To consort with the crowd is harmful; there is no person who does not make some vice attractive to us, or stamp it upon us, or taint us unconsciously therewith. Certainly, the greater the mob with which we mingle, the greater the danger… I mean that I come home more greedy, more ambitious, more voluptuous, and even more cruel and inhuman, because I have been among human beings.


I went from God to God, until they cried from me in me, “O thou I!”

—Bayazid Bastami

You can’t hang on to yourself. You don’t have to try not to hang on to yourself. It can’t be done, and that is salvation. Memento mori—be mindful of death.

—Alan Watts

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

—Friedrich Nietszche

He who fights with monsters should beware lest he himself become a monster…when you gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss gazes back at you.

—Friedrich Nietszche

I have had to work hard; anyone who works just as hard will get just as far.

—Johann Sebastian Bach

I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

—Thomas Jefferson

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

—Jiddu Krishnamurti

You call yourself free, but that does not matter to me—I ask you: free for what?

—Friedrich Nietszche

I think it would be a very good idea.

—Mohandas Gandhi, asked his opinion on western civilization

I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible that you may be mistaken.

—Oliver Cromwell

Unless I am convicted by scripture and plain reason—I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other—my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God! Amen.

—Martin Luther, at the Diet of Worms (the third sentence is likely apocryphal)

Many clever men like you have trusted to civilization. Many clever Babylonians, many clever Egyptians, many clever men at the end of Rome. Can you tell me, in a world that is flagrant with the failures of civilization, what there is particularly immortal about yours?

—G. K. Chesterton

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

—Albert Camus

Sunt hic etiam sua praemia laudi;
sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.
Solve metus; feret haec aliquam tibi fama salutem.

(Here, too, the praiseworthy has its rewards;
there are tears for things and mortal things touch the mind.
Release your fear; this fame will bring you some safety.)

—Virgil, Aeneid, 1.461 ff.

Sat patriae Priamoque datum.

(Enough is given to the fatherland and to Priam.)

—Virgil, Aeneid