„I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.“

—  Billy Joel

Ultimo aggiornamento 03 Giugno 2021. Storia
Billy Joel photo
Billy Joel
cantante, pianista e compositore statunitense 1949

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„Our instinct uses "more" and "less" in application to man, of the presence of the soul, and not of its absence; the brave man is greater than the coward; the true, the benevolent, the wise, is more a man, and not less, than the fool and knave.“

—  Ralph Waldo Emerson American philosopher, essayist, and poet 1803 - 1882

1840s, Essays: First Series (1841), Compensation
Contesto: We feel defrauded of the retribution due to evil acts, because the criminal adheres to his vice and contumacy, and does not come to a crisis or judgment anywhere in visible nature. There is no stunning confutation of his nonsense before men and angels. Has he therefore outwitted the law? Inasmuch as he carries the malignity and the lie with him, he so far deceases from nature. In some manner there will be a demonstration of the wrong to the understanding also; but should we not see it, this deadly deduction makes square the eternal account.
Neither can it be said, on the other hand, that the gain of rectitude must be bought by any loss. There is no penalty to virtue; no penalty to wisdom; they are proper additions of being. In a virtuous action, I properly am; in a virtuous act, I add to the world; I plant into deserts conquered from Chaos and Nothing, and see the darkness receding on the limits of the horizon. There can be no excess to love; none to knowledge; none to beauty, when these attributes are considered in the purest sense. The soul refuses limits, and always affirms an Optimism, never a Pessimism.
His life is a progress, and not a station. His instinct is trust. Our instinct uses "more" and "less" in application to man, of the presence of the soul, and not of its absence; the brave man is greater than the coward; the true, the benevolent, the wise, is more a man, and not less, than the fool and knave. There is no tax on the good of virtue; for that is the incoming of God himself, or absolute existence, without any comparative. Material good has its tax, and if it came without desert or sweat, has no root in me, and the next wind will blow it away. But all the good of nature is the soul's, and may be had, if paid for in nature's lawful coin, that is, by labor which the heart and the head allow. I no longer wish to meet a good I do not earn, for example, to find a pot of buried gold, knowing that it brings with it new burdens. I do not wish more external goods, — neither possessions, nor honors, nor powers, nor persons. The gain is apparent; the tax is certain. But there is no tax on the knowledge that the compensation exists, and that it is not desirable to dig up treasure. Herein I rejoice with a serene eternal peace. I contract the boundaries of possible mischief. I learn the wisdom of St. Bernard, — "Nothing can work me damage except myself; the harm that I sustain I carry about with me, and never am a real sufferer but by my own fault."

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„Of all the creatures that creep, swim, or fly,
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—  Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux French poet and critic 1636 - 1711

De tous les animaux qui s'élèvent dans l'air,
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—  Kristi Yamaguchi American figure skater 1971

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„The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular.“

—  Fyodor Dostoyevsky Russian author 1821 - 1881

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The Brothers Karamazov (1879–1880)
Contesto: "It's just the same story as a doctor once told me," observed the elder. "He was a man getting on in years, and undoubtedly clever. He spoke as frankly as you, though in jest, in bitter jest. 'I love humanity,' he said, 'but I wonder at myself. The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular. In my dreams,' he said, 'I have often come to making enthusiastic schemes for the service of humanity, and perhaps I might actually have faced crucifixion if it had been suddenly necessary; and yet I am incapable of living in the same room with any one for two days together, as I know by experience. As soon as any one is near me, his personality disturbs my self-complacency and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I begin to hate the best of men: one because he's too long over his dinner; another because he has a cold and keeps on blowing his nose. I become hostile to people the moment they come close to me. But it has always happened that the more I detest men individually the more ardent becomes my love for humanity.'"

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„Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who'd be kind to me.“

—  Doris Lessing, libro The Golden Notebook

The Golden Notebook (1962)
Contesto: Do you know what people really want? Everyone, I mean. Everybody in the world is thinking: I wish there was just one other person I could really talk to, who could really understand me, who'd be kind to me. That's what people really want, if they're telling the truth.

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„We wish peace, but we wish the peace of justice, the peace of righteousness. We wish it because we think it is right and not because we are afraid.“

—  Theodore Roosevelt American politician, 26th president of the United States 1858 - 1919

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Contesto: While ever careful to refrain from wrongdoing others, we must be no less insistent that we are not wronged ourselves. We wish peace, but we wish the peace of justice, the peace of righteousness. We wish it because we think it is right and not because we are afraid. No weak nation that acts manfully and justly should ever have cause to fear us, and no strong power should ever be able to single us out as a subject for insolent aggression.

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„I am not ashamed or afraid to say that I wish more sympathy had been shown on both sides towards the Chartists. … I am not ashamed to say that I sympathise with millions of my fellow-subjects.“

—  Benjamin Disraeli British Conservative politician, writer, aristocrat and Prime Minister 1804 - 1881

Speech in the House of Commons (28 January 1840), quoted in William Flavelle Monypenny and George Earle Buckle, The Life of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. Volume I. 1804–1859 (London: John Murray, 1929), p. 485
1840s

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