Quotations about   engagement

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It falls to each of us to be those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we’ve been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we, in fact, all share the same proud title, the most important office in a democracy: Citizen. Citizen. So, you see, that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) American politician, US President (2009-2017)
“Farewell Address,” Chicago (10 Jan 2017)
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Added on 14-Jun-22 | Last updated 14-Jun-22
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Our democracy is threatened whenever we take it for granted. All of us, regardless of party, should be throwing ourselves into the task of rebuilding our democratic institutions. When voting rates in America are some of the lowest among advanced democracies, we should be making it easier, not harder, to vote. When trust in our institutions is low, we should reduce the corrosive influence of money in our politics, and insist on the principles of transparency and ethics in public service. When Congress is dysfunctional, we should draw our congressional districts to encourage politicians to cater to common sense and not rigid extremes. But remember, none of this happens on its own. All of this depends on our participation; on each of us accepting the responsibility of citizenship, regardless of which way the pendulum of power happens to be swinging.

Barack Obama (b. 1961) American politician, US President (2009-2017)
“Farewell Address,” Chicago (10 Jan 2017)
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Added on 31-May-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
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Democratic citizenship requires a degree of empathy, insight, and kindness that demands a great deal of all of us. There are easier ways to live.

Jason Stanley (b. 1969) American philosopher, epistemologist, academic
How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them, ch. 10 (2018)
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Added on 28-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
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I note in a letter forwarded to me by the Famous Writers School that I have “aided the Communist conspiracy.” If this is indeed true, and I mean this with sincerity and respect, I should turn myself in to any local F.B.I. office. It was not my intention to aid and conspire, when I wrote the TV script, “Carol for Another Christmas,” nor was I remotely interested in propagandizing for the United Nations or for any organization. I was deeply interested in conveying what is a deeply felt conviction of my own. This is simply to suggest that human beings must involve themselves in the anguish of other human beings. This, I submit to you, is not a political thesis at all. It is simply an expression of what I would hope might be ultimately a simple humanity for humanity’s sake.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Letter to viewer who complained about the TV movie “Carol for Another Christmas” (1964)
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Quoted in Anne Serling, As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling (2013).
Added on 29-Mar-22 | Last updated 29-Mar-22
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Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
(Attributed)
Added on 10-Mar-22 | Last updated 10-Mar-22
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Me kindly Rome loves, quotes my books, and buys them;
But till that critic feigning to despise them
Blushed and turned pale, then yawned and looked confounded,
I never felt my fame was surely grounded.

[Laudat, amat, cantat nostros mea Roma libellos,
Meque sinus omnes, me manus omnis habet.
Ecce rubet quidam, pallet, stupet, oscitat, odit.
Hoc volo: nunc nobis carmina nostra placent.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 6, epigram 60 (6.60) [tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Rome hugs my verse, and cries up for rare,
My books each hand and ev'ry bosom bear;
There's one yet lowers, disdains, is ill at ease:
I'm glad; my verses now myself do please.
[tr. Anon. (1695)]

Rome, city of my affections, praises, loves, and recites my compositions;
I am in every lap, and in every hand.
But see, yon gentleman grows red and pale by turns, looks amazed, yawns, and, in fact, hates me.
I am delighted at the sight; my writings now please me.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859), ep. 61]

Quite friendly, Rome applauds my lay;
dotes on it, quotes it day by day.
My verses every pocket fill,
And every hand bethumbs me still.
See, yonder man turns red and white,
Winces, and yawns disgusted quite.
This I enjoy; by this I tell
That now my verses please me well.
[tr. Webb (1879), ep. 61]

My Rome praises, loves, and hums my verses,
and every pocket, every hand holds me.
See, yonder fellow turns red, turns pale, is dazed, yawns, curses! v This is what I want; now my verses please me!
[tr. Ker (1919)]

For my small books Rome's gone utterly mad;
I'm quite ubiquitous -- call it a fad.
Look, there -- see that fellow, leafing, curious.
First he blushes deeply, then he's furious;
A moment later his eyes glaze over;
He yawns, flips a page, then reels in horror.
This mercurial response I thrill to see;
Why, then my epigrams even please me!
[tr. Schmidgall (2001)]

He reads my verses, just to be in fashion.
But finds himself whipsawed by sudden passion.
He frowns, then chortles -- chokes at what he reads --
And calls them the most infamous of screeds,
Then he goes pale, as under some indicting --
You've got him, poems! That's what I call writing.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Rome praises, loves, and sings my little verses;
They're in all hands, all pockets, and all purses.
Look there! One blushes, pales, gasps, yawns, and curses.
That's what I want! I'm happy with my verses.
[tr. Barth]

My Rome praises, loves and quotes my books,
which fill all pockets and all hands.
Readers blush, then pale, look dazed, curse, swear.
Yes! Yes! This is what I’d always planned.
[tr. Matthews]

Added on 31-Dec-21 | Last updated 11-Mar-22
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I know that the Bible is a special kind of book, but I find it as seductive as any other. If I am not careful, I can begin to mistake the words on the page for the realities they describe. I can begin to love the dried ink marks on the page more than I love the encounters that gave rise to them. If I am not careful, I can decide that I am really much happier reading my Bible than I am entering into what God is doing in my own time and place, since shutting the book to go outside will involve the very great risk of taking part in stories that are still taking shape. Neither I nor anyone else knows how these stories will turn out, since at this point they involve more blood than ink. The whole purpose of the Bible, it seems to me, is to convince people to set the written word down in order to become living words in the world for God’s sake. For me, this willing conversion of ink back to blood is the full substance of faith.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, Part 1 (2006)
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Added on 22-Oct-21 | Last updated 22-Oct-21
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Maybe happiness is this: not feeling like you should be elsewhere, doing something else, being someone else.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
(Attributed)
Added on 23-Sep-21 | Last updated 23-Sep-21
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Good conversation can leave you more exhilarated than alcohol; more refreshed than the theater or a concert. It can bring you entertainment and pleasure; it can help you get ahead, solve problems, spark the imagination of others. It can increase your knowledge and education. It can erase misunderstandings, and bring you closer to those you love.

Dorothy Sarnoff
Dorothy Sarnoff (1914-2008) American opera singer, actress, image consultant
Speech Can Change Your Life (1971)
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Added on 8-Jul-21 | Last updated 8-Jul-21
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A friend is one who rejoices in our good and grieves for our pain, and this purely on our own account.

[τούτων δὲ ὑποκειμένων ἀνάγκη φίλον εἶναι τὸν συνηδόμενον τοῖς ἀγαθοῖς καὶ συναλγοῦντα τοῖς λυπηροῖς μὴ διά τι ἕτερον ἀλλὰ δι᾽ ἐκεῖνον.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Rhetoric [Ῥητορική; Ars Rhetorica], Book 2, ch. 4, sec. 3 (2.4.3) / 1381a (350 BC) [tr. Jebb (1873)]
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(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

  • "He who rejoices with one in prosperity, and sympathises with one in pain, not with a view to anything else but for his friend's sake, is a friend." [Source (1847)]

  • "One who participates in another's joy at good fortune, and in his sorry at what aggrieves him, not from any other motive, but simply for his sake, is his friend." [tr. Buckley (1850)]

  • "Your friend is the sort of man who shares your pleasure in what is good and your pain in what is unpleasant, for your sake and for no other reason." [tr. Roberts (1924)]

  • "He is a friend who shares our joy in good fortune and our sorrow in affliction, for our own sake and not for any other reason." [tr. Freese (1926)]

  • "The following people are our friends: those who share our pleasure when good things happen and our distress when bad things happen for no other reason than for our sake." [tr. Waterfield (2018)]

  • "A friend is one who shares in the other fellow's pleasure at the good things and his pain at what is grievous, for no other reason than that fellow's sake." [tr. Bartlett (2019)]

  • "A friend is someone who is a partner in our happiness and a partner in our sorrow not for any other reason but for friendship." [tr. @sentantiq (2019)]

Added on 19-Mar-21 | Last updated 1-Feb-22
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If you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu.

Ann Richards (1933-2006) American politician [Dorothy Ann Willis Richards]
(Attributed)

Richards regularly used the phrase, but it's unclear if she originated it. See here for more discussion.
Added on 5-Nov-20 | Last updated 15-Nov-20
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I nod to a passing stranger, and the stranger nods back, and two human beings go off feeling a little less anonymous.

Robert Brault (b. c. 1945) American aphorist, programmer
(Attributed)
Added on 13-Oct-20 | Last updated 13-Oct-20
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LT. JOHNSON: When are you going to take this war seriously, Anderson?

CHARLIE ANDERSON: Now let me tell you something, Johnson, before you get on my wrong side. My corn I take serious because it’s my corn, and my potatoes and my tomatoes and fences I take note of because they’re mine. But this war is not mine and I take no note of it!

James Lee Barrett (1929-1989) American author, producer, screenwriter
Shenandoah (1965)
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Added on 30-Sep-20 | Last updated 30-Sep-20
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Society in its full sense […] is never an entity separable from the individuals who compose it. No individual can arrive even at the threshold of his potentialities without a culture in which he participates. Conversely, no civilization has in it any element which in the last analysis is not the contribution of an individual.

Ruth Benedict (1887-1947) American anthropologist
Patterns of Culture, ch. 8 “The Individual and Culture” (1934)
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Sometimes quoted as "The community is never an entity ...."
Added on 18-Sep-20 | Last updated 18-Sep-20
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Man’s greatest blunder has been in trying to make peace with the skies instead of making peace with his neighbors.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) American writer, businessman, philosopher
In The Philistine (Sep 1910)
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Reprinted in The Philosophy of Elbert Hubbard, "Epigrams" (1916) [ed. Hoyle].
Added on 31-Aug-20 | Last updated 31-Aug-20
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To solve an interesting problem, start by finding a problem that is interesting to you.

Eric S. Raymond (b. 1957) American software developer, writer [a.k.a. ESR]
The Cathedral and the Bazaar, ch. 2, Rule 18 (1999)
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Added on 14-Jul-20 | Last updated 14-Jul-20
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Every social war is a battle between the very few on both sides who care and who fire their shots across a crowd of spectators.

Murray Kempton (1917-1997) American journalist.
Part of Our Time: Some Ruins & Monuments of the Thirties (1955)
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Added on 3-Jul-20 | Last updated 3-Jul-20
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A man may hear a thousand lectures, and read a thousand volumes, and be at the end of the process very much where he was, as regards knowledge. Something more than merely admitting it in a negative way into the mind is necessary, if it is to remain there. It must not be passively received, but actually and actively entered into, embraced, mastered. The mind must go half-way to meet what comes to it from without.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) English prelate, Catholic Cardinal, theologian
The Idea of a University, Lecture 9 “Discipline of Mind,” sec. 4 (1852)
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Added on 16-Jun-20 | Last updated 16-Jun-20
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I prefer to interact with people one-on-one. Any more than that, and the dynamic becomes competitive and then I get bored easily when I’m not directly participating in the exchange.

Laurie Helgoe (b. 1960) American psychologist and author
Introvert Power (2008)
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Quoting "Suzanne".
Added on 15-May-20 | Last updated 15-May-20
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There is not a soul who does not have to beg alms of another, either a smile, a handshake, or a fond eye.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
(Attributed)
Added on 30-Apr-20 | Last updated 30-Apr-20
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I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“When Death Comes” New and Selected Poems, Vol. 2 (2005)
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One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.

Carl Jung (1875-1961) Swiss psychologist
“The Gifted Child” (1942), The Development of Personality, sec. 250 (1954) [tr. Hull]
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Translated from "Der Begabte," Psychologie und Erziehung (1946).
Added on 17-Mar-20 | Last updated 17-Mar-20
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When it’s over I want to say: All my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

Mary Oliver (1935-2019) American poet
“When Death Comes”
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Added on 28-Oct-19 | Last updated 28-Oct-19
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Never push loyal people to the point where they don’t give a damn.

Peter F. Drucker (1909-2005) Austrian-American business consultant
(Attributed)

A close variant, sometimes identified with Drucker: "Never push a loyal person to the point where they no longer care."
Added on 20-Sep-19 | Last updated 20-Sep-19
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Ultimately, the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or friendship, is conversation.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
“Epistola: In Carcere et Vinculis,” Letter to Alfred Douglas (Mar 1897)
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Wilde titled the letter, written while in prison in Reading, England, Epistola: In Carcere et Vinculis ("Letter: In Prison and in Chains"). Upon release, the letter was entrusted to Robert Ross, who in 1905, after Wilde's death, published an edited version under the title De Profundis ("From the Depths," from Psalm 130), and later editions have retained that name. This quotation was not in the 1905 edition, but in the eventually fully-restored version in Wilde's complete letters. More information on the history of the letter here.
Added on 1-Jan-19 | Last updated 25-Feb-22
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Marriage is one long conversation, chequered by disputes.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish essayist, novelist, poet
“Talk and Talkers” (1882)
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Added on 21-Nov-18 | Last updated 21-Nov-18
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To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Experience,” Essays: Second Series (1844)
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Added on 2-Oct-18 | Last updated 2-Oct-18
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A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years’ study of books.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Chinese proverb

Given in translation in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Hyperion, ch. 7 (1839).
Added on 6-Jul-17 | Last updated 6-Jul-17
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The more you join with people in their joys and their sorrows, the more nearer and dearer they come to be to you.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Tom Sawyer Abroad, ch. 11 (1894)
Added on 21-Sep-16 | Last updated 21-Sep-16
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Peace cannot be built on exclusion. That has been the price of the past 30 years.

Gerry Adams (b. 1948) Northern Irish politician, statesman [Gearóid Mac Ádhaimh]
Daily Telegraph (11 Apr 1998)
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Remember that children, marriages, and flower gardens reflect the kind of care they get.

Brown - reflect the kind of care they get - wist_info quote

H. Jackson "Jack" Brown, Jr. (b. 1940) American writer
Life’s Instructions for Wisdom, Success, and Happiness (2001)
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Let us not be mistaken: the best government in the world, the best parliament and the best president, cannot achieve much on their own. And it would be wrong to expect a general remedy from them alone. Freedom and democracy include participation and therefore responsibility from us all.

Václav Havel (1936-2011) Czech playwright, essayist, dissident, politician
“New Year’s Address to the Nation” (1 Jan 1990)
Added on 29-Aug-16 | Last updated 29-Aug-16
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The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his weight; that he shall not be a mere passenger, but shall do his share in the work that each generation of us finds ready to hand; and, furthermore, that in doing his work he shall show, not only the capacity for sturdy self-help, but also self-respecting regard for the rights of others.

Roosevelt - pull his weight - wist_info quote

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Speech, New York (11 Nov 1902)
Added on 16-Jun-16 | Last updated 16-Jun-16
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For politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage. Politics must be the concern of every citizen who wants to see our national well-being increased and our international leadership strengthened. In that combined sense, politics is the noblest of professions. In the ranks of that kind of politics, every American should be enrolled.

Eisenhower - politics part-time profession - wist_info quote

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, Republican Lincoln Day Dinners (28 Jan 1954)
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Often paraphrased: "Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free men."

The speech was filmed for the Republican National Committee and distributed to state and local committees to be shown at the Lincoln Day dinners.
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Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.

Richard Branson (b. 1950) English business magnate, investor, philanthropist
Tweet (27 Mar 2014)
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Added on 3-May-16 | Last updated 3-May-16
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But freedom isn’t free. It shouldn’t be a bragging point that, “Oh, I don’t get involved in politics,” as if that makes someone cleaner. No, that makes you derelict of duty in a republic. Liars and panderers in government would have a much harder time of it if so many people didn’t insist on their right to remain ignorant and blindly agreeable.

Maher - involved in politics - wist_info quote

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
When You Ride Alone You Ride With Bin Laden (2002)
Added on 16-Feb-16 | Last updated 1-Jun-16
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You know, farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, Bradley University, Peoria, Illinois (25 Sep 1956)
Added on 30-Apr-15 | Last updated 30-Apr-15
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Man is born to live, not to prepare for life.

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator
Doctor Zhivago, 9.14 (1957) [tr Hayward and Harari (1958)]
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To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims] (1665-1678)
Added on 24-Nov-14 | Last updated 8-Apr-15
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Eighty percent of success is showing up.

Woody Allen (b. 1935) American comedian, writer, director [b. Allan Steward Konigsberg]
Comment

Originally attributed to Allen by collaborator Marshall Brickman in Susan Brady, "He's Woody Allen's Not-So-Silent Partner," New York Times (21 Aug 1977) as "Showing up is 80 percent of life." On inquiry, Allen confirmed that he'd said the quotation above in a letter to William Safire (1989). More information here.
Added on 7-Nov-14 | Last updated 7-Nov-14
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Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us. Sometimes after a meeting I want to arrange another one because new ideas are born and I discover new needs. This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.

Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
“How the Church will change,” interview with Eugenio Scalfari, La Repubblica (1 Oct 2013) [tr. K. Wallace]
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Added on 17-Sep-14 | Last updated 17-Sep-14
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Yet many men, being slaves to appetite and sleep, have passed through life untaught and untrained, like mere wayfarers. In these men we see, contrary to Nature’s intent, the body a source of pleasure, the soul a burden.

[Sed multi mortales dediti ventri atque somno, indocti incultique vitam sicuti peregrinantes transegere.]

Sallust (c. 86-35 BC) Roman historian and politician [Gaius Sallustius Crispus]
Bellum Catilinae [The War of Catiline; The Conspiracy of Catiline], ch. 2, sent. 8 [tr. Rolfe (1931)]
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Original Latin. Alt. trans.:

"Yet we see in the mass of life numbers addicted to sloth and the gratifications of appetite; men uneducated and uninformed, who have passed their time like incurious travellers, of whom it may be said, the organs of bodily sensation were their delight, and their minds were no better than a burden." [tr. Murphy (1807)]

"Yet many there are in the world who, abandoned to sloth and sensuality, without learning or politeness, pass their lives much like travellers; and who, in opposition to the design of nature, place their whole happiness in animal pleasure, looking on their minds as a heavy burden." [tr. Rose (1831)]

"But many men abandoned to their belly and sleep, untaught and uneducated, have spent their days like strangers, whose body in truth, contrary to nature, has been their happiness, their soul a burden." [Source (1841)]

"Yet many human beings, resigned to sensuality and indolence, uninstructed and unimproved, have passed through life like travelers in a strange country; to whom, certainly, contrary to the intention of nature, the body was a gratification, and the mind a burden." [tr. Watson (1867)]

"Many, however, the slaves of gluttony and sloth, without learning or cultivation, have passed through life as though it were a journey in a foreign land, and thus, in defiance of nature, have actually found their body a pleasure and their real vital powers a burden." [tr. Pollard (1882)]

"But many mortals, devoted to their stomachs and to sleep, have passed through life untaught and uncouth, like foreign travellers; and of course, contracy to nature, their bodies were a source of pleasure to them, their minds a burden." [tr. Woodman (2007)]
Added on 17-Apr-14 | Last updated 23-Oct-20
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Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a mighty bloodless substitute for life.

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Scottish essayist, novelist, poet
“An Apology for Idlers” (1881)
Added on 4-Dec-13 | Last updated 20-Jun-14
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Society, my dear, is like salt water, good to swim in but hard to swallow.

Arthur Stringer (1874-1950) Canadian-American novelist, screenwriter, poet
The Silver Poppy, ch. 8, epigraph (1903)
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Good judgment in our dealings with others consists not in seeing through deceptions and evil intentions but in being able to waken the decency dormant in every person.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The Passionate State of Mind, Aphorism 141 (1955)
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Religions are kept alive by heresies, which are really sudden explosions of faith.  Dead religions do not produce them.

Gerald Brenan (1894-1987) British writer and Hispanist [Edward FitzGerald Brenan]
Thoughts in a Dry Season (1978)
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A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Friendship,” Essays, No. 27 (1625)
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The tactical result of an engagement forms the base for new strategic decisions because victory or defeat in a battle changes the situation to such a degree that no human acumen is able to see beyond the first battle. In this sense one should understand Napoleon’s saying: “I have never had a plan of operations.” Therefore no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.

Helmuth von Moltke (1800-1891) Prussian soldier
“On Strategy” (1871)

Translated in Daniel J. Hughes, Harry Bell, Moltke on the Art of War: Selected Writings (1993).

Paraphrases / variants:
  • "No plan survives contact with the enemy."
  • "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy."
Added on 15-Jan-10 | Last updated 20-Dec-19
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In good conversation, parties don’t speak to the words, but to the meanings of each other.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Social Aims,” lecture, Boston (4 Dec 1864), Letters and Social Aims (1875)
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If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world, and that his heart is no island cut off from other lands, but a continent that joins to them.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Goodness, and Goodness of Nature,” Essays, No. 13 (1625)
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The Stoics could only advise the wise man to hold aloof from politics, keeping the unwritten law in his heart. But when Christ said: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s,” those words, spoken on His last visit to the Temple, three days before His death, gave to the civil power, under the protection of conscience, a sacredness it had never enjoyed, and bounds it had never acknowledged; and they were the repudiation of absolutism and the inauguration of freedom.

John Dalberg, Lord Acton (1834-1902) British historian
“The History of Freedom in Antiquity,” address to the Bridgenorth Institute (28 Feb 1877)
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So then, I am simply in favor of intellectual hospitality — that is all. You come to me with a new idea. I invite you into the house. Let us see what you have. Let us talk it over. If I do not like your thought, I will bid it a polite “good day.” If I do like it, I will say: “Sit down; stay with me, and become a part of the intellectual wealth of my world.” That is all.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Limits of Toleration,” debate at the Nineteenth Century Club, New York (8 May 1888)
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When people put their ballots in the boxes, they are, by that act, inoculated against the feeling that the government is not theirs. They then accept, in some measure, that its errors are their errors, its aberrations their aberrations, that any revolt will be against them. It’s a remarkably shrewd and rather conservative arrangement when one thinks of it.

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) Canadian-American economist, diplomat, author
The Age of Uncertainty, ch. 12 (1977)
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Added on 16-Nov-07 | Last updated 15-Feb-22
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So let us begin anew — remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Inaugural Address (20 Jan 1961)
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Added on 12-Sep-07 | Last updated 27-May-16
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It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
Lady Windemere’s Fan, Act 1 [Lord Darlington] (1892)
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