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 on it. A strength which becomes clearer and stronger through experiences of such obstacles is the only strength that can conquer them. Resistance is only a waste of strength.
—Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965) French Theologian, Musician, Philosopher, Physician
It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet, I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.
—Anne Frank (1929–45) Holocaust Victim
We are members of one great body planted by nature in a mutual love, and fitted for a social life. We must consider that we were born for the good of the whole.
—Seneca the Younger (Lucius Annaeus Seneca) (c.4 BCE–65 CE) Roman Stoic Philosopher, Statesman, Tragedian
What I don’t understand about you is this, she said. You hold to your old belief in goodness with a tenacity that is virtually unshakable. Yet you are so good at being what you are! You hunt your victims like a dark angel. You kill ruthlessly. You feast all the night long on victims when you choose.
So? I looked at her coldly. I don’t know how to be bad at being bad.
I was a good marksman when I was a young man, I said, a good actor on the stage. And now I am a good vampire. So much for our understanding of the word ‘good.’
—Anne Rice (1941–2021) American Author
There never was law, or sect, or opinion did so much magnify goodness as the Christian religion doth.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
What is good? All that enhances the feeling of power, the Will to Power, and the power itself in man. What is bad? All that proceeds from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is increasing—that resistance has been overcome. Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but competence. The first principle of our humanism: The weak and the failures shall perish. They ought even to be helped to perish.
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
He who wishes to secure the good of others, has already secured his own.
—Confucius (551–479 BCE) Chinese Philosopher
Goodness speaks in a whisper, evil shouts
Good order is the foundation of all good things.
—Edmund Burke (1729–97) British Philosopher, Statesman
The smallest good deed is better than the grandest intention
In goodness there are all kinds of wisdom.
—Euripides (480–406 BCE) Ancient Greek Dramatist
Do not disregard the accumulation of goodness, Saying, ‘This will come to nothing.’ By the gradual falling of raindrops, a jar is filled.
Have as much good nature as good sense since they generally are companions.
—William Wycherley (c.1640–1716) English Dramatist
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
—John W. Gardner (1912–2002) American Activist
It may be necessary temporarily to accept a lesser evil, but one must never label a necessary evil as good.
—Margaret Mead (1901–78) American Anthropologist, Social Psychologist
What monster have we here? A great Deed at this hour of day? A great just deed—and not for pay? Absurd—or insincere?
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–61) English Poet
It seems to me it is only noble to be good.—Kind hearts are more than coronets.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–92) British Poet
Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice.
—Henry Ford (1863–1947) American Businessperson, Engineer
It is easy to perform a good action, but not easy to acquire a settled habit of performing such actions.
—Aristotle (384BCE–322BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Scholar
He that is a good man is three-quarters of his way toward the being a good Christian, wheresoever he lives, or whatsoever he is called.
—Robert South (1634–1716) English Theologian, Preacher
How happy the station which every moment furnishes opportunities of doing good to thousands!—How dangerous that which every moment exposes to the injuring of millions.
—Jean de La Bruyere (1645–96) French Satiric Moralist, Author
Little progress can be made by merely attempting to repress what is evil; our great hope lies in developing what is good.
—Calvin Coolidge (1872–1933) American Head of State, Lawyer
Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.
—Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613–80) French Writer
I desire to see in this country the decent men strong and the strong men decent, and until we get that combination in pretty good shape, we are not going to be by any means as successful as we should be.
—Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) American Head of State, Political leader, Historian, Explorer
There is a sort of gratification in doing good which makes us rejoice in ourselves.
—Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) French Essayist
No longer talk at all about the kind of man a good man ought to be, but be such.
—Marcus Aurelius (121–180) Emperor of Rome, Stoic Philosopher
Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.
—Garrison Keillor (b.1942) American Author, Humorist, Radio Personality
The forgiving state of mind is a magnetic power for attracting good.
—Catherine Ponder (b.1927) American Clergywoman
O Lord, how many read the Word, and yet from vice are not deterred.
As I know more of mankind I expect less of them, and am ready to call a man a good man upon easier terms than I was formerly.
—Samuel Johnson (1709–84) British Essayist