Quotations about:
    will


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Fascists rejected reason in the name of will, denying objective truth in favor of a glorious myth articulated by leaders who claimed to give voice to the people.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
 
Added on 30-Jun-21 | Last updated 30-Jun-21
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You can tell the man who rings true from the man who rings false, not by his deeds alone, but also by his desires.

[Δόκιμος ἀνὴρ καὶ ἀδόκιμος οὐκ ἐξ ὧν πράσσει μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐξ ὧν βούλεται.]

Democritus (c. 460 BC - c. 370 BC) Greek philosopher
Frag. 68 (Diels) [tr. Bakewell (1907)]
    (Source)

Diels citation "68. (40 N.) DEMOKRATES. 33." Bakewell lists this under "The Golden Sayings of Democritus." Freeman notes this as one of the Gnômae, from a collection called "Maxims of Democratês," but because Stobaeus quotes many of these as "Maxims of Democritus," they are generally attributed to the latter.

Alternate translations:

  • "A man is approved or rejected not only by what he doth, but by what he wills." [Hammond (1845)]
  • "The worthy and the unworthy man are to be known not only by their actions, but also their wishes." [tr. Freeman (1948)]
  • "One of esteem and one without it do not only act for different reasons but they desire for different reasons too." [tr. @sententiq (2018), fr. 67]
  • "Accomplished or unaccomplished we shall call a man not only from what he does but from what he desires, too." [Source]
  • "The worthy and unworthy are known not only by their deeds, but also by their desires." [Source]
 
Added on 2-Mar-21 | Last updated 11-May-21
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If I commit suicide, it will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again. Suicide will be for me only one means of violently reconquering myself, of brutally invading my being, of anticipating the unpredictable approaches of God. By suicide, I reintroduce my design in nature, I shall for the first time give things the shape of my will.

[Si je me tue ce ne sera pas pour me détruire, mais pour me reconstituer, le suicide ne sera pour moi qu’un moyen de me reconquérir violemment, de faire brutalement irruption dans mon être, de devancer l’avance incertaine de Dieu. Par le suicide, je réintroduis mon dessin dans la nature, je donne pour la première fois aux choses la forme de ma volonté.]

Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) French playwright, actor, director
“On Suicide” #1, Le Disque Vert (1925)
    (Source)

Original French. After being diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1948, Artaud died of poisoning, possibly a suicide.
 
Added on 27-Jan-21 | Last updated 27-Jan-21
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At twenty the will rules; at thirty the intellect; at forty the judgment.

Baltasar Gracián y Morales (1601-1658) Spanish Jesuit priest, writer, philosopher
The Art of Worldly Wisdom [Oráculo Manual y Arte de Prudencia], § 298 (1647) [tr. Jacobs (1892)]
    (Source)

Alt trans.: "When one is twenty, the will reigns; a thirty, the intelligence; at forty, judgment." [tr. Maurer (1992)]

Benjamin Franklin adopted this for Poor Richard's Almanack as “At 20 years of age the Will reigns; at 30 the Wit; at 40 the Judgment.”
 
Added on 14-Feb-20 | Last updated 4-Apr-22
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Man has no greater enemy than himself. I have acted contrary to my sentiments and inclination; throughout our whole lives we do what we never intended, and what we proposed to do, we leave undone.

Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374) Italian scholar and poet [a.k.a. Petrarch]
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann, An Examination of the Advantages of Solitude and of Its Operations, ch. 5 (1783) [tr. F.S. (1808)].
 
Added on 28-Aug-17 | Last updated 28-Aug-17
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Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
The Measures of Man (1959)
 
Added on 15-Apr-17 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
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Posthumous charities are the very essence of selfishness, when bequeathed by those who, when alive, would part with nothing.

Charles Caleb "C. C." Colton (1780-1832) English cleric, writer
Lacon: or, Many Things in Few Words, #341 (1820)
    (Source)
 
Added on 30-Jul-16 | Last updated 29-Apr-22
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Defer not thy charities till death; for certainly, if a man weight it rightly, he that doth so is rather liberal of another man’s than his own.

Bacon - defer not thy charities - wist_info

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
“Of Riches,” Essays, No. 34 (1625)
    (Source)
 
Added on 16-May-16 | Last updated 25-Mar-22
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It is a very rare thing for a man of talent to succeed by his talent.

Joseph Roux
Joseph Roux (1834-1886) French Catholic priest
Meditations of a Parish Priest: Thoughts, Part 4, #88 (1886)
    (Source)
 
Added on 4-Apr-16 | Last updated 4-Apr-16
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YODA: No! Try not. Do — or do not. There is no try.

Lawrence Kasdan (b. 1949) American screenwriter, director, producer
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) [with George Lucas and Leigh Brackett]
 
Added on 5-Feb-16 | Last updated 5-Feb-16
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Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) Indian philosopher and nationalist [Mahatma Gandhi]
In Young India (11 Aug 1920)
 
Added on 14-Oct-14 | Last updated 14-Oct-14
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Two souls, alas, are housed within my breast,
And each will wrestle for the mastery there.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust, 1, “Outside the City Gate” (1808-1832) [tr. Wayne (1959)]
 
Added on 21-May-14 | Last updated 21-May-14
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It’s possible to tell your mind what to do only when your mind agrees with you.

Rex Stout (1886-1975) American writer
A Family Affair, ch. 2 [Goodwin] (1975)
 
Added on 8-May-14 | Last updated 8-May-14
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And what is this liberty which must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty, and leads straight to its overthrow. A society in which men recognize no check upon their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few; as we have learned to our sorrow.

Learned Hand (1872-1961) American jurist
“The Spirit of Liberty,” speech, “I Am an American Day,” New York (21 May 1941)
    (Source)
 
Added on 31-Oct-07 | Last updated 25-Jan-22
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Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Othello, Act 1, sc. 3, l. 362ff [Iago] (1603)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-May-04 | Last updated 29-Jun-22
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He who knows the Truth is not equal to him who loves it, and he who loves it is not equal to him who delights in it.

[知之者、不如好之者、好之者、不如樂之者]

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 6, verse 20 (6.20) (6th C. BC – 3rd C. AD) [tr. Soothill (1910), 6.18]
    (Source)

Earlier translations use Legge's verse numbering, 6.18. The source material uses 之 (zhi, "it") without a clear antecedent. Soothill suggests it may refer to Truth, Virtue, or the Right. Some translations provide what they think is the reference; others leave it ambiguous or footnote it, as shown below.

(Source (Chinese)). Alternate translations:

They who know the truth are not equal to those who love it, and they who love it are not equal to those who delight in it.
[tr. Legge (1861), 6.18]

They who know it are not as those who love it, nor they who love it as those who rejoice in it.
[tr. Jennings (1895), 6.18]

Those who know it are not as those who love it; those who love it are not as those who find their joy in it.
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898), 6.18]

Those who know aren't up to those who love; nor those who love, to those who delight in.
[tr. Pound (1933), 6.18]

To prefer it is better than only to know it. To delight in it is better than merely to prefer it.
[tr. Waley (1938), 6.18; "the Way"]

The man who loves truth (or learning) is better than the man who knows it, and the man who finds happiness in it is better than the man who loves it.
[tr. Lin Yutang (1938)]

To be fond of something is better than merely to know it, and to find joy in it is better than merely to be fond of it.
[tr. Lau (1979), 6.20]

Those who understand a thing are not equal to those who are fond of it, and those who are fond of it are not equal to those who delight in it.
[tr. Dawson (1993), 6.20]

To know something is not as good as loving it; to love something is not as good as rejoicing in it.
[tr. Leys (1997), 6.20]

The persons who know something are not better than the persons who favor something; The persons who favor something are not better than the persons who enjoy something.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), 6.20, #140]

To truly love it is better than just to understand it, and to enjoy it is better than simply to love it.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998), 6.20; "knowledge and learning"]

Knowing it is not as good as loving it; loving it is not as good as taking delight in it.
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998), 6.20; virtue]

To understand something is nothing like loving it. And to love something is nothing like delighting in it.
[tr. Hinton (1998), 6.19]

To know it is not as good as to approve it. To approve it is not as good as to find joy in it.
[tr. Watson (2007), 6.20]

To know something is not as good as to have a love for it. To have a love for something is not as good as to find joy in it.
[tr. Annping Chin (2014), 6.20; learning, cf. 6.11 and 7.19]

Learned people are inferior to those who are eager to learn. Those who are eager to learn are inferior to those who enjoy learning.
[tr. Li (2020), 6.20]

Better than the one who knows what is right is he who loves what is right.
[Common English translation]

 
Added on 12-May-04 | Last updated 20-Jun-22
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You don’t get to control any outcome, only every choice you make along the way.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Stephen C. Paul
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 17-May-14
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Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
(Attributed)

Used by Bruce Lee, and sometimes attributed to him.
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 2-Sep-16
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