Reference > Quotations > James Wood, comp. > Dictionary of Quotations
James Wood, comp.  Dictionary of Quotations.  1899.
J. S. Mill
  A bureaucracy always tends to become a pedantocracy.  1
  Absolute fiends are as rare as angels, perhaps rarer.  2
  All the good of which humanity is capable is comprised in obedience.  3
  Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end.  4
  Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.  5
  Energy may be turned to bad uses; but more good may always be made of an energetic nature than of an indolent and impassive one.  6
  For the apotheosis of Reason we have substituted that of Instinct; and we call everything instinct which we find in ourselves, and for which we cannot trace any rational foundation.  7
  Genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom.  8
  History and experience prove that the most passionate characters are the most fanatically rigid in their feelings of duty, when their passion has been trained to act in that direction.  9
  History teems with instances of truth put down by persecution; if not suppressed for ever, it may be thrown back for centuries.  10
  It is the great error of reformers and philanthropists in our time to nibble at the consequences of unjust power, instead of redressing the injustice itself.  11
  It is wholesomer for the moral nature to be restrained, even by arbitrary power, than to be allowed to exercise arbitrary power.  12
  Many indifferent things which men originally did from a motive of some sort, they continue to do from habit.  13
  Nature does more than supply materials; she also supplies powers.  14
  No belief which is contrary to truth can be really useful.  15
  No one can be a great thinker who does not recognise that, as a thinker, it is his first duty to follow his intellect to whatever conclusions it may lead.  16
  Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of.  17
  “Pagan self-assertion” is one of the elements of human worth as well as “Christian self-denial.”  18
  Popular opinions, on subjects not palpable to sense, are often true, but seldom or never the whole truth.  19
  Superior powers of mind and profound study are of no use if they do not sometimes lead a person to different conclusions from those which are formed by ordinary powers of mind without study.  20
  The dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of those pleasant falsehoods … which all experience refutes. History teems with instances of truth put down by persecution. If not suppressed for ever, it may be thrown back for centuries.  21
  The disease which afflicts bureaucratic governments, and which they usually die of, is routine.  22
  The fatal tendency of mankind to leave off thinking about a thing when it is no longer doubtful, is the cause of half their errors. A contemporary author has well spoken of “the deep slumber of a decided opinion.”  23
  The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.  24
  The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of this, or impede their efforts to obtain it.  25
  The only school of genuine moral sentiment is society between equals.  26
  The worth of a state, in the long-run, is the worth of the individuals composing it.  27
  There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realised until personal experience has brought it home.  28
  Truth, in the great practical concerns of life, is so much a question of the reconciling and combining of opposites, that very few have minds sufficiently capacious and impartial to make the adjustment with an approach to correctness.  29
  What is now called the nature of women is an eminently artificial thing—the result of forced repression in some directions, unnatural stimulation in others.  30
  Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called.  31
  Who can compute what the world loses in the multitude of promising intellects combined with timid characters, who dare not follow out any bold, vigorous, independent train of thought, lest it should land them in something which would admit of being considered irreligious or immoral?  32

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