Ruth Benedict, born Ruth Fulton

Benedict, born Ruth Fulton

American Anthropologist, Cultural Relativist and Folklorist

Author Quotes

A man's indebtedness is not virtue; his repayment is. Virtue begins when he dedicates himself actively to the job of gratitude.

The adequate study of culture, our own and those on the opposite side of the globe, can press on to fulfillment only as we learn today from the humanities as well as from the scientists.

As a matter of history great developments in art have often been remarkably separate from religious motivation and use.

The crucial differences which distinguish human societies and human beings are not biological. They are cultural.

Culture is not a biologically transmitted complex.

The purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences.

Culture, with its processes and functions, is a subject upon which we need all the enlightenment we can achieve, and there is no direction in which we can seek with greater reward than in the facts of pre-literate societies.

The trouble with life isn't that there is no answer; it's that there are so many answers.

I gambled on having the strength to live two lives, one for myself and one for the world.

Traditional Anglo-Saxon intolerance is a local and temporal culture trait like any other.

I have always used the world of make-believe with a certain desperation.

We do not see the lens through which we look.

I haven't strength of mind not to need a career.

We grow in time to trust the future for our answers.

I long to speak out the intense inspiration that comes to me from the lives of strong women. They have made of their lives a great adventure.

We must accept all the implications of our human inheritance, one of the most important of which is the small scope of biologically transmitted behavior, and the enormous role of the cultural process of the transmission of tradition.

If we justify war, it is because all peoples always justify the traits of which they find themselves possessed, not because war will bear an objective examination of its merits.

Western civilization, because of fortuitous historical circumstances, has spread itself more widely than any other local group that has so far been known.

In a day of footloose movements of people and of mixed marriages in the ancestry of the most desirable elements of the community we preach unabashed the gospel of the pure race.

What really binds men together is their culture, the ideas and the standards they have in common.

In a world that holds books and babies and canyon trails, why should one condemn oneself to live day-in, day-out with people one does not like, and sell oneself to chaperone and correct them?

Work even when I'm satisfied with it is never my child I love nor my servant I've brought to heel. It's always busy work I do with my left hand, and part of me watches grudging the wastes of a lifetime.

Little by little, in the long run, aspirations can realize themselves. Work for that. We must count it our wealth.

Man is not committed in detail by his biological constitution to any particular variety of behavior.

Our faith in the present dies out long before our faith in the future.

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Benedict, born Ruth Fulton
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American Anthropologist, Cultural Relativist and Folklorist