Quotations about   ideal

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Every man is in some sort a failure to himself. No one ever reaches the heights to which he aspires.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
The Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Vol. 3, ch. 22 “Table-Talk” (1886) [ed. Samuel Longfellow]
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Added on 9-Jun-19 | Last updated 9-Jun-19
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It was better, he thought, to fail in attempting exquisite things than to succeed in the department of the utterly contemptible.

Arthur Machen (1863-1947) Welsh author and mystic
The Hill of Dreams, ch. 5 (1907)
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Added on 26-Jan-19 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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Ever since I had dinner with Lou Reed I’ve tried to avoid meeting the people who would make me feel starstruck. It was a great dinner but by the end of it Lou Reed was no longer my hero, and I don’t have many heroes. I resolutely avoided meeting David Bowie, which became harder when I became friends with Duncan Jones, his son, and then got even harder when I moved to Woodstock and he lived around the corner. But I love the fact that the Bowie that I have is the Bowie in my head: a strange, evolving, absolutely fictional Bowie who became my hero when I was 11.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
“This Much I Know,” The Guardian (5 Aug 2017)
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Added on 18-Sep-17 | Last updated 18-Sep-17
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Ambition hath one heel nailed in hell, though she stretch her finger to touch the heavens.

John Lyly (c. 1553-1606) was an English writer [also Lilly or Lylie]
Midas: A Comedy, Act 2, sc. 1 [Sophronia] (1592)
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Sometimes misquoted as "nailed in well." Sometimes misattributed to Lao-tzu.
Added on 23-Aug-17 | Last updated 5-Sep-17
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Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to “jump at de sun.” We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) American writer, folklorist, anthropologist
Dust Tracks on a Road, ch. 2 “My Folks” (1942)
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Added on 23-Aug-17 | Last updated 23-Aug-17
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A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man by one which is lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other, ambition. Ambition is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Life Thoughts (1858)
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Sometimes misattributed to Marcus Aurelius.
Added on 17-May-17 | Last updated 17-May-17
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So the universe is not quite as you thought it was. You’d better rearrange your beliefs, then. Because you certainly can’t rearrange the universe.

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
Nightfall (1990) [with Robert Silverberg]
Added on 18-Jan-16 | Last updated 18-Jan-16
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An ideal wife is any woman who has an ideal husband.

Tarkington - ideal wife - wist_info quote

Booth Tarkington (1869-1946) American novelist and dramatist
“The Hopeful Pessimist,” Looking Forward and Others (1926)
Added on 29-Dec-15 | Last updated 29-Dec-15
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There isn’t a way things should be. There’s just what happens, and what we do.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
A Hat Full of Sky (2004)
Added on 23-Sep-15 | Last updated 23-Sep-15
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In dealing with the law and with people I have found a vast difference between “should” and “is.”

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Friday [Brian] (1982)
Added on 1-Sep-15 | Last updated 1-Sep-15
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Heroism is a model. It is worthwhile to the extent that it is useful. Humans are all full of glory and garbage, and to dwell too long on one or the other robs us of that very humanity.

Graham Ericsson (b. 1947) American writer, aphorist
What Have You Done To Me Lately?, ch. 1 (2014)
Added on 13-Jul-15 | Last updated 13-Jul-15
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When the gap between the ideal and real becomes too wide, the system breaks down.

Barbara W. Tuchman (1912-1989) American historian and author
A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, Foreward (1978)
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Added on 2-Jun-15 | Last updated 2-Jun-15
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What counts now is not just what we are against, but what we are for.

Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965) American diplomat, statesman
Speech, Democratic National Convention, Chicago (21 Jul 1952)
Added on 23-Apr-15 | Last updated 23-Apr-15
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Man seeks objectives that enable him to convert the attainment of every goal into a means for the attainment of a new and more desirable goal. The ultimate objective in such a sequence cannot be obtainable; otherwise its attainment would put an end to the process. An end that satisfies these conditions is an ideal …. Thus the formulation and pursuit of ideals is a means by which to put meaning and significance into his life and into the history of which he is part.

Russell L. Ackoff (1919-2009) American organizational theorist, consultant, management scientist
On Purposeful Systems, Vol. 6 (1972) [with R Lincoln and F Emery]
Added on 26-Feb-15 | Last updated 26-Feb-15
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Blood that has soaked into the sands of a beach is all of one color. America stands unique in the world: the only country not founded on race but on a way, an ideal. Not in spite of but because of our polyglot background, we have had all the strength in the world. That is the American way.

Ronald Reagan (1911-2006) US President (1981-89), politician, actor
Speech (10 Aug 1988)

On signing a bill providing restitution to Japanese-Americans who had been put in internment camps during World War II. He originally spoke the words as an Army Captain in December 1945 at a "United America Day" rally for the posthumous awarding of the Distinguished Service Cross to Sgt. Kazuo Masuda.
Added on 28-Jan-15 | Last updated 28-Jan-15
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Our faults and sins seem all the bigger when they are seen by the world against the excessively self-righteous picture that is our official version of ourselves.

Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) American journalist and author
“The Grace of Humility,” New York Herald Tribune (24 Sep 1957)
Added on 12-Jan-15 | Last updated 12-Jan-15
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In its main features the Declaration of Independence is a great spiritual document. It is a declaration not of material but of spiritual conceptions. Equality, liberty, popular sovereignty, the rights of man — these are not elements which we can see and touch. They are ideals. They have their source and their roots in the religious convictions. They belong to the unseen world. Unless the faith of the American people in these religious convictions is to endure, the principles of our Declaration will perish. We can not continue to enjoy the result if we neglect and abandon the cause.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) American lawyer, politician, US President (1925-29)
“Speech on the Occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence” (5 Jul 1926)
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Added on 8-Oct-14 | Last updated 8-Oct-14
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Doubtless he had an ideal, but it was the ideal of a practical statesman, — to aim at the best, and to take the next best, if he is lucky enough to get even that.

James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) American diplomat, essayist, poet
“Abraham Lincoln, 1864-1865” (1869)
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Printed in The North American Review, #222 (Jan 1869) under the title "Before and After." Sometimes given as "The idea of a practical statesman is to aim ...."
Added on 2-Jul-14 | Last updated 2-Jul-14
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There is the world that should be and the world that is. We live in one and must create the other.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Turn Coat (2009)
Added on 11-Mar-14 | Last updated 11-Mar-14
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All things […] are best to those who know no better.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
Prose Observations, “Ignorance” [ed. de Quehen (1979)]
Added on 10-Dec-12 | Last updated 13-Apr-15
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Those words, “temperate and moderate,” are words either of political cowardice, or of cunning, or seduction. A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue, but moderation in principle is a species of lie.

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American political philosopher and writer
“Letter addressed to the addressers on the late proclamation” (1792)
Added on 19-Jan-12 | Last updated 1-Jul-16
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An honest God’s the noblest work of man.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
Further Extracts from the Note-Books of Samuel Butler, ch. 1 (1934)

See Pope.
Added on 15-Nov-10 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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Choose the best life; for habit will make it pleasant.

Epictetus (c.55-c.135) Greek (Phrygian) Stoic philosopher
Fragment 144

Sometimes attributed to Francis Bacon.
Added on 19-Apr-10 | Last updated 20-May-16
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Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain of.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1879 [ed. Paine (1935)]
Added on 23-Mar-09 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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If you would hit the mark, you must aim a little above it.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
“Elegiac Verse,” In the Harbor (1882)

See Emerson.
Added on 15-Dec-08 | Last updated 30-Jun-17
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An honest God is the noblest work of man.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Gods” (1876)
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See Pope and Butler.
Added on 9-Oct-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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You might have been enough the man you are
With striving less to be so.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Coriolanus, Act 3, sc. 2, l. 19 (1609)
Added on 14-Oct-05 | Last updated 26-May-16
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Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable; however, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (24 May 1750)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 10-Feb-15
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We aim above the mark to hit the mark.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Nature,” Essays: Second Series (1844)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 30-Jun-17
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In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
Walden, “Economy” (1854)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 21-Jul-17
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Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

Eliot - too far - wist_info quote

T. S. Eliot (1888-1965) American-British poet, critic, playwright [Thomas Stearns Eliot]
Preface to Transit of Venus: Poems by Harry Crosby (1931)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Dec-15
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