Quotations about   insecurity

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No trust is safe.

[Nusquam tuta fides.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 4, l. 373 (4.373) [Dido] (29-19 BC) [tr. Bartsch (2021)]
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Dido chiding Aeneas (and the gods) for Aeneas' desertion. (Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Faithless is earth, and faithless are the skies!
Justice is fled, and Truth is now no more!
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Firm faith no where subsists.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

No faith on earth, in heaven no trust.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Faith lives no more.
[tr. Cranch (1872)]

Nowhere is trust safe.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

All faith is gone!
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Faithless is earth, and false is Heaven above.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 48, l. 426]

No trusting heart is safe
in all this world.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Nowhere is faith secure.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Faith has no haven anywhere in the world.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Nowhere is it safe to be trustful.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Nowhere is certain trust.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 509]

Faith can never be secure.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 514]

Is there nothing we can trust in this life?
[tr. West (1990)]

Good faith is found nowhere.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

There’s no faith left on earth!
[tr. Fagles (2006)]

Added on 3-Aug-22 | Last updated 3-Aug-22
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So many times I’ve made myself stupid with the fear of being outsmarted.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #17 (Spring 1999)
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Added on 23-Nov-21 | Last updated 23-Nov-21
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You would think we would envy only what we love, for being loveable. But no, we envy those the world loves, because we care less for being loveable than being loved.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, # 37 (Spring 1999)
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Added on 19-Oct-21 | Last updated 19-Oct-21
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Belligerence is the hallmark of insecurity — the secure nation does not need threat to maintain its position.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, American Newspaper Publishers Assoc, New York City (25 Apr 1946)
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The first part of the above was a common phrase of Eisenhower's.
Added on 30-Sep-20 | Last updated 30-Sep-20
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At sixteen I was stupid, confused and indecisive. At twenty-five I was wise, self-confident, prepossessing, and assertive. At forty-five I am stupid, confused, insecure, and indecisive. Who would have supposed that maturity is only a short break in adolescence?

Jules Feiffer (b. 1929) American cartoonist, authork, satirist
Cartoon, The Observer (3 Feb 1974)
Added on 14-Oct-19 | Last updated 14-Oct-19
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Some years ago, I was lucky enough invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realise that I didn’t qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, “I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They’ve made amazing things. I just went where I was sent.”

And I said, “Yes. But you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something.”

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an imposter, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren’t any grown-ups, only people who had worked hard and also got lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
Tumblr post (12 May 2017)
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Added on 6-Nov-18 | Last updated 6-Nov-18
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Anxiety is the handmaiden of contemporary ambition.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
Status Anxiety (2004)
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Added on 10-Jan-18 | Last updated 10-Jan-18
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I’m convinced if I keep going one day I will write something decent. On very bad days I will observe that I must have written good things in the past, which means that I’ve lost it. But normally I just assume that I don’t have it. The gulf between the thing I set out to make in my head and the sad, lumpy thing that emerges into reality is huge and distant and I just wish that I could get them closer.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
“This Much I Know,” The Guardian (5 Aug 2017)
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Added on 2-Oct-17 | Last updated 2-Oct-17
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Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket, a thumb to suck, a skirt to hold. What does the scientist have to offer in exchange? Uncertainty! Insecurity!

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) Russian-American author, polymath, biochemist
Asimov’s Guide to Science (1972)
Added on 26-Apr-16 | Last updated 26-Apr-16
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What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.

Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) Dutch Catholic priest and writer
In the Name of Jesus (1989)
Added on 8-Apr-16 | Last updated 8-Apr-16
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Avarice is fear sheathed in gold.

Paul Eldridge (1888-1982) American educator, novelist, poet
“Lanterns in the Night,” Maxim 42, The Jewish Forum (Aug 1948)
Added on 30-Oct-13 | Last updated 28-Jan-22
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The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.

Steven Furtick (b. 1980) American pastor
Speech, Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit (church gathering) (11 Aug 2011)

Furtick gave an earlier version of this thought in a Tweet on 11 May 2011: "One reason we struggle w/ insecurity: we're comparing our behind the scenes to everyone else's highlight reel." See also Chaplin.
Added on 20-Apr-12 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
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The politician in my country seeks votes, affection and respect, in that order …. With few notable exceptions, they are simply men who want to be loved.

Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) American journalist
Address, London Guildhall (19 Oct 1959)
Added on 30-Nov-07 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
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Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short.

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) English philosopher
Leviathan, Part 1, ch. 13 (1651)
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Added on 22-Oct-07 | Last updated 6-Nov-20
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A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It’s a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity.

Jimmy Carter (b. 1924) American politician, US President (1977-1981), Nobel laureate [James Earl Carter, Jr.]
“Warm Hearts and Cool Heads,” speech, Liberal Party dinner, New York City (14 Oct 1976)
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The title of the speech was from a phrase coined by Adlai Stevenson.
Added on 11-Oct-07 | Last updated 5-Jan-21
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All charming people have something to conceal, usually their total dependence on the appreciation of others.

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974) English intellectual, literary critic and writer.
Enemies of Promise, ch. 16 (1938)
Added on 17-Oct-05 | Last updated 16-Aug-21
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The causes of the Great Depression are still far from certain. A lack of certainty, it may also be observed, is not evident in the contemporary writing on the subject. Much of it tells what went wrong and why with marked firmness. However, this paradoxically can itself be an indication of uncertainty. When people are least sure they are often most dogmatic.

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) Canadian-American economist, diplomat, author
The Great Crash, 1929, ch. 9 “Cause and Consequence,” sec. 3 (1954)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 15-Dec-20
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Poor and content is rich, and rich enough;
But riches fineless is as poor as winter
To him that ever fears he shall be poor.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Othello, Act 3, sc. 3, l. 202ff [Iago] (1603)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Jun-22
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