Quotations by Benedict, Ruth


The trouble is not that we are never happy — it is that happiness is so episodical.

Ruth Benedict (1887-1947) American anthropologist
An Anthropologist at Work, Journal (1912-1916), [ed. Margaret Mead] (1959)

Full text.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 22-Sep-11
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The trouble with life isn’t that there is no answer, it’s that there are so many answers.

Ruth Benedict (1887-1947) American anthropologist
An Anthropologist at Work, Journal Entry, 7 Jan 1913 (1959)
Added on 2-Sep-17 | Last updated 2-Sep-17
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Society in its full sense […] is never an entity separable from the individuals who compose it. No individual can arrive even at the threshold of his potentialities without a culture in which he participates. Conversely, no civilization has in it any element which in the last analysis is not the contribution of an individual.

Ruth Benedict (1887-1947) American anthropologist
Patterns of Culture, ch. 8 “The Individual and Culture” (1934)
    (Source)

Sometimes quoted as "The community is never an entity ...."
Added on 18-Sep-20 | Last updated 18-Sep-20
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Society is only incidentally and in certain cases regulative, and law is no equivalent to the social order. […] Even in our civilization the law is never more than a crude implement of society, and one it is often enough necessary to check in its arrogant career. It is never to be read off as if it were the equivalent of the social order.

Ruth Benedict (1887-1947) American anthropologist
Patterns of Culture, ch. 8 “The Individual and Culture” (1934)
    (Source)
Added on 23-Sep-20 | Last updated 23-Sep-20
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No man ever looks at the world with pristine eyes. He sees it edited by a definite set of customs and institutions and ways of thinking.

Ruth Benedict (1887-1947) American anthropologist
Patterns of Culture, I (1934)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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If we justify war, it is because all peoples always justify the traits of which they find themselves possessed, not because war will bear an objective examination of its merits.

Ruth Benedict (1887-1947) American anthropologist
Patterns of Culture, I (1934)
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The happiest excitement in life is to be convinced that one is fighting for all one is worth on behalf of some clearly seen and deeply felt good, and against some greatly scorned evil.

Ruth Benedict (1887-1947) American anthropologist
Journal, undated (1915-1934)
Added on 12-May-11 | Last updated 12-May-11
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