Quotes of the day: James Agee

Published Wednesday, November 26, 2014 @ 8:47 PM EST
Nov 26 2014

James Rufus Agee (November 27, 1909 - May 16, 1955) was an American author, journalist, poet, screenwriter and film critic. In the 1940s, he was one of the most influential film critics in the U.S. His autobiographical novel, A Death in the Family (1957), won the author a posthumous 1958 Pulitzer Prize. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A civilization which for any reason puts a human life at a disadvantage; or a civilization which can exist only by putting human life at a disadvantage; is worthy neither of the name nor of continuance.

And a human being whose life is nurtured in an advantage which has accrued from the disadvantage of other human beings, and who prefers that this should remain as it is, is a human being by definition only, having much more in common with the bedbug, the tapeworm, the cancer, and the scavengers of the deep sea.

As a whole part of psychological education it needs to be remembered that a neurosis can be valuable; also that adjustment to a sick and insane environment is of itself not health but sickness and insanity.

Children, taught either years beneath their intelligence or miles wide of relevance to it, or both: their intelligence becomes hopelessly bewildered, drawn off its centers, bored, or atrophied.

God doesn't believe in the easy way.

I believe that every human being is potentially capable within his 'limits' of fully 'realizing' his potentialities; that this, his being cheated and choked of it, is infinitely the ghastliest, commonest, and most inclusive of all the crimes of which the human world can assure itself.

I know the most important faculty to develop is one for hard, continuous and varied work and living; but the difference between knowing this and doing anything consistent about it is often abysmal.

I prefer a little free speech to no free speech at all; but how many have free speech or the chance or the mind for it; and is not free speech here as elsewhere clamped down on in ratio of its freedom and danger?

In every child who is born under no matter what circumstances and of no matter what parents, the potentiality of the human race is born again, and in him, too, once more, and each of us, our terrific responsibility toward human life: toward the utmost idea of goodness, of the horror of terrorism, and of God.

Isn't every human being both a scientist and an artist; and in writing of human experience, isn't there a good deal to be said for recognizing that fact and for using both methods?

Just spunk won't be enough; you've got to have gumption.

Some people get where they hope to in this world. Most of us don't.

The English instinctively admire any man who has no talent and is modest about it.

The goal is the same; life itself; and the price is the same; life itself.

The mere attempt to examine my own confusion would consume volumes.

Understanding, and action proceeding from understanding and guided by it, is one weapon against the world's bombardment, the one medicine, the one instrument by which liberty, health, and joy may be shaped... in the individual, and in the race.

You must be in tune with the times and prepared to break with tradition.

You've got to bear it in mind that nobody that ever lived is specially privileged; the axe can fall at any moment, on any neck, without any warning or any regard for justice.

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Quotes of the day: Eugene Ionesco

Published Tuesday, November 25, 2014 @ 8:06 PM EST
Nov 25 2014

Eugéne Ionesco (born Eugen Ionesco November 26, 1909 - March 28, 1994) was a Romanian playwright who wrote mostly in French, and one of the foremost figures of the French Avant-garde theatre. Beyond ridiculing the most banal situations, Ionesco's plays depict the solitude and insignificance of human existence in a tangible way. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Everything that has been will be, everything that will be is, everything that will be has been.

God is dead. Marx is dead. And I don't feel so well myself.

Good men make good rhinoceroses, unfortunately.

I believe that what separates us all from one another is simply society itself, or, if you like, politics. This is what raises barriers between men, this is what creates misunderstanding.

I let characters and symbols emerge from me, as if I were dreaming. I always use what remains of my dreams of the night before. Dreams are reality at its most profound, and what you invent is truth because invention, by its nature, can't be a lie. Writers who try to prove something are unattractive to me, because there is nothing to prove and everything to imagine. So I let words and images emerge from within. If you do that, you might prove something in the process.

I'm just a historical dead end. I hope at least that my fate will serve as an example to you all and to posterity.

Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together.

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.

It isn't what people think that's important, but the reason they think what they think.

It's not a certain society that seems ridiculous to me, it's mankind.

It's not enough to integrate, you must also disintegrate. That's the way life is. That's philosophy. That's science. That's progress, civilization.

Modern man is a puppet, a jumping jack.

My work has been essentially a dialogue with death, asking him, “Why? Why?” So only death can silence me. Only death can close my lips.

No society has been able to abolish human sadness, no political system can deliver us from the pain of living, from our fear of death, our thirst for the absolute. It is the human condition that directs the social condition, not vice versa.

Oh words, what crimes are committed in your name!

People always try to find base motives behind every good action. We are afraid of pure goodness and of pure evil.

People who don't read are brutes. It is better to write than to make war, isn't it?

Perhaps there will be a morning of grace for humanity. Perhaps there will be a morning of grace for me.

Quotes about Ionesco[edit]

The absence of ideology in a work does not mean an absence of ideas; on the contrary it fertilizes them.

To introduce people to a different world, to encounter the miracle of being, that is important. When I write “The train arrives at the station,” it is banal, but at the same time sensational, because it is invented.

We are all Victims of Duty.

We exist on several different planes, and when we said nothing had any reason we were referring to the psychological and social plane.

Why do people always expect authors to answer questions? I am an author because I want to ask questions. If I had answers, I'd be a politician.

You can stay in society and be alone, as long as you can be detached from the world.

You know, the Cathars believed that the world was not created by God but by a demon who had stolen a few technological secrets from Him and made this world- which is why it doesn't work.

Categories: Eugene Ionesco; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Andrew Carnegie

Published Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 9:24 PM EST
Nov 24 2014

Andrew Carnegie (November 25, 1835 - August 11, 1919) was a Scottish American industrialist who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century. He was also one of the highest profile philanthropists of his era and had given away almost 90 percent- amounting to, in 1919, $350 million (in 2014, $4.76 billion)- of his fortune to charities and foundations by the time of his death. His 1889 article proclaiming 'The Gospel of Wealth' called on the rich to use their wealth to improve society, and stimulated a wave of philanthropy. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.

A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.

All honor's wounds are self-inflicted.

As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.

Concentrate your energies, your thoughts and your capital. The wise man puts all his eggs in one basket and watches the basket.

Concentration is my motto- first honesty, then industry, then concentration.

Do not look for approval except for the consciousness of doing your best.

Do not make riches, but usefulness, your first aim; and let your chief pride be that your daily occupation is in the line of progress and development; that your work, in whatever capacity it may be, is useful work, honestly conducted, and as such ennobling to your life.

Do your duty and a little more and the future will take care of itself.

He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave.

I don't believe in God. My god is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life.

I resolved to stop accumulating and begin the infinitely more serious and difficult task of wise distribution.

I shall argue that strong men, conversely, know when to compromise and that all principles can be compromised to serve a greater principle.

I think the absence of women from any assembly tends to lower the tone of that assembly.

If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.

Immense power is acquired by assuring yourself in your secret reveries that you were born to control affairs.

Man must have no idol and the amassing of wealth is one of the worst species of idolatry.

Never speculate. Never buy or sell grain or stocks upon a margin. If you have savings, invest them in solid securities, lands or property. The man who gambles upon the exchanges is in the condition of the man who gambles at the gaming table. He rarely, if ever, makes a permanent success. His judgment goes; his faculties are snapped; and his end, as a rule, is nervous prostration after an unworthy and useless life.

No man becomes rich unless he enriches others.

No person will make a great business who wants to do it all himself or get all the credit.

Not only had I got rid of the theology and the supernatural, but I had found the truth of evolution.

People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity, no matter how impressive their other talents.

Pittsburgh entered the core of my heart when I was a boy, and cannot be torn out.

Surplus wealth is a sacred trust, to be administered during life by its possessor.

The first man gets the oyster, the second man gets the shell.

The man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.

The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.

The problem of our age is the proper administration of wealth, so that the ties of brotherhood may still bind together the rich and poor in harmonious relationship.

There does not appear to be much use in providing a ladder for the people to ascend if the distance from the earth to the first step be made so great they cannot reach it.

There is always room at the top in every pursuit.

There is little success where there is little laughter.

There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else.

There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.

There is nothing that robs a righteous cause of its strength more than a millionaire's money.

Watch the costs and the profits take care of themselves.

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Quotes of the day: Arundhati Roy

Published Sunday, November 23, 2014 @ 8:16 PM EST
Nov 23 2014

Suzanna Arundhati Roy (b. November 24, 1961) is an Indian author and political activist who is best known for the 1998 Man Booker Prize for Fiction-winning novel The God of Small Things (1997) and for her involvement in human rights and environmental causes. Roy's novel became the biggest-selling book by a nonexpatriate Indian author. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

Change is one thing. Acceptance is another.

Free elections, a free press and an independent judiciary mean little when the free market means they are on sale to the highest bidder.

Insanity hovered close at hand, like an eager waiter at an expensive restaurant.

It is true that success is the most boring thing, it is tinny and brittle, failure runs deeper. Success is dangerous.

Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.

Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.

Some things come with their own punishments.

Soviet-style communism failed, not because it was intrinsically evil, but because it was flawed. It allowed too few people to usurp too much power. Twenty-first century market capitalism, American- style, will fail for the same reasons. Both are edifices constructed by human intelligence, undone by human nature.

The American way of life is not sustainable. It doesn't acknowledge that there is a world beyond America.

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling- their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.

The invasion of Iraq will surely go down in history as one of the most cowardly wars ever fought. It was a war in which a band of rich nations, armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over, rounded on a poor nation, falsely accused it of having nuclear weapons, used the United Nations to force it to disarm, then invaded it, occupied it, and are now in the process of selling it.

The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.

The trouble is that once America goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.

The trouble is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. And once you've seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There's no innocence. Either way, you're accountable.

There is a war that makes us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.

There is only one dream worth having... to live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead.

There's really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.

Things can change in a day.

This was the trouble with families. Like invidious doctors, they knew just where it hurt.

Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons.

What does peace mean to the poor who are being actively robbed of their resources and for whom everyday life is a grim battle for water, shelter, survival and, above all, some semblance of dignity? For them, peace is war.

What does the term 'anti-American' mean? Does it mean you are anti- jazz? Or that you're opposed to freedom of speech? That you don't delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? That you have a quarrel with giant sequoias? Does it mean that you don't admire the hundreds of thousands of American citizens who marched against nuclear weapons, or the thousands of war resisters who forced their government to withdraw from Vietnam? Does it mean that you hate all Americans?

When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.

Categories: Arundhati Roy; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Roald Dahl

Published Saturday, November 22, 2014 @ 5:42 PM EST
Nov 22 2014

Roald Dahl (September 13, 1916 – November 23, 1990) was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot and screenwriter. Dahl's works include James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The Witches, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Twits, George's Marvellous Medicine and The BFG. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.

A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

Did they preach one thing and practice another, these men of God?

Don't gobblefunk around with words.

Grown ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets.

I understand what you're saying, and your comments are valuable, but I'm going to ignore your advice.

If the Good Lord intended for us to walk, he wouldn't have invented roller skates.

If you are good life is good.

It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.

It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.

It's impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you're not feeling twinkly yourself.

Nobody gets a nervous breakdown or a heart attack from selling kerosene to gentle country folk from the back of a tanker in Somerset.

Nowadays you can go anywhere in the world in a few hours, and nothing is fabulous any more.

Obscurity is never a virtue.

Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.

There are no secrets unless you keep them to yourself...

Unless you have been to boarding-school when you are very young, it is absolutely impossible to appreciate the delights of living at home.

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it.

When writing about oneself, one must strive to be truthful. Truth is more important than modesty.

You should never, never doubt something that no one is sure of.

Categories: Quotes of the day; Roald Dahl

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Quotes of the day: André Gide

Published Friday, November 21, 2014 @ 4:04 PM EST
Nov 21 2014

André Paul Guillaume Gide (November 22, 1869 – February 19 1951) was a French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947 "for his comprehensive and artistically significant writings, in which human problems and conditions have been presented with a fearless love of truth and keen psychological insight." Gide's career ranged from its beginnings in the symbolist movement, to the advent of anticolonialism between the two World Wars. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A straight path never leads anywhere except to the objective.

Believe those who seek the truth, doubt those who find it; doubt all, but do not doubt yourself.

Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.

Generally among intelligent people are found nothing but paralytics and among men of action nothing but fools.

It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.

It is with fine sentiments that bad literature is made. Descend to the bottom of the well if you wish to see the stars.

Let every emotion be capable becoming an intoxication to you. If what you eat fails to make you drunk, it is because you are not hungry enough.

Most often people seek in life occasions for persisting in their opinions rather than for educating themselves.

Often the best in us springs from the worst in us.

One doesn't discover new lands without consenting to lose sight, for a very long time, of the shore.

Pay attention only to the form; emotion will come spontaneously to inhabit it. A perfect dwelling always finds an inhabitant. The artist's business is to build the dwelling; as for the inhabitant, it is up to the reader to provide him.

Sin is whatever obscures the soul.

The most decisive actions of our life- I mean those that are most likely to decide the whole course of our future- are, more often than not, unconsidered.

The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.

The wise man is astonished by anything.

There are many things that seem impossible only so long as one does not attempt them.

There is no feeling so simple that it is not immediately complicated and distorted by introspection.

True intelligence very readily conceives of an intelligence superior to its own; and this is why truly intelligent men are modest.

True kindness presupposes the faculty of imagining as one's own the suffering and joys of others.

We call 'happiness' a certain set of circumstances that makes joy possible. But we call joy that state of mind and emotions that needs nothing to feel happy.

What another would have done as well as you, do not do it. What another would have said as well as you, do not say it; what another would have written as well, do not write it. Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself- and thus make yourself indispensable.

When intelligent people pride themselves on not understanding, it is quite natural they should succeed better than fools.

Wisdom comes not from reason but from love.


(November 22 is also the birthday of Abigail Adams, Charles deGaulle, and George Eliot)

Categories: André Gide; Quotes of the day

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The Soul...

Published Thursday, November 20, 2014 @ 9:54 PM EST
Nov 20 2014

A common concept of the soul is that the essence of a self lies in some spark of invisible light, a thing that cowers out of body, out of mind, and out of sight.... To look for our virtue in such thoughts seems just as wrongly aimed a search as seeking art in canvas cloths by scraping off the painter's works.
-Marvin Minsky

A consistent soul believes in destiny, a capricious one in chance.
-Benjamin Disraeli

A fella ain't got a soul of his own, just a piece of a big soul, the one that belongs to everybody.
-John Steinbeck

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

A human soul devoid of longing was a soul deformed, deprived of its highest good, sick unto death.
-Saul Bellow

A little righteous anger really brings out the best in the American personality. Our nation was born when 56 patriots got mad enough to sign the Declaration of Independence. We put a man on the moon because Sputnik made us mad at being number two in space. Getting mad in a constructive way is good for the soul- and the country.
-Lee Iacocca

A room without books is like a body without a soul.
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

A soul is a troublesome possession, and when man developed it he lost the Garden of Eden.
-W. Somerset Maugham

All humanity is one undivided and indivisible family, and each one of us is responsible for the misdeeds of all the others. I cannot detach myself from the wickedest soul.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Art is the final cunning of the human soul which would rather do anything than face the gods.
-Iris Murdoch

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
-Pablo Picasso

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
-H.L. Mencken

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another.

Be careless in your dress, if you must; but keep a tidy soul.
-Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

Beauties in vain their pretty eyes may roll; Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
-Alexander Pope

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another.
-George Eliot

Books are the mirrors of the soul.
-Virginia Woolf

Books are the windows through which the soul looks out. A house without books is like a room without windows.
-Horace Mann

But the world will never weary of watching that troubled soul in its progress from darkness to darkness.
-Oscar Wilde

Celebrity is a corrosive condition for the soul.
-Charlton Heston

Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul.
-Alexander Pope

Confession is good for the conscience, but it usually bypasses the soul.
-Mignon McLaughlin

Confession is good for the soul in the sense that a tweed coat is good for dandruff.
-Peter De Vries

Corporations cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicated, for they have no souls.
-Sir Edward Coke

Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.
-Agatha Christie

Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.
-Edwin Markham

Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.
-Nelson Mandela

Do you, good people, believe that Adam and Eve were created in the Garden of Eden and that they were forbidden to eat from the tree of knowledge? I do. The church has always been afraid of that tree. It still is afraid of knowledge. Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas. So does whiskey. I believe in the brain of man. I'm not worried about my soul.
-Clarence Darrow

Don't let your hearts grow numb. Stay alert. It is your soul which matters.
-Albert Schweitzer

Every human soul is of infinite value, eternal, free; no human being, therefore, is so placed as not to have within his reach, in himself and others, objects adequate to infinite endeavor.
-Arthur James Balfour

Every writer dips his brush into his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.
-Henry Ward Beecher

Everywhere the human soul stands between a hemisphere of light and another of darkness on the confines of two everlasting hostile empires,- Necessity and Free Will.
-Thomas Carlyle

Fame like a drunkard consumes the house of the soul.
-Malcolm Lowry

Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and 50 cents for your soul.
-Marilyn Monroe

How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?
-Carson McCullers

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
-William Butler Yeats

Human rights is the soul of our foreign policy, because human rights is the very soul of our sense of nationhood.
-Jimmy Carter

I believe that in our constant search for security we can never gain any peace of mind until we are secure in our own soul.
-Margaret Chase Smith

I believe that man will not merely endure, he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he, alone among creatures, has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.
-William Faulkner

I belong to the Great Church which holds the world within its starlit aisles; that claims the great and good of every race and clime; that finds with joy the grain of gold in every creed, and floods with light and love the germs of good in every soul.
-Robert G. Ingersoll

I cannot believe that there is any being in this universe who has created a human soul for eternal pain. I would rather that every god would destroy himself; I would rather that we all should go to eternal chaos, to black and starless night, than that just one soul should suffer eternal agony.
-Robert G. Ingersoll

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.
-Albert Einstein

I do not mind if I lose my soul for all eternity. If the kind of God exists Who would damn me for not working out a deal with Him, then that is unfortunate. I should not care to spend eternity in the company of such a person.
-Mary McCarthy

I don't actually take much stock in the collapsing culture bit. I'm beginning to see it instead as the conduct of life without input from your soul.
-Saul Bellow

I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.
-Maya Angelou

I have never yet met a healthy person who worries very much about his health or a really good person who worries much about his own soul.
-J.B.S. Haldane

I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul. (From the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes)
-Bill Watterson

I once loved a woman, a child I am told
I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul.
But don't think twice, it's all right.
-Bob Dylan

I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.
-Woody Allen

I would permit no man, no matter what his color might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.
-Booker T. Washington

If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.
-James Herriot

If my soul exists without my body I am convinced all my clothes will be loose-fitting.
-Woody Allen

If we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.
-Maya Angelou

If you are losing your leisure, look out; you may be losing your soul.
-Logan Pearsall Smith

If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose.
-Charles Bukowski

Illusions are to the soul what atmosphere is to the earth.
-Virginia Woolf

Impropriety is the soul of wit.
-W. Somerset Maugham

In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

In order to be created, a work of art must first make use of the dark forces of the soul.
-Albert Camus

In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.
-John Steinbeck

Invest in the human soul. Who knows, it might be a diamond in the rough.
-Mary McLeod Bethune

It does not matter so much what you do. What matters is whether your soul is harmed by what you do. If your soul is harmed, something irreparable happens, the extent of which you won't realize until it will be too late.
-Albert Schweitzer

It is by little things that we know ourselves; a soul would very probably mistake itself for another, when once disembodied, were it not for individual experiences which differ from those of others only in details seemingly trifling.
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

It is only the souls that do not love that go empty in this world.
-Robert Hugh Benson

It is the still, small voice that the soul heeds, not the deafening blasts of doom.
-William Dean Howells

It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked bottles; the less they have in them the more noise they make in pouring out.
-Alexander Pope

It will be a great thing for the human soul when it finally stops worshiping backwards.
-Charlotte Perkins Gilman

It's good for the soul to hear yourself as others hear you, and next time maybe, just maybe, you will not talk so much, so loudly, so brilliantly, so charmingly, so utterly shamelessly foolishly.
-Russell Baker

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.
-Stella Adler

Like body and soul theory and practice are one, and like body and soul they are for the most part at loggerheads.
-Marie Ebner von Ebner-Eschenbach

Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.
-Zora Neale Hurston

Man has sold his soul for time, language, tools, weapons, and dominance.
-William S. Burroughs

Man has wrested from nature the power to make the world a desert or to make deserts bloom. There is no evil in the atom; only in men's souls.
-Adlai E. Stevenson II

Maybe a man has to sell his soul to get the power to do good.
-Robert Penn Warren

More men discover their souls in darkness than they do in light. This is not to invite darkness; it is only to be reminded that darkness need not go to waste when it is thrust upon us.
-Fulton J. Sheen

Most of the world's great souls have been lonely.
-Aiden Wilson Tozer

Most people sell their souls and live with a good conscience on the proceeds.
-Logan Pearsall Smith

My fate cannot be mastered; it can only be collaborated with and thereby to some extent, directed. Nor am I the captain of my soul; I am only its noisiest passenger.
-Aldous Huxley

My mouth is full of decayed teeth and my soul of decayed ambitions.
-James Joyce

My soul lives in a place where the passions have passed by and where I have known them all.
-Joseph Joubert

Never let a man imagine that he can pursue a good end by evil means, without sinning against his own soul. The evil effect on himself is certain.
-Robert Southey

Obscurity can be a fire of ambition in those who have stalwart souls.
-Taylor Caldwell

One drop of hatred in your soul will spread and discolor everything like a drop of black ink in white milk. I was struck by that and meant to try it, but knew I shouldn't waste the milk.
-Alice Munro

Only the soul that suffers knows its suffering. Only the one who needs knows what need means.
-W.E.B. DuBois

Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
-Oscar Wilde

Our critics are the unpaid guardians of our souls.
-Corrie ten Boom

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls.
-Carl Jung

Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
-Edward Abbey

Some day you will know that there is a beauty of the soul that is more important than worldly beauty. Remember this when you see worldly beauty.
-John P. Marquand

Suffering is not good for the soul, unless it teaches you to stop suffering.
-Jane Roberts

The eyes are the window to where the soul is supposed to be.
-Tina Fey

The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it- basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.
-Charles Bukowski

The greatest battles in life are fought in the quiet chambers of the soul.
-David O. McKay

The happiest people I have known have been those who gave themselves no concern about their own souls, but did their uttermost to mitigate the miseries of others.
-Elizabeth Cady Stanton

The imagination is the eye of the soul.
-Joseph Joubert

The real lost souls don't wear their hair long and play guitars. They have crew cuts, trained minds, sign on for research in biological warfare, and don't give their parents a moment's worry.
-John Boynton Priestley

The Soul is born old, but it grows young; that is the comedy of life. The Body is born young and grows old; that is life's tragedy.
-Oscar Wilde

The soul is placed in the body like a rough diamond, and must be polished, or the luster of it will never appear.
-Daniel Defoe

The soul may sleep and the body still be happy, but only in youth.
-Mignon McLaughlin

The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.
-Emily Dickinson

There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.
-Elie Wiesel

There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.
-Victor Hugo

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.
-Thomas Paine

They were trying to save their souls- and who but a fool could fail to see that all that was the matter with their souls was that they had not been able to get a decent existence for their bodies?
-Upton Sinclair

Violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.
-Robert F. Kennedy

Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.
-Walt Whitman

Whatever the soul knows how to seek, it cannot fail to obtain.
-Margaret Fuller

When one great passion seizes possession of the soul all other feelings are crowded out.
-Lucy Maud Montgomery

When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.
-Edward R. Murrow

You can lend them your talents, but don't give them your soul.
-Alan Alda

You do not 'have' a soul- you ARE a soul. You 'have' a body.
-C.S. Lewis

You got to decide what your soul can handle and how you want to be seen.
-Marc Maron

You start out giving your hat, then you give your coat, then your shirt, then your skin and finally your soul.
-Charles de Gaulle


(November 21 is also the birthday of Voltaire )

Categories: Quotes of the day; Quotes on a topic; Soul

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Quotes of the day: Nadine Gordimer

Published Wednesday, November 19, 2014 @ 10:22 PM EST
Nov 19 2014

Nadine Gordimer (November 20, 1923 – July 13, 2014) was a South African writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. She was recognized as a woman "who through her magnificent epic writing has– in the words of Alfred Nobel– been of very great benefit to humanity." (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Art defies defeat by its very existence, representing the celebration of life, in spite of all attempts to degrade and destroy it.

Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.

Communists are the last optimists.

Humans, the only self-regarding animals, blessed or cursed with this torturing higher faculty, have always wanted to know why.

I cannot live with someone who can't live without me.

Nothing factual that I write or say will be as truthful as my fiction.

Perhaps it is the positive knowledge that humans now possess the means to destroy their whole planet, the fear that they have in this way themselves become the gods, dreadfully charged with their own continued existence, that has made comic-book and movie myth escapist.

Power is something of which I am convinced there is no innocence this side of the womb.

Recognize yourself in others.

Responsibility is what awaits outside the Eden of Creativity.

Sentiment is for those who don't know what to do next.

Success sometimes may be defined as a disaster put on hold.

The facts are always less than what really happened.

The gap between the committed and the indifferent is a Sahara whose faint trails, followed by the mind's eye only, fade out in sand.

The truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is.

There are many proven explanations for natural phenomena now; and there are new questions of being arising out of some of the answers. For this reason, the genre of myth has never been entirely abandoned, although we are inclined to think of it as archaic.

There is no moral authority like that of sacrifice.

Time is change; we measure its passage by how much things alter.

We must live fully in order to secrete the substance of our work, but we have to work alone.

You can't change a regime on the basis of compassion. There's got to be something harder.

Categories: Nadine Gordimer; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Indira Gandhi

Published Tuesday, November 18, 2014 @ 7:46 PM EST
Nov 18 2014

Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi (November 19, 1917 –October 31, 1984) was the third Prime Minister of India and a central figure of the Indian National Congress party. Gandhi, who served from 1966 to 1977 and then again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, is the second-longest- serving Prime Minister of India and the only woman to hold the office (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A nation's strength ultimately consists in what it can do on its own, and not in what it can borrow from others.

Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave.

I do not like carving the world into segments; we are one world.

I don't mind if my life goes in the service of the nation. If I die today every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation. (The night before her assassination)

Martyrdom does not end something, it is only a beginning.

My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition.

One must beware of ministers who can do nothing without money, and those who want to do everything with money.

People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.

There are moments in history when brooding tragedy and its dark shadows can be lightened by recalling great moments of the past.

There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten.

To be liberated, woman must feel free to be herself, not in rivalry to man but in the context of her own capacity and her personality.

What do you want me to do? I'm surrounded by a bunch of idiots. And democracy...

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.

We should not mourn for men of high ideals. Rather we should rejoice that we had the privilege of having had them with us, to inspire us by their radiant personalities.


(November 19 is also the birthday of Billy Sunday.)

Categories: Indira Gandhi; Quotes of the day

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Quotes of the day: Marcel Proust

Published Monday, November 17, 2014 @ 9:29 PM EST
Nov 17 2014

Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871 - November 18, 1922) was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time; earlier translated as Remembrance of Things Past). He is considered by many to be one of the greatest authors of all time. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves.

All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.

As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress.

Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces.

Happiness is beneficial for the body but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.

Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey.

In a separation it is the one who is not really in love who says the more tender things.

It is in moments of illness that we are compelled to recognize that we live not alone but chained to a creature of a different kingdom, whole worlds apart, who has no knowledge of us and by whom it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body.

Just as those who practice the same profession recognize each other instinctively, so do those who practice the same vice.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Like everybody who is not in love, he imagined that one chose the person whom one loved after endless deliberations and on the strength of various qualities and advantages.

Like many intellectuals, he was incapable of saying a simple thing in a simple way.

Love is a reciprocal torture.

Love is space and time measured by the heart.

The only paradise is paradise lost.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

The regularity of a habit is generally in proportion to its absurdity.

The time at our disposal each day is elastic; the passions we feel dilate it, those that inspire us shrink it, and habit fills it.

There is no man, however wise, who has not at some period of his youth said things, or lived in a way the consciousness of which is so unpleasant to him in later life that he would gladly, if he could, expunge it from his memory.

Three-quarters of the sicknesses of intelligent people come from their intelligence. They need at least a doctor who can understand this sickness.

Time passes, and little by little everything that we have spoken in falsehood becomes true.

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.

We do not succeed in changing things according to our desire, but gradually our desire changes.

We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.


(November 18 is also the birthday of Clarence Day )

Categories: Marcel Proust; Quotes of the day

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