Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Quotes: Persuasion.

A collection of quotes on various topics. The sentence in bold face is a plain statement of the quote that follows.

Facts do not change our most cherished beliefs.
Persuasion 210 Proust: The facts of life do not penetrate to the sphere in which our beliefs are cherished. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

Wanting atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs to persuade the world’s people that the Communists were not all-powerful and therefore submitting without resistance to the Communists.
Persuasion 449 One defense official made an impassioned case for the resumption of atmospheric testing in order to prevent the world from believing that the communists were gaining so commanding a lead that there was no point in resisting them…. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

She had to repeat her idea several times and in several different ways because the idea was new.
Persuasion 251 She [Emma] was obliged to repeat and explain it [to her father], before it was fully comprehended; and then being quite new, further representations were necessary to make it acceptable. Austen, Emma

The soul is not moved by literal information.
Persuasion 163 Spinoza: Sober and literal statements do not move the soul. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza.

Arms do not conquer minds, only greatness of soul.
Persuasion 182 Spinoza: Minds are conquered not by arms but by greatness of soul. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza.

Men who say believe as I do or God will damn you will soon say, believe as I do or I will kill you.
Persuasion 237 Voltaire: “The man who says to me, ‘Believe as I do, or God will damn you,’ will presently say, ‘Believe as I do, or I shall assassinate you.’” Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Voltaire.

Logic never persuades the will of others, only self-interest.
Persuasion 312 Schopenhauer : Nothing is more provoking, when we are arguing against a man with reasons and explanations, and taking all pains to convince him, than to discover at last that he will not understand, that we have to do with his will…the uselessness of logic; no one ever convinced anybody by logic…to convince a man, you must appeal to his self-interest, his desires, his will. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

Persuasion 514 W. James: Logic and sermons never convince. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, William James.

Hitler's recipe for persuasion: conciliation and threats.
Persuasion 143 Hitler…mixed lukewarm conciliatory remarks with further threats. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg.

To persuade, you have to know when to stop.
Persuasion 401 But Jackson, as customary, did not know when to stop and damaged his own argument by summarizing. Conot, Justice at Nuremberg.

Admitting that we do not understand is a ploy to get people to agree with us about what we do understand.
Persuasion 235 There is a certain kind of subtle humility that springs from presumption, as, for example, when we confess our ignorance in many things and are so gracious as to acknowledge that there are in the works of nature some qualities and conditions that are imperceptible to us and of which our understanding cannot discover the means and causes [but] by this honest and conscientious declaration we hope to get people to believe us also in those that we say we do understand. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Examples and analogies do not persuade.
Persuasion 543 Every example is lame, and the comparison which is drawn from experience is always faulty and imperfect. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

The tone of authority persuades as words do not.
Persuasion 412 ….persuaded, as children are, by the tone of authority. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

Begin persuading by convincing the other that you are his sincere friend.
Persuasion 132 Lincoln: If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

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