Quotations about   pay attention

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To a talkative fellow, who poured out a torrent of words and then said, “Let’s hope I haven’t been boring you with my chatter!” he replied, “No, by Zeus, I haven’t been listening.”

[πρὸς τὸν εἰπόντα ἀδολέσχην, ἐπειδὴ αὐτοῦ πολλὰ κατήντλησε, “μήτι σου κατεφλυάρησα;” “μὰ Δί᾽,” εἶπεν: “οὐ γάρ σοι προσεῖχον.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Attributed in Diogenes Laërtius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [Vitae Philosophorum], Book 5, sec. 11 [tr. Mensch (2018)]
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(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

A chattering fellow, who had been abusing him, said to him, “Have not I been jeering you properly?” “Not that I know of,” said he, “for I have not been listening to you.”
[tr. Yonge (1853)]

To the chatterbox who poured out a flood of talk upon him and then inquired, "Have I bored you to death with my chatter?" he replied, "No, indeed; for I was not attending to you."
[tr. Hicks (1925), sec. 20]

To the man talking endlessly when he assailed him with words and asked “Have I worn you out with nonsense”, he said “By Zeus, no! I wasn’t listening to you.”
[tr. @sentantiq (2016)]

Added on 14-Sep-21 | Last updated 14-Sep-21
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Not listening is probably the commonest unkindness of married life, and one that creates — more devastatingly than an eternity of forgotten birthdays and misguided Christmas gifts — an atmosphere of not loving and not caring.

Judith Viorst (b. 1931) American writer, journalist, psychoanalysis researcher
Yes, Married (1972)
Added on 27-Jan-21 | Last updated 27-Jan-21
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Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

Simone Weil (1909-1943) French philosopher
Letter to Joë Bousquet (13 Apr 1942)

Quoted in Simone Pétrement, Simone Weil: A Life (1976) [tr. Rosenthal].
Added on 7-Apr-20 | Last updated 7-Apr-20
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Not everyone is worth listening to.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 1 “Consolation For Unpopularity” (2000)
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Added on 12-Oct-17 | Last updated 12-Oct-17
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This is a column for everyone who ever said, “I’m sorry, I’m just not interested in politics,” or, “There’s nothing I can do about it,” or, “Hey, they’re all crooks anyway.” … I’ve got one word for all of you: Katrina. … This, friends, is why we need to pay attention to government policies, not political personalities, and to know whereon we vote. It is about our lives.

Molly Ivins (1944-2007) American writer, political columnist [Mary Tyler Ivins]
The Progressive (Oct 2005)
Added on 15-Dec-11 | Last updated 3-Nov-20
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If I were to begin life again, I should want it as it was. I would only open my eyes a little more.

Jules Renard (1864-1910) French writer
Journal
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Oct-16
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