Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Dignity

"Remember this, that there is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed I the performance of every act of life." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"There is a proper dignity and proportion to be observed in the performance of every act of life." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"Personal liberty is the paramount essential to human dignity and human happiness." -

"What can be more honorable than to have courage enough to execute the commands of reason and conscience, to maintain the dignity of our nature, and the station assigned us?" - Jeremy Collier

"Mediocrity requires aloofness to preserve its dignity." - George Dawson

"By the very fact that I respect you without envy I prove my dignity as a man." - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

"Originality and the feeling of one's own dignity are achieved only through work and struggle." - Fyodor Dostoevsky, fully Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoevsky or Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevski

"The dignity of man lies in his ability to face reality in all its meaninglessness." - Martin Esslin, fully Martin Julius Esslin

"The search for truth is, as it always has been, the noblest expression of the human spirit. Man's insatiable desire for knowledge about himself, about his environment and the forces by which he is surrounded, gives life its meaning and purpose, and clothes it with final dignity... And yet we know, deep in our hearts, that knowledge is not enough... Unless we can anchor our knowledge to moral purposes, the ultimate result will be dust and ashes - dust and ashes that will bury the hopes and monuments of men beyond recovery." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"A human being can go without food longer than he can go without human dignity." - Harry Golden, born Herschel Goldhirsch

"Security and equality cannot bring man happiness.. but they can bring him something no less important - dignity - a sense of social value and individual worth." - Hayim Greenberg

"Feel the dignity of a child. Do not feel superior to him, for you are not." - Robert Henri

"The idle man stands outside of God’s plan, outside of the ordained scheme of things; and the truest self-respect, the noblest independence, and the most genuine dignity; are not to be found there." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"There is a sort of natural instinct of human dignity in the heart of man which steels his very nerves not to bend beneath the heavy blows of a great adversity." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"Perseverance can lend the appearance of dignity and grandeur to many actions, just as silence in company affords wisdom and apparent intelligence to a stupid person." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"There is nothing a man can less afford to leave at home than his conscience or his good habits; for it is not to be denied that travel is, in its immediate circumstances, unfavorable to habits of self-discipline, regulation of thought, sobriety of conduct, and dignity of character. Indeed, one of the great lessons of travel is the discovery how much our virtues owe to the support of constant occupation, to the influence of public opinion, and to the force of habit; a discovery very dangerous, if it proceed from an actual yielding to temptations resisted at home, and not from a consciousness of increased power put forth in withstanding them." - Richardson Pack or Packe

"The rule of law is essentially a negative value. The law inevitably creates a great danger of arbitrary power - the rule of law is designed to minimize the danger created by the law itself. Similarly, the law may be unstable, obscure, retrospective, etc., and thus infringe people’s freedom and dignity. The rule of law is designed to prevent his danger as well. Thus the rule of law is a negative virtue in two senses: conformity to it does not cause good except through avoiding evil and the evil which is avoided is evil which could only have been caused by the law itself." - Joseph Raz

"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, the farm or office where he works. such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." -

"Dignity increases more easily than it begins." -

"To attain excellence in society, an assemblage of qualification is requisite: disciplined intellect, to think clearly, and to clothe thought with propriety and elegance; knowledge of human nature, to suit subject to character; true politeness, to prevent giving pain; a deep sense of morality, to preserve the dignity of speech; and a spirit of benevolence, to neutralize its asperities, and sanctify its powers." - Lydia Sigourney, fully Lydia Huntley Sigourney, née Lydia Howard Huntley

"It is by what we ourselves have done, and not by what others have done for us, that we shall be remembered after ages. It is by thought that has aroused the intellect from its slumbers, which has given luster to virtue and dignity to truth, or by those examples which have inflamed the soul with the love of goodness." - Francis Wayland

"Dignity is often a veil between us and the real truth of things." - Edwin Percy Whipple

"Slavery is but half abolished, emancipation is but half completed, while millions of freemen with votes in their hands are left without education. Justice to them, the welfare of the States in which they live, the safety of the whole Republic, the dignity of the elective franchise, - all alike demand that the still remaining bonds of ignorance shall be unloosed and broken, and the minds as well as the bodies of the emancipated go free." - Robert C. Winthrop,fully Robert Charles Winthrop

"This is man: a writer of books, a putter-down of words, a painter of pictures, a maker of ten thousand philosophies. He grows passionate over ideas, he hurls scorn and mockery at another's work, he finds the one way, the true way, for himself, and calls all others false--yet in the billion books upon the shelves there is not one that can tell him how to draw a single fleeting breath in peace and comfort. He makes histories of the universe, he directs the destiny of the nations, but he does not know his own history, and he cannot direct his own destiny with dignity or wisdom for ten consecutive minutes. " - Thomas Wolfe, fully Thomas Clayton Wolfe

"True dignity abides with him only, who, in the silent hour of inward thought, can still suspect, and still revere himself, in lowliness of heart." - William Wordsworth

"Freedom springs from within, whether in a man or in a people. To remove disabilities and confer the franchise is not enough. Men must be enabled to grow if they are to exercise their rights with dignity and effect. For this reason the widening of the franchise in democratic countries has always been accompanied or followed by the development of popular education." - Basil Alfred Yeaxlee

"Where boasting ends, there dignity begins." - Edward Young

"Where boasting ends, there dignity begins." -

"Dignity of position adds to dignity of character, as well as to dignity of carriage. Give us a proud position, and we are impelled to act up to it." - John Christian Bovee

"Personal liberty is the paramount essential to human dignity and human happiness." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton, fully Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, Lord Lytton

"The moment you can make a very simple discovery, viz., that obligation to God is your privilege, and is not imposed as a burden, your experience will teach you many things - that duty is liberty, that repentance is a release from sorrow, that sacrifice is gain, that humility is dignity, that the truth from that which you hide is a healing element that bathes your disordered life, and that even the penalties and terrors of God are the artillery only to protection to His realm." - Horace Bushnell

"The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep." - G. K. Chesterton, fully Gilbert Keith Chesterton

"Friendships which last are those wherein each friend respects the other's dignity to the point of not wanting anything from him." - Cyril Connolly, fully Cyril Vernon Connolly

"When we abandon the thought of immortality we at least have cast out fear. We gain a certain dignity and self-respect. We regard our fellow travelers as companions in the pleasures and tribulations of life... We gain kinship with the world." - Clarence Darrow, fully Clarence Seward Darrow

"The free state offers what a police state denies - the privacy of the home, the dignity and peace of mind of the individual." -

"It is a nationalism whose aim is not power but dignity and health. If we did not have to live among intolerant, narrow-minded and violent people, I should be the first to throw over all nationalism in favor of universal humanity." - Albert Einstein

"Humanity may endure the loss of everything; all its possessions may be turned away without infringing its true dignity - all but the possibility of improvement." -

"I believe in the dignity of being and, even more so, of becoming... Death may not be an end but only a passage, a dimensional leap. And what if, once free of the slavery of three and four dimensions, once released from space and time, we were to discover unimaginable realities beyond our poor five senses?" - Stefania Follini

"The friendships that last are those wherein each friend respects the other's dignity. Every man ought to be friend with a nun and a whore and while talking with them forget which is which." - Brendan Francis Behan

"Rest is a state of peace between man and nature... Work is a symbol of conflict and discord; rest is an expression of dignity, peace and freedom." -

"Humor is an affirmation of dignity, a declaration of man's superiority to all that befalls him." - Romain Gary, born Roman Kacew

"The dignity of labor depends not on what you do, but how you do it." - Edwin Osgood Grover

"Science is teaching man to know and reverence truth, and to believe that only as far as he knows and loves it can he live worthily on earth, and vindicate the dignity of his spirit." - Moses Harvey

"Our society is an immense stamping ground for the careless production of underdeveloped and malformed human beings... [not] concerned with moral issues, with serious problems, or with human dignity." - Robert Heilbroner, fully Robert Louis Heilbroner

"A creditor is worse than a master; for a master owns only your person, a creditor owns your dignity and can belabour that." - Victor Hugo

"Belief in immortality gives dignity to life and enables us to endure cheerfully those trials which come to us all. As the thought of immortality occupies our minds, we gain a clearer conception of duty and are inspired to cultivate character. Living for the future is not coward's philosophy, but an inspiration to noble and unselfish activity." - Samuel M. Lindsay

"The fundamental rights, like the right to existence and life; the right to personal freedom or to conduct one’s own life as master of oneself and of one’s acts, responsible for them before God and the law of the community; the right to the pursuit of the perfection of moral and rational human life; the right to keep one’s body whole; the right to private ownership of material goods, which is a safeguard of the liberties of the individual; the right to marry according to one’s choice and to raise a family which will be assured of the liberties due it; the right of association, the respect for human dignity in each individual, whether or not he represents an economic value for society - all these rights are rooted in the vocation of the person (a spiritual and free agent) to the order of absolute values and to a destiny superior to time." - Jacques Maritain

"The worst part about prostitution is that you’re obliged not to sell sex only, but your humanity. That’s the worst part of it: that what you’re selling is your human dignity. Not really so much in bed, but in accepting the agreement - in becoming a bought person." - Kate Millet, Katherine Murray Millett

"Vanity and dignity are incompatible with each other." - Alfred de Musset, fully Alfred Louis Charles de Musset