Mortimer Adler quotes

  • Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Moving On #Moving Forward #Men

  • Unless we love and are loved, each of us is alone, each of us is deeply lonely.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Lonely #Being Lonely

  • The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Inspirational #Positive #Teaching

  • In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Education #Book #Learning

  • True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Freedom #Discipline #Mind

  • Freedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Men #Liberty #Libertarian

  • Ask others about themselves, at the same time, be on guard not to talk too much about yourself.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Time #Too Much #About Yourself

  • A lecture has been well described as the process whereby the notes of the teacher become the notes of the student without passing through the mind of either.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Teacher #Mind #Lectures

  • The telephone book is full of facts, but it doesn't contain a single idea.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book #Ideas #Telephones

  • If you never ask yourself any questions about the meaning of a passage, you cannot expect the book to give you any insight you do not already possess.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Giving Up #Book #Insight

  • We acknowledge but one motive - to follow the truth as we know it, whithersoever it may lead us; but in our heart of hearts we are well assured that the truth which has made us free, will in the end make us glad also.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Truth #Heart #May

  • Ultimately, we wish the joy of perfect union with the person we love.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Perfect #Joy #Wish

  • Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Inspirational #Good Life #Reading

  • I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Religious #Blind #Individual

  • If a book is easy and fits nicely into all your language conventions and thought forms, then you probably will not grow much from reading it. It may be entertaining, but not enlarging to your understanding. It’s the hard books that count. Raking is easy, but all you get is leaves; digging is hard, but you might find diamonds.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book #Reading #Understanding

  • It is love rather than sexual lust or unbridled sexuality if, in addition to the need or want involved, there is also some impulse to give pleasure to the persons thus loved and not merely to use them for our own selfish pleasure.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Selfish #Giving #Lust

  • The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Thinking #Doe #Persons

  • Love can be unselfish, in the sense of being benevolent and generous, without being selfless.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Selfless #Unselfish #Benevolent

  • The ultimate end of education is happiness or a good human life, a life enriched by the possession of every kind of good, by the enjoyment of every type of satisfaction.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Satisfaction #Kind #Human Life

  • You have to allow a certain amount of time in which you are doing nothing in order to have things occur to you, to let your mind think.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Inspirational #Motivational #Time

  • The ability to retain a child's view of the world with at the same time a mature understanding of what it means to retain it, is extremely rare - and a person who has these qualities is likely to be able to contribute something really important to our thinking.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Children #Mean #Thinking

  • Love without conversation is impossible.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Love #Insomnia #Impossible

  • Is it too much to expect from the schools that they train their students not only to interpret but to criticize; that is, to discriminate what is sound from error and falsehood, to suspend judgement if they are not convinced, or to judge with reason if they agree or disagree?
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #School #Errors #Judging

  • It's not how many books you get through, it's how many books get through you.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book

  • Only hidden and undetected oratory is really insidious. What reaches the heart without going through the mind is likely to bounce back and put the mind out of business.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Heart #Mind #Oratory

  • The dictionary also invites a playful reading. It challenges anyone to sit down with it in an idle moment. There are worse ways to kill time.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Reading #Challenges #Way

  • There is a strange fact about the human mind, a fact that differentiates the mind sharply from the body. The body is limited in ways that the mind is not. One sign of this is that the body does not continue indefinitely to grow in strength and develop in skill and grace. By the time most people are thirty years old, their bodies are as good as they will ever be; in fact, many persons' bodies have begun to deteriorate by that time. But there is no limit to the amount of growth and development that the mind can sustain. The mind does not stop growing at any particular age.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Years #Skills #People

  • Let me roughly divide books into those which compete with the movies and those with which the movies cannot compete. They are the books that can elevate or instruct. If they are fine works of fiction, they can deepen your appreciation of human life. If they are serious works of nonfiction, they can inform or enlighten you.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Appreciation #Book #Nonfiction

  • The rules for reading yourself to sleep are easier to follow than are the rules for staying awake while reading. Get into bed in a comfortable position, make sure the light is inadequate enough to cause slight eyestrain, choose a book that is either terribly difficult or terribly boring-in any event, one that you do not really care whether you read or not-and you will be asleep in a few minutes. Those who are experts in relaxing with a book do not have to wait for nightfall. A comfortable chair in the library will do any time
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book #Reading #Sleep

  • Reading a book should be a conversation between you and the author. Presumably he knows more about the subject than you do; if not, you probably should not be bothering with his book. But understanding is a two-way operation; the learner has to question himself and question the teacher, once he understands what the teacher is saying. Marking a book is literally an expression of your differences or your agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Teacher #Book #Reading

  • The great authors were great readers, and one way to understand them is to read the books they read.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book #Way #Great Author

  • ... The person who, at any stage of a conversation, disagrees, should at least hope to reach agreement in the end. He should be as much prepared to have his own mind changed as seek to change the mind of another ... No one who looks upon disagreement as an occasion for teaching another should forget that it is also an occasion for being taught.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Teaching #Agreement #Mind

  • To agree without understanding is inane. To disagree without understanding is impudent.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Understanding #Agree #Disagree

  • A good book deserves an active reading. The activity of reading does not stop with the work of understanding what a book says. It must be completed by the work of criticism, the work of judging. The undemanding reader fails to satisfy this requirement, probably even more than he fails to analyze and interpret. He not only makes no effort to understand; he also dismisses a book simply by putting it aside and forgetting it. Worse than faintly praising it, he damns it by giving it no critical consideration whatever.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book #Reading #Giving

  • I suspect that most of the individuals who have religious faith are content with blind faith. They feel no obligation to understand what they believe. They may even wish not to have their beliefs disturbed by thought. But if God in whom they believe created them with intellectual and rational powers, that imposes upon them the duty to try to understand the creed of their religion. Not to do so is to verge on superstition.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Religious #Believe #Intellectual

  • Imaginative literature primarily pleases rather than teaches. It is much easier to be pleased than taught, but much harder to know why one is pleased. Beauty is harder to analyze than truth.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Literature #Taught #Easier

  • If your friend wishes to read your 'Plutarch's Lives,' 'Shakespeare,' or 'The Federalist Papers,' tell him gently but firmly, to buy a copy. You will lend him your car or your coat - but your books are as much a part of you as your head or your heart.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book #Heart #Car

  • Books are absent teachers.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Teacher #Book #Absent

  • Philosophy is everybody's business.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Philosophy #Philosopher

  • If you are reading in order to become a better reader, you cannot read just any book or article. You will not improve as a reader if all you read are books that are well within your capacity. You must tackle books that are beyond you, or, as we have said, books that are over your head. Only books of that sort will make you stretch your mind. And unless you stretch, you will not learn.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book #Reading #Order

  • ... always keep in mind that an article of faith is not something that the faithful assume. Faith, for those who have it, is the most certain form of knowledge, not a tentative opinion.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Faithful #Mind #Opinion

  • If you ask a living teacher a question, he will probably answer you. If you are puzzled by what he says, you can save yourself the trouble of thinking by asking him what he means. If, however, you ask a book a question, you must answer it yourself. In this respect a book is like nature or the world. When you question it, it answers you only to the extent that you do the work of thinking an analysis yourself.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Teacher #Book #Mean

  • Love consists in giving without getting in return; in giving what is not owed, what is not due the other. That's why true love is never based, as associations for utility or pleasure are, on a fair exchange.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #True Love #Love Is #Giving

  • Theories of love are found in the works of scientists, philosophers, and theologians.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Philosopher #Scientist #Found

  • One of the aims of sexual union is procreation - the creation by reproduction of an image of itself, of the union.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Unions #Creation #Aim

  • Conjugal love, or the friendship of spouses, can persist even after sexual desires have weakened, withered, and disappeared.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Lost Friendship #Desire #Conjugal

  • Men value things in three ways: as useful, as pleasant or sources of pleasure, and as excellent, or as intrinsically admirable or honorable.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Men #Way #Three

  • I find the selectivity of erotic love - the choice of this man or this woman - much more intelligible if liking the person is the origin of sexual interest, rather than the other way.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Men #Liking Someone #Choices

  • Think how different human societies would be if they were based on love rather than justice. But no such societies have ever existed on earth.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Thinking #Justice #Earth

  • We love even when our love is not requited.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Love Is #Our Love

  • In English we must use adjectives to distinguish the different kinds of love for which the ancients had distinct names.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Names #Adjectives #Use

  • Aristotle uses a mother's love for her child as the prime example of love or friendship.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Mother #Children #Use

  • If one wants another only for some self-satisfaction, usually in the form of sensual pleasure, that wrong desire takes the form of lust rather than love.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Self #Lust #Sensual

  • We are selfish when we are exclusively or predominantly concerned with the good for ourselves. We are altruistic when we are exclusively or predominantly concerned with the good of others.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Selfish #Concerned

  • When we ask for love, we don't ask others to be fair to us-but rather to care for us, to be considerate of us. There is a world of difference here between demanding justice... and begging or pleading for love.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Careers #Differences #Justice

  • One of the embarrassing problems for the early nineteenth-century champions of the Christian faith was that not one of the first six Presidents of the United States was an orthodox Christian.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Christian #Champion #President

  • There are genuine mysteries in the world that mark the limits of human knowing and thinking. Wisdom is fortified, not destroyed, by understanding its limitations. Ignorance does not make a fool as surely as self-deception.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Wisdom #Ignorance #Thinking

  • Wonder is the beginning of wisdom in learning from books as well as from nature.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Life #Wisdom #Book

  • The truly great books are the few books that are over everybody's head all of the time.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book #Great Book

  • Habits are formed by the repetition of particular acts. They are strengthened by an increase in the number of repeated acts. Habits are also weakened or broken, and contrary habits are formed by the repetition of contrary acts.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Numbers #Broken #Habit

  • Freud's view is that all love is sexual in its origin or its basis. Even those loves which do not appear to be sexual or erotic have a sexual root or core. They are all sublimations of the sexual instinct.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Love Is #Roots #Views

  • There is only one situation I can think of in which men and women make an effort to read better than they usually do. It is when they are in love and reading a love letter.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Love #Reading #Men

  • Television, radio, and all the sources of amusement and information that surround us in our daily lives are also artificial props. They can give us the impression that our minds are active, because we are required to react to stimuli from the outside. But the power of those external stimuli to keep us going is limited. They are like drugs. We grow used to them, and we continuously need more and more of them. Eventually, they have little or no effect. Then, if we lack resources within ourselves, we cease to grow intellectually, morally, and spiritually. And we we cease to grow, we begin to die.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Giving #Drug #Mind

  • The complexities of adult life get in the way of the truth. The great philosophers have always been able to clear away the complexities and see simple distinctions - simple once they are stated, vastly difficult before. If we are to follow them we too must be childishly simple in our questions - and maturely wise in our replies.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Wise #Simple #Able

  • ....a good book can teach you about the world and about yourself. You learn more than how to read better; you also learn more about life. You become wiser. Not just more knowledgeable - books that provide nothing but information can produce that result. But wiser, in the sense that you are more deeply aware of the great and enduring truths of human life.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book #World #Information

  • Sometimes it feels like I'm thinking against the wind.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Thinking #Wind #Sometimes

  • All books will become light in proportion as you find light in them.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Book #Light #Proportion

  • The tragedy of being both rational and animal seems to consist in having to choose between duty and desire rather than in making any particular choice
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Animal #Choices #Tragedy

  • The complexities of adult life get in the way of the truth.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Adults #Way #Complexity

  • Love wishes to perpetuate itself. Love wishes for immortality.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Self Love #Wish #Immortality

  • All genuine learning is active, not passive.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Leadership #Sports #Genuine

  • Education is the sum total of one's experience, and the purpose of higher education is to widen our experiences beyond the circumscribed existence or our own daily lives.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Education #Purpose #Daily Life

  • Work that is pure toil, done solely for the sake of the money it earns, is also sheer drudgery because it is stultifying rather than self improving.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Work #Self #Done

  • Too many facts are often as much of an obstacle to understanding as too few. There is a sense in which we moderns are inundated with facts to the detriment of understanding.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Understanding #Facts #Obstacles

  • One reader is better than another in proportion as he is able of a greater range of activity in reading and exerts more effort.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Reading #Effort #Able

  • Emancipation of human labor from economic servitude and exploitation, i.e., from organizations of production in which the conditions of work are determined by a master class who own the means of production, and in which the fruits of work are alienated from workers to the benefit of masters.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Mean #Class #Organization

  • My chief reason for choosing Christianity was because the mysteries were incomprehensible. What's the point of revelation if we could figure it out ourselves? If it were wholly comprehensible, then it would just be another philosophy.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Philosophy #Mystery #Christianity

  • First, an angel is spiritually present at whatever place in physical space happens to be occupied by the body on which it acts. It can be present at that place without leaving Heaven which is its spiritual residence...
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Spiritual #Angel #Space

  • All genuine learning is active, not passive. It involves the use of the mind, not just the memory. It is a process of discovery, in which the student is the main agent, not the teacher.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Teacher #Memories #Discovery

  • The materialist assumption that spiritual substances do not exist is as much an act of faith as the religious belief in the reality of angels.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Spiritual #Religious #Angel

  • Ultimately there can be no disagreement between history, science, philosophy, and theology. Where there is disagreement, there is either ignorance or error.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Philosophy #Ignorance #Science

  • The teacher's role in discussion is to keep it going along fruitful lines - be moderating, guiding, correcting and arguing like one more students.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Teacher #Teaching #Learning

  • Teachers may think they are stuffing minds, but all they are ever affecting is the memory. Nothing can ever be forced into anyone's mind except by brainwashing, which is the very opposite of genuine teaching.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Teacher #Memories #Teaching

  • The love which moves the world, according to common Christian belief, is God's love and the love of God.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Christian #Moving #World

  • In Aristotelian terms, the good leader must have ethos, pathos and logos. The ethos is his moral character, the source of his ability to persuade. The pathos is his ability to touch feelings to move people emotionally. The logos is his ability to give solid reasons for an action, to move people intellectually.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Moving #Character #Ethos

  • Angels are not merely forms of extraterrestrial intelligence. They are forms of extra-cosmic intelligence.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Angel #Form #Cosmic

  • The best protection against propaganda of any sort is the recognition of it for what it is. Only hidden and undetected oratory is really insidious. What reaches the heart without going through the mind is likely to bounce back and put the mind out of business. Propaganda taken in that way is like a drug you do not know you are swallowing. The effect is mysterious; you do not know afterwards why you feel or think the way you do.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Taken #Heart #Thinking

  • The philosopher ought never to try to avoid the duty of making up his mind.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Mind #Trying #Philosopher

  • Angels are able to know and understand better than the human intellect can, precisely because such knowledge and understanding comes to them by way of ideas infused in them by God....
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Angel #Ideas #Understanding

  • I wonder if most people ever ask themselves why love is connected with reproduction. And if they do ask themselves about this, I wonder what answer they give.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Giving Up #Love Is #People

  • More consequences for thought and action follow the affirmation or denial of God than from answering any other basic question.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Denial #Affirmation #Action

  • Erotic or sexual love can truly be love if it is not selfishly sexual or lustful.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Lustful

  • The only standard we have for judging all of our social, economic, and political institutions and arrangements as just or unjust, as good or bad, as better or worse, derives from our conception of the good life for man on earth, and from our conviction that, given certain external conditions, it is possible for men to make good lives for themselves by their own efforts.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Life #Men #Judging

  • Friendship is a very taxing and arduous form of leisure activity.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Lost Friendship #Leisure #Lost Friend

  • Political democracy cannot flourish under all economic conditions. Democracy requires an economic system which supports the political ideals of liberty and equality for all. Men cannot exercise freedom in the political sphere when they are deprived of it in the economic sphere.
    -- Mortimer Adler

    #Exercise #Men #Support