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Dissatisfaction with the world in which we live and determination to realize one that shall be better, are the prevailing characteristics of the modern spirit.

Lowes Dickinson
G. Lowes Dickinson (1862-1932) British political scientist and philosopher [Goldsworthy "Goldie" Lowes Dickinson]
The Greek View of Life, ch. 5 “Conclusion” (1911)
Added on 12-Oct-23 | Last updated 12-Oct-23
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The three horrors of modern life — talk without meaning, desire without love, work without satisfaction.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 5 (1963)
Added on 12-Jan-23 | Last updated 12-Jan-23
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There are etiquette rules being spread all over the Internet. They often use new terms for old rudenesses. Flaming is insulting people. Spamming is trying to do business while other people are having a social time. Having spent a lifetime with people who tell me I must be old-fashioned to care about etiquette, I could, if I were not so polite, turn around and say, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, you’re the one who is old-fashioned if you think that etiquette is old-fashioned — you obviously don’t spend time on the Internet.”

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist, etiquette expert [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
In “Polite Company,” interview by Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today (1998-03)
Added on 14-Mar-22 | Last updated 9-May-23
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Count heads. That is what matters in all things. When you must, follow the common taste, and make your way toward eminence. The wise should adapt themselves to the present, even when the past seems more attractive, both in the clothes of the soul and of the body. This rule for living holds for everything but goodness, for one must always practice virtue.

[El gusto de las cabeças haze voto en cada orden de cosas. Ésse se ha de seguir por entonces, y adelantar a eminencia. Acomódese el cuerdo a lo presente, aunque le parezca mejor lo pasado, así en los arreos del alma como del cuerpo. Sólo en la bondad no vale esta regla de vivir, que siempre se ha de practicar la virtud.]

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 120 (1647) [tr. Maurer (1992)]

(Source (Spanish)). Alternate translations:

Let a prudent man accommodate himself to the present, whether as to body, or mind, though the past may even seem better unto him. In manners onely that rule is not to be observed, seeing vertue is at all times to be practised.
[Flesher ed. (1685)]

In everything the taste of the many carries the votes; for the time being one must follow it in the hope of leading it to higher things. In the adornment of the body as of the mind adapt yourself to the present, even though the past appear better. But this rule does not apply to kindness, for goodness is for all time.
[tr. Jacobs (1892)]

The choice of the many carries the vote in every field. For the time being, therefore, it must be bowed to, in order to bring it to higher level: the man of wisdom accommodates himself to the present, even though the past seems better, alike in the dress of his spirit, as in the dress of his body. Only in the matter of being decent does this rule of life not apply, for virtue should be practiced eternally.
[tr. Fischer (1937)]

Added on 11-Feb-22 | Last updated 21-Aug-23
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To be modern is to exhibit a whole range of uncertainties and pathologies, from Locke’s sense of “uneasiness,” Rousseau’s “amour-propre,” Hegel’s “unhappy consciousness,” and Kierkegaard’s “anxiety,” to Tocqueville’s “inquiétude,” Marx’s “alienation,” and Weber’s “disenchantment.”

Steven B. Smith (b. 1951) American political scientist, academic, author
Modernity and Its Discontents (2016)
Added on 26-May-21 | Last updated 26-May-21
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Is it progress if a cannibal uses knife and fork?

[Czy jeżeli ludożerca je widelcem i nożem to postęp?]

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
Unkempt Thoughts [Myśli nieuczesane] (1957) [tr. Gałązka (1962)]
Added on 21-Mar-17 | Last updated 15-Feb-22
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In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking,
But now, God knows,
Anything goes.


Cole Porter (1891-1964) American composer and songwriter
“Anything Goes” (1934)
Added on 19-Jan-17 | Last updated 19-Jan-17
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I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
I’ve information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
I’m very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
About binomial theorem I’m teeming with a lot o’ news,
With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.
I’m very good at integral and differential calculus;
I know the scientific names of beings animalculous:
In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major-General.

W. S. Gilbert (1836-1911) English playwright [William Schwenck Gilbert]
The Pirates of Penzance (1879) [music by Arthur Sullivan]
Added on 15-Jun-09 | Last updated 24-Aug-16
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