Quotations about   harm

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Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.

Voltaire (1694-1778) French writer [pseud. of Francois-Marie Arouet]
Philosophical Dictionary [Dictionnaire Philosophique], “Liberty of the Press” (1764)
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Added on 28-Apr-21 | Last updated 28-Apr-21
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There are two kinds of injustice — the one, on the part of those who inflict wrong, the other on the part of those who, when they can, do not shield from wrong those upon whom it is being inflicted. For he who, under the influence of anger or some other passion, wrongfully assaults another seems, as it were, to be laying violent hands upon a comrade; but he who does not prevent or oppose wrong, if he can, is just as guilty of wrong as if he deserted his parents or his friends or his country.

[Sed iniustitiae genera duo sunt, unum eorum, qui inferunt, alterum eorum, qui ab iis, quibus infertur, si possunt, non propulsant iniuriam. Nam qui iniuste impetum in quempiam facit aut ira aut aliqua perturbatione incitatus, is quasi manus afferre videtur socio; qui autem non defendit nec obsistit, si potest, iniuriae, tam est in vitio, quam si parentes aut amicos aut patriam deserat.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Officiis [On Duties; On Moral Duty; The Offices], Book 1, ch. 7 / sec. 23 (44 BC) [tr. Miller (1913)]
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Original Latin. Alternate translations:

The vice that is opposite to justice is injustice, of which there are two sorts: the first consists in the actual doing an injury to another; the second, in tamely looking on while he is injured, and not helping and defending him though we are able: for he that injuriously falls on another, whether prompted by rage or other violent passion, does as it were leap at the throat of his companion; and he that refuses to help him when injured, and to ward off the wrong if it lies in his power, is as plainly guilty of baseness and and injustice as though he had deserted his father, his friends, or his native country.
[tr. Cockman (1699)]

There are two kinds of injustice: Of the one, they are guilty who do an injury; of the other, they who, if they are able, do not defend those from injury to whom it is offered. For he who urged on by anger, or some violent passion, attempts to injure any man, lifts his hand against his brother' and he who interferes not to resist or repel the attempt, is as guilty as if he had deserted his parents, his friends, or his country.
[tr. McCartney (1798)]

But there are two kinds of injustice; the first of those who offer an injury, the second of those who have in their power to avert an injury from those to whom it is offered, and yet do it not. For if a man, prompted either by anger or any sudden perturbation, unjustly assaults another man, such a one seems as it were to lay violent hands on one's ally; and the man who does not repel or withstand the injury, if he can, is as much to blame as if he deserted the cause of his parents, his friends, or his country.
[tr. Edmonds (1865)]

Of injustice there are two kinds, -- one, that of those who inflict injury; the other, that of those who do not, if they can, repel injury from those on whom it is inflicted. Moreover, he who, moved by anger or by some disturbance of mind, makes an unjust assault on any person, is as one who lays violent hands on a casual companion; while he who does not, if he can, ward off or resist the injury offered to another, is as much in fault as if he were to desert his parents, or his friends, or his country.
[tr. Peabody (1883)]
Added on 22-Mar-21 | Last updated 22-Mar-21
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What is not good for the swarm is not good for the bee.

[Τὸ τῷ σμήνει μὴ συμφέρον οὐδὲ τῇ μελίσσῃ συμφέρει.]

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 6, #54 (2nd C AD)

Original here. Alt. trans.:
  • "That which is not good for the beehive, cannot be good for the bee." [tr. Casaubon (1634); numbered 49]
  • "What does not benefit the hive is no benefit to the bee." [tr. Farquharson (1944)]
  • "That which is not for the interest of the whole swarm is not for the interest of the bee." [tr. Collier]
  • "What injures the hive injures the bee." [tr. Hays (2002)]
  • "What is not good for the hive is not good for the bee."
Added on 17-Apr-20 | Last updated 17-Apr-20
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Anger is like the blade of a butcher knife — very difficult to hold on to for long without harming yourself.

Patti LaBelle (b. 1944) American singer, author, actress [stage name for Patricia Louise Holt-Edwards]
Patti’s Pearls: Lessons in Living (2001) [with Laura Randolph Lancaster]
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Added on 7-Feb-20 | Last updated 7-Feb-20
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A just man is not one who does no ill,
But he, who with the power, has not the will.

Philemon (c. 362 BC – c. 262 BC) Athenian poet and playwright
Sententiæ, II

Attributed in John Booth, Epigrams, Ancient and Modern (1863). .
Added on 12-Sep-17 | Last updated 12-Sep-17
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The meaning of good & bad, of better & worse, is simply helping or hurting.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (27 Aug 1838)
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Added on 10-Oct-16 | Last updated 10-Oct-16
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Carelessness does more harm than a want of knowledge.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
(Attributed)
Added on 11-Jun-16 | Last updated 11-Jun-16
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KING ARTHUR: Look, you stupid bastard, you’ve got no arms left!
BLACK KNIGHT: Yes I have.
KING ARTHUR: Look!
BLACK KNIGHT: It’s just a flesh wound.

Monty Python (contemp.) British comedy troupe
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Added on 11-Jun-16 | Last updated 11-Jun-16
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He that scattereth Thorns must not go Barefoot.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #2289 (1732)
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Added on 23-May-14 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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Our anger and annoyance are more detrimental to us than the things themselves which anger or annoy us.

Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) Roman emperor (161-180), Stoic philosopher
Meditations, Book 11, #15 [tr. Staniforth (1964)]
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Alternate translations:

How many things may and do oftentimes follow upon such fits of anger and grief; far more grievous in themselves, than those very things which we are so grieved or angry for.
[tr. Casaubon (1634)]

Consider that our anger and impatience often proves much more mischievous than the provocation could possibly have done.
[tr. Collier (1701), #18]

Consider how much more pain is brought on us by the anger and vexation caused by such acts than by the acts themselves, at which we are angry and vexed.
[tr. Long (1862)]

Consider that our anger and impatience often prove much more mischievous than the things about which we are angry or impatient.
[tr. Zimmern (1887)]

How much more grievous are what fits of anger and the consequent sorrows bring than the actual things are which produce in us those angry fits and sorrows.
[tr. Farquharson (1944)]

Anger and the sorrow it produces are far more harmful than the things that make us angry.
[tr. Needleman/Piazza (2008)]

Added on 15-Nov-13 | Last updated 30-Mar-21
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It hurteth not the toung to give faire words.

John Heywood (1497?-1580?) English playwright and epigrammist
Proverbes, Part 1, ch. 9 (1546)
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Added on 4-May-11 | Last updated 13-Jul-20
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Morality turns on whether the pleasure precedes or follows the pain. Thus it is immoral to get drunk because the headache comes after the drinking. But if the headache came first and the drunkenness afterwards, it would be moral to get drunk.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler, “Morality” (1912)

Full text.

Added on 19-Feb-09 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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