Quotations about   passion

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The intoxication of anger, like that of the grape, shows us to others, but hides us from ourselves; and we injure our own cause, in the opinion of the world, when we too passionately and eagerly defend it.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon, Vol. 1, #240 (1820)
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Added on 18-Jan-19 | Last updated 18-Jan-19
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Moral passion without entertainment is propaganda, and entertainment without moral passion is television.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
Starting from Scratch (1989)
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Added on 26-Oct-18 | Last updated 26-Oct-18
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Other people’s appetites easily appear excessive when one doesn’t share them.

André Gide (1869-1951) French author, Nobel laureate
The Counterfeiters, “Edouard’s Journal: Oscar Molinier” (1925)
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Added on 2-Oct-18 | Last updated 2-Oct-18
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Spiritual strength and passion, when accompanied by bad manners, only provoke loathing.

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Will to Power, Part 1, “Critique of Religion,” Sec. 175 [tr. Ludovici] (1888)
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Added on 7-Jun-18 | Last updated 7-Jun-18
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The way to avoid evil is not by maiming our passions, but by compelling them to yield their vigor to our moral nature. Thus they become, as in the ancient fable, the harnessed steeds which bear the chariot of the sun.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Life Thoughts (1858)
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Added on 10-Jul-17 | Last updated 10-Jul-17
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This is no day for the rabble-rouser, whether he be Negro or white. We must realize that we are grappling with the most weighty social problem of this nation, and in grappling with such a complex problem there is no place for misguided emotionalism. We must work passionately and unrelentingly for the goal of freedom, but we must be sure that our hands are clean in the struggle. We must never struggle with falsehood, hate, or malice. We must never become bitter. I know how we feel sometime. There is the danger that those of us who have been forced so long to stand amid the tragic midnight of oppression—those of us who have been trampled over, those of us who have been kicked about — there is the danger that we will become bitter. But if we will become bitter and indulge in hate campaigns, the new order which is emerging will be nothing but a duplication of the old order.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Give Us the Ballot,” Speech, Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, Washington, DC (1957)
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Added on 8-Jun-17 | Last updated 8-Jun-17
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The truth is always in the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because as a rule the minority is made up of those who actually have an opinion, while the strength of the majority is illusory, formed of that crowd which has no opinion — and which therefore the next moment (when it becomes clear that the minority is the stronger) adopts the latter’s opinion, which now is in the majority, i.e., becomes rubbish by having the whole retinue and numerousness on its side, while the truth is again in a new minority.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Journal (1850)
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Added on 8-Feb-17 | Last updated 8-Feb-17
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Take a book, the poorest one written, but read it with the passion that it is the only book you will read — ultimately you will read everything out of it, that is, as much as there was in yourself, and you could never get more out of reading, even if you read the best of books.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Stages on Life’s Way (1845)
Added on 25-Jan-17 | Last updated 25-Jan-17
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Hearts can break. Yes. Hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don’t.

Stephen King (b. 1947) American author
Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
Added on 21-Sep-16 | Last updated 21-Sep-16
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The profit of books is according to the sensibility of the reader. The profoundest thought or passion sleeps as in a mine, until an equal mind and heart finds and publishes it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Letters and Social Aims, “Quotation and Originality” (1876)
Added on 18-Aug-16 | Last updated 18-Aug-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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Reason! reason! … As much as you like; but beware of thinking that it answers to everything, suffices for everything, satisfies everything. This mother loses her child: will reason comfort her? Does cool reason counsel the inspired poet, the heroic warrior, the lover? Reason guides but a small part of man, and that the least interesting. The rest obeys feeling, true or false, and passion, good or bad.

Joseph Roux (1834-1886) French Catholic priest
Meditations of a Parish Priest: Thoughts, ch. 4, #95 (1886)
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Added on 25-Apr-16 | Last updated 25-Apr-16
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Executions, far from being useful examples to the survivors, have, I am persuaded, a quite contrary effect, by hardening the heart they ought to terrify. Besides, the fear of an ignominious death, I believe, never deterred anyone from the commission of a crime, because in committing it the mind is roused to activity about present circumstances.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) English social philosopher, feminist, writer
Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, Letter 19 (1796)
Added on 21-Apr-16 | Last updated 21-Apr-16
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Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives, and we obey them without realizing it.

Van Gogh - emotions - wist_info

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) Dutch painter
Letter to Theo Van Gogh (Jul 1889)
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Added on 10-Nov-15 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
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It is folly to pretend that one ever wholly recovers from a disappointed passion. Such wounds always leave a scar. There are faces I can never look upon without emotion. There are names I can never hear spoken without almost starting.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American poet
Hyperion, Book 2, ch. 3 (1839)
Added on 3-Nov-15 | Last updated 3-Nov-15
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He failed to realized that the public is bored by foreign affairs until a crisis arises; and that then it is guided by feelings rather than thoughts.

Harold Nicolson (1886-1968) English diplomat, author, diarist, politician
The Evolution of Diplomacy, 4.3 (1954)
Added on 13-Oct-15 | Last updated 13-Oct-15
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The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason.
The passionless cannot change history.

Czesław Miłosz (1911-2004) Polish-Lithuanian poet, essayist, diplomat
“The Child of Europe” (1946)
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Added on 16-Sep-15 | Last updated 16-Sep-15
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I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t know what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose.

P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) Anglo-American humorist, playwright and lyricist [Pelham Grenville Wodehouse]
“The Art of Fiction #60,” interview with Gerald Clarke, The Paris Review (Winter 1975)
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Added on 1-Sep-15 | Last updated 1-Sep-15
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“I can see we’re going to get along like a house on fire,” said Miss Tick. “There may be no survivors.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
The Wee Free Men (2003)
Added on 10-Jun-15 | Last updated 10-Jun-15
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Write while the heat is in you. When the farmer burns a hole in his yoke, he carries the hot iron quickly from the fire to the wood, for every moment is less effectual to penetrate (pierce) it. It must be used instantly or it is useless. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
Journal (10 Feb 1852)
Added on 8-Apr-15 | Last updated 8-Apr-15
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The ruling passion, be it what it will,
The ruling passion conquers reason still.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
Moral Essays 3.153 (1731-1735)
Added on 6-Jan-15 | Last updated 6-Jan-15
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If you mean to make your side of the argument appear plausible, do not prejudice the people against what you think truth by your passionate manner of defending it.

James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
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Added on 21-Aug-14 | Last updated 21-Aug-14
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We should have a glorious conflagration if all who cannot put fire into their works would only consent to put their works into the fire.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, Preface (1824 ed.)
Added on 8-Jul-14 | Last updated 27-Feb-15
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It is very natural for young men to be vehement, acrimonious and severe. For as they seldom comprehend at once all the consequences of a position, or perceive the difficulties by which cooler and more experienced reasoners are restrained from confidence, they form their conclusions with great precipitance. Seeing nothing that can darken or embarrass the question, they expect to find their own opinion universally prevalent, and are inclined to impute uncertainty and hesitation to want of honesty, rather than of knowledge.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #121 (14 May 1751)
Added on 31-Jan-14 | Last updated 31-Jan-14
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All love that has not friendship for its base
Is like a mansion built upon the sand.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) American author and poet.
“Upon the Sand” (1910)
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Added on 11-Jun-09 | Last updated 12-Nov-14
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We are constantly railing against the passions; we ascribe to them all of man’s afflictions, and we forget that they are also the source of all his pleasures.

Denis Diderot (1713-1784) French editor, philosopher
Pensées Philosophiques [Philosophical Thoughts] (1746)

Alt. trans.: "One declaims endlessly against the passions; one imputes all of man's suffering to them. One forgets that they are also the source of all his pleasures."
Added on 9-Oct-08 | Last updated 2-Aug-16
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Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.

Colin Powell (b. 1937) American military leader, Secretary of State
My American Journey (1995)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 28-Sep-15
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Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind blows out candles and fans flames.

[L’absence diminue les médiocres passions, et augmente les grandes, comme le vent éteint les bougies et allume le feu.]

François VI, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) French epigrammist, memoirist, noble
Réflexions ou sentences et maximes morales [Maxims], #276 (1665-1678)

Alt. trans.: "Absence lessens the minor passions and increases the great ones, as the wind douses a candle and kindles a fire."

(See DeBussy)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Aug-17
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In quarreling, the truth is always lost.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings]

Alt. trans.: "In excessive altercation, truth is lost."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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Absence is to love what wind is to fire;
It extinguishes the small, it enkindles the great.

[L’absence est a l’amour ce qu’est au feu le vent;
Il eteint le petit, il allume le grand.]

Roger de Rabutin, Comte de Bussy (1618-1693) French soldier, libertine, writer [a.k.a. Roger Bussy-Rabutin]
Histoire amoureuse des Gaules, “Maximes d’amour [Maxims of Love]” (1660)

See La Rochefoucauld.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Aug-17
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