Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Superiority

"We pay a person the compliment of acknowledging his superiority whenever we lie to him." - Samuel Butler

"The first American mingled with her pride a singular humility. Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching. He never claimed that his power of articulate speech was proof of superiority over “dumb creation”; on the other hand, speech to him is a perilous gift. He believes profoundly in silence - the sign of perfect equilibrium. silence is the absolute poise or balance of body, mind and spirit. The an who preserves his selfhood ever calm and unshaken by the storms of existence - not a leaf, as it were, astir on the tree, not a ripple upon the surface of the shining pool - his, in the mind of the unlettered sage, is the ideal attitude and conduct of life." - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"To be loved, we should merit but little esteem; all superiority attracts awe and aversion." - Claude-Adrien Helvétius

"Whoever envies another confesses his superiority." -

"Where there are no distinctions there can be no superiority; perfect equality affords no temptation." - Thomas Paine

"Have fun... Life is the fulfillment of one’s expectations. Life is the satisfactions rewarded to one who excels and makes himself comfortable and fits into his peer group, seeking acceptance and seeking superiority in the tasks he undertakes. Life is trying to fulfill the expectations of the dreams, hopes and goals you set." -

"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

"Jealousy is the fear or apprehension of superiority; envy our uneasiness under it." - William Shenstone

"We are wrong to fear superiority of mind and soul; this superiority is very moral, for understanding everything makes a person tolerant and the capacity to feel deeply inspires great goodness." -

"The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to the other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot." - Mark Twain, pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens

"Envy deserves pity more than anger for it hurts nobody so much as itself. It is a distemper rather than a vice: for nobody would feel envy if he could help it. Whoever envies another, secretly allows that person's superiority." - Horace Walpole, 4th Earl of Oxford

"Most of our censure of others is only oblique praise of self, uttered to show the wisdom and superiority of the speaker. It has all the invidiousness of self-praise, and all the ill-desert of falsehood." - Tyron Edwards

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

"Among well-bred people a mutual deference is affected, contempt of others is disguised; authority concealed; attention given to each in his turn; and an easy stream of conversation maintained without vehemence, without interruption, without eagerness for victory, and without any airs of superiority." - David Hume

"Our responsibility as educators is to teach youth to have respect for those who differ from the customary ways as well as for those who conform. In simpler words, we have a profound obligation both to education and to society itself to support and strengthen the right to be different, and to create a sound respect for intellectual superiority." - Robert C. Pooley, fully Robert Cecil Pooley

"We are wrong to fear superiority of mind and soul; this superiority is very moral, for understanding everything makes one tolerant and the ability to feel deeply inspires great goodness." -

"Nationalism has two fatal charms for its devotees: it presupposes local self-sufficiency, which is a pleasant and desirable condition, and it suggests, very subtly, a certain personal superiority by reason of one's belonging to a place which is definable and familiar, as against a place which is strange, remote." - E. B. White, fully Elwyn Brooks White

"Friendships last when each friend thinks he has a slight superiority over the other." -

"It is… by the superiority of its morality that a religion wins over souls and reveals them to a certain conception of things." - Henri Bergson, aka Henri-Louis Bergson

"There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as “moral indignation,” which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue. The “indignant” person has for once the satisfaction of despising and treating a creature as “inferior,” coupled with the feeling of his own superiority and rightness." - Erich Fromm, fully Erich Seligmann Fromm

"Do not pursue what is illusory - property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade and can be confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life - don't be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is after all, all the same: the bitter doesn't last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing." - Alexander Solzhenitsyn, fully Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn

"Do not pursue what is illusory - property and position: all that is gained at the expense of your nerves decade after decade and can be confiscated in one fell night. Live with a steady superiority over life - don't be afraid of misfortune, and do not yearn after happiness; it is after all, all the same: the bitter doesn't last forever, and the sweet never fills the cup to overflowing." -

"A simple rule in dealing with those who are hard to get along with is to remember that this person is striving to assert his superiority; and you must deal with him from that point of view." - Alfred Adler

"Striving for superiority is the fundamental law of human life, a something without which life would be unthinkable." - Alfred Adler

"Mediocrity obtains more with application than superiority without it." - Baltasar Gracián

"Most do violence to their natural aptitude, and thus attain superiority in nothing." - Baltasar Gracián

"Superiority is always detested." - Baltasar Gracián

"The artist, depicting man disdainful of the storm and stress of life, is no less reconciling and healing than the poet who, while endowing Nature and Humanity, rejoices in its measureless superiority to human passions and human sorrows." - Bernard Berenson

"Laughter is satanic, and, therefore, profoundly human. It is born of Man’s conception of his own superiority… It is at once a sign of infinite grandeur and of infinite wretchedness; of infinite wretchedness by comparison with the absolute Being who exists as an idea in Man’s mind; of an infinite grandeur by comparison with animals." - Charles Baudelaire

"There is a difference between the two temporal blessings - health and money; money is the most envied, but the least enjoyed; health is the most enjoyed, but the least envied; and this superiority of the latter is still more obvious when we reflect that the poorest man would not part with health for money, but the richest would gladly part with all his money for health." - Charles Caleb Colton

"There is this difference between the two temporal blesses - health and money; money is the most envied, but the least enjoyed; health is the most enjoyed, but the least envied; and this superiority of the latter is still more obvious when we reflect that the poorest man would not part with health for money, but the richest man would gladly part with all his money for health." - Charles Caleb Colton

"The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot." -

"Friendship with a man is friendship with his virtue, and does not admit of assumptions of superiority." - Mencius, born Meng Ke or Ko NULL

"All nobility in its beginnings was somebody’s natural superiority." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Envy is the most universal passion. We only pride ourselves on the qualities owe possess, or think we possess; but we envy the pretensions we have, and those which we have not, and do not even wish for. We envy the greatest qualities and every trifling advantage. We envy the most ridiculous appearance or affectation of superiority. We envy folly and conceit; nay, we go so far as to envy whatever confers distinction of notoriety, even vice and infamy." - William Hazlitt

"All political movements are like this — we are in the right, everyone else is in the wrong. The people on our own side who disagree with us are heretics, and they start becoming enemies. With it comes an absolute conviction of your own moral superiority. There's oversimplification in everything, and a terror of flexibility." - Doris Lessing, fully Doris May Lessing, born Doris May Tayler

"Friendships last when each friend thinks he has a slight superiority over the other." - Honoré de Balzac

"Within even the most social group there are many relations that are not as yet social. A large number of human relationships in any social group are still upon the machine-like plane. Individuals use one another so as to get desired results, without reference to the emotional and intellectual disposition and consent of those used. Such uses express physical superiority of position, skill, technical ability, and command of tools, mechanical or fiscal. So far as the relations of parent and child, teacher and pupil, employer and employee, governor and governed, remain upon this level, they form no true social group, no matter how closely their respective activities touch one another. Giving and taking of orders modifies actions and results, but does not of itself effect a sharing of purposes, a communication of interests." - John Dewey

"We leave our homeland, our property and our friends. We give up the familiar ground that supports our ego, admit the helplessness of ego to control its world and secure itself. We give up our clingings to superiority and self-preservation...It means giving up searching for a home, becoming a refugee, a lonely person who must depend on himself...Fundamentally, no one can help us. If we seek to relieve our loneliness, we will be distracted from the path. Instead, we must make a relationship with loneliness until it becomes aloneness." - Chögyam Trungpa, fully Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

"We are wrong to fear superiority of mind and soul; this superiority is very moral, for understanding everything makes a person tolerant and the capacity to feel deeply inspires great goodness." - Madame de Staël, Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein, born Anne Louise Germaine Necker, Madame Necker

"But to rationalize faith is not to admit the superiority of philosophy over religion. Philosophy, no doubt, has jurisdiction to judge religion, but what is to be judged is such a nature that it will not submit to the jurisdiction of philosophy except on its on terms. While sitting in judgment of religion, philosophy cannot give religion an inferior place among its data. Religion is not a departmental affair; it is neither mere thought, nor mere feeling; it is an expression of the whole man." - Mohamed Iqbal or Sir Muhammad Iqbal, aka Allama Iqbal

"All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." - Muhammad, also spelled Mohammad, Mohammed or Mahomet, full name Muhammad Ibn `Abd Allāh Ibn `Abd al-Muttalib NULL

" Killing, cutting, slaughtering, destroying, injuring or abusing another's life is not Islam. But to each one of us is enjoined the Qurban, the sacrifice - the sacrifice of our Nafs, our base desires, our animosities, our egoism. Other than Allah and His Truth, every other thing must be the object of our sacrifice. His Word, His Qualities, His Traits, His Actions, His unique Three- thousand Qualities, - other than these, everything else are all enemies unto you and these must be sacrificed. And to wage total war against such enemies unto oneself, is Islam. Anger, hastiness, rage, fury, impatience, feelings of superiority of 'I' and 'you', pride, jealousy, treachery, selfishness, sorcery and black magic, mesmerism trickery, self-praise, conceit, titles, position and status, exclusiveness as between 'you' and 'I', falsehood, envy, - to cut away these base qualities and more, - is Islam. Such then is the formidable war within. This is one's very own battle, one's own sacrifice or Qurban, this is one's own war of purification, one's own purging of all that are enemies unto oneself. It is these which are the wars of Islam. Islam is certainly vehemently not a war which kills man or another human being or which slaughters or divides human kind or causes dissensions in human societies or annihilates humans. This is not Islam... For, Islam by its definition, has no enmity, no differences, no distinctions. To segregate and divide those who themselves divide and cause separation among the children of Adam, - is not Islam." - Bawa Mahaiyadden, fully Muhammad Raheem Bawa Muhaiyaddeen

"The best way to put the shortcomings of society, and, indeed, the whole of mankind, in their proper place is to joke about them. Joking allows you to avoid compromising yourself; it's a proof of your superiority over … the things you're poking fun at, without causing any offense to anyone except people who are surly or uncouth." - Nicolas Chamfort,fully Sébastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort, also spelled Nicholas

"The critics can say stupid things and we can enjoy them, if we have the legitimate feeling of superiority — the satisfaction of a duty accomplished." - Paul Gaugin, fully Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin

"If we could close our eyes to reality, and live, like them, in a world of dreams and illusions as to the superiority of those who think themselves called to power, perhaps we also should do like them; perhaps we also should believe in the virtues of those who govern." - Peter Kropotkin, fully Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin

"All the arguments to prove man's superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: in suffering the animals are our equals." - Peter Singer

"The time of our rejoicing’: Sukkah is the unification of HVYH and ADNY (the male and female names of Gd- numerically Sukka=91=the two names of Gd combined). This unification brings about Da’at (which is the Kabbalistic term for the interface between the two highest male/female names of Gd, and literally means Understanding. For context, Moshe, who brings the Torah from Sinai, represents Da’at), and when there is knowledge, there is joy. The proof (for the superiority of joy over sadness, sukkot over the high holy days) is, that if one observes a newborn, who has very little understanding– already at birth he is capable of crying. It is only much later, when their understanding grows– that a baby can smile." - Pinchas Shapiro of Koretz, aka Pinchas or Pinchos of Koretz

"Indeed, the crowning proof of their valor and their strength is that they keep up their superiority without harm to others." - Tacitus, fully Publius (or Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus NULL

"The scientist's religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping himself from the shackles of selfish desire. It is beyond question closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages." - Albert Einstein