Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Opinion

"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." - Thomas Adam

"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." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"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." - Walter Bagehot

"The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind." - William Blake

"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." - William Ellery Channing

"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." - Paul Chatfield, pseudonym for Horace Smith

"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." - Euripedes NULL

"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." - Immanual Hermann Fichte

"Our opinion of people depends less upon what we see in them than in what they make us see in ourselves." - Sarah Grand, pseudonymn of Frances Elizabeth Bellenden Clarke McFall

"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." - Robert Hall

"All power, even the most despotic, rests ultimately on opinion." - David Hume

"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." - William James

"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." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"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." - Walter Savage Landor

"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." - Katherine Mansfield, pseudonymn of Kathleen Beauchamp, Mrs. J. M. Murry

"From obedience and submission spring all other virtues, as all sin does form self-opinion." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"I care not so much what I am in the opinion of others, as what I am in my own; I would be rich of myself, and not by borrowing." - Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

"One often contradicts an opinion when it is really only the tone in which it has been presented that is unsympathetic." -

"The falseness of an opinion is not for us any objection to it. The question is how far it is life-furthering, life-preserving, species-preserving." -

"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

"It is safer to learn than teach; and who conceals his opinion has nothing to answer for." - William Penn

"Knowledge has three degrees: opinion, science, illumination. The means or instrument of the first is sense; of the second, dialectic; of the third, intuition. To the last I subordinate reason. It is absolute knowledge founded on the identity of the mind knowing with the object known." - Plotinus NULL

"Opinion is a bold bastard." - Francis Quarles

"The very purpose of existence is to reconcile the glowing opinion we hold of ourselves with the appalling things that other people think about us." -

"Your life will be good and secure when aliveness will mean more to you than security; love more than money; your freedom more than partyline line or public opinion; when the mood of Beethoven or Bach will be the mood of your total existence; when the teachers of your children will be better paid than the politicians." - Wilhelm Reich

"The feeble tremble before opinion, the foolish defy it, the wise judge it, the skilled direct it." - Madame Roland, Jeanne Manon Philon, born Marie-Jeanne Phlipon

"The savage lives within himself, while social man lives constantly outside himself, and only knows how to live in the opinion of others, so that he seems to receive the consciousness of his own existence merely from the judgment of others concerning him." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"When a law is proposed in the people’s assembly, what is asked of them is not precisely whether they approve of the proposition or reject it, but whether it is in conforming with the general will which is theirs; each by giving his vote gives his opinion on this question, and the counting of votes yields a declaration of the general will. When, therefore, the opinion contrary to my own prevails, this proves only that I have made a mistake, and that what I believed to be the general will was not so. If my particular opinion had prevailed against the general will, I should have done something other than what I had willed, and then I should not have been free. This presupposes, it is true, that all characteristics of the general will are still to be found in the majority; when these cease to be there, no matter what position men adopt, there is no longer any freedom." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"The fundamental argument for freedom of opinion is the doubtfulness of all our beliefs. If we certainly knew the truth, there would be something to be said for teaching it. But in that case it could be taught without invoking authority, by means of its inherent reasonableness." -

"They who are of the opinion that Money will do everything, may; very well be suspected to do everything for Money." - George Savile, fully Sir George Savile, 1st Marquis of Halifax

"Don't judge a man by his opinion of himself." - J. L. Schnadig

"Idolatry is in a man's own thought, not in the opinion of another." - John Selden

"Nothing is more certain of destroying any good feeling that may be cherished towards us than to show distrust. To be suspected as an enemy is often enough to make a man become so; the whole matter is over, there is no farther use of guarding against it. On the contrary, confidence leads us naturally to act kindly, we are affected by the good opinion which others entertain of us, and we are not easily induced to lose it." - Madame de Sévigné, Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné

"It will easily be seen in what consist the difference between a man who is led by affect or opinion alone and one who is led by reason. The former, whether he wills it or not, does those things of which he is entirely ignorant, but the latter does the will of no one but himself, and does those things only which he knows are of greatest importance in life, and which he therefore desires above all things. I call the former, therefore, a slave, and the latter free." -

"Men seldom take the opinion of their equal, or of a man like themselves, upon trust." -

"What I admire in Columbus is not having discovered a world, but his having gone to search for it on the faith of an opinion." - Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Baron de Laune

"Our opinion of others is not so variable as our opinion of ourselves." -

"To maintain an opinion because it is thine, and not because it is true, is to prefer thyself above the truth." - Ralph Venning

"We are too much inclined to underrate the power of moral influence, the influence of public opinion, and the influence of the principles to which great men - the lights of the world, and of the present age - have given their sanction." - Daniel Webster

"I often marvel how it is that though each man loves himself beyond all else, he should yet value his own opinion of himself less than that of others." - Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

"We tolerate differences of opinion in people who are familiar to us. But differences of opinion in people we do not know sounds like heresy or plots." - Brooks Atkinson, fully Justin Brooks Atkinson

"Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality." - W. H. Auden, fully Wystan Hugh Auden

"Public opinion is no more than this. What people think that other people think." - Alfred Austin

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

"The best government rests on the people, and not on the few, on persons and not on property, on the free development of public opinion and not on authority." - George Bancroft