Man Against Himself Quotes

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Man Against Himself Quotes

It is too great comfort which turns a man against himself. Life is most readily renounced at the time and among the classes where it is least harsh.
— Emile Durkheim —

Reality [ ... ] at every level from photons to philosophical fancies to the consciousness of living organisms was fluid [ ... ]. To break apart and confine this reality into separate categories created by the mind was foolish and futile, much like trying to capture a ray of light inside a dark wooden box. This urge to categorize was the true fall of man [ ... ] the infinite became finite, good opposed evil, thoughts hardened into beliefs, one's joys and discoveries became dreadful certainties, man became alienated from what he perceived as other ways and other things, and, ultimately, divided against himself, body and soul. [ ... ] Always seeking meaning, always making their lives safe and comfortable, human beings do not truly live.

— David Zindell

We are on strike against martyrdom-and against the moral code that demands it. We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another. We are on strike against the morality of cannibals, be it practiced in body or in spirit. We will not deal with men on any terms but ours-and our terms are a moral code which holds that man is an end in himself and not the means to any end of others.

— Ayn Rand

The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs ... In fact, the Athanasian paradox that one is three, and three but one, is so incomprehensible to the human mind, that no candid man can say he has any idea of it, and how can he believe what presents no idea? He who thinks he does, only deceives himself. He proves, also, that man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.
[Letter to James Smith discussing Jefferson's hate of the doctrine of the Christian trinity, December 8 1822]

— Thomas Jefferson

Perhaps behind our occasional hostility toward the artist and writer there may be a slight tinge of jealousy. The man or woman who for the sake of family life, children, takes up work he does not like, disciplines himself, sacrifices some fantasy he had once, to travel or to paint, or even possibly to write, may feel toward the artist and writer a jealousy of his adventurous life. The artist and the writer have generally paid the full price for their independence and for the privilege of doing work they love, or for their artistic rebellions against standardized living or values.

— Anaïs Nin

A man who gives himself to be a possession of aliens leads a Yahoo life, having bartered his soul to a brute-master. He is not of them. He may stand against them, persuade himself of a mission, batter and twist them into something which they, of their own accord, would not have been.

— T.E. Lawrence

Again, it is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs, but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs. And if it be objected that one who uses such power of speech unjustly might do great harm, that is a charge which may be made in common against all good things except virtue, and above all against the things that are most useful, as strength, health, wealth, generalship. A man can confer the greatest of benefits by a right use of these, and inflict the greatest of injuries by using them wrongly.

— Aristotle

The most that these members of Congress can say, in favor of their appointment, is simply this: Each one can say for himself: I have evidence satisfactory to myself, that there exists, scattered throughout the country, a band of men, having a tacit understanding with each other, and calling themselves "the people of the United States," whose general purposes are to control and plunder each other, and all other persons in the country, and, so far as they can, even in neighboring countries; and to kill every man who shall attempt to defend his person and property against their schemes of plunder and dominion.

— Lysander Spooner

Consciousness naturally resists anything unconscious and unknown. I have already pointed out the existence among primitive peoples of what anthropologists call "misoneism," a deep and superstitious fear of novelty. The primitives manifest all the reactions of the wild animal against untoward events. But "civilized" man reacts to new ideas in much the same way, erecting psychological barriers to protect himself from the shock of facing something new.

— C.G. Jung

I believe that man must learn to live without those consolations called religious, which is own intelligence must by now have told him belong to the childhood of the race. Philosophy can really give us nothing permanent to believe either; it is too rich in answers, each canceling out the rest. The quest for Meaning is foredoomed. Human life 'means' nothing. But this is not to say that it is not worth living. What does a Debussy Arabesque 'mean,' or a rainbow or a rose? A man delights in all of these, knowing himself to be no more
a wisp of music and a haze of dreams dissolving against the sun. Man has only his own two feet to stand on, his own human trinity to see him through: Reason, Courage, and Grace. And the first plus the second equals the third.

— Peter De Vries

Nothing in life gives a man so much courage as the attainment or renewal of the conviction that other people regard him with favor; because it means that everyone joins to give him help and protection, which is an infinitely stronger bulwark against the ills of life than anything he can do himself.

— Arthur Schopenhauer

When a king sets himself to bandy against the highest court and residence of all regal powers, he then, in the single person of a man, fights against his own majesty and kingship.

— John Milton

Evil-doers who denounce the wise resemble a person who spits against the sky; the spittle will never reach the sky, but comes down on himself. Evil-doers again resemble a man who stirs the dust against the wind; the dust is never raised without doing him injury. Thus, the wise will never be hurt, but the curse is sure to destroy the evil-doers themselves.

— Gautama Buddha

When man ventures into the wilderness, climbs the ridges, and sleeps in the forest, he comes in close communion with his Creator. When man pits himself against the mountain, he taps inner springs of his strength. He comes to know himself.

— William O. Douglas

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