Quotations about   defensiveness

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It is easy when you’ve been hurt by love to give it up as a bad job and make independence your new god, taking the love you had to give and turning it in upon yourself. And most of us have had to protect ourselves so much at times that we’ve given up the high road and taken the low. But independence carried to the furthest extreme is just loneliness and death, nothing more than another defense, and there is no growth in it, only a safe harbor for a while. The answer doesn’t lie in learning how to protect ourselves from life — it lies in learning how to become strong enough to let a bit more of it in.

Merle Shain (1935-1989) Canadian journalist and author
When Lovers Are Friends, ch. 1 (1978)
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Added on 11-Mar-22 | Last updated 11-Mar-22
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They defend their errors as if they were defending their inheritance.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797) Anglo-Irish statesman, orator, philosopher
Speech on Economical Reform, House of Commons (11 Feb 1780)
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Added on 15-Dec-21 | Last updated 15-Dec-21
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Failure isn’t about a lack of “natural intelligence,” whatever that is. Instead, failure is born from a messy combination of bad circumstances: high anxiety, low motivation, gaps in background knowledge. Most of all, we fail because, when the moment comes to confront our shortcomings and open ourselves up to teachers and peers, we panic and deploy our defenses instead.

Ben Orlin (b. c. 1988) American math teacher, author
“What It Feels Like to Be Bad at Math,” Slate (29 Apr 2013)
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Originally posted on his blog: What It Feels Like to Be Bad at Math – Math with Bad Drawings.
Added on 26-Apr-21 | Last updated 26-Apr-21
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Have I ever heard a skeptic wax superior and contemptuous? Certainly. I’ve even sometimes heard, to my retrospective dismay, that unpleasant tone in my own voice. There are human imperfections on both sides of this issue. Even when it’s applied sensitively, scientific skepticism may come across as arrogant, dogmatic, heartless and dismissive of the feelings and deeply held beliefs of others. And, it must be said, some scientists and dedicated skeptics apply this tool as a blunt instrument, with little finesse. Sometimes it looks as if the skeptical conclusion came first, that contentions were dismissed before, not after, the evidence was examined. All of us cherish our beliefs. They are, to a degree, self-defining. When someone comes along who challenges our belief system as insufficiently well based — or who, like Socrates, merely asks embarrassing questions that we haven’t thought of, or demonstrates that we’ve swept key underlying assumptions under the rug — it becomes much more than a search for knowledge. It feels like a personal assault.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996) American scientist and writer
The Demon-Haunted World, ch. 17 (1995)
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Added on 14-Dec-12 | Last updated 27-May-21
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