The Oxford Book of Aphorisms (2)

As I’m reading this book I’m trying not to read more than 50-60 pages/day; I feel that if one just reads a book like this in a day, not much will stick and one will not have given the quotes the thought at least some of them merit. Some more quotes from the book:

i. “However we may be reproached for our vanity we sometimes need to be assured of our merits and to have our most obvious advantages pointed out to us.” (Vauvenargues)

ii. “There are many things we despise in order that we may not have to despise ourselves.” (-ll-)

iii. “In order to live at peace with ourselves, we almost always disguise our impotence or weakness as calculated actions and systems, and so we satisfy that part of us which is observing the other.” (Benjamin Constant)

iv. “Life for both sexes is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than anything, perhaps, creatures of illusion as we are, it calls for confidence in oneself. Without self-confidence we are babes in the cradle. And how can we generate this imponderable quality, which is yet so invaluable, most quickly? By thinking that other people are inferior to oneself.” (Virginia Woolf)

v. “If your body were to be put at the disposal of a stranger, you would certainly be indignant. Then aren’t you ashamed of putting your mind at the disposal of chance acquaintance, by allowing yourself to be upset if he happens to abuse you?” (Epictetus)

vi. “Everyone alters and is altered by everyone else. We are all the time taking in portions of one another or else reacting against them, and by these involuntary acquisitions and repulsions modifying our natures.” (Gerald Brenan)

vii. “The world is quickly bored by the recital of misfortunes, and willingly avoids the sight of distress.” (Somerset Maugham)

viii. “No man can have society upon his own terms. If he seeks it, he must serve it too.” (Emerson)

ix. “Attributing our own temptations to others, we give them credit for victories they have never won.” (Elizabeth Bibesco)

x. “We are so presumptuous that we should like to be known all over the wold, even by people who will only come when we are no more. Such is our vanity that the good opinion of half a dozen of the people around us gives us pleasure and satisfaction.” (Pascal)

xi. “The more you are talked about, the more you will wish to be talked about.” (Bertrand Russell)

xii. “Men are rewarded and punished not for what they do, but rather for how their acts are defined. This is why men are more interested in better justifying themselves than in better behaving themselves.” (Thomas Szasz)

xiii. “Knowledge may give people weight, but accomplishments add lustre, and many more people see than weigh.” (Lord Chesterfield)

xiv. “The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.” (Napoleon Bonaparte)

xv. “What really flatters a man is that you think him worth flattering.” (Bernard Shaw)

xvi. “We often make people pay dearly for what we think we give them.” (Comtesse Diane de Beausacq)

xvii. “The lazy are always wanting to do something.” (Vauvenargues)

xviii. “Social injustice is such a familiar phenomenon, it has such a sturdy constitution, that it is readily regarded as something natural even by its victims.” (Marcel Aymé)

xix. “The danger of success is that it makes us forget the world’s dreadful injustice.” (Jules Renard)

xx. “Many priceless things can be bought.” (Maria von Ebner-Eschenbach)

xxi. “A ‘sound’ banker, alas, is not one who sees danger and avoids it, but one who, when he is ruined, is ruined in a conventional and orthodox way along with his fellows, so that no one can really blame him.” (John Maynard Keynes)

xxii. “The law does not content itself with classifying and punishing crime. It invents crime.” (Norman Douglas)

This may be my last post about the book as it would make sense to save some of the good stuff for my regular ‘quotes posts‘. If it does turn out to be my last post about the book: I recommend it.


August 18, 2012 - Posted by | Books, Quotes/aphorisms

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