Vanity Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Vanity. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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Men always want to be a woman’s first love. That is their clumsy vanity. We women have a more subtle instinct about these things. What (women) like is to be a man’s last romance.
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Oscar Wilde
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All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.
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T.E. Lawrence (Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph)
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And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence
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Bertrand Russell
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There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.
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J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5: The Scripts of J. Michael Straczynski, Vol. 2)
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Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.
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Marissa Meyer (Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1))
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When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.
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Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
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You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting β€œVanity,” thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for you own pleasure.
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John Berger (Ways of Seeing)
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Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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A man's vanity is more fragile that you might think. It's easy for us to mistake shyness for coldness, and silence for indifference.
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Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
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If you spend your life sparing people’s feelings and feeding their vanity, you get so you can’t distinguish what should be respected in them.
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F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tender is the Night & The Last Tycoon)
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ClichΓ©s so often befall vain people.
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Ann Beattie (Walks with Men)
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Vanity was stronger than love at sixteen and there was no room in her hot heart now for anything but hate.
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Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)
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Lockhart'll sign anything if it stands still long enough.
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J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2))
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On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.
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Martin Luther King Jr.
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Curiosity is only vanity. We usually only want to know something so that we can talk about it.
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Blaise Pascal (PensΓ©es)
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I always felt like I was meant to have been born in another era, another time.
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Johnny Depp
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Nobody sees anybody truly but all through the flaws of their own egos. That is the way we all see ...each other in life. Vanity, fear, desire, competition-- all such distortions within our own egos-- condition our vision of those in relation to us. Add to those distortions to our own egos the corresponding distortions in the egos of others, and you see how cloudy the glass must become through which we look at each other. That's how it is in all living relationships except when there is that rare case of two people who love intensely enough to burn through all those layers of opacity and see each other's naked hearts.
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Tennessee Williams
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When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.
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Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People)
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Yes, vanity is a weakness indeed. But pride - where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief.
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Jane Austen (Emma)
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Revenge may be wicked, but it’s natural.
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William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
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As they moved through the old barn, Adam felt Ronan’s eyes glance off him and away, his disinterest practiced but incomplete. Adam wondered if anyone else noticed. Part of him wished they did and immediately felt bad, because it was vanity, really: See, Adam Parrish is wantable, worthy of a crush, not just by anyone, someone like Ronan, who could want Gansey or anyone else and chose Adam for his hungry eyes.
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Maggie Stiefvater (Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3))
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Poor fellow! I think he is in love with you.' I am not aware of it. And to me it is one of the most odious things in a girl's life, that there must always be some supposition of falling in love coming between her and any man who is kind to her... I have no ground for the nonsensical vanity of fancying everybody who comes near me is in love with me.
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George Eliot
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Children live in the same world we do. To kid ourselves that we can shelter them from it isn't just naive it's a vanity.
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Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
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Vanity is becoming a nuisance, I can see why women give it up, eventually. But I'm not ready for that yet.
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Margaret Atwood (Cat's Eye)
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Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O any thing, of nothing first create! O heavy lightness, serious vanity, Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms, Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health, Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is! This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
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William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)
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If there really had been a Mercutio, and if there really were a Paradise, Mercutio might be hanging out with teenage Vietnam draftee casualties now, talking about what it felt like to die for other people's vanity and foolishness.
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Hocus Pocus)
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Beauty is not who you are on the outside, it is the wisdom and time you gave away to save another struggling soul like you.
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Shannon L. Alder
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All is vanity, nothing is fair.
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William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
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Of course, true love is exceptional - two or three times a century, more or less. The rest of the time there is vanity or boredom.
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Albert Camus (The Fall)
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Never lose a chance of saying a kind word.
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William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
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The vanity of others runs counter to our taste only when it runs counter to our vanity.
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Friedrich Nietzsche (Beyond Good and Evil)
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Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?
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William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
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If your joy is derived from what society thinks of you, you're always going to be disappointed.
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Madonna
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Everything - our houses, our clothes, our hairstyles - is meant to help us forget ourselves and to protect us from vanity, greed and envy, which are just forms of selfishness. If we have little, and want for little, and we are all equal, we envy no one.
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Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
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Are your eyelashes like your hair?” β€œYes. They’re very beautifulβ€”want to see?” Her lips twitched. β€œVanity is a sin,Bluebell.” β€œWhen you have it, flaunt it, I say.” -Elena and Illium
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Nalini Singh (Archangel's Kiss (Guild Hunter, #2))
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Her life was a tissue of vanity and deceit.
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Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
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Good manners are an admission that everybody is so tender that they have to be handled with gloves. Now, human respectβ€”you don't call a man a coward or a liar lightly, but if you spend your life sparing people's feelings and feeding their vanity, you get so you can't distinguish what should be respected in them.
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F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tender Is the Night)
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There is no point in keeping vengeance or stubbornness. These things" -he sighed- "these things I so regret in my life. Pride. Vanity. Why do we do the things we do? Morrie Schwartz
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Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
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He had the vanity to believe men did not like him – while men simply did not know him.
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Gustave Flaubert (November)
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Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.
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James Joyce (Dubliners)
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If I make the lashes dark And the eyes more bright And the lips more scarlet, Or ask if all be right From mirror after mirror, No vanity's displayed: I'm looking for the face I had Before the world was made.
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W.B. Yeats
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It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us. Women fancy admiration means more than it does. And men take care that they should.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity. There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity. There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.
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Bernard of Clairvaux
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Or, rather, let us be more simple and less vain.
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Jean-Jacques Rousseau
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A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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The tyrant is a child of Pride Who drinks from his sickening cup Recklessness and vanity, Until from his high crest headlong He plummets to the dust of hope.
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Sophocles (Oedipus Rex (The Theban Plays, #1))
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Then I feel, Harry, that I have given away my whole soul to someone who treats it as if it were a flower to put in his coat, a bit of decoration to charm his vanity, an ornament for a summer's day.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Look. Survey. Inspect. My hair is ruined! I look like a pan of bacon and eggs!
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Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle, #1))
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Vanity, thy name is vampire.
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Jim Butcher (Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files, #8))
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It's not vanity to know your own good points. It would just be stupidity if you didn't; It's only vanity when you get puffed up about them.
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L.M. Montgomery (The Story Girl)
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Vanity, in a fairy tale, will make you evil. Vanity in the real world will drive you nuts. Vanity makes you say things like β€œI deserved a better life than this.
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Richard Siken
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Women that can work a camera with ease often work men just as effortlessly for both require the same commitment to vanity and manipulation.
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Tiffany Madison
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It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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She was heartily ashamed of her ignorance - a misplaced shame. Where people wish to attach, they should always be ignorant. To come with a wellβˆ’informed mind is to come with an inability of administering to the vanity of others, which a sensible person would always wish to avoid. A woman especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.
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Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey)
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She dared a look at Rowan, whose face remained carefully blank, but saw the words there anyway. You wicked, clever fox. And here you were, thinking the red hair was just for vanity. I shall never doubt again.
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Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))
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One cannot bring children into a world like this. One cannot perpetuate suffering, or increase the breed of these lustful animals, who have no lasting emotions, but only whims and vanities, eddying them now this way, now that.
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Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
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Through your rags I see your vanity.
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Socrates
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I manage because I have to. Because I've no other way out. Because I've overcome the vanity and pride of being different, I've understood that they are a pitiful defense against being different. Because I've understood that the sun shines differently when something changes. The sun shines differently, but it will continue to shine, and jumping at it with a hoe isn't going to do anything.
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Andrzej Sapkowski (The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5))
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Do you wish people to think well of you? Don't speak well of yourself.
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Blaise Pascal
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How despicably I have acted!" she cried; "I, who have prided myself on my discernment! I, who have valued myself on my abilities! who have often disdained the generous candour of my sister, and gratified my vanity in useless or blameable mistrust! How humiliating is this discovery! Yet, how just a humiliation! Had I been in love, I could not have been more wretchedly blind. But vanity, not love, has been my folly. Pleased with the preference of one, and offended by the neglect of the other, on the very beginning of our aquaintance, I have courted prepossession and ignorance, and driven reason away, where either were concerned. Till this moment I never knew myself.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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Mother is the name for God in the lips and hearts of little children.
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William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
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--nor had I understood til then how the shameless vanity of utter fools can so strongly determine the fate of others
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Philip Roth (The Plot Against America)
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One sticks to an opinion because he prides himself on having come to it on his own, and another because he has taken great pains to learn it and is proud to have grasped it: and so both do so out of vanity.
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Friedrich Nietzsche
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Let him who cannot be alone beware of community... Let him who is not in community beware of being alone... Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls. One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair.
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community)
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Courage is an inner resolution to go forward despite obstacles; Cowardice is submissive surrender to circumstances. Courage breeds creativity; Cowardice represses fear and is mastered by it. Cowardice asks the question, is it safe? Expediency ask the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? But conscience ask the question, is it right? And there comes a time when we must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.
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Martin Luther King Jr.
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If a man's character is to be abused, say what you will, there's nobody like a relative to do the business.
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William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
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A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price.
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Carlos Ruiz ZafΓ³n (The Angel's Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #2))
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Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world. I'm beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so. That it's actually the other way around. Stories cull writers from the world. Stories reveal themselves to us. The public narrative, the private narrative - they colonize us. They commission us. They insist on being told. Fiction and nonfiction are only different techniques of story telling. For reasons that I don't fully understand, fiction dances out of me, and nonfiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.
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Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
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How beautiful would it be if we could just see souls instead of bodies? To see love and compassion instead of curves.
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Karen Quan (Write like no one is reading 2)
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It is clear to me now that, owing to my unbounded vanity and to the high standard I set for myself, I often looked at myself with furious discontent, which verged on loathing, and so I inwardly attributed the same feeling to everyone.
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Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Notes from Underground)
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We have no patience with other people's vanity because it is offensive to our own.
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François de La Rochefoucauld
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what if the man could see Beauty Itself, pure, unalloyed, stripped of mortality, and all its pollution, stains, and vanities, unchanging, divine,...the man becoming in that communion, the friend of God, himself immortal;...would that be a life to disregard?
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Plato (The Symposium)
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The way you think about yourself determines your reality. You are not being hurt by the way people think about you. Many of those people are a reflection of how you think about yourself.
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Shannon L. Alder
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Vanity's a debilitating affliction. You’re so absorbed in yourself it’s impossible to love anyone other than oneself, leaving you weak without realization of it. It’s quite sad. You’ve no idea what you’re missing either. You will never know real love and your life will pas you by.
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Fisher Amelie (Vain (The Seven Deadly, #1))
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I'm so pretty, it's hard for me to think of myself as intelligent.
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Jim Butcher (Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7))
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Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people.
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Garrison Keillor (We Are Still Married: Stories & Letters)
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Vanity, not love, has been my folly.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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Nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner.
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Oscar Wilde
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I was sorry for her; I was amazed, disgusted at her heartless vanity; I wondered why so much beauty should be given to those who made so bad a use of it, and denied to some who would make it a benefit to both themselves and others. But, God knows best, I concluded. There are, I suppose, some men as vain, as selfish, and as heartless as she is, and, perhaps, such women may be useful to punish them.
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Anne BrontΓ« (Agnes Grey)
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You are not permitted to kill a woman who has wronged you, but nothing forbids you to reflect that she is growing older every minute.
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Ambrose Bierce
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Are not there little chapters in everybody's life, that seem to be nothing, and yet affect all the rest of the history?
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William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
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Killing animals to make a fashion statement = a sickening + cold-blooded vanity.
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Jess C. Scott (Skins, Animal Stories)
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I'm amazing and studly, but I have limits.
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Jim Butcher (Grave Peril (The Dresden Files, #3))
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guileless and without vanity,we were still in love with ourselves then. We felt comfortable in our own skins, enjoyed the news that our senses released to us, admired our dirt, cultivated our scars, and could not comprehend this unworthiness.
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Toni Morrison (The Bluest Eye)
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Ah! Vanitas Vanitatum! Which of us is happy in this world? Which of us has his desire? or, having it, is satisfied?-Come, children, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out.
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William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
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Never trust someone that claims they care nothing of what society thinks of them. Instead of conquering obstacles, they simply pretend they don't exist.
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Tiffany Madison
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But then one regrets the loss even of one's worst habits. Perhaps one regrets them the most. They are such an essential part of one's personality.
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Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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Pride only helps us to be generous; it never makes us so, any more than vanity makes us witty.
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George Eliot (Middlemarch)
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Social media has infected the world with a sickening virus called vanity.
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Kellie Elmore
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Our vanity makes us exaggerate the importance of human life; the individual is nothing; Nature cares only for the species.
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Aldous Huxley (Point Counter Point)
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In some situations, if you say nothing, you are called dull; if you talk, you are thought impertinent and arrogant. It is hard to know what to do in this case. The question seems to be, whether your vanity or your prudence predominates.
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William Hazlitt (Selected Essays, 1778-1830)
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War makes monsters of men, you once said to me Todd. Well, so does too much knowledge. Too much knowledge of your fellow man, too much knowledge of his weakness, his pathetic greed and vanity, and how laughably easy it is to control him.
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Patrick Ness (Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking, #3))
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Tell me about Dunyasha,” he said. β€œShe was carrying quality blades.” Inej took the shears from the table of the vanity and began cutting fresh strips of cloth from one of the towels. β€œI think she may be my shadow.” β€œPretty solid shadow if she can throw knives.” β€œThe Suli believe that when we do wrong, we give life to our shadows. Every sin makes the shadow stronger, until eventually the shadow is stronger than you.” β€œIf that were true, my shadow would have put Ketterdam in permanent night.” β€œMaybe,” Inej said, turning her dark gaze to his. β€œOr maybe you’re someone else’s shadow.
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Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
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Everyone succumbs to finitude. I suspect I am not the only one who reaches this pluperfect state. Most ambitions are either achieved or abandoned; either way, they belong to the past. The future, instead of the ladder toward the goals of life, flattens out into a perpetual present. Money, status, all the vanities the preacher of Ecclesiastes described, hold so little interest: a chasing after wind, indeed.
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Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
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Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.
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Margaret D. Nadauld
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I'm brilliant as well as skilled," he said modestly. "It's a great burden, all of that on top of my angelic good looks. But I try to soldier on as best I can.
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Jim Butcher (Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7))
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Let us think often that our only business in this life is to please God. Perhaps all besides is but folly and vanity.
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Brother Lawrence
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The alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought. Leafing through the pages, he found a story about Narcissus. The alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who knelt daily beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned. At the spot where he fell, a flower was born, which was called the narcissus. But this was not how the author of the book ended the story. He said that when Narcissus died, the goddesses of the forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears. 'Why do you weep?' the goddesses asked. 'I weep for Narcissus," the lake replied. 'Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus,' they said, 'for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand.' 'But... was Narcissus beautiful?' the lake asked. 'Who better than you to know that?' the goddesses asked in wonder. 'After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!' The lake was silent for some time. Finally, it said: 'I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.' 'What a lovely story,' the alchemist thought.
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Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
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Humans are strange. … They value punishment because they think it means their actions are importantβ€”that they are important. … it's vanity.
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Robert Jackson Bennett (City of Stairs (The Divine Cities, #1))
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He desired her vaguely but without convinction. They walked together. He suddenly realized that she had always been very decent to him. She had accepted him as he was and had spared him a great deal of loneliness. He had been unfair: while his imagination and vanity had given her too much importance, his pride had given her too little. He discovered the cruel paradox by which we always deceive ourselves twice about the people we love -- first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage. Today he understood that she had been genuine with him -- that she had been what she was, and that he owed her a good deal.
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Albert Camus
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The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice.
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William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
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Virtue was vanity dressed up and waiting for applause.
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Richard Flanagan (The Narrow Road to the Deep North)
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Courage consists, however, in agreeing to flee rather than live tranquilly and hypocritically in false refuges. Values, morals, homelands, religions, and these private certitudes that our vanity and our complacency bestow generously on us, have many deceptive sojourns as the world arranges for those who think they are standing straight and at ease, among stable things
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Gilles Deleuze (Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia)
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Bullshit reigns.
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Tom Wolfe (The Bonfire of the Vanities)
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Daughter! Get you an honest Man for a Husband, and keep him honest. No matter whether he is rich, provided he be independent. Regard the Honour and moral Character of the Man more than all other Circumstances. Think of no other Greatness but that of the soul, no other Riches but those of the Heart. An honest, Sensible humane Man, above all the Littlenesses of Vanity, and Extravagances of Imagination, labouring to do good rather than be rich, to be usefull rather than make a show, living in a modest Simplicity clearly within his Means and free from Debts or Obligations, is really the most respectable Man in Society, makes himself and all about him the most happy.
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John Adams (Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife)
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... Modesty is Vanity's craftier stepbrother.
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David Mitchell (The Bone Clocks)
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What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.
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Frederick Douglass
β€œ
Now and then, however, he is horribly thoughtless, and seems to take a real delight in giving me pain. Then I feel, Harry, that I have given away my whole soul to some one who treats it as if it were a flower to put in his coat, a bit of decoration to charm his vanity, an ornament for a summer’s day.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
Oh, wearisome condition of humanity, Born under one law, to another bound; Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity, Created sick, commanded to be sound.
”
”
Fulke Greville
β€œ
We all know you're beautiful, Scott.
”
”
Becca Fitzpatrick (Silence (Hush, Hush, #3))
β€œ
Say, you told me you thought Les Miserables was the greatest novel ever written. I think Vanity Fair is the greatest. Let's fight. - Joe Willard
”
”
Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy and Joe (Betsy-Tacy, #8))
β€œ
Agatha: "If you say anything smug or stuck-up or shallow, I'll have Reaper follow you home." Sophie: "But then I can't talk!
”
”
Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1))
β€œ
Despite my vanity, I fear for my sanity.
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Pseudonymous Bosch (This Isn't What It Looks Like (Secret, #4))
β€œ
It is also the pardonable vanity of lonely people everywhere to assume that they have no counterparts.
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John le CarrΓ© (The Honourable Schoolboy (George Smiley #6; Karla Trilogy #2))
β€œ
When the shine is wearing off and the underlying cracks of a garlanded lifestyle become painfully apparent, reality may inexorably take its toll and gruelingly reveal the presence of a blatant and hideous gap of irrelevance and vanity. ("Could the milk man be the devil?" )
”
”
Erik Pevernagie
β€œ
I do not say that democracy has been more pernicious on the whole, and in the long run, than monarchy or aristocracy. Democracy has never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. … Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.
”
”
John Adams (The Letters of John and Abigail Adams)
β€œ
In the midst of friends, home, and kind parents, she was alone.
”
”
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
β€œ
[Vanity's] an unrecognized form of stupidity... you have to forget the cosmic meaninglessness of all our acts to be able to be vain and that’s a glaring form of stupidity.
”
”
Pascal Mercier (Night Train to Lisbon)
β€œ
No matter what the circumstances, no man can completely escape from vanity.
”
”
Shūsaku Endō (Silence)
β€œ
What people regard as vanityβ€”leaving great works, having children, acting in such a way as to prevent one's name from being forgottenβ€”I regard as the highest expression of human dignity.
”
”
Paulo Coelho (The Pilgrimage)
β€œ
Near this spot are deposited the remains of one who possessed beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man, without his vices. This praise, which would be unmeaning flattery if inscribed over human ashes, is but a just tribute to the memory of Botswain, a dog.
”
”
Lord Byron
β€œ
When an almond tree became covered with blossoms in the heart of winter, all the trees around it began to jeer. 'What vanity,' they screamed, 'what insolence! Just think, it believes it can bring spring in this way!' The flowers of the almond tree blushed for shame. 'Forgive me, my sisters,' said the tree. 'I swear I did not want to blossom, but suddenly I felt a warm springtime breeze in my heart.
”
”
Nikos Kazantzakis (Saint Francis)
β€œ
Is that the basis of friendship? Is it as reactive as that? Do we respond only to people who seem to find us interesting?... Do we all buzz or ring or light up when people press our vanity buttons, and only then? Can I think of anyone in my whole life whom I have liked without his first showing signs of liking me?
”
”
Wallace Stegner (Crossing to Safety)
β€œ
Love does not traffic in a marketplace, nor use a huckster's scales. Its joy, like the joy of the intellect, is to feel itself alive. The aim of Love is to love: no more, and no less. You were my enemy: such an enemy as no man ever had. I had given you all my life, and to gratify the lowest and most contemptible of all human passions, hatred and vanity and greed, you had thrown it away. In less than three years you had entirely ruined me in every point of view. For my own sake there was nothing for me to do but to love you.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (De Profundis)
β€œ
Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.
”
”
William Faulkner
β€œ
What do you believe? I believe that the last and the first suffer equally. Pari passu. Equally? It is not alone in the dark of death that all souls are one soul. Of what would you repent? Nothing. Nothing? One thing. I spoke with bitterness about my life and I said that I would take my own part against the slander of oblivion and against the monstrous facelessness of it and that I would stand a stone in the very void where all would read my name. Of that vanity I recant all.
”
”
Cormac McCarthy (Suttree)
β€œ
There are passages and doors And Realms that lie unseen. There are Roads both wide and narrow And no avenue between. Doors Remain closed for those Who in sad vanity yet hide. Yet when Belief is chosen, The key appears inside. What is lived now will soon pass, And what is not will come to Be. The Door Within must open, For one to truly see. Do you see? Believe and enter.
”
”
Wayne Thomas Batson (The Door Within (The Door Within, #1))
β€œ
If life β€” the craving for which is the very essence of our being β€” were possessed of any positive intrinsic value, there would be no such thing as boredom at all: mere existence would satisfy us in itself, and we should want for nothing.
”
”
Arthur Schopenhauer (The Vanity of Existence)
β€œ
The moral world has no particular objection to vice, but an insuperable repugnance to hearing vice called by its proper name.
”
”
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
β€œ
Now I feel like James Bond. Suave and intelligent, breaking all the codes while looking fabulous.
”
”
Jim Butcher (Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7))
β€œ
We all of us must come to terms with what and who we are, and recognize that this wisdom is not going to earn us any praise, that life is not going to pin a medal on us for recognizing and enduring our own vanity or egoism or baldness or our potbelly.
”
”
SΓ‘ndor MΓ‘rai (Embers)
β€œ
The wicked are wicked, no doubt, and they go astray and they fall, and they come by their deserts; but who can tell the mischief which the very virtuous do?
”
”
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
β€œ
To understand a child we have to watch him at play, study him in his different moods; we cannot project upon him our own prejudices, hopes and fears, or mould him to fit the pattern of our desires. If we are constantly judging the child according to our personal likes and dislikes, we are bound to create barriers and hindrances in our relationship with him and in his relationships with the world. Unfortunately, most of us desire to shape the child in a way that is gratifying to our own vanities and idiosyncrasies; we find varying degrees of comfort and satisfaction in exclusive ownership and domination.
”
”
Jiddu Krishnamurti (Education and the Significance of Life)
β€œ
...the greatest tyrants over women are women.
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”
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
β€œ
We think we are being interesting to others when we are being interesting to ourselves.
”
”
Jack Gardner (Words Are Not Things)
β€œ
On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, β€œIs it safe?” Expediency asks the question, β€œIs it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, β€œIs it popular?” But Conscience asks the question, β€œIs it right?”... The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience, but where he stands in moments of challenge, moments of great crisis and controversy.
”
”
Martin Luther King Jr. (The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.)
β€œ
How come it can’t fly no better than a chicken?’ Milkman asked. Too much tail. All that jewelry weighs it down. Like vanity. Can’t nobody fly with all that [stuff]. Wanna fly, you got to give up the [stuff] that weighs you down.’ The peacock jumped onto the hood of the Buick and once more spread its tail, sending the flashy Buick into oblivion.
”
”
Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)
β€œ
Our vanity, our passions, our spirit of imitation, our abstract intelligence, our habits have long been at work, and it is the task of art to undo this work of theirs, making us travel back in the direction from which we have come to the depths where what has really existed lies unknown within us.
”
”
Marcel Proust (Time Regained)
β€œ
There’s just something unsettling about studying your reflection. It’s not a matter of being dissatisfied with your face or of being embarrassed by your vanity. Maybe it’s that when you gaze into your own eyes, you don’t see what you wish to seeβ€”or glimpse something that you wish weren’t there.
”
”
Dean Koontz (Deeply Odd (Odd Thomas, #6))
β€œ
A woman may possess the wisdom and chastity of Minerva, and we give no heed to her, if she has a plain face. What folly will not a pair of bright eyes make pardonable? What dullness may not red lips are sweet accents render pleasant? And so, with their usual sense of justice, ladies argue that because a woman is handsome, therefore she is a fool. O ladies, ladies! there are some of you who are neither handsome nor wise.
”
”
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
β€œ
You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There's been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away -- all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It's powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. Do you think this is the first time that's happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive glass, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn't have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can't imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven't got the humility to try. We've been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we're gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
”
”
Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park / Congo)
β€œ
Wanna make a monster? Take the parts of yourself that make you uncomfortable β€” your weaknesses, bad thoughts, vanities, and hungers β€” and pretend they’re across the room. It’s too ugly to be human. It’s too ugly to be you. Children are afraid of the dark because they have nothing real to work with. Adults are afraid of themselves.
”
”
Richard Siken
β€œ
But who bothers looking beyond the surface? Who even knows anything about Cinderella's Prince Charming - other than he's a handsome prince?
”
”
Mandy Hubbard (Ripple)
β€œ
Anyone can battle for pride, power, vanity, greed, or hate, but war should always be approached with an equal measure of wisdom and strength. It's not just enough to know when to fight, but to know when to lay down the sword and negotiate. Not everything in the world is worth fighting for.
”
”
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Styxx (Dark-Hunter, #22))
β€œ
Reading list (1972 edition)[edit] 1. Homer – Iliad, Odyssey 2. The Old Testament 3. Aeschylus – Tragedies 4. Sophocles – Tragedies 5. Herodotus – Histories 6. Euripides – Tragedies 7. Thucydides – History of the Peloponnesian War 8. Hippocrates – Medical Writings 9. Aristophanes – Comedies 10. Plato – Dialogues 11. Aristotle – Works 12. Epicurus – Letter to Herodotus; Letter to Menoecus 13. Euclid – Elements 14. Archimedes – Works 15. Apollonius of Perga – Conic Sections 16. Cicero – Works 17. Lucretius – On the Nature of Things 18. Virgil – Works 19. Horace – Works 20. Livy – History of Rome 21. Ovid – Works 22. Plutarch – Parallel Lives; Moralia 23. Tacitus – Histories; Annals; Agricola Germania 24. Nicomachus of Gerasa – Introduction to Arithmetic 25. Epictetus – Discourses; Encheiridion 26. Ptolemy – Almagest 27. Lucian – Works 28. Marcus Aurelius – Meditations 29. Galen – On the Natural Faculties 30. The New Testament 31. Plotinus – The Enneads 32. St. Augustine – On the Teacher; Confessions; City of God; On Christian Doctrine 33. The Song of Roland 34. The Nibelungenlied 35. The Saga of Burnt NjΓ‘l 36. St. Thomas Aquinas – Summa Theologica 37. Dante Alighieri – The Divine Comedy;The New Life; On Monarchy 38. Geoffrey Chaucer – Troilus and Criseyde; The Canterbury Tales 39. Leonardo da Vinci – Notebooks 40. NiccolΓ² Machiavelli – The Prince; Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy 41. Desiderius Erasmus – The Praise of Folly 42. Nicolaus Copernicus – On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres 43. Thomas More – Utopia 44. Martin Luther – Table Talk; Three Treatises 45. FranΓ§ois Rabelais – Gargantua and Pantagruel 46. John Calvin – Institutes of the Christian Religion 47. Michel de Montaigne – Essays 48. William Gilbert – On the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies 49. Miguel de Cervantes – Don Quixote 50. Edmund Spenser – Prothalamion; The Faerie Queene 51. Francis Bacon – Essays; Advancement of Learning; Novum Organum, New Atlantis 52. William Shakespeare – Poetry and Plays 53. Galileo Galilei – Starry Messenger; Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences 54. Johannes Kepler – Epitome of Copernican Astronomy; Concerning the Harmonies of the World 55. William Harvey – On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals; On the Circulation of the Blood; On the Generation of Animals 56. Thomas Hobbes – Leviathan 57. RenΓ© Descartes – Rules for the Direction of the Mind; Discourse on the Method; Geometry; Meditations on First Philosophy 58. John Milton – Works 59. MoliΓ¨re – Comedies 60. Blaise Pascal – The Provincial Letters; Pensees; Scientific Treatises 61. Christiaan Huygens – Treatise on Light 62. Benedict de Spinoza – Ethics 63. John Locke – Letter Concerning Toleration; Of Civil Government; Essay Concerning Human Understanding;Thoughts Concerning Education 64. Jean Baptiste Racine – Tragedies 65. Isaac Newton – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Optics 66. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Discourse on Metaphysics; New Essays Concerning Human Understanding;Monadology 67. Daniel Defoe – Robinson Crusoe 68. Jonathan Swift – A Tale of a Tub; Journal to Stella; Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal 69. William Congreve – The Way of the World 70. George Berkeley – Principles of Human Knowledge 71. Alexander Pope – Essay on Criticism; Rape of the Lock; Essay on Man 72. Charles de Secondat, baron de Montesquieu – Persian Letters; Spirit of Laws 73. Voltaire – Letters on the English; Candide; Philosophical Dictionary 74. Henry Fielding – Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones 75. Samuel Johnson – The Vanity of Human Wishes; Dictionary; Rasselas; The Lives of the Poets
”
”
Mortimer J. Adler (How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading)
β€œ
I know he likes me. Of course I flatter him dreadfully. I find a strange pleasure in saying things to him that I know I shall be sorry for having said...Then I feel, Harry, that I have given away my whole soul to someone who treats it as if it were a flower to put in his coat, a bit of decoration to charm his vanity, an ornament for a summer's day.
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
It is in our faults and failings, not in our virtues, that we touch one another and find sympathy. We differ widely enough in our nobler qualities. It is in our follies that we are at one.
”
”
Jerome K. Jerome (Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow)
β€œ
A woman with fair opportunities, and without an absolute hump, may marry WHOM SHE LIKES.
”
”
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
β€œ
Evey: Who are you? V. : Who? Who is but the form following the function of what and what I am is a man in a mask. Evey: Well I can see that. V. : Of course you can, I’m not questioning your powers of observation, I’m merely remarking upon the paradox of asking a masked man who he is. Evey: Oh, right. V. : But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace soubriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona. Voila! In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the β€œvox populi” now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V. Evey: Are you like a crazy person? V. : I’m quite sure they will say so.
”
”
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
β€œ
She also considered very seriously what she would look like in a little cottage in the middle of the forest, dressed in a melancholy gray and holding communion only with the birds and trees; a life of retirement away from the vain world; a life into which no man came. It had its attractions, but she decided that gray did not suit her.
”
”
A.A. Milne (Once on a Time)
β€œ
A person can't help their birth.
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”
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
β€œ
If we mean to have Heroes, Statesmen and Philosophers, we should have learned women. The world perhaps would laugh at me, and accuse me of vanity, but you I know have a mind too enlarged and liberal to disregard the Sentiment. If much depends as is allowed upon the early Education of youth and the first principals which are instill'd take the deepest root, great benefit must arise from literary accomplishments in women.
”
”
Abigail Adams (The Letters of John and Abigail Adams)
β€œ
You are vain and wicked- as a genius should be.
”
”
GΓΌnter Grass (The Tin Drum)
β€œ
People who worship only themselves get a slick, polished look -- like monuments. Too bad they had to go so soon.
”
”
Vanna Bonta (Degrees: Thought Capsules (Poems and Micro Tales on Life, Death, Man, Woman, & Art))
β€œ
Do not use your energy except for a cause more noble than yourself. Such a cause cannot be found except in Almighty God Himself: to preach the truth, to defend womanhood, to repel humiliation which your Creator has not imposed upon you, to help the oppressed. Anyone who uses his energy for the sake of the vanities of the world is like someone who exchanges gemstones for gravel. There is no nobility in anyone who lacks faith. The wise man knows that the only fitting price for his soul is a place in Paradise...
”
”
Abu Muhammad Ali ibn Hazm
β€œ
But I begin to fancy you don't like me. How strange! I thought, though everybody hated and despised each other, they could not avoid loving me. (Catherine Linton, nee Earnshaw)
”
”
Emily BrontΓ« (Wuthering Heights)
β€œ
One of the great conditions of anger and hatred is, that you must tell and believe lies against the hated object, in order, as we said, to be consistent.
”
”
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
β€œ
Most insensible, corrupt, cheap, disrespectful young girls run after bad, rude, cocky, nonsensical boys, but a mature, educated, thoughtful, virtuos lady opts for a wise, well breed, experienced, humble, modest gentleman.
”
”
Michael Bassey Johnson
β€œ
Your body is a temple, not a daily dumping ground for another person’s pain, anger, betrayal, judgment, hypocrisy, denial, games, jealousy or blame. When you are being psychologically, spiritually or emotionally abused by a person, and they don’t care how it hurts you, then it is time to leave what is polluting your relationship with God.
”
”
Shannon L. Alder
β€œ
Some cynical Frenchman has said that there are two parties to a love-transaction: the one who loves and the other who condescends to be so treated.
”
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William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
β€œ
With regard to power, women don’t have the vanity men have. They don’t need to make power visible, they only want the power to give them the other things they want. Security. Food. Enjoyment. Revenge. Peace. They are rational, power-seeking planners, who think beyond the battle, beyond the victory celebrations. And because they have an inborn capacity to see weakness in their victims, they know instinctively when and how to strike. And when to stop. You can’t learn that...
”
”
Jo NesbΓΈ (Nemesis (Harry Hole, #4))
β€œ
Let's just call things what they are. When a man's love of finery clouds his moral judgment, that is vanity. When he lets a demanding palate make his moral choices, that is gluttony. When he ascribes the divine will to his own whims, that is pride. And when he gets angry at being reminded of animal suffering that his own daily choices might help avoid, that is moral cowardice.
”
”
Matthew Scully
β€œ
I have to figure out why I worked at a job I hated for years. I have to find out why I can’t see what everyone else sees in me. I don’t feel beautiful. When I look in the mirror, I never saw beautiful. For this to happen to someone like me, it’s devastating, Jonas. I don’t want you to think it’s vanity, it isn’t. I can’t see me and I need to be able to do that. I need to find out what I’m like and what I want. I have to be comfortable in my own skin before I can be in a relationship the way you want.
”
”
Christine Feehan (Safe Harbor (Drake Sisters, #5))
β€œ
I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die. I am jealous of the portrait you have painted of me. Why should it keep what I must lose? Every moment that passes takes something from me and gives something to it. Oh, if it were only the other way! If the picture could change, and I could be always what I am now! Why did you paint it? It will mock me some dayβ€”mock me horribly!
”
”
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
β€œ
I am not poor, I am not rich; nihil est, nihil deest, I have little, I want nothing: all my treasure is in Minerva’s tower...I live still a collegiate student...and lead a monastic life, ipse mihi theatrum [sufficient entertainment to myself], sequestered from those tumults and troubles of the world...aulae vanitatem, fori ambitionem, ridere mecum soleo [I laugh to myself at the vanities of the court, the intrigues of public life], I laugh at all.
”
”
Robert Burton (The Anatomy of Melancholy)
β€œ
I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment, or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being.
”
”
Dan Barker (Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist)
β€œ
The worst thing is not that the world is unfree, but that people have unlearned their liberty. The more indifferent people are to politics, to the interests of others, the more obsessed they become with their own faces. The individualism of our time. Not being able to fall asleep and not allowing oneself to move: the marital bed. If high culture is coming to an end, it is also the end of you and your paradoxical ideas, because paradox as such belongs to high culture and not to childish prattle. You remind me of the young men who supported the Nazis or communists not out of cowardice or out of opportunism but out of an excess of intelligence. For nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of nonthought… You are the brilliant ally of your own gravediggers. In the world of highways, a beautiful landscape means: an island of beauty connected by a long line with other islands of beauty. How to live in a world with which you disagree? How to live with people when you neither share their suffering nor their joys? When you know that you don’t belong among them?... our century refuses to acknowledge anyone’s right to disagree with the world…All that remains of such a place is the memory, the ideal of a cloister, the dream of a cloister… Humor can only exist when people are still capable of recognizing some border between the important and the unimportant. And nowadays this border has become unrecognizable. The majority of people lead their existence within a small idyllic circle bounded by their family, their home, and their work... They live in a secure realm somewhere between good and evil. They are sincerely horrified by the sight of a killer. And yet all you have to do is remove them from this peaceful circle and they, too, turn into murderers, without quite knowing how it happened. The longing for order is at the same time a longing for death, because life is an incessant disruption of order. Or to put it the other way around: the desire for order is a virtuous pretext, an excuse for virulent misanthropy. A long time a go a certain Cynic philosopher proudly paraded around Athens in a moth-eaten coat, hoping that everyone would admire his contempt for convention. When Socrates met him, he said: Through the hole in your coat I see your vanity. Your dirt, too, dear sir, is self-indulgent and your self-indulgence is dirty. You are always living below the level of true existence, you bitter weed, you anthropomorphized vat of vinegar! You’re full of acid, which bubbles inside you like an alchemist’s brew. Your highest wish is to be able to see all around you the same ugliness as you carry inside yourself. That’s the only way you can feel for a few moments some kind of peace between yourself and the world. That’s because the world, which is beautiful, seems horrible to you, torments you and excludes you. If the novel is successful, it must necessarily be wiser than its author. This is why many excellent French intellectuals write mediocre novels. They are always more intelligent than their books. By a certain age, coincidences lose their magic, no longer surprise, become run-of-the-mill. Any new possibility that existence acquires, even the least likely, transforms everything about existence.
”
”
Milan Kundera
β€œ
Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, β€” in proportion as their love to justice is above their rapacity,β€”in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption,β€”in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.
”
”
Edmund Burke (Letter to a Member of the National Assembly)
β€œ
Rest forever, tired heart. The final illusion has perished. The one we believed eternal is gone. Just like that. Out the door desire follows hope. Rest forever. Enough throbbing. Nothing deserves your attention nor is the earth worth a sigh. Bitterness and boredom is life, nothing else ever, and the world is mud. Quiet now. Despair for the last time. Fate gives us dying as a gift. Now turn from the hills, the ugly hidden power which rules for the common evil and the infinite vanity of it all.
”
”
Giacomo Leopardi
β€œ
Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still, Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will! Where shall we dine? O me! What fray was here? Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all. Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love. Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate! O any thing, of nothing first create! O heavy lightness! Serious vanity! Mis-shapen chaos of well-seeming forms! Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health! Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is! This love feel I, that feel no love in this. Dost thou not laugh?
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William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet)
β€œ
I woke at dawn every morning to his touch, the delight of his warmth and the heady smell of his skin. I had never before lain with a man who had loved me completely, for myself, and it was a dizzy experience. I had never lain with a man whose touch I adored without any need to hide my adoration, or exaggerate it, or adjust it at all. I simply loved him as if he were my one and only lover, and he loved me too with the same simplicty of appetite and disire which made me wonder what I thought I had been doing all those years when I had been dealing in the false coin of vanity and lust. I had not known then that all along there had been this other currency of pure gold.
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Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl)
β€œ
Anyone who does not see the vanity of the world is very vain himself. So who does not see it, apart from young people whose lives are all noise, diversions, and thoughts for the future? But take away their diversion and you will see them bored to extinction. Then they feel their nullity without recognizing it, for nothing could be more wretched than to be intolerably depressed as soon as one is reduced to introspection with no means of diversion.
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Blaise Pascal (PensΓ©es)
β€œ
You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us. To the earth...a million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try. We’ve been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we’re gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
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Blake Crouch (Pines (Wayward Pines, #1))
β€œ
we look up and we hope the stars look down, we pray that there may be stars for us to follow, stars moving across the heavens and leading us to our destiny, but it's only our vanity. We look at the galaxy and fall in love, but the universe cares less about us than we do about it, and the stars stay in their courses however much we may wish upon them to do otherwise. It's true that if you watch the sky-wheel turn for a while you'll see a meteor fall, flame and die. That's not a star worth following; it's just an unlucky rock. Our fates are here on earth. There are no guiding stars.
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Salman Rushdie (The Moor's Last Sigh)
β€œ
Personally, I’m a mess of conflicting impulsesβ€”I’m independent and greedy and I also want to belong and share and be a part of the whole. I doubt that I’m the only one who feels this way. It’s the core of monster making, actually. Wanna make a monster? Take the parts of yourself that make you uncomfortableβ€”your weaknesses, bad thoughts, vanities, and hungersβ€”and pretend they’re across the room. It’s too ugly to be human. It’s too ugly to be you. Children are afraid of the dark because they have nothing real to work with. Adults are afraid of themselves. Oh we’re a mess, poor humans, poor fleshβ€”hybrids of angels and animals, dolls with diamonds stuffed inside them. We’ve been to the moon and we’re still fighting over Jerusalem. Let me tell you what I do know: I am more than one thing, and not all of those things are good. The truth is complicated. It’s two-toned, multi-vocal, bittersweet. I used to think that if I dug deep enough to discover something sad and ugly, I’d know it was something true. Now I’m trying to dig deeper.
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Richard Siken
β€œ
When Vanity kissed Vanity, a hundred happy Junes ago, he pondered o'er her breathlessly, and, that all men might ever know, he rhymed her eyes with life and death: "Thru Time I'll save my love!" he said. . . yet Beauty vanished with his breath, and, with her lovers, she was dead. . . -Ever his wit and not her eyes, ever his art and not her hair: "Who'd learn a trick in rhyme, be wise and pause before his sonnet there". . . So all my words, however true, might sing you to a thousandth June, and no one ever know that you were Beauty for an afternoon.
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F. Scott Fitzgerald (This Side of Paradise)
β€œ
Vanity, right?" Nash reappeared in the living room with an open bag of potato chips. "I nominate my venerable brother. He likes to play hero, and one look at him should establish the vanity angle." "Nash!" I really shouldn't have been surprised by the dig. But I was. "What?" He raised one brow at me in challenge. "It's okay to call me jealous, but not to call him vain?" "Awareness of one's obvious advantages doesn't imply vanity," Tod insisted calmly. Nash turned on him. "Does it imply narcissism?" Tod huffed. "This coming from the guy who owns more hair products than his girlfriend.
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Rachel Vincent (With All My Soul (Soul Screamers, #7))
β€œ
And that is enough to raise your thoughts to what may happen when the redeemed soul, beyond all hope and nearly beyond belief, learns at last that she has pleased Him whom she was created to please. There will be no room for vanity then. She will be free from the miserable illusion that it is her doing. With no taint of what we should now call self-approval she will most innocently rejoice in the thing that God has made her to be, and the moment which heals her old inferiority complex forever will also drown her pride… Perfect humility dispenses with modesty.
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C.S. Lewis (The Weight of Glory)
β€œ
Voila! In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the β€œvox populi” now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.
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Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
β€œ
There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as far as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren’t needed, that we lack the gravitas necessary for our stories to matter. That personal writing by women is no more than an exercise in vanity and that we should appreciate this new world for women, sit down, and shut up.
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Lena Dunham (Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned")
β€œ
Pride is a very common failing, I believe. By all that I have ever read, I am convinced that it is very common indeed, that human nature is particularly prone to it, and that there are very few of us who do not cherish a feeling of self-complacency on the score of some quality or other, real or imaginary. Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what would have others think of us.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
β€œ
Noise has one advantage. It drowns out words. And suddenly he realized that all his life he had done nothing but talk, write, lecture, concoct sentences, search for formulations and amend them, so in the end no words were precise, their meanings were obliterated, their content lost, they turned into trash, chaff dust, sand; prowling through his brain, tearing at his head. they were his insomnia, his illness. And what he yearned for at that moment, vaguely, but with all his might, was unbounded music, absolute sound, a pleasant and happy all-encompassing, over-poering, window-rattling din to engulf, once and for all, the pain, the futility, the vanity of words. Music was the negation of sentences, music was the anti-word!
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Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
β€œ
Whenever an occasion arose in which she needed an opinion on something in the wider world, she borrowed her husband's. If this had been all there was to her, she wouldn't have bothered anyone, but as is so often the case with such women, she suffered from an incurable case of of pretentiousness. Lacking any internalized values of her own, such people can arrive at a standpoint only by adopting other people's standards or views. The only principle that governs their minds is the question "How do I look?
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Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
β€œ
As the uneasiness and reluctance to face it cut him off more and more from all real happiness, and as habit renders the pleasures the vanity and excitement and flippancy at once less pleasant and harder to forgo...you will find that anything or nothing is sufficient to attract his wandering attention. You no longer need a good book, which he really likes, to keep him from his prayers or his work or his sleep; a column of advertisements in yesterday's paper will do. You can make him waste his time not only in conversation he enjoys with people whom he likes, but also in conversations with those he cares nothing about, on subjects that bore him. You can make him do nothing at all for long periods. You can keep him up late at night, not roistering, but staring at a dead fire in a cold room. All the healthy and outgoing activities which we want him to avoid can be inhibited and nothing given in return, so that at last he may say...'I now see that I spent most my life doing in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked.
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C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
β€œ
In the whole of your absurd past you discover so much that's absurd, so much deceit and credulity, that it might be a good idea to stop being young this minute, to wait for youth to break away from you and pass you by, to watch it going away, receding in the distance, to see all its vanity, run your hand through the empty space it has left behind, take a last look at it, and then start moving, make sure your youth has really gone, and then calmly, all by yourself, cross to the other side of Time to see what people and things really look like.
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Louis-Ferdinand CΓ©line (Journey to the End of the Night)
β€œ
It's God that's worrying me. That's the only thing that's worrying me. What if He doesn't exist? What if Rakitin's right -that it's an idea made up by men? Then, if He doesn't exist, man is the king of the earth, of the universe. Magnificent! Only how is he going to be good without God? That's the question. I always come back to that. Who is man going to love then? To whom will he be thankful? To whom will he sing the hymn? Rakitin laughs. Rakitin says that one can love humanity instead of God. Well, only an idiot can maintain that. I can't understand it. Life's easy for Rakitin. 'You'd better think about the extension of civic rights, or of keeping down the price of meat. You will show your love for humanity more simply and directly by that, than by philosophy.' I answered him: 'Well, but you, without a God, are more likely to raise the price of meat if it suits you, and make a rouble on every penny.' He lost his temper. But after all, what is goodness? Answer that, Alyosha. Goodness is one thing with me and another with a Chinaman, so it's relative. Or isn't it? Is it not relative? A treacherous question! You won't laugh if I tell you it's kept me awake for two nights. I only wonder now how people can live and think nothing about it. Vanity!
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Fyodor Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
β€œ
Democritus and Heraclitus were two philosophers, of whom the first, finding the condition of man vain and ridiculous, never went out in public but with a mocking and laughing face; whereas Heraclitus, having pity and compassion on this same condition of ours, wore a face perpetually sad, and eyes filled with tears. I prefer the first humor; not because it is pleasanter to laugh than to weep, but because it is more disdainful, and condemns us more than the other; and it seems to me that we can never be despised as much as we deserve. Pity and commiseration are mingled with some esteem for the thing we pity; the things we laugh at we consider worthless. I do not think there is as much unhappiness in us as vanity, nor as much malice as stupidity. We are not so full of evil as of inanity; we are not as wretched as we are worthless.
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Michel de Montaigne
β€œ
Moral law is an invention of mankind for the disenfranchisement of the powerful in favor of the weak. Historical law subverts it at every turn. A moral view can never be proven right or wrong by any ultimate test. A man falling dead in a duel is not thought thereby to be proven in error as to his views. His very involvement in such a trial gives evidence of a new and broader view. The willingness of the principals to forgo further argument as the triviality which it in fact is and to petition directly the chambers of the historical absolute clearly indicates of how little moment are the opinions and of what great moment the divergences thereof. For the argument is indeed trivial, but not so the separate wills thereby made manifest. Man's vanity may well approach the infinite in capacity but his knowledge remains imperfect and howevermuch he comes to value his judgments ultimately he must submit them before a higher court. Here there can be no special pleading. Here are considerations of equity and rectitude and moral right rendered void and without warrant and here are the views of the litigants despised. Decisions of life and death, of what shall be and what shall not, beggar all question of right. In elections of these magnitudes are all lesser ones subsumed, moral, spiritual, natural.
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Cormac McCarthy (Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West)
β€œ
I sought her eye, desirous to read there the intelligence which I could not discern in her face or hear in her conversation; it was merry, rather small; by turns I saw vivacity, vanity, coquetry, look out through its irid, but I watched in vain for a glimpse of soul. I am no Oriental; white necks, carmine lips and cheeks, clusters of bright curls, do not suffice for me without that Promethean spark which will live after the roses and lilies are faded, the burnished hair grown grey. In sunshine, in prosperity, the flowers are very well; but how many wet days are there in life--November seasons of disaster, when a man's hearth and home would be cold indeed, without the clear, cheering gleam of intellect.
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Charlotte BrontΓ« (The Professor)
β€œ
We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge. Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution. But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
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Robert F. Kennedy
β€œ
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.
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Joe Abercrombie (The Heroes (First Law World, #5))
β€œ
Lay your life down. Your heartbeats cannot be hoarded. Your reservoir of breaths is draining away. You have hands, blister them while you can. You have bones, make them strain-they can carry nothing in the grave. You have lungs, let them spill with laughter. With an average life expectancy of 78.2 years in the US (subtracting eight hours a day for sleep), I have around 250,00 conscious hours remaining to me in which I could be smiling or scowling, rejoicing in my life, in this race, in this story, or moaning and complaining about my troubles. I can be giving my fingers, my back, my mind, my words, my breaths, to my wife and my children and my neighbors, or I can grasp after the vapor and the vanity for myself, dragging my feet, afraid to die and therefore afraid to live. And, like Adam, I will still die in the end.
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N.D. Wilson (Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent)
β€œ
Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later... that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could, out of a sense of duty and, perhaps love, adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.
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Tom Wolfe (The Bonfire of the Vanities)
β€œ
I have to admit it humbly, mon cher compatriote, I was always bursting with vanity. I, I, I is the refrain of my whole life, which could be heard in everything I said. I could never talk without boasting, especially if I did so with that shattering discretion that was my specialty. It is quite true that I always lived free and powerful. I simply felt released in the regard to all the for the excellent reason that I recognized no equals. I always considered myself more intelligent than everyone else, as I’ve told you, but also more sensitive and more skillful, a crack shot, an incomparable driver, a better lover. Even in the fields in which it was easy for me to verify my inferiority–like tennis, for instance, in which I was but a passable partner–it was hard for me not to think that, with a little time and practice, I would surpass the best players. I admitted only superiorities in me and this explained my good will and serenity. When I was concerned with others, I was so out of pure condescension, in utter freedom, and all the credit went to me: my self-esteem would go up a degree.
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Albert Camus (The Fall)
β€œ
...It often seemed to her that she thought too much about herself, you could have made her blush any day of the year, by telling her she was selfish. She was always planning out her own development, desiring her own perfection, observing her own progress. Her nature had for her own imagination a certain garden-like quality, a suggestion of perfume and murmuring bows, of shady bowers and of lengthening vistas, which made her feel that introspection was, after all, an exercise in the open air, and that a visit to the recesses of one’s mind was harmless when one returned from it with a lapful of roses.
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Henry James (The Portrait of a Lady)
β€œ
I want to suggest to you that citizens of free societies, democracies, do not preserve their freedom by pussyfooting around their fellow-citizen's opinions, even their most cherished beliefs. In free societies, you must have the free play of ideas. There must be argument, and it must be impassioned and untrammeled. A free society is not calm and eventless place - that is the kind of static, dead society dictators try to create. Free societies are dynamic, noisy, turbulent, and full of radical disagreements. Skepticism and freedom are indissolubly linked; and it is the skepticism of journalists, their show-me, prove-it unwillingness to be impressed, that is perhaps their most important contribution to the freedom of the free world. It is the disrespect of journalists-for power, for orthodoxies, for party lines, for ideologies, for vanity, for arrogance, for folly, for pretension, for corruption, for stupidity, maybe even for editors-that I would like to celebrate...and that I urge you all, in freedom's name, to preserve.
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Salman Rushdie (Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002)
β€œ
An attachment grew up. What is an attachment? It is the most difficult of all the human interrelationships to explain, because it is the vaguest, the most impalpable. It has all the good points of love, and none of its drawbacks. No jealousy, no quarrels, no greed to possess, no fear of losing possession, no hatred (which is very much a part of love), no surge of passion and no hangover afterward. It never reaches the heights, and it never reaches the depths. As a rule it comes on subtly. As theirs did. As a rule the two involved are not even aware of it at first. As they were not. As a rule it only becomes noticeable when it is interrupted in some way, or broken off by circumstances. As theirs was. In other words, its presence only becomes known in its absence. It is only missed after it stops. While it is still going on, little thought is given to it, because little thought needs to be. It is pleasant to meet, it is pleasant to be together. To put your shopping packages down on a little wire-backed chair at a little table at a sidewalk cafe, and sit down and have a vermouth with someone who has been waiting there for you. And will be waiting there again tomorrow afternoon. Same time, same table, same sidewalk cafe. Or to watch Italian youth going through the gyrations of the latest dance craze in some inexpensive indigenous night-place-while you, who come from the country where the dance originated, only get up to do a sedate fox trot. It is even pleasant to part, because this simply means preparing the way for the next meeting. One long continuous being-together, even in a love affair, might make the thing wilt. In an attachment it would surely kill the thing off altogether. But to meet, to part, then to meet again in a few days, keeps the thing going, encourages it to flower. And yet it requires a certain amount of vanity, as love does; a desire to please, to look one's best, to elicit compliments. It inspires a certain amount of flirtation, for the two are of opposite sex. A wink of understanding over the rim of a raised glass, a low-voiced confidential aside about something and the smile of intimacy that answers it, a small impromptu gift - a necktie on the one part because of an accidental spill on the one he was wearing, or of a small bunch of flowers on the other part because of the color of the dress she has on. So it goes. And suddenly they part, and suddenly there's a void, and suddenly they discover they have had an attachment. Rome passed into the past, and became New York. Now, if they had never come together again, or only after a long time and in different circumstances, then the attachment would have faded and died. But if they suddenly do come together again - while the sharp sting of missing one another is still smarting - then the attachment will revive full force, full strength. But never again as merely an attachment. It has to go on from there, it has to build, to pick up speed. And sometimes it is so glad to be brought back again that it makes the mistake of thinking it is love. ("For The Rest Of Her Life")
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Cornell Woolrich (Angels of Darkness)
β€œ
there was a sort of embarrassment about storytelling that struck home powerfully about one hundred years ago, at the beginning of modernism. We see a similar reaction in painting and in music. It's a preoccupation suddenly with the surface rather than the depth. So you get, for example, Picasso and Braque making all kinds of experiments with the actual surface of the painting. That becomes the interesting thing, much more interesting than the thing depicted, which is just an old newspaper, a glass of wine, something like that. In music, the Second Viennese School becomes very interested in what happens when the surface, the diatonic structure of the keys breaks down, and we look at the notes themselves in a sort of tone row, instead of concentrating on things like tunes, which are sort of further in, if you like. That happened, of course, in literature, too, with such great works as James Joyce's Ulysses, which is all about, really, how it's told. Not so much about what happens, which is a pretty banal event in a banal man's life. It's about how it's told. The surface suddenly became passionately interesting to artists in every field about a hundred years ago. In the field of literature, story retreated. The books we talked about just now, Middlemarch, Bleak House, Vanity Fair -- their authors were the great storytellers as well as the great artists. After modernism, things changed. Indeed, modernism sometimes seems to me like an equivalent of the Fall. Remember, the first thing Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit was to discover that they had no clothes on. They were embarrassed. Embarrassment was the first consequence of the Fall. And embarrassment was the first literary consequence of this modernist discovery of the surface. "Am I telling a story? Oh my God, this is terrible. I must stop telling a story and focus on the minute gradations of consciousness as they filter through somebody's..." So there was a great split that took place. Story retreated, as it were, into genre fiction-into crime fiction, into science fiction, into romantic fiction-whereas the high-art literary people went another way. Children's books held onto the story, because children are rarely interested in surfaces in that sort of way. They're interested in what-happened and what-happened next. I found it a great discipline, when I was writing The Golden Compass and other books, to think that there were some children in the audience. I put it like that because I don't say I write for children. I find it hard to understand how some writers can say with great confidence, "Oh, I write for fourth grade children" or "I write for boys of 12 or 13." How do they know? I don't know. I would rather consider myself in the rather romantic position of the old storyteller in the marketplace: you sit down on your little bit of carpet with your hat upturned in front of you, and you start to tell a story. Your interest really is not in excluding people and saying to some of them, "No, you can't come, because it's just for so-and-so." My interest as a storyteller is to have as big an audience as possible. That will include children, I hope, and it will include adults, I hope. If dogs and horses want to stop and listen, they're welcome as well.
”
”
Philip Pullman