Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Collection of Quotes on a Variety of Topics (I) Individuality.

The sentence in bold face is a plain statement of the quote that follows.

A man is only himself in his particular circumstances. Do circumstances make the man?
Individuality 32 E.M. Forster: …a man’s only himself amidst the particular circumstances of his life and not amid other circumstances. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Most of the rules of the world make us abandon our individuality for the benefit of society.
Individuality 513 Most of the rules and precepts of the world take this course of pushing us out of ourselves and chasing us into the market place for the benefit of public society. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

The less a person strives to achieve excellence for himself, the more he sees excellence in the organizations he is a part of.
Individuality 14 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. Hoffer, The True Believer

The decline in personal craftsmanship increases frustration and makes people susceptible to mass movements.
Individuality 35 The decline of handicrafts in modern times is perhaps one of the causes for the rise of frustration and the increased susceptibility of the individual to mass movements. Hoffer, The True Believer

The ideal of self-advancement also leads to frustration.
Individuality 39 The ideal of self-advancement which the civilizing West offers to backward populations brings with it the plague of individual frustration. Hoffer, The True Believer

Freedom, independence and self-reliance lead to isolation.
Individuality 40 What…individual freedom and independence…[and] self-reliance…actually amount to is individual isolation. Hoffer, The True Believer

Incentive plans with bonuses to individuals do more harm than good.
Individuality 42 “Incentive wage plans that offer bonuses to individual workers do more harm than good.” Peter Drucker. Hoffer, The True Believer

Group bonus plans promote productivity and lead to greater satisfaction among workers.
Individuality 42 “Group incentive plans in which the bonus is based on the work of the whole team, including the foreman…are much more likely to promote greater productivity and greater satisfaction on the part of the workers.” Peter Drucker. Hoffer, The True Believer

Mass movements hold their following not because of doctrine and promises but because they are a refuge from the meaninglessness of individual existence.
Individuality 42 A rising mass movement attracts and holds a following not by its doctrine and promises but by the refuge it offers from the anxieties, barrenness and meaninglessness of an individual existence. Hoffer, The True Believer

People, when asked who they are, usually respond with an organization to which they belong.
Individuality 65 When asked who he [the individual] is, his automatic response is that he is a German, a Russian, a Japanese, a Christian, a Moslem, a member of a certain tribe or family. Hoffer, The True Believer

People freed from the decency that comes from individual judgment will be ruthless and cruel.
Individuality 104 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. Hoffer, The True Believer

Even if the organization fails, the individual does not see himself as being responsible.
Individuality 123 When the common undertaking fails, they [the frustrated] are still spared the one thing they fear most, namely, the showing up of their individual shortcomings. Hoffer, The True Believer

Most things of value have been produced by individuals.
Individuality 201 I believe that almost everything of value which has happened in the world has been due to individuals. Clark, Civilization.

The individual must be subordinated to the species in order to assure its continuance.
Individuality 320 Schopenhauer : …subordination of the individual to the species as instrument of its continuance. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

The existence of most human beings is of no significance to history or human progress.
Individuality 39 The existence of most human beings is of absolutely no significance to history or to human progress. Mencken, Minority Report.

Most human beings die anonymously.
Individuality 39 [Most human beings] live and die as anonymously and as nearly uselessly as so many bullfrogs or houseflies. Mencken, Minority Report.

Most human beings are simply a part of the assembly line of life and only leave a mark by creating difficulties.
Individuality 39 [Most human beings] are, at best, undifferentiated slaves upon an assembly line, and at worst they are robots who leave their mark upon time only by occasionally falling into the machinery, and so incommoding their betters. Mencken, Minority Report.

Believing in the individual means believing in the soul.
Individuality 46 F. Mauriac: the generation that preceded ours was no longer Christian, but it believed in the individual, which comes to the same thing as believing in the soul. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

The individual is constructed around the soul.
Individuality 46 F. Mauriac: What each of us understands by the word “soul” is different; but in any case it is the fixed point around which the individual is constructed. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Man is only interesting because of his differences.
Individuality 204 RP Warren: Man is interesting in his differences. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

I don’t like trying to legislate “undifference.”
Individuality 205 RP Warren: But I feel pretty strongly about attempts to legislate undifference. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

People believe that there is something about them that makes them different.
Individuality 294 Johnson: There lurks perhaps in every human heart a desire of distinction, which inclines every man first to hope, and then to believe that nature has given him something peculiar to himself. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

People go through the daily events of life without thinking about the people around them.
Individuality 823 Each man walks, eats, drinks, shaves, dresses, gesticulates, and, in every manner, acts and suffers without reference to the bystanders, in his own fashion, only careful not to interfere with them, or annoy them; not that he is trained to neglect the eyes of his neighbors—he is really occupied with his own affair, and does not think of them. Emerson, English Traits.

The chief disgrace in the world is looking at people as members of groups, not as individuals.
Individuality 71 Is it not the chief disgrace in the world...not to yield that peculiar fruit which each man was created to bear, but to be reckoned in the gross, in the hundred, or the thousand, of the party, the section to which we belong; and our opinion predicted geographically. Emerson, The American Scholar.

People do not understand their individuality until they try to do what is distinctive about them.
Individuality 259 The power that resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. Emerson, Self-Reliance.

We must do what we must do and not worry about what people think.
Individuality 263 What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. Emerson, Self-Reliance.

We are all wrapped up in ourselves and can’t see beyond the length of our nose.
Individuality 28 We are all confined and banked up within ourselves and have our sight limited to the length of our nose. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

When a person sees himself as the size of a point made by a pencil, then he sees the world in its true proportion.
Individuality 29 …whoever shall observe himself…as a point made with the least touch of a pencil, that man alone evaluates things according to their true proportion. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

The god at Delphi warned against dispersing oneself, rather, devoting oneself to concentrating one’s self.
Individuality 508 The god at Delphi: “Look into yourself, know yourself, keep to yourself; bring back your mind and will, which are spending themselves elsewhere, into themselves; you are running out; you are scattering yourself; concentrate yourself, hold yourself in; you are being betrayed, you are being dispersed, you are being stolen away from yourself.” Montaigne, Selected Essays.

People don’t give money to others, but they do give their time and portions of their lives.
Individuality 512 No one distributes his money to others, but everyone distributes his time and his life. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Every man was aware of his insignificance, but he was also aware that he was a part of a powerful organization consisting of hundreds of thousands of others.
Individuality 282 From general to private, every man was conscious of his own insignificance, aware that he was but a grain of sand in that ocean of humanity, and yet at the same time had a sense of power as a part of that vast whole. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

He felt he was a chip in a piece of machinery that worked without a flaw.
Individuality 1139 Pierre felt himself an insignificant chip fallen among the wheels of a machine whose mechanism he did not understand but which worked without a hitch. Tolstoi, War and Peace

He recognized that everybody thought, felt and saw things his own way and that people’s convictions could not be changed by words
Individuality 1312 There was a new feature in Pierre’s relations with…all the people he met now, which gained for him universal good will: ...his acknowledgment of the freedom of everybody to think, feel, and see things in his own way-—his recognition of the impossibility of altering a man’s convictions by words. Tolstoi, War and Peace

We leave influences from ourselves wherever we go.
Individuality 37 We leave traces of ourselves wherever we go, on whatever we touch. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

Henry Clay: We are an almost invisible atom, a drop of water in an ocean, a grain of sand swept up in dust storms.
Individuality 183 Henry Clay: An individual man is “an atom, almost invisible without a magnifying glass…a drop of water in the giant deep, which evaporates and is borne off by the winds; a grain of sand, which is soon gathered to the dust from which it sprung….” Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

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