Quotations

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Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
There is no mode of action, no form of emotion, that we do not share with the lower animals. It is only by language that we rise above them, or above each other—by language, which is the parent, and not the child, of thought. Action, indeed, is always easy, and when presented to us in its most aggravated, because most continuous form, which I take to be that of real industry, becomes simply the refuge of people who have nothing whatsoever to do.
Category: Quotation
One of the advantages of democracy, from the governmental point of view, is that it makes the average citizen easier to deceive, since he regards the government as his government.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Believe me, my dear Cyril, modernity of form and modernity of subject-matter are entirely and absolutely wrong. We have mistaken the common livery of the age for the vesture of the Muses, and spend our days in the sordid streets and hideous suburbs of our vile cities when we should be out on the hillside with Apollo. Certainly we are a degraded race, and have sold our birthright for a mess of facts.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Most women are so artificial that they have no sense of Art. Most men are so natural that they have no sense of Beauty.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
All bad art comes from returning to Life and Nature, and elevating them into ideals.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.
Category: Quotation
Author: Edmund Burk
Men are qualified for civil liberty, in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites; in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity; in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption; in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ...
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
But some one should teach them that while, in the opinion of society, Contemplation is the gravest sin of which any citizen can be guilty, in the opinion of the highest culture it is the proper occupation of man.
Category: Quotation
The conversation among ordinary people, when it does not relate to any special matter of fact, but takes a more general character, mostly consists in hackneyed commonplaces, which they alternately repeat to each other with the utmost complacency.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Cultivated idleness seems to me to be the proper occupation for men.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
There is this to be said in favour of the despot, that he, being an individual, may have culture, while the mob, being a monster, has none. One who is an Emperor and King may stoop down to pick up a brush for a painter, but when the democracy stoops down it is merely to throw mud.
Category: Quotation
How shall a man be proud, when his conception is a crime, his birth a penalty, his life a labour, and death a necessity!
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
As for being discontented, a man who would not be discontented with such surroundings and such a low mode of life would be a perfect brute. Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion. Sometimes the poor are praised for being thrifty. But to recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
I said to you some time ago that it was far more difficult to talk about a thing than to do it. Let me say to you now that to do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
Category: Quotation
Grace is the beauty of form under the influence of freedom.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Nothing, indeed, is more dangerous to the young artist than any conception of ideal beauty: he is constantly led by it either into weak prettiness or lifeless abstraction: whereas to touch the ideal at all you must not strip it of vitality. You must find it in life and re-create it in art.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
For the recognition of private property has really harmed Individualism, and obscured it, by confusing a man with what he possesses. It has led Individualism entirely astray.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
"Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. There lies its immense value. For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine."
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
We live in the age of the overworked, and the under-educated; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid.
Category: Quotation
I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organized diminution of work.
Category: Quotation
Intolerance is a distinctive trait of all fictionalism. It bears witness to a feeling of insecurity.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
It was a fatal day when the public discovered that the pen is mightier than the paving-stone, and can be made as offensive as the brickbat. They at once sought for the journalist, found him, developed him, and made him their industrious and well-paid servant. It is greatly to be regretted, for both their sakes. Behind the barricade there may be much that is noble and heroic. But what is there behind the leading-article but prejudice, stupidity, cant, and twaddle? And when these four are joined together they make a terrible force, and constitute the new authority.
Category: Quotation
Vulgar people take a huge delight in the faults and follies of great men; and great men are equally annoyed at being thus reminded of their kinship with them.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Those who try to lead the people can only do so by following the mob.
Category: Quotation
Author: Cicero
This excessive licence, which the anarchists think is the only true freedom, provides the stock, as it were, from which a tyrant grows.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
Category: Quotation
The morality of work is the morality of slaves, and the modern world has no need of slavery.
Category: Quotation
The fact is that moving matter about, while a certain amount of it is necessary to our existence, is emphatically not one of the ends of human life. If it were, we should have to consider every navvy superior to Shakespeare. We have been misled in this matter by two causes. One is the necessity of keeping the poor contented, which has led the rich, for thousands of years, to preach the dignity of labor, while taking care themselves to remain undignified in this respect. The other is the new pleasure in mechanism, which makes us delight in the astonishingly ...
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. To be natural is to be obvious, and to be obvious is to be inartistic.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Besides, it is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned. M. Zola sits down to give us a picture of the Second Empire. Who cares for the Second Empire now? It is out of date. Life goes faster than Realism, but Romanticism is always in front of Life.
Category: Quotation
Democracy, will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes, and no man's life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure and every one of these will soon mold itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues, and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit, and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few. ~ John Adams
Category: Quotation
A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.
Category: Quotation
Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
Category: Quotation
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance. ~ Henry Louis Mencken
Category: Quotation
Author: Plato
Democracy, a delightful form of government, anarchic and motley, assigning a kind of equality indiscriminately to equals and unequals alike.
Category: Quotation
Democracy is based upon so childish a complex of fallacies that they must be protected by a rigid system of taboos, else even half-wits would argue it to pieces. ~ Henry Louis Mencken
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.
Category: Quotation
The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and the ignorant believe to be liberty. ~ Fisher Ames
Category: Quotation
The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Popularity is the crown of laurel which the world puts on bad art. Whatever is popular is wrong.
Category: Quotation
The notion that the desirable activities are those that bring a profit has made everything topsy-turvy.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
Public opinion exists only where there are no ideas.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
For the development of the race depends on the development of the individual, and where self-culture has ceased to be the ideal, the intellectual standard is instantly lowered, and, often, ultimately lost.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
To arrive at what one really believes, one must speak through lips different from one’s own.
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
For there is no art where there is no style, and no style where there is no unity, and unity is of the individual. ~ The Critic as an Artist, Part I
Category: Quotation
Author: Oscar Wilde
In all unimportant matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential. In all important matters, style, not sincerity, is the essential.
Category: Quotation
Goethe says somewhere that man is not without a vein of veneration. To satisfy this impulse to venerate, even in those who have no sense for what is really worthy, substitutes are provided in the shape of princes and princely families, nobles, titles, orders, and money-bags.
Category: Quotation
Compared with the Moral Law the State is a crutch instead of a limb, an automaton instead of a man.
Category: Quotation
The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.