Quotations about:
    acquiescence


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“One must do as others do”: a suspect maxim, which nearly always means: “one must do wrong” as soon as it is applied to anything beyond those purely external matters which are of no consequence, but depend on custom, fashion or convention.

[«Il faut faire comme les autres»: maxime suspecte, qui signifie presque toujours: «il faut mal faire» dès qu’on l’étend au delà de ces choses purement extérieures, qui n’ont point de suite, qui dépendent de l’usage, de la mode ou des bienséances.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 12 “Of Opinions [Des Jugements],” § 10 (12.10) (1688) [tr. Stewart (1970)]
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(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

We must do like other men; a dangerous Maxim, and for the most part signifies we must do ill; if you speak not of things purely exteriour, and of no consequence, but what depends on Custome, Fashion, or Decency.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

We must do as others do; a dangerous Maxim, which for the most part signifies we must do ill, if extended beyond things purely exterior, and of no consequence, things depending on Custom, Fashion, or Decency.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

We must do like other Men: a dangerous Maxim, for the most Part signifying we must do ill, if you carry it beyond things external, and of no consequence, but depending on Custom, Fashion, or Ceremony.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

“We must do as others do” is a dangerous maxim, which nearly always means “we must do wrong” if it is applied to any but external things of no consequence, and depending on custom, fashion, or decency.
[tr. Van Laun (1885)]

 
Added on 8-Aug-23 | Last updated 8-Aug-23
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No evil dooms us hopelessly except the evil we love, and desire to continue in, and make no effort to escape from.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Daniel Deronda, Book 5, ch. 8 (1876)
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Added on 26-Jul-21 | Last updated 26-Jul-21
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There’s no such thing as life without bloodshed. I think the notion that the species can be improved in some way, that everyone could live in harmony, is a really dangerous idea. Those who are afflicted with this notion are the first ones to give up their souls, their freedom. Your desire that it be that way will enslave you and make your life vacuous.

Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
In Richard B. Woodward, “Cormac McCarthy’s Venomous Fiction,” New York Times (19 Apr 1992)
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Added on 16-Jan-20 | Last updated 16-Jan-20
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Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) German Lutheran pastor, theologian, martyr
(Spurious)

Frequently attributed to Bonhoeffer, but not found in his works. The origins of its attribution are discussed here, and the phrasing seems to more or less originate with Robert K. Hudnut, A Sensitive Man and the Christ (1971).
 
Added on 8-Jan-20 | Last updated 8-Jan-20
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Reason allows us to determine when our wishes are in irrevocable conflict with reality, and then bids us to submit ourselves willingly, rather than angrily or bitterly, to necessities. We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our attitude towards them, and it is in our spontaneous acceptance of necessity that we find our distinctive freedom.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 3 “Consolation for Frustration”(2000)
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Added on 10-Oct-19 | Last updated 10-Oct-19
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A wise man weaves a philosophy out of each acceptance life forces upon him.

Elizabeth Bibesco (1897-1945) Romanian-English writer
Haven (1951)
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Added on 25-May-17 | Last updated 25-May-17
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Are you going to come along quietly, or am I going to have to use ear plugs?

Terence Alan "Spike" Milligan (1918-2002) Anglo-Irish comedian, writer, actor
The Goon Show, 9×12 “The Call of the West” (20 Jan 1959)

Variant: "Are you going to come along quietly, or do you want musical accompaniment?"
 
Added on 2-Jul-15 | Last updated 2-Jul-15
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The crisis in which [our country] is placed cannot but be unwelcome to those who love peace, yet spurn at a tame submission to wrong.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to the New York Tammany Society (29 Feb 1808)
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Sent to Jacob Van Dervoort, and addressed to "the Society of Tammany or Columbian order No. 1 of the city of New York."
 
Added on 3-Mar-15 | Last updated 3-Aug-22
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To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor. Non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. The oppressed must never allow the conscience of the oppressor to slumber. Religion reminds every man that he is his brother’s keeper. To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right. It is a way of allowing his conscience to fall asleep. At this moment the oppressed fails to be his brother’s keeper. So acquiescence — while often the easier way — is not the moral way. It is the way of the coward.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Stride Toward Freedom, ch. 11 “Where Do We Go from Here?” (1958)
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Added on 6-Dec-11 | Last updated 16-Jan-23
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A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Sermon, Selma, Alabama (8 Mar 1965)

Possibly the source of the uncited attributions (or variants) "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter" and "The day we see the truth and cease to speak is the day we begin to die."
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining.

Jef Raskin
Jef Raskin (1943-2005) American computer scientist, writer
“Human Interface Design: Jef Raskin Interview,” Doctor Dobb’s Journal (May 1986)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 18-Apr-22
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BOSS KEAN: Sorry, Luke, I’m just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.
LUKE: Calling it your job don’t make it right, Boss.

Donn Pearce (1928-2017) American novelist, screenwriter
Cool Hand Luke (1967) [with Frank Pierson]

In the actual final script, the exchange goes:

BOSS KEAN: Ah'm jus' doin' mah job, Luke. You gotta appreciate that.
LUKE: Boss, when you do somethin' to me you better do it because you got to or want to ... but not because it's your damn job.
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Jul-22
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