Quotations about   ego

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



There were four things the Master abstained from entirely: he did not speculate, he did not claim or demand certainty, he was not inflexible, and he was not self-absorbed.

[子絕四、毋意、毋必、毋固、毋我]

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 9, verse 4 (9.4) (6th C. BC – 3rd C. AD) [tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]
    (Source)

Different versions of the Analects take these four items in slightly differing order, reflected in the translations below. (Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations:

There were four things from which the Master was entirely free. He had no foregone conclusions, no arbitrary predeterminations, no obstinacy, and no egoism.
[tr. Legge (1861)]

The Master barred four (words); - he would have no "shall"s, no "must"s, no "certainly"s, no "I"s.
[tr. Jennings (1895)]

There were four things from which Confucius was entirely free : He was free from self-interest, from prepossessions, from bigotry and from egoism.
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898)]

The Master was entirely free from four things: he had no preconceptions, no pre-determinations, no obduracy, and no egoism.
[tr. Soothill (1910)]

He was cut off from four things; he had no prejudices, no categoric imperatives, no obstinacy or no obstinate residues, no time-lags, no egotism.
[tr. Pound (1933); yes, that looks to be five things]

There are four things that the Master wholly eschewed: he took nothing for granted, he was never over-positive, never obstinate, never egotistic.
[tr. Waley (1938)]

He denounced (or tried to avoid completely) four things: arbitrariness of opinions, dogmatism, narrow-mindedness and egotism.
[tr. Lin Yutang (1938)]

There were four things the Master refused to have anything to do with: he refused to entertain conjectures or insist on certainty; he refused to be inflexible or to be egotistical.
[tr. Lau (1979)]

The Master cut out four things. He never took anything for granted, he never insisted on certainty, he was never inflexible and never egotistical.
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

The Master absolutely eschewed four things: capriciousness, dogmatism, willfulness, self-importance.
[tr. Leys (1997)]

Confucius prohibited the four points: no wantonness, no dictatorship, no stubbornness, and no arrogance.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998)]

The Master avoided four things: no wish, no will, no set, no self.
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998); they further interpret, "no fixed opinions, no foregone conclusions, no stubbornness, no self-absorption"]

The Master had freed himself of four things: idle speculation, certainty, inflexibility, and conceit.
[tr. Hinton (1998)]

The Master observed four prohibitions: no willfulness, no obstinacy, no narrow-mindedness, no egotism.
[tr. Watson (2007)]

The Master stayed away from four things: he did not put forth theories or conjectures; he did not think he must be right; he was not obdurate; he was not self-centered.
[tr. Annping Chin (2014)]

Confucius has four ultimate mindsets for perfect: no prejudice, no absolute must, no fixation, no self.
[tr. Li (2020)]

Added on 27-Jun-22 | Last updated 27-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Confucius

If only men could be depended upon to base their decisions on reason. Alas, there are only three or four of us in the world, and even we will bear watching.

Rex Stout (1886-1975) American writer
The League of Frightened Men, ch. 18 [Wolfe] (1935)
    (Source)
Added on 15-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Stout, Rex

Little men would be discouraged if they could see themselves in their true light. So conceit was sent into the world — God’s great gift to little men.

Bruce Barton
Bruce Barton (1886-1967) American author, advertising executive, politician
“The Gift to Little Men” (1926)
    (Source)

Often paraphrased, "Conceit is God's gift to little men."
Added on 5-Apr-22 | Last updated 5-Apr-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Barton, Bruce

To suppose that God Almighty has confined his goodness to this world, to the exclusion of all others, is much similar to the idle fancies of some individuals in this world, that they, and those of their communion or faith, are the favorites of heaven exclusively; but these are narrow and bigoted conceptions, which are degrading to a rational nature, and utterly unworthy of God, of whom we should form the most exalted ideas.

Ethan Allen
Ethan Allen (1738-1789) American businessman, land speculator, revolutionary, writer
Reason, the Only Oracle of Man, ch. 2 sec. 7 (1782)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Feb-22 | Last updated 21-Feb-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Allen, Ethan

You’re rich and young, as all confess,
And none denies your loveliness;
But when we hear your boastful tongue
You’re neither pretty, rich, nor young.

[Bella es, novimus, et puella, verum est,
Et dives, quis enim potest negare?
Sed cum te nimium, Fabulla, laudas,
Nec dives neque bella nec puella es.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 64 (1.64) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921), “The Boaster”]
    (Source)

"To Fabulla." (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

You're fayre, I know't; and modest too, 't is true;
And rich you are; well, who denyes it you?
But whilst your owne prayse you too much proclame,
Of modest, rich, and fayre you loose the same.
[17th C Manuscript]

Faire, rich, and yong? how rare is her perfection,
Were it not mingled with one soule infection?
I meane, so proud a heart, so curst a tongue,
As makes her seeme, nor faire, nor rich, nor yong.
[tr. Harington (fl. c. 1600), ep. 291; Book 4, ep. 37 "Of a faire Shrew"]

Genteel 't is true, O nymph, you are;
You're rich and beauteous to a hair.
But while too much you praise yourself,
You've neither air, nor charms, nor pelf.
[tr. Gent. Mag. (1746)]

Pretty thou art, we know; a pretty maid!
A rich one, too, it cannot be gainsay'd.
But when thy puffs we hear, thy pride we see;
Thou neither rich, nor fair, nor maid canst be.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 6, Part 3, ep. 48; Bohn labels this as Anon.]

You are pretty, -- we know it; and young, --it is true; and rich, -- who can deny it? But when you praise yourself extravagantly, Fabulla, you appear neither rich, nor pretty, nor young.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

Fabulla, it's true you're a fair ingénue,
And your wealth is on every one's tongue:
But your loud self-conceit
Makes people you meet
Think you neither fair, wealthy, nor young.
[tr. Nixon (1911), "The Egoist"]

You are beautiful, we know, and young, that is true, and rich -- for who can deny it? But while you praise yourself overmuch, Fabulla, you are neither rich, nor beautiful, nor young.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

You're beautiful, oh yes, and young, and rich;
But since you tell us so, you're just a bitch.
[tr. Humphries (<1987)]

You're rich, and young, and beautiful!
It's true, and who can doubt it?
But less and less we feel that pull
The more you talk about it.
[tr. Ericsson (1995)]

Of debutantes you are beyond compare --
So wealthy, beautiful, and debonair.
Yet you make all this matter not a whit:
Your beauty to undo -- you boast of it.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

You’re lovely, yes, and young, it’s true,
and rich -- who can deny your wealth?
But you aren’t lovely, young or rich,
Fabulla, when you praise yourself.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

Added on 18-Feb-22 | Last updated 18-Feb-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Martial

Our profession is dreadful, writing corrupts the soul. Every author is surrounded by an aura of adulation which he nurses so assiduously that he cannot begin to judge his own worth or see when it starts to decline.

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) Russian novelist and moral philosopher
Letter to Nikolay Strakhov (1876)
    (Source)

Quoted in Henri Troyat, Tolstoy (1967).
Added on 26-Jan-22 | Last updated 26-Jan-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Tolstoy, Leo

Every author, however modest, keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast.

Smith - Every author however modest keeps a most outrageous vanity chained like a madman in the padded cell of his breast - wist.info quote

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946) American-English essayist, editor, anthologist
Afterthoughts (1931)
    (Source)
Added on 19-Jan-22 | Last updated 19-Jan-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Smith, Logan Pearsall

An author, like any other so-called artist, is a man in whom the normal vanity of all men is so vastly exaggerated that he finds it a sheer impossibility to hold it in. His overpowering impulse is to gyrate before his fellow men, flapping his wings and emitting defiant yells. This being forbidden by the police of all civilized countries, he takes it out by putting his yells on paper. Such is the thing called self-expression.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
“The Fringes of Lovely Letters,” Prejudices: Fifth Series (1926)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Jan-22 | Last updated 12-Jan-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Mencken, H.L.

His mistaken belief in his own superiority cut him off from reality as completely as if he were living in a colored glass jar.

Margery Allingham
Margery Allingham (1904-1966) English writer
Traitor’s Purse (1941)
    (Source)
Added on 4-Jan-22 | Last updated 4-Jan-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Allingham, Margery

Precisely in trifles, wherein a man is off his guard, does he show his character, and then we are often able at our leisure to observe in small actions or mere mannerisms the boundless egoism which has not the slightest regard for others and in matters of importance does not afterwards deny itself, although it is disguised. We should never miss such an opportunity. If in the petty affairs and circumstances of everyday life, in the things to which the de minimis lex non curat applies, a man acts inconsiderately, seeking merely his own advantage or convenience to the disadvantage of others; if he appropriates that which exists for everybody; then we may be sure that there is no justice in his heart, but that he would be a scoundrel even on a large scale if his hands were not tied by law and authority; we should not trust him across our threshold. Indeed, whoever boldly breaks the laws of his own circle will also break those of the State whenever he can do so without risk.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena, vol. 1, “Aphorisms on the Wisdom of Life,” part 2 “Counsels and Maxims,” ch. C “Our Attitude toward Others,” sec. 29 (1851) [tr. Payne (1974)]
    (Source)

The Latin means, "The law is not concerned with trifles." Alternate translations:

A man shows his character just in the way in which he deals with trifles, -- for then he is off his guard. This will often afford a good opportunity of observing the boundless egoism of man's nature, and his total lack of consideration for others; and if these defects show themselves in small things, or merely in his general demeanor, you will find that they also underlie his action in matters of importance, although he may disguise the fact. This is an opportunity which should not be missed. If in the little affairs of every day, -- the trifles of life, those matters to which the rule de minimis non applies, -- a man is inconsiderate and seeks only what is advantageous or convenient to himself, to the prejudice of others' rights; if he appropriates to himself that which belongs to all alike, you may be sure there is no justice in his heart, and that he would be a scoundrel on a wholesale scale, only that law and compulsion bind his hands. Do not trust him beyond your door. He who is not afraid to break the laws of his own private circle, will break those of the State when he can do so with impunity.
[tr. Saunders (1890), published separately as Schopenhauer, Counsels and Maxims, ch. 3 "Our Relation to Others," sec. 29]

Men best show their character in trifles, where they are not on their guard. It is in insignificant matters, and in the simplest habits, that we often see the boundless egotism which pays no regard to the feeling of others, and denies nothing to itself.
[In Tryon Edwards, A Dictionary of Thoughts, "Character" (1891); this is the version quoted most often.]

Added on 17-Dec-21 | Last updated 25-Apr-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Schopenhauer, Arthur

The mistakes I made from weakness do not embarrass me nearly so much as those I made insisting on my strength.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #27 (Spring 1999)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Dec-21 | Last updated 7-Dec-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Richardson, James

So many times I’ve made myself stupid with the fear of being outsmarted.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #17 (Spring 1999)
    (Source)
Added on 23-Nov-21 | Last updated 23-Nov-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Richardson, James

The problem is, many of the people in need of saving are in churches, and at least part of what they need saving from is the idea that God sees the world the same way they do.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
An Altar in the World, ch. 2 (2009)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Sep-21 | Last updated 10-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Taylor, Barbara Brown

The very women who object to the morals of a notoriously beautiful actress, grow big with pride when an admirer suggests their marked resemblance to this stage beauty in physique.

No picture available
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Naked Truth and Veiled Allusions (1901)
Added on 10-Sep-21 | Last updated 10-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Antrim, Minna

When a man boasted in his presence that he was a native of an illustrious city, he said, “That is not what one ought to look at, but whether one is worthy of a great city.”

[πρὸς τὸν καυχώμενον ὡς ἀπὸ μεγάλης πόλεως εἴη, “οὐ τοῦτο,” ἔφη, “δεῖ σκοπεῖν, ἀλλ᾽ ὅστις μεγάλης πατρίδος ἄξιός ἐστιν.”]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Attributed in Diogenes Laërtius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [Vitae Philosophorum], Book 5, sec. 11 [tr. Yonge (1853)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

To one who boasted that he belonged to a great city his reply was, "That is not the point to consider, but who it is that is worthy of a great country."
[tr. Hicks (1925), sec. 19]

To a man boasting that he was from a great city, he said “Don’t look at this, but instead who is worthy of a great country.”
[tr. @sentantiq (2016)]

To someone who boasted that he came from a great city, he said, "That is not what one should consider, but who it is that is worthy of a great country."
[tr. Mensch (2018)]

Added on 7-Sep-21 | Last updated 7-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

Man forgives woman anything save the wit to outwit him.

No picture available
Minna Antrim (1861-1950) American epigrammatist, writer
Naked Truth and Veiled Allusions (1901)
Added on 3-Sep-21 | Last updated 3-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Antrim, Minna

Just as most soldiers believe bullets will hit only others, not themselves, most citizens like to think that their own minds and thought processes are invulnerable. “Other people can be manipulated, but not me,” they declare. People like to think that their opinions, values and ideas are inviolate and totally self-regulated. They may admit grudgingly that they are influenced slightly by advertising. Beyond that, they want to preserve a myth in which other persons are weak-minded and easily influenced, but they are strong-minded.

Margaret Singer (1921-2003) American clinical psychologist and researcher
“The ‘Not Me’ Myth: Orwell and the Mind,” Idea (19 Jan 1996)
    (Source)
Added on 25-Jun-21 | Last updated 25-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Singer, Margaret

I’m afraid to win, and afraid to lose; I hate a draw and can’t stop competing; otherwise I’m fine.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 4 (1963)
    (Source)
Added on 24-Jun-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by McLaughlin, Mignon

What egotism, what stupid vanity, to suppose that a thing could not happen because you could not conceive it!

Philip Wylie (1902-1971) American author
When Worlds Collide (1933) [with Edwin Balmer]
    (Source)
Added on 21-Jun-21 | Last updated 21-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Wylie, Philip Gordon

Under normal circumstances, the name a human being bears is no more than the band is to a cigar: a means of identification, a superficial, almost unimportant thing that is only loosely related to the real subject, the true ego. In the event of a success the name begins to swell, so to say. It loosens itself from the human being that bears it and becomes a power in itself, a force, an independent thing, an article of commerce, a capital asset; and psychologically again with strong reaction it becomes a force which tends to influence, to dominate, to transform the person who bears it.

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist, biographer
The World of Yesterday [Die Welt von Gestern], ch. 13 (1942)
    (Source)
Added on 17-Jun-21 | Last updated 22-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Zweig, Stefan

Luck is probability taken personally.

Penn Jillette (b. 1955) American stage magician, actor, musician, author
(Attributed)

While Jillette says this often, he attributes it to statistician and fellow skeptic, Daniel "Chip" Denman.
Added on 3-Jun-21 | Last updated 3-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jillette, Penn

Our strength is often composed of the weakness that we’re damned if we’re going to show.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotics Handbook, ch. 10 (1966)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Jun-21 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by McLaughlin, Mignon

BORES: People who talk of themselves, when you are thinking only of yourself.

Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington (1789-1849) Irish novelist [Lady Blessington, b. Margaret Power]
Desultory Thoughts and Reflections (1839)
    (Source)
Added on 26-May-21 | Last updated 26-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Blessington, Marguerite

I think I am actually humble. I think I’m much more humble than you would understand.

Donald J. Trump (b. 1946) American businessman, media personality, US President (2017-21)
Interview by Leslie Stahl, 60 Minutes (18 Jul 2016)
    (Source)
Added on 20-May-21 | Last updated 20-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Trump, Donald

People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
Of Human Bondage, ch. 50 (1915)
    (Source)
Added on 11-May-21 | Last updated 11-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Maugham, W. Somerset

It is better to be praised by another than by oneself.

[βέλτερον ὑφ’ ἑτέρου ἢ ὑφ’ ἑαυτοῦ ἐπαινέεσθαι.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 114 (Diels) [tr. Freeman (1948)]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Diels citation "114. (117 N.) DEMOKRATES. 82." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter. The same translation is made by @sentantiq (2016).

Alternate translation: "It is better to be praised by others than by oneself." [tr. Barnes (1987)]
Added on 4-May-21 | Last updated 4-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Democritus

The human race exaggerates everything: its heroes, its enemies, its importance.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
The Captain is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship (1998)
Added on 25-Feb-21 | Last updated 25-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bukowski, Charles

A nationalist is one who thinks solely, or mainly, in terms of competitive prestige. He may be a positive or a negative nationalist — that is, he may use his mental energy either in boosting or in denigrating — but at any rate his thoughts always turn on victories, defeats, triumphs and humiliations. He sees history, especially contemporary history, as the endless rise and decline of great power units, and every event that happens seems to him a demonstration that his own side is on the upgrade and some hated rival is on the downgrade.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Notes on Nationalism” (May 1945)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Feb-21 | Last updated 16-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.

Carl Sagan (1934-1996) American scientist and writer
The Demon-Haunted World, ch. 13 (1995)
    (Source)
Added on 29-Sep-20 | Last updated 29-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sagan, Carl

Man is rated the highest animal, at least among all animals who returned the questionnaire.

Robert Brault (b. c. 1945) American aphorist, programmer
(Attributed)
Added on 15-Sep-20 | Last updated 15-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Brault, Robert

A man is what he does with his attention.

John Ciardi (1916-1986) American poet, writer, critic
(Attributed)

A personal maxim, it is mentioned in multiple contexts.
Added on 29-Jul-20 | Last updated 29-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Ciardi, John

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Invisible Monsters, ch. 1 (1999)
    (Source)
Added on 28-Jul-20 | Last updated 30-Dec-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Palahniuk, Chuck

Many complain of their looks, but none of their brains.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Italian proverb

Also noted as a Jewish or Yiddish proverb.

This is also often cited to Sally Koslow, Little Pink Slips, ch. 5 (2007); it appears there as ""Many complain of their looks, few of their brains," but is described as an unoriginal needlepoint on a pillow cover.

See also La Rochefoucauld for a similar construction.
Added on 24-Jul-20 | Last updated 24-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by ~Other

Men of all races have always sought for a convincing explanation of their own astonishing excellence and they have frequently found what they were looking for.

Aubrey Menen (1912-1989) English writer
Dead Man in the Silver Market, ch. 1, opening lines (1954)
    (Source)
Added on 22-Jul-20 | Last updated 22-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Menen, Aubrey

Knowledge fills a large brain; it merely inflates a small one.

Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) Anglo-American columnist, journalist, author
“Strictly Personal” column (7 Jan 1982)
Added on 26-Jun-20 | Last updated 26-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Harris, Sydney J.

Indeed, just as frightened horses raise their necks up high, in the same way all those devotees of empty glory raise themselves above everything else, above cities, laws, ancestral custom, and the affairs of individual citizens. As they move from demagoguery to dictatorship, they subdue some of their neighbors as they try to make themselves superior and upright — and then they plan to enslave however so many minds remain naturally free and unenslaved.

[τῷ γὰρ ὄντι καθάπερ οἱ γαῦροι τῶν ἵππων τὸν αὐχένα μετέωρον ἐξάραντες, ὅσοι θιασῶται τῆς κενῆς δόξης εἰσίν, ἐπάνω πάντων ἑαυτοὺς ἱδρύουσι, πόλεων, νόμων, ἐθῶν πατρίων, τῶν παρ᾿ ἑκάστοις πραγμάτων· εἶτα ἀπὸ δημαγωγίας ἐπὶ δημαρχίαν βαδίζοντες καὶ τὰ μὲν τῶν πλησίον καταβάλλοντες, τὰ δὲ οἰκεῖα διανιστάντες καὶ παγίως ὀρθοῦντες, ὅσα ἐλεύθερα καὶ ἀδούλωτα φύσει φρονήματα]

Philo of Alexandria (AD c. 20-50) Hellenistic Jewish philosopher [Philo Judaeus]
On Dreams, That They Are God-Sent [Quod a Deo Mittantur Somnia or De Somniis], Book 2, ch. 12 [2.78-79] [tr. @sentantiq]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "In real truth, as spirited horses lift their necks high, so all who are companions of vain opinion place themselves above all things, above all cities, and laws, and national customs, and above all the circumstances which affect each individual of them. Then proceeding onwards from being demagogues to being leaders of the people, and overthrowing the things which belong to their neighbours, and setting up and establishing on a solid footing what belongs to themselves, that is to say, all such dispositions as are free and by nature impatient of slavery, they attempt to reduce these also under their power." [Yonge (1855)]
Added on 8-Jun-20 | Last updated 8-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Philo of Alexandria

The less you speak of your greatness, the more I will think of it.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Remark to Sir Edward Coke
    (Source)

Quoted in Joseph Sortain, The Life of Francis, Lord Bacon (1851).
Added on 8-Jun-20 | Last updated 8-Jun-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Bacon, Francis

In youth, it was a way I had
To do my best to please,
And change, with every passing lad,
To suit his theories.

But now I know the things I know,
And do the things I do;
And if you do not like me so,
To hell, my love, with you!

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) American writer
“Indian Summer,” Enough Rope (1926)
    (Source)
Added on 4-May-20 | Last updated 4-May-20
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Parker, Dorothy

That seems to point up a significant difference between Europeans and Americans:

A European says: I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with me?
An American says: I can’t understand this, what’s wrong with him?

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Post, alt.fan.pratchett (8 May 1994)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Apr-20 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

One of the sure signs of maturity is the ability to rise to the point of self criticism.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“The Rising Tide of Racial Consciousness,” Speech, National Urban League, New York (6 Sep 1960)
    (Source)
Added on 27-Mar-20 | Last updated 27-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by King, Martin Luther

It isn’t easy for an author to remain a pleasant human being: both success and failure are usually of a crippling kind.

Graham Greene (1904-1991) English novelist [Henry Graham Greene]
“The Poker-Face,” The Spectator (15 Oct 1943)
    (Source)

Reprinted in The Lost Childhood and Other Essays (1951).
Added on 4-Mar-20 | Last updated 4-Mar-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Greene, Graham

I think the author who speaks about his own books is almost as bad as a mother who talks about her own children.

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) English politician and author
Speech, Banquet to Lord Rector, University of Glasgow (19 Nov 1870)
    (Source)
Added on 29-Jan-20 | Last updated 29-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Disraeli, Benjamin

The dramatic art is particularly satisfying for any writer with a polemical bent; and I am at heart a propagandist, a tremendous hater, a tiresome nag, complacently positive that there is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.

Gore Vidal (1925-2012) American novelist, dramatist, critic
Visit to a Small Planet and Other Television Plays, Preface (1956)
    (Source)
Added on 28-Jan-20 | Last updated 30-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Vidal, Gore

O’Brien knew everything. A thousand times better than Winston, he knew what the world was really like, in what degradation the mass of human beings lived and by what lies and barbarities the Party kept them there. He had understood it all, weighed it all, and it made no difference: all was justified by the ultimate purpose. What can you do, thought Winston, against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949)
    (Source)
Added on 28-Oct-19 | Last updated 28-Oct-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

You’re mighty fond o’ Craig; but for my part, I think he’s welly like a cock as think’s the sun’s rose o’ purpose to hear him crow.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Adam Bede, ch. 17 (1859)
    (Source)

Mrs. Poyser, about Mr. Craig. Sometimes paraphrased, "He was like a cock, who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow."
Added on 28-Dec-18 | Last updated 28-Dec-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Eliot, George

Nothing is more embarrassing in the ordinary intercourse of life than this irritable patriotism of the Americans. A stranger may be well inclined to praise many of the institutions of their country, but he begs permission to blame some of the peculiarities which he observes — a permission which is however inexorably refused.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French writer, diplomat, politician
Democracy in America, Vol. 1, “Public Spirit in the United States” (1835) [tr. Reeve (1839)]
    (Source)
Added on 21-Nov-18 | Last updated 21-Nov-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Tocqueville, Alexis de

Marriage is not a simple love affair, it’s an ordeal, and the ordeal is the sacrifice of ego to a relationship in which two have become one.

Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) American mythological scholar
The Power of Myth, ch. 1 “Myth and the Modern World” (1988)
Added on 7-Mar-18 | Last updated 7-Mar-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Campbell, Joseph

You can tell the character of every man when you see how he gives and receives praise.

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) Roman statesman, philosopher, playwright [Lucius Annaeus Seneca]
Moral Letters to Lucilius [Epistulae morales ad Lucilium], Letter 52 “On choosing our teachers,” Sec. 12
    (Source)
Added on 17-Oct-17 | Last updated 17-Oct-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Seneca the Younger

Man is so built that he cannot imagine his own death. This leads to endless invention of religions. While this conviction by no means proves immortality to be a fact, questions generated by it are overwhelmingly important. The nature of life, how ego hooks into the body, the problem of ego itself and why each ego seems to be the center of the universe, the purpose of life, the purpose of the universe — these are paramount questions, Ben; they can never be trivial. Science hasn’t solved them — and who am I to sneer at religions for trying, no matter how unconvincingly to me? Old Mumbo Jumbo may eat me yet; I can’t rule him out because he owns no fancy cathedrals. Nor can I rule out one godstruck boy leading a sex cult in an upholstered attic; he might be the Messiah. The only religious opinion I feel sure of is this: self-awareness is not just a bunch of amino acids bumping together!

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Stranger in a Strange Land, Part 4, ch. 33 [Jubal] (1961)
    (Source)

In the "uncut" original version (1960): "Self-aware man is so built that he cannot believe in his own extinction ... and this automatically leads to endless invention of religions. While this involuntary conviction of immortality by no means proves immortality to be a fact, the questions generated by this conviction are overwhelmingly important ... whether we can answer them or not, or prove what answers we suspect. The nature of life, how the ego hooks into the physical body, the problem of the ego itself and why each ego seems to be the center of the universe, the purpose of life, the purpose of the universe -- these are paramount questions Ben; they can never be trivial. Science can't, or hasn't, coped with any of them -- and who am I to sneer at religions for trying to answer them, no matter how unconvincingly to me? Old Mumbo Jumbo may eat me yet; I can't rule Him out because He owns no fancy cathedrals. Nor can I rule out one godstruck boy leading a sex cult in an upholstered attic; he might be the Messiah. The only religious opinion that I feel sure of is this: self-awareness is not just a bunch of amino acids bumping together!"
Added on 11-Aug-17 | Last updated 11-Aug-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Heinlein, Robert A.

Again, it is proper to the magnanimous person to ask for nothing, or hardly anything, but to help eagerly. When he meets people with good fortune or a reputation for worth, he displays his greatness, since superiority over them is difficult and impressive, and there is nothing ignoble in trying to be impressive with them. But when he meets ordinary people, he is moderate, since superiority over them is easy, and an attempt to be impressive among inferiors is as vulgar as a display of strength against the weak.

[μεγαλοψύχου δὲ καὶ τὸ μηδενὸς δεῖσθαι ἢ μόλις, ὑπηρετεῖν δὲ προθύμως, καὶ πρὸς μὲν τοὺς ἐν ἀξιώματι καὶ εὐτυχίαις μέγαν εἶναι, πρὸς δὲ τοὺς μέσους μέτριον: τῶν μὲν γὰρ ὑπερέχειν χαλεπὸν καὶ σεμνόν, τῶν δὲ ῥᾴδιον, καὶ ἐπ᾽ ἐκείνοις μὲν σεμνύνεσθαι οὐκ ἀγεννές, ἐν δὲ τοῖς ταπεινοῖς φορτικόν, ὥσπερ εἰς τοὺς ἀσθενεῖς ἰσχυρίζεσθαι.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 4, ch. 3 (4.3.26) / 1124b.18 (c. 325 BC) [tr. Irwin (1999)]
    (Source)

The core word Aristotle is using is μεγαλοψυχία (translated variously as high-mindedness, great-mindedness, pride, great-soulness, magnanimity). (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Further, it is characteristic of the Great-minded man to ask favours not at all, or very reluctantly, but to do a service very readily; and to bear himself loftily towards the great or fortunate, but towards people of middle station affably; because to be above the former is difficult and so a grand thing, but to be above the latter is easy; and to be high and mighty towards the former is not ignoble, but to do it towards those of humble station would be low and vulgar; it would be like parading strength against the weak.
[tr. Chase (1847)]

It would seem, too, that the high-minded man asks favours of no one, or, at any rate, asks them with the greatest reluctance, but that he is always eager to do good offices to others; and that towards those in high position and prosperity he bears himself with pride, but towards ordinary men with moderation; for in the former case it is difficult to show superiority, and to do so is a lordly mater; whereas in the latter case it is easy. To be haughty among the great is no proof of bad breeding, but haughtiness among the lowly is as base-born a thing as it is to make trial of great strength upon the weak.
[tr. Williams (1869)]

It is characteristic too of the high-minded man that he never, or hardly ever, asks a favor, that he is ready to do anybody a service, and that, although his bearing is stately towards person of dignity and affluence, it is unassuming toward the middle class; for while it is a difficult and dignified thing to be superior to the former, it is easy enough to be superior to the latter, and while a dignified demeanour in dealing with the former is a mark of nobility, it is a mark of vulgarity ind ealing with the latter, as it like a display of physical strength at the expense of an invalid.
[tr. Welldon (1892), ch. 8]

It is characteristic of the high-minded man, again, never or reluctantly to ask favours, but to be ready to confer them, and to be lofty in his behaviour to those who are high in station and favoured by fortune, but affable to those of the middle ranks; for it is a difficult thing and a dignified thing to assert superiority over the former, but easy to assert it over the latter. A haughty demeanour in dealing with the great is quite consistent with good breeding, but in dealing with those of low estate is brutal, like showing off one’s strength upon a cripple.
[tr. Peters (1893)]

It is a mark of the proud man also to ask for nothing or scarcely anything, but to give help readily, and to be dignified towards people who enjoy high position and good fortune, but unassuming towards those of the middle class; for it is a difficult and lofty thing to be superior to the former, but easy to be so to the latter, and a lofty bearing over the former is no mark of ill-breeding, but among humble people it is as vulgar as a display of strength against the weak.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

It is also characteristic of the great-souled man never to ask help from others, or only with reluctance, but to render aid willingly; and to be haughty towards men of position and fortune, but courteous towards those of moderate station, because it is difficult and distinguished to be superior to the great, but easy to outdo the lowly, and to adopt a high manner with the former is not ill-bred, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people: it is like putting forth one's strength against the weak.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]

It is also characteristic of a great-souled person to ask for nothing or hardly anything but to offer his services eagerly, and to exhibit his greatness to those with a reputation for great worth or those who are enjoying good luck, but to moderate his greatness to those in the middle. For it is a difficult and a dignified thing to show oneself superior to the former, but an easy one to do so to the latter, and, while adopting a dignified manner toward the former is not ill-bred, to do so toward humble people is vulgar, like displaying strength against the weak.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

It is the mark of a high-minded man, too, never, or hardly ever, to ask for help, but to be of help to others readily, and to be dignified with men of high position or of good fortune, but unassuming with those of middle class, for it is difficult and impressive to be superior to the former, but easy to be so to the latter; and whereas being impressive to the former is not a mark of a lowly man, being so to the humble is crude -- it is like using physical force against the physically weak.
[tr. Apostle (1975)]

Another mark of the magnanimous man is that he never, or only reluctantly, makes a request, whereas he is eager to help others. He his haughty toward those who are influential and successful, but moderate toward those who have an intermediate position in society, because in the former case to be superior is difficult and impressive, but in the latter it is easy' and to create an impression at the expense of the former is not ill-bred, but to do so among the humble is vulgar.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]

It is also characteristic of a great-souled person to ask for nothing, or almost nothing, but to help others readily; and to be dignified in his behavior towards people of distinction or the well-off, but unassuming toward people at the middle level. Superiority over the first group is difficult and impressive, but over the second it is easy, and attempting to impress the first group is not ill-bred, while in the case of humble people it is vulgar, like a show of strength against the weak.
[tr. Crisp (2000)]

It belongs to the great-souled also to need nothing, or scarcely anything, but to be eager to be of service, and to be great in the presence of people of worth and good fortune, but measured toward those of a middling rank. For it is a difficult and august thing to be superior among the fortunate, but easy to be that way among the middling sorts; and to exalt oneself among the former is not a lowborn thing, but to do so among the latter is crude, just as is using one's strength against the weak.
[tr. Bartlett/Collins (2011)]

Sometimes paraphrased:

It is not ill-bred to adopt a high manner with the great and the powerful, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people.

Added on 3-Aug-17 | Last updated 17-May-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It is beyond me.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) American writer, folklorist, anthropologist
“How It Feels to Be Colored Me”, The World Tomorrow (May 1928)
    (Source)
Added on 2-Aug-17 | Last updated 2-Aug-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Hurston, Zora Neale

There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing it.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1898 [ed. Paine (1935)]
Added on 21-Jul-17 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

Ambition is only vanity ennobled.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927) English writer, humorist [Jerome Klapka Jerome]
“On Vanity and Vanities,” The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow (1889)
Added on 12-Jul-17 | Last updated 12-Jul-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Jerome, Jerome K.

Let us be content to do little, if God sets us at little tasks. It is but pride and self-will which says, “Give me something huge to fight, — and I should enjoy that — but why make me sweep the dust?”

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman, historian, essayist, novelist (pseud. "Parson Lot")
Letter, “To a lady who consulted him about Sisterhoods” (24 Jul 1854)
    (Source)
Added on 13-Jun-17 | Last updated 13-Jun-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kingsley, Charles

The moral of it is, that if we would build on a sure foundation in friendship, we must love our friends for THEIR sakes rather than OUR OWN; we must look at their truth to THEMSELVES, full as much as their truth to US. In the latter case, every wound to self-love would be a cause of coldness; in the former, only some painful change in the friend’s character and disposition — some frightful breach in his allegiance to his better self — could alienate the heart.

Charlotte Brontë (1816-1855) British novelist [pseud. Currer Bell]
Letter to W S. Williams (21 Jul 1851)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Apr-17 | Last updated 7-Apr-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bronte, Charlotte