Quotations about   pride

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I was often humiliated to see men disputing for a piece of bread, just as animals might have done. My feelings on this subject have very much altered since I have been personally exposed to the tortures of hunger. I have discovered, in fact, that a man, whatever may have been his origin, his education, and his habits, is governed, under certain circumstances, much more by his stomach than by his intelligence and his heart.

François Arago (1786-1853) French Catalan mathematician, physicist, astronomer, politician.
Biographies of Distinguished Scientific Men, “The History of My Youth” (1859) [tr. Smyth, Powell, Grant]
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Added on 10-Oct-19 | Last updated 10-Oct-19
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Nothing is more embarrassing in the ordinary intercourse of life than this irritable patriotism of the Americans. A stranger may be well inclined to praise many of the institutions of their country, but he begs permission to blame some of the peculiarities which he observes — a permission which is however inexorably refused.

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859) French writer, diplomat, politician
Democracy in America, Vol. 1, “Public Spirit in the United States” (1835) [tr. Reeve (1839)]
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Added on 21-Nov-18 | Last updated 21-Nov-18
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Mules are always boasting that their ancestors are horses.

Other Authors and Sources
German Proverb
Added on 13-Nov-18 | Last updated 13-Nov-18
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The man who has not anything to boast of but his illustrious ancestors, is like a potato, the only good belonging to him is under ground.

Thomas Overbury (1581-1613) English poet
Characters (1612)
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Earliest found in The Lady's Monthly Museum (June 1807), expressed as a paraphrase.
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The arrogance of some Christians would close heaven to them if, to their misfortune, it existed.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) French author, existentialist philosopher, feminist theorist
All Said and Done (1972)
Added on 15-Oct-18 | Last updated 15-Oct-18
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Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful.

John Wooden (1910-2010) American basketball player and coach
They Call Me Coach (1972)
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Added on 4-Sep-18 | Last updated 4-Sep-18
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This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d, —
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me,
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed,
Shall think themselves accurs’d, they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap, whiles any speaks,
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry V, Act 4, sc. 3 [Henry] (1599)
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There is a loftier ambition than merely to stand high in the world. It is to stoop down and lift mankind a little higher.

Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933) American clergyman and writer
“Salt,” Counsels by the Way (1921 ed.)
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Added on 13-Dec-17 | Last updated 13-Dec-17
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You can tell the character of every man when you see how he gives and receives praise.

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) Roman statesman, philosopher, playwright [Lucius Annaeus Seneca]
Moral Letters to Lucilius [Epistulae morales ad Lucilium], Letter 52 “On choosing our teachers,” Sec. 12
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Added on 17-Oct-17 | Last updated 17-Oct-17
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Wisdom is corrupted by ambition, even when the quality of the ambition is intellectual. For ambition, even of this quality, is but a form of self-love ….

Henry Taylor (1800-1886) English dramatist, poet, bureaucrat, man of letters
Notes from Life, “Wisdom” (1847)
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Added on 3-Oct-17 | Last updated 3-Oct-17
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Sure, there are differences in degree, but we’ve got to stop comparing wounds and go out after the system that does the wounding.

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) American lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist
(Attributed)

Quoted in Gloria Steinem, "The Verbal Karate of Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.," Ms. (Mar 1973).
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It is also characteristic of the great-souled man … to be haughty towards men of position and fortune, but courteous towards those of moderate station, because it is difficult and distinguished to be superior to the great, but easy to outdo the lowly, and to adopt a high manner with the former is not ill-bred, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people: it is like putting forth one’s strength against the weak.

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics, Book 4, ch. 3, l. 26 – 1124b.19 [tr. Rackham]
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Sometimes paraphrased: "It is not ill-bred to adopt a high manner with the great and the powerful, but it is vulgar to lord it over humble people."

Alt. trans.: "Towards those in high position and prosperity he bears himself with pride, but towards ordinary men with moderation; for in the former case it is difficult to show superiority, and to do so is a lordly mater; whereas in the latter case it is easy. To be haughty among the great is no proof of bad breeding, but haughtiness among the lowly is as base-born a thing as it is to make trial of great strength upon the weak." [tr. Williams (1869)]
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The capacity of a human mind to believe devoutly in what seems to me to be the highly improbable — from table tapping to the superiority of their own children — has never been plumbed. Faith strikes me as intellectual laziness, but I don’t argue with it — especially as I am rarely in a position to prove that it is mistaken.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Stranger in a Strange Land, ch. 18 (1960 ed., publ. 1991)
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An elided version is found in the 1961 published edition, in ch. 13.
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Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget — lest we forget!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
“Recessional,” st. 1 (1897)
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Added on 19-Jun-17 | Last updated 19-Jun-17
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Let us be content to do little, if God sets us at little tasks. It is but pride and self-will which says, “Give me something huge to fight, — and I should enjoy that — but why make me sweep the dust?”

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875) English clergyman, historian, essayist, novelist (pseud. "Parson Lot")
Letter, “To a lady who consulted him about Sisterhoods” (24 Jul 1854)
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We are the highest achievement reached so far by the great constructors of evolution. We are their “latest” but certainly not their last word. The scientist must not regard anything as absolute, not even the laws of pure reason. He must remain aware of the great fact, discovered by Heraclitus, that nothing whatever really remains the same even for one moment, but that everything is perpetually changing. To regard man, the most ephemeral and rapidly evolving of all species, as the final and unsurpassable achievement of creation, especially at his present-day particularly dangerous and disagreeable stage of development, is certainly the most arrogant and dangerous of all untenable doctrines.

Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989) Austrian zoologist, ethologist, ornithologist
On Aggression, ch. 12 “On the Virtue of Scientific Humility” (1963)
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Added on 24-Apr-17 | Last updated 24-Apr-17
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It was said that God, in order to test mankind which had become swelled with pride as in the time of Noah, had commanded the wise men of that age, among them the Blessed Leibowitz, to devise great engines of war such as had never before been upon the Earth, weapons of such might that they contained the very fires of Hell, and that God had suffered these magi to place the weapons in the hands of princes, and to say to each prince: “Only because the enemies have such a thing have we devised this for thee, in order that they may know that thou hast it also, and fear to strike. See to it, m’Lord, that thou fearest them as much as they shall now fear thee, that none may unleash this dread thing which we have wrought.” But the princes, putting the words of their wise men to naught, thought each to himself: If I but strike quickly enough, and in secret, I shall destroy these others in their sleep, and there will be none to fight back; the earth shall be mine.

Such was the folly of princes, and there followed the Flame Deluge.

Walter M. Miller Jr. (1923-1996) American science fiction writer
A Canticle for Leibowitz, “Fiat Homo,” ch. 6 (1959)
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“Which of them shall be accounted greatest?” Let the churches stop trying to outstrip each other in the number of their adherents, the size of its sanctuary, the abundance of wealth. If we must compete let us compete to see which can move toward the greatest attainment of truth, the greatest service of the poor, and the greatest salvation of the soul and bodies of men. If the Church entered this kind of competition we can imagine what a better world this would be.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Cooperative Competition / Noble Competition,” sermon outline
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Added on 30-Dec-16 | Last updated 30-Dec-16
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Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.

bronte-proud-people-sad-sorrows-wist_info-quote

Emily Brontë (1818-1848) British novelist, poet [pseud. Ellis Bell]
Wuthering Heights, ch. 7 (1847) [Nelly Dean]
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Don’t take up a man’s time talking about the smartness of your children; he wants to talk to you about the smartness of his children.

Edgar Watson "Ed" Howe (1853-1937) American journalist and author [E. W. Howe]
Country Town Sayings (1911)
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Delusions are often functional. A mother’s opinions about her children’s beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.

Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) American writer
Time Enough for Love (1973)
Added on 25-Oct-16 | Last updated 25-Oct-16
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Most people seem to take pleasure in feeling superior to someone. I’m not like that, which pleases me because it makes me feel superior.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Jhegaala (2008)
Added on 30-Sep-16 | Last updated 30-Sep-16
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The prouder a man is, the more he thinks he deserves; and the more he thinks he deserves, the less he really does deserve.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Royal Truths (1866)
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You know, here in America we’re loyal to our flaws. It’s like, if we change even our flaws there’s something wrong.

William "Bill" Maher (b. 1956) American comedian, political commentator, critic, television host.
“Bill Maher, Incorrect American Patriot,” Interview with Sharon Waxman, Washington Post (8 Nov 2002)
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When you get to be President, there are all those things, the honors, the twenty-one gun salutes, all those things. You have to remember it isn’t for you. It’s for the Presidency.

Harry S Truman (1884-1972) US President (1945-1953)
In Merle Miller, Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman, ch. 15 (1973)
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All people believe their suffering is greater than others’. Just as they secretly believe they are smarter, and more deserving of fame.

Erica Jong (b. 1942) American writer, poet
How to Save Your Own Life (1977)
Added on 11-Apr-16 | Last updated 11-Apr-16
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Whoo-oop! I’m the old original iron-jawed, brass-mounted, copper-bellied corpse-maker from the wilds of Arkansaw. — Look at me! I’m the man they call Sudden Death & General Desolation! Sired by a hurricane, dam’d by an earthquake, half-brother to the cholera, nearly related to the small-pox on the mother’s side! Look at me! I take nineteen alligators and a bar’l of whiskey for breakfast when I’m in robust health, and a bushel of rattlesnakes and a dead body when I’m ailing! I split the everlasting rocks with my glance, and I squench the thunder when I speak! Whoo-oop! Stand back and give me room according to my strength! Blood’s my natural drink, and the wails of the dying is music to my ear! Cast your eye on me, gentlemen! — and lay low and hold your breath, for I’m bout to turn myself loose!

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Life on the Mississippi, ch. 3 (1883)
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It therefore comes to pass that everyone is fond of relating his own exploits and displaying the strength both of his body and his mind, and that men are on this account a nuisance one to the other.

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) Dutch philosopher
Ethics, Part 3 (1677)
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He that succeeds in the world loves it. He that fails in it hates it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
Journal (1831)
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Doesn’t matter how pretty you are. What’s important is how pretty you feel. No one feels pretty when they hear “no” often enough.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Skin Game (2014)
Added on 30-Nov-15 | Last updated 30-Nov-15
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There is a sort of gratification in doing good which makes us rejoice in ourselves.

Montaigne - gratification - wist_info

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
“Of Repentance,” Essays (1588) [tr. Frame (1958)]
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That hatred springs more from self-contempt than from a legitimate grievance is seen in the intimate connection between hatred and a guilty conscience.

Eric Hoffer (1902-1983) American writer, philosopher, longshoreman
The True Believer, ch. 69 (1951)
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Back then I wanted to be right about my estimate of my abilities. Now I want to be wrong.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays (2001)
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When my friend does something stupid, he is just my friend doing something stupid. When I do something stupid, I have deeply betrayed myself.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
Vectors: Aphorisms and Ten-Second Essays (2001)
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Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold, which the owner knows not of.

Swift - vein of gold - wist_info

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Various Subjects” (1706)
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When you’re good at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re great at something, they’ll tell you.

Walter Payton (1954-1999) American football player
(Attributed)
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It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
(Attributed)
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There are two insults which no human being will endure: The assertion that he hasn’t a sense of humor, and the doubly impertinent assertion that he has never known trouble.

Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951) American novelist, playwright
Main Street (1920)
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Every man of action has a strong dose of egotism, pride, hardness, and cunning. But all those things will be forgiven him, indeed, they will be regarded as high qualities, if he can make of them the means to achieve great ends.

Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970) French statesman and soldier
The Edge of the Sword, “Of Prestige” (2) (1934) [tr. Hopkins (1960)]
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Thank goodness, many years ago, I had a preceptor, for whom my admiration has never died, and he had a favorite saying, one that I trust I try to live by. It was: always take your job seriously, never yourself.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, New England “Forward to ’54” Dinner, Boston (21 Sep 1953)
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BADGER: You think you’re better than other people!
MAL: Just the ones I’m better than.

Jane Espenson (b. 1964) American television writer and producer
Firefly, 1×04 “Shindig” (1 Nov 2002)
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The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they’ve found it.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Monstrous Regiment (2003)
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Accepting praize that iz not our due iz not mutch better than tew be a receiver of stolen goods.

[Accepting praise that is not our due is not much better than to be a receiver of stolen goods.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, “Stray Children” (1874)
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When friends and acquaintances are telling you you are a genius, before you accept their opinion, take a moment to remember what you always thought of their opinions in the past.

Carl Icahn (b. 1936) American businessman and investor
In “The Best Financial Advice I Ever Got (or Gave),” Wall Street Journal (6 Jan 2014)
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There is no limit to what a man can do so long as he does not care a straw who gets the credit for it.

Charles Edward "C. E." Montague (1867-1928) English journalist, novelist, essayist
Disenchantment, ch. 15 (1922)
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People in general will much better bear being told of their vices or crimes than of their little failings or weaknesses.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (26 Nov 1749)
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Science increases our power in proportion as it lowers our pride.

Claude Bernard (1813-1878) French physiologist, scientist
Bulletin of New York Academy of Medicine, Vol. 4 (1928)
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Righteousness cannot be born until self-righteousness is dead.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Justice in War-Time (1916)
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The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance which fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. There can be no true goodness, nor true love, without the utmost clear-sightedness.

Albert Camus (1913-1960) Algerian-French novelist, essayist, playwright
The Plague (1947)
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There is no method more likely to cure passion and rashness, than the frequent and attentive consideration of one’s own weaknesses: this will work into the mind an habitual sense of the need one has of being pardoned, and will bring down the swelling pride and obstinacy of heart, which are the cause of hasty passion.

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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Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy.

Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
“How the Church Will Change,” interview with Eugenio Scalfari, La Repubblica (1 Oct 2013) [tr. K Wallace]
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The only happy author in this world is he who is below the care of reputation.

Washington Irving (1783-1859) American author [pseud. for Geoffrey Crayon]
Tales of a Traveler, Part 2 “The Poor-Devil Author” (1824)
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A very desperate habit; one that is rarely cured. Apology is only egotism wrong side out. Nine times out of ten, the first thing a man’s companion knows of his short-comings is from his apology.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894) American poet, essayist, scholar
The Professor at the Breakfast Table (1860)
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What reason is there to admire ourselves because we are not as bad as the worst?

Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC-AD 65) Roman statesman, philosopher, playwright [Lucius Annaeus Seneca]
Natural Questions, Preface (1.5) [tr. Corcoran (1921)]
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Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say No to oneself.

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) Polish-American rabbi, theologian, philosopher
The Insecurity of Freedom: Essays on Human Existance, ch. 3 (1967)
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