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FASHION, n. A deity whom the wise ridicule, yet the discreet obey.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
“Fashion,” The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
    (Source)

In The Devil's Dictionary (1911), it is defined as: "FASHION, n. A despot whom the wise ridicule and obey."

Originally published in the "Devil's Dictionary" column in the San Francisco Wasp (1884-06-28).
 
Added on 25-Jun-24 | Last updated 25-Jun-24
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More quotes by Bierce, Ambrose

Scorn for wealth among philosophers was at bottom a desire to avenge themselves against fate, by despising the very things of which she deprived them. It was a strategic way of avoiding the humiliations of poverty, a roundabout way of gaining an esteem they could not gain through wealth.

[Le mépris des richesses était dans les philosophes un désir cache de venger leur mérite de l’injustice de la fortune par le mépris des mêmes biens dont elle les privait; c’était un secret pour se garantir de l’avilissement de la pauvreté; c’était un chemin détourné pour aller à la considération qu’ils ne pouvaient avoir par les richesses.]

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammatist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims], ¶54 (1665-1678) [tr. Kronenberger (1959)]
    (Source)

This maxim appeared in the first edition, with various small modifications across subsequent editions.

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

The contempt of wealth, in the Philosophers, was a secret desire of vindicating their merit, against the injustice of Fortune, by an affected slighting of those goods, whereof she depriv'd them. It was an humorous secret, which they had found out, to indemnifie themselves from the disparagement accessory to Poverty. In fine, it was a winding path, or by-way to get into that esteem, which they could not obtain by Riches.
[tr. Davies (1669), ¶170]

When the Philosophers despised Riches, it was because they had a mind to vindicate their own Merit, and take a Revenge upon the injustice of Fortune, by vilifying those Enjoyments which She had not given them: This was a secret to ward off the Contempt that Poverty brings, a kind of winding By-path to get into the Esteem of the World, and when Riches had not made them considerable, to make themselves so some other way.
[tr. Stanhope (1694), ¶55]

The contempt of riches in the philosophers was a concealed desire of revenging on Fortune the injustice done to their merit, by despising the good she denied them. It was a secret to shelter them from the ignominy of poverty ; a bye-way to arrive at the esteem they could not procure by wealth.
[pub. Donaldson (1783), ¶341; ed. Lepoittevin-Lacroix (1797), ¶54]

Contempt of riches in the old philosophers was a concealed desire of revenge, by despising the good which Fortune had denied them. It was an artful shelter from the disgrace of poverty: a by-way to arrive at that esteem which they could not procure by wealth.
[ed. Carville (1835), ¶301]

The contempt of riches among the philosophers was a hidden desire to revenge their merit for the injustice of Fortune, by contempt of the very advantages of which she deprived them. It was a secret to secure themselves from the degradation of poverty: it was a by road to arrive at that consideration which they could not obtain by riches.
[ed. Gowens (1851), ¶55]

The contempt of riches in philosophers was only a hidden desire to avenge their merit upon the injustice of fortune, by despising the very goods of which fortune had deprived them; it was a secret to guard themselves against the degradation of poverty, it was a back way by which to arrive at that distinction which they could not gain by riches.
[tr. Bund/Friswell (1871)]

The Philosophers' scorn of wealth was but their secret ambition to exalt their merit above fortune by deriding those blessings which Fate denied them. It was a ruse to shield them from the sordidness of poverty, and a subterfuge to attain that distinction which they could not achieve by wealth.
[tr. Heard (1917)]

Contempt of wealth was, among the early philosophers, due to a secret desire to vindicate their worth agaiunst the malignity of fate, by affecting to despise those very gifts of which it deprived them. It was a means of insurance against the ignominy of poverty, a round-about way of acquiring the esteem they were unable to command by the possession of wealth.
[tr. Stevens (1939)]

Philosophers have expressed their contempt for material riches; they thus reveal their wish to vindicate their merit on their fate by displaying their contempt for those gifts which fate has withheld from them; it is a secret remedy to save them from those degradations which poverty entails; it is also an indirect method for obtaining that respect which they cannot gain through wealth.
[tr. FitzGibbon (1957)]

The scorn for riches displayed by the philosophers was a secrete desire to recompense their own merit for the injustice of Fortune by scorning those very benefits she had denied them; it it was a private way of remaining unsullied by poverty, a devious path towards the high respect they could not command by wealth.
[tr. Tancock (1959)]

The contempt which philosophers professed for wealth, was but a hidden desire of getting revenge for their merit upon the injustice of Fortune, by despising those goods of which she had deprived them: it was a secret by which to protect themselves against the degradation of poverty; it was an alternate path by which to gain that consideration which they had not been able to attain through riches.
[tr. Whichello (2016)]

 
Added on 15-Apr-24 | Last updated 15-Apr-24
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More quotes by La Rochefoucauld, Francois

BENEDICK: What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?

BEATRICE: Is it possible disdain should die while she hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Much Ado About Nothing, Act 1, sc. 1, l. 116ff (1.1.116-121) (1598)
    (Source)
 
Added on 1-Mar-24 | Last updated 29-Feb-24
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More quotes by Shakespeare, William

Talk sense to a fool
and he calls you foolish.

[δόξει τις ἀμαθεῖ σοφὰ λέγων οὐκ εὖ φρονεῖν.]

Euripides - Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish - wist.info quote

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 480 [Dionysus/Διόνυσος] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

Replying to Pentheus' charge that he's being foolishly evasive.

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

He must seem devoid
Of reason, who mysterious truths unfolds
To those who lack discretion.
tr. Wodhull (1809)]

One will seem to be foolish if he speaks wisely to an ignorant man.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Who wiseliest speaks, to the fool speaks foolishness.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

Boors think a wise man’s words devoid of sense.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 457]

He were a fool, methinks, who would utter wisdom to a fool.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

Wise answers seem but folly to a fool.
[tr. Way (1898)]

Wise words being brought
To blinded eyes will seem as things of nought.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

He who talks wisdom to an ignorant man will seem out of his senses.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

A wise speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

Talk truth to a deaf man and he
Begs your pardon.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

Wise speech seems thoughtless to the ignorant.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

What makes no sense is talking sense to a fool.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

To the ignorant, wisdom will seem folly.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

To the ignorant man, any speaker of wisdom will seem foolish.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

Speak wisdom to a fool and he'll think you have no sense at all.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

Wise things to the ignorant will sound like nonsense.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

Speak wisdom to a fool and he will think you foolish.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

Wise words spoken in the ear of a fool turn into nothingness.
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]

It is not wise for someone to say anything wise to the ignorant.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

Wise words will appear foolishness -- to an idiot.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

Yes, but, then,
a man can seem really ignorant
when speaking to a fool.
[tr. Johnston (2008)]

Sense is nonsense to a fool.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

Wisdom always sounds silly to the unwise.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

Only a fool takes a warning for an insult.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

One will seem to be foolish if he speaks wise things [sopha] to a senseless man.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 14-Mar-23 | Last updated 11-Jul-23
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To ridicule philosophy, that is really to act the philosopher.

[Se moquer de la philosophie c’est vraiment philosophe.]

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) French scientist and philosopher
Thoughts [Pensées], Article 7, #35 (1670)

Pascal's works are sorted and classified by translators in a variety of ways, so numbering is inconsistent. Alternate translations:
  • "To have no time for philosophy is to be a true philosopher." [tr. Krailsheimer (2003); Series 22, #513]
  • "To make light of philosophy is to be a true philosopher." [tr. Paul (1885), "Various Thoughts"; also Trotter (1958), Sec. 1, #4]
  • "To ridicule philosophy is really to philosophize." [#430]
  • "To ridicule philosophy is truly philosophical."
  • "To mock philosophy is to philosophize truly"
  • "To mock philosophy is to be a true philosopher."
 
Added on 22-Mar-21 | Last updated 22-Mar-21
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The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) German religious reformer
Table Talk
    (Source)

Variations:
  • "The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not go for texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn."
  • The best way to expel the devil, if he will not depart for texts from Holy Scripture, is to jeer and flout him. [Source]
 
Added on 14-Feb-17 | Last updated 14-Feb-17
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I suppose he’s entitled to his opinion, but I don’t suppose it very hard.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
“Seven Steps to Grand Master,” Nebula Awards 22 (1988) [ed. G. Zebrowski]
 
Added on 7-Jun-16 | Last updated 7-Jun-16
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TRELANE: I don’t know if I like your tone. It’s most challenging. That’s what you’re doing, challenging me?

SPOCK: I object to you. I object to intellect without reason. I object to power without constructive purpose.

TRELANE: Why, Mr. Spock, you do have a saving grace, after all — you’re ill-mannered!

Paul Schneider (1923-2008) American screenwriter
Star Trek, 1×17 “The Squire of Gothos” (1967)
 
Added on 4-Sep-15 | Last updated 4-Sep-15
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MAL: Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle.

Joss Whedon (b. 1964) American screenwriter, author, producer [Joseph Hill Whedon]
Firefly, 1×06 “Our Mrs. Reynolds” (2 Oct 2002)
 
Added on 1-Apr-15 | Last updated 1-Apr-15
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It was a cold, disapproving gaze, such as a fastidious luncher who was not fond of caterpillars might have directed at one which he had discovered in his portion of salad …

P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) Anglo-American humorist, playwright and lyricist [Pelham Grenville Wodehouse]
The Adventures of Sally (1922)
 
Added on 15-Jun-09 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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