Among today’s adept practitioners, the lie has long since lost its honest function of misrepresenting reality. Nobody believes anybody, everyone is in the know. Lies are told only to convey to someone that one has no need either of him or his good opinion. the lie, once a liberal means of communication, has today become one of the techniques of insolence enabling each individual to spread around him the glacial atmosphere whose shelter he can thrive.
Esteeming others merely for their agreement with us in religion, opinion, and manner of living is only a less offensive kind of self-adoration.
Everything is mere opinion.
I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinion of himself than on the opinion of others.
Public opinion is a permeating influence, and it exacts obedience to itself; it requires us to think other men's thoughts, to speak other men's words, to follow other men's habits.
The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.
Vanity, indeed, is the very antidote to conceit; for while the former makes us all nerve to the opinion of others, the latter is perfectly satisfied with its opinion of itself.
Solitude has but one disadvantage - it is apt to give one too high an opinion of one’s self. In the world we are sure to be often reminded of every known or supposed defect we may have.
The world is governed much more by opinion than by laws. It is not the judgment of courts, but the moral judgment of individuals and masses of men, which is the chief wall of defence around property and life. With the progress of society, this power of opinion is taking the place of arms.
Humanity is much more shown in our conduct towards animals, where we are irresponsible except to heaven, than towards our fellow-creatures, where we are restrained by the laws, by public opinion, and fear of retaliation.
No man on earth is truly free. All are slaves of money or necessity. Public opinion or fear of prosecution forces each one, against his conscience, to conform.
Our system of thought and opinion, is often the only history of our heart. Men do not so much will according to their reason, as reason according to their will.
Our opinion of people depends less upon what we see in them than in what they make us see in ourselves.
Worldly ambition is founded on pride or envy, but emulation, or laudable ambition, is actually founded in humility; for it evidently implies that we have a low opinion of our present attainments, and think it necessary to be advanced.
All power, even the most despotic, rests ultimately on opinion.
What may be called “club-opinion” is one of the very strongest forces in life. The thief must not steal from other thieves; the gambler must pay his gambling-debts, though he pay no other debts in the world. The code of honor of fashionable society has throughout history been full of permissions as well as of vetoes, the only reason for following either of which is that so we best serve one of our social selves.
The mischief of flattery is, not that it persuades any man that he is what he is not, but that it suppresses the influence of honest ambition by raising an opinion that honor may be gained without the toil of merit.
Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
We enter our studies, and enjoy a society which we alone can bring together. We raise no jealousy by conversing with one in preference to another; we give no offense to the most illustrious by questioning him as long as we will, and leaving him as abruptly. Diversity of opinion raises no tumult in our presence: each interlocutor stands before us, speaks or is silence, and we adjourn or decide the business at our leisure.
Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.