There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, pure, simple and useful life.
Life is a fragment, a moment between two eternities, influenced by all that has preceeded, and to influence all that follows. The only way to illumine it is by extent of view.
The noble person can influence those who are above her; the small person can only influence those who are below her.
Passions, private aims, and the satisfaction of selfish desires, are… most effective springs of action. Their power lies in the fact that they would respect none of the limitations which justice and morality would impose on them; and [they] have a more direct influence over man than the artificial and tedious discipline that tends to order and self-restraint, law and morality.
The very essence of all power to influence lies in getting the other person to participate. The mind that can do that has a powerful leverage on his human world.
Throughout history the political influence of nations has been roughly correlative to their military power.
A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
What heart has not acknowledged the influence of this hour, the sweet and soothing hour of twilight - the hour of love - the hour of adoration - the hour of rest - when we think of those we love, only to regret that we have not loved them more dearly; when we remember our enemies only to forgive them.
The blossom cannot tell what becomes of its odor, and no man can tell what becomes of his influence and example, that roll away from him, and go beyond his ken on their perilous mission.
Preaching is of much avail, but practice is far more effective. A godly life is the strongest argument you can offer to the skeptic. No reproof or denunciation is so potent as the silent influence of a good example.
Morality... must have the more power over the human heart the more purely it is exhibited. Whence it follows that, if the law of morality and the image of holiness and virtue are to exercise any influence at all on our souls, they can do so only so far as they are laid to heart in their purity as motives, unmixed with any view to prosperity, for it is in suffering that they display themselves most nobly.
Not only are moral laws with their principles essentially distinguished from every other kind of practical knowledge in which there is anything empirical, but all moral philosophy rests wholly on its pure part. When applied to man, it does not borrow the least thing from the knowledge of man himself (anthropology), but gives laws a priori to him as a rational being. No doubt these laws require a judgment sharpened by experience, in order on the one hand to distinguish in what cases they are applicable, and on the other to procure for them access to the will of the man and effectual influence on conduct; since man is acted on by so many inclinations that, though capable of the idea of a practical pure reason, he is not so easily able to make it effective in concreto in his life.
Duty is the necessity of acting out of respect for the law... An action from duty must eliminate entirely the influence of inclinations and thus every object of the will.
Of all the evils to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies, and debts, and taxes, are the known instruments for bringing the many under the dominion of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds are added to those of subduing the force of the people! No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
The enormous influence of novelty - the way in which it quickens observation, sharpens sensation, and exalts sentiment - is not half enough taken note of by us, and is to me a very sorrowful matter. And yet, if we try to obtain perpetual change, change itself will become monotonous.
The rules of ordinary international morality imply reciprocity. But barbarians will not reciprocate. They cannot be depended on for observing any rules. Their minds are not capable of so great an effort, nor their will sufficiently under the influence of distant motives. In the next place, nations which are still barbarous have not got beyond the period during which it is likely to be for their benefit that they should be conquered and held in subjection by foreigners.
Truth is like the stars; it does not appear except from behind obscurity of the night. Truth is like all beautiful things in the world; it does not disclose its desirability except to those who first feel the influence of falsehood. Truth is a deep kindness that teaches us to be content in our everyday life and share with the people the same happiness.
The only way in which one human being can properly attempt to influence another is by encouraging him to think for himself, instead of endeavoring to install ready-made opinions into his head.
The most learned men have told us that only the wise man is free. What is freedom but the ability to live as one will? The man who lives as he wills is none other than the one who strives for the right, who does his duty, who plans his life with forethought, and who obeys the laws because he knows it is good for him, and not out of fear. Everything he says, does, or thinks is spontaneous and free. His tasks and conduct begin and end in himself, because nothing has so much influence over him as his own counsel and decision. Even the supreme power of fortune is submissive to him. The wise poet has reminded us that fortune is molded for each man by the manner of his life. Only the wise man does nothing against his will, or with regret and by compulsion. Thought this truth deserves to be discussed at greater length, it is nevertheless proverbial that no one is free except the wise. Evil men are nothing but slaves.
As the greatest single social influence during the formative years, schools have been the instruments of our greatest denial, unconsciousness, conformity, and broken connections. Just as allopathic medicine treats symptoms without concern for the whole system, schools break knowledge and experience into “subjects,” relentlessly turning wholes into parts, flowers into petals, history into events, without ever restoring continuity... Worse yet, not only the mind is broken, but too often, so is the spirit. Allopathic teaching produces the equivalent of iatrogenic, or doctor-caused” illness - teacher-caused learning disabilities. We might call these pedogenic illnesses. The child who may have come to school intact, with the budding courage to risk and explore, finds stress enough to permanently diminish that adventure.