[see also: HUMILITY]
I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and behold, all is
vanity and vexation of the spirit.
Bible, Ecclesiastes 1:14
There are no grades of vanity, there are only grades of ability in concealing
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Notebook, Chapter 31, 1898 entry
Edited by Albert Bigelow Paine, 1935
To say that a man is vain means merely that he is pleased with the effect he
produces on other people. A conceited man is satisfied with the effect he
produces on himself.
Sir Max Beerbohm (1872-1956)
And Even Now, 1920
[see also: FOOD]
Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all
the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to
you it shall be for meat.
Bible, Genesis 1:29
Their soul abhorred all manner of meat: and they were even hard at death's
Book of Common Prayer
Psalm 107, verse 18, 1662
You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed
in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
"Fate", The Conduct of Life, 1860
I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its
gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage
tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
An Essay on Man, 1733-1734
Epistle II, line 217
Vice, in its true light, is so deformed, that it shocks us at first sight;
and would hardly ever seduce us, if it did not at first wear the mask of
Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773)
Letter, 22 February 1748
Reprinted in The Letters of the Earl of Chesterfield to His Son
Volume 1, Number 142
Edited by Charles Strachey, 1901
Vices are sometimes only virtues carried to excess!
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Dombey and Son, 1848
Chapter 58 "After a Lapse"
Alas, human vices, however horrible one might imagine them to be, contain
the proof (were it only in their infinite expansion) of man's longing for
the infinite; but it is a longing that often takes the wrong route.... It
is my belief that the reason behind all culpable excesses lies in this
depravation of the sense of the infinite.
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
"The Poem of Hashish"
Les Paradis Artificiels, 1860
There are men so incorrigibly lazy that no inducement that you can offer
will tempt them to work; so eaten up by vice that virtue is abhorrent to
them, and so inveterably dishonest that theft is to them a master passion.
When a human being has reached that stage, there is only one course that
can be rationally pursued. Sorrowfully, but remorselessly, it must be
recognised that he has become lunatic, morally demented, incapable of
self-government, and that upon him, therefore, must be passed the sentence
of permanent seclusion from a world in which he is not fit to be at large.
William Booth (1829-1912)
In Darkest England, and the Way Out, 1860
Part 2, Chapter 5, Section 10
People divide off vice and virtue as though they were two things, neither
of which had with it anything of the other. This is not so. There is no
useful virtue which has not some alloy of vice, and hardly any vice, if
any, which carries not with it a little dash of virtue; virtue and vice
are like life and death, or mind and matter -- things which cannot exist
without being qualified by their opposite.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902)
The Way of All Flesh, 1903
It is the function of vice to keep virtue within reasonable bounds.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902)
Samuel Butler's Notebooks, 1951
No exile at the South Pole or on the summit of Mont Blanc separates us more
effectively from others than the practice of a hidden vice.
Marcel Proust (1871-1922)
Remembrance of Things Passed, 1921
Volume 10, Part 2, Chapter 2
As far as I'm concerned I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
Quoted in Albert Einstein: A Documentary Biography, 1956
Chapter V "Associate Professor at Zurich University"
by Carl Seelig
Translated by Mervyn Savill
Never support two weaknesses at the same time. It's your combination
sinners -- your lecherous liars and your miserly drunkards -- who
dishonor the vices and bring them into bad repute.
Thornton Wilder (1897-1975)
The Matchmaker, 1954
Beware the fury of a patient man.
John Dryden (1631-1700)
Absalom and Achitophel
Part I, 1680, line 1005
Man's destructive hand spares nothing that lives; he kills to feed himself,
he kills to clothe himself, he kills to adorn himself, he kills to attack,
he kills to defend himself, he kills to instruct himself, he kills to amuse
himself, he kills for the sake of killing.
Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821)
Considerations sur la France, 1814
I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence,
I would advise violence. Thus when my eldest son asked me what he should have
done had he been present when I was almost fatally assaulted in 1908, whether
he should have run away and seen me killed or whether he should have used his
physical force which he could and wanted to use, and defend me, I told him it
was his duty to defend me even by using violence. Hence it was that I took
part in the Boer War, the so-called Zulu Rebellion and the late war. Hence
also do I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of
violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her
honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless
witness to her own dishonor.
But I believe nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is
more manly than punishment.... Forgiveness adorns a soldier. But abstinence
is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish, it is meaningless when
it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature. A mouse hardly forgives a
cat when it allows itself to be torn to pieces by her. I therefore appreciate
the sentiment of those who cry out for the condign punishment of General Dyer
and his ilk. They would tear him to pieces if they could. But I do not believe
India to be helpless. I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature. Only
I want to use India's and my strength for a better purpose.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
Young India, 1919
Some people draw a comforting distinction between "force" and "violence."
...I refuse to cloud the issue by such word-play.... The power which
establishes a state is violence; the power which maintains it is violence;
the power which eventually overthrows it is violence.... Call an elephant a
rabbit only if it gives you comfort to feel that you are about to be trampled
to death by a rabbit.
Kenneth Kaunda (b.1924)
Kaunda on Violence, 1980
If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to
be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black
men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in
defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how
to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever
is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.
Malcolm X (1925-1965)
10 November 1963
Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements, 1965
Edited by George Breitman
If human beings are to survive in a nuclear age, committing acts of violence
may eventually have to become as embarrassing as urinating or defecating in
public are today.
Myriam Miedzian (b.1936?)
Boys Will Be Boys, 1991
To use violence is to already be defeated.
[see also: SEX]
C'est une des superstitions de l'esprit humain d'avoir imagine que la
virginite pouvait etre une vertu.
(It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that
virginity could be a virtue.)
The Leningrad Notebooks, c.1735-c.1750
In Notebooks (second edition, 1968)
Volume 2, p.455
Edited by Theodore Besterman
He who possesses virtue in abundance
May be compared to an infant.
Lao-tzu (c.604-c.531 BC)
The Way of Lao-tzu, 55
To flee vice is the beginning of virtue, and to have got rid of folly is
the beginning of wisdom.
Horace (65-8 BC)
Book I, epistle i, line 41
The greatest minds are capable of the greatest vices as well as of the
greatest virtues, and those who proceed very slowly may, provided they
always follow the straight road, really advance much faster than those
who, though they run, forsake it.
Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason
and Seeking for Truth in the Sciences, Part I, 1637
Translated by Elizabeth S. Haldane and G.R.T. Ross in
The Philsophical Works of Descartes, 1911
Because impudence is a vice, it does not follow that modesty is a virtue;
it is built upon shame, a passion in our nature, and may be either good or
bad according to the actions performed from that motive.
Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733)
The Fable of the Bees, 1714
Remarks, Line 101
Virtue, according to Aristotle, consists in the habit of mediocrity according
to right reason. Every particular virtue, according to him, lies in a kind
of middle between two opposite vices, of which the one offends from being
too much, the other from being too little affected by a particular species
Adam Smith (1723-1790)
The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759
Volume II, Part VII "Of Systems of Moral Philosophy",
Section II, Chapter I
Virtue is more to be feared than vice, because its excesses are not
subject to the regulation of conscience.
Adam Smith (1723-1790)
Interpretation or paraphrase of previous quotation?
Why, you simple creatures, the weakest of all weak things is a virtue
which has not been tested in the fire.
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories and Essays, 1904
Chapter 3 "The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg"
Virtue consists, not in abstaining from vice, but in not desiring it.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
"Maxims for Revolutionists: Virtues and Vices"
Man and Superman, 1903
Man seems capable of great virtues but not of small virtues; capable of
defying his torturer but not of keeping his temper.
G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own
nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There
is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set it up as an
absolute guide. You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it
is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements
and faking evidence in trials "for the sake of humanity", and become in the
end a cruel and treacherous man.
C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)
Mere Christianity, 1952
Book I "Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe"
Chapter 2 "Some Objections"
I never vote for anyone; I always vote against.
W.C. Fields (1880-1946)
Halliwell's Filmgoer's Companion, 1984
by Leslie Halliwell
We, the people, are not free. Our democracy is but a name. We vote? What
does that mean? It means that we choose between two bodies of real, though
not avowed autocrats. We choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. We elect
expensive masters to do our work for us, and then blame them because they work
for themselves and for their class. The enfranchisement of women is a part
of the vast movement to enfranchise all mankind. You ask for votes for women.
What good can votes do you when ten elevenths of the land of Great Britain
belongs to two hundred thousand, and only one eleventh to the rest of the
forty millions? Have your men with their millions of votes freed themselves
from this injustice?
Helen Adams Keller (1880-1968)
Letter to an English Woman-Suffragist
03 March 1911
A mood of constructive criticism being upon me, I propose forthwith that the
method of choosing legislators now prevailing in the United States be abandoned
and that the method used in choosing juries be substituted. That is to say, I
propose that the men who make our laws be chosen by chance and against will of
all the rest of us, as now.
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
Prejudices: Sixth Series, 1927
II "From the Memoirs of a Subject of the United States"
2. "Constructive Proposal"
Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.
George Jean Nathan (1882-1958)
The American Treasury, 1455-1955
Edited by Clifton Fadiman
Unverified in Nathan's works - See caveat
The political merchandisers appeal only to the weaknesses of voters, never to
their potential strength. They make no attempt to educate the masses into
becoming fit for self-government; they are content merely to manipulate and
exploit them. For this purpose all the resources of psychology and the social
sciences are mobilized and set to work. Carefully selected samples of the
electorate are given "interviews in depth." These interviews in depth reveal
the unsonscious fears and wishes most prevalent in a given society at the
time of an election. Phrases and images aimed at allaying or, if necessary,
enhancing these fears, at satisfying these wishes, at least symbolically, are
then chosen by the experts, tried out on readers and audiences, changed or
improved in the light of the information thus obtained. After which the
political campaign is ready for the mass communicators. All that is now
needed is money and a candidate who can be coached to look "sincere."
Under the new dispensation, political principles and plans for specific
action have come to lose most of their importance. The personality of the
candidate and the way he is projected by the advertising experts are the
things that really matter.
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)
Brave New World Revisted, 1958
Chapter VI "The Arts of Selling"
The right to vote is a consequence, not a primary cause, of a free social
system -- and its value depends on the constitutional structure implementing
and strictly delimiting the voters' power; unlimited majority rule is an
instance of the principle of tyranny. Outside the context of a free society,
who would want to die for the right to vote? Yet that is what the American
soldiers were asked to die for -- not even for their own vote, but to secure
that privilege for the South Vietnamese, who had no other rights and no
knowledge of rights or freedom.
Ayn Rand (1905-1982)
The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought
The Ayn Rand Library, Volume V, 1989
Part 2 "Culture"
Chapter 14 "The Lessons of Vietnam"
When people put their ballots in the boxes, they are, by that act,
inoculated against the feeling that the government is not theirs. They
then accept, in some measure, that its errors are their errors, its
aberrations their aberrations, that any revolt will be against them.
It's a remarkably shrewd and rather conservative arrangement when one
thinks of it.
John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006)
The Age of Uncertainty, 1977
Chapter 12 "Democracy, Leadership, Commitment"
Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least.
Robert Byrne (b.1930)
The Third and Possibly the Best 637 Best Things Anybody Ever Said, 1986
Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.
Jerry Garcia (1942-1995)
Rolling Stone, New York
30 November 1989