Quotations about   movement

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[W]hen we renounce the self and become part of a compact whole, we not only renounce personal advantage but are also rid of personal responsibility. There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations, doubts and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgement. When we lose our individual independence in the corporateness of a mass movement, we find a new freedom — freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame and remorse. Herein undoubtedly lies part of the attractiveness of a mass movement.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements (1951)
Added on 28-Mar-17 | Last updated 28-Mar-17
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The conflict between the principle of liberty and the fact of slavery is coming gradually to an issue. Slavery has now the power, and falls into convulsions at the approach of freedom. That the fall of slavery is predetermined in the counsels of Omnipotence I cannot doubt; it is a part of the great moral improvement in the condition of man, attested by all the records of history. But the conflict will be terrible, and the progress of improvement perhaps retrograde before its final progress to consummation.

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848) US President (1825-29)
Journal (11 Dec 1838)
Added on 31-Oct-16 | Last updated 31-Oct-16
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What the tender and poetic youth dreams to-day, and conjures up with inarticulate speech, is to-morrow the vociferated result of public opinion, and the day after is the character of nations.

Emerson - character of nations - wist_info quote

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
(Attributed)

Quoted in James Comper Gray, The Biblical Museum: Old Testament (1876).
Added on 4-Aug-16 | Last updated 4-Aug-16
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Get action. Seize the moment. Man was never intended to become an oyster.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) US President (1901-1909)
Comment to Mrs. J. A. Roosevelt (25 Dec 1851)
    (Source)

Quoted in David McCullough, Mornings on Horseback (1981), sourced from the W. Sheffield Cowles, Jr. Collection (private). Usually given as a quote in full to his children, McCullough only notes the last sentence ("Man ... oyster") as an actual quotation.
Added on 27-Jul-16 | Last updated 27-Jul-16
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Not the cry, but the flight of a wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow.

Chinese - fly and follow - wist_info quote

Other Authors and Sources
Chinese proverb

First recorded by Jean Paul [Johann Paul Friedrich Richter] (1763-1825), Levana, sec. 8 (1807): "Nicht das Geschrei, sagt ein chinesischer Autor, sondern der Ausflug einer wilden Ente treibt die Heerde zur Folge und zum Nachfliegen." (See H. A., A Book of Thoughts (1865))
Added on 7-Dec-15 | Last updated 7-Dec-15
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Once you begin to take yourself seriously as a leader or as a follower, as a modern or as a conservative, then you become a self-conscious, biting, and scratching little animal whose work is not of the slightest value or importance to anybody.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
“A Letter to a Young Poet,” The Death of the Moth and Other Essays (1942)
Added on 18-Aug-14 | Last updated 18-Aug-14
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Rebels and dissidents challenge the complacent belief in a just world, and, as the theory would predict, they are usually denigrated for their efforts. While they are alive, they may be called “cantankerous,” “crazy,” “hysterical,” “uppity,” or “duped.” Dead, some of them become saints and heroes, the sterling characters of history. It’s a matter of proportion. One angry rebel is crazy, three is a conspiracy, fifty is a movement.

Carol Tavris (b. 1944) American social psychologist and author
“Anger in an Unjust World,” Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion (1982)
Added on 11-Mar-14 | Last updated 17-Jul-16
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Some find activity only in repose, and others repose only in movement.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 18-Mar-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without belief in a devil.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The True Believer, Part 3, sec. 65, (1951)
Added on 25-Aug-11 | Last updated 19-Apr-18
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The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is more important than the eye. We are active; and indeed we know, as something more than a symbolic accident in the evolution of man, that it is the hand that drives the subsequent evolution of the brain. We find tools today made by man before he became man. Benjamin Franklin in 1778 called man “a tool-making animal,” and that is right.

Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974) Polish-English humanist and mathematician
The Ascent of Man, ch. 3 (1973)
Added on 8-Dec-10 | Last updated 28-Aug-17
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A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 524
Added on 5-Aug-09 | Last updated 20-Feb-17
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All things are in motion, and nothing is at rest. … You cannot step into the same [river] twice, for fresh waters are ever flowing in upon you.

[Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει]

Heraclitus (c.540-c.480 BC) Greek philosopher [also Heracleitus]
(Attributed)

Paraphrased by Socrates in Plato, Cratylus, l. 402 [tr. B Jowett (1894)] and by Diogenes Laërtius in Lives of the Philosophers Bk 9, sec 8

Alt trans.:
  • Everything flows, nothing stays still
  • Everything flows and nothing stays.
  • Everything flows and nothing abides.
  • Everything gives way and nothing stays fixed.
  • Everything flows; nothing remains.
  • All is flux, nothing is stationary.
  • All is flux, nothing stays still.
  • You cannot step twice into the same river; for other waters are continually flowing in.
  • You cannot step twice into the same stream. For as you are stepping in, other waters are ever flowing on to you.
  • You cannot step twice into the same river.
  • It is impossible to step into the same river twice.
  • No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.
Added on 23-Apr-09 | Last updated 14-Mar-17
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Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
More Unkempt Thoughts (1968)

Variant: "No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Jan-17
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Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

Dave Barry (b. 1947) American humorist
“25 Things I Have Learned In 50 Years,” #25 (1997)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Oct-14
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