In the great fulfillment we must have a citizenship less concerned about what the government can do for it and more anxious about what it can do for the nation.

Warren G Harding
Warren G. Harding (1865-1923) American journalist, politician, US President (1921-23)
Speech, Republican National Convention (7 Jun 1916)

See Holmes, Kennedy. Harding was, at that time, a US Senator. The line, in Harding's hand, is on display at his home in Marion, Ohio.
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The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1963) German poet
“The Beholder [Der Schauende]”, The Book of Images [Buch der Bilder], Second Book, Part 2 (1902) (paraphrase)

This looks to be a paraphrase from a couplet in the poem (also known as "The Man Watching"):

Sein Wachstum ist: der Teifbesiegte
von immer Größerem zu sein.

[Source]

Which translates variously as:

His growth is: to be the deeply defeated
by ever greater things.
[tr. Snow (1991)]

This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively,
by constantly greater beings.
[tr. Bly]

His growth is this: to be defeated
by ever greater forces.
[tr. Barrows and Macy]

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At that,
as she turned away her neck shone with a rosy glow,
her mane of hair gave off an ambrosial fragrance,
her skirt flowed loose, rippling down to her feet
and her stride alone revealed her as a goddess.

[Dixit et avertens rosea cervice refulsit,
Ambrosiaeque comae divinum vertice odorem
Spiravere; pedes vestis defluxit ad imos,
Et vera incessu patuit dea.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 1, l. 402ff (1.402-405) (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006), l. 487ff]
    (Source)

Describing Venus. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Thus having said, she turn'd, and made appear
Her neck refulgent, and dishevel'd hair,
Which, flowing from her shoulders, reach'd the ground.
And widely spread ambrosial scents around:
In length of train descends her sweeping gown;
And, by her graceful walk, the Queen of Love is known.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

She said, and turning away, shone radiant with her rosy neck, and from her head ambrosial locks breathed divine fragrance: her robe hung flowing to the ground, and by her gait the goddess stood confessed.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

She turned, and flashed upon their view
Her stately neck's purpureal hue;
Ambrosial tresses round her head
A more than earthly fragrance shed:
Her falling robe her footprints swept,
And showed the goddess as she stept.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

She said; and turning, gleamed with rosy neck,
And from her head divinest odors breathed
In her ambrosial hair. Around her feet
Floated her flowing robe; and in her gait
All the true goddess was revealed.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 524ff]

Speaking she turned away, and her neck shone roseate, her immortal tresses breathed the fragrance of deity; her raiment fell flowing down to her feet, and the godhead was manifest in her tread.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

She spake, she turned, from rosy neck the light of heaven she cast,
And from her hair ambrosial the scent of Gods went past
Upon the wind, and o'er her feet her skirts fell shimmering down,
And very God she went her ways.
[tr. Morris (1900), l. 402ff]

So saying, she turned, and all refulgent showed
Her roseate neck, and heavenly fragrance sweet
Was breathed from her ambrosial hair. Down flowed
Her loosened raiment, streaming to her feet,
And by her walk the Goddess shone complete.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 53; l. 478ff]

She ceased and turned away. A roseate beam
from her bright shoulder glowed; th' ambrosial hair
breathed more than mortal sweetness, while her robes
fell rippling to her feet. Each step revealed
the veritable goddess.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

She spoke, and as she turned away, her roseate neck flashed bright. From her head her ambrosial tresses breathed celestial fragrance; down to her feet fell her raiment, and in her step she was revealed a very goddess.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

And as she turned, her shoulders
Shone with a radiant light; her hair shed fragrance,
Her robes slipped to her feet, and the true goddess
Walked in divinity.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

She spoke. She turned away; and as she turned, her neck
Glowed to a rose-flush, her crown of ambrosial hair breathed out
A heavenly fragrance, her robe flowed down, down to her feet,
And in gait she was all a goddess.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Those were the words of Venus. When she turned,
her neck was glittering with a rose brightness;
her hair anointed with ambrosia,
her head gave all a fragrance of the gods;
her gown was long and to the ground; even
her walk was sign enough she was a goddess.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 572ff]

On this she turned away. Rose-pink and fair
Her nape shone, her ambrosial hair exhaled
Divine perfume, her gown rippled full length,
And by her stride she showed herself a goddess.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 552ff]

When she was finished speaking and was turning way, her neck shone with a rosy light and her hair breathed the divine odor of ambrosia. Her dress flowed free to her feet and as she walked he knew she was truly a goddess.
[tr. West (1990)]

She spoke, and as she turned, her neck
Shone with roselight. An immortal fragrance
From her ambrosial locks perfumed the air,
Her robes flowed down to cover her feet,
And every step revealed her divinity.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

As she turned away, her neck gleamed rosily, her ambrosial hair gave off a divine scent and her robes grew longer, flowing to her feet. Her gait too revealed the goddess.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

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Besides, I like libraries. It makes me feel comfortable and secure to have walls of words, beautiful and wise, all around me. I always feel better when I can see that there is something to hold back the shadows.

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
Nine Princes in Amber, ch. 3 (1977)
    (Source)
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Every author, however modest, keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast.

Smith - Every author however modest keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast - wist.info quote

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) American-English essayist, editor, anthologist
Afterthoughts (1931)
    (Source)
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Freedom is not a luxury that we can indulge in when at last we have security and prosperity and enlightenment; it is, rather, antecedent to all of these, for without it we can have neither security nor prosperity nor enlightenment.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent, Introduction (1954)
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People often ask, “What is the single most important environmental / population problem facing the world today?” A flip answer would be, “The single most important problem is our misguided focus on identifying the single most important problem!”

Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond (b. 1937) American geographer, historian, ornithologist, author
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005)
    (Source)
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Impoliteness is not a vice of the mind, but the consequence of several vices; of foolish vanity, of ignorance of one’s duties, of idleness, of stupidity, of absence of mind, of contempt for others, and of jealousy.

Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], “Of Mankind,” sec. 8 (1688) [tr. van Laun (1885)]
    (Source)

Alternate translation:

Incivility is not a vice of the soul, but the effect of several vices; of vanity, ignorance of duty, laziness, stupidity, distraction, contempt of others, and jealousy.
[tr. Source (1752)]

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Those unfortunate enough to be dragged before one of the old Heterodynes were usually subjected to a version of what we today would call “Good Cop, Bad Cop.” However, considering the personalities involved, a more correct label would be “Bad Cop, Insanely Evil Cop.” This was never a fun experience, especially when both sides were played by different personalities manifesting within the same body — and neither of them were actually playing.

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H and the Voice of the Castle (2014) [with Kaja Foglio]
    (Source)
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There can be no free speech in a mob: free speech is one thing a mob can’t stand.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
The Educated Imagination, Talk 6 “The Vocation of Eloquence” (1963)
    (Source)
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Many have had their greatness made for them by their enemies. Flattery is more dangerous than hatred, because it covers the stains which the other causes to be wiped out. The wise will turn ill-will into a mirror more faithful than that of kindness, and remove or improve the faults referred to.

[Fabricáronles a muchos su grandeza sus malévolos. Más fiera es la lisonja que el odio, pues remedia este eficazmente las tachas que aquella disimula. Hace el cuerdo espejo de la ojeriza, más fiel que el de la afición, y previene a la detracción los defectos, o los enmienda, que es grande el recato cuando se vive en frontera de una emulación, de una malevolencia.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 84 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Many owe their greatness to their enemies. Flattery is fiercer than hatred, for hatred corrects the faults flattery had disguised. The prudent man makes a mirror out of the evil eye of others; it is more truthful than that of affection, and helps him reduce his defects or emend them.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

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Marriage should be between a spouse and a spouse, not a gender and a gender.

Hendrik Hertzberg (b. 1943) American journalist, editor, speech writer, political commentator
“Obama and Gay Marriage: Runaway Bride?” New Yorker (30 Jun 2011)
    (Source)
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Reader and hearer, Aulus, love my stuff;
A certain poet says it’s rather rough.
Well, I don’t care. For dinners or for books
The guest’s opinion matters, not the cook’s.

[Lector et auditor nostros probat, Aule, libellos,
Sed quidam exactos esse poeta negat.
Non nimium curo: nam cenae fercula nostrae
Malim convivis quam placuisse cocis.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 9, epigram 81 (9.81) [tr. Francis & Tatum (1924)]
    (Source)

"To Aulus". The numbering for this epigram varies between 81, 82, and 83 within in Book 9. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

The readers and the hearers like my books,
And, yet, some writers cannot them digest:
But what care I? for when I make a feast,
I would my guests should praise it, not the cooks.
[tr. Harington (16th C)]

My works the reader and the hearer praise:
They're not exact; a brother poet says:
I heed not him; for when I give a feast,
Am I to please the cook, or please the guest?
[tr. Hay (1755), ep. 82]

The reader and the hearer like my lays.
But they're unfinisht things, a poet says.
The stricture ne'er shall discompose my looke:
My chear is for my guests, and not for cooks.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 3.14]

The reader and the hearer approve of my small books, but a certain critic objects that they are not finished to a nicety. I do not take this censure much to heart, for I would wish that the course of my dinner should afford pleasure to guests rather than to cooks.
[tr. Amos (1858) 2.24]

My readers and hearers, Aulus, approve of my compositions; but a certain critic says that they are not faultless. I am not much concerned at his censure; for I should wish the dishes on my table to please guests rather than cooks.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Though my readers sincerely admire me,
A poet finds fault with my books.
What's the odds? When I'm giving a dinner
I'd rather please guests than the cooks.
[tr. Nixon (1911)]

Reader and hearer approve of my works, Aulus, but a certain poet says they are not polished. I don't care much, for I should prefer the courses of my dinner to please guests rather than cooks.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

"Unpolished" -- so that scribbler sneers,
While he that reads and he that hears,
     Approve my little books;
I do not care a single jot,
My fame is for my guests and not
     To please my rival cooks.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

My books are praised by him who reads,
Though critics damn them in their screeds.
But who's to judge a proper meat --
Another cook, or those who eat?
[tr. Wills (2007), ep. 83]

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True character arises from a deeper well than religion. It is the internalization of moral principles of a society, augmented by those tenets personally chosen by the individual, strong enough to endure through trials of solitude and adversity. The principles are fitted together into what we call integrity, literally the integrated self, wherein personal decisions feel good and true. Character is in turn the enduring source of virtue. It stands by itself and excites admiration in others. It is not obedience to authority, and while it is often consistent with and reinforced by religious belief, it is not piety.

E. O. Wilson (1929-2021) American biologist, naturalist, writer [Edward Osborne Wilson]
Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, ch. 11 “Ethics and Religion” (1998)
    (Source)
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It’s very important to decode your own messages, like saying “I feel angry” instead of kicking the cat, and people who learn to do this find they are misunderstood less often and, as a fringe benefit, are clawed by fewer cats.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
Some Men Are More Perfect than Others (1973)
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To be a poet at twenty is to be twenty; to be a poet at forty is to be a poet.

Eugène Delacroix (1799-1863) French painter [Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix]
(Attributed)
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In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility — I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Inaugural Address (20 Jan 1961) [with Ted Sorensen]
    (Source)

See Holmes and Harding.
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For what greater or better service can we render to our country, than by thus educating and instructing the rising generation, especially in times like these, and in the present state of morality, when society has fallen into such disorders as to require everyone to use his best exertions to check and restrain it?

[Quod enim munus rei publicae afferre maius meliusve possumus, quam si docemus atque erudimus iuventutem, his praesertim moribus atque temporibus, quibus ita prolapsa est, ut omnium opibus refrenanda atque coercenda sit?]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Divinatione [On Divination], Book 2, ch. 2 / sec. 4 (44 BC) [tr. Yonge (1853)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translation:

For what greater or better service can I render to the common wealth than to instruct and train the youth -- especially in view of the fact that our young men have gone so far astray because of the present moral laxity that the utmost effort will be needed to hold them in check and direct them in the right way?
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

What nobler employment, or what more advantageous to the state, than that of the man who instructs the rising generation!
[Source (<1864)]

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A certain combination of incompetence and indifference can cause almost as much suffering as the most acute malevolence.

Bruce Catton
Bruce Catton (1899-1978) American historian and journalist
A Stillness at Appomattox (1953)
    (Source)

Regarding prison camps during the US Civil War.
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Life’s easier when you can write off others as monsters, as demons, as horrible threats that must be hated and feared. The thing is, you can’t do that without becoming them, just a little.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
White Night (2007)
    (Source)
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When threatened, the first thing a democracy gives up is democracy.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Complete Neurotic’s Notebook (1981)
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Faith is a fine invention
For gentlemen who see;
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) American poet
Poems: Second Series, #30 (1891)
    (Source)
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Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) American educator, writer
Speech, Cotton States and International Exposition, Atlanta (18 Nov 1895)
    (Source)

Reprinted in his autobiography, Up from Slavery, ch. 14 "The Atlanta Exposition Address" (1907).
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Even furious Juno, now plaguing the land and sea and sky
with terror: she will mend her ways and hold dear with me
these Romans, lords of the earth, the race arrayed in togas.
This is my pleasure, my decree.

[Quin aspera Iuno,
quae mare nunc terrasque metu caelumque fatigat,
consilia in melius referet, mecumque fovebit
Romanos rerum dominos gentemque togatam:
sic placitum.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 1, l. 279ff (1.279-283) [Jupiter] (29-19 BC) [tr. Fagles (2006), l. 335ff]
    (Source)

Juno favored Carthage, thus her plotting against Aeneas. Jupiter, early on in the story, decrees to Venus (Aeneas' mother) that Juno will come around and love those wacky toga-wearers. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Ev'n haughty Juno, who, with endless broils,
Earth, seas, and heav'n, and Jove himself turmoils;
At length aton'd, her friendly pow'r shall join,
To cherish and advance the Trojan line.
The subject world shall Rome's dominion own,
And, prostrate, shall adore the nation of the gown.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

And even sullen Juno, who now, through jealous fear, creates endless disturbance to sea, and earth, and heaven, shall change her counsels for the better, and join with me in befriending the Romans, lords of the world, and the nation of the gown. Such is my pleasure.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Nay Juno's self, whose wild alarms
Set ocean, earth, and heaven in arms,
Shall change for smiles her moody frown,
And vie with me in zeal to crown
Rome's sons, the nation of the gown.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Nay, harsh Juno, who disturbs
With fear the sea and land and shy, will change
Her counsels for the better, and with me
Cherish the Romans, masters of affairs.
The toga'd nation. Such is my decree.
[tr. Cranch (1872)]

Nay, harsh Juno, who in her fear now troubles earth and sea and sky, shall change to better counsels, and with me shall cherish the lords of the world, the gowned race of Rome. Thus is it willed.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Yea, Juno, hard of heart,
Who wearieth now with fear of her the heavens and earth and sea,
Shall gather better counsel yet, and cherish them with me;
The Roman folk, the togaed men, lords of all worldly ways.
Such is the doom.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Nay, Juno, too, who now, in mood malign,
Earth, sea and sky is harrying, shall incline
To better counsels, and unite with me
To cherish and uphold the imperial line,
The Romans, rulers of the land and sea,
Lords of the flowing gown. So standeth my decree.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 37, l. 328ff]

Yea, even my Queen,
Juno, who now chastiseth land and sea
with her dread frown, will find a wiser way,
and at my sovereign side protect and bless
the Romans, masters of the whole round world,
who, clad in peaceful toga, judge mankind.
Such my decree!
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Nay, harsh Juno, who now in her fear troubles sea and earth and sky, shall change to better counsels and with me cherish the Romans, lords of the world, and the nation of the gown. Thus is it decreed.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Even bitter Juno
Whose fear now harries earth and sea and heaven
Will change to better counsels, and will cherish
The race that wears the toga, Roman masters
Of all the world. It is decreed.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Even the spiteful Juno,
Who in her fear now troubles the earth, the sea and the sky,
Shall think better of this and join me in fostering
The cause of the Romans, the lords of creation, the togaed people.
Thus it is written.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Then even bitter Juno shall be changed;
for she, who now harasses lands and heavens
with terror, then shall hold the Romans dear
together with me, cherishing the masters
of all things, and the race that wears the toga.
This is what I decree.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 391ff]

Juno, indeed, whose bitterness now fills
With fear and torment sea and earth and sky,
Will mend her ways, and favor them as I do,
Lords of the world, the toga-bearing Romans.
Such is our pleasure.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 376ff]

Even angry Juno, who is now wearying sea and land and sky with her terrors, will come to better counsel and join with me in cherishing the people of Rome, the rulers of the world, the race that wears the toga. So it has been decreed.
[tr. West (1990)]

Even Juno, who in her site and fear
Now vexes earth, sea, and sky, shall adopt
A better view, wand with me cherish the Romans,
Lords of the world, the people of the toga.
That is my pleasure.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

Even cruel Juno, terror of the land and sea and sky, will change her plans and (like me) favor Romans: people of the toga, rulers of the world. So I've decreed.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

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Money is like sex. It seems much more important when you don’t have any.

Bukowski - Money is like sex It seems much more important when you don't have any - wist.info quote

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Hollywood, ch. 4 (1989)
    (Source)
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An author, like any other so-called artist, is a man in whom the normal vanity of all men is so vastly exaggerated that he finds it a sheer impossibility to hold it in. His overpowering impulse is to gyrate before his fellow men, flapping his wings and emitting defiant yells. This being forbidden by the police of all civilized countries, he takes it out by putting his yells on paper. Such is the thing called self-expression.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“The Fringes of Lovely Letters,” Prejudices: Fifth Series (1926)
    (Source)
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Independence was an act of revolution; republicanism was something new under the sun; the federal system was a vast experimental laboratory. Physically Americans were pioneers; in the realm of social and economic institutions, too, their tradition has been one of pioneering. From the beginning, intellectual and spiritual diversity have been as characteristic of America as racial and linguistic. The most distinctively American philosophies have been transcendentalism — which is the philosophy of the Higher Law — and pragmatism — which is the philosophy of experimentation and pluralism. These two principles are the very core of Americanism: the principle of the Higher Law, or of obedience to the dictates of conscience rather than of statutes, and the principle of pragmatism, or the rejection of a single good and of the notion of a finished universe. From the beginning Americans have known that there were new worlds to conquer, new truths to be discovered. Every effort to confine Americanism to a single pattern, to constrain it to a single formula, is disloyalty to everything that is valid in Americanism.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“Who Is Loyal to America?” Harper’s Magazine #1168 (Sep 1947)
    (Source)
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The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning.

Gilbert Highet (1906-1978) Scottish-American classicist, academic writer, intellectual critic, literary historian
The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning (1976)
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I am an adherent of the ideal of democracy, although I know well the weaknesses of the democratic form of government. Social equality and economic protection of the individual have always seemed to me the important communal aims of the state. Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice keeps me from feeling isolated.

[Ich bekenne mich zum Ideal der Demokratie, trotzdem mir die Nachteile demokratischer Staatsform wohlbekannt sind. Sozialer Ausgleich und wirtschaftlicher Schutz des Individuums erschienen mir stets als wichtige Ziele der staatlichen Gemeinschaft. ch bin zwar im täglichen Leben ein typischer Einspänner, aber das Bewusstsein, der unsichtbaren Gemeinschaft derjenigen anzugehören, die nach Wahrheit, Schönheit und Gerechtigkeit streben, hat das Gefühl der Vereinsamung nicht aufkommen lassen.]

Albert Einstein (1879-1955) German-American physicist
“My Credo Mein Glaubensbekenntnis],” recording for the German League of Human Rights (Autumn 1932)
    (Source)

Einstein crafted and recrafted his credo multiple times in this period, and specifics are often muddled by differing translations and by his reuse of certain phrases in later writing.
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In the course of my travels I remarked that all those whose opinions are decidedly repugnant to ours are not in that account barbarians and savages, but on the contrary that many of these nations make an equally good, if not better, use of their reason than we do. I took into account also the very different character which a person brought up from infancy in France or Germany exhibits, from that which, with the same mind originally, this individual would have possessed had he lived always among the Chinese or with savages, and the circumstance that in dress itself the fashion which pleased us ten years ago, and which may again, perhaps, be received into favor before ten years have gone, appears to us at this moment extravagant and ridiculous. I was thus led to infer that the ground of our opinions is far more custom and example than any certain knowledge.

[Et depuis, en voyageant, ayant reconnu que tous ceux qui ont des sentiments fort contraires aux nôtres ne sont pas pour cela barbares ni sauvages, mais que plusieurs usent autant ou plus que nous de raison; et ayant considéré combien un même homme, avec son même esprit, étant nourri dès son enfance entre des Français ou des Allemands, devient différent de ce qu’il seroit s’il avoit toujours vécu entre des Chinois ou des cannibales, et comment, jusques aux modes de nos habits, la même chose qui nous a plu il y a dix ans, et qui nous plaira peut-être encore avant dix ans, nous semble maintenant extravagante et ridicule; en sorte que c’est bien plus la coutume et l’exemple qui nous persuade, qu’aucune connaissance certaine.]

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
Discourse on Method [Discours de la méthode], Part 2 (1637) [tr. Veitch (1901)]
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(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

I further recognized in the course of my travels that all those whose sentiments are very contrary to ours are yet not necessarily barbarians or savages, but may be possessed of reason in as great or even a greater degree than ourselves. I also considered how very different the self-same man, identical in mind and spirit, may have become, according as he is brought up from childhood amongst the French or Germans, or has passed his whole life amongst Chinese or cannibals. I likewise noticed how even in the fashions of one's clothing the same thing that pleased us ten years ago, and which will perhaps please us once again before ten years are passed, seems at the present time extravagant and ridiculous. I thus concluded that it is much more custom and example that persuade us than any certain knowledge.
[tr. Haldane & Ross (1911)]

Since then I have recognized through my travels that those with views quite contrary to ours are not on that account barbarians or savages, but that many of them make use of reason as much or more than we do. I thought, too, how the same man, with the same mind, if brought up from infancy among the French or Germans, develops otherwise than he would if he had always lived among the Chinese or cannibals; and how, even in our fashions of dress, the very thing that pleased us ten years ago, and will perhaps please us again ten years hence, now strikes us as extravagant and ridiculous. Thus it is custom and example that persuade us, rather than any certain knowledge.
[tr. Cottingham, Stoothoff (1985)]

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All is in the hands of man. Therefore you should wash them often.

[Wszystko jest w rękach człowieka. Dlatego należy je często myć.]

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
Unkempt Thoughts [Myśli nieuczesane] (1957) [tr. Gałązka (1962)]
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My political opinions lean more and more to Anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs). […] The most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
Letter to Christopher Tolkien (29 Nov 1943)

Letter 52 in Humphrey Carpenter, ed., The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien (1981).
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Incivility is contagious — often spreading by way of righteous indignation until even those without legitimate grievance have come down with symptoms and taken sides.

Diane Kalen-Sukra
Diane Kalen-Sukra (contemp.) Canadian author, consultant
Save Your City: How Toxic Culture Kills Community & What to Do about It (2019)
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Tiny Monster Island is one of the more boring Mechanicsburg landmarks. Unless, of course, one is foolish — or unfortunate — enough to leave the path. Then it becomes very exciting indeed.

Phil Foglio (b. 1956) American writer, cartoonist
Agatha H and the Voice of the Castle (2014)
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Experience is nearly always commonplace; the present is not romantic in the way the past is, and ideals and great visions have a way of becoming shoddy and squalid in practical life. Literature reverses this process.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
The Educated Imagination, Talk 3 “Giants in Time” (1963)
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The truth is generally seen, rarely heard; seldom she comes in elemental purity, especially from afar; there is always some admixture of the moods of those through whom she has passed. The passions tinge her with their colors wherever they touch her, sometimes favorably, sometimes the reverse.

[La verdad ordinariamente se ve, extravagantemente se oye; raras vezes llega en su elemento puro, y menos quando viene de lejos; siempre trae algo de mixta, de los afectos por donde passa; tiñe de sus colores la passión quanto toca, ya odiosa, ya favorable.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 80 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
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(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translation:

Truth is more often seen than heard. Seldom does it reach us unalloyed, even less so when it comes from afar. It is always blended with the emotions it has passed through. Emotion taints everything it touches, making it odious or favorable.
[tr. Maurer (1992)]

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When you offered your wife to each passer-by free,
Not a soul ever wanted to try her.
You have learnt wisdom now: kept beneath lock and key
She has crowds of men waiting to buy her.

[Nullus in urbe fuit tota qui tangere vellet
Uxorem gratis, Caeciliane, tuam,
Dum licuit: sed nunc positis custodibus ingens
Turba fututorum est: ingeniosus homo es.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 73 (1.73) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Scarce one in all the city would embrace
Thy proffere'd wife, Caecilian, free to have;
But now she's guarded, and lock'd up, apace
Thy custom comes. Oh, thou'rt a witty knave!
[tr. Fletcher (c. 1650)]

Your wife's the plainest piece a man can see:
No soul would touch her, whilst you left her free:
But since to guard her you employ all arts,
The rakes besiege her. -- You're a man of parts!
[tr. Hay (1755), ep. 74]

These was no one in the whole city, Caecilianus, who desired to meddle with your wife, even gratis, while permission was given; but now, since you have set a watch upon her, the crowd of gallants is innumerable. You are a clever fellow!
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

There was no one in the whole town willing to touch your wife, Caecilianus, gratis, while he was allowed; but now you have set your guards, there is a huge crowd of gallants. You are an ingenious person!
[tr. Ker (1919)]

To screw your wife, unguarded, no one cared.
But once you barred her door, a thousand dared.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

No one in this city would
touch your wife, while free they could;
now she’s guarded, there’s a band
of fuckers for her -- clever man!
[tr. @sentantiq/Robinson (2016)]

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A political ideology is a very handy thing to have. It’s a real time-saver, because it tells you what you think about things you know nothing about.

Hendrik Hertzberg (b. 1943) American journalist, editor, speech writer, political commentator
“A Moral Ideologue: The Character of Jimmy Carter,” Character Above All, PBS (31 May 1995)
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Preparation essay for the PBS series on modern presidents. The passage itself is referring, in contrast, to Ronald Reagan, who defeated Carter for reelection as US President in 1980.
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It is not possible for one person to meet all of another’s needs and marriage partners who expect this soon find each other wanting.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
Some Men Are More Perfect than Others (1973)
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The trouble about man is twofold. He cannot learn truths which are too complicated; he forgets truths which are too simple.

Rebecca West (1892-1983) British author, journalist, literary critic, travel writer [pseud. for Cicily Isabel Fairfield]
The Meaning of Treason, Epilogue (1947)
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“But humans do it” is maybe the worst excuse for any behavior I’ve ever heard.

Jeph Jacques
Jeffrey Paul "Jeph" Jacques (b. 1980) American cartoonist
Questionable Content #4679 “I Learned It from You” (Dec 2021)
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If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible psychological reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.

David Foster Wallace
David Foster Wallace (1962-2008) American author, academic
McCain’s Promise (2006)
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The only kind of courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook (1966)
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Life can be confusing. Good God, and how. Sometimes it seems like the older I get, the more confused I become. That seems ass-backwards. I thought I was supposed to be getting wiser. Instead, I just keep getting hit over the head with my relative insignificance in the greater scheme of the universe. Confusing, life.

But it beats the hell out of the alternative.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Proven Guilty, ch. 47 (2006)
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You know, you have to really decide where you want to live: if you want to live in the jungle or in the zoo. Because if you want the beauty, if you want freedom, the jungle is … that’s your world. But you’re in danger there, you have to live with snakes, sharks, tigers, skunks, you know, mosquitoes, leeches. You want to be safe, you have to live in the zoo. You are protected. You know, if you are a lamb, the tiger will not attack you. You know, you’ll get a little bit something to eat every day; that’s fine. You have to work hard, but you live behind the bars, and what’s wonderful — you live there behind the bars and you dream about the beauty of the jungle. Now what happened was that the bars opened, and everybody runs after the dream. And suddenly, well, yeah, it’s beautiful — yes, I am free to go wherever I want, do whatever I want, but where do I want to go? Oh, my God, and here is a tiger and here’s a snake. Oh, oh, and people have a tendency to, you know, back. And you will be surprised how many people prefer to live in the zoo; they are not ready to pay for the freedom; they think that freedom should be, you know, for free, even for granted, which never is, never is.

Milos Forman
Jan Tomáš "Miloš" Forman (1932-2018) Czech-American film director, screenwriter, actor, academic
National Security Archive interview (18 Jan 1997)
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On life and work in the post-Communist world.
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The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

Orwell - Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality usually on a battlefield - wist.info quote

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“In Front of Your Nose,” Tribune (22 Mar 1946)
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Your task is to endure and save yourselves for better days.

[Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 1, l. 207 (1.207) [Aeneas] (29-19 BC) [tr. West (1990)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Endure the hardships of your present state;
Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Bear up, and live for happier days.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

     Be firm,
And keep your hearts in hope of brighter days.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 263ff]

Keep heart, and endure till prosperous fortune come.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Abide, endure, and keep yourselves for coming days of joy.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Bear up; reserve you for a happier day.
[tr. Taylor (1907), l. 238]

     Have patience all!
And bide expectantly that golden day.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Endure, and keep yourselves for days of happiness.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Endure, and keep yourself for better days.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Hold on, and find salvation in the hope of better things!
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Hold out, and save yourselves for kinder days.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971)]

     Be patient:
Save yourselves for more auspicious days.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), ll. 282-83]

Endure, and save yourselves for happier times.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

     Bear up.
Save your strength for better times to come.
[tr. Fagles (2006)]

     Hold on.
Save your strength for better days to come.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

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I’m no preacher but I can tell you this — the lives that people lead are driving them crazy and their insanity comes out in the way they drive.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Factotum, ch. 72 (1975)
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The author always loads his dice, but he must never let the reader see that he has done so.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
The Summing Up (1938)
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Who are those who are really disloyal? Those who inflame racial hatreds, who sow religious and class dissensions. Those who subvert the Constitution by violating the freedom of the ballot box. Those who make a mockery of majority rule by the use of the filibuster. Those who impair democracy by denying equal educational facilities. Those who frustrate justice by lynch law or by making a farce of jury trials. Those who deny freedom of speech and of the press and of assembly. Those who press for special favors against the interest of the commonwealth. Those who regard public office as a source of private gain. Those who would exalt the military over the civil. Those who for selfish and private purposes stir up national antagonisms and expose the world to the ruin of war.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“Who Is Loyal to America?” Harper’s Magazine #1168 (Sep 1947)
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His mistaken belief in his own superiority cut him off from reality as completely as if he were living in a colored glass jar.

Margery Allingham
Margery Allingham (1904-1966) English writer
Traitor’s Purse (1941)
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There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.

Desmond Tutu (1931-2021) South African cleric, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Nobel Laureate
(Attributed)
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All deductions having been made, democracy has done less harm, and more good, than any other form of government. It gave to human existence a zest and camaraderie that outweighed its pitfalls and defects. It gave to thought and science and enterprise the freedom essential to their operation and growth. It broke down the walls of privilege and class, and in each generation it raised up ability from every rank and place.

William James (Will) Durant (1885-1981) American historian, teacher, philosopher
The Lessons of History, ch. 10 (1968) [with Ariel Durant]
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The truly innosent are thoze who not only are guiltless themselfes, but who think others are.

[The truly innocent are those who not only are guiltless themselves, but who think others are.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Plum Pits” (1874)
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Those who are ahead of their time often have to wait for it in uncomfortable quarters.

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
(Attributed)
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