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Liberty trains for liberty. Responsibility is the first step in responsibility.

W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963) American writer, historian, social reformer [William Edward Burghardt Du Bois]
John Brown, ch. 13 “The Legacy of John Brown” (1909)

On the policy among white colonial powers that non-whites "ought to be under the restraint and benevolent tutelage of stronger and wiser nations for their own benefit," until they are "capable" of being free.
Added on 30-Nov-23 | Last updated 30-Nov-23
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So strong is custom formed in early years.

[Adeo in teneris consuescere multum est.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Georgics [Georgica], Book 2, l. 272ff (2.272) (29 BC) [tr. Greenough (1900)]

Discussing how, when transplanting vines, wise farmers try to match the soil and orientation of the plant toward the sun to the conditions where they first sprouted. The same phrase is often extended (when extracted like this) to the lasting effects of early training on children. See also Pope.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Such strength hath custome in each tender soule.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

So strong is Custom; such Effects can Use
In tender Souls of pliant Plants produce.
[tr. Dryden (1709), ll. 366-367]

So strong is habit's force in tender age.
[tr. Nevile (1767), l. 302]

So custom strongly sways the youthful year.
[tr. Sotheby (1800)]

Of such avail is custom in tender years.
[tr. Davidson (1854)]

So custom lords it o'er the youthful wood.
[tr. Blackmore (1871), l. 324]

Such is the force of habits formed in early years.
[tr. Wilkins (1873)]

So strong is custom formed in early years.
[tr. Rhoades (1881)]

So powerful is habit in things of tender age.
[tr. Bryce (1897)]

So strong is the habit of infancy.
[tr. Mackail (1899)]

So potent is early habit's control.
[tr. Way (1912)]

So loth to change
Are a young creature's ways.
[tr. Williams (1915)]

So strong is habit in tender years.
[tr. Fairclough (Loeb) (1916)]

So important are habits developed in early days.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1940)]

For habit dominates the early stage.
[tr. Bovie (1956)]

So much effect has habit on the young.
[tr. Wilkinson (1982)]

We grow accustomed to so much in tender years.
[tr. Kline (2001)]

How powerful the innate habits of tender plants!
[tr. Lembke (2004)]

So powerfully runs habit in the tender stems.
[tr. Johnson (2009)]

Such is the need, when young, of what's familiar.
[tr. Ferry (2015)]

Added on 2-Aug-23 | Last updated 25-Oct-23
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A man must serve his time to every trade
Save Censure — Critics all are ready made.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
“English Bards and Scotch Reviewers,” l. 63ff (1809)
Added on 13-Jul-23 | Last updated 13-Jul-23
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By and large, people who enjoy teaching animals to roll over will find themselves happier with a dog.

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
The Name of the Cat (1998)
Added on 27-Dec-21 | Last updated 27-Dec-21
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Be both a speaker of words and a doer of deeds.

[Μύθων τε ῥητῆρ’ ἔμεναι πρηκτῆρά τε ἔργων.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 9, l. 442 (9.442) (c. 750 BC) [tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

Phoenix, on what he was sent to teach Achilles as a child to become. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

That thou might'st speak, when speech was fit, and do, when deeds were done,
Not sit as dumb, for want of words, idle, for skill to move.
[tr. Chapman (1611)]

To shine in councils and in camps to dare.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

Both elocution and address in arms.
[tr. Cowper (1791)]

An orator in words and a performer in deeds.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

Be both a speaker of words and a doer of deeds.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

A speaker of words and one accomplished in action.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

A man of eloquence and action.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

A man of words, and a man of action, too.
[tr. Fagles (1990), l. 538]

To be both a speaker of words and a doer of actions.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]

To be a speaker of words and a doer of deeds.
[tr. @Sentantiq (2016)]

Added on 24-Nov-20 | Last updated 8-Dec-21
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Coaches and headmasters praise sport as a preparation for the great game of life, but this is absurd. Nothing could be more different from life. For one thing sports, unlike life, are played according to rules. Indeed, the rules are the sport: life may behave bizarrely and still be life, but if the runner circles the bases clockwise it’s no longer baseball.

Barbara Holland (1933-2010) American author
Endangered Pleasures (1995)
Added on 29-Sep-20 | Last updated 29-Sep-20
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I guess, when you get down to it, a loving touch compensates for an unskilled hand about everywhere except in an airplane cockpit.

Robert Brault (b. c. 1945) American aphorist, programmer
Added on 25-Aug-20 | Last updated 25-Aug-20
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The paradox of education is precisely this — that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated. The purpose of education, finally, is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions, to say to himself this is black or this is white, to decide for himself whether there is a God in heaven or not. To ask questions of the universe, and then learn to live with those questions, is the way he achieves his own identity. But no society is really anxious to have that kind of person around. What societies really, ideally, want is a citizenry which will simply obey the rules of society. If a society succeeds in this, that society is about to perish. The obligation of anyone who thinks of himself as responsible is to examine society and try to change it and to fight it -– at no matter what risk. This is the only hope society has. This is the only way societies change.

James Baldwin (1924-1987) American novelist, playwright, activist
“The Negro Child — His Self-Image,” speech (16 Oct 1963)

Speech to educators, first published as "A Talk to Teachers," The Saturday Review (21 Dec 1963). The thesis above is restatated at the end in these words, more frequently quoted: "I began by saying that one of the paradoxes of education was that precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society. It is your responsibility to change society if you think of yourself as an educated person."
Added on 6-Mar-19 | Last updated 6-Mar-19
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Native ability without education is like a tree which bears no fruit.

Aristippus of Cyrene (c. 435 – c. 356 BC) Cyrenaic philosopher, Hedonist

Quoted in Edward Parsons Day, Day’s Collacon: An Encyclopaedia of Prose Quotations (1884). Not found in original source material.
Added on 17-Jul-17 | Last updated 17-Jul-17
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Oppressed people are frequently very oppressive when first liberated. And why wouldn’t they be? They know best two positions. Somebody’s foot on their neck or their foot on somebody’s neck.

Florynce "Flo" Kennedy (1916-2000) American lawyer, feminist, civil rights activist
“Institutionalized Oppression vs. the Female” (1970)
Added on 17-Apr-17 | Last updated 1-Sep-20
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A talent forms itself in solitude,
A character amid the stream of life.

[Es bildet ein Talent sich in der Stille,
Sich ein Charakter in dem Strom der Welt.]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Torquato Tasso, Act 1, sc. 2, ll. 304-305 [Leonora] (1790) [tr. Ryder (1993)]

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

  • "A talent doth in stillness form itself -- / A character on life's unquiet stream." [tr. Des Voeux (1827)]
  • "Talents are nurtured best in solitude, -- / A character on life's tempestuous sea." [tr. Swanwick (1843)]
  • "Man's talent ripens in tranquility, / His character in battling with the world." [tr. Cartwright (1861)]
  • "A talent in tranquility is formed, / A character in the turbulence of affairs." [tr. Hamburger (20th C)]
  • "Talent develops in quiet places, / Character in the full current of human life."
  • Talents are best nurtured in solitude; / Character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.
  • "Genius is formed in quiet, / Character in the stream of human life."
Added on 14-Feb-17 | Last updated 15-Oct-21
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Sophronia took a deep breath. “What, precisely, will I be expected to learn here?”

Lady Linette twirled one curl of blonde hair around the tip of one finger. “Information gathering and object retrieval, of course. But mostly, you should learn how to finish.”

“Finish what, exactly?”

“Why, anything or anyone who needs finishing, my dear.”

Gail Carriger (b. 1976) American archaeologist, author [pen name of Tofa Borregaard]
Etiquette & Espionage (2013)
Added on 13-Oct-16 | Last updated 13-Oct-16
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The only real training for leadership is leadership.

Antony Jay (1930-2016) English writer, broadcaster, director
Added on 18-Jul-16 | Last updated 18-Jul-16
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Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.

Richard Branson (b. 1950) English business magnate, investor, philanthropist
Tweet (27 Mar 2014)
Added on 3-May-16 | Last updated 3-May-16
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The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.

Nader - leaders not followers - wist_info

Ralph Nader (b. 1934) American attorney, author, lecturer, political activist
Time Leadership Conference, Washington, DC (Sep 1976)

In "Leadership: The Biggest Issue," Time (8 Nov 1976).
Added on 9-Nov-15 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
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Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.

Charles Reade (1814-1884) English novelist and dramatist

Attributed in Notes and Queries, 9th series, vol. 12 (7 Nov 1903). Not found in any of his works, but attributed to many other authors over time. See here for more discussion.
Added on 7-Sep-15 | Last updated 10-Aug-16
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What I mean is that if you really want to understand something, the best way is to try and explain it to someone else. That forces you to sort it out in your mind. And the more slow and dim-witted your pupil, the more you have to break things down into more and more simple ideas. And that’s really the essence of programming. By the time you’ve sorted out a complicated idea into little steps that even a stupid machine can deal with, you’ve learned something about it yourself.

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (1987)
Added on 8-Jun-15 | Last updated 8-Jun-15
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We never do anything well till we cease to think about the manner of doing it.

William Hazlitt (1778-1830) English writer
Men and Manners, “On Prejudice” (1852)
Added on 30-Apr-15 | Last updated 30-Apr-15
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The awakenings of remorse, virtuous shame and indignation, the glow of moral approbation,– if they do not lead to action, grow less and less vivid every time they recur, till at length the mind grows absolutely callous.

Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743-1825) English woman of letters, educator, editor [née Aikin]
“An Inquiry into those Kinds of Distress which Excite Agreeable Sensations” (1773)
Added on 6-Apr-15 | Last updated 6-Apr-15
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First Shakespeare sonnets seem meaningless; first Bach fugues, a bore; first differential equations, sheer torture. But training changes the nature of our spiritual experiences. In due course, contact with an obscurely beautiful poem, an elaborate piece of counterpoint or of mathematical reasoning, causes us to feel direct intuitions of beauty and significance. It is the same in the moral world.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
Ends and Means (1937)
Added on 24-Dec-14 | Last updated 24-Dec-14
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We seem to have forgotten that the expression “a liberal education” originally meant among the Romans one worthy of free men; while the learning of trades and professions by which to get your livelihood merely, was considered worthy of slaves only.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American philosopher and writer
“The Last Days of John Brown” (1860)

Also known as "A Plea for Captain John Brown".
Added on 15-Jul-14 | Last updated 15-Jul-14
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Learning is like rowing upstream; not to advance is to drop back.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Chinese proverb
Added on 13-Sep-11 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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There is no absurdity, however palpable, which cannot be firmly implanted in the minds of all, if only one begins to inculcate it before the early age of six by constantly repeating it to them with an air of great solemnity.

[Es giebt keine Absurdität , die so handgreiflich wäre , daß man sie nicht allen Menden fest in den Kopf regen könnte, wenn man nur schon vor ihrem sechsten Jahre anfienge, sie ihnen einzuprägen, indem manunabläffig und mit feierlichstem Ernst sie ihnen vorsagte.]

Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) German philosopher
Parerga and Paralipomena, Vol. 2, ch. 26 “Psychological Observations [Psychologische Bemerkungen],” § 344 (1851) [tr. Payne (1974)]

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity.
[tr. Saunders (1851)]

There is no absurdity, however palpable it may be, which may not be fixed in the minds of all men, if it is inculcated before they are six years old by continual and earnest repetition.
[tr. Dircks(1897)]
Added on 22-Feb-11 | Last updated 14-Sep-22
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Every artist was first an amateur.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Progress of Culture,” Letters and Social Aims (1876)

Full text.

Added on 14-Jul-09 | Last updated 19-Feb-22
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If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
“Answers to Questions on Christianity”
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 29-Jul-15
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We are all born charming, frank, and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society.

Judith Martin (b. 1938) American author, journalist, etiquette expert [a.k.a. Miss Manners]
“Miss Manners,” syndicated column (1978-04-23)

Reprinted in Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Part 2 "Basic Civilization," "Concerning Children" (1983).
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Jul-23
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