Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Consistency

"Too much consistency is as bad for the mind as it is for the body. Consistency is contrary to nature, contrary to life. The only completely consistent people are the dead." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"The wise man does not expect consistency or harmony... for he sees that man is a mosaic of characteristics and qualities that only rarely achieve an internal and intrinsic harmony." - Abraham M Myerson

"Without consistency there is no moral strength." - John Jason Owen

"The technical progress of industry has been a reflection of our ability to apply increasingly accurate methods of measurement to material things. The art of measuring psychological human dimensions is relatively undeveloped. To all of the complexities of management we must bring to bear infinite patience and persistence, consistency and complete sincerity." - Louis Ruthenburg

"The crown and glory of life is character. It is the noblest possession of a man, constituting a rank in itself, and estate in the general good will; dignifying every station, and exacting every position in society. It exercises a greater power than wealth and secures all the honor without the jealousies of fame. It carries with it an influence which always tells; for it is the result of proved honor, rectitude and consistency - qualities which, perhaps more than any others, command the general confidence and respect of mankind." - Samuel Smiles

"What we opprobriously call stupidity... is nature's favourite resource for preserving steadiness of conduct and consistency of opinion." - Walter Bagehot

"When a regular division of employments has spread through any society, the social state begins to acquire a consistency and stability which place it out of danger from particular divergencies." - Auguste Comte, formally Isidore Auguste Marie François Xavier Comte

"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." -

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." - Bernard Berenson

"In the overwhelming majority of phenomena whose regularity and invariability have led to the formulation of the postulate of causality, the common element underlying the consistency observed - is chance." -

"Professionalism means consistency of quality." - Frank Tyger

"The rarest of all human qualities is consistency." - Jeremy Bentham

"The first thing I remember about the world – and I pray it may be the last – is that I was a stranger in it. This feeling, which everyone has in some degree, and which at once the glory and desolation of homo sapiens, provides the only thread of consistency that I can see in my life." - Malcolm Muggeridge

"Virtue is uniform, conformable to reason, and of unvarying consistency; nothing can be added to it that can make it more than virtue; nothing can be taken from it, and the name of virtue be left." - Cicero, fully Marcus Tullius Cicero, anglicized as Tully NULL

"Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without it we can't practice any other virtue with consistency." - Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson

"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest." - Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Annie Johnson

"Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellectual - simply a confession of failures." - Oscar Wilde, pen name for Fingal O'Flahertie Wills

"Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." - Oscar Wilde, pen name for Fingal O'Flahertie Wills

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow things in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today - "Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood."-Is is to bad then to be misunderstood... to be great is to be misunderstood." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Without consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds… Speak what you think now in hard words; and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"What we call good sense in the conduct of life consists chiefly in that temper of mind which enables its possessor to view at all times, with perfect coolness and accuracy, all the various circumstances of his situation: so that each of them may produce its due impression on him, without any exaggeration arising from his own peculiar habits. But to a man of an ill-regulated imagination, external circumstances only serve as hints to excite his own thoughts, and the conduct he pursues has in general far less reference to his real situation than to some imaginary one in which he conceives himself to be placed: in consequence of which, while he appears to himself to be acting with the most perfect wisdom and consistency, he may frequently exhibit to others all the appearances of folly." - Dugald Stewart

"In the overwhelming majority of phenomena whose regularity and invariability have led to the formulation of the postulate of causality, the common element underlying the consistency observed - is chance." - Erwin Schrödinger, fully Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger

"To doubt one's own first principles is the mark of a civilized man. Don't defend past actions; what is right today may be wrong tomorrow. Don't be consistent; consistency is the refuge of fools." - Hyman George Rickover

"This comparative indifference to clearness and consistency of thought is visible even in that chief object of our national concern, education." - Irving Babbitt

"As far as consistency of thought goes, I prefer inconsistency." - John Cage, fully John Milton Cage, Jr.

"A consistency proof for [any sufficiently powerful] system… can be carried out only by means of modes of inference that are not formalized in the system… itself." - Kurt Gödel, also Goedel

"Anger may be kindled in the noblest breasts: but in these slow droppings of an unforgiving temper never takes the shape of consistency of enduring hatred." -

"During the fifties, for example, the American character appeared with some consistency that became a model of manhood adopted by many men: the Fifties male. He got to work early, labored responsibly, supported his wife and children and admired discipline. Reagan is a sort of mummified version of this dogged type. This sort of man didn't see women's souls well, but he appreciated their bodies; and his view of culture and America's part in it was boyish and optimistic. Many of his qualities were strong and positive, but underneath the charm and bluff there was, and there remains, much isolation, deprivation, and passivity. Unless he has an enemy, he isn't sure that he is alive. The Fifties man was supposed to like football, be aggressive, stick up for the United States, never cry, and always provide.... During the sixties, another sort of man appeared. The waste and violence of the Vietnam war made men question whether they knew what an adult male really was. If manhood meant Vietnam, did they want any part of it? Meanwhile, the feminist movement encouraged men to actually look at women, forcing them to become conscious of concerns and sufferings that the Fifties male labored to avoid." - Robert Bly

"We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in." - Thomas Paine

"They realized that the gains that you get by statistical methods are gains that you get without new machinery, without new people. Anybody can produce quality if he lowers his production rate. That is not what I am talking about. Statistical thinking and statistical methods are to Japanese production workers, foremen, and all the way through the company, a second language. In statistical control you have a reproducible product hour after hour, day after day. And see how comforting that is to management, they now know what they can produce, they know what their costs are going to be." - W. Edwards Deming, fully William Edwards Deming

"Of Justice: In a loose and general view I and my neighbor are both of us men; and of consequence entitled to equal attention. But, in reality, it is probable that one of us is a being of more worth and importance than the other. A man is of more worth than a beast; because, being possessed of higher faculties, he is capable of a more refined and genuine happiness. In the same manner the illustrious archbishop of Cambray was of more worth than his valet, and there are few of us that would hesitate to pronounce, if his palace were in flames, and the life of only one of them could be preserved, which of the two ought to be preferred. But there is another ground of preference, beside the private consideration of one of them being further removed from the state of a mere animal. We are not connected with one or two percipient beings, but with a society, a nation, and in some sense with the whole family of mankind. Of consequence that life ought to be preferred which will be most conducive to the general good. In saving the life of Fenelon, suppose at the moment he conceived the project of his immortal Telemachus, should have been promoting the benefit of thousands, who have been cured by the perusal of that work of some error, vice and consequent unhappiness. Nay, my benefit would extend further than this; for every individual, thus cured, has become a better member of society, and has contributed in his turn to the happiness, information, and improvement of others. Suppose I had been myself the valet; I ought to have chosen to die, rather than Fenelon should have died. The life of Fenelon was really preferable to that of the valet. But understanding is the faculty that perceives the truth of this and similar propositions; and justice is the principle that regulates my conduct accordingly. It would have been just in the valet to have preferred the archbishop to himself. To have done otherwise would have been a breach of justice. Suppose the valet had been my brother, my father, or my benefactor. This would not alter the truth of the proposition. The life of Fenelon would still be more valuable than that of the valet; and justice, pure, unadulterated justice, would still have preferred that which was most valuable. Justice would have taught me to save the life of Fenelon at the expense of the other. What magic is there in the pronoun my, that should justify us in overturning the decisions of impartial truth? My brother or my father may be a fool or a profligate, malicious, lying or dishonest. If they be, of what consequence is it that they are mine? [on Fenelon and his Valet]" - William Godwin

"A big part of my work is to try and shift the conversation from whether aid is good or bad to think about policy or programs instead. Another objective of my work is to think about not just the five percent [of aid], but the 100 percent. [That is], what role this five percent can play in improving the quality of programs. I want to think about the efforts of most private donors…as not being an end in itself, but as being venture capitalism and finding the good ideas in development. In that case, think of each dollar you are spending as being multiplied many, many fold. If these programs help us identify what really works then that can be taken up as a policy on a very large scale. That is the reason for my work and the reason for placing so much emphasis on the evaluation of specific programs." - Esther Duflo

"When the wine is in, the wit is out." - Italian Proverbs