Petty People Quotes

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The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient allover the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.
Howard Zinn
I've learned one thing, and that's to quit worrying about stupid things. You have four years to be irresponsible here, relax. Work is for people with jobs. You'll never remember class time, but you'll remember the time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So stay out late. Go out with your friends on a Tuesday when you have a paper due on Wednesday. Spend money you don't have. Drink 'til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does...
Tom Petty
You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.
Edgar D. Mitchell
People destroy beauty when they find it. (Acheron) How so? (Artemis) By nature, people are petty and jealous. They envy what they lack and because they don’t know how to acquire something, they try to destroy anyone who has it. Beauty is one of those things they hate most in others. (Acheron)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Acheron (Dark-Hunter, #14))
I hate the uneducated and the ignorant. I hate the pompous and the phoney. I hate the jealous and the resentful. I hate the crabbed and mean and the petty. I hate all ordinary dull little people who aren't ashamed of being dull and little.
John Fowles (The Collector)
Art creates new dimensions, opens our scope, and transcends us from demeaning "pettiness" that haunts the minds of emotionally underprivileged people. ("When is Art?")
Erik Pevernagie
When I was a child, all problems had ended with a single word from my father. A smile from him was sunshine, his scowl a bolt of thunder. He was smart, and generous, and honorable without fail. He could exile a trespasser, check my math homework, and fix the leaky bathroom sink, all before dinner. For the longest time, I thought he was invincible. Above the petty problems that plagued normal people. And now he was gone.
Rachel Vincent (Alpha (Shifters, #6))
You don't have to knock anyone off their game to win yours. It doesn’t build you up to tear others down.
Mandy Hale (The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass)
The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. That is being taught how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the "rat race" — the constant, gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
Not one day in anyone’s life is an uneventful day, no day without profound meaning, no matter how dull and boring it might seem, no matter whether you are a seamstress or a queen, a shoeshine boy, or a movie star, a renowned philosopher or a Down’s-syndrome child. Because in every day of your life, there are opportunities to perform little kindnesses for others, both by conscious acts of will and unconscious example. Each smallest act of kindness—even just words of hope when they are needed, the remembrance of a birthday, a compliment that engenders a smile—reverberates across great distances and spans of time, affecting lives unknown to the one whose generous spirit was the source of this good echo, because kindness is passed on and grows each time it’s passed, until a simple courtesy becomes an act of selfless courage years later and far away. Likewise, each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will. All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined—those dead, those living, those generations yet to come—that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands. Therefore, after every failure, we are obliged to strive again for success, and when faced with the end of one thing, we must build something new and better in the ashes, just as from pain and grief, we must weave hope, for each of us is a thread critical to the strength—to the very survival of the human tapestry. Every hour in every life contains such often-unrecognized potential to affect the world that the great days and thrilling possibilities are combined always in this momentous day.
Dean Koontz (From the Corner of His Eye)
You win when you refuse to fight petty people. Fighting little people reduces you to their size.
David J. Schwartz (The Magic of Thinking Big)
Don't waste your time trying to provide people with proof of deceit, in order to keep their love, win their love or salvage their respect for you. The truth is this: If they care they will go out of their way to learn the truth. If they don't then they really don't value you as a human being. The moment you have to sell people on who you are is the moment you let yourself believe that every good thing you have ever done or accomplished was invisible to the world. And, it is not!
Shannon L. Alder
How can one ever do anything nobly Christian, living among people with such petty thoughts?
George Eliot (Middlemarch)
All depression has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously.” At the time Switters had disputed her assertion. Even at seventeen, he was aware that depression could have chemical causes. “The key word here is roots,” Maestra had countered. “The roots of depression. For most people, self-awareness and self-pity blossom simultaneously in early adolescence. It's about that time that we start viewing the world as something other than a whoop-de-doo playground, we start to experience personally how threatening it can be, how cruel and unjust. At the very moment when we become, for the first time, both introspective and socially conscientious, we receive the bad news that the world, by and large, doesn't give a rat's ass. Even an old tomato like me can recall how painful, scary, and disillusioning that realization was. So, there's a tendency, then, to slip into rage and self-pity, which if indulged, can fester into bouts of depression.” “Yeah but Maestra—” “Don't interrupt. Now, unless someone stronger and wiser—a friend, a parent, a novelist, filmmaker, teacher, or musician—can josh us out of it, can elevate us and show us how petty and pompous and monumentally useless it is to take ourselves so seriously, then depression can become a habit, which, in tern, can produce a neurological imprint. Are you with me? Gradually, our brain chemistry becomes conditioned to react to negative stimuli in a particular, predictable way. One thing'll go wrong and it'll automatically switch on its blender and mix us that black cocktail, the ol’ doomsday daiquiri, and before we know it, we’re soused to the gills from the inside out. Once depression has become electrochemically integrated, it can be extremely difficult to philosophically or psychologically override it; by then it's playing by physical rules, a whole different ball game. That's why, Switters my dearest, every time you've shown signs of feeling sorry for yourself, I've played my blues records really loud or read to you from The Horse’s Mouth. And that’s why when you’ve exhibited the slightest tendency toward self-importance, I’ve reminded you that you and me— you and I: excuse me—may be every bit as important as the President or the pope or the biggest prime-time icon in Hollywood, but none of us is much more than a pimple on the ass-end of creation, so let’s not get carried away with ourselves. Preventive medicine, boy. It’s preventive medicine.” “But what about self-esteem?” “Heh! Self-esteem is for sissies. Accept that you’re a pimple and try to keep a lively sense of humor about it. That way lies grace—and maybe even glory.
Tom Robbins (Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates)
What folly made young people, even those in middle age, think they were immortal? How much better, their lives, if they could remember the end. Carrying your death with you every day would make it hard to waste time on unkindness and anger and bitterness, on anything petty. That was the secret: remembering your dying time, in order to keep the stupid and the ugly out of your living time.
Rohinton Mistry (Family Matters)
One thing about great art: it made you love people more, forgive them their petty transgressions. It worked in the way that religion was supposed to, if you thought about it.
Nick Hornby (Juliet, Naked)
The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
If someone is being unkind or petty or jealous or distant or weird, you don’t have to take it in. You don’t have to turn it into a big psychodrama about your worth. That behavior so often is not even about you. It’s about the person who’s being unkind or petty or jealous or distant or weird. If this were summed up on a bumper sticker, it would say: Don’t own other people’s crap. The world would be a better place if we all did that.
Cheryl Strayed (Brave Enough: A Collection of Inspirational Quotes)
I think I was a little disappointed in her. I expected then people to be more of a piece than I do now, and I was distressed to find so much vindictiveness in so charming a creature. I did not realize how motley are the qualities that go to make up a human being. Now I am well aware that pettiness and grandeur, malice and charity, hatred and love, can find place side by side in the same human heart.
W. Somerset Maugham (The Moon and Sixpence)
People were strange like that. Steal five dollars and you were a petty thief. Steal thousands of dollars and you were either a government or a hero.
Terry Pratchett (Going Postal (Discworld, #33))
I’ll never understand why some people can’t just let others live their lives, you know,” Danial said. “You don’t have to understand. You don’t have to agree. Just leave people alone. When I look at the moon and planets and stars, all that narrow-mindedness and hate seem so petty. The universe is such a big place. One hundred thousand light years just from one end of the Milky Way to the other. One hundred. Thousand. Light years. In the time it’s taken for light to travel from one end of our galaxy to the other, thousands of generations have passed. It really makes you realize how small we are, doesn’t it? How short our time on earth is.
J.H. Trumble (Don't Let Me Go)
Don’t start negatively, and don’t start small. People will often focus on little details as a way of masking a lack of any clear, coherent, big thoughts. If you start petty, you seem petty.
Robert Iger (The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company)
Writers are interesting people, but often mean and petty.
Lillian Hellman
Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing. And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the “rat race” — the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
David Foster Wallace (This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life)
I really don't know. I guess I'm more interested in why people feel like they have to believe in God. Why can't it just be science? Science is wondrous. The night sky? Amazing. The inside of a human cell? Incredible. Something that tells us we're born bad and that people use to justify all their petty prejudices and awfulness? I dunno. I guess I believe in science. Science is enough.
Nicola Yoon (The Sun Is Also a Star)
This is stupid." "Look. You think how stupid people are most of the time. Old men drink. Women at a village fair. Boys throwing stones at birds. Life. The foolishness and the vanity, the selfishness and the waste. The pettiness, the silliness. You think in war it must be different. Must be better. With death around the corner, men united against hardship, the cunning of the enemy, people must think harder, faster, be...better. Be heroic. Only it's just the same. In fact do you know, because of all that pressure, and worry, and fear, it's worse. There aren't many men who think clearest when the stakes are highest. So people are even stupider in war than the rest of the time. Thinking about how they'll dodge the blame, or grab the glory, or save their skins, rather than about what will actually work. There's no job that forgives stupidity more than soldiering. No job that encourages it more.
Joe Abercrombie (The Heroes)
There is small merit in mocking goodness, tweaking charity; it is much more comic to deprive people of their petty little existence for no reason at all, for a lark.
Jacques Rigaut
History is not made by great dreams, but by the petty wants of all respectable, moderately thievish and selfish people, that is, of everyone. All our ideas, loves, plans, heroic ideals, all these lofty things are worthless.
Karel Čapek
In everything that can be called art there is a quality of redemption. It may be pure tragedy, if it is high tragedy, and it may be pity and irony, and it may be the raucous laughter of the strong man. But down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor -- by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world. I do not care much about his private life; he is neither a eunuch nor a satyr; I think he might seduce a duchess and I am quite sure he would not spoil a virgin; if he is a man of honor in one thing, he is that in all things. He is a relatively poor man, or he would not be a detective at all. He is a common man or he could not go among common people. He has a sense of character, or he would not know his job. He will take no man's money dishonestly and no man's insolence without due and dispassionate revenge. He is a lonely man and his pride is that you will treat him as a proud man or be very sorry you ever saw him. He talks as the man of his age talks -- that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness. The story is the man's adventure in search of a hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen to a man fit for adventure. He has a range of awareness that startles you, but it belongs to him by right, because it belongs to the world he lives in. If there were enough like him, the world would be a very safe place to live in, without becoming too dull to be worth living in.
Raymond Chandler (The Simple Art of Murder)
The louder the dogs bark the less a lion feels threatened.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Don’t believe the noise. Those mean, petty, hateful voices will never be the majority. They only seem loud and pervasive, because they have the idle time to broadcast their negativity. The rest of us are too busy with real efforts to make the world a better place.
Anthon St. Maarten
There are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the 'rat race' - the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.
David Foster Wallace
I’d always been afraid of sick people, and so had my mother. It wasn’t that we feared catching their brain aneurysm or accidentally ripping out their IV. I think it was their fortitude that frightened us. Sick people reminded us not of what we had, but of what we lacked. Everything we said sounded petty and insignificant; our complaints paled in the face of theirs, and without our complaints, there was nothing to say.
David Sedaris (Naked)
This business of petty inconvenience and indignity, of being kept waiting about, of having to do everything at other people’s convenience, is inherent in working-class life. A thousand influences constantly press a working man down into a passive role. He does not act, he is acted upon. He feels himself the slave of mysterious authority and has a firm conviction that ‘they’ will never allow him to do this, that, and the other. Once when I was hop-picking I asked the sweated pickers (they earn something under sixpence an hour) why they did not form a union. I was told immediately that ‘they’ would never allow it. Who were ‘they’? I asked. Nobody seemed to know, but evidently ‘they’ were omnipotent.
George Orwell (The Road to Wigan Pier)
It’s called hidden abuse for a reason. Abusers are out for emotional blood when they use gaslighting to undermine a target’s sense of self. They know exactly what they do. They want the survivors to look petty in the eyes of other people. They want them to question themselves and their grasp on reality. They want survivors to fall apart so they can better control or mock them.   Smear
Shannon Thomas (Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse)
This metropolitan world, then, is a world where flesh and blood is less real than paper and ink and celluloid. It is a world where the great masses of people, unable to have direct contact with more satisfying means of living, take life vicariously, as readers, spectators, passive observers: a world where people watch shadow-heroes and heroines in order to forget their own clumsiness or coldness in love, where they behold brutal men crushing out life in a strike riot, a wrestling ring or a military assault, while they lack the nerve even to resist the petty tyranny of their immediate boss: where they hysterically cheer the flag of their political state, and in their neighborhood, their trades union, their church, fail to perform the most elementary duties of citizenship. Living thus, year in and year out, at second hand, remote from the nature that is outside them and no less remote from the nature within, handicapped as lovers and as parents by the routine of the metropolis and by the constant specter of insecurity and death that hovers over its bold towers and shadowed streets - living thus the mass of inhabitants remain in a state bordering on the pathological. They become victims of phantasms, fears, obsessions, which bind them to ancestral patterns of behavior.
Lewis Mumford (The Culture of Cities (Book 2))
The final relationship that cannot be ignored is with disrupters: They are individuals who cause trouble for sport - inciting opposition to management for a variety of reasons, most of them petty. Usually these people have good performance - that's their cover - and so they are endured or appeased. A company that manages people well takes disrupters head-on. First they give them very tough evaluations, naming their bad behaviour and demanding it change. Usually it won't. Disrupters are a personality type. If that's the case, get them out of the way of people trying to do their jobs. They're poison.
Jack Welch
We’re not always selfish hypocrites. We also have the ability, under special circumstances, to shut down our petty selves and become like cells in a larger body, or like bees in a hive, working for the good of the group. These experiences are often among the most cherished of our lives, although our hivishness can blind us to other moral concerns. Our bee-like nature facilitates altruism, heroism, war, and genocide.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Bloomberg does not support the measure to silence the useless and maddening car alarm: he would rather impose himself on people than on mechanical devices.
Christopher Hitchens (Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays)
I'm not so worried anymore, because now I know nobody knows what they are doing in life, and nobody knows what to do when bad things happen, to themselves or to other people. We make it up as we go, and sometimes we are big and generous and sometimes we are small and petty. We say the wrong things, we obsess over all the ways we got it wrong and all the ways that other people did, too. The only thing I know for sure it that it is okay not to know everything, to try and fail and to sometimes suck at life, as long as you try to get better.
Nora McInerny Purmort (It's Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too))
The Larks were bumbling entrepreneurs and petty thieves, but they were also self-deceived. While their moral standards for the rest of the world were rigid, they were always able to find excuses for their own shortcomings. It is these people really, said my father, small-time hypocrites, who may in special cases be capable of monstrous acts if given the chance.
Louise Erdrich (The Round House)
People come, people go Some grow young, some grow cold I woke up in between A memory and a dream So let's get to the point, let's roll another joint Let's head on down the road There's somewhere I gotta go And you don't know how it feels You don't know how it feels to be me
Tom Petty
The Europeans are inclined to regard their own present culture as the only highly developed one and the best. They tend to believe that other peoples, if they are to make progress in their development, must become just like themselves. I regard this as a petty conceit. The primordial form of historical culture is, in my view, richer.
Kitarō Nishida
You have been reproaching other people all your life - you have been always sure you yourself are right: it is because you have not a mind large enough to see that there is anything better than your own conduct and your own petty aims.
George Eliot (The Mill on the Floss)
How many happy, satisfied people there are, after all, I said to myself. What an overwhelming force! Just consider this life--the insolence and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and bestiality of the weak, all around intolerable poverty, cramped dwellings, degeneracy, drunkenness, hypocrisy, lying...and yet peace and order apparently prevail in all those homes and in the streets. Of the fifty thousand inhabitants of a town, not one will be found to cry out, to proclaim his indignation aloud. We see those who go to the market to buy food, who eat in the daytime and sleep at night, who prattle away, marry, grow old, carry their dead to the cemeteries. But we neither hear nor see those who suffer, and the terrible things in life are played out behind the scenes. All is calm and quiet, and statistics, which are dumb, protest: so many have gone mad, so many barrels of drink have been consumed, so many children died of malnutrition...and apparently this is as it should be. Apparently those who are happy can only enjoy themselves because the unhappy bear their burdens in silence, and but for this silence happiness would be impossible. It is a kind of universal hypnosis. There ought to be a man with a hammer behind the door of every happy man, to remind him by his constant knocks that there are unhappy people, and that happy as he himself may be, life will sooner or later show him its claws, catastrophe will overtake him--sickness, poverty, loss--and nobody will see it, just as he now neither sees nor hears the misfortunes of others. But there is no man with a hammer, the happy man goes on living and the petty vicissitudes of life touch him lightly, like the wind in an aspen-tree, and all is well.
Anton Chekhov
Man is evil'—so said to me for consolation, all the wisest ones. Ah, if only it be still true today! For the evil is man's best force. 'Man must become better and eviler'—so do I teach. The evilest is necessary for the Superman's best. It may have been well for the preacher of the petty people to suffer and be burdened by men's sin. I, however, rejoice in great sin as my great consolation.— Such things, however, are not said for long ears. Every word, also, is not suited for every mouth. These are fine far-away things: at them sheep's claws shall not grasp!
Friedrich Nietzsche (Thus Spoke Zarathustra)
Tragedy made you petty and spiteful. It didn’t give you any great knowledge or insight. She didn’t understand a damned thing about life except that it was arbitrary and cruel, and some people got away with murder while others made one tiny, careless mistake and paid a terrible price.
Liane Moriarty (The Husband's Secret)
I wanted … people to listen to the pulse of nature, to partake of the wholeness of life and not forget, under the pressure of their petty destinies, that we are not gods and have not created ourselves but are the children of the earth, part of the cosmos.
Hermann Hesse (Peter Camenzind)
In the age of Facebook and Instagram you can observe this myth-making process more clearly than ever before, because some of it has been outsourced from the mind to the computer. It is fascinating and terrifying to behold people who spend countless hours constructing and embellishing a perfect self online, becoming attached to their own creation, and mistaking it for the truth about themselves.20 That’s how a family holiday fraught with traffic jams, petty squabbles and tense silences becomes a collection of beautiful panoramas, perfect dinners and smiling faces; 99 per cent of what we experience never becomes part of the story of the self. It is particularly noteworthy that our fantasy self tends to be very visual, whereas our actual experiences are corporeal. In the fantasy, you observe a scene in your mind’s eye or on the computer screen. You see yourself standing on a tropical beach, the blue sea behind you, a big smile on your face, one hand holding a cocktail, the other arm around your lover’s waist. Paradise. What the picture does not show is the annoying fly that bites your leg, the cramped feeling in your stomach from eating that rotten fish soup, the tension in your jaw as you fake a big smile, and the ugly fight the happy couple had five minutes ago. If we could only feel what the people in the photos felt while taking them! Hence if you really want to understand yourself, you should not identify with your Facebook account or with the inner story of the self. Instead, you should observe the actual flow of body and mind. You will see thoughts, emotions and desires appear and disappear without much reason and without any command from you, just as different winds blow from this or that direction and mess up your hair. And just as you are not the winds, so also you are not the jumble of thoughts, emotions and desires you experience, and you are certainly not the sanitised story you tell about them with hindsight. You experience all of them, but you don’t control them, you don’t own them, and you are not them. People ask ‘Who am I?’ and expect to be told a story. The first thing you need to know about yourself, is that you are not a story.
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
My advice to people who want to teach is pretty simple and very likely to be ridiculed: don’t believe the bullshit. You’re not there to help students get skills for a workplace. You’re not there to make them more marketable. You’re not there to provide them with answers to petty, superficial questions. You’re not there to impress them – or yourself – with the latest technological wonder that promises to make something “better” but will probably only shorten some algorithmic process and benefit an employer. You’re not there to mass produce replaceable parts for the machinery of the global economy. You’re there for one reason and one reason only: to make them better people than they were when they came in.
Peter K. Fallon
Most of us are like those Russian nesting dolls, presenting a slightly different visage to the world depending on which world we're dealing with at the time. The outermost doll isn't a lie; mine still offers part of who I am, but it's not all of who I am. As I get closer to people, the nesting dolls open and the masks change. But it's a rare person whom I allow to see what's at my core: my innermost thoughts and fears, my dreams and desires, my pettiness and peevishness.
Paul Asay (God on the Streets of Gotham: What the Big Screen Batman Can Teach Us about God and Ourselves)
There were intervals in which she could sit perfectly still, enjoying the outer stillness and the subdued light. The red fire with its gently audible movement seemed like a solemn existence calmly independent of the petty passions, the imbecile desires, the straining after worthless uncertainties, which were daily moving her contempt. Mary was fond of her own thoughts, and could amuse herself well sitting in the twilight with her hands in her lap; for, having early had strong reason to believe that things were not likely to be arranged for her peculiar satisfaction, she wasted no time in astonishment and annoyance at that fact. And she had already come to take life very much as a comedy in which she had a proud, nay, a generous resolution not to act the mean or treacherous part. Mary might have become cynical if she had not had parents whom she honoured, and a well of affectionate gratitude within her, which was all the fuller because she had learned to make no unreasonable claims. She sat to-night revolving, as she was wont, the scenes of the day, her lips often curling with amusement at the oddities to which her fancy added fresh drollery: people were so ridiculous with their illusions, carrying their fools' caps unawares, thinking their own lies opaque while everybody else's were transparent, making themselves exceptions to everything, as if when all the world looked yellow under a lamp they alone were rosy.
George Eliot (Middlemarch)
Each small meanness, each thoughtless expression of hatred, each envious and bitter act, regardless of how petty, can inspire others, and is therefore the seed that ultimately produces evil fruit, poisoning people whom you have never met and never will. All human lives are so profoundly and intricately entwined – those dead, those living, those generations yet to come – that the fate of all is the fate of each, and the hope of humanity rests in every heart and in every pair of hands.
Dean R. Koontz
A third of the people who rush to psychiatrists for help could probably cure themselves if they could only do as Margaret Yates did: get interested in helping others. My idea? No, that is approximately what Carl Jung said. And he ought to know—if anybody does. He said: “About one third of my patients are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives.” To put it another way, they are trying to thumb a ride through life—and the parade passes them by. So they rush to a psychiatrist with their petty, senseless, useless lives. Having missed the boat, they stand on the wharf, blaming everyone except themselves and demanding that the world cater to their self-centered desires.
Dale Carnegie (How To Stop Worrying & Start Living)
At the same time there was the good of the poor and the good of the rich. And the good of the whites, the blacks and the yellow races... More and more goods came into being, corresponding to each sect, race and class... People began to realise how much blood had been spilt in the name of a petty, doubtful good, in the name of the struggle of this petty good against what is belied to be evil. Sometimes the very concept of good became a scourge, a greater evil than evil itself.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
All of us take so much for granted. Life is beautiful and we don’t have time to realize it. We let silly and petty things rule us and lead us into criticism. We find fault with life because we are tired and grumpy, instead of relishing the fact that we are with other people who are healthy, who love us and want to be with us.
Natasha Lunn (Conversations on Love)
Just look at this life: the insolence and idleness of the strong, the ignorance and brutishness of the weak, impossible poverty all around us, overcrowding, degeneracy, drunkenness, hypocrisy, lies...Yet in all the houses and streets it's quiet, peaceful; of the fifty thousand people who live in town there is not one who would cry out or become loudly indignant. We see those who go to the market to buy food, eat during the day, sleep during the night, who talk their nonsense, get married, grow old, complacently drag their dead to the cemetery; but we don't see or hear those who suffer, and the horrors of life go on somewhere behind the scenes. Everything is quiet, peaceful, and only mute statistics protest: so many gone mad, so many buckets drunk, so many children dead of malnutrition... And this order is obviously necessary; obviously the happy man feels good only because the unhappy bear their burden silently, and without that silence happiness would be impossible. It's a general hypnosis. At the door of every happy, contented man somebody should stand with a little hammer, constantly tapping, to remind him that unhappy people exist, that however happy he may be, sooner or later life will show him its claws, some calamity will befall him--illness, poverty, loss--and nobody will hear or see, just as he doesn't hear or see others now. But there is nobody with a little hammer, the happy man lives on, and the petty cares of life stir him only slightly, as wind stirs an aspen--and everything is fine.
Anton Chekhov (Five Great Short Stories (Dover Thrift Editions: Short Stories))
Peter Parker: I mean, what I do sometimes requires violence, but I'm not a violent man, I'm really not. But I just-- Mary Jane: You wanted to deck her. Peter: Twice. And I hate feeling that way. Why is it that people feel the need to take whatever little authority they have and shove it down your throat? And the smaller the authority, the bigger the shove. Aunt May: It offends you, doesn't it? Peter: Yeah, it does. Aunt May: Why? Peter: I -- What do you mean, why? Aunt May: Why does it offend you? Peter: Shouldn't it? Aunt May: If a lion broke out of its cage at the zoo, and bit you, it would hurt, sure, and you'd be upset, of course. But would you be offended? Peter: No, of course not. Aunt May: Why? Peter: Because that's the nature of a lion. Aunt May: Some people by nature are kind and charitable. You could say that some people, including at least one person at this table, are by their nature heroes. Ben always reminded me that we each contain all the nobler and meaner aspects of humanity, but some get a bigger dose than others of one thing or another. Some are petty, and mean, and uncharitable. That's their nature. You can hope for better, even try to lead them to be and you may even succeed. But when they behave badly, it's right to be upset by it, or hurt by it, but you can be no more offended by it than you can when a lion bites you.
J. Michael Straczynski
Can it be, thought I, that my sole mission on earth is to destroy the hopes of others? Ever since I began to live and act, fate has somehow associated me with the last act of other people's tragedies, as if without me no one could either die or give way to despair! I have been the inevitable character who comes in at the final act, involuntarily playing the detestable role of the hangman or the traitor. What has been fate's object in all this? Has it destined me to be the author of middle-class tragedies and family romances--or a purveyor of tales for, say, the Reader's Library? Who knows? Are there not many who begin life by aspiring to end it like Alexander the Great, or Lord Byron, and yet remain petty civil servants all their lives?
Mikhail Lermontov (A Hero of Our Time)
And which devil do you prefer? Dante's?" "No. Much too terrifying. Too medieval for my taste." "Mephistopheles?" "Not him, either. He's too pleased with himself. Too much a trickster, like a crooked lawyer ... Anyway, I never trust people who smile a lot." "What about the one in The Karamazovs?" "Petty. A civil servant with dirty nails. I suppose the devil I prefer is Milton's fallen angel.
Arturo Pérez-Reverte (The Club Dumas)
It doesn't matter if I think like a boy or a girl. It doesn't matter anymore if I'm either or both or neither. All that shit seems so petty and immaterial now. There's so little difference between one human being and the next, it's just hypotheses, human ideas about life and the world and words that mean nothing, about definitions that mean nothing to Earth, to nature, to the universe. Boys and girls and intersex people and me--we're just ideas, and when we're dead, the ideas will go with us. It all means nothing.
Abigail Tarttelin (Golden Boy)
Every happy man should have some one with a little hammer at his door to knock and remind him that there are unhappy people, and that, however happy he may be, life will sooner or later show its claws, and some misfortune will befall him -- illness, poverty, loss, and then no one will see or hear him, just as he now neither sees nor hears others. But there is no man with a hammer, and the happy go on living, just a little fluttered with the petty cares of every day, like an aspen-tree in the wind -- and everything is all right.
Anton Chekhov (Selected Stories of Anton Chekhov)
Many bureaucracies have petty authoritarians within them, generating unnecessary rules and procedures simply to express and cement power. Such people produce powerful undercurrents of resentment around them which, if expressed, would limit their expression of pathological power. It is in this manner that the willingness of the individual to stand up for him or herself protects everyone from the corruption of society.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
I guess I'm more interested in why people feel they have to believe in God. Why can't it just be science? Science is wondrous. The night sky? Amazing. The inside of a human cell? Incredible. Something that tells us we're born bad and that people use to justify all their petty prejudices and awfulness? I dunno. I guess I believe in science. Science is enough.
Nicola Yoon (The Sun Is Also a Star)
Can we believe that the real God, if there is one, ever ordered a man to be killed simply for making hair oil, or ointment? We are told in the thirtieth chapter of Exodus, that the Lord commanded Moses to take myrrh, cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia, and olive oil, and make a holy ointment for the purpose of anointing the tabernacle, tables, candlesticks and other utensils, as well as Aaron and his sons; saying, at the same time, that whosoever compounded any like it, or whoever put any of it on a stranger, should be put to death. In the same chapter, the Lord furnishes Moses with a recipe for making a perfume, saying, that whoever should make any which smelled like it, should be cut off from his people. This, to me, sounds so unreasonable that I cannot believe it. Why should an infinite God care whether mankind made ointments and perfumes like his or not? Why should the Creator of all things threaten to kill a priest who approached his altar without having washed his hands and feet? These commandments and these penalties would disgrace the vainest tyrant that ever sat, by chance, upon a throne.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
We're a society of brats, fighting over the same toys. That, for me, is the closest we come to be inherently evil as a people. It leads to selfishness, inflexibility, and impatience -- among so many other traits that are ugly and harmful. We're combative, competitive, petty, and suffer from one fatal flaw that I can never get my head around. We recognize behavior in others that makes us insane, while turning right around and doing the exact thing to someone else.
Trevor D. Richardson
...Puritanism has made life itself impossible. More than art, more than estheticism, life represents beauty in a thousand variations; it is indeed, a gigantic panorama of eternal change. Puritanism, on the other hand, rests on a fixed and immovable conception of life; it is based on the Calvinistic idea that life is a curse, imposed upon man by the wrath of God. In order to redeem himself man must do constant penance, must repudiate every natural and healthy impulse, and turn his back on joy and beauty. Puritanism celebrated its reign of terror in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, destroying and crushing every manifestation of art and culture. It was the spirit of Puritanism which robbed Shelley of his children, because he would not bow to the dicta of religion. It was the same narrow spirit which alienated Byron from his native land, because that great genius rebelled against the monotony, dullness, and pettiness of his country. It was Puritanism, too, that forced some of England's freest women into the conventional lie of marriage: Mary Wollstonecraft and, later, George Eliot. And recently Puritanism has demanded another toll--the life of Oscar Wilde. In fact, Puritanism has never ceased to be the most pernicious factor in the domain of John Bull, acting as censor of the artistic expression of his people, and stamping its approval only on the dullness of middle-class respectability.
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
It's just... I know we don't believe in soulmates," she says. "There are so many people in this world that can be right for each other. If there weren't, then cheating would never be an issue. Everyone would find their one true love and life would be great - relationships would be a piece of cake. But that's not how it is in reality, and I realize this. So... it just hurts, okay? It hurts me to know that there are other women out there in the world that could make you happy. I know it's immature and I was being petty and jealous, but... I just want to be your only one. I want to be your soulmate, even if I don't believe in them.
Colleen Hoover (This Girl (Slammed, #3))
In these our cowardly times, we deny the grandeur of the Universal, and assert and glorify our local Bigotries, and so we cannot agree on much. In these our degenerate times, men bent on nothing but vainglory and personal gain- hollow, bombastic men for whom nothing is off-limits if it advances their petty cause- will claim to be great leaders and benefactors, acting in the common good, and calling all who oppose them liars, envious, little people, stupid people, stiff, and, in a precise reversal of the truth, dishonest and corrupt.
Salman Rushdie (The Golden House)
To tell the truth we had a bit of a . . . disagreement, let’s call it. Before I left.” “Oh, right.” I kept my voice neutral. I never know what to say in these situations. I hate people prying into my business, so I assume others will feel the same way. But sometimes they want to spill, it seems, and then you look cold and odd, backing away from their confidences. I try to be completely nonjudgmental—not pushing for secrets, not repelling confessions. And in truth, although part of me really doesn’t want to hear their petty jealousies and weird obsessions, there’s another part of me that wants to egg them on. It’s that part of me that stands there nodding, taking notes, filing it all away.
Ruth Ware (In a Dark, Dark Wood)
Inferiority is not banal or incidental even when it happens to women. It is not a petty affliction like bad skin or circles under the eyes. It is not a superficial flaw in an otherwise perfect picture. It is not a minor irritation, nor is it a trivial inconvenience, an occasional aggravation, or a regrettable but (frankly) harmless lapse in manners. It is not a “point of view” that some people with soft skins find “ offensive. ” It is the deep and destructive devaluing of a person in life, a shredding of dignity and self-respect, an imposed exile from human worth and human recognition, the forced alienation of a person from even the possibility of wholeness or internal integrity. Inferiority puts rightful self-love beyond reach, a dream fragmented by insult into a perpetually recurring nightmare; inferiority creates a person broken and humiliated inside. The fragments— scattered pieces and sharp slivers of someone who can never be made whole—are then taken to be the standard of what is normal in her kind: women are like that. The insult that hurt her—inferiority as an assault, ongoing since birth—is seen as a consequence, not a cause, of her so-called nature, an inferior nature. In English, a graceful language, she is even called a piece. It is likely to be her personal experience that she is insufficiently loved. Her subjectivity itself is second-class, her experiences and perceptions inferior in the world as she is inferior in the world. Her experience is recast into a psychologically pejorative judgment: she is never loved enough because she is needy, neurotic, the insufficiency of love she feels being in and of itself evidence of a deep-seated and natural dependency. Her personal experiences or perceptions are never credited as having a hard core of reality to them. She is, however, never loved enough. In truth; in point of fact; objectively: she is never loved enough. As Konrad Lorenz wrote: “ I doubt if it is possible to feel real affection for anybody who is in every respect one’s inferior. ” 1 There are so many dirty names for her that one rarely learns them all, even in one’s native language.
Andrea Dworkin (Intercourse)
God language can tie people into knots, of course. In part, that is because ‘God’ is not God's name. Referring to the highest power we can imagine, ‘God’ is our name for that which is greater than all and yet present in each. For some the highest imaginable power will be a petty and angry tribal baron ensconced high above the clouds on a golden throne, visiting punishment on all who don't believe in him. But for others, the highest power is love, goodness, justice, or the spirit of life itself. Each of us projects our limited experience on a cosmic screen in letters as big as our minds can fashion. For those whose vision is constricted (illiberal, narrow-minded people), this can have horrific consequences. But others respond to the munificence of creation with broad imagination and sympathy. Answering to the highest and best within and beyond themselves, they draw lessons and fathom meaning so redemptive that surely it touches the divine.
Forrest Church (The Cathedral of the World: A Universalist Theology)
My Venus is damaged, or in exile, that’s what you say of a Planet that can’t be found in the sign where it should be. What’s more, Pluto is in a negative aspect to Venus, and in my case Pluto rules the Ascendant. The result of this situation is that I have, as I see it, Lazy Venus syndrome. That’s what I call this Conformity. In this case we’re dealing with a Person whom fortune has gifted generously, but who has entirely failed to use their potential. Such People are bright and intelligent, but don’t apply themselves to their studies, and use their intelligence to play card games or patience instead. They have beautiful bodies, but they destroy them through neglect, poison themselves with harmful substances, and ignore doctors and dentists. This Venus induces a strange kind of laziness—lifetime opportunities are missed, because you overslept, because you didn’t feel like going, because you were late, because you were neglectful. It’s a tendency to be sybaritic, to live in a state of mild semiconsciousness, to fritter your life away on petty pleasures, to dislike effort and be devoid of any penchant for competition. Long mornings, unopened letters, things put off for later, abandoned projects. A dislike of any authority and a refusal to submit to it, going your own way in a taciturn, idle manner. You could say such people are of no use at all.
Olga Tokarczuk (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead)
To what end the ‘world’ exists, to what end ‘man­kind’ exists, ought not to concern us at all for the moment except as objects of humour: for the presumptuousness of the little human worm is the funniest thing at present on the world’s stage; on the other hand, do ask yourself why you, the individual, exist, and if you can get no other answer try for once to justify the meaning of your existence as it were a posteriori by setting before yourself an aim, a goal, a ‘to this end’, an exalted and noble ‘to this end’ . Perish in pursuit of this and only this - I know of no better aim of life than that of perishing, animae magnae prodigus, in pursuit of the great and the impossible. If, on the other hand, the doctrines of sovereign becoming, of the fluidity of all concepts, types and species, of the lack of any cardinal distinction between man and animal - doctrines which I consider true but deadly - are thrust upon the people for another generation with the rage for instruction that has by now become normal, no one should be surprised if the people perishes of petty egoism, ossification and greed, falls apart and ceases to be a people; in its place sys­tems of individualist egoism, brotherhoods for the rapacious exploitation of the non-brothers, and similar creations of utilitarian vulgarity may perhaps appear in the arena of the future. To prepare the way for these creations all one has to do is to go on writing history from the standpoint of the masses and seeking to derive the laws which govern it from the needs of these masses, that is to say from the laws which move the lowest mud- and clay-strata of society. The masses seem to me to deserve notice in three respects only: first as faded copies of great men produced on poor paper with worn-out plates, then as a force of resistance to great men, finally as instruments in the hands of great men; for the rest, let the Devil and statistics take them!
Friedrich Nietzsche (Untimely Meditations)
Did Jesus Christ, he asked, suspect that someday his church would spread to the farthest corners of Earth? Did Jesus Christ, he asked, ever have what we, today, call an idea of the world? Did Jesus Christ, who apparently knew everything, know that the world was round and to the east lived the Chinese (this sentence he spat out, as if it cost him great effort to utter it) and to the west the primitive peoples of America? And he answered himself, no, although of course in a way having an idea of the world is easy, everybody has one, generally an idea restricted to one's village, bound to the land, to the tangible and mediocre things before one's eyes, and this idea of the world, petty, limited, crusted with the grime of the familiar, tends to persist and acquire authority and eloquence with the passage of time.
Roberto Bolaño (2666)
Remind yourself daily that there is no way to happiness; rather, happiness is the way. You may have a long list of goals that you believe will provide you with contentment when they’re achieved, yet if you examine your state of happiness in this moment, you’ll notice that the fulfillment of some previous ambitions didn’t create an enduring sense of joy. Desires can produce anxiety, stress, and competitiveness, and you need to recognize those that do. Bring happiness to every encounter in life, instead of expecting external events to produce joy. By staying in harmony on the path of the Tao, all the contentment you could ever dream of will begin to flow into your life—the right people, the means to finance where you’re headed, and the necessary factors will come together. “Stop pushing yourself,” Lao-tzu would say, “and feel gratitude and awe for what is. Your life is controlled by something far bigger and more significant than the petty details of your lofty aspirations.
Wayne W. Dyer (Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao)
If a man were to spend years of his life trying to discover the chemical constituency of salt water without bothering to find out what has already been said on the subject in any elementary chemistry book, we should say that he was making very imperfect use of the resources available to us. Similarly, can it not be said that people, worrying themselves sick over their individual frustrations, constantly suffering from petty irritations and hypertensions, are making extremely imperfect use of the available human resources of adjustment when they fail to strengthen and quiet themselves through contact with literature, music, painting, and the other arts?
S.I. Hayakawa (Language in Thought and Action)
Schartz would never live in a world so open. His would always be occluded by the fact that his understanding and his ambition outstripped his talent. He'd never be as good as he wanted to be, not at baseball, not at football, not at reading Greek or taking the LSAT. And beyond all that he'd never be as _good_ as he wanted to be. He'd never found anything inside himself that was really good and pure, that wasn't double-edged, that couldn't just as easily become its opposite. He had tried and failed to find that thing and he would continue to try and fail, or else he would leave off trying and keep on failing. He had no art to call his own. He knew how to motivate people, manipulate people, move them around, this was his only skill. He was like a minor Greek god you've barely heard of, who sees through the glamour of the armor and down into the petty complexity of each soldier's soul. And in the end is powerless to bring about anything resembling his vision. The loftier, arbitrary gods intervene.
Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding)
That was how I’d always imagined the surface of my heart—smooth, slick, unattached. Nothing to grab on to. Unscored. No one could attach to me once the inevitable heat of life bore down. I suspected the metaphor went deeper still—that I was afraid of marring my heart with the scoring that arose naturally between people, the inevitable bumping against other people’s desires, demands, pettiness, preferences, and all the quotidian negotiations that made up a relationship. Scoring was required for attachment, and my heart lacked the grooves.
Christie Tate (Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life)
Loving a band with all your heart is something you understand when it happens to you. On the surface, others can see its a petty obsession, but they'll just never know the feeling of putting so much fail into a few people on the other side of the world. It's hard to explain it to them, the listening to a song after song on repeat, the waits for new albums, the excitement and surreal sensation when you finally see them live. They don't understand why the lyric books give you a sense of comfort, or why you paste photos of them on your bedroom walls. And they can't understand why one band could matter to you so much. And you think to yourself ‘Because they saved my life’. But you say nothing, because thy wouldn't understand.
Alex Gaskath
If the stars are sublime, why should the earth be therefore petty? It is part of a sublime system. If the earth is to be called petty, then the stars must be called petty too. They may not even be inhabited. Perhaps they mean the movement of the vast system going on for ever, while men die. The indestructibility of matter. But if matter is indestructible, it is not what the people who use the phrase mean by matter. If matter is not conscious, man is more than matter. If a small, no matter how small, conscious thing is called petty in comparison with big, no matter how big, unconscious things, everything is made a question of size, which is absurd....
Dorothy M. Richardson
Impulsively, I threw up a new wall in my head. And suddenly I saw the situation for what it really was. Dante had me backed up against a tree, all right, but I did not want to make out with him. “Demonstration finished,” Dante said, his smile a bit too cocky for my liking. “Next time choose a more appropriate demonstration,” I said tensely. “Patch would kill you if he found out about this.” His smile didn’t fade. “That’s a figure of speech that doesn’t work very well with Nephilim.” I wasn’t in the mood for humor. “I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to set him off. This petty feud between the two of you will blow up to a whole new level if you mess with me. Patch is the last person you want to antagonize. He doesn’t hold grudges, because the people who cross him tend to disappear quickly. And what you just did? That was crossing him.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Finale (Hush, Hush, #4))
I think the measure of advancement depends on where you are stood and from what distance you look. A thousand years ago, we farmed the fields, built towns and defended our land with swords and spears. It is little different now, save for the number of people we have to protect. We still kill with a sharp edge or point of metal, blood runs red still, sons ride off to war and parents grieve. If you look at the Empire in its whole, then it is peaceful. If you look closely, you will see the small wars, the bandits and rebellions. Look more closely still and you’ll see the petty crimes, the struggle to survive, the rich bleeding the poor. Even the soil can turn against its farmers, yielding few crops. Or the weather, a late frost killing the early crops. There is strife and conflict everywhere in the Empire. Everywhere you find men, you find conflict.
G.R. Matthews
Over the years I have developed and employed a variety of such coping mechanisms, mostly focusing around a philosophy I call, “Live Because.” “Live Because” is in contrast to what I’ve termed “Live Despite,” which is the idea that people can live rich, full lives in spite of their physical or emotional barriers. “Live Because” takes this a step further by suggesting that in many cases, patients can live a more fulfilling life with their illness than they could ever have done without it. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome has transformed me from a frequently petty and self-absorbed person into the person I am today (still somewhat self-absorbed, but a lot less petty, and with a clearly defined purpose of alleviating whatever suffering I can). I am better because of my illness, and not just in spite of it. But this process was, and still is, a journey. Chronic illness is nearly always accompanied by depression, and the need to constantly remain one step ahead of my illness has left me fearful and exhausted. I could never go through this alone... A part of me will always be angry; such is the process of mourning the pieces of oneself that are lost to chronic disease. I have learned to accept the duality of being bitter and at peace; ignorant and enlightened... while still laying a foundation of hope for the possibility that I can still realize my personal dreams and ambitions, even if not in the exact ways I had expected.
Michael Bihovsky
Good is to be found neither in the sermons of religious teachers and prophets, nor in the teachings of sociologists and popular leaders, nor in the ethical systems of philosophers... And yet ordinary people bear love in their hearts, are naturally full of love and pity for any living thing. At the end of the day's work they prefer the warmth of the hearth to a bonfire in the public square. Yes, as well as this terrible Good with a capital 'G', there is everyday human kindness. The kindness of an old woman carrying a piece of bread to a prisoner, the kindness of a soldier allowing a wounded enemy to drink from his water-flask, the kindness of youth towards age, the kindness of a peasant hiding an old Jew in his loft. The kindness of a prison guard who risks his own liberty to pass on letters written by a prisoner not to his ideological comrades, but to his wife and mother. The private kindness of one individual towards another; a petty, thoughtless kindness; an unwitnessed kindness. Something we could call senseless kindness. A kindness outside any system of social or religious good. But if we think about it, we realize that this private, senseless, incidental kindness is in fact eternal. It is extended to everything living, even to a mouse, even to a bent branch that a man straightens as he walks by. Even at the most terrible times, through all the mad acts carried out in the name of Universal Good and the glory of States, times when people were tossed about like branches in the wind, filling ditches and gullies like stones in an avalanche – even then this senseless, pathetic kindness remained scattered throughout life like atoms of radium.
Vasily Grossman (Life and Fate)
In particular, the virtues and ambitions called forth by war are unlikely to find expression in liberal democracies. There will be plenty of metaphorical wars—corporate lawyers specializing in hostile takeovers who will think of themselves as sharks or gunslingers, and bond traders who imagine, as in Tom Wolfe’s novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, that they are “masters of the universe.” (They will believe this, however, only in bull markets.) But as they sink into the soft leather of their BMWs, they will know somewhere in the back of their minds that there have been real gunslingers and masters in the world, who would feel contempt for the petty virtues required to become rich or famous in modern America. How long megalothymia will be satisfied with metaphorical wars and symbolic victories is an open question. One suspects that some people will not be satisfied until they prove themselves by that very act that constituted their humanness at the beginning of history: they will want to risk their lives in a violent battle, and thereby prove beyond any shadow of a doubt to themselves and to their fellows that they are free. They will deliberately seek discomfort and sacrifice, because the pain will be the only way they have of proving definitively that they can think well of themselves, that they remain human beings.
Francis Fukuyama (End of History and the Last Man)
At some point in your adult life, you’ve probably walked into a party and felt a frisson of relief upon discovering at least one woman there who was fatter, uglier, and/or dressed more inappropriately than you. We sure have. But if you want to have any hope of making peace with your own body, you need to knock that shit off. We’re not even telling you to stop just because it’s nasty, petty, and beneath you to judge other women so harshly; it is, but because you’re not a saint, and neither are we. We’re telling you to stop because it’s actually in your own self-interest to stop being such a bitch. ‘Cause you know what happens when you quit saying that crap about other women? You magically stop saying it about yourself so much, too. Judging other women negatively creates a constant stream of nasty thoughts in your head. It is inevitable that you will end up applying those same standards to yourself. We think we’re building ourselves up when we do this but, really, we’re just tearing other people down to our level. And we hate to go all Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on you, but tearing other people down isn’t really productive. It leaves you in the same place you started, which is full of loathing for your own body.
Marianne Kirby
Deny everything and you will easily pass for a man of ability; it's a well known trick. Simple hearted people are quite ready to conclude that you are worth more than what you deny. And that's often an error. In the first place, you can pick holes in anything; and secondly, even if you are right in what you say, it's the worse for you, your intellect, directed by simple negation, grows colorless and withers up. While you gratify your vanity, you are deprived of the true consolations of thought;life--the essence of life--evades your jaundiced and petty criticism, and you end by scolding and becoming ridiculous. Only one who loves has the right to censure and find fault.
Ivan Turgenev (Rudin)
Sorry, but I have to be who I am. Everyone else is taken... So be your self! Speak your truth - if there are people around you who tempt you with non-existence blast through that and give them the full glory of who you are. Do not withhold yourself from the world. Do not piss on the incandescent gift of your existence. Do not drown yourself in the petty fog and dustiness of other people's ancient superstitions, unbeliefs, aggressions, culture and crap! No! Be a flare! We were born that way. Born perfectly happy being inconvenient to our parents. We shit, piss, cry, wake up at night, throw up on their shoulders, scream... We are, in essence, in our humanity, perfectly comfortable with inconveniencing others. That's how we're born, how we grow and develop. I choose to inconvenience the irrational.
Stefan Molyneux
drive through hell the people are weary, unhappy and frustrated, the people are bitter and vengeful, the people are deluded and fearful, the people are angry and uninventive and I drive among them on the freeway and they project what is left of themselves in their manner of driving— some more hateful, more thwarted than others— some don’t like to be passed, some attempt to keep others from passing —some attempt to block lane changes —some hate cars of a newer, more expensive model —others in these cars hate the older cars. the freeway is a circus of cheap and petty emotions, it’s humanity on the move, most of them coming from some place they hated and going to another they hate just as much or more. the freeways are a lesson in what we have become and most of the crashes and deaths are the collision of incomplete beings, of pitiful and demented lives. when I drive the freeways I see the soul of humanity of my city and it’s ugly, ugly, ugly: the living have choked the heart away.
Charles Bukowski (You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense)
A storm-filled life replete with piercing and unearthly sounds ravages the soul of any thoughtful person. In contrast, the genteel wind of restoration moves silently, invisibly. Renewal is a spiritual process, the communal melody that sustains us. Inexpressible braids of tenderness whispering reciprocating chords of love for family, friends, humankind, and nature plaits interweaved layers of blissful atmosphere, which copious heart song brings spiritual rejuvenation. For when we love in a charitable and bountiful manner without reservation, liberated from petty jealously, and free of the toxic blot of discrimination, we become the ineluctable wind that vivifies the lives of other people. The mellifluous changes in heaven, earth, and our journey through the travails of time, while worshiping the trove of fathomless joys of life, constitute the seeds of universal poetry.
Kilroy J. Oldster (Dead Toad Scrolls)
The state must answer these questions, too, but whatever it does, it does it without being subject to the profit-and-loss criterion. Hence, its action is arbitrary and necessarily involves countless wasteful misallocations from the consumer’s viewpoint. Independent to a large degree of consumer wants, the state-employed security producers instead do what they like. They hang around instead of doing anything, and if they do work they prefer doing what is easiest or work where they can wield power rather than serving consumers. Police officers drive around a lot, hassle petty traffic violators, spend huge amounts of money investigating victimless crimes that many people (i.e., nonparticipants) do not like but that few would be willing to spend their money on to fight, as they are not immediately affected by them. Yet with respect to what consumers want most urgently—the prevention of hardcore crime (i.e., crimes with victims), the apprehension and effective punishment of hard-core criminals, the recovery of loot, and the securement of compensation of victims of crimes from the aggressors—the police are notoriously inefficient, in spite of ever higher budget allocations.
Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Tragedy happens - "tragic mistakes" happen - when men act according to their flawed natures, in fulfillment of their preordained destinies. The tragedy of the four killers of Amadou Diallo is that their deeds were made possible by their general preconceptions about black people and poor neighborhoods; by a theory of policing that encourages them to be rigid and punitive toward petty offenders; and by a social context in which the possession and use of firearms is so normative as to be almost beyond discussion. The tragedy of the street vendor Amadou Diallo is that he came as an innocent to the slaughter, made vulnerable by poverty and by the color of his skin. And the tragedy of America is that a nation which sees itself as leading the world toward a global future in which the American values of freedom and justice will be available for everyone fails so frequently and so badly to guarantee that freedom and that justice for so many people within its own frontiers.
Salman Rushdie (Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002)
I remember once when I had been giving a talk to the R.A.F., an old, hard-bitten officer got up and said, ‘I’ve no use for all that stuff. But, mind you, I’m a religious man too. I know there’s a God. I’ve felt Him: out alone in the desert at night: the tremendous mystery. And that’s just why I don’t believe all your neat little dogmas and formulas about Him. To anyone who’s met the real thing they all seem so petty and pedantic and unreal!’ Now in a sense I quite agreed with that man. I think he had probably had a real experience of God in the desert. And when he turned from that experience to the Christian creeds, I think he really was turning from something real to something less real. In the same way, if a man has once looked at the Atlantic from the beach, and then goes and looks at a map of the Atlantic, he also will be turning from something real to something less real: turning from real waves to a bit of coloured paper. But here comes the point. The map is admittedly only coloured paper, but there are two things you have to remember about it. In the first place, it is based on what hundreds and thousands of people have found out by sailing the real Atlantic. In that way it has behind it masses of experience just as real as the one you could have from the beach; only, while yours would be a single glimpse, the map fits all those different experiences together. In the second place, if you want to go anywhere, the map is absolutely necessary. As long as you are content with walks on the beach, your own glimpses are far more fun than looking at a map. But the map is going to be more use than walks on the beach if you want to get to America.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
Pettiness often leads both to error and to the digging of a trap for oneself. Wondering (which I am sure he didn't) 'if by the 1990s [Hitchens] was morphing into someone I didn’t quite recognize”, Blumenthal recalls with horror the night that I 'gave' a farewell party for Martin Walker of the Guardian, and then didn't attend it because I wanted to be on television instead. This is easy: Martin had asked to use the fine lobby of my building for a farewell bash, and I'd set it up. People have quite often asked me to do that. My wife did the honors after Nightline told me that I’d have to come to New York if I wanted to abuse Mother Teresa and Princess Diana on the same show. Of all the people I know, Martin Walker and Sidney Blumenthal would have been the top two in recognizing that journalism and argument come first, and that there can be no hard feelings about it. How do I know this? Well, I have known Martin since Oxford. (He produced a book on Clinton, published in America as 'The President We Deserve'. He reprinted it in London, under the title, 'The President They Deserve'. I doffed my hat to that.) While Sidney—I can barely believe I am telling you this—once also solicited an invitation to hold his book party at my home. A few days later he called me back, to tell me that Martin Peretz, owner of the New Republic, had insisted on giving the party instead. I said, fine, no bones broken; no caterers ordered as yet. 'I don't think you quite get it,' he went on, after an honorable pause. 'That means you can't come to the party at all.' I knew that about my old foe Peretz: I didn't then know I knew it about Blumenthal. I also thought that it was just within the limit of the rules. I ask you to believe that I had buried this memory until this book came out, but also to believe that I won't be slandered and won't refrain—if motives or conduct are in question—from speculating about them in my turn.
Christopher Hitchens
In the course of your life you will be continually encountering fools. There are simply too many to avoid. We can classify people as fools by the following rubric: when it comes to practical life, what should matter is getting long term results, and getting the work done in as efficient and creative a manner as possible. That should be the supreme value that guides people’s action. But fools carry with them a different scale of values. They place more importance on short-term matters – grabbing immediate money, getting attention from the public or media, and looking good. They are ruled by their ego and insecurities. They tend to enjoy drama and political intrigue for their own sake. When they criticize, they always emphasize matters that are irrelevant to the overall picture or argument. They are more interested in their career and position than in the truth. You can distinguish them by how little they get done, or by how hard they make it for others to get results. They lack a certain common sense, getting worked up about things that are not really important while ignoring problems that will spell doom in the long term. The natural tendency with fools is to lower yourself to their level. They annoy you, get under your skin, and draw you into a battle. In the process, you feel petty and confused. You lose a sense of what is really important. You can’t win an argument or get them to see your side or change their behavior, because rationality and results don’t matter to them. You simply waste valuable time and emotional energy. In dealing with fools you must adopt the following philosophy: they are simply a part of life, like rocks or furniture. All of us have foolish sides, moments in which we lose our heads and think more of our ego or short-term goals. It is human nature. Seeing this foolishness within you, you can then accept it in others. This will allow you to smile at their antics, to tolerate their presence as you would a silly child, and to avoid the madness of trying to change them. It is all part of the human comedy, and it is nothing to get upset or lose sleep over.
Robert Greene (Mastery)
All peoples think they are forever," he growled softly. "They do not believe they will ever not be. The Sinnissippi were that way. They did not think they would be eradicated. But that is what happened. Your people, Nest, believe this of themselves. They will survive forever, they think. Nothing can destroy them, can wipe them so completely from the earth and from history that all that will remain is their name and not even that will be known with certainty. They have such faith in their invulnerability. Yet already their destruction begins. It comes upon them gradually, in little ways. Bit by bit their belief in themselves erodes. A growing cynicism pervades their lives. Small acts of kindness and charity are abandoned as pointless and somehow indicative of weakness. Little failures of behavior lead to bigger ones. It is not enough to ignore the discourtesies of others; discourtesies must be repaid in kind. Men are intolerant and judgmental . They are without grace. If one man proclaims that God has spoken to him, another quickly proclaims that his God is false. If the homeless cannot find shelter, then surely they are to blame for their condition. If the poor do not have jobs, then surely it is because they will not work. If sickness strikes down those whose lifestyle differs from our own, then surely they have brought it on themselves. Look at your people, Nest Freemark. They abandon their old. They shun their sick. They cast off their children. They decry any who are different. They commit acts of unfaithfulness, betrayal, and depravity every day. They foster lies that undermine beliefs. Each small darkness breeds another. Each small incident of anger, bitterness, pettiness, and greed breeds others. A sense of futility consumes them. They feel helpless to effect even the smallest change. Their madness is of their own making, and yet they are powerless against it because they refuse to acknowledge its source. They are at war with themselves, but they do not begin to understand the nature of the battle being fought." -pages 96-97
Terry Brooks (Running with the Demon (Word & Void, #1))
To be yourself is in many ways, is to be inconvenient to others. Only placaters and appeasers get along with other people all the time and that's not really getting along with anyone. That's just self erasure. To be alive, to be in a relationship is to constantly court inconvenience to others and out of that inconvenience can come enormous growth. I simply work as an imperasist. Empiricism comes first. So, I speak things that are inconvenient to others but, true for me. I observe their response. It's incredibly easy to find out the truth in your relationships. All you do is speak the truth. You speak the truth about what's on your mind to those around you and their true natures will be revealed in about 5 seconds. You have honesty in your relationships. You speak the truth about your experience, thought's, and feelings in your relationships and then you do not control how other people respond. Your as honest as can be and you simply observe how they respond. It's like that spray you use to see the lasers in the room. Honesty reveals everything. OK So, if these people constantly sacrifice my happiness, security, and mental health for the sake of their petty emotional selfish needs then I could choose to stay in those relationships if I want. I mean, I could choose to continue to hire an employee who steals from me everyday. I just have to be aware that he's stealing from me everyday.
Stefan Molyneux
The Party's all-around intrusion into people's lives was the very point of the process known as 'thought reform." Mao wanted not only external discipline, but the total subjection of all thoughts, large or small. Every week a meeting for 'thought examination' was held for those 'in the revolution." Everyone had both to criticize themselves for incorrect thoughts and be subjected to the criticism of others.The meetings tended to be dominated by self-righteous and petty-minded people, who used them to vent their envy and frustration; people of peasant origin used them to attack those from 'bourgeois' backgrounds. The idea was that people should be reformed to be more like peasants, because the Communist revolution was in essence a peasant revolution. This process appealed to the guilt feelings of the educated; they had been living better than the peasants, and self-criticism tapped into this.Meetings were an important means of Communist control. They left people no free time, and eliminated the private sphere. The pettiness which dominated them was justified on the grounds that prying into personal details was a way of ensuring thorough soul-cleansing. In fact, pettiness was a fundamental characteristic of a revolution in which intrusiveness and ignorance were celebrated, and envy was incorporated into the system of control. My mother's cell grilled her week after week, month after month, forcing her to produce endless self-criticisms.She had to consent to this agonizing process. Life for a revolutionary was meaningless if they were rejected by the Party. It was like excommunication for a Catholic. Besides, it was standard procedure. My father had gone through it and had accepted it as part of 'joining the revolution." In fact, he was still going through it. The Party had never hidden the fact that it was a painful process. He told my mother her anguish was normal.At the end of all this, my mother's two comrades voted against full Party membership for her. She fell into a deep depression. She had been devoted to the revolution, and could not accept the idea that it did not want her; it was particularly galling to think she might not get in for completely petty and irrelevant reasons, decided by two people whose way of thinking seemed light years away from what she had conceived the Party's ideology to be. She was being kept out of a progressive organization by backward people, and yet the revolution seemed to be telling her that it was she who was in the wrong. At the back of her mind was another, more practical point which she did not even spell out to herself: it was vital to get into the Party, because if she failed she would be stigmatized and ostracized.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)