Quotations about   imperfection

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Most of us stand poised at the edge of brilliance, haunted by the knowledge of our proximity, yet still demonstrably on the wrong side of the line, our dealings with reality undermined by a range of minor yet critical psychological flaws (a little too much optimism, an unprocessed rebelliousness, a fatal impatience or sentimentality). We are like an exquisite high-speed aircraft which for lack of a tiny part is left stranded beside the runway, rendered slower than a tractor or bicycle.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, ch. 4 (2009)
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Added on 4-Oct-18 | Last updated 4-Oct-18
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The Abilities of Man must fall short on one side or other, like too scanty a Blanket when you are a-bed. If you pull it upon your Shoulders, you leave your Feet bare; if you thrust it down upon your Feet, your Shoulders are uncovered.

William Temple, 1st Baronet Temple (1628-1699) English statesman and essayist.
Miscellanea (1705)
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Added on 28-Aug-17 | Last updated 28-Aug-17
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People often say that a set of books looks ugly if all volumes are not in the same format, but I was impressed to hear the Abbot Koyu say, “It is typical of the unintelligent man to insist on assembling complete sets of everything. Imperfect sets are better.”

Yoshida Kenkō (1284-1350) Japanese author and Buddhist monk [吉田 兼好]
Essays in Idleness [Tsurezuregusa] (c. 1330)
Added on 9-Feb-17 | Last updated 9-Feb-17
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I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.

Burroughs - entirely of flaws - wist_info quote

Augusten Burroughs (b. 1965) American writer
Magical Thinking (2004)
Added on 12-Aug-16 | Last updated 12-Aug-16
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When you have discovered a stain in yourself, you eagerly seek for and gladly find stains in others.

Berthold Auerbach (1812-1882) German author
(Attributed)

Attributed in Maturin M. Ballou, Edge-Tools of Speech (1886).
Added on 9-Aug-16 | Last updated 9-Aug-16
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The happiness which is lacking makes one think even the happiness one has unbearable.

Joseph Roux (1834-1886) French Catholic priest
Meditations of a Parish Priest: Thoughts, Part 5, #37 (1886)
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Added on 11-Apr-16 | Last updated 11-Apr-16
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Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) German philosopher
“Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose [Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht]” (1784)
Added on 25-Sep-15 | Last updated 25-Sep-15
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By no means is the natural order of things fashioned for us by a divine agency: so greatly do the imperfections with which it has been endowed stand out.

[Nequaquam nobis divinitus esse paratam
naturam rerum: tanta stat praedita culpa]

Lucretius (c. 100-c. 55 BC) Roman poet [Titus Luretius Carus]
De Rerum Natura [On the Nature of Things], Book 5, l. 198-9
Added on 6-Aug-15 | Last updated 18-Apr-16
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Trust no friend without faults,
And love a maiden, but no angel.

[Trau keinem Freunde sonder Mängel,
Und leib’ ein Mädchen, kienem Engel.]

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramiturg, writer
Note in a Family Register (1778)

Alt. trans.: "Trust in no friend, rather forebear; / Love a sweet maid, no angel rare."
Added on 2-Apr-15 | Last updated 2-Apr-15
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We think, I’m not a fool today. I’ve learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we’re not perfect and live accordingly.

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) American writer, futurist, fabulist
“No Particular Night or Morning” (1951)
Added on 7-Apr-14 | Last updated 7-Apr-14
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Great virtues may draw attention from defects, they cannot sanctify them. A pebble surrounded by diamonds remains a common stone, and a diamond surrounded by pebbles is still a gem. No one should attempt to refute an argument by pronouncing the name of some man, unless he is willing to adopt all the ideas and beliefs of that man. It is better to give reasons and facts than names. An argument should not depend for its force upon the name of its author. Facts need no pedigree, logic has no heraldry, and the living should not awed by the mistakes of the dead.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Great Infidels” (1881)
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Added on 26-Jun-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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There is always a “but” in this imperfect world.

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, ch. 22 [Helen] (1848)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Dec-15
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