The stars incline, but do not impel.
A man's character is his fate.
"Nearly all men can
stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
- Abraham Lincoln
A great man is made
up of qualities that meet or make great occasions.
- James Russell Lowell
All men that are ruined
are ruined on the side of their natural propensities.
- Edmund Burke
There are two kinds
of weakness, that which breaks and that which bends.
- James Russell Lowell
There is no good in
arguing with the inevitable. The only argument available with an east wind
is to put on your overcoat.
- James Russell Lowell
"You can tell a lot
about a persons character by how they treat people they don't have to treat
- Davian to Ethan, "MI3"
"Of course I believe in luck. How otherwise to explain the success of some people you detest?"
- Katsumoto & Nathan Algren, "The Last Samurai"
"Why did you choose
"To be a great warrior."
"I chose nothing. I was born and this is what I am."
- Briseis and Achilles, "Troy"
Freedom and diversity guard each other, and if a country could form the whole of one's character, Napoleon III and Victor Hugo would have been the same person... if national identity means anything, it means something that comes with you wherever you go, and stays with you no matter how long you stay away.
- Clive James
All my life, I have had doubts about who I am, where I belong. Now I'm like the arrow that springs from the bow. No hesitation, no doubts. The path is clear.
"No regrets then?"
"A few. But just a few. You?"
"Oh, enough to fill a lifetime. So much has been lost, so much forgotten. So much pain, so much blood. And for what, I wonder. The past tempts us, the present confuses us, and the future frightens us. And our lives slip away, moment by moment, lost in that vast terrible inbetween. But there is still time to seize that one last fragile moment. To choose something better, to make a difference, as you say. And I intend to do just that."
- Centauri Emperor and Sheridan, "Babylon 5 - The Coming Of Shadows"
What would you attempt
to do if you knew you could not fail?
- Dr. Robert Schuller
The edge of the world
does not look far away, to that I am on my way running.
- Papago Indian song for a young girl
I have never, as an
adult: Shot an animal. Spent a night in jail. Drunk champagne from a ladyís
slipper. Read more than 50 pages into any novel by Saul Bellow, Fyodor
Dostoyevsky, Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, J.D. Salinger,
or William Faulkner. Won or lost more than $100 in one sitting at any game
of chance. Acted as principal in any stage performance. Led men in battle,
nor even been under fire. Used an ax in any effective way for any purpose.
Set foot in Africa, Australasia, Oceania, Central or South America (Caribbean
not counted), or Antarctica; in fact, been north of latitude 60°N or
south of 5°N. Lost a momentís sleep over the miseries of foreigners
unknown to me in distant countries.
- John Derbyshire, playing "I Never" in "National Review"
"If you build up enough
tomorrows, you will have nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays."
- from the movie, "The Music Man"
Those who fear death most are those who enjoy life least.
"They say time is the
fire in which we burn. Right now Captain, my time is running out. We leave
so many things unfinished in our lives. I know you understand."
- Star Trek: Generations
"Let me tell you a
secret, something they don't teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us.
They envy us because we're mortal, because any moment may be our last.
Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be more
lovely than you are now. We will never be here again."
- Achilles, "Troy"
"What is time? Swiss
manufacture it. French hoard it. Italians squander it. Americans say it
is money. Hindus say it does not exist. Do you know what I say? I say time
is a crook."
- Julius O'Hara, in "Beat The Devil"
"All of the people
I could be, they got fewer and fewer until finally they got reduced to
only one ó and that's who I am. The weather man."
- David in "The Weatherman"
Striking up conversations
with strangers is an autistic personís version of extreme sports.
- Kamran Nazeer, "Send in the Idiots"
"I want to be swept
off my feet. I want my children to have magical powers. I am prepared for
amazing things to happen. I can handle it."
- Richard, bored with his humdrum life, "Me, You and Everyone We Know"
"People can live a hundred years without
really living for a minute. You climb up here with me, itís one less minute
you havenít lived."
- Logan to Rory, "The Gilmore Girls"
The sooner you make your first five thousand mistakes the sooner you will be able to correct them.
Anything that is conceivable is possible.
You'll never plow a
field by turning it over in your mind.
- Irish proverb
Live for the present,
die for the future.
- Slogan from "Reilly: Ace of Spies"
In Italy under the Borgias, they had 30 years of warfare,terror,murder & bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, DaVinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love and 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The Cuckoo Clock.
Some virtues are only
seen in affliction and others only in prosperity.
- Joseph Addison
These are the times
in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life,
or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The
habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great
necessities call our great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated
by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise
lay dormat, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.
- Abigail Adams, letter to her son and future President, John Quincy Adams
J'aime les sensations fortes.
You've got to do your
own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.
- Irish Proverb (quoted by Sean McCann)
To a surprising degree,
people are capable of what's expected of them.
Few things are as stimulating
as other peopleís calamities observed from a safe distance.
- George Will
Man is never honestly
the fatalist, nor even the stoic. He fights his fate, often desperately.
He is forever entering bold exceptions to the rulings of the bench of gods.
This fighting, no doubt, makes for human progress, for it favors the strong
and the brave. It also makes for beauty, for lesser men try to escape from
a hopeless and intolerable world by creating a more lovely one of their
- H.L. Mencken
Few men during their lifetime come anywhere near exhausting the resources dwelling in them. There are deep wells of strength that are never used.
The surest plan to
make a man is, think him so.
- James Russell Lowell
We are at the very beginning of time for the human race. It is not unreasonable that we grapple with problems. But there are tens of thousands of years in the future. Our responsibility is to do what we can, learn what we can, improve the solutions, and pass them on.
It was a high speech of Seneca (after the manner of the Stoics), that "The good things which belong to prosperity are to be wished, but the good things that belong to adversity are to be admired."
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