Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Individuality

"To be born is to suffer: to grow old is to suffer: to die is to suffer: to lose what is loved is to suffer: to be tied to what is not loved is to suffer: to endure what is distasteful is to suffer. In short, all the results of individuality, or separate self-hood, necessarily involve pain or suffering." - Subhadra Bhikshu, pen name for Friedrich Zimmermann

"No man should part with his own individuality and become that of another." - William Ellery Channing

"The essential problem of freedom, it seems to me, is the problem of the relation of choice and unimpeded effective action to each other... There is an intrinsic connection between choice as freedom and power of action as freedom. A choice which intelligently manifests individuality enlarges the range of action, and this enlargement in turn confers upon our desires greater insight and foresight, and makes choice more intelligent." - John Dewey

"So much of learning to be an American is learning not to let your individuality become a nuisance." - Edgar Z. Friedenberg

"To renounce your individuality, to see with another's eyes, to hear with another's ears, to be two and yet but one, to so melt and mingle that you no longer know you are you or another, to constantly absorb and constantly radiate, to reduce earth, sea and sky and all that in them is to a single being so wholly that nothing whatever is withheld, to be prepared at any moment for sacrifice, to double your personality in bestowing it - that is love." - Théophile Gautier, fully Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier, aka Le Bon Theo

"God gave every man individuality of constitution, and a chance for achieving individuality of character. He puts special instruments into every man’s hands by which to make himself and achieve his mission." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"Under bad manners, as under graver faults, lies very commonly an overestimate of our special individuality, as distinguished form our generic humanity." - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

"Adoration is an activity of the loving, but still separate individuality. Contemplation is the state of union with the divine Ground of all being. The highest prayer is the most passive. Inevitably; for the less there is of self, the more there is of God." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"The relationship between moral action and spiritual knowledge is circular, as it were, and reciprocal. Selfless behavior makes possible an accession of knowledge, and the accession of knowledge makes possible the performance of further and more genuinely selfless actions, which in their turn enhance the agent’s capacity for knowing... A man undertakes right action (which includes, of course, right consciousness and right meditation), and this enables him to catch a glimpse of the Self that underlies his separate individuality. Having seen his own self as the Self, he becomes selfless (and therefore acts selflessly) and in virtue of selflessness he is to be conceived as unconditioned." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Personality is the supreme realization of the innate individuality of a particular living being. Personality is an act of the greatest courage in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, and the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence coupled with the greatest possible freedom of personal decision." - Carl Jung, fully Carl Gustav Jung

"Cultivate fine taste and discrimination in your choice of things. Get a right idea of values. Material possessions that you do not need and cannot use may be only an encumbrance. Let your guiding rule be not how much but how good. A thing you do not want is dear at any price. Avoid surplusage. Choose things that express your own individuality. You must possess your things or they will possess you. Look for quality rather than quantity. Unnecessary possessions bring unnecessary care and responsibility. Excess is waste. Have an occasional stocktaking and eliminate unsparingly." -

"No man can force the harp of his own individuality into the people’s heart; but every man may play upon the chords of the people’s heart, who draws his inspiration from the people’s instinct." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"If you would succeed in life, it is of first importance that your individuality, your independence, your determination be trained that you not be lost in the crowd." -

"If a man is not faithful to his own individuality, he cannot be loyal to anything." - Claude McKay

"It is an absolute perfection to know how to get the very most out of one's individuality." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"The four cornerstones of character on which the structure of this nation was built are: Initiative, Imagination, Individuality and Independence." -

"True education makes for inequality; the inequality of individuality the inequality of success; the glorious inequality of talent, of genius, for inequality, not mediocrity, individual superiority, not standardization, is the measure of the progress of the world." - Felix Schelling, fully Felix Emmanuel Schelling

"To have one’s individuality completely ignored is being pushed quite out of life. Like being blown out as one blows out a candle." - Evelyn Scott, also wrote under pseudonyms Ernest Souza and Elsie Dunn

"Individuality is the aim of political liberty." - James Fenimore Cooper

"Man-made barriers, laws, social customs and prejudices continue to keep a majority of women in an inferior position without full control of our lives and bodies. From infancy throughout life, in personal and public relations, in the family, in the schools, in every occupation and profession, too often we find our individuality, our capabilities, our earning powers diminished by discriminatory practices and outmoded ideas of what a woman is, what a woman can do, and what a woman must be... We lack effective political and economic power We have only minor and insignificant roles in making, interpreting and enforcing our laws, in running our political parties, businesses, unions, schools and institutions, in directing the media, in governing our country, in deciding issues of war or peace. We do not seek special privileges, but we demand as a human right a full voice and role for women in determining the destiny of our world, our nation, our families and our individual lives." - Declaration of American Women NULL

"No task is so humble that it does not offer an outlet for individuality." - William Feather

"All Fords are exactly alike, but no two men are just alike. Every new life is a new thing under the sun; there has never been anything just like it before, never will be again. A young man ought to get that idea about himself; he should look for the single spark of individuality that makes him different from other folks, and develop that for all he is worth. Society and schools may try to iron it out of him; their tendency is to put it all in the same mold, but I say don't let that spark be lost; it is your only real claim to importance." - Henry Ford

"There is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a mother-sea or reservoir... fitful influences from beyond leak in, showing otherwise unverifiable common connection." - William James

"Nationality is the aggregated individuality of the greatest men of the nation." - Louis Kossuth, also Lajos Kossuth, fully Lajos Kossuth de Udvard et Kossuthfalva

"Medicine is not only a science, but also the art of letting our own individuality interact with the individuality of the patient." - Albert Schweitzer

"Religion, like poetry, is not a mere idea, it is expression. The self-expression of God is in the endless variety of creation; and our attitude toward the Infinite Being must also in its expression have a variety of individuality ceaseless and unending. Those sects which jealously build their boundaries with too rigid creeds excluding all spontaneous movement of the living spirit may hoard their theology but they kill religion." -

"We spend a good part of our time establishing personal boundaries, creating individuality by drawing lines that define the limits of the self. But it becomes increasingly clear that these limits are artificial. We are part of the fabric and cannot avoid being so. Mere anarchy is seldom loosed upon the real world." - Lyall Watson

"The bed of death brings every human being to his pure individuality, to the intense contemplation of that deepest and most solemn of all relations - the relation between the creature and his Creator." - Daniel Webster

"All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity." - James Fenimore Cooper

"Individuality… lies at the root of all progress." - Mahatma Gandhi, fully Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, aka Bapu

"A necessary quality for the attainment of individuality is the ability to tolerate some degree of loneliness in the sense of independent adherence to values that those around you will not support." - D. W. Harding, fully Denys Clement Wyatt Harding

"Supported by the authority of all institutions, parenthood has come to amount to little more than a campaign against individuality. Every father and every mother trembles lest an offspring, in act or thought, should be different from his fellows; and the smallest display of uniqueness in a child becomes the signal for the application of drastic measures aimed at stamping out that small fire of noncompliance by which personal distinctness is expressed. In an atmosphere of anxiety, in a climate of apprehension, the parental conspiracy against children is planned." - Robert M. Linder, fully Robert Mitchell Linder

"Communities, like individuals, love and cherish their individuality… When unity is evolved out of diversity, then there is a real and abiding national progress." - Manhar-ul-Haque NULL

"By “nationalism” I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labeled “good” or “bad.” But secondly… I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism… By “patriotism” I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force upon other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality." -

"Because God is One, all our lives have various and unique places in the harmony of the divine life. And because God attains and wins and finds this uniqueness, all our lives win in our union with him the individuality which is essential to their true meaning." - Josiah Royce

"A sense of “belonging,” a sense of meaningful association with others, has never required that one sacrifice his individuality as part of the bargain. Why, then, do so many rush to embrace a philosophy which tells them it is necessary." - William H. Whyte, Jr., fully William Hollingsworth "Holly" Whyte

"In contrast to symbiotic union, mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality. Love is an active power in man; a power which breaks through the walls which separate man from his fellow men, which unites him with others; love makes him overcome the sense of isolation and separateness, yet it permits him to be himself, to retain his integrity. In love, the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two." -

"Mature love is union under the condition of preserving one's integrity, one's individuality... In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two." -

"Respect is not fear and awe; it...is the ability to see a person as he is, to be aware of his unique individuality. Respect, thus, implies the absence of exploitation. I want the loved person to grow and unfold for his own sake, and in his own ways, and not for the purpose of serving me." -

"In the highest love between man and woman, or parent and child, as the person reaches the ultimates of strength, self-esteem, or individuality, so also does he simultaneously merge with the other, lose self-consciousness, and more or less transcend selfishness. The same can happen in the creative moment, in the profound aesthetic experience, in the insight experience…and others which I have generalized as peak experiences." - Abraham Harold Maslow

"The writer in western civilization has become not a voice of his tribe, but of his individuality. This is a very narrow-minded situation." - Aharon Appelfeld

"The writer in western civilization has become not a voice of his tribe, but of his individuality. This is a very narrow-minded situation." -

"Once upon a time, I, Chuang Tzu, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of following my fancies as a butterfly, and was unconscious of my individuality as a man. Suddenly, I awoke, and there I lay, myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man." - Chuang Tzu, also spelled Chuang-tsze, Chuang Chou, Zhuangzi, Zhuang Tze, Zhuang Zhou, Chuang Tsu, Chouang-Dsi, Chuang Tse, or Chuangtze

"Only life can satisfy the demands of life... Don’t be afraid of yourself, live your individuality to the full - but for the good of others. Don’t copy others in order to buy fellowship, or make convention your law instead of living the righteousness." - Dag Hammarskjöld

"[Paraphrase] Beauty for the soul are things displaying themselves in their individuality." - James Hillman

"Man is responsible for himself, not only for his own individuality but for all men. Man chooses himself, and in choosing for ourselves, we choose for all men." - Jean-Paul Sartre

"Whatever crushes individuality is despotism... I am not aware that any community has a right to force another to be civilized." - John Stuart Mill

"Customs are made for customary circumstances; even in what people do for pleasure, conformity is the first thing thought of; they live in crowds: they exercise choice only among things commonly done: peculiarity of taste, eccentricity of conduct, are shunned equally with crimes: until by dint of not following their own nature they have not nature to follow. Whatever crushes individuality is despotism. [And] I am not aware that any community has a right to force another to be civilized." - John Stuart Mill

"Even despotism does not produce its worst effects, so long as individuality exists under it; and whatever crushes individuality is despotic, by whatever name it may be called, and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men." - John Stuart Mill

"In proportion to the development of his individuality, each person becomes more valuable to himself, and is, therefore, capable of being more valuable to others." - John Stuart Mill