Amongst the learned the lawyers claim first place, the most self-satisfied class of people, as they roll their rock of Sisyphus and string together six hundred laws in the same breath, no matter whether relevant or not, piling up opinion on opinion and gloss on gloss to make their profession seem the most difficult of all. Anything which causes trouble has special merit in their eyes.
Topics: Lawyers, Law
Ask a wise man to dinner and he’ll upset everyone by his gloomy silence or tiresome questions. Invite him to a dance and you’ll have a camel prancing about. Haul him off to a public entertainment and his face will be enough to spoil the people’s entertainment.
Topics: Intellectuals, Intelligence
Nothing is so foolish, they say, as for a man to stand for office and woo the crowd to win its vote, buy its support with presents, court the applause of all those fools and feel self-satisfied when they cry their approval, and then in his hour of triumph to be carried round like an effigy for the public to stare at, and end up cast in bronze to stand in the market place.
In short, no association or alliance can be happy or stable without me. People can’t long tolerate a ruler, nor can a master his servant, a maid her mistress, a teacher his pupil, a friend his friend nor a wife her husband, a landlord his tenant, a soldier his comrade nor a party-goer his companion, unless they sometimes have illusions about each other, make use of flattery, and have the sense to turn a blind eye and sweeten life for themselves with the honey of folly.
Topics: Fools, Foolishness
They take unbelievable pleasure in the hideous blast of the hunting horn and baying of the hounds. Dogs dung smells sweet as cinnamon to them.
If you look at history you’ll find that no state has been so plagued by its rulers as when power has fallen into the hands of some dabbler in philosophy or literary addict.
Topics: Literature, Books
As Plato entertained some friends in a room where there was a couch richly ornamented, Diogenes came in very dirty, as usual, and getting upon the couch, and trampling on it, said, “I trample upon the pride of Plato.” Plato mildly answered, “But with greater pride, Diogenes!”
Picture the prince, such as most of them are today: a man ignorant of the law, well-nigh an enemy to his people’s advantage, while intent on his personal convenience, a dedicated voluptuary, a hater of learning, freedom and truth, without a thought for the interests of his country, and measuring everything in terms of his own profit and desires.
Topics: Queens, Royalty, Kings
Great eagerness in the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, or honor, cannot exist without sin.
You’ll see certain Pythagorean whose belief in communism of property goes to such lengths that they pick up anything lying about unguarded, and make off with it without a qualm of conscience as if it had come to them by law.
Topics: Communism, Socialism
I doubt if a single individual could be found from the whole of mankind free from some form of insanity. The only difference is one of degree. A man who sees a gourd and takes it for his wife is called insane because this happens to very few people.
Great abundance of riches cannot be gathered and kept by any man without sin.
He does good to himself who does good to his friend.
Jupiter, not wanting man’s life to be wholly gloomy and grim, has bestowed far more passion than reason—you could reckon the ration as twenty-four to one. Moreover, he confined reason to a cramped corner of the head and left all the rest of the body to the passions.
Love that has nothing but beauty to keep it in good health, is short-lived, and apt to have ague-fits.
Human affairs are so obscure and various that nothing can be clearly known.
It’s the generally accepted privilege of theologians to stretch the heavens, that is the Scriptures, like tanners with a hide.
This I always religiously observed, as a rule, says one, never to chide my husband before company, nor to prattle abroad of miscarriages at home. What passes between two people is much easier made up than when once it has taken air.
Apothegms are in history, the same as pearls in the sand, or gold in the mine.
He who allows oppression shares the crime.
What is popularly called fame is nothing but an empty name and a legacy from paganism.
This type of man who is devoted to the study of wisdom is always most unlucky in everything, and particularly when it comes to procreating children; I imagine this is because Nature wants to ensure that the evils of wisdom shall not spread further throughout mankind.
What difference is there, do you think, between those in Plato’s cave who can only marvel at the shadows and images of various objects, provided they are content and don’t know what they miss, and the philosopher who has emerged from the cave and sees the real things?
Heaven grant that the burden you carry may have as easy an exit as it had an entrance.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Corrie Ten Boom Dutch Jewish Humanist
- Henri Nouwen Dutch Catholic Priest
- Thomas Aquinas Italian Catholic Priest
- Baruch Spinoza Dutch Philosopher
- Pope John Paul II Polish Catholic Religious Leader
- Blaise Pascal French Philosopher, Scientist
- Aldous Huxley English Humanist
- Etty Hillesum Jewish Diarist
- Vincent van Gogh Dutch Painter
- John Henry Newman British Theologian, Poet