Originality is deliberate and forced, and partakes of the nature of a protest.
The intellectuals and the young, booted and spurred, feel themselves born to ride us.
The urge to escape our real self is also an urge to escape the rational and the obvious.
Power corrupts the few, while weakness corrupts the many.
Good and evil grow up together and are bound in an equilibrium that cannot be sundered. The most we can do is try to tilt the equilibrium toward the good.
It is by its promise of a sense of power that evil often attracts the weak.
Wise living consists perhaps less in acquiring good habits than in acquiring as few habits as possible.
Old age equalizes -- we are aware that what is happening to us has happened to untold numbers from the beginning of time. When we are young we act as if we were the first young people in the world.
Rudeness luxuriates in the absence of self-respect.
When cowardice becomes a fashion its adherents are without number, and it masquerades as forbearance, reasonableness and whatnot.
To the old, the new is usually bad news.
I hang onto my prejudices, they are the testicles of my mind.
Our credulity is greatest concerning the things we know least about.
A ruling intelligentsia, whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, treats the masses as raw material to be experimented on, processed, and wasted at will.
Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear. Thus a feeling of utter unworthiness can be a source of courage.
The effectiveness of a doctrine does not come from its meaning but from its certitude. No doctrine however profound and sublime will be effective unless it is presented as the embodiment of the one and only truth.
All prayers and hopes are a reaching-out for coincidences.
Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul.
Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.
America is still the best country for the common man -- white or black ... if he can't make it here he won't make it anywhere else.
There is in most passions a shrinking away from ourselves. The passionate pursuer has all the earmarks of a fugitive.
It is apparently vital that we should be in the dark about ourselves not to be clear about our intentions, fears, and hopes. There is a stubborn effort in us to set up a compact screen between consciousness and the self.
The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world.
How much easier is self-sacrifice than self-realization?
How much easier is self-sacrifice than self-realization!
Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.
Our frustration is greater when we have much and want more than when we have nothing and want some. We are less dissatisfied when we lack many things than when we seem to lack but one thing.
Though they seem at opposite poles, fanatics of all kinds are actually crowded together at one end. It is the fanatic and the moderate who are poles apart and never meet.
The compulsion to take ourselves seriously is in inverse proportion to our creative capacity. When the creative flow dries up, all we have left is our importance.
The fear of becoming a 'has-been' keeps some people from becoming anything.
In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.
The Greeks invented logic but were not fooled by it.
If a society is to preserve stability and a degree of continuity, it must learn how to keep its adolescents from imposing their tastes, values, and fantasies on everyday life.
Faith is primarily a process of identification; the process by which the individual ceases to be himself and becomes part of something eternal.
The future belongs to the learners-not the knowers.
They who clamor loudest for freedom are often the ones least likely to be happy in a free society.
Nothing so bolsters our self-confidence and reconciles us with ourselves as the continuous ability to create; to see things grow and develop under our hand, day in, day out.
A preoccupation with the future not only prevents us from seeing the present as it is but often prompts us to rearrange the past.
The real persuaders are our appetites, our fears and above all our vanity. The skillful propagandist stirs and coaches these internal persuaders.
You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
The search for happiness is one of the chief sources of unhappiness.
Propaganda ... serves more to justify ourselves than to convince others; and the more reason we have to feel guilty, the more fervent our propaganda.
You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.
Mass movements do not usually rise until the prevailing order has been discredited.
There is need for some kind of make-believe in order to face death unflinchingly. To our real, naked selves there is not a thing on earth or in heaven worth dying for.
Many of the insights of the saint stem from his experience as a sinner.
Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements and doubts.
Our achievements speak for themselves. What we have to keep track of are our failures, discouragements and doubts. We tend to forget the past difficulties, the many false starts, and the painful groping. We see our past achievements as the end results of a clean forward thrust, and our present difficulties as signs of decline and decay.
God alone is satisfied with what He is and can proclaim: "I am what I am." Unlike God, man strives with all his might to be what he is not. He incessantly proclaims: "I am what I am not.
It is the malady of our age that the young are so busy teaching us that they have no time left to learn.
The hatred and cruelty which have their source in selfishness are ineffectual things compared with the venom and ruthlessness born of selflessness.
Retribution often means that we eventually do to ourselves what we have done unto others.
Those who lack the capacity to achieve much in an atmosphere of freedom will clamor for power.
We are ready to die for an opinion but not for a fact.
The greatest weariness comes from work not done.
There is apparently no surer way of turning a thing into its opposite than by exaggerating it.
The creative mind is the playful mind. Philosophy is the play and dance of ideas.
No one is truly literate who cannot read his own heart.
The best part of the art of living is to know how to grow old gracefully.
A great man's greatest good luck is to die at the right time.
Absolute faith corrupts as absolutely as absolute power.
The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.
The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a God or not. The atheist is a religious person. He believes in atheism as though it were a new religion.
The technique of a mass movement aims to infect people with a malady and then offer the movement as a cure.
It almost seems that nobody can hate America as much as native Americans. America needs new immigrants to love and cherish it.
The facts on which the true believer bases his conclusions must not be derived from his experience or observation but from holy writ.
Absolute power turns its possessors not into a God but an anti-God. For God turned clay into men, while the absolute despot turns men into clay.
An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head.
The most troublesome problem which confronts social engineering is how to provide for the untalented and, what is equally important, how to provide against them.
It was the craving to be a one and only people which impelled the ancient Hebrews to invent a one and only God whose one and only people they were to be.
Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.
There is sublime thieving in all giving. Someone gives us all he has and we are his.
To some, freedom means the opportunity to do what they want to do; to most it means not to do what they do not want to do. It is perhaps true that those who can grow will feel free under any condition.
You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone.
It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor.
It is easier to love humanity as a whole than to love one's neighbor. ... Some of the worst tyrannies of our day genuinely are "vowed" to the service of mankind, yet can function only by pitting neighbor against neighbor. The all-seeing eye of a totalitarian regime is usually the watchful eye of the next-door neighbor. In a Communist state love of neighbor may be classed as counter-revolutionary.
No matter what our achievements might be, we think well of ourselves only in rare moments.
A compilation of what outstanding people said or wrote at the age of 20 would make a collection of asinine pronouncements.
The basic test of freedom is perhaps less in what we are free to do than in what we are free not to do.
That which corrodes the souls of the persecuted is the monstrous inner agreement with the prevailing prejudice against them.
To dispose a soul to action we must upset its equilibrium.
Anger is the prelude to courage.
Capitalism is at its liberating best in a noncapitalist environment. The crypto-businessman is the true revolutionary in a Communist country.
We feel free when we escape -- even if it be but from the frying pan to the fire.
When we believe ourselves in possession of the only truth, we are likely to be indifferent to common everyday truths.
Only the individual who has come to terms with his self can have a dispassionate attitude toward the world.
To be aware how fruitful the playful mood can be is to be immune to the propaganda of the alienated, which extols resentment as fuel of achievement.
The weakness of a soul is proportionate to the number of truths that must be kept from it.
There are many who have grave scruples about deceiving but think it as nothing to deceive themselves.
It is the fate of every great achievement to be pounced upon by pedants and imitators who drain it of life and turn it into an orthodoxy which stifles all stirrings of originality.
It is loneliness that makes the loudest noise. This is true of men as of dogs.
Sensuality reconciles us with the human race. The misanthropy of the old is due in large part to the fading of the magic glow of desire.
The sense of inferiority inherent in the act of imitation breeds resentment. The impulse of the imitators is to overcome the model they imitate.
It is to escape the responsibility for failure that the weak so eagerly throw themselves into grandiose undertakings.
Creativity is the ability to introduce order into the randomness of nature.
The aspiration toward freedom is the most essentially human of all human manifestations.
Fair play is primarily not blaming others for anything that is wrong with us.
There is probably an element of malice in our readiness to overestimate people -- we are, as it were, laying up for ourselves the pleasure of later cutting them down to size.
Nothing so offends the doctrinaire intellectual as our ability to achieve the momentous in a matter-of-fact way, unblessed by words.
Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true.
In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
When grubbing for necessities man is still an animal. He becomes uniquely human when he reaches out for the superfluous and extravagant.
In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future.
In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
Where unity and self-sacrifice are indispensable for the normal functioning of society, everyday life is likely to be either religiofied (common tasks turned into holy causes) or militarized.
It is part of the formidableness of a genuine mass movement that the self-sacrifice it promotes includes also a sacrifice of some of the moral sense, which cramps and restrains our nature.
Glory is largely a theatrical concept. There is no striving for glory without a vivid awareness of an audience.
Crude absurdities, trivial nonsense, and sublime truths are equally potent in readying people for self-sacrifice if they are accepted as the sole, eternal truth.
It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities.
It is a strange thing that both the injurer and the injured, the sinner and he who is sinned against, should find in the mass movement an escape from a blemished life.
There is a radicalism in all getting, and a conservatism in all keeping. Lovemaking is radical, while marriage is conservative.
Whoever originated the cliche that money is the root of all evil knew hardly anything about the nature of evil and very little about human beings.
Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.
Dissipation is a form of self-sacrifice.
We are more prone to generalize the bad than the good. We assume that the bad is more potent and contagious.
It is a sign of creeping inner death when we can no longer praise the living.
Those who are in love with the present can be cruel and corrupt but not genuinely vicious. They cannot be methodically and consistently ruthless.
We are least open to precise knowledge concerning the things we are most vehement about.
The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.
Far more crucial than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know. One often obtains a clue to a person's nature by discovering the reasons for his or her imperviousness to certain impressions.
The only way to predict the future is to have power to shape the future.
In an adequate social order, the untalented should be able to acquire a sense of usefulness and of growth without interfering with the development of talent around them.
The savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into puppets.
There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations, doubts and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgment.
There is no telling to what extremes of cruelty and ruthlessness a man will go when he is freed from the fears, hesitations, doubts and the vague stirrings of decency that go with individual judgement. When we lose our individual independence in the corporateness of a mass movement, we find a new freedom- freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame and remorse. Herein undoubtedly lies part of the attractiveness of a mass movement.
The hardest thing to cope with is not selfishness or vanity or deceitfulness, but sheer stupidity.
Whenever we proclaim the uniqueness of a religion , a truth , a leader, a nation, a race, a part or a holy cause, we are also proclaiming our own uniqueness.
The genuine artist is as much a dissatisfied person as the revolutionary, yet how diametrically opposed are the products each distills from his dissatisfaction.
A successful social technique consists perhaps in finding unobjectionable means for individual self-assertion.
Ideas have significance for him only as a prelude to action.
Faith in humanity, in posterity, in the destiny of one's religion, nation, race, party or family-what is it but the visualization of that eternal something to which we attach the self that is about to be annihilated?
Charlatanism of some degree is indispensable to effective leadership.
Wordiness is a sickness of American writing. Too many words dilute and blur ideas.
We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves.
The most gifted members of the human species are at their creative best when they cannot have their way, and must compensate for what they miss by realizing and cultivating their capacities and talents.
Language was invented to ask questions.
Language was invented to ask questions. Answers may be given by grunts and gestures, but questions must be spoken. Humanness came of age when man asked the first question. Social stagnation results not from a lack of answers but from the absence of the impulse to ask questions.
The devil personifies not the nature that is around us but the nature that is within us- the infinitely ferocious and cunning prehuman creature that is still within us, sealed in the subconscious cellars of the psyche.
Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains.
Man is the only creature that strives to surpass himself, and yearns for the impossible.
The nature of a society is largely determined by the direction in which talent and ambition flow -- by the tilt of the social landscape.
A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding.
A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business.
The impression somehow prevails that the true believer, particularly the religious individual, is a humble person. The truth is that the surrendering and humbling of the self breeds pride and arrogance.
The impression somehow prevails that the true believer, particularly the religious individual, is a humble person. The truth is the surrendering and humbling of the self breed pride and arrogance. The true believer is apt to see himself as one of the chosen, the salt of the earth, the light of the world, a prince disguised in meekness, who is destined to inherit the earth and the kingdom of heaven too. He who is not of his faith is evil; he who will not listen will perish.
There is no doubt that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-esteem. The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice utmost humility, is boundless.
Action is basically a reaction against loss of balance -- a flailing of the arms to to regain one's balance. To dispose a soul to action, we must upset its equilibrium.
Rudeness is a weak man's imitation of strength.
Nonconformists travel as a rule in bunches. You rarely find a nonconformist who goes it alone. And woe to him inside a nonconformist clique who does not conform with nonconformity.
When we lose our individual independence in the corporateness of a mass movement, we find a new freedom -- freedom to hate, bully, lie, torture, murder and betray without shame and remorse.
The majority of people cannot endure the bareness and futility of their lives unless they have some ardent dedication, or some passionate pursuit in which they can lose themselves.
It is often the failure who is the pioneer in new lands, new undertakings, and new forms of expression.
Children, savages and true believers remember far less what they have seen than what they have heard.
The original insight is most likely to come when elements stored in different compartments of the mind drift into the open, jostle one another, and now and then form new combinations.
Where everything is possible miracles become commonplaces, but the familiar ceases to be self-evident.
The savior who wants to turn men into angels is as much a hater of human nature as the totalitarian despot who wants to turn them into puppets.
Some people have no original ideas because they do not think well enough of themselves to consider their ideas worth noticing and developing.
The world leans on us. When we sag, the whole world seems to droop.
First something is a great idea, then it becomes a cause, then it becomes a business and finally it becomes a racket.
Nowhere at present is there such a measureless loathing of their country by educated people as in America.
The burning conviction that we have a holy duty toward others is often a way of attaching our drowning selves to a passing raft.
It is the around-the-corner brand of hope that prompts people to action, while the distant hope acts as an opiate.
The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is, rather, born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life.
The feeling of being hurried is not usually the result of living a full life and having no time. It is on the contrary born of a vague fear that we are wasting our life. When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else -- we are the busiest people in the world.
The history of this country was made largely by people who wanted to be left alone. Those who could not thrive when left to themselves never felt at ease in America.
Self-contempt, however vague, sharpens our eyes for the imperfections of others. We usually strive to reveal in others the blemishes we hide in ourselves.
When hopes and dreams are loose in the streets, it is well for the timid to lock doors, shutter windows and lie low until the wrath has passed.
The self-styled intellectual who is impotent with pen and ink hungers to write history with sword and blood.
The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others. The creed whose legitimacy is most easily challenged is likely to develop the strongest proselytizing impulse.
Intolerance is the 'Do Not Touch' sign on something that cannot bear touching. We do not mind having our hair ruffled, but we will not tolerate any familiarity with the toupee which covers our baldness.
Kindness can become its own motive. We are made kind by being kind.
To the excessively fearful the chief characteristic of power is its arbitrariness. Man had to gain enormously in confidence before he could conceive an all-powerful God who obeys his own laws.
With some people solitariness is an escape not from others but from themselves. For they see in the eyes of others only a reflection of themselves.
The chemistry of dissatisfaction is as the chemistry of some marvelously potent tar. In it are the building stones of explosives, stimulants, poisons, opiates, perfumes and stenches.
Absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes.
Absolute power corrupts even when exercised for humane purposes. The benevolent despot who sees himself as a shepherd of the people still demands from others the submissiveness of sheep. The taint inherent in absolute power is not its inhumanity but its anti-humanity.
To change everything, simply change your attitude.
We cannot win the weak by sharing our wealth with them. They feel our generosity as oppression.
Whenever you trace the origin of a skill or practices which played a crucial role in the ascent of man, we usually reach the realm of play.
The short-lived self, teetering on the edge of extinction, is the only thing that can ever really matter.
The pre-human creature from which man evolved was unlike any other living thing in its malicious viciousness toward its own kind. Humanization was not a leap forward but a groping toward survival.
To lose one's life is but to lose the present; and, clearly, to lose a defiled, worthless present is not to lose much.
Both the revolutionary and the creative individual are perpetual juveniles. The revolutionary does not grow up because he cannot grow, while the creative individual cannot grow up because he keeps growing.
There are no chaste minds. Minds copulate wherever they meet.
It needs fanatical faith to rationalize our cowardice.
The wise learn from the experience of others, and the creative know how to make a crumb of experience go a long way.
No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion; it is an evil government.
The ratio between supervisory and producing personnel is always highest where the intellectuals are in power. In a Communist country it takes half the population to supervise the other half.
What greater reassurance can the weak have than that they are like anyone else?
There is no alienation that a little power will not cure.
Unless a man has the talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden.
Unless a man has the talents to make something of himself, freedom is an irksome burden. We join a mass movement to escape from individual responsibility, or, in the words of an ardent young Nazi, to be free from freedom. It was not sheer hypocrisy when the rank-and-file Nazis declared themselves not guilty of all the enormities they had committed. They considered themselves cheated and maligned when made to shoulder responsibility for obeying orders. Had they not joined the Nazi movement in order to be free from responsibility?
To spell out the obvious is often to call it in question.
When you automate an industry you modernize it; when you automate a life you primitivize it.
There is a close connection between lack of confidence and the passionate state of mind.
Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.
Our passionate preoccupation with the sky, the stars, and a God some where in outer space is a homing impulse. We are drawn back to where we came from.
All through the ages schoolmasters seem to have had the delusion that they could order society as readily as they could a classroom.
It takes a vice to check a vice, and virtue is the by-product of a stalemate between opposite vices.
A nation without dregs and malcontents is orderly, peaceful and pleasant, but perhaps without the seed of things to come.
A passionate obsession with the outside world or the private lives of others is an attempt to compensate for a lack of meaning in one's own life.
What monstrosities would walk the streets were some people's faces as unfinished as their minds.
Naivete in grownups is often charming; but when coupled with vanity it is indistinguishable from stupidity.
It sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.
The majority prove their worth by keeping busy. A busy life is the nearest thing to a purposeful life.
For many people, an excuse is better than an achievement because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future, but an excuse can last for life.
One word characterizes the most strenuous of the efforts for the advancement of science that I have made perservereingly during fifty-five years; that word is failure.
Man was nature's mistake she neglected to finish him and she has never ceased paying for her mistake.
Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do.
When people are bored it is primarily with themselves.
It is remarkable by how much a pinch of malice enhances the penetrating power of an idea or an opinion. Our ears, it seems, are wonderfully attuned to sneers and evil reports about our fellow men.
It is our talents rusting unused within us that secrete the poison of self-doubt into our bloodstream.
The unpredictability inherent in human affairs is due largely to the fact that the by-products of a human process are more fateful than the product.
Where freedom is real, equality is the passion of the masses. Where equality is real, freedom is the passion of a small minority.
Learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
Without a sense of proportion there can be neither good taste nor genuine intelligence, nor perhaps moral integrity.
A society that refuses to strive for superfluities is likely to end up lacking in necessities.
Our quarrel with the world is an echo of the endless quarrel proceeding within us.
To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.
Children are the keys of paradise.
Children are the keys of Paradise. They alone are good and wise, because their thoughts, their very lives are prayer.
It is always safe to assume that people are more subtle and less sensitive than they seem.
Man staggers through life yapped at by his reason, pulled and shoved by his appetites, whispered to by fears, beckoned by hopes. Small wonder that what he craves most is self-forgetting.
Self-righteousness is a manifestation of self-contempt.
You accept certain unlovely things about yourself and manage to live with them. The atonement for such an acceptance is that you make allowances for others -- that you cleanse yourself of the sin of self-righteousness.
A dissenting minority feels free only when it can impose its will on the majority: what it abominates most is the dissent of the majority.
Self-esteem and self-contempt have specific odors; they can be smelled.
It is the pull of opposite poles that stretches souls. And only stretched souls make music.
We are more ready to try the untried when what we do is inconsequential. Hence the fact that many inventions had their birth as toys.