[Ads-l] "something greater than yourself"

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Dec 2 18:32:17 EST 2017

Here is an example of the phrase "absorption in something greater than
oneself" employed with dual meanings: geographical and spiritual.

Date: February 13, 1864
Periodical: The Spectator
Periodical Location: London
Article: Topics of the Day: The Conquest of Denmark
Quote Page 174, Column 2


[Begin excerpt]
... but when all these things are done Denmark will
have lost Schleswig, and a nationality older than our own
will be left without resource save that one which seems
pleasant only to Buddhists, absorption in something greater
than oneself. Is it our interest to allow this example of
successful violence to tempt France to seize the Rhine and
Russia the frontier of the Balkan?
[End excerpt]


On Sat, Dec 2, 2017 at 4:40 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> A very well known phrase in recent decades.
> Earliest?:
> 1888 Paolo Mantegazza _Testa: A Book for Boys_ (tr. L. D. Ventura; Boston:
> Heath) 253:
> And thus in your life...you should think much, always, of something great,
> something infinite, which you cannot touch with your hands.  It may be the
> God of religion, the God of beauty, or the God of goodness or of truth; no
> matter, provided it be an infinite ideal, provided it be something greater
> than yourself, which cannot be contaminated by the common interests of
> daily life.
> Mantegazza (1831-1910) was a noted Italian physician and anthropologist.
> This appears to be the next earliest ex. - but it might have been published
> earlier:
> a1891 in Bernard Bosanquet _Essays and Addresses_ (London: Swan
> Sonnenschein, 1891) 110:
> This hope of finding peace, of resting your will in something greater than
> yourself, of being at one with the good purpose of humanity, is the very
> mainspring of life.
> Bosanquet (1848-1923) was a well-known Oxfordian philosopher.
> JL
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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