Quotations about   change

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Man feels the need to rake leaves, clean up the summer’s remnants, proclaim his tenancy by making things neat and tidy. Nature doesn’t bother. The tree thrives on its own trash and the see sprouts in the parent plant’s midden heap. Each new season grows from the leftovers from the past. That is the essence of change, and change is the basic law. Nature hasn’t time to be neat and tidy.

Hal Borland
Harold "Hal" Borland (1900-1978) American writer, journalist, naturalist
“Autumn’s Clutter,” New York Times (11 Nov 1962)
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Reprinted in Sundial of the Seasons (1964).
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There is a strong conservative instinct in the average man or woman, born of the hereditary fear of life, that prompts them to cling to old standards, or, if too intelligent to look inhospitably upon progress, to move very slowly. Both types are the brakes and wheelhorses necessary to a stable civilization, but history, even current history in the newspapers, would be dull reading if there were no adventurous spirits willing to do battle for new ideas.

Gertrude Atherton
Gertrude Atherton (1857-1948) American author, essayist
The Living Present, Book 2, ch. 1, sec. 1 (1917)
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When you are through changing, you are through.

Bruce Barton
Bruce Barton (1886-1967) American author, advertising executive, politician
Article Title, The American Magazine (1929?)
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Barton was a regular contributor to The American Magazine. Both the cited source (from 1929) and this suggest this was an article he contributed no later than 1929.

The saying has been misattributed to a number of more recent consultants, motivational speakers, etc.
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All changes are more or less tinged with melancholy, for what we are leaving behind is part of ourselves.

Amelia Barr
Amelia E. Barr (1831-1919) British novelist and teacher.
All the Days of My Life, ch. 6 (1913)
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Most anarchists believe the coming change can only come through a revolution, because the possessing class will not allow a peaceful change to take place; still we are willing to work for peace at any price, except at the price of liberty.

Lucy Parsons
Lucy Parsons (1851-1942) American labor organizer, anarchist, orator [a.k.a. Lucy Gonzalez]
“The Principles of Anarchism,” lecture (1905)
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Oh, how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day;
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 1, sc. 3, l. 85ff [Proteus] (c. 1590)
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Living things tend to change unrecognizably as they grow. Who would deduce the dragonfly from the larva, the iris from the bud, the lawyer from the infant? Flora or fauna, we are all shape-shifters and magic reinventors. Life is really a plural noun, a caravan of selves.

Diane Ackerman (b. 1948) American poet, author, naturalist
Cultivating Delight; A Natural History of My Garden, ch. 6 (2001)
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What threatens our security is not change but the inability to change; what threatens progress is not revolution but stagnation; what threatens our survival is not novel or dangerous ideas but the absence of ideas.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“The University and the Community of Learning,” speech, Kent State University, Ohio (10 Apr 1971)
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Governments never lead; they follow progress. When the prison, stake or scaffold can no longer silence the voice of the protesting minority, progress moves on a step, but not until then.

Lucy Parsons
Lucy Parsons (1851-1942) American labor organizer, anarchist, orator [a.k.a. Lucy Gonzalez]
“The Principles of Anarchism,” lecture (1905)
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Fascist politics feeds off the sense of aggrieved victimization caused by loss of hierarchal status. Empires in decline are particularly susceptible to fascist politics because of this sense of loss. It is in the very nature of empire to create hierarchy; empires legitimize their colonial enterprises by the myth of their own exceptionalism. In the course of decline, the population is easily led to a sense of national humiliation that can be mobilized in fascist politics to serve various purposes.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 5 (2018)
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When a people are confronted with problems that are both incomprehensible and unbearable, they lash out not at those who contrived the problems but at those who expose them. When they are confronted by moral problems that they find insoluble, or perhaps intolerable, they blame the moralists. The anxieties, tensions, revulsions of our day create an atmosphere in which it is almost impossible to think clearly and dispassionately about just those problems which most imperatively require reason and objectivity — problems of adjustment to fundamental change.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“The University and the Community of Learning,” speech, Kent State University, Ohio (10 Apr 1971)
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Why have I always told you that the greatest way to change the world is to secretly commit little acts of compassion? It does not matter that people know what you are doing, but rather that you do it. When a large enough number of people finally do something, or something is done enough times, be it prayer or vegetarianism or whatever, it will then happen everywhere, to everyone. It will suddenly seem just normal. […] You must behave as if your every act, even the smallest, impacted a thousand people for a hundred generations. Because it does.

Thom Hartmann
Thomas "Thom" Hartmann (b. 1951) American broadcaster, psychotherapist, businessman, political commentator
The Prophet’s Way: A Guide to Living in the Now, “The Hundredth Monkey” (1997)
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Often quoted as:

The most powerful way to change the world is to secretly commit little acts of compassion. You must behave as if your every act, even the smallest, impacted a thousand people for a hundred generations. Because it does.
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KEATING: No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.

Tom Schulman (b. 1951) American screenwriter, director
Dead Poets Society (1989)
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Awful as silence. Hark! the rushing snow!
The sun-awakened avalanche! whose mass,
Thrice sifted by the storm, had gathered there
Flake after flake, in heaven-defying minds
As thought by thought is piled, till some great truth
Is loosened, and the nations echo round,
Shaken to their roots, as do the mountains now.

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) English poet
Prometheus Unbound, Act 2 (1820)
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When men are ruled by fear, they strive to prevent the very changes that will abate it.

Alan Paton
Alan Paton (1903-1988) South African author, activist
“The Challenge of Fear,” The Saturday Review (9 Sep 1967)
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Reprinted in Sheridan Baker, The Essayist (1981).
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There is no sin punished more implacably by nature than the sin of resistance to change. For change is the very essence of living matter. To resist change is to sin against life itself.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906-2001) American writer, pilot
The Wave of the Future (1940)
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Before you’ll change, something important must be at risk.

Richard Bach (b. 1936) American writer
Messiah’s Handbook: Reminders for the Advanced Soul (2004)
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I worked my way back into a stony declivity and settled myself upon a low ledge. I began the troublesome shapeshifting work, which I paced to take me half an hour or so. Changing from something nominally human to something rare and strange — perhaps monstrous to some, perhaps frightening — and then back again is a concept some may find repugnant. They shouldn’t. We all of us do it every day in many different ways, don’t we?

Roger Zelazny (1937-1995) American writer
The Blood of Amber, ch. 3 (1986)
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You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
(Spurious)

Not found in Lewis' writings, and not considered authentic. There is some similarity to this Lewis quotation. More discussion here:

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Change does not necessarily assure progress, but progress implacably requires change.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“We Have Changed — and Must,” The New York Times Magazine (30 Apr 1961)
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Loyalty … is a realization that America was born of revolt, flourished in dissent, became great through experimentation.

Henry Steele Commager (1902-1998) American historian, writer, activist
“Who Is Loyal to America?” Harper’s Magazine #1168 (Sep 1947)
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Reprinted in Freedom, Loyalty, Dissent (1954)
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To change our laws and culture, the green movement must attract and include the majority of all people, not just the majority of affluent people.

Van Jones
Anthony Kapel "Van" Jones (b. 1968) American news commentator, author, lawyer
The Green Collar Economy (2008)
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For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air.

J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English writer, fabulist, philologist, academic [John Ronald Reuel Tolkien]
The Lord of the Rings, Vol. 3: The Return of the King, Book 6, ch. 6 “Many Partings” [Treebeard] (1954)
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While Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movie put this in the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), and in the mouth of Galadriel, in the book it is spoken by the ent Treebeard to Celeborn and Galadriel, adding, "I do not think we shall meet again."
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The values to which people cling most stubbornly under inappropriate conditions are those values that were previously the source of their greatest triumphs.

Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond (b. 1937) American geographer, historian, ornithologist, author
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, ch. 8 (2005)
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What are the choices that we must make if we are now to succeed, and not to fail? […] Two types of choices seem to me to have been crucial to tipping their outcomes towards success or failure: long-term planning, and willingness to reconsider core values. On reflection, we can also recognize the crucial role of these same two choices for the outcomes of our individual lives.

One of those choices has depended on the courage to practice long-term thinking, and to make bold, courageous, anticipatory decisions at a time when problems have become perceptible but before they have reached crisis proportions. […] The other crucial choice illuminated by the past involves the courage to make painful decisions about values. Which of the values that formerly served a society well can continue to be maintained under new changed circumstances? Which of these treasured values must instead be jettisoned and replaced with different approaches?

Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond (b. 1937) American geographer, historian, ornithologist, author
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, ch. 16 “The World as a Polder” (2005)
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A great wind is blowing, and that gives you either imagination or a headache.

Catherine II (1762-1796) Russian empress [Catherine the Great; b. Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst]
Letter to Baron Friedrich von Grimm (29 Apr 1775)
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In the Collections of the Imperial Society of Russian History, Vol. 23, Catherine the Great, Letters to Grimm, quoted in Gamaliel Bradford, Daughters of Eve (1930).
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I noted that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
Learning to Walk in the Dark, ch. 3 (2014)
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It is never quite safe to think we have done with life. When we imagine we have finished our story fate has a trick of turning the page and showing us yet another chapter.

Lucy Maud Montgomery
Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) Canadian author
Rainbow Valley, ch. 13 (1919)
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Truth is like the flu. I fight it off, but it changes in other bodies and returns in a form to which I am not immune.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #49 (Spring 1999)
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A man may be in as just possession of Truth as of a City, and yet be forced to surrender.

Thomas Browne (1605-1682) English physician and author
Religio Medici, Part 1, sec. 6 (1643)
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Everyone loves the Revolution. We only disagree on whether it has occurred.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, # 8 (Spring 1999)
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Desire’s most seductive promise is not pleasure but change, not that you might possess your object but that you might become the one who belongs with it.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, # 2 (Spring 1999)
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Contumely always falls upon those who break through some custom or convention. Such men, in fact, are called criminals. Everyone who overthrows an existing law is, at the start, regarded as a wicket man. Long afterward, when it is found that this law was bad and so cannot be re-established, the epithet is changed. All history treats almost exclusively of wicked men who, in the course of time, have come to be looked upon as good men. All progress is the result of successful crimes.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Dawn [Morgenröte], sec. 20 (1881) [Mencken (1907)]
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Alternate translations:

We have to make good a great deal of the contumely which has fallen on all those who, by their actions, have broken through the conventionality of some custom -- such people generally have been called criminals. Everybody who overthrew the existing moral law has hitherto, at least in the beginning, been considered a wicked man; but when afterwards, as sometimes happened, the old law could not be re-established and had to be abandoned, the epithet was gradually changed. History almost exclusively treats of such wicked men who, in the course of time, have been declared good men.
[tr. Volz (1903)]

One has to take back much of the defamation which people have cast upon all those who broke through the spell of a custom by means of a deed -- in general, they are called criminals. Whoever has overthrown an existing law of custom has hitherto always first been accounted a bad man: but when, as did happen the laws could not afterwards be reinstated and this fact was accepted, the predicate gradually changed -- history treats almost exclusively of these bad men who subsequently became good men!
[tr. Hollingdale (1997)]

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Were there none who were discontented with what they have, the world would never reach anything better.

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) English social reformer, statistician, founder of modern nursing
Cassandra (1860)
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All citizens do have a measure of control, at least in democracies where their votes are counted, of how they belong to their nations. Perhaps they will have more confidence in unconventional choices if they see that each nation’s founders were disobedient and unpredictable, men and women of imagination and ambition. The steel of every national monument was once molten.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
The Red Prince, “Orange: European Revolutions” (2008)
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I think we’d like life to be a train. And you get on and pick a destination and get off. And it turns out to be a sailboat. And everyday, you have to see where the wind is and check the currents and see if there’s anybody else on the boat you can help out. But it is a sailboat ride. And the weather changes, and the currents change, and the wind changes. It’s not a train ride. That’s the hardest thing I’ve had to accept in my life. I just thought I had to pick the right train.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
Super Soul Sunday, s. 5, ep. 522, “Why Life Is Like a Sailboat Ride,” Oprah Winfrey Network (9 Nov 2014)
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Starts at 0:48 in the source video. Usually just rendered down as "I think we'd like life to be a train ... but it turns out to be a sailboat."
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I am certainly not an advocate for frequent & untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. but I know also that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. as that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. we might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilised society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to “Henry Tompkinson” (Samuel Kercheval) (12 Jul 1816)
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Inscribed (elided) on southeast side of the Jefferson Memorial:

I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as a civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
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Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go.

May Sarton
May Sarton (1912-1995) Belgian-American poet, novelist, memoirist [pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton]
Journal of a Solitude, “October 6th” (1973)
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Language is not a protocol legislated by an authority, but rather a wiki that pools the contributions of millions of writers and speakers, who ceaselessly bend the language to their needs and who inexorably age, die, and get replaced by their children, who adapt the language in their turn.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
The Sense of Style, Prologue (2014)
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As people age, they confuse changes in themselves with changes in the world, and changes in the world with moral decline — the illusion of the good old days. And so every generation believes that the kids today are degrading the language and taking civilization down with it.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
The Sense of Style, Prologue (2014)
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Loneliness, insomnia, and change: the fear of these is even worse than the reality.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 10 (1966)
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Conformity may give you a quiet life; it may even bring you to a University Chair. But all change in history, all advance, comes from the nonconformists. If there had been no trouble-makers, no Dissenters, we should still be living in caves.

A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) British historian, journalist, broadcaster [Alan John Percivale Taylor]
“The Radical Tradition: Fox, Paine, and Cobbett,” The Trouble Makers: Dissent over Foreign Policy, 1792–1939 (1969)
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Every day of our lives we are on the verge of making those changes that would make all the difference.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 4 (1963)
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It is not sufficient that the state of affairs which we seek to promote should be better than the state of affairs which preceded it; it must be sufficiently better to make up for the evils of the transition.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) English economist
“The Political Doctrines of Edmund Burke” (1904)
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Imagination continually frustrates tradition; that is its function.

John Pfeiffer (1914-1999) American anthropologist, author
“Nature, the Radical Conservative,” New York Times (29 Apr 1979)
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Book review of Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature. This quotation is frequently misattributed to Jules Feiffer.
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Human nature, if it changes at all, changes not much faster than the geological face of the earth.

Alexander Solzhenitsen (1918-2008) Russian novelist, emigre [Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn]
The Gulag Archipelago, Vol. 1 (1973) [tr. Whitney]
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Artists and scientists realize that no solution is ever final, but that each new creative step points the way to the next artistic or scientific problem. In contrast, those who embrace religious revelations and delusional systems tend to see them as unshakeable and permanent.

Anthony Storr (1920-2001) English psychiatrist and author
Feet of Clay: Saints, Sinners and Madmen, Introduction (1996)
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Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
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As a cause becomes more and more successful, the ideas of the people engaged in it are bound to change.

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) American birth control activist, sex educator, nurse
Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography, ch. 32 (1938)
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No,
it’s no disgrace for a man, even a wise man,
to learn many things and not to be too rigid.
You’ve seen trees by a raging winter torrent,
how many sway with the flood and salvage every twig,
but not the stubborn — they’re ripped out, roots and all.

[ἀλλ᾽ ἄνδρα, κεἴ τις ᾖ σοφός, τὸ μανθάνειν
πόλλ᾽, αἰσχρὸν οὐδὲν καὶ τὸ μὴ τείνειν ἄγαν.
ὁρᾷς παρὰ ῥείθροισι χειμάρροις ὅσα
δένδρων ὑπείκει, κλῶνας ὡς ἐκσῴζεται,
τὰ δ᾽ ἀντιτείνοντ᾽ αὐτόπρεμν᾽ ἀπόλλυται.]

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Antigone, l. 710ff [Haemon] (441 BC) [tr. Fagles (1982), l. 794ff]
    (Source)

Ancient Greek. Alternate translations:

But that a man, how wise soe'er, should learn
In many things and slack his stubborn will,
This is no derogation. When the streams
Are swollen by mountain-torrents, thou hast seen
That all the trees wich bend them to the flood
Preserve their branches from the angry current,
While those which stem it perish root and branch.
[tr. Donaldson (1848)]

The wisest man will let himself be swayed
By others' wisdom and relax in time.
See how the trees beside a stream in flood
Save, if they yield to force, each spray unharmed,
But by resisting perish root and branch.
[tr. Campbell (1873)]

'Tis no disgrace even to the wise to learn
And lend an ear to reason. You may see
The plant that yields where torrent waters flow
Saves every little twig, when the stout tree
Is torn away and dies.
[tr. Storr (1859)]

No, even when a man is wise, it brings him no shame to learn many things, and not to be too rigid. You see how the trees that stand beside the torrential streams created by a winter storm yield to it and save their branches, while the stiff and rigid perish root and all?
[tr. Jebb (1891)]

True wisdom will be ever glad to learn,
And not too fond of power. Observe the trees,
That bend to wintry torrents, how their boughs
Unhurt remain; while those that brave the storm,
Uprooted torn, shall wither and decay.
[tr. Werner (1892)]

No, though a man be wise, 'tis no shame for him to learn many things, and to bend in season. Seest thou, beside the wintry torrent's course, how the trees that yield to it save every twig, while the stiff-necked perish root and branch?
[tr. Jebb (1917)]

It is not reason never to yield to reason!
In flood time you can see how some trees bend,
And because they bend, even their twigs are safe,
While stubborn trees are torn up, roots and all
[tr. Fitts/Fitzgerald (1939), l. 570ff]

It is no weakness for the wisest man
To learn when he is wrong, know when to yield.
So, on the margin of a flooded river
Trees bending to the torrent live unbroken,
While those that strain against it are snapped off.
[tr. Watling (1947), l. 608ff]

A man, though wise, should never be ashamed
of learning more, and must unbend his mind.
Have you not seen the trees beside the torrent,
the ones that bend them saving every leaf,
while the resistant perish root and branch?
[tr. Wyckoff (1954)]

There's no disgrace, even if one is wise,
In learning more, and knowing when to yield.
See how the trees that grow beside a torrent
Preserve their branches, if they bend; the others,
Those that resist, are torn out, root and branch.
[tr. Kitto (1962)]

But a wise man can learn a lot and never be ashamed;
He knows he does not have to be rigid and close-hauled.
You've seen trees tossed by a torrent in a flash flood:
If they bend, they're saved, and every twig survives,
But if they stiffen up, they're washed out from the roots.
[tr. Woodruff (2001)]

But for a man, even if he is wise, to go on learning
many things and not to be drawn too taut is no shame.
You see how along streams swollen from winter floods
some trees yield and save their twigs,
but others resist and perish, root and branch.
[tr. Tyrell/Bennett (2002)]

On the contrary, it is no shame for even a wise man to continue learning. Nor should a man be obstinate. One can see the trees on the heavy river-banks. Those that bend with the rushing current, survive, whereas those bent against it are torn, roots and all.
[tr. Theodoridis (2004)]

For any man,
even if he’s wise, there’s nothing shameful
in learning many things, staying flexible.
You notice how in winter floods the trees
which bend before the storm preserve their twigs.
The ones who stand against it are destroyed,
root and branch.
[tr. Johnston (2005), l. 804ff]

No, it's no disgrace for a man, even a wise man, to learn many things and not to be too rigid. You see how, in the winter storms, the trees yield that save even their twigs, but those who oppose it are destroyed root and branch.
[tr. Thomas (2005)]
Added on 21-Jan-21 | Last updated 9-May-21
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Even when laws have been written down, they ought not always to remain unaltered. As in other sciences, so in politics, it is impossible that all things should be precisely set down in writing; for enactments must be universal, but actions are concerned with particulars.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Politics [Πολιτικά], Book 2, ch. 8 / 1269a.9 [tr. Jowett (1885)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.
  • "Nor is it, moreover, right to permit written laws always to remain without alteration; for as in all other sciences, so in politics, it is impossible to express everything in writing with perfect exactness; for when we commit anything to writing we must use general terms, but in every action there is something particular to itself, which these may not comprehend." [tr. Ellis (1912)]
  • "Moreover even written codes of law may with advantage not be left unaltered. For just as in the other arts as well, so with the structure of the state it is impossible that it should have been framed aright in all its details; for it must of necessity be couched in general terms, but our actions deal with particular things." [tr. Rackham (1932)]
  • "In addition t this, it is not best to leave written laws unchanged. For just as in the case of the other arts, so with respect to political arrangements it is impossible for everything to be written down precisely; for it is necessary to write them in universal fashion, while actions concern particulars." [tr. Lord (1984)]
Added on 8-Jan-21 | Last updated 12-Feb-21
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Let us admit the case of the conservative. If we once start thinking, no one can guarantee what will be the outcome, except that many objects, ends, and institutions will be surely doomed. Every thinker puts some portion of an apparently stable world in peril, and no one can wholly predict what will emerge in its place.

John Dewey (1859-1952) American teacher and philosopher
Experience and Nature, ch. 6 “Nature, Mind and the Subject” (1929)
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Book form of the inaugural Paul Carus lectures, given by Dewey in 1925.
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Totalitarianism begins in contempt for what you have. The second step is the notion: “Things must change — no matter how, Anything is better than what we have.” Totalitarian rulers organize this kind of mass sentiment, and by organizing it articulate it, and by articulating it make the people somehow love it.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
Interview with Roger Errera (Oct 1973), The New York Review of Books (26 Oct 1978)
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When smashing monuments, save the pedestals — they always come in handy.

[Burząc pomniki, oszczędzajcie cokoły. Zawsze mogą się przydać.]

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
Unkempt Thoughts [Myśli nieuczesane] (1957) [tr. Gałązka (1962)]
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Time is no healer: the patient is no longer there.

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American-British poet, critic, playwright [Thomas Stearns Eliot]
“The Dry Salvages,” sec. 3, l. 131 Four Quartets (1943)
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