Quotations about   denial

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The belief that all higher life is governed by the idea of renunciation poisons our moral life by engendering vanity and egotism. But if we take gratification as our ideal we thereby impose on ourselves a program of self-restraint; for if we claim that we are under the necessity of learning all that we can about reality, and that we learn most through pleasure, we must also admit that we are under the necessity of hearing what our fellow-creatures learn about it and of working out a system by which we will curb our pleasures so that they do not interfere with those of others. If, however, we claim that it is by renunciation that we achieve wisdom, we have no logical reason for feeling any disapproval of conditions that thrust pain and deprivation on others.

Rebecca West (1892-1983) British author, journalist, literary critic, travel writer [pseud. for Cicily Isabel Fairfield]
“Pleasure Be Your Guide,” The Nation, “Living Philosophies” series #10 (25 Feb 1939)
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Adapted into Clifton Fadiman, I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Certain Eminent Men and Women of Our Time (1952).
Added on 5-Apr-21 | Last updated 5-Apr-21
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See no evil, hear no evil, makes you seem really evil.

Stephen Colbert (b. 1964) American political satirist, writer, comedian
Late Show (9 Feb 2021)
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Added on 3-Mar-21 | Last updated 3-Mar-21
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The way to avoid evil is not by maiming our passions, but by compelling them to yield their vigor to our moral nature. Thus they become, as in the ancient fable, the harnessed steeds which bear the chariot of the sun.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Life Thoughts (1858)
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Added on 10-Jul-17 | Last updated 10-Jul-17
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When it comes to a question of our forgiving other people, it is partly the same and partly different. It is the same because, here also, forgiving does not mean excusing. Many people seem to think it does. They think that if you ask them to forgive someone who has cheated or bullied them you are trying to make out that there was really no cheating or no bullying. But if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive. They keep on replying, “But I tell you the man broke a most solemn promise.” Exactly: that is precisely what you have to forgive. (This doesn’t mean that you must necessarily believe his next promise. It does mean that you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart — every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out.) The difference between this situation and the one in which you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“On Forgiveness”
Added on 18-Oct-16 | Last updated 18-Oct-16
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How many things have been denied one day, only to become realities the next!

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
From the Earth to the Moon (1865)
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Added on 12-Aug-16 | Last updated 12-Aug-16
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KING ARTHUR: Look, you stupid bastard, you’ve got no arms left!
BLACK KNIGHT: Yes I have.
KING ARTHUR: Look!
BLACK KNIGHT: It’s just a flesh wound.

Monty Python (contemp.) British comedy troupe
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added on 11-Jun-16 | Last updated 11-Jun-16
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All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major (1916)
Added on 11-Jun-16 | Last updated 11-Jun-16
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Every life is its own excuse for being, and to deny or refute the untrue things that are said of you is an error in judgment. All wrong recoils upon the doer, and the man who makes wrong statements about others is himself to be pitied, not the man he vilifies. It is better to be lied about than to lie. At the last no one can harm us but ourselves.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American writer, businessman, philosopher
The Roycroft Dictionary and Book of Epigrams (1923)
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Added on 25-Apr-16 | Last updated 14-Sep-20
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That’s not a nuts thing, that’s a “humans hate to admit error even as they stand there, black and smoldering, with the stub of a cigarette in one hand, in the middle of a wide crater containing them and the remains of a sign that once read ‘DANGER: VOLATILE EXPLOSIVES'” thing. It’s pretty universal.

James Nicoll (b. 1961) Canadian reviewer, editor
“Proposal for a new FAQ or two,” rec.arts.sf.written, Usenet (10 Jun 2005)
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Added on 29-Feb-16 | Last updated 29-Feb-16
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A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.

Saul Bellow (1915-2005) Canadian-American writer
To Jerusalem and Back (1976)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
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