Quotations about   external

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How ridiculous is Caesar and Bonaparte wandering from one extreme of civilization to the other to conquer men — himself, the while, unconquered, unexplored, almost wholly unsuspected to himself?

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Trust Yourself,” sermon (1830)
Added on 10-Feb-16 | Last updated 10-Feb-16
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The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents, and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“On Being a Good Neighbor,” sec. 1, sermon, A Gift of Love (1963)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Jan-20
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O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An’ foolish notion ….

Robert Burns (1759-1796) Scottish national poet
“To a Louse,” l.43-46 (1786)

The poem is reprinted in various forms and anglicizations of Burns' Scottish, e.g.,

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion

O would some Power the gift to give us
To see ourselves as others see us!
It would from many a blunder free us,
And foolish notion:

Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 18-Aug-17
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The word “idiot” comes from a Greek root meaning private person. Idiocy is the female defect: intent on their private lives, women follow their fate through a darkness deep as that cast by malformed cells in the brain. It is no worse than the male defect, which is lunacy: men are so obsessed by public affairs that they see the world as by moonlight, which shows the outlines of every object but not the details indicative of their nature.

Rebecca West (1892-1983) British author, journalist, literary critic, travel writer [pseud. for Cicily Isabel Fairfield]
Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, Prologue (1941)
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Sometimes oddly paraphrased, "The main difference between men and women is that men are lunatics and women are idiots."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 8-Mar-21
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If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but your own judgment of them. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 8, #47 [tr. Long (1862)]
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Modernized version (see below for original). Alternate translations:

  • "If therefore it be a thing external that causes thy grief, know, that it is not that properly that doth cause it, but thine own conceit and opinion concerning the thing: which thou mayest rid thyself of, when thou wilt." [tr. Casaubon (1634), #45]
  • "If externals put you into the spleen, take notice 'tis not the thing which disturbs you, but your notion about it: which notion you may dismiss if you please." [tr. Collier (1701)]
  • "If thou art pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs thee, but thy own judgment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgment now." [tr. Long (1862), original]
  • "If anything external vexes you, take notice that it is not the thing which disturbs you, but your notion about it, which notion you may dismiss at once if you please." [tr. Zimmern (1887)]
  • "If you suffer pain because of some external cause, what troubles you is not the thing but your decision about it, and this it is in your power to wipe out at once." [tr. Farquharson (1944)]
  • "If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing yourself but to your estaimte of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." [tr. Staniforth (1964)]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Mar-21
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