WIST is my personal collection of quotations. Please feel free to browse and borrow.
- 14280 quotes and counting ...
Topic Cloudaction age America argument art author beauty belief change creation death democracy destiny education ego evil faith fear freedom future God government history honesty humanity integrity law leadership liberty life love morality perspective politics power religion science silence success truth virtue war wealth wisdom writing
- I've only been adding topics/tags since 2014, so not all quotes have been given one. Full topic list.
TRELANE: I don’t know if I like your tone. It’s most challenging. That’s what you’re doing, challenging me?
SPOCK: I object to you. I object to intellect without reason. I object to power without constructive purpose.
TRELANE: Why, Mr. Spock, you do have a saving grace, after all — you’re ill-mannered!
I have regard to appearance still. So am I no hero.
The main idea in golf as in life, I suppose, is to learn to accept what cannot be altered, and to keep on doing one’s own reasoned and resolute best whether the prospect be bleak or rosy.
Golf Is My Game (1960)
You’ve never said anything as stupid as what people thought you said.
Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, ch. 1 “A Long-expected Party” (1954)
In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.
An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, ch. 1, sec. 7 (1845)
Sorvalh smiled, and it was terrifying, and glorious. “And so we learn how simple it is to change the history of the universe,” Sorvalh said. “All you need is for every other thing to have gone so horribly wrong first.”
But I think a life of raising prize cattle, going shooting two or three times a year, fishing in the summer, and interspersing the whole thing with some golf and bridge — and whenever I felt like talking or writing, doing it with abandon and with no sense of responsibility whatsoever — maybe such a life wouldn’t be so bad.
The latter part of a wise man’s life is taken up in curing the follies, prejudices, and false opinions he had contracted in the former.
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1706)
If we cannot trust woman with the knowledge of her own body, then I claim that two thousand years of Christian teaching has proved to be a failure.
“The Morality of Birth Control,” speech, Park Theatre, New York (18 Nov 1921)
‘Tis known by the name of perseverance in a good cause — and of obstinacy in a bad one.
The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it.
Whatever happens, they say afterwards, it must have been fate. People are always a little confused about this, as they are in the case of miracles. When someone is saved from certain death by a strange concatenation of circumstances, they say that’s a miracle. But of course if someone is killed by a freak chain of events — the oil spilled just there, the safety fence broken just there — that must also be a miracle. Just because it’s not nice doesn’t mean it’s not miraculous.
The trouble about God is that he is like a person who never acknowledges one’s letters and so, in time, one comes to the conclusion either that he does not exist or that you have got the address wrong. I admitted that it was of great moment: but what was the use of going on dispatching fervent messages — say to Edinburgh — if they all came back through the dead letter office: nay more, if you couldn’t even find Edinburgh on the map.
I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.
“The Art of Fiction #60,” interview with Gerald Clarke, The Paris Review (Winter 1975)
In foreign policy one must make do with what one has.
Whoever destroys a single life is as guilty as though he had destroyed the entire world; and whoever rescues a single life earns as much merit as though he had rescued the entire world.
In dealing with the law and with people I have found a vast difference between “should” and “is.”
Myron reflected that there are so many people in the world who are eager to do for you things that you do not wish done, provided only that you will do for them things that you don’t wish to do.
No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.
“The Figure a Poem Makes” (1939)
Actions will be judged according to intentions.
What you cannot enforce,
Do not command!
Despite considerable propaganda to the contrary, the greatest need of the moment is not a decision to be tender to the well-to-do. Their situation is not so desperate as popularly represented. Also one makes an economy work not by rewarding the rich but by rewarding all who contribute to its success.
“Wealth and Poverty,” speech, National Policy Committee on Pockets of Poverty (13 Dec 1963)
Children are different — mentally, physically, spiritually, quantitatively, qualitatively; and furthermore, they’re all a little bit nuts.
Whatever may be the immediate gains and losses, the dangers to our safety arising from political suppression are always greater than the dangers to that safety arising from political freedom. Suppression is always foolish. Freedom is always wise. That is the faith, the experimental faith, by which we Americans have undertaken to live. If we, the citizens of today, cannot shake ourselves free from the hysteria which blinds us to that faith, there is little hope for peace and security, either at home or abroad.
Don’t consider how many you can please, but whom.
The pat on the back, the arm around the shoulder, the praise for what was done right, and the sympathetic nod for what wasn’t, are as much a part of golf as life itself.
Despair says, I cannot lift that weight. Happiness says, I do not have to.
People are very open-minded about new things — as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.
It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow.
He whose Belly is full believes not him whose is empty.
If Heaven had looked upon riches to be a valuable thing, it would not have given them to such a scoundrel.
Letter to Miss Vanhomrigh (12 Aug 1720)
Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.
Little by little does the trick.
Privilege should not be tolerated because it is to the advantage of a minority; nor yet because it is to the advantage of a majority. No doctrinaire theories of vested rights or freedom of contract can stand in the way of our cutting out abuses from the body politic.
“Biological Analogies in History,” Romanes Lecture, Oxford University (7 Jun 1910)
Added on 26-Aug-15 | Last updated 26-Aug-15
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The intelligence of that creature known as a crowd is the square root of the number of people in it.
Bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love. It follows marriage as normally as marriage follows courtship or as autumn follows summer.
Every honest and God-fearing man is a mighty factor in the future of the Republic. Educated men, business men, professional men, should be the last to shirk the responsibilities attaching to citizenship in a free government. They should be practical and helpful — mingling with the people — not selfish and exclusive. It is not necessary that every man should enter into politics, or adopt it as a profession, or seek political preferment, but it is the duty of every man to give personal attention to his political duties. They are as sacred and binding as any we have to perform.
Speech, Woodstock, Connecticut (4 July 1891)
International relations are governed by interests, and not by moral principles.
I believe in individualism. I believe in it in the arts, the sciences and professions. I believe in it in business. I believe in individualism in all of these things — up to the point where the individualist starts to operate at the expense of society.
Properly regarded, male vanity is a virtue, not a vice. Treated correctly, it makes him enormously pleasanter to deal with.
“The trouble with this country is,” observed Herndon, “that there’re too many people going about saying: ‘The trouble with this country is –‘”
Dodsworth, ch. 10 (1929)
Every good act is charity. A man’s true wealth hereafter is the good that he does in this world to his fellows.
Attributed in Rev. James Wood (ed.) Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources (1893). Also sometimes attributed to Moliere.
It is loyalty to great ends, even though forced to combine the small and opposing motives of selfish men to accomplish them; it is the anchored cling to solid principles of duty and action, which knows how to swing with the tide, but is never carried away by it — that we demand in public men, and not sameness of policy, or a conscientious persistency in what is impracticable.
The real menace in dealing with a five-year-old is that in no time at all you begin to sound like a five-year-old.
Don’t write so you can be understood. Write so that you cannot be misunderstood.
Please all, and you will please none.
Those who demand consideration for their sacrifices were making investments, not sacrifices.
People see the wrongness in an idea much quicker that the rightness.