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I’d be more willing to accept religion, even though I don’t believe in it, if I thought it made people nicer to each other, but I don’t think it does.

Andy Rooney
Andy Rooney (1919-2011) American journalist, commentator, author
Sincerely, Andy Rooney, Part 15 “Faith in Reason” (1999)

From a 1989 letter he wrote to his children about religion.
Added on 26-Jul-22 | Last updated 26-Jul-22
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The superior man in everything considers righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules of propriety. He brings it forth in humility. He completes it with sincerity. This is indeed a superior man.


Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 15, verse 18 (15.18) (6th C. BC – 3rd C. AD) [tr. Legge (1861), 15.17]

(Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations, noting where Legge's numbering is used:

When the "superior man" regards righteousness as the thing material, gives operation to it according to the rules of propriety, lets it issue in humility, and become complete in sincerity, -- there indeed is your superior man!
[tr. Jennings (1895), 15.17]

A wise and good man makes Right the substance of his being; he cries it out with judgment and good sense; he speaks it with modesty; and he attains it with sincerity: -- such a man is a really good and wise man!
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898), 15.17]

The noble man takes the Right as his foundation principle, reduces it to practice with all courtesy, carries it out with modesty, and renders it perfect with sincerity, -- such is the noble man.
[tr. Soothill (1910), 15.17]

When a princely man makes the Right his fundamental principle, makes Courtesy his rule in evolving it, Modesty his rule for exhibiting it, and Sincerity his rule for effectuating it perfectly, -- what a princely man he is!
[tr. Soothill (1910), 15.17, alternate]

The proper man gives substance to his acts by equity. He proceeds according to the rites, puts them forth modestly, and makes them perfect by sticking to his word. That's the proper man (in whom's the voice of his forebears).
[tr. Pound (1933), 15.17]

The gentleman who takes the right as his material to work upon and ritual as the guide in putting what is right into practice, who is modest in setting out his projects and faithful in carrying them to their conclusions, he indeed is a true gentleman.
[tr. Waley (1938), 15.17]

He whose very substance is justice; whose actions are governed by the rites; whose participation in affairs is compliant; and whose crowning perfection is truthfulness -- that man is a perfect gentleman.
[tr. Ware (1950)]

The gentleman has morality as his basic stuff and by observing the rites puts it into practice, by being modest gives it expression, and by being trustworthy in word brings it to completion. Such is a gentleman indeed!
[tr. Lau (1979)]

Righteousness the gentleman regards as the essential stuff and the rites are his means of putting it into effect. If modesty is the quality with which he reveals it and good faith is his method of bringing it to completion, he is indeed a gentleman.
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

A gentleman takes justice as his basis, enacts it in conformity with the ritual, expounds it with modesty, and through good faith, brings it to fruition. That is how a gentleman proceeds.
[tr. Leys (1997)]

A gentleman considers righteousness his major principle; he practices it in accordance with the rituals, utters it in modest terms, and fulfils it with truthfulness. A gentleman indeed!
[tr. Huang (1997)]

A gentleman takes the righteousness as his essence, practices with the rituals, words with modesty, and gets achievement with honesty. It is the gentleman.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), v. 402]

Having a sense of appropriate conduct [yi] as one's basic disposition [zhi], developing it in observing ritual propriety [li], expressing it with modesty, and consummating it in making good on one's word [xin]; this then is an exemplary person [junzi].
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]

If a gentleman has right as his substance, and puts it in practice with propriety, promulgates it with lineality, and brings it to a conclusion with fidelity, he is a gentleman indeed!
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998), LY17 c0270 addition]

The noble-minded make Duty their very nature. They put it into practice through Ritual; they make it shine through humility; and standing by their words, they perfect it. Then they are noble-minded indeed!
[tr. Hinton (1998)]

The gentleman takes rightness as his substance, puts it into practice by means of ritual, gives it expression through modesty, and perfects it by being trustworthy. Now that is a gentleman!
[tr. Slingerland (2003)]

The gentleman makes rightness the substance, practices it through ritual, displays it with humility, brings it to completion with trustworthiness. That’s the gentleman.
[tr. Watson (2007)]

The gentleman makes rightness the substance. He works at it through ritual propriety; he expresses it with modesty; he brings it to completion by being trustworthy. Now that is a gentleman!
[tr. Annping Chin (2014)]

A Jun Zi regards righteousness and honor as fundamental bases, acts in line with Li, shows humility, delivers promises, and completes contracts with sincerity and trust. If so, he is indeed a Jun Zi.
[tr. Li (2020)]

A leader takes rightness as their essence, puts it into practice through ritual, manifests it through humility, and brings it to fruition through trustworthiness. This is how a leader behaves.
[tr. Brown (2021)]

Added on 19-Jul-22 | Last updated 8-May-23
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Ordinary men are intent merely on how to spend their time; a man with any talent is interested in how to use his time.

[Die gewöhnlichen Leute sind bloß darauf bedacht, die Zeit zuzubringen; wer irgend ein Talent hat, — sie zu benutzen.]

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. 1, “Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life [Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit],” ch. 2 “Of What One Is” [Von dem, was einer ist]” (1851) [tr. Payne (1974)]

(Source (German)). Alternate translation:

Ordinary people think merely how they shall spend their time; a man of any talent tries to use it.
[tr. Saunders (1890)]

Added on 27-Sep-21 | Last updated 8-Mar-23
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For the man who rules efficiently must have obeyed others in the past, and the man who obeys dutifully appears fit at some later time to be a ruler.

[Nam et qui bene imperat, paruerit aliquando necesse est, et qui modeste paret, videtur qui aliquando imperet dignus esse.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Legibus [On the Laws], Book 3, ch. 2 / sec. 5 (3.2/3.5) [Marcus] (c. 51 BC) [tr. Keyes (1928)]

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For in order to command well, we should know how to submit; and he who submits with a good grace will some time become worthy of commanding.
[tr. Barham (1842)]

For he who commands well, must at some time or other have obeyed; and he who obeys with modesty appears worthy of some day or other being allowed to command.
[tr. Barham/Yonge (1878)]

A man who exercises power effectively will at some stage have to obey others, and one who quietly executes orders shows that he deserves, eventually, to wield power himself.
[tr. Rudd (1998)]

For the good commander must necessarily at some time be obedient, and the person who is properly obedient seems like someone worthy at some time of commanding.
[tr. Zetzel (1999)]

For it is necessary that he who commands well should obey at some time, and he who temperately obeys seems to be worthy of commanding at some time.
[tr. Fott (2013)]

Added on 19-Oct-20 | Last updated 22-Apr-23
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Native ability without education is like a tree which bears no fruit.

Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435 – c. 356 BC) Cyrenaic philosopher, Hedonist

Quoted in Edward Parsons Day, Day’s Collacon: An Encyclopaedia of Prose Quotations (1884). Not found in original source material.
Added on 17-Jul-17 | Last updated 17-Jul-17
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It doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.

Deng - cat is black or white - wist_info quote

Deng Xiaoping (1904-1997) Chinese revolutionary, politician, statesman [Teng Hsiao-p'ing]
Speech, Communist Youth League conference (Jul 1962)

There are a variety of translations, and Deng used the phrase on numerous occasions.
Added on 5-Aug-16 | Last updated 5-Aug-16
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Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.

Wyatt Earp (1848-1929) American law officer, gambler, saloon keeper
Added on 12-Mar-14 | Last updated 12-Mar-14
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Added on 3-Dec-12 | Last updated 17-Jun-22
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Here is the secret: A man is a very small thing whilst he works by and for himself but an immense and omnipotent worker as soon as he puts himself right with the law of nature. … It is as when you come to a conflagration with your fire engine — no matter how good the machine, you will make but a feeble spray, whilst you draw from your own tub. But once you get your hose … dipped in the river, or in the harbor, and you can ump as long as the sea holds out.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (1855)

"Notebook WO Liberty"
Added on 18-Jun-12 | Last updated 27-Mar-23
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I believe four ingredients are necessary for happiness: health, warm personal relations, sufficient means to keep you from want, and successful work.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
“Redbook Dialogue,” interview by Tommy Robbins, Redbook (1964-09)

Reprinted in Russell Society News, #37 (1983-02), p. 25.
Added on 14-Jul-11 | Last updated 19-Jul-23
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Ours is a practical people, to whom ideals furnish the theory of political action, upon which they want not only firm assurance, but also effective practice. They want programmes, but they want action to flow from them. They want constructive common sense. They want the development of the common will, not the views of a single individual. They are beginning to realize that words without action are the assassins of idealism.

Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) American engineer, bureaucrat, President of the US (1928-32)
In the New York Tribune (29 Apr 1920)

On the 1920 Presidential campaign.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-Jun-16
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