Quotations about   consequences

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Every one sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are, and those few dare not oppose themselves to the opinion of the many, who have the majesty of the state to defend them; and in the actions of all men, and especially of princes, which it is not prudent to challenge, one judges by the result. For that reason, let a prince have the credit of conquering and holding his state, the means will always be considered honest, and he will be praised by everybody because the vulgar are always taken by what a thing seems to be and by what comes of it.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Prince, ch. 18 (1513) [tr. Marriott (1908)]
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Origin of the paraphrase "The ends justify the means," which is generally attributed to Machiavelli.
Added on 6-Dec-17 | Last updated 6-Dec-17
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At fifty, everyone has the face he deserves.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
Notebook, last words (17 Apr 1949)
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See Camus.
Added on 7-Aug-17 | Last updated 18-Sep-17
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You must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act.

Ursula K. Le Guin (b. 1929) American writer
A Wizard of Earthsea, ch. 3 (1968)
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Democ’acy gives every man
The right to be his own oppressor.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
The Bigalow Papers, Second Series, “Ef I a song or two could make,” l. 97 (1867)
Added on 13-Mar-17 | Last updated 13-Mar-17
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Alexia was quite disgusted with her sister. To be stupid was one thing; to be stupid and evil yielded up untidy consequences.

Gail Carriger (b. 1976) American archaeologist, author [pen name of Tofa Borregaard]
Heartless (2011)
Added on 29-Sep-16 | Last updated 29-Sep-16
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Most men make use of the first part of their life to render the last part miserable.

Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
Les Caractères, “De l’Homme” (1688)
Added on 20-Jul-16 | Last updated 20-Jul-16
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Small are the seeds fate does unheeded sow
Of slight beginnings to important ends.

William Davenant (1606-1668) English poet and playwright [a.k.a. William D'Avenant]
Gondibert, Canto 2 (1650)
Added on 8-Jun-16 | Last updated 8-Jun-16
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Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Galatians 6:7 (KJV)
Added on 25-May-16 | Last updated 25-May-16
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The common interests
of states and individuals alike demand
that good and evil receive their just rewards.

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Hecuba, l. 900 [tr. Arrowsmith (1964)]
Added on 15-Dec-15 | Last updated 15-Dec-15
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BRUTUS: The abuse of greatness is, when it disjoins
Remorse from power.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Julius Caesar, Act 2, Sc. 1, l. 18 (1599)
Added on 18-Nov-15 | Last updated 18-Nov-15
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You never can tell when you do an act
Just what the result will be;
But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
Though the harvest you may not see.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) American author and poet.
“You Never Can Tell,” Custer And Other Poems (1896)
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Added on 21-Sep-15 | Last updated 21-Sep-15
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As the means, so the end.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (17 Jul 1924)

Compare to this.
Added on 14-Aug-15 | Last updated 14-Aug-15
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We haven’t got a plan, so nothing can go wrong!

Terence Alan "Spike" Milligan (1918-2002) Anglo-Irish comedian, writer, actor
(Attributed)

Variants:
  • "We don't have a plan, so nothing can go wrong!"
  • "We haven't any plan, so nothing can go wrong!"
Added on 16-Jul-15 | Last updated 16-Jul-15
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The result of a single action may spread like the circles that expand when a stone is thrown into a pond, until they touch places and people unguessed at by the person who threw the stone.

Robertson Davies (1913-1995) Canadian author, editor, publisher
“Literature and Moral Purpose” (1990)
Added on 18-May-15 | Last updated 18-May-15
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Consider and act with reference to the true ends of existence. This world is but the vestibule of an immortal life. Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.

Edwin Hubbell Chapin (1814-1880) American clergyman
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in Charles Northend, Memory Gems (1890).

Variant: "Every action of your life touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity." ["Advice to the Young," quoted in Charles W. Sanders, Sanders' Union Fourth Reader (1873)]
Added on 20-Apr-15 | Last updated 11-Sep-17
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People who live long, who will drink of the cup of live to the very bottom, must expect to meet with some of the usual dregs.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Letter to M. Le Veillard (15 Apr 1787)
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Added on 24-Dec-14 | Last updated 24-Dec-14
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If you leap into a Well, Providence is not bound to fetch you out.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #2975 (1732)
Added on 11-Dec-14 | Last updated 11-Dec-14
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A man is most accurately judged by how he treats those who are not in a position either to retaliate or to reciprocate.

Paul Eldridge (1888-1982) American educator, novelist, poet
Maxims for a Modern Man, #1198 (1965)

An earlier version of this quote was said by Eldridge in  "Lanterns in the Night," Maxim 41, in The Jewish Forum (Aug 1948): "A man’s character is most evident by how he treats those who are not in a position either to retaliate or reciprocate." See here for more information. See also Forbes.
Added on 10-Apr-12 | Last updated 31-Jul-16
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Alas, after a certain age, every man is responsible for his face.

[Après un certain âge tout homme est responsable do son visage.]

Albert Camus (1913-1960) Algerian-French novelist, essayist, playwright
The Fall [La Chute] (1956)

Alt. trans.: "After a certain age, every man has the face he deserves."

See Orwell.
Added on 22-Jul-08 | Last updated 18-Sep-17
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When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory — must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle — be Thou near them! With them — in spirit — we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it — for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.”

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“The War Prayer” (1904–1905)
Added on 14-Feb-08 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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In no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Letter from Birmingham Jail (16 Apr 1963)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Oct-15
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There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments — there are consequences.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Christian Religion” (1881)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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