Quotations about   value

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Life is not living, but living in health.

[Vita non est vivere, sed valera vita est.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 6, #70 [tr. Ker (1919)]
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Alt. trans.:
  • "It is not life to live, but to be well."
  • "Life's not just being alive, but being well."
  • "Life consists not in living, but in enjoying health." [tr. Bohn (1871)]
  • "Not who love long, but happily, are old." [Anon. (1695)]
  • "Life is only life when we are well." [Hay]
Added on 4-Apr-18 | Last updated 4-Apr-18
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It’s a funny thing, the less people have to live for, the less nerve they have to risk losing — nothing.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) American writer, folklorist, anthropologist
Moses, Man of the Mountain, ch. 2 (1939)
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Added on 18-Oct-17 | Last updated 10-Jan-18
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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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Beauties in vain their pretty Eyes may roll;
Charms strike the Sight, but Merit wins the Soul.

Alexander Pope (1688-1744) English poet
The Rape of the Lock, Canto 5, l. 33 (1712)
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Added on 3-Oct-17 | Last updated 3-Oct-17
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She ate her trifle, reflecting that grinding poverty, though loathsome while one is in it, has the advantage of making one enjoy money in a way denied to the rich-from-birth.

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
Flying Too High, ch. 2 (1990)
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Added on 13-Jul-17 | Last updated 13-Jul-17
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Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

Douglas Adams (1952-2001) English writer
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, ch. 16 [Ford] (1979)
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Added on 14-Jun-17 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
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What we call ‘being in love’ is a glorious state, and, in several ways, good for us. It helps to make us generous and courageous, it opens our eyes not only to the beauty of the beloved but to all beauty, and it sub-ordinates (especially at first) our merely animal sexuality; in that sense, love is the great conqueror of lust. No one in his senses would deny that being in love is far better than either common sensuality or cold self-centredness.

But, as I said before, ‘the most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of our own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs’. Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. Now no feeling can be relied on to last in its full intensity, or even to last at all. Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go. And in fact, whatever people say, the state called ‘being in love’ usually does not last.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity, Book 3, ch. 6 “Christian Marriage” (1952)
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Added on 4-Oct-16 | Last updated 4-Oct-16
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No man can tell whether he is rich or poor by turning to his ledger. It is the heart that makes a man rich. He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.

Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Life Thoughts: Gathered from the Extemporaneous Discourses of Henry Ward Beecher (1858)
Added on 16-Aug-16 | Last updated 16-Aug-16
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There is more treasure in books than in all the pirates loot on Treasure Island and at the bottom of the Spanish Main … and, best of all, you can enjoy these riches every day
of your life.

Walt Disney (1901-1966) American entrepreneur, animator, film producer, showman
(Attributed)
Added on 14-Jul-16 | Last updated 14-Jul-16
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Capitalism is about turning luxuries into necessities.

Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) American industrialist and philanthropist
(Attributed)
Added on 30-Mar-16 | Last updated 30-Mar-16
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There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations — these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit — immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn: We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously — no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption. And our charity must be a real and costly love, with deep feeling for the sins in spite of which we love the sinner — no mere tolerance, or indulgence which parodies love as flippancy parodies merriment. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat — the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.

Lewis - ordinary people - wist_info quote

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“The Weight of Glory,” sermon, Oxford University Church of St Mary the Virgin (8 Jun 1941)
Added on 23-Dec-15 | Last updated 22-Jun-16
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PASTORE: Is there anything connected in the hopes of this accelerator that in any way involves the security of this country?

WILSON: No sir; I do not believe so.

PASTORE: Nothing at all?

WILSON: Nothing at all.

PASTORE: It has no value in that respect?

WILSON: It only has to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with those things. It has nothing to do with the military, I am sorry.

PASTORE: Don’t be sorry for it.

WILSON: I am not, but I cannot in honesty say it has any such application.

PASTORE: Is there anything here that projects us in a position of being competitive with the Russians, with regard to this race?

WILSON: Only from a long-range point of view, of a developing technology. Otherwise, it has to do with: Are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things that we really venerate and honor in our country and are patriotic about. In that sense, this new knowledge has all to do with honor and country but it has nothing to do directly with defending our country, except to make it worth defending.

Robert R. Wilson (1914-2000) American physicist
Testimony, Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (17 Apr 1969)

Dialog between Senator John Pastore (D-RI) and Wilson regarding the funding for FY 1970 of Fermilab's first particle accelerator. Pastore was actually a proponent of Fermilab, but was seeking arguments to use with some of his colleagues.

The exchange is frequently portrayed as more hostile, and Wilson's answer is often paraphrased / elided as: "It has only to do with the respect with which we regard one another, the dignity of men, our love of culture. It has to do with are we good painters, good sculptors, great poets? I mean all the things we really venerate in our country and are patriotic about. It has nothing to do directly with defending our country except to make it worth defending."

See here for more background.

Added on 15-Dec-15 | Last updated 15-Dec-15
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No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for any one else.

Dickens - lighten burden - wist_info

Charles Dickens (1812-1870) English writer and social critic
Our Mutual Friend, ch. 9 (1864-65)
Added on 12-Nov-15 | Last updated 13-Nov-15
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In proportion to the development of his individuality, each person becomes more valuable to himself, and is, therefore, capable of being more valuable to others.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist
On Liberty, ch. 3 (1859)
Added on 29-Sep-15 | Last updated 29-Sep-15
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Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its value only to its scarcity.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Rambler, #127 (6 Jun 1751)
Added on 24-Jun-15 | Last updated 24-Jun-15
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Never believe in a meritocracy in which no one is funny-looking.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden (b. 1956) American editor, writer, essayist
Making Light, “Commonplaces”
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Added on 25-Sep-14 | Last updated 25-Sep-14
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To blame the poor for subsisting on welfare has no justice unless we are also willing to judge every rich member of society by how productive he or she is. Taken individual by individual, it is likely that there’s more idleness and abuse of government favors among the economically privileged than among the ranks of the disadvantaged.

Norman Mailer (1923-2007) American novelist, journalist, playwright, activist
(Attributed)
Added on 21-Apr-14 | Last updated 21-Apr-14
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Though I’ve belted you an’ flayed you,
By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) English writer
“Gunga Din,” st. 5 (1892)
Added on 21-Jan-13 | Last updated 23-Jul-15
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Whatever you can lose, reckon of no account.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 191 [tr. Lyman (1862)]
Added on 25-Jul-11 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings], # 847
Added on 15-Apr-09 | Last updated 20-Feb-17
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The three most important things a man has are, briefly, his private parts, his money, and his religious opinions.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
Further Extracts from Note-books of Samuel Butler (1934)
Added on 15-Aug-08 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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We despise all reverences and all objects of reverence which are outside the pale of our list of sacred things. And yet, with strange inconsistency, we are shocked when other people despise and defile the things which are holy to us.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Following the Equator (1897)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Jan-19
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The politics of the university are so intense because the stakes are so low.

Wallace Sayre (1905-1972) U.S. political scientist, academic
Sayre’s Third Law

One of several formulations of the same sentiment, which has also been attributed to Richard Neustadt, Jesse Unruh, Henry Kissinger ("University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small"), Charles Philip Issawi ("In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake. That is why academic politics are so bitter"), Lawrence Peter, C.P. Snow, and others, with antecedents by Samuel Johnson and Woodrow Wilson. Most of the attributions come in the early-mid 1970s, though Herbert Kaufman, a colleague, claimed Sayres had used the phrase for decades.

See also Quote Investigator, Quote Verifier, and Wikipedia for more discussion.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 24-Mar-19
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If a man hasn’t discovered something that he would die for, he isn’t fit to live.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Speech, Detroit (23 Jun 1963)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 19-Jan-15
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