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It’s a good thing when a man is different from your image of him. It shows he isn’t a type. If he were, it would be the end of him as a man. But if you can’t place him in a category, it means that at least a part of him is what a human being ought to be. He has risen above himself, he has a grain of immortality.

Boris Pasternak - grain of immortality - wist_info

Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator
Doctor Zhivago [До́ктор Жива́го], Part 2, ch. 9 “Varykino,” sec. 4 [Yuri] (1955) [tr. Hayward & Harari (1958), US ed.]
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Alternate translations:

It’s a good thing when a man is different from your image of him. It shows he isn’t a type. If he were, it would be the end of him as a man. But if you can’t place him in a category, it means that at least a part of him is what a human being ought to be. He has a grain of immortality.
[tr. Hayward & Harari (1958), UK ed.]

It’s good when a man deceives your expectations, when he doesn’t correspond to the preconceived notion of him. To belong to a type is the end of a man, his condemnation. If he doesn’t fall under any category, if he’s not representative, half of what’s demanded of him is there. He’s free of himself, he has achieved a grain of immortality.
[tr. Pevear & Volokhonsky (2010)]

 
Added on 2-Apr-24 | Last updated 2-Apr-24
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More quotes by Pasternak, Boris

We recognize too that beasts have sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, often more keenly than we have. Or take strength, vigour, muscular power, swift and easy movement of the body, in all of which we excel some of them, equal some, and are surpassed by some. We are certainly in a common class with the beasts; every action of animal life is concerned with seeking bodily pleasure and avoiding pain.

[Videre autem atque audire, et olfactu, gustu, tactu corporalia sentire posse bestias, et acrius plerasque quam nos, cernimus et fatemur. Adde vires et valentiam firmitatemque membrorum, et celeritates facillimosque corporis motus, quibus omnibus quasdam earum superamus, quibusdam aequamur, a nonnullis etiam vincimur. Genus tamen ipsum rerum est nobis certe commune cum belluis: jam vero appetere voluptates corporis, et vitare molestias, ferinae vitae omnis actio est.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
On Free Choice of the Will [De Libero Arbitrio Voluntatis], Book 1, ch. 8 / sec. 18 (1.8.18) (AD 288) [tr. Mark Pontifex (1955)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Furthermore, beasts see, hear, and can perceive corporeal things by touch, taste, and smell more keenly than we. Add to this energy, power, strength of limb, speed, and agility of bodily motion. In all of these faculties we excel some, equal others, and to some are inferior. Things of this sort we clearly share with beasts. Indeed, to seek the pleasures of the body and to avoid harm constitute the entire activity of a beast's life.
[tr. Benjamin/Hackstaff (1964), ch. 8, sec. 62]

We recognize and acknowledge that animals can see and hear, and can sense material objects by touch, taste, and smell, often better than we can. Consider also strength, health, and bodily vigor, ease and swiftness of motion. In all of these respects we are superior to some animals, equal to others, and inferior to quite a few. Yet we have these sorts of traits in common with animals, though life of the lower animals consists entirely in the pursuit of physical pleasures and the avoidance of pains.
[tr. Williams (1993)]

 
Added on 1-Apr-24 | Last updated 1-Apr-24
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More quotes by Augustine of Hippo

A toddling little girl is a centre of common feeling which makes the most dissimilar people understand each other.

George Eliot (1819-1880) English novelist [pseud. of Mary Ann Evans]
Scenes of Clerical Life, “Janet’s Repentance,” ch. 8 (1857)
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Added on 29-Mar-24 | Last updated 29-Mar-24
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Man seems to be a rickety poor sort of a thing, any way you take him; a kind of British Museum of infirmities and inferiorities. He is always undergoing repairs. A machine that was as unreliable as he is would have no market.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Letters from the Earth, “The Damned Human Race,” sec. 5 “The Lowest Animal” (1962) [ed. DeVoto]
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Added on 25-Mar-24 | Last updated 25-Mar-24
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The gift of imagination is by no means an exclusive property of the artist; it is a gift we all share; to some degree or other all of us, all of you, are endowed with the powers of fantasy.

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer, pianist
Commencement Speech, Johns Hopkins University (1980-05-30)
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Collected in Findings: Fifty Years of Meditations on Music, Part 4 (1982).
 
Added on 14-Mar-24 | Last updated 14-Mar-24
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CAMILLO:My gracious lord,
I may be negligent, foolish, and fearful.
In every one of these no man is free,
But that his negligence, his folly, fear,
Among the infinite doings of the world,
Sometime puts forth. In your affairs, my lord,
If ever I were willful-negligent,
It was my folly; if industriously
I played the fool, it was my negligence,
Not weighing well the end; if ever fearful
To do a thing where I the issue doubted,
Whereof the execution did cry out
Against the non-performance, ’twas a fear
Which oft infects the wisest. These, my lord,
Are such allowed infirmities that honesty
Is never free of.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Winter’s Tale, Act 1, sc. 2, l. 310ff (1.2.310-325) (1611)
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Added on 22-Jan-24 | Last updated 22-Jan-24
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More quotes by Shakespeare, William

What Nature wants, commodious Gold bestows,
‘Tis thus we eat the bread another sows:
But how unequal it bestows, observe,
‘Tis thus we riot, while who sow it, starve.
What Nature wants (a phrase I much distrust)
Extends to Luxury, extends to Lust;
And if we count among the Needs of life
Another’s Toil, why not another’s Wife?
Useful, we grant, it serves what life requires,
But dreadful too, the dark Assassin hires:
Trade it may help, Society extend;
But lures the Pyrate, and corrupts the Friend:
It raises Armies in a nation’s aid,
But bribes a Senate, and the Land’s betray’d.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
“An Epistle to Allen, Lord Bathurst: Of the Use of Riches” (1733), Moral Essays, Epistle 3 (1735)
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Added on 17-Jan-24 | Last updated 17-Jan-24
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All wines don’t turn sour when they get old, and neither do all men or all personalities. I approve of sternness in the old, but a sternness that, like other things, is kept within limits; under no circumstances do I approve of bad temper.
 
[Ut enim non omne vinum, sic non omnis natura vetustate coacescit. Severitatem in senectute probo, sed eam, sicut alia, modicam; acerbitatem nullo modo.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 18 / sec. 65 (18.65) (44 BC) [tr. Copley (1967)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For as every wyne long kept and olde waxith not eagre of his owne propre nature, right so all mankynde is not aygre fell cruell ungracious chargyng nor inportune in olde age of their owne kynde though some men among many be fonde of that condicion. I approve & preyse in olde age the man which hath severitee & stidfast abydyng in hym. Seuerite is contynuance & perseverance of oon maner of lyvyng as wele in the thyngys within as in theym withoute. But I approve nat that in an olde man be egrenesse nor hardnesse & sharpnesse of maners of condicions.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

For even as every wine being old and standing long is not converted into vineigre, so likewise is not every age sour, eigre, and unpleasant. Severity and sternness in old age I well allow and commend, so that a moderate mean therein (as in all other things) be observed; but bitterness and rigorous dealing I can in no wise brook nor away withal.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

For as all wines do not grow soure and tart in continuance, so not all age. I like severity in an old man, but not bitternesse.
[tr. Austin (1648), ch. 19]

Our nature here, is not unlike our wine,
Some sorts, when old, continue brisk, and fine.
So Age's gravity may seem severe,
But nothing harsh, or bitter ought to appear.
[tr. Denham (1669)]

In short, as it fares with Wines, so it does with Old Men: all are not equally apt to grow sour with Age. A serious and moderately grave Deportment well become us, but nothing of an austere Severity.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

Thus it is, for as all Wines are not prick'd by Age, so neither is Human Life sower'd by Old Age; a Severity I approve of in Old Men, but with Moderation; Bitterness by no means.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

Some Wines sour with Age, while others grow better and richer. A Gravity with some Severity is to be allowed; but by no means Ill nature.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

As it is not every kind of wine, so neither is it every sort of temper, that turns sour by age. But I must observe at the same time there is a certain gravity of deportment extremely becoming in advanced years, and which, as in other virtues, when it preserves its proper bounds, and does not degenerate into an acerbity of manners, I very much approve.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

For, as not every wine, so not every life, grows sour by age. Strictness in old age, I approve; but that, even as other things, in moderate degree: bitterness I nowise approve.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

Neither every wine nor every life turns to vinegar with age.
[ed. Harbottle (1906)]

For as it is not every wine, so it is not every man's life, that grows sour from old age. I approve of gravity in old age, but this in a moderate degree, like everything else; harshness by no means.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

For as it is not wine of every vintage, so it is not every temper that grows sour with age. I approve of gravity in old age, so it be not excessive; for moderation in all things is becoming: but for bitterness I have no tolerance.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

The fact is that, just as it is not every wine, so it is not every life, that turns sour from keeping. Serious gravity I approve of in old age, but, as in other things, it must be within due limits: bitterness I can in no case approve.
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

Not every wine grows sour by growing old.
Severity in age is well enough:
But not too much, and naught of bitterness.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

As it is not every wine, so it is not every disposition, that grows sour with age. I approve of some austerity in the old, but I want it, as I do everything else, in moderation. Sourness of temper I like not at all.
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

Human nature is like wine: it does not invariably sour just because it is old. Some old men seem very stern, and rightly so -- although there must be, as I always say, moderation in all things. There is never any reason for ill temper.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

Certainly neither all wines go sour
Nor do all men because of agedness.
I approve of old men’s calm severity,
But I don’t put up with those who are dour.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

The truth is that a person's character, like wine, does not necessarily grow sour with age. Austerity in old age is proper enough, but like everything else it should be in moderation. Sourness of disposition is never a virtue.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

 
Added on 11-Jan-24 | Last updated 11-Jan-24
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More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

Every human being, like every animal, wants to live in what is felt to be a safe environment — an environment where you won’t be exposed to unexpected peril. Now, when a man tells you that something you’ve always believed was in fact not true, it gives you a frightful shock and you think, “Oh! I don’t know where I am. When I think I’m planting my foot upon the ground, perhaps I’m not.” And you get into a terror.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Interview by Woodrow Wyatt, BBC TV (1959)

On resistance to scientific discovery.

Collected in Bertrand Russell's BBC Interviews (1959) [UK] and Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind (1960) [US]. Reprinted (abridged) in The Humanist (1982-11/12), and in Russell Society News, #37 (1983-02).

 
Added on 3-Jan-24 | Last updated 3-Jan-24
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Well, it is part of our emotional apparatus that we are liable to both love and hate, and we like to exercise them. We love our compatriots and we hate foreigners. Of course, we love our compatriots only when we’re thinking of foreigners. When we’ve forgotten foreigners, we don’t love them so much.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Interview by Woodrow Wyatt, BBC TV (1959)

Collected in Bertrand Russell's BBC Interviews (1959) [UK] and Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind (1960) [US]. Reprinted (abridged) in The Humanist (1982-11/12), and in Russell Society News, #37 (1983-02).
 
Added on 27-Dec-23 | Last updated 27-Dec-23
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Why is it that we remember with effort but forget without effort? That we learn with effort but stay ignorant without effort? That we are active with effort, and lazy without effort?
 
[Quid est enim, quod cum labore meminimus, sine labore obliuiscimur; cum labore discimus, sine labore nescimus; cum labore strenui, sine labore inertes sumus?]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
City of God [De Civitate Dei], Book 22, ch. 22 (22.22) (AD 412-416) [tr. Green (Loeb) (1972)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

What is our labour to remember things, our labour to learn, and our ignorance without this labour? our agility got by toil, and our dullness if we neglect it?
[tr. Healey (1610)]

For why is it that we remember with difficulty, and without difficulty forget? learn with difficulty, and without difficulty remain ignorant? are diligent with difficulty, and without difficulty are indolent?
[tr. Dods (1871)]

How difficult it is to remember, how easy to forget; how hard to learn and how easy to be ignorant; how difficult to make an effort and how easy to be lazy.
[tr. Walsh/Honan (1954)]

How is it that what we learn with toil we forget with ease? that it is hard to learn, but easy to be in ignorance? That activity goes against the grain, while indolence is second nature?
[tr. Bettenson (1972)]

Why is it that we remember with such difficulty, but forget so easily? Why is it that we learn with such difficulty, yet so easily remain ignorant? Why is it that we are vigorous with such difficulty, yet so easily inert?
[tr. Dyson (1998)]

 
Added on 18-Dec-23 | Last updated 18-Dec-23
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More quotes by Augustine of Hippo

A person who lacks the means, within himself, to live a good and happy life will find any period of his existence wearisome. But rely for life’s blessings on your own resources, and you will not take a gloomy view of any of the inevitable consequences of nature’s laws. Everyone hopes to attain an advanced age; yet when it comes they all complain! So foolishly inconsistent and perverse can people be.

[Quibus enim nihil est in ipsis opis ad bene beateque vivendum, eis omnis aetas gravis est; qui autem omnia bona a se ipsi petunt, eis nihil malum potest videri quod naturae necessitas adferat. Quo in genere est in primis senectus, quam ut adipiscantur omnes optant, eandem accusant adeptam; tanta est stultitiae inconstantia atque perversitas.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Senectute [Cato Maior; On Old Age], ch. 2 / sec. 4 (2.4) [Cato] (44 BC) [tr. Grant (1960, 1971 ed.)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For eche of thies ages which men name Childhode, adolescence, yongth, virilite, manhode & olde age semyn to be hevy & noxous to men the which in them silf have nothyng that may help & socoure them to lyve goodly & blessidly as bee, the which excercisen sciences & vertues & good werkis, but as to suche men which sechyn & fyndyn in themsilf alle the goods & thyngis which belongyn wele & blessidly for to lyve, ther is nothyng that comyth to them in age by the defaute of nature that may seme unto them evyll nor noxous. It is certayne that olde age is suche that it serchith & fyndyth in it self all the goodnesses whch longen to live wel & blyssidly, and yet is olde age such that alle men desyre to come untyll hit, And never the lesse the mutablenes & evyl dysposicion of men it is so grete in oure dayes that they blamyn olde age whan they be come therto by cause that then they may not use delectacions.
[tr. Worcester/Worcester/Scrope (1481)]

For they that have no power, pith of wit, help, way nor virtue in themselves to conduct and bring them to a good and blessed life, unto such as these be, all their age is cumbersome and unpleasant. But unto such as lead their lives virtuously, measuring all their actions by the square of reason, and have their minds with all good gifts of grace beautified and garnished, there is nothing thought nor deemed evil that cometh by necessity of nature. Of the which sort old age is principally to be considered, unto which all men wish to arrive, and yet when they have their desire, they accuse it as painful, sickly, unpleasant and tedious, such is the brainless unconstancy, foolish sottage, and perverse overthwartness of wayward people.
[tr. Newton (1569)]

For that age is only grievous to those that have no taste of wisdome and learning in themselves to make them live happily: but to them which see all perfection and consolation from their own experience, nothing can seem heavy which the necessity of nature bringeth: of which sort old age is chief, which all desire to obtain, and blame being obtained; such is their unconstancy, foolishnesse and perversity.
[tr. Austin (1648)]

For to those who have nothing within themselves capable of making Life happy, and satisfactory, no wonder if every Stage of it should prove irksome, and vexatious: but, to those who derive all their satisfaction from an easy mind, nothing can seem grievous and tormenting, that proceeds from the irreversible Laws of Nature; which certainly is the case of Old Age,, whereunto though 'tis the earnest desire of all men to arrive, yet such is their unaccountable folly, and perverseness, that they are never more uneasy than when they have arrived at it.
[tr. Hemming (1716)]

All Ages are grievous to those who have not in themselves the Means of living Holy and Happy; but those who expect all Happiness from their own Virtues, don't look up on the Decay of Nature as a Hardship, whereof Old Age is the chiefest, and which all desire to attain to; but is no sooner tasted than declaim'd against. Such are the Effects of Inconstancy, Folly, and the Want of Wisdom.
[tr. J. D. (1744)]

For know this, that those who have no Aid or Support within themselves, to render their Lives easy, will find every State irksome: While such as are convinced, they must owe their Happiness to themselves, and that if they cannot find it in their own Breasts, they will never meet with it from abroad; will never consider any thing as an Evil, that is but a necessary Effect of the established Order of Nature; which Old Age most undoubtedly is. 'Tis certainly strange, that while all Men hope they may live to attain it, any should find Fault with it, when it comes their Share. Yet such is the Levity, Folly, and Perverseness of Mankind, that we see there is nothing more common.
[tr. Logan (1744)]

Those indeed who have no internal resource of happiness, will find themselves uneasy in every stage of human life: but to him who is accustomed to derive all his felicity from within himself, no state will appear as a real evil into which he is conducted by the common and regular course of nature. Now this is peculiarly the case with respect to old age : yet such is the inconsistency of human folly, that the very period which at a distance is every man's warmest wish to attain, no sooner arrives than it is equally the object of his lamentations.
[tr. Melmoth (1773)]

For to those that have nought of resource in themselves for living well and happily, every stage of life is burthensome; while to those that seek all their goods from themselves, nothing can seem an evil, which the law of Nature may bring them. In which class foremost stands old age, which all desire to attain, but arraign the same when attained; so great is the inconsistency and perverseness of folly.
[Cornish Bros. ed. (1847)]

For to those who have no resource in themselves for living well and happily, every age is burdensome; but to those who seek all good things from themselves, nothing can appear evil which the necessity of nature entails; in which class particularly is old age, which all men wish to attain, and yet they complain of it when they have attained it; so great is the inconsistency and waywardness of folly.
[tr. Edmonds (1874)]

For those who have in themselves no resources for a good and happy life, every period of life is burdensome; but to those who seek all goods from within, nothing which comes in the course of nature can seem evil. Under this head a place especially belongs to old age, which all desire to attain, yet find fault with it when they have reached it. Such is the inconsistency and perverseness of human folly.
[tr. Peabody (1884)]

But those who look for all happiness from within can never think anything bad which nature makes inevitable. In that category before anything else comes old age, to which all wish to attain, and at which all grumble when attained. Such is Folly's inconsistency and unreasonableness!
[tr. Shuckburgh (1895)]

Of course
To those who've no resources in themselves
For a good and happy life, why, every age
Is hard to bear: but those who have within
All that is needful for a life well-spent,
Can never find misfortune in the lot
That nature's laws impose. And one such lot
Is that old age must come to each and all,
Old age so fondly hoped for, when it comes,
So Oft found to be irksome. Such, alas!
Is Folly's want of reason and resolve.
[tr. Allison (1916)]

For to those who have not the means within themselves of a virtuous and happy life every age is burdensome; and, on the other hand, to those who seek all good from themselves nothing can seem evil that the laws of nature inevitably impose. To this class old age especially belongs, which all men wish to attain and yet reproach when attained; such is the inconsistency and perversity of Folly!
[tr. Falconer (1923)]

People, you see, who have no inner resources for living the good and happy life, find every age a burden. But men who seek all good from within themselves are simply unable to view as evil anything that comes about through nature’s law. Now old age, as much as anything else in this world, is such a thing. All men hope and pray to attain it; once they have attained it, they start finding fault with it.
[tr. Copley (1967)]

Some people just do not possess the optimism that would allow them to live contentedly under any circumstances: for them every stage of life is a burden. But if only they expected nothing but good for themselves, nothing that the natural passage of time brought them could seem bad. This is especially true of old age. Everybody wants to live for a long time, but when they have attained their goal, they grumble. It makes no sense -- but that’s what life is: perverse and inconsistent.
[tr. Cobbold (2012)]

Someone who doesn't have much in the way of inner resources will find all stages of life irksome, but someone whose character is in order will accept what nature brings and not complain about something perfectly natural, calling it evil. There is much nonsense bandied about old age, something which everyone wishes to reach, but which most complain about once they get there. That seems more than slightly inconsistent and perverse, doesn't it?
[tr. Gerberding (2014)]

They find every age oppressive, of course,
Who in their inner selves have no resource
To live an easy life in happiness,
But they who in themselves only find
Their own contentment and peace of mind
See no harm in nature’s due process
Whose termination inevitably
May lead to that state of senility
To which they keenly lay claim,
But once attained rather foolishly,
With malice and incongruity,
Promptly find reasons to blame.
[tr. Bozzi (2015)]

Those who lack within themselves the means for living a blessed and happy life will find any age painful. But for those who seek good things within themselves, nothing imposed on them by nature will seem troublesome. Growing older is a prime example of this. Everyone hopes to reach old age, but when it comes, most of us complain about it. People can be so foolish and inconsistent.
[tr. Freeman (2016)]

Every age is burdensome to those who have no means of living well and happily. But to those who seek all good from themselves, nothing which the necessity of nature offers can appear bad. Old age is a prime example of this sort of thing -- everyone wishes to attain it, but they always complain about it once it is attained. Such is the inconstancy and perversity of stupidity.
[tr. Robinson [@sentantiq] (2017)]

 
Added on 15-Dec-23 | Last updated 15-Dec-23
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More quotes by Cicero, Marcus Tullius

Men will readily enough avow cruelty, passion, even avarice, but never cowardice, because such an admission would bring them, among savages and even in civilized society, into mortal danger.

[Les hommes avouent volontiers la cruauté, la colère, l’avarice même, mais jamais la lâcheté, parce que cet aveu les mettrait, chez les sauvages et même dans une société polie, en un danger mortel.]

Anatole France (1844-1924) French poet, journalist, novelist, Nobel Laureate [pseud. of Jaques-Anatole-François Thibault]
The Gods Will Have Blood [Les Dieux Ont Soif], ch. 19 [Brotteaux] (1912) [tr. Allinson (1913), The Gods Are Athirst]
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(Source (French)). Alternate translation:

Men willingly post of their cruelty, their anger, their greed even, but never of their cowardice, because to admit such a thing would put them, whether in a primitive or a civilized society, in mortal peril.
[tr. Davies (1979)]

 
Added on 13-Dec-23 | Last updated 13-Dec-23
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We hear only half of what is said to us, understand only half of that, believe only half of that, and remember only half of that.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 5 (1963)
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Added on 12-Dec-23 | Last updated 12-Dec-23
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More quotes by McLaughlin, Mignon

This life of ours — if a life so full of such great ills can properly be called a life — bears witness to the fact that, from its very start, the race of mortal men has been a race condemned. Think, first, of that dreadful abyss of ignorance from which all error flows and so engulfs the sons of Adam in a darksome pool that no one can escape without the toll of toils and tears and fears. Then, take our very love for all those things that prove so vain and poisonous and breed so many heartaches, troubles, griefs, and fears; such insane joys in discord, strife, and war; such wrath and plots of enemies, deceivers, sycophants; such fraud and theft and robbery; such perfidy and pride, envy and ambition, homicide and murder, cruelty and savagery, lawlessness and lust; all the shameless passions of the impure — fornication and adultery, incest and unnatural sins, rape and countless other uncleannesses too nasty to be mentioned; the sins against religion — sacrilege and heresy, blasphemy and perjury; the iniquities against our neighbors — calumnies and cheating, lies and false witness, violence to persons and property; the injustices of the courts and the innumerable other miseries and maladies that fill the world, yet escape attention.
It is true that it is wicked men who do such things, but the source of all such sins is that radical canker in the mind and will that is innate in every son of Adam. For, our infancy proves with what ignorance of the truth man enters upon life, and adolescence makes clear to all the world how full we are of folly and concupiscence. In fact, if anyone were left to live as he pleased and to do what he desired, he would go through practically the whole gamut of lawlessnesses and lust — those which I have just listed and, perhaps, others that I refrained from mentioning.

[Nam quod ad primam originem pertinet, omnem mortalium progeniem fuisse damnatam, haec ipsa uita, si uita dicenda est, tot et tantis malis plena testatur. Quid enim aliud indicat horrenda quaedam profunditas ignorantiae, ex qua omnis error existit, qui omnes filios Adam tenebroso quodam sinu suscepit, ut homo ab illo liberari sine labore dolore timore non possit? Quid amor ipse tot rerum uanarum atque noxiarum et ex hoc mordaces curae, perturbationes, maerores, formidines, insana gaudia, discordiae, lites, bella, insidiae, iracundiae, inimicitiae, fallacia, adulatio, fraus, furtum, rapina, perfidia, superbia, ambitio, inuidentia, homicidia, parricidia, crudelitas, saeuitia, nequitia, luxuria, petulantia, inpudentia, inpudicitia, fornicationes, adulteria, incesta et contra naturam utriusque sexus tot stupra atque inmunditiae, quas turpe est etiam dicere, sacrilegia, haereses, blasphemiae, periuria, oppressiones innocentium, calumniae, circumuentiones, praeuaricationes, falsa testimonia, iniqua iudicia, uiolentiae, latrocinia et quidquid talium malorum in mentem non uenit et tamen de uita ista hominum non recedit? Verum haec hominum sunt malorum, ab illa tamen erroris et peruersi amoris radice uenientia, cum qua omnis filius Adam nascitur. Nam quis ignorat cum quanta ignorantia ueritatis, quae iam in infantibus manifesta est, et cum quanta abundantia uanae cupiditatis, quae in pueris incipit apparere, homo ueniat in hanc uitam, ita ut, si dimittatur uiuere ut uelit et facere quidquid uelit, in haec facinora et flagitia, quae commemoraui et quae commemorare non potui, uel cuncta uel multa perueniat?]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
City of God [De Civitate Dei], Book 22, ch. 22 (22.22) (AD 412-416) [tr. Walsh/Honan (1954)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Concerning man’s first origin, our present life (if such a miserable estate can be called a life) does sufficiently prove that all his children were condemned in him. What else does that horrid gulf of ignorance confirm, whence all error has birth, and wherein all the sons of Adam are so deeply drenched, that none can be freed without toil, fear, and sorrow? What else does our love of vanities affirm, whence there arises such a tempest of cares, sorrows, repinings, fears, mad exultations, discords, altercations, wars, treasons, furies, hates, deceits, flatteries, thefts, rapines, perjuries, pride, ambition, envy, murder, parricide, cruelty, villainy, luxury, impudence, unchastity, fornications, adulteries, incests, several sorts of sins against nature (filthy even to be named), sacrilege, heresy, blasphemy, oppression, calumnies, circumventions, deceits, false witnesses, false judgments, violence, robberies, and suchlike out of my remembrance to reckon, but not excluded from the life of man? All these evils are belonging to man, and arise out of the root of that error and perverse affection which every son of Adam brings into the world with him. For who does not know in what a mist of ignorance (as we see in infants) and with what a crew of vain desires (as we see in boys) all mankind enters this world, so that if man were left unto his own election, he would fall into most of the aforesaid mischiefs?
[tr. Healey (1610)]

That the whole human race has been condemned in its first origin, this life itself, if life it is to be called, bears witness by the host of cruel ills with which it is filled. Is not this proved by the profound and dreadful ignorance which produces all the errors that enfold the children of Adam, and from which no man can be delivered without toil, pain, and fear? Is it not proved by his love of so many vain and hurtful things, which produces gnawing cares, disquiet, griefs, fears, wild joys, quarrels, lawsuits, wars, treasons, angers, hatreds, deceit, flattery, fraud, theft, robbery, perfidy, pride, ambition, envy, murders, parricides, cruelty, ferocity, wickedness, luxury, insolence, impudence, shamelessness, fornications, adulteries, incests, and the numberless uncleannesses and unnatural acts of both sexes, which it is shameful so much as to mention; sacrileges, heresies, blasphemies, perjuries, oppression of the innocent, calumnies, plots, falsehoods, false witnessings, unrighteous judgments, violent deeds, plunderings, and whatever similar wickedness has found its way into the lives of men, though it cannot find its way into the conception of pure minds? These are indeed the crimes of wicked men, yet they spring from that root of error and misplaced love which is born with every son of Adam. For who is there that has not observed with what profound ignorance, manifesting itself even in infancy, and with what superfluity of foolish desires, beginning to appear in boyhood, man comes into this life, so that, were he left to live as he pleased, and to do whatever he pleased, he would plunge into all, or certainly into many of those crimes and iniquities which I mentioned, and could not mention?
[tr. Dods (1871)]

This very life, if life it can be called, pregnant with so many dire evils, bears witness that from its very beginning all the progeny of mankind was damned. For what else is the meaning of the dreadful depth of ignorance, from which all error arises, which has taken to its bosom, so to speak, all the sons of Adam in its dark embrace, so that man cannot be freed from that embrace without toil, pain and fear? What is the meaning of the love of so many vain and harmful things, from which come gnawing cares, passions, griefs, fears, mad joys, discords, strifes, wars, plots, wraths, enmities, deceits, flattery, fraud, theft, robbery, perfidy, pride, ambition, envy, murder, parricide, cruelty, ferocity, vileness, riotous living, disorderly conduct, impudence, shamelessness, fornication, adultery, incest and so many outrageous and foul forms of unnatural vice in each sex which it is indecent even to mention, sacrilege, heresies, blasphemies, perjuries, oppressions of the innocent, calumnies, deceptions, duplicities, false witness, unjust verdicts, violence, brigandage and all the other evils which come not to mind, but still do not pass from this life of men? Yes, these are misdeeds of bad men, for they spring from that root of error and perverse love with which every son of Adam is born. Indeed, who does not know with what ignorance of truth, manifest already in infancy, and with what excess of vain desire, which begins to appear in childhood, man comes into this life, so that if he is allowed to live and do as he likes, he falls into all, or many, of these misdeeds and crimes which I have rehearsed, and others which I was unable to rehearse?
[tr. Green (Loeb) (1972)]

As for that first origin of mankind, this present life of ours (if a state full of so much grievous misery can be called a life) is evidence that all the mortal descendants of the first man came under condemnation. Such is the clear evidence of that terrifying abyss of ignorance, as it may be called, which is the source of all error, in whose gloomy depths all the sons of Adam are engulfed, so that man cannot be rescued from it without toil, sorrow and fear. What else is the message of all the evils of humanity? The love of futile and harmful satisfactions, with its results: carking anxieties, agitations of mind, disappointments, fears, frenzied joys, quarrels, disputes, wars, treacheries, hatreds, enmities, deceits, flattery, fraud, theft, rapine, perfidy, pride, ambition, envy, murder, parricide, cruelty, savagery, villainy, lust, promiscuity, indecency, unchastity, fornication, adultery, incest, unnatural vice in men and women (disgusting acts too filthy to be named), sacrilege, collusion, false witness, unjust judgement, violence, robbery, and all other such evils which do not immediately come to mind, although they never cease to beset this life of man -- all these evils belong to man in his wickedness, and they all spring from that root of error and perverted affection which every son of Adam brings with him at his birth. For who is not aware of the vast ignorance of the truth (which is abundantly seen in infancy) and the wealth of futile desires (which begins to be obvious in boyhood) which accompanies a man on his entrance into this world, so that if man were left to live as he chose and act as he pleased he would fall into all, or most, of those crimes and sins which I have mentioned -- and others which I was not able to mention.
[tr. Bettenson (1972)]

This life itself, if it is to be called a life, attests, by the many great evils with which it is filled, that the whole mortal progeny of the first man stands condemned. What could show this more clearly than that dreadful and profound ignorance from which springs all the error which imprisons the sons of Adam in a dark place from which no man can be delivered without toil, pain and fear? Is this not proved by his love of so many vain and harmful things, from which come gnawing cares, disturbances, griefs, fears, insane joys, discords, litigation, wars, treasons, angers, hatreds, falsehood, flattery, fraud, theft, rapine, perfidy, pride, ambition, envy, homicides, parricides, cruelty, ferocity, wickedness, luxury, insolence, immodesty, unchastity, fornications, adulteries, incests, and so many other impure and unnatural acts of both sexes of which it is shameful even to speak; sacrileges, heresies, blasphemies, perjuries, oppression of the innocent, slanders, plots, prevarications, false witness, unrighteous judgments, acts of violence, robberies, and other such evils which do not immediately come to mind, but which are never far away from men in this life? Truly, these are the crimes of wicked men; yet they come forth from that root of error and perverse love which is born with every son of Adam. For who does not know how great is our ignorance of the truth, manifesting itself even in infancy? Who does not know with what an abundance of vain desires, beginning to appear in boyhood, a man comes into this life? So true is this that, if a man were left to live as he wished and do whatever he liked, he would fall into all, or certainly into many, of those crimes and iniquities which I mentioned and could not mention.
[tr. Dyson (1998)]

 
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More quotes by Augustine of Hippo

Cowardice or Bravery is never racial. You find both in every Country. No country has a monopoly on Bravery; great deeds of heroism is liable to break out in the most unexpected places.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“More Letters of a Self-Made Diplomat,” Saturday Evening Post (1932-03-12)
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More quotes by Rogers, Will

The human comedy can keep amusing you, but only if you keep your distance.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 10 (1966)
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Alas, proud Christians, faint with misery,
So warped of vision in the inward sense
You trust in your backslidings! Don’t you see
That we are worms, whose insignificance
Lives but to form the angelic butterfly
That flits to judgement naked of defence?
Why do you let pretension soar so high,
Being as it were but larvae — grubs that lack
The finished form that shall be by and by?

[O superbi Cristian, miseri lassi!
Che, della vista della mente infermi,
Fidanza avete ne’ ritrosi passi;
Non v’ accorgete voi, che noi siam vermi
Nati a formar l’ angelica farfalla,
Che vola alla giustizia senza schermi?
Di che l’ animo vostro in alto galla,
Poi siete quasi entomata in difetto,
Sì come verme, in cui formazion falla?]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 10, l. 121ff (10.121-129) (1314) [tr. Sayers (1955)]
    (Source)

Criticizing prideful Christians.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

O, miserable Pride! of Blindness born!
Vile retrograde Ambition! theme of Scorn!
Can Reptiles in the dust, of dust be proud? --
Boast of their meanness, falsify their end;
From their immortal hopes at once descend.
And let a dowerless Vice their prospects cloud? --

As Reptiles, who their painted plumes display,
(Tho; crawling once in dust,) and wing their way
On Summer-buxom gales, and claim the Sky:
Thus were ye born, and thus you claim your flight
To the pure Precincts of celestial Light,
If on no fpurious Pride your hopes rely.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 23-24]

Christians and proud! O poor and wretched ones!
That feeble in the mind’s eye, lean your trust
Upon unstaid perverseness! Know ye not
That we are worms, yet made at last to form
The winged insect, imp’d with angel plumes
That to heaven’s justice unobstructed soars?
Why buoy ye up aloft your unfleg’d souls?
Abortive then and shapeless ye remain,
Like the untimely embryon of a worm!
[tr. Cary (1814)]

O haughty Christians! miserable, alas!
From mental sight to weakness that's allied,
Confiding in perverseness and in pride,
Perceive ye not we are but merely worms,
Born embryo of angelic butterfly,
Which, unrestrained, to justice flies on high,
Where is the object of your souring flight?
Insect, in whom defecta lone prevails,
And worm, in which the true formatiln fails.v [tr. Bannerman (1850)]

O ye proud Christians! wretched, weary ones!
Who, in the vision of the mind infirm
Confidence have in your backsliding steps,
Do ye not comprehend that we are worms,
Born to bring forth the angelic butterfly
That flieth unto judgment without screen?
Why floats aloft your spirit high in air?
Like are ye unto insects undeveloped,
Even as the worm in whom formation fails!
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

O proud Christians, wretched and weary, who, weak in the sight of the mind, have confidence in your backward paces, do ye not perceive that we are worms, born to form the angelic butterfly which flies without screen to the judgement? In respect of what does your mind float on high, since ye are as it were defective insects, like a worm in which formative power is in default?
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Proud Christians, wretched, weary, and undone!
Who of your mental sight are so bereaved
That ye have faith in backward paths alone;
That we are worms have ye not yet perceived,
Born but to form the Angelic butterfly
That soareth up to judgment unreprieved?
Of what your spirit doth it vaunt so high?
Since ye are unformed insects at the best,
Worms as it were unfinished utterly.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

O proud Christians, wretched weary ones, who, diseased in vision of the mind, have confidence in backward steps, are ye not aware that we are worms born to form the angelic butterfly which flies unto judgment without defence? Why doth your mind float up aloft, since ye are as it were defective insects, even as a worm in which formation fails?
[tr. Norton (1892)]

O ye proud Christians, wretched and weary, who, sick in mental vision, put trust in backward steps,
perceive ye not that we are worms, born to form the angelic butterfly that flieth to judgment without defence?
Why doth your mind soar on high, since ye are as 'twere imperfect insects, even as the grub in which full form is wanting?
[tr. Okey (1901)]

O vainglorious Christians, weary wretches who are sick in the mind's vision and put your trust in backward steps, do you not perceive that we are worms born to form the angelic butterfly that soars to judgement without defence? Why does your mind float so high, since you are as it were imperfect insects, like the worm that is undeveloped?
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

O ye proud Christians, weary and sad of brow,
Who, tainted in the vision of the mind,
In backward steps your confidence avow,
Preceive ye not that we are worms, designed
To form the angelic butterfly, that goes
To judgment, leaving all defence behind?
Why doth your mind take such exalted pose,
Since ye, disabled, are as insects, mean
As worm which never transformation knows?
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

O you proud Christians, wretched souls and small,
who by the dim lights of your twisted minds
believe you prosper even as you fall --
can you not see that we awer works, each one
born to become the Angelic butterfly
that flies defenseless to the Judgment Throne?
what have your souls to boast of and be proud?
You are no more than insects, incomplete
as any grub until it burst the shroud.
[tr. Ciardi (1961)]

O proud Christians, wretched and weary, who, sick in mental vision, put trust in backward steps: are you not aware that we are worms, born to form the angelic butterfly that flies until judgment without defenses? Why does your mind soar up aloft, since you are as it wer imperfect insects, even as the worm in which full form is wanting?
[tr. Singleton (1973)]

O haughty Christians, wretched, sluggish souls,
all you whose inner vision is diseased,
putting your trust in things that pull you back,
do you not understand that we are worms,
each born to form the angelic butterfly,
that flies defenseless to the Final Judge?
Why do your souls’ pretensions rise so high,
since you are but defective insects still,
worms as yet imperfectly evolved?
[tr. Musa (1981)]

O proud Christians, wretched and exhausted,
Who, sick in mind, and not seeing aright,
Go confidently in the wrong direction;
Do you not perceive that we are grubs,
Born to turn into the angelic butterfly
Which flies towards justice without defence?
Why does your mind float aloft
Since you are no more than defective insects,
Like the grub which has not reached its full development?
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

O Christians, arrogant, exhausted, wretched,
Whose intellects are sick and cannot see,
Who place your confidence in backward steps,
Do you not know that we are worms and born
To form the angelic butterfly that soars,
Without defenses, to confront His judgment?
Why does your mind presume to flight when you
Are still like the imperfect grub, the worm
Before it has attained its final form?
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

O proud Christians, weary wretches, who, weak in mental vision, put your faith in backward steps,
do you not perceive that we are worms born to form the angelic butterfly that flies to justice without a shield?
Why is it that your spirit floats on high, since you are like defective insects, like worms in whom formation is lacking?
[tr. Durling (2003)]

O proud Christians, weary and wretched, who, infirm in the mind’s vision, put your trust in downward steps: do you not see that we are caterpillars, born to form the angelic butterfly, that flies to judgement without defence? Why does your mind soar to the heights, since you are defective insects, even as the caterpillar is, in which the form is lacking?
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Proud Christians, wretched and — alas! — so tired,
who, feeble in your powers of mental sight,
place so much faith in your own backward tread,
do you not recognize that you are worms
born to become angelic butterflies
that fly to justice with no veil between?
Why is it that your thoughts float up so high?
You, with your faults, are little more than grubs,
chrysalides (no more!) that lack full form.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]

O vainglorious Christians, miserable wretches!
Sick in the visions engendered in your minds,
you put your trust in backward steps.
Do you not see that we are born as worms,
though able to transform into angelic butterflies
that unimpeded soar to justice?
What makes your mind rear up so high?
You are, as it were, defective creatures,
like the unformed worm, shaped from the mud.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

O haughty Christians, miserable and weary,
Driven by sickness rioting in your mind,
Placing eternal trust in what walks backward,
Unable to see that human beings are worms,
Born to create angelic butterflies
That fly to God's judgment, needing no other protection.
Why do you let your mind soar into Heaven,
Since what you truly are is imperfect insects,
Just as the worm must wait to come into being?
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

Sometimes when a person sees the roguery of poor people and the thievery of people in high positions, he is tempted to regard society as a forest full of robbers, the most dangerous of which are the policemen that are set up to stop the others.

[En voyant quelquefois les friponneries des petits et les brigandages des hommes en place, on est tenté de regarder la société comme un bois rempli de voleurs, dont les plus dangereux sont les archers, préposés pour arrêter les autres.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 3, ¶ 198 (1795) [tr. Siniscalchi (1994)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Seeing the rogueries of little men and the extortions of the great in office, one is tempted to look upon Society as a wood infested by robbers, the most dangerous being the constables sent to arrest the others.
[tr. Mathers (1926)]

At times, seeing the petty thieveries of the petty, and the robberies of those in office, one is tempted to regard society as a wood full of thieves, of which the most dangerous are the officers set there to arrest the others.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

Sometimes, when one observes the rogueries perpetuated by petty people and the graft committed by men in office, one is tempted to think of society as a wood infested by thieves, of which the most dangerous are the archers, posted to prevent the others from escaping.
[tr. Pearson (1973)]

There are times when, seeing the nasty tricks people get up to, the gross frauds of high officers, you're tempted to think that you're in a wood infested by thieves, amongst whom the most dangerous are the police, whose purpose is supposed to be that of arresting them.
[tr. Parmée (2003), ¶ 152]

 
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It is often said that the Church is a crutch. Of course it’s a crutch. What makes you think you don’t limp?

William Sloane Coffin, Jr. (1924-2006) American minister, social activist
Credo, “The Church” (2004)
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Everything beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation. Crime, of which the human animal has learned the taste in his mother’s womb, is natural by origin. Virtue, on the other hand, is artificial, supernatural, since at all times and in all places gods and prophets have been needed to teach it to animalized humanity, man being powerless to discover it by himself. Evil happens without effort, naturally, fatally; Good is always the product of some art.

[Tout ce qui est beau et noble est le résultat de la raison et du calcul. Le crime, dont l’animal humain a puisé le goût dans le ventre de sa mère, est originellement naturel. La vertu, au contraire, est artificielle, surnaturelle, puisqu’il a fallu, dans tous les temps et chez toutes les nations, des dieux et des prophètes pour l’enseigner à l’humanité animalisée, et que l’homme, seul, eût été impuissant à la découvrir. Le mal se fait sans effort, naturellement, par fatalité ; le bien est toujours le produit d’un art.]

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
“Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne [The Painter of Modern Life],” sec. 11 (1863) [tr. Mayne (1964)]
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(Source (French)). Alternate translation:

Everything beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation. Crime, for which the human creature has acquired a taste in its mother’s womb, is natural in origin. Virtue, on the contrary, is artificial, unnatural since, at all times and among all nations, gods and prophets were necessary to teach virtue to animalistic humanity, which humanity alone was unable to discover. Evil occurs without effort, naturally, through fatality; good is always the product of artifice.
[tr. Kline (2020)]

 
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More quotes by Baudelaire, Charles

Physical scourges and the calamities of human nature rendered society necessary. Society has added to natural misfortunes. The drawbacks of society have made government necessary, and government adds to society’s misfortunes. There is the history of human nature in a nutshell.

[Les fléaux physiques, et les calamités de la nature humaine ont rendu la Société nécessaire. La Société a ajouté aux malheurs de la Nature. Les inconvéniens de la Société ont amené la nécessité du gouvernement, et le gouvernement ajoute aux malheurs de la Société. Voilà l’histoire de la nature humaine.]

Nicolas Chamfort
Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Products of Perfected Civilization [Produits de la Civilisation Perfectionée], Part 1 “Maxims and Thoughts [Maximes et Pensées],” ch. 1, ¶ 67 (1795) [tr. Hutchinson (1902)]
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(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

The physical plagues and misfortunes of human nature have made Society necessary. Society has added to the ills of Nature. The difficulties of Society have created the necessity for Government, and Government now adds to the evils of Society. There you have the history of man.
[tr. Mathers (1926)]

Physical disasters and the calamities of human nature have rendered society necessary. To the miseries of nature, society has added its own. The difficulties of society have evolved the necessity for government, and government has added to the miseries of society. This is the history of human nature.
[tr. Merwin (1969)]

Physical disasters and the calamities of human nature made society necessary. Society's ordeals were then added to those of nature. The drawbacks of society led to the need for government, whereupon the evils of government were added to those of society. Such is the history of human nature.
[tr. Dusinberre (1992)]

Physical plagues and the calamities of nature made society necessary. Society added to the misfortunes of nature. The inconveniences of society brought the necessity of government, and the government added to the misfortunes of society. This is the history of human nature.
[tr. Sinicalchi]

 
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Perhaps no other animal is so torn between alternatives. Man might be described fairly adequately, if simply, as a two-legged paradox. He has never become accustomed to the tragic miracle of consciousness. Perhaps, as has been suggested, his species is not set, has not jelled, but is still in a state of becoming, bound by his physical memories to a past of struggle and survival, limited in his futures by the uneasiness of thought and consciousness.

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) American writer
The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1941, 1951)
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Dark stratagems, and treachery, to relieve
The coward’s wants, were by mankind devis’d.

[δόλοι δὲ καὶ σκοτεινὰ μηχανήματα
χρείας ἀνάνδρου φάρμαχ᾽ εὕρηται βροτοῖς.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bellerophon [Βελλεροφῶν], frag. 288 (TGF) (c. 430 BC) [tr. Wodhull (1809)]
    (Source)

Nauck frag. 290, Barnes frag. 42, Musgrave frag. 8. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Tricks and dark schemes are mankind's invention as
cowardly remedies against need.
[tr. Collard, Hargreaves, Cropp (1995)]

Trickery and devious devices are man’s unmanly means to meet his needs.
[tr. Stevens (2012)]

 
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This life is a hospital in which every patient is haunted by the desire to change beds. This one wants to suffer in front of the stove, and that one believes he will recover next to the window.
 
[Cette vie est un hôpital où chaque malade est possédé du désir de changer de lit. Celui-ci voudrait souffrir en face du poêle, et celui-là croit qu’il guérirait à côté de la fenêtre.]

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
Le Spleen de Paris (Petits Poèmes en Prose), No. 48 “Any Where Out of the world” (1869) [tr. Kaplan (1989)]
    (Source)

The title of the original is in English, a line from Thomas Hood, "The Bridge of Sighs." It is often subtitled with the French translation, "N’importe où hors du monde," which are the final lines.

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Life is a hospital, in which every patient is possessed by the desire of changing his bed. One would prefer to suffer near the fire, and another is certain that he would get well if he were by the window.
[tr. Symons (<1919)]

This life is a hospital where every patient is possessed with the desire to change beds; one man would like to suffer in front of the stove, and another believes that he would recover his health beside the window.
[tr. Hamburger (1946)]

Life is a hospital where every patient is obsessed by the desire of changing beds. One would like to suffer opposite the stove, another is sure he would get well beside the window.
[tr. Varèse (1970)]

This life is a hospital where each patient is possessed with the desire of changing his bed. One would like to suffer in front of the stove, and another believes he would get well beside the windows.
[tr. Fowlie (1992)]

This life is a hospital, where each patient is possessed by the desire to change beds. That one prefers to suffer nearer the stove and this one believes he would get well next to the window.
[tr. Waldrop (2009)]

 
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Perhaps I know best why man alone laughs: he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.

[Vielleicht weiss ich am besten, warum der Mensch allein lacht: er allein leidet so tief, dass er das Lachen erfinden musste.]

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Will to Power [Der Wille zur Macht], Book 1, Part 2, ch. 2/b, § 91 (1901) [ed. Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche] [tr. Kaufmann/Hollingdale (1967)]
    (Source)

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

Perhaps I know best why man is the only animal that laughs : he alone suffers so excruciatingly that he was compelled to invent laughter.
[tr. Ludovici (1910)]

Perhaps I know best why it is man alone who laughs; he alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.
[Common, e.g.]

Perhaps I know best why man alone laughs: only he suffers so profoundly that he was bound to invent laughter.
[tr. Hill/Scarpitti (2017)]

 
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Thus every Creature, and of every Kind,
The secret Joys of sweet Coition find:
Not only Man’s Imperial Race; but they
That wing the liquid Air; or swim the Sea,
Or haunt the Desert, rush into the flame:
For Love is Lord of all; and is in all the same.

[Omne adeo genus in terris hominumque ferarumque,
Et genus aequoreum, pecudes, pictaeque volucres,
In furias ignemque ruunt. Amor omnibus idem.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Georgics [Georgica], Book 3, l. 242ff (3.242-244) (29 BC) [tr. Dryden (1709), l. 375ff]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

All men on earth, and beasts, both wilde and tame,
Sea-monsters, gaudy fowle, rush to this flame:
The same love works in all; with love ingag'd.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

Nor they alone: but beasts that haunt the woods,
The painted birds, the people of the floods,
Cattle, and men, to frenzy and to flame
Start wild: Love's empire is in all the same.
[tr. Nevile (1767), l. 289ff]

Thus all that wings the air and cleaves the flood,
Herds that or graze the plain or haunt the wood,
Rush to like flames, when kindred passions move,
And man and brute obey the power of love.
[tr. Sotheby (1800)]

Indeed every kind on earth, both of men and wild beasts, the fish, the cattle, and painted birds, rush into maddening fires; love is in all the same.
[tr. Davidson (1854)]

So then all kinds on earth of men and herds,
The ocean tribes, the beasts, the painted birds,
Rush all alike to frenzy and to flame;
Love rules them all, and love is still the same.
[tr. Blackmore (1871), l. 293ff]

Nay, every race on earth, whether of men or beasts, the watery tribes, the herds, the painted birds, rush headlong into this fiery phrenzy; love sways all alike.
[tr. Wilkins (1873)]

Nay, every race on earth of men, and beasts,
And ocean-folk, and flocks, and painted birds,
Rush to the raging fire: love sways them all.
[tr. Rhoades (1881)]

Thus all alike the slaves of love remain,
That haunt the woodland, or that graze the plain.
[tr. King (1882)]

In truth, every kind on the earth, both of men and wild beasts, the fish, the cattle, and plumaged birds, rush to the frenzy and the fire of love: in all there is the same love.
[tr. Bryce (1897)]

Yes all on earth, the race of man and beast, the tribes of the sea, cattle and coloured birds break into fury and fire; in all love is the same.
[tr. Mackail (1899)]

Yea, all -- all tribes of earth, all men, all cattle-herds,
Wild beasts of the forest, the brood of the sea, plume-painted birds,
Into flames of passion rush' all hearts are in one net taken.
[tr. Way (1912)]

For all terrestrial kinds, or beast or man,
All Ocean's brood and flocks of bright-hued birds
Haste to the same fierce fire. One power of love
Possesses all.
[tr. Williams (1915)]

Every single race on earth, man and beast, the tribes of the sea, cattle and birds brilliant of hue, rush into fires of passion: all feel the same Love.
[tr. Fairclough (Loeb) (1916)]

All manner of life on earth -- men, fauna of land and sea,
Cattle and coloured birds --
Run to this fiery madness: love is alike for all.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1940)]

Thus, every living creature, man and beast,
The ocean’s tribes, the herds, the colorful birds,
Rush toward the furious flames: love levels all.
[tr. Bovie (1956)]

Or, better, make it fire, the tongues of flame
burning like waves in a sunset, while all of life,
birds, fish, beasts of the fields, and men,
maddened, leap like lemmings into the sea,
that searing sea, that terrible tide of lust
to be like -- to become --
each, the fabulolus phoenix,
and rise renewed.
[tr. Slavitt (1971)]

Indeed all species in the world, of men,
Wild beasts and fish, cattle and coloured birds
Rush madly into the furnace: love is common
To all.
[tr. Wilkinson (1982)]

Every species on earth, man and creature, and the species
of the sea, and cattle and bright-feathered birds,
rush about in fire and frenzy: love’s the same for all.
[tr. Kline (2001)]

Every last species on earth, man and beast alike,
the vast schools of the sea, the cattle and bright-colored birds
fall helpless into passion’s fire: love is the same for all.
[tr. Lembke (2004)]

Indeed, all species on the earth, both man and beast,
the kingdom undersea, cattle and painted birds
into this hot lunacy rush: love strikes all the same.
[tr. Johnson (2009)]

All living creatures on earth, no matter whether
It's human beings or other kinds -- fish, cattle,
Beautiful birds -- they all rush into the fire:
Love is the same for all.
[tr. Ferry (2015)]

 
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There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.

Jane Austen
Jane Austen (1775-1817) English author
Pride and Prejudice, ch. 24 [Elizabeth] (1813)
    (Source)
 
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But one cannot weep for the entire world. It is beyond human strength. One must choose.

[On ne peut pleurer pour le monde entier : C’est au-delà des forces humaines. Il faut choisir!]

Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) French dramatist
Cecile; or The School for Fathers [L’Ecole Des Peres] [The Chevalier] (1951) [tr. Klein (1956)]
    (Source)
 
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I luv mi phailings. It iz theze that make me pheel that i have that tutch ov natur in me that makes me brother tew every man living.

[I love my failings. It is these that make me feel that I have that touch of nature in me that makes me brother to every man living.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist, aphorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, ch. 131 “Affurisms: Plum Pits (1)” (1874)
    (Source)
 
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The day you stop learning is the day you begin decaying, and then you are no longer a human being.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
Commencement speech, Connecticut College (1975-05-25)
    (Source)

Quoted in Peter Smith, ed., Onward! 25 Years of Advice, Exhortation, and Inspiration from America's Best Commencement Speeches (2000).
 
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All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, ch. 2, § 16 (1916)
    (Source)
 
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There ain’t nobody on earth, I don’t care how smart they are, ever going to make me believe they will ever stop wars.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Weekly Article” column (1923-07-22)
    (Source)
 
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Though it might be nice to imagine there once was a time when man lived in harmony with nature, it’s not clear that he ever really did.

Elizabeth Kolbert (b. 1961) American journalist and author
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, ch. 11 (2014)
    (Source)
 
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An attack upon our ability to tell stories is not just censorship — it is a crime against our nature as human beings.

Salman Rushdie (b. 1947) Indian novelist
“Public Event, Private Lives,” speech, University of Colorado, Boulder (2013-04-17)
    (Source)
 
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Since I do not admit that a person without bias exists, I think the best that can be done with a large-scale history is to admit one’s bias and for dissatisfied readers to look for other writers to express an opposite bias. Which bias is nearer to the truth must be left to posterity.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Autobiography, ch. 13 (1968)
    (Source)
 
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Of course someone would be that stupid. Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying “End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH,” the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Thief of Time (2001)
    (Source)
 
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To my mind, a man without a bias cannot write interesting history — if, indeed, such a man exists. I regard it as mere humbug to pretend to a lack of bias.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Autobiography, ch. 13 (1968)
    (Source)
 
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I’d rather be a rising ape than a falling angel.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
(Frequent Phrase)

Pratchett used this phrase and variations on it on numerous occasions. Here are a few:

Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.
-- Hogfather (1996)

Who would not rather be a rising ape than a falling angel.
-- "I create gods all the time," Daily Mail (2008-06-21)

"I'd much rather be a rising ape than a fallen angel"
-- Guardian Book Club Q&A video, 7:19 Guardian (2009-12-19)

See also F. H. Knelman's essay, "Probing Man's True Nature" in 1984 And All That, Sec. 3 (1971):

In the last few years science has been racked by vexing questions concerning the nature of man. The fallen angel has departed and the rising ape appeared.

 
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I’m struck by how laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy.

John Cleese (b. 1939) English comedian, actor, screenwriter, producer
The Human Face, 01×02 “Here’s Looking at You!” BBC TV (2001-03-14)
 
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Self-indulgence and sensual delight are born with man and die only at his death; neither the joys nor the sorrows of life can deprive him of them; he finds therein the reward of success, or a consolation for misfortune.

[La mollesse et la volupté naissent avec l’homme, et ne finissent qu’avec lui; ni les heureux ni les tristes événements ne l’en peuvent séparer; c’est pour lui ou le fruit de la bonne fortune, ou un dédommagement de la mauvaise.]

Jean de La Bruyere
Jean de La Bruyère (1645-1696) French essayist, moralist
The Characters [Les Caractères], ch. 11 “Of Mankind [De l’Homme],” § 110 (11.110) (1688) [tr. Stewart (1970)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Softness and voluptuousness are innate, they are born with men and die with them, happy, or unhappy accidents never cure 'em, good and bad fortune equally produce them.
[Bullord ed. (1696)]

Luxury and Voluptuousness are innate, born with Man and die with them, happy or unhappy Accidents never part him from them; the fruits he enjoys of a good Fortune and the amends of a bad one.
[Curll ed. (1713)]

Softness and Voluptuousness are innate to Men, and stick by them till they die; it is beyond the Power of happy, or unhappy Accidents to detach them: they are the Emanations of Prosperity or used as Solaces in Adversity.
[Browne ed. (1752)]

Want of vigour and voluptuousness are innate in man and cease with him, and fortunate or unfortunate circumstances never make him abandon them; they are the fruits of prosperity or become a solace in adversity.
[tr. Van Laun (1885)]

 
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Even if there were only two men left in the world and both of them saints they wouldn’t be happy. One of them would be bound to try and improve the other. That is the nature of things.

Frank O'Connor
Frank O'Connor (1903-1966) Irish author and translator [pseud. of Michael O'Donovan]
“Song Without Words” (1951)
    (Source)

Opening words. First printed in Argosy (1951-12).
 
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There is, perhaps, no surer mark of folly, than an attempt to correct the natural infirmities of those we love. The finest composition of human nature, as well as the finest china, may have a flaw in it; and this, I am afraid, in either case, is equally incurable; though, nevertheless, the pattern may remain of the highest value.

Henry Fielding (1707-1754) English novelist, dramatist, satirist
The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Book 2, ch. 7 (1749)
    (Source)
 
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There are depths in man which go down the length of the lowest Hell, as there are heights which reach the highest Heaven; — for are not both Heaven and Hell made out of him, everlasting Miracle and Mystery that he is?

Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
The French Revolution, Vol. 3, Book 1, ch. 4 (1837)
    (Source)

This is often cited back to its popular attributed variant in Tryon Edwards (ed.), A Dictionary of Thoughts (1891):

There are depths in man that go to the lowest hell, and heights that reach the highest heaven, for are not both heaven and hell made out of him, everlasting miracle and mystery that he is.

Martin Luther King, Jr., used that variant in his sermon, "The Christian Doctrine of Man," Detroit Council of Churches’ Noon Lenten Services (12 Mar 1958):

And so they would cry out with Carlyle that there are depths in man which go down to the lowest hell and heights which reach the highest heaven. For are not both heaven and hell made out of Him, everlasting miracle and mystery that He is.

 
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True law is correct reason congruent with nature, spread among all persons, constant, everlasting. It calls to duty by ordering; it deters from mischief by forbidding. Nevertheless, it does not order or forbid upright persons in vain, nor does it move the wicked by ordering or forbidding. It is not holy to circumvent this law, nor is it permitted to modify any part of it, nor can it be entirely repealed. In fact we cannot be released from this law by either the senate or the people. No Sextus Aelius should be sought as expositor or interpreter. There will not be one law at Rome, another at Athens, one now, another later, but one law both everlasting and unchangeable will encompass all nations and for all time. And one god will be the common teacher and general, so to speak, of all persons. He will be the author, empire, and provider of this law. The person who will not obey it will flee from himself, and, defying human nature, he will suffer the greatest penalties by this very fact, even if he escapes other things that are thought to be punishments.

[Est quidem vera lex recta ratio naturae congruens, diffusa in omnes, constans, sempiterna, quae vocet ad officium iubendo, vetando a fraude deterreat; quae tamen neque probos frustra iubet aut vetat nec improbos iubendo aut vetando movet. Huic legi nec obrogari fas est neque derogari ex hac aliquid licet neque tota abrogari potest, nec vero aut per senatum aut per populum solvi hac lege possumus, neque est quaerendus explanator aut interpres eius alius, nec erit alia lex Romae, alia Athenis, alia nunc, alia posthac, sed et omnes gentes et omni tempore una lex et sempiterna et immutabilis continebit, unusque erit communis quasi magister et imperator omnium deus, ille legis huius inventor, disceptator, lator; cui qui non parebit, ipse se fugiet ac naturam hominis aspernatus hoc ipso luet maximas poenas, etiamsi cetera supplicia, quae putantur, effugerit.]

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Re Publica [On the Republic, On the Commonwealth], Book 3, ch. 22 / sec. 33 (3.33) (54-51 BC) [tr. Fott (2014)]
    (Source)

Stoic definition of the law. Fragment, quoted by Lactantius, Divinae Institutiones, 6.8.6-9. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

There is indeed a law, right reason, which is in accordance with nature; existing in all, unchangeable, eternal. Commanding us to do what is right, forbidding us to do what is wrong. It has dominion over good men, but possesses no influence over bad ones. No other law can be substituted for it, no part of it can be taken away, nor can it be abrogated altogether. Neither the people or the senate can absolve us from 38it. It wants no commentator or interpreter. It is not one thing at Rome, and another thing at Athens: one thing to-day, and another thing to-morrow; but it is a law eternal and immutable for all nations and for all time. God, the sole Ruler, and universal Lord, has framed and proclaimed this law. He who does not obey it, renounces himself, and is false to his own nature: he brings upon himself the direst tortures, even when he escapes human punishments.
[tr. Featherstonhaugh (1829)]

There is a true law, a right reason, conformable to nature, universal, unchangeable, eternal, whose commands urge us to duty, and whose prohibitions restrain us from evil. Whether it enjoins or forbids, the good respect its injunctions, and the wicked treat them with indifference. This law cannot be contradicted by any other law, and is not liable either to derogation or abrogation. Neither the senate nor the people can give us any dispensation for not obeying this universal law of justice. It needs no other expositor and interpreter than our own conscience. It is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens; one thing to–day and another to–morrow; but in all times and nations this universal law must for ever reign, eternal and imperishable. It is the sovereign master and emperor of all beings. God himself is its author, -- its promulgator, -- its enforcer. He who obeys it not, flies from himself, and does violence to the very nature of man. For his crime he must endure the severest penalties hereafter, even if he avoid the usual misfortunes of the present life.
[tr. Barham (1841)]

True law is right reason conformable to nature, universal, unchangeable, eternal, whose commands urge us to duty, and whose prohibitions restrain us from evil. Whether it enjoins or forbids, the good respect its injunctions, and the wicked treat them with indifference. This law cannot be contradicted by any other law, and is not liable either to derogation or abrogation. Neither the senate nor the people can give us any dispensation for not obeying this universal law of justice. It needs no other expositor and interpreter than our own conscience. It is not one thing at Rome, and another at Athens; one thing to-day, and another to-morrow; but in all times and nations this universal law must forever reign, eternal and imperishable. It is the sovereign master and emperor of all beings. God himself is its author, its promulgator, its enforcer. And he who does not obey it flies from himself, and does violence to the very nature of man. And by so doing he will endure the severest penalties even if he avoid the other evils which are usually accounted punishments.
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment.
[tr. Keyes (1928)]

There is in fact a true law -- namely, right reason -- which is in accordance with nature, applies to all men, and is unchangeable and eternal. By its commands this law summons men to the performance of their duties; by its prohibitions it restrains them from doing wrong. Its commands and prohibitions always influence good men, but are without effect upon the bad. To invalidate this law by human legislation is never morally right, nor is it permissible ever to restrict its operation, and to annul it wholly is impossible. Neither the senate nor the people can absolve us from our obligation to obey this law, and it requires no Sextus Aelius to expound and interpret it. It will not lay down one rule at Rome and another at Athens, nor will it be one rule today and another tomorrow. But there will be one law, eternal and unchangeable, binding at all times upon all peoples; and there will be, as it were, one common master and ruler of men, namely God, who is the author of this law, its interpreter, and its sponsor. The man who will not obey it will abandon his better self, and, in denying the true nature of a man, will thereby suffer the severest of penalties, though he has escaped all the other consequences which men call punishment.
[tr. Sabine/Smith (1929)]

... law in the proper sense is right reason in harmony with nature. It is spread through the whole human community, unchanging and eternal, calling people to their duty by its commands and deterring them from wrong-doing by its prohibitions. When it addresses a good man, its commands and prohibitions are never in vain; but those same commands and prohibitions have no effect on the wicked. This law cannot be countermanded, nor can it be in any way amended, nor can it be totally rescinded. We cannot be exempted from this law by any decree of the Senate or the people, nor do we need anyone else to expound or explain it. There will not be one such law in Rome and another in Athens, one now and another in the future, but all peoples at all times will be embraced by a single eternal and unchangeable law; and there will be, as it were, one lord and master of us all -- the god who is the author, proposer, and interpreter of that law. Whoever refuses to obey it will be turning his back on himiself. Because he has denied his nature as a human being he will face the gravest penalties for this alone, even if he succeeds in avoiding all the other things that are regarded as punishments ...
[tr. Rudd (1998)]

True law is right reason, consistent with nature, spread through all people. It is constant and eternal; it summons to duty by its orders, it deters crime by its prohibitions. Its orders and prohibitions to good people are never given in vain; but it does not move the wicked by these orders or prohibitions. It is wrong to pass laws obviating this law; it is not permitted to abrogate any of it; it cannot be totally repealed. We cannot be released from this law by the senate or the people, and it needs no exegete or interpreter like Sextus Aelius. There will not be one law at Rome and another at Athens, one now and another later; but all nations at all times will be bound by this one eternal and unchangeable law, and the god will be the one common master and general (so to speak) of all people. He is the author, expounder, and mover of this law; and the person who does not obey it will be in exile from h imself. Insofar as he scorns his nature as a human being, but his very fact he will pay the greatest penalty, even if he escapes all the other things that are generally regarded as punishments.
[tr. Zetzel (1999)]

 
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Break the skin of civilization and you find the ape, roaring and red-handed.

Robert E. Howard (1906-1936) American author
Letter to Harold Preece (early 1928)
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It is supposed to be true that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. I don’t believe knowing can save us. What is constant in history is greed and foolishness and a love of blood, and this is a thing that even God — who knows all that can be known — seems powerless to change.

Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
All the Pretty Horses, ch. 4 (1992)
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See Santayana.
 
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It is therefore not true that against nature there is neither rein nor master. On the contrary, there are two of them: one is good manners, the other reason.

[Non è adunque vero che incontro alla natura non abbia freno né maestro: anzi ve ne ha due, ché l’uno è il costume e l’altro è la ragione.]

Giovanni della Casa
Giovanni della Casa (1503-1556) Florentine poet, author, diplomat, bishop
Galateo: Or, A Treatise on Politeness and Delicacy of Manners [Il Galateo overo de’ costumi], ch. 25 (1558) [tr. Eisnbichler/Bartlett (1986)]
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(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

It is not then true, that there is not a bridell and Master for Nature, Nay, she is guided and ruled by twaine: Custome I meane, and Reason.
[tr. Peterson (1576)]

Which being so, it is not true, that we are not furnished with reins, or a proper guide against the impetuosity of our nature: for we have two; one of which is Experience, and the other right Reason.
[tr. Graves (1774)]

 
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I haven’t a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices whatsoever.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“Answers to Correspondents,” The Californian (17 Jun 1865)
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Reprinted in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other Sketches (1867).
 
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I happen to think the singular evil of our time is prejudice. It is from this evil that all other evils grow and multiply. In almost everything I’ve written there is a thread of this: man’s seemingly palpable need to dislike someone other than himself.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
“Serling in Creative Mainstream,” interview by Ellen Cameron May, Los Angeles Times (1967-06-25)
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Quoted in Anne Serling, As I Knew Him: My Dad, Rod Serling, ch. 8 (2013).
 
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You’re going to have to explain the logic of man to me, Mr. Grudge. For example, tell me how you come about your selective morality. This ease with which you strip off your conscience like an overcoat — and let your satisfied belch drown out the hunger cries that fill the air around you. How do you create the exact science whereby you disinvolve yourself from all the anguish of the world that doesn’t happen to be in your direct line of vision? That doesn’t take a special breed of man at all, Mr. Grudge. That is man in his normal condition.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
A Carol for Another Christmas [Ghost of Christmas Present] (1964)
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It is characteristic of all deep human problems that they are not to be approached without some humor and some bewilderment.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson (1923-2020) English-American theoretical physicist, mathematician, futurist
Disturbing the Universe, ch. 1 (1979)
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No matter what a man or a woman does for a living, it is part of the human mechanism to expect and need recognition of some sort. Beyond the security and the paycheck is the palpable hunger of a person to have an identity of his own.

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Patterns, Introduction (1957)
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Democracy is based on a profound insight into human nature, the realization that all men are sinful, all are imperfect, all are prejudiced, and none knows the whole truth. That is why we need liberty and why we have an obligation to hear all men. Liberty gives us a chance to learn from other people, to become aware of our own limitations, and to correct our bias. Even when we disagree with other people we like to think that they speak from good motives, and while we realize that all men are limited, we do not let ourselves imagine that any man is bad. Democracy is a political system for people who are not sure that they are right.

E E Schattschneider
E. E. Schattschneider (1892-1971) American political scientist [Elmer Eric Schattschneider]
Two Hundred Million Americans in Search of a Government (1969)
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We must realize that man’s nature will remain the same so long as he remains man; that civilization is but a slight coverlet beneath which the dominant beast sleeps lightly and ever ready to awake.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) American fabulist [Howard Phillips Lovecraft]
“At the Root,” The United Amateur (Jul 1918)
 
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