world will live as one. -- John Lennon

We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life. -- Edwin Markham

Six essential qualities that are the key to success: Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity. -- William Menninger

Ideas are great arrows, but there has to be a bow. And politics is the bow of idealism. -- Bill Moyers

We are all inclined to judge ourselves by our ideals; others, by their acts. -- Harold Nicolson

Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground. -- Theodore Roosevelt

If you want to build a ship, don't herd people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. -- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

An ideal cannot wait for its realization to prove its validity. -- George Santayana

Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him, and then choose that way with all his strength. -- Hasidic saying

Ideals are like stars: you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and following them you reach your destiny. -- Carl Schurz

Our ideals resemble the stars, which illuminate the night. No one will ever be able to touch them. But the men who, like the sailors on the ocean, take them for guides, will undoubtedly reach their goal. -- Carl Schurz

Some men see things as they are and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say, "Why not?" -- George Bernard Shaw

We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs. -- Gloria Steinem

The only force that can overcome an idea and a faith is another and better idea and faith, positively and fearlessly upheld. -- Dorothy Thompson

However mean your life is, meet it and live it: do not shun it and call it hard names. Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Things do not change, we change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts. -- Henry David Thoreau

If you have built castles in the air your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. -- Henry David Thoreau

Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, with takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice. -- Arnold Toynbee

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. -- Oscar Wilde

In the world to come, I shall not be asked, "Why were you not Moses?" I shall be asked, "Why were you not Zusya?" -- Rabbi Zusya

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