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Virtue consists, not in avoiding wrong-doing, but in having no wish thereto.

[Ἀγαθὸν οὐ τὸ μὴ ἀδικεῖν, ἀλλὰ τὸ μηδὲ ἐθέλειν.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 62 (Diels) [tr. Freeman (1948)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Diels cites this as "62. ( 38 N.) DEMOKRATES. 27" ; collected in Joannes Stobaeus (Stobaios) Anthologium III, 9, 29. Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter.

Alternate translations:

  • "To be good is not only not to do an injury, but not so much as to desire to do one." [tr. Clarke (1750), Democrates, "Ethica."]
  • "Good means not [merely] not to do wrong, but rather not to desire to do wrong.: [tr. Bakewell (1907)]
  • "To be good is not to refrain from wrongdoing but not even to want to commit it." [tr. Barnes (1987)]
  • "It is not good to not commit injustice, but rather to not desire to." [tr. @sententiq (2018), frag. 61]
  • "Virtue consists not in avoiding wrongdoing, but in having no desire for it." [Source]
Added on 9-Feb-21 | Last updated 23-Feb-21
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The worship of God is a Duty; the hearing and reading of Sermons may be useful; but, if Men rest in Hearing and Praying, as too many do, it is as if a Tree should Value itself on being water’d and putting forth Leaves, tho’ it never produc’d any Fruit.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Letter to Joseph Huey (6 Jun 1753)
    (Source)
Added on 22-Oct-20 | Last updated 22-Oct-20
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When “Do no Evil” has been understood,
Then learn the harder, braver rule, “Do Good.”

Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943) American poet, humorist
“Of Duty” (1924)
Added on 9-Feb-16 | Last updated 9-Feb-16
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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.

Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958) American inventor, engineer, researcher, businessman
(Attributed)
Added on 4-Sep-15 | Last updated 4-Sep-15
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Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
James 4:17 (NRSV)

  • KJV: Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
  • NIV: If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them.
Added on 30-May-14 | Last updated 30-May-14
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There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that lost by not trying.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-May-16
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